I would have posted this earlier but just in case anyone seen the blog before we actually gave them the gifts, I thought we should wait until after Christmas...
We made homemade gifts for a lot of our family members this year because we had so many to give to. We started by making some homemade caramel popcorn for our 7 nieces out of this Jell-O Brand Recipe for Jell-O® Rainbow Popcorn. You can use any flavor but we chose lime and wild strawberry since they resemble Christmas. The recipe uses much less corn syrup compared to other caramel corn recipes and would probably do just fine without it even thanks to the jello! Plus, colored caramel popcorn is much more fun for kids.
Next, we made some homemade pepper oil for the family members who like to cook. We like to grow peppers during the summer so we have a lot of them already on hand.
We started with a bottle of peanut oil and 10 dried chili pods in a large saucepan (olive oil or canola would work too). We heated the oil to approximately 150º and then let it sit for about half an hour. Now the chili pods can be strained out of the oil (be careful as it may still be hot). In your glass bottles of choice equally distribute 3 tsp. of black or white peppercorns, 3 tsp. cumin seeds, 3 tsp. red pepper flakes and 1 1/2 tsp. salt (we had some old Patron bottles and another that had corks). Now you can use funnels to pour in the liquid and they're pretty much done. We threw in a couple more dried chili pods for decorative purposes. See below:
We also made a couple other cool gifts. We made a cool trail mix based on this Asian Party Mix Recipe by myrecipes.com. Instead of using rice crackers and wasabi peas, we used a combination of cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, soy nuts and sunflower seeds. We also found a great Hot Cocoa Mix on Food.com. The plus is that it's sugar free and fat free so it's a great gift for anyone diabetic or dieting. We also made some pepper jelly (secret recipe), a hot and sweet spice rub and a hot pepper spice blend. The Hot and Sweet Spice Rub was found on Whole Foods website. The hot pepper spice blend was just our own mixture of dried peppers ground up with a mortar and pestle. The packaging was just some labels I designed and printed out on my computer (glued on with a glue stick). I also had some cool yarn, stickers and ribbon so that pretty much did it.
I hope this inspires some of you to create some homemade gifts for Christmas next year. Everyone likes them and it's more meaningful. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!