Christmas time is my most favourite time of year. So much excitement and anticipation for the man in the red suit. The next couple of weeks running up to it, I like to spend it making and baking homemade gifts and treats. Sounds a bit Betty Homemaker?? Where would I find the time? I promise with these simple little ideas like all my recipes are designed to make you feel accomplished and festive but ready in a jiffy! (Jiffyish;))
Dried Orange and Clove Decorations
They are simple, pretty, fragrant and look so eye pleasing on your tree, wreaths and gift wrapping. You can also use a range of different fruits like grapefruits, lemons, clementines, kumquats, apples etc. Use what is in season. I know the drying time is lengthy but I promise the reward is amazing and once they are in the oven pop on the kettle, you have 4 hours to relax, watch a Christmas movie and have a snooze!
To make a dozen dried oranges you will need…
2/3 large oranges
48 whole cloves
Oven (80°c fan assisted)
Cut the oranges into slices approximately 2cm thick. I stud the slices of orange with 4 cloves to each slice placing them in a clockwise rotation. (3, 6, 9, 12)
Place the studded orange slices onto an wire rack, if you use an oven tray the natural sugars will stick and burn.
Place in the oven @ 80°c for 4 hours, slow is key if you increase the oven temperature to speed up the process you will end up with a puff of black smoke and cremated oranges. I then
leave in oven until cool.
When cooled use some pretty threads, ribbons or twine to create a hanging loop if you are making them into decorations for your tree or gift wrapping.
You can add wire if you want to use them for a wreath or in a floral arrangement.
Oatie Sugar Free Gingerbread Cookies!
My Oatie cookies flavoured with spicy warming ginger are so delish, filling and also make cute edible tree decorations. They are made with just a few store cupboard staples.
70g of porridge oats
25g of plain flour (gluten free optional)
1 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
25g of low fat butter
25/30g of granualated sweetener/stevia/agave syrup/honey (the option is yours)
2 medium eggs or 1 large egg
Pinch of salt (1/8 of a tsp)
Preheat the oven to 185°c fan assisted oven.
Simple as simple goes add all of the above ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
The mix won’t be like a traditional cookie dough so I spoon the mix into the cutters using approx 1.5 tbsp on each.
You should get 12 to 14 cookies from this batch. When done place in the oven for 20 minutes turning after 10 minutes.
When cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
If you want to use the cookies as tree decorations make a hole in the area you wish to use for looping later before placing in the oven. They also make beautiful gifts for someone special.
Homemade Guilt Free Sugar and Coconut Body Scrubs Good Enough to Eat!!
Honestly the most delicious homemade gift, so cheap and inexpensive to make using bits and bobs for around the home.
I have two different scrub recipes for you, 1st being a Brown sugar, vanilla and fair trade coconut oil scrub and the second one is a little twist on the traditional peppermint candy canes using white sugar, fair trade coconut oil, natural organic Irish peppermint oil and some red food colouring. Simple!
Brown Sugar And Vanilla Scrub!
750g Jar of coconut oil
1kg of Soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp of Natural vanilla Extract (can be bought in your local health food shop)
Add all of the above ingredients to a food processor or just add to a bowl and use a hand mixer to mix together well so all of the Coconut oil and sugar looks a creamy texture.
Do not over mix as the heat from the blades in the blender or hand mixer will heat the sugar and melt the coconut oil which will cause seperation.
Peppermint Candy Cane Body Scrub
750g Jar of Coconut Oil
1kg of white granualated Sugar
1 tsp of Natural peppermint oil (add more or less until you get to your required fragrant)
1/4 tsp of Red food colouring
Method is the same as above 🔝
To get the mix into the air tight jars I place in a sandwich bag cut the edge off and pipe into the jars. You can spoon it in but to create a more professional effect it is as easy to pipe the mixture.
I hope you all have as much fun as I did making all of these useful inexpensive thoughtful gifts and treats.
Wishing You all a Wonderful Christmas x