Friday, December 23, 2011

All Wrapped Up - DIY

We all know the expression 'you can't judge a book by its cover', but I can't help but wonder if that applies to uniquely wrapped gifts. Don't get me wrong, I'm not for expensive things or even expecting such, but there's something really special about a beautifully wrapped gift. It's not exactly what lies beneath, but its the presentation that makes a statement in itself. In other words, you can gather a bunch of rocks, put them in a tidy arrangement and add your own little uniqueness and voila! You've just created something quite amazing.

In these days of saving, its effortless to put something together using things you already have. For example, my mother and I did our annual cookie baking yesterday, which resulted in little bites in all shapes and sizes. Why not wrap these up and give to a neighbor or friend? The key is in the wrapping since you've already put your efforts into the "present"!

With that said, I've put together a gift using things in the kitchen.

Here's what I used:

Empty aluminum can (I cleaned out a tomato sauce can from our pasta dinner!)

Kitchen towel - for the 'lining'

Felt (I used gray, love how this looks against the metal)


Cinnamon stick (use whatever you want to tie to the gift; ie, candy cane, pine cone, etc.)

'Filler' - I've used freshly baked biscotti and a candy cane

Filler can be ANYTHING, seriously. Hot cocoa, candy, tea, coffee.... cater it to whoever will be receiving it. You can even do non-edible items such as cuttings from your Christmas tree or ornaments, pictures, little notepads. The 'can' is your oyster!

Cut the felt to fit around the can and tie it with twine. Wrap the cinnamon stick on there and you're set with the outside. It's easy peasy... I kid you not. The fun part is filling it with oodles of personalization. I have to say, there's something to be said about the time you put into a homemade gift and the person receiving it will surely adore it.

As for the biscotti, I found these SO EASY to bake! I normally do not post recipes on this site, but since this is considered a gift, perhaps you can find some use for it as well. It was a hit with my mother and father in law and everyone else seems to love them too (I did, of course, cut the sugar and they still are fab). They're great with tea and coffee and a perfect treat for Christmas morning!

I've included the recipe below, thanks Country Living!

A gift someone will surely love

Yummy biscotti!

Lemon Olive Oil Biscotti Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cup(s) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) Salt
  • 1 cup(s) Whole Almonds, skins on; toasted and ground
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup(s) Sugar -- I used 1/2 cup, still delicious
  • 1/2 cup(s) Olive Oil (Preferably Sicilian)
  •  Zest Of 2 Lemons (Preferably Meyer)
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Vanilla Extract
  •  Fleur De Sel, if desired

  • Directions
    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add ground almonds and stir to combine. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together eggs, sugar, olive oil, lemon zest, and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add flour mixture and mix until dough just begins to come together. Do not overmix.
    3. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using damp hands, shape each piece into a 12-inch-long log, 1/2 inch high.
    4. Bake logs until firm, about 28 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Cool logs on baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.
    5. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each into 24 half-inch-thick biscotti. Place biscotti on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, if desired. Bake biscotti until slightly crisp, about 14 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    Some more fabulously wrapped gifts:

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