Friday, November 5, 2010

DIY Frugal Christmas Gift GUEST BLOGGER POST

Seems like everyone is feeling the pain of the ongoing and never-ending, when one of my fellow blogging moms contacted me and told me about how she avidly campaigns to be frugal in her house and asked if she could send me a guest blog post, I was ecstatic...who's NOT looking for ways to save a few dollars this year?

So, in the spirit of giving, sharing and saving, here's what Maria Rainier has to offer:

DIY Frugal Christmas Gift

There’s something endearing about a cute jar of goodies in a wicker basket or bound together with a ribbon—so endearing, in fact, that it makes a great gift for almost any occasion, even during the holidays. Not only do your loved ones know that you took time and effort into making this gift rather than making a short trip to TJMaxx, you get to stay well within your holiday shopping budget.

At market, the following can be expensive, but they’re cheap to make by hand and even fun to do so. Practically anything goes in a jar: milk bath solution, cookies, French vanilla cocoa mix, cinnamon oatmeal pancake mix, etc. The focus of this post will be in making your own organic fruit jam. This is a significantly quicker and much easier way than most DIY jams and jellies, so it works for gift givers on a tight schedule.
Things You’ll Need

* Glass jar with lid
* Fresh, organic fruit (to get the best prices and most trustworthy produce, go to your local farmers market and get whatever’s in season)
* Sugar
* Corn starch


In a clean glass jar (the one in which you’ll be giving the jam), put 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of corn starch and stir with a spoon until mixed well. Add ¼ cup of cold water until the lumps of corn starch and sugar are gone. Finally, add one cup of fresh fruit you’ve previously diced. Some people prefer bigger chunks of fruit in their fruit spread, but this may not spread as well as store-bought spread. Keep the diced fruit small for the best effect. Stir the mixture.

Put the mixture still in the jar in the microwave and cook on high for ten minutes. If it’s too runny after ten minutes, cook it some more so the water evaporates. Don’t scald yourself when taking it out of the microwave!

This fruit spread will keep for two weeks in a refrigerator (and time everlasting in the freezer), so be sure to make it just before the day you’re giving it away. Also, tell whoever is receiving your gift that it’s organic so it won’t keep for long. Use smaller jars for this very purpose—the contents of the jar should be able to be used up within two weeks.

Use the spread on pancakes or waffles, ice cream or sorbet, with or without peanut butter on bread or crackers, or in pies. If you’re giving them away, consider cutting out a small square of cloth—plaid or checkered cloth look adorable—and tie it to the jar’s lid by a bit of twine. Tie to the lid a label of what kind of fruit is in the spread. Address it to the individual and place in a wrapped box or basket with a ribbon for presentation.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop. Thanks, Maria, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings!

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