This month we are featuring gifts and crafts from the kitchen.

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marycup.gif (3061 bytes)FRENCH MARKET SOUP MIX

1 pound dried navy beans, 1 pound dried pinto beans, 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, 1 pound green split peas, 1 pound yellow split peas, 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, 1 pound dried lentils, 1 pound dried baby limas, 1 pound dried large limas, 1 pound dried black beans, 1 pound dried red beans, 1 pound dried soybeans, and 1 pound barley pearls. Combine all beans. Divide into 14 (2-cup) packages for gift giving, and present with the following recipe for French Market Soup. French Market Soup 2 cups French Market Soup Mix, 2 quarts water, 1 ham hock, 1 1/4 t salt,1/4 t pepper, 1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped, 1 large onion, chopped, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 chili pepper, chopped, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Sort and wash the bean mix; place in a Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans and soak overnight. Drain beans; add 2 quarts water and the next 3 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Add remaining ingredients; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hock from soup. Remove meat from bone, chop meat, and return to soup - Yield 2 1/2 quarts

*When I was working in an elementary school I doubled this in order to have a little gift for each of the teachers. The teachers in turn, bought the ingredients and turned a gift for the parents into a math and measuring lesson.

glmug.gif (1584 bytes)Fantasy Fudge

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine
3 cups sugar
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi sweet chocolate chips *
1 jar (7 oz.) Marshmallow creme
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional) **
1 tsp. vanilla

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 or a 9 x 9 inch pan. Mix margarine, sugar and milk in a heavy 2 1/2 to 3 qt. saucepan. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a full, rolling boil while stirring constantly. Continue stirring constantly to avoid scorching and boil for 5 minutes or until mixture reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage~ when a drop of the mixture holds its shape when dropped into cold water. The drop will flatten when touched.). Remove from heat. Gradually stir in chips, stirring until melted. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well blended and smooth. Pour into prepared pans and cool at room temperature. Makes 3 pounds of candy.
Now for the fun part...
* Use any flavor of chips instead of semi sweet chocolate... Butterscotch, peanut butter (divine!), mint chocolate, chocolate-raspberry). I've used them all and love to surprise people! If you're doing this with a friend, one of you could cook peanut butter fudge while the other makes chocolate fudge, and you could marble them together... Or make two pans with peanut butter on the bottom (using half the batch in each pan) and chocolate on top! If you use the white chocolate baking chips you could substitute ** chopped dried fruit or candied cherries for the nuts... Can't you just see the red and green sparkling in the white chocolate fudge?
Have fun with this and let your imagination take you on an adventure!


Priscup.gif (2052 bytes)SUNFLOWERS FOR A FRIEND

Start with any good vanilla cutout cookies in the shape of sunflowers.
Frost with yellow icing and use chocolate confectionary coating disks (found in cake decorating supply stores) for the centers. Chocolate chips or any round chocolate candies could work just as well.
Pack decorated cookies in clear plastic bags and attach a packet of sunflower seeds to each with a yellow ribbon.
This idea could be modified using different cookie shapes and coordinating seed packets to make gifts for friends or cute favors for a spring luncheon.


Back when my kids were young, and I wasn't working, I made cookies for gifts..my mom especially liked these:
Smug.gif (1590 bytes)Ring-a-lings
(these are so buttery -rich, they melt in your mouth!
1 cup sifted flour (dash of salt)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
3 T 10X (confectioners' powdered) sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 t vanilla
jams and jellies (any flavor)

Sift flour and salt onto waxed paper or foil.
Cream butter or margarine with 10X sugar until well-blended in a medium-sized bowl; sir in dry ingredients, half at a time blending well
to make a soft dough: stir in pecans and vanilla. Chill several hours, overnight or until firm enough to handle.
Roll dough, a teaspoonful at a time, into marble-size balls between palms of hands; place, 2 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheets.
Make a hollow in center of each with thumb; fill with about 1/2 teaspoon jam or jelly.
Bake in slow oven (300) 20 minutes, or until delicately golden. Remove (these can be made and stored at least 2 weeks ahead).


Vcup.gif (1631 bytes)Christmoose sweatshirts
Items needed:
One tee shirt or sweatshirt... whatever color you want... any Christmas color works well.
Bronze (for moose head) and copper (for antlers) craft paint
2 jiggly eyes
1 red pom pom
ribbon or bells for trim

First spread the shirt out on the floor... insert cardboard to prevent the paint from going through. Pour a generous amount of paint into a paper plate... here comes the FUN part!!... Insert a child's foot in the paint... then stamp it onto the center of the shirt (this is the moose head) Then do the same with both of the child's hands and stamp them above (but connected to), the footprint (these are the antlers).
Then you can add the jiggly eyes and the red pom pom nose by using a little more paint as glue. Makes a darling mom, dad or grandma Keepsake!! I like to safety pin a little jingle bell and ribbon decoration near one antler.... that way you can remove it for washing.

debcup.gif (1603 bytes)I'm sure a lot of you already do this:
Gift Bread

Bake individual loaves (sometimes I do mini muffins) of banana nut bread, cherry bread, pumpkin bread, brownies etc. and then either wrap it in decorated plastic wrap or I wrap it in plain plastic wrap and then wrap it in brown craft paper or plain white wrapping paper; decorate it with holiday stamps and wrap curling ribbon around it with the recipe tied to it.

ribb.gif (2936 bytes)Sand Art Brownies
This is a recipe for brownies to give as a Christmas gift....or whenever. Mix ingredients in a wide mouth quart size jar, just like sand
art that kids make today. Add to wide mouth quart jar in this order:
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 + 1/8 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Choc. Chips
1/2 cup Vanilla Chips
1/2 cup nuts
This should pack nicely into jar.
Include a decorative tag with these instructions for making the brownies:
Combine contents of jar with:
1tsp vanilla
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
Pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 27-32 minutes


Dcup.gif (1429 bytes) Gifts & Crafts from the Kitchen


Use any citrus - lemons, limes, or oranges work best. Simply insert whole cloves all over the fruit until its surface is completely covered.  (Use a skewer or ice pick to pre-pierce the fruit skin and a thimble to spare your fingers.)   About 2 ounces of whole cloves will cover a medium orange.  After you've covered the fruit with cloves, dust it first with cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger for added scent; then dust the pomander with a powdered fixative, such as orris root (found in craft stores). Place your pomander in a dark, dry place to age for about four weeks.   Decorate the finished gift with lace and/or ribbon.  Tie a sprig of fresh fir or spruce into the bow to make it more festive. Note: Children enjoy making these, but will need supervision and probably should choose a small fruit so that they don't become bored with covering it entirely with the cloves!


Collect pine cones which will fit into the cups of a muffin tin. Supplies:
An old saucepan
Double boiler
Old muffin tin
Paper muffin cups
Candle wicking (available at craft shops)
Red or green crayon
box of paraffin (available where canning supplies are sold)

Melt the paraffin in the old saucepan set over a double boiler. Carefully dip each pine cone into the melted paraffin to coat it completely; cool on newspapers. After dipping all the cones, add a single red or green crayon to the remaining melted paraffin to color it. Place the paper muffin cups in the muffin tin and add about 1/2 inch of colored paraffin to each paper cup.

Add a 2-inch length of candle wicking to the liquid paraffin, leaving about 1-inch of wick  sticking out at the edge of the muffin cup. Allow the paraffin to partially harden, then press a pine cone into each cup, being sure that the wick is still extending at one side. Let harden completely and remove the entire creation from the muffin tin. For a lovely gift, give a collection of the fire starters in a basket decorated with ribbon and a bow. (Recycled berry or fruit baskets with ribbon woven through the slats look very rustic!)


2 pkgs (8 oz. each) light cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
1/3 Cup purchased basil pesto
Garnish: flat leaf parsley and pine nuts (pignoli)
Holiday cookie cutters or small crocks or other containers of choice.
Mix cream cheese and pesto until well blended.
Trace outline of cookie cutters on cardboard. Cut out and cover cardboard shapes with foil. Place cookie cutters on covered cutouts to form small containers. Pack cutters with cheese mixture, or pack it into crocks or festive containers. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in cellophane food bag or on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Decorate with ribbon and bow. Refrigerate.  Makes 2 cups.  Can be stored in refrigerator for one month.

CHOCOLATE-PEPPERMINT SPOONS (Great for kids to make with supervision!)
Use to stir hot cocoa, warm milk, or coffee.
1 Cup (6oz.) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
5 red and white peppermint candies, coarsely crushed
12 plastic spoons, in your choice of colors

Dip spoons in melted chocolate; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper-lined tray.  Sprinkle 1 side with crushed candy. Allow chocolate to set. Wrap in food-safe cellophane; tie with fancy ribbon. Can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks.
Variations: Use a combination of melted white, dark, and milk chocolates dipping and drizzling on spoons to make them look pretty and taste delicious when used to stir a warm drink!
For gift giving, fill a mug with gourmet cocoas or coffees and add a couple of chocolate spoons.

20 Cups popped popcorn
1 Cup salted peanuts
2 Cups sugar
1 1/2 Cups water
1/2 Cup light corn sryup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place popcorn and peanuts in large roaster pan; set aside. In medium saucepan, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook 10 minutes or until candy temp. is 250 degrees F. (hard-ball stage). Slowly pour over popcorn and peanuts, stirring with wooden spoon to mix well.  Being careful not to burn yourself, butter hands lightly; shape mixture into balls. Wrap in plastic wrap, then in cellophane, and decorate with ribbon,  Cross strips of ribbon around balls and tie into bow at the top to hang on the tree! Store at room temperature for up to one month.


Following is a recipe that I have made several times and given as gifts in little tins.

Judcup.gif (1746 bytes)Russian Tea
1/2 cup instant tea
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups orange Tang
2 tablespoons powdered lemonade mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Mix thoroughly all ingredients together.
Use two tablespoons for each cup of hot water.

Tcup.gif (1636 bytes) EDIBLE GIFT BOX
(This sounds so cute and I have had intentions of doing this with my kids, but haven't yet. I will for sure now.)
1 egg white, 1 tsp. water, 1 pinch of cream of tartar, 1 1/2 cups powdered
sugar, 6 graham cracker halves, a peppermint, a ruler, a serrated table
knife, red cinnamon candies, small star or teddy bear cookies, and small
Christmas candies, or nuts of your choice.

1. Place the egg white, water, and cream of tartar in a bowl. Beat with mixer until it is foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat. This will be your "glue" for making the box. To prevent the glue from drying out too quickly, keep the bowl covered when not in use.
2. For the bottom of the box, spread glue along the tops of two parallel edges of one cracker lying flat.
3. Press and hold the second and the third crackers vertically on top of the glued edges until set.
4. Measure the width of each remaining side of the box. With the knife, carefully cut the fourth and fifth crackers to fit in these sides. Put the glue on the side and bottom edges of these two crackers. Press and hold the crackers into position between the upright crackers until set. Let the box dry completely.
5. For the lid, glue the peppermint in the middle of the sixth cracker. Glue a red cinnamon candy on top of the peppermint. Put glue around the edges of the top cracker, then place cinnamon candies on top of it.
6. Decorate the sides of the box with glue, cookies and cinnamon candies.
7. After the decorated box is dry, fill it with small Christmas candies, nuts, or "sweet" messages written on strips of paper. Then put on the lid.

(This makes a great gift to anyone. Give this mix along with a recipe and put in a Christmas container or other air-tight container depending on what season it is, and give away. Also is nice if you give them a mug to go with it)
2 cups nonfat dry milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup powdered creamer
dash of salt
Combine all ingredients and blend well. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 3 3/4 cups mix. (about 15 - 6 oz. servings) Single servings, mix approximately 1/4 cup mix with 3/4 cup boiling water. Mix well.

(If you have a young child on your gift-giving list, then this is a fun one for them. Just add your choice of food coloring)
2 cups of flour
4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
4 Tbs. of oil
1 cup of Salt
2 cups of water
Cook on low heat and stir until it forms a soft ball. Keep in a zip-lock bag in refrigerator when not being used.


(This makes a great big batch and then you can divide it up and give some to a few different friends and family with these recipes attached to it.)
10 cups flour
2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
2 Tbs. salt
Combine very well. Put in a large airtight container. Labe. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 to 8 months. Makes 13 cups of mix and can be used in all the following recipes:

4 Tbs. butter (or vegetable spray)
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
Fruit toppings if desired
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put 2 tbs. butter EACH into two 9 inch pie plates. Put in preheated oven to melt butter. In a blender, combine eggs, milk and PANCAKE MIX. Blend to smooth. Pour batter into pie plates. Bake about 18 minutes, or until pancakes are puffy and browned. DO NOT OPEN OVEN while pancakes are cooking. Makes 2 LARGE PANCAKES. Top with desired fruit

1 1/2 cups PANCAKE MIX
1 egg, well-beaten
1 cup water
3 Tbs. oil
Combine wet ingredients well. Add PANCAKE MIX and mix to combine. Cookbatter on a greased griddle set at 350 degrees. Flip when brown on one side
and cook the other. MAKES 10 -12 FOUR-INCH PANCAKES.

12 slices white bread
6 thin slices baked ham
6 thin sices of roast turkey
2 eggs, well-beaten
12 thin slices Swiss cheese
1 cup milk
butter or spray for griddle
Preheat griddle to 350 degrees. Spread 1 side of each slice of bread with a thin coat of mayonnaise. Assemble each sandwich using 2 slices of cheese, 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of turkey. Trum crusts with knife, making the edges even. Cut each sandwich in half. Set aside. Combine eggs and milk in a
shallow dish. Add PANCAKE MIX and blend well. Butter or spray griddle. Dip each sandwich into the batter. Grill 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned on both sides and cheese begins to melt. Makes 6 sandwiches. NOTE: You can omit the turkey and use only ham if you would like.

2 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup milk
10 slices bread
butter for griddle (or vegetable spray)
In a medium shallow bowl, combine eggs, milk and PANCAKE MIX. Blend well. Dip bread slices into the batter and cook on a hot, buttered griddle about 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly golden browned on both sides. 10 SLICES.


Jcup.gif (2032 bytes)Chromatography T-shirt

The Greek words from which “chroma” and “graphy” come mean “color” and “writing”.
You’ll need: A clean, dry white T-shirt (prewashed, but without fabric softener); an eyedropper; permanent markers indifferent colors; rubbing alcohol; an empty coffee can with a plastic lid; scissors.
1. Cut out the center of the plastic top, leaving the rim intact.
2. Lay a section of the shirt over the open can and secure it with the plastic lid.
3. Draw a design with the markers on this spot. Keep it simple. Concentric circles, lines and squiggles are good. Don’t color in the design too much.
4. Using the eyedropper, carefully drop alcohol in the middle of each design—all the way down each squiggle, all the way around each circle etc. Let the shirt sit for a minute, then move on to a new spot until you have decorated the whole shirt.
5. Watch the designs and see what a neat effect it makes.

(Hint: the inks separate into their primary dye colors. Most green inks, for instance, separate into lines of yellow and blue, the colors that make green if you mix them together. The colors spread in different ways because they move through the alcohol at different speeds.)

Makes a great gift, a fun project and a wonderful teaching tool for the kids.


Scup.gif (1374 bytes)Cinnamon Ornaments

3/4 -1 C applesauce
4 1/8 oz Bottle ground cinnamon
Mix 3/4-1 C applesauce with 4.12-oz bottle ground cinnamon to form stiff dough. Roll to 1/4". Cut with cookie cutters. Make hole (use a sharpened pencil) for ribbon. Let dry several days, turning occasionally. These last a long time, and smell heavenly!


1/3 c Liquid dish soap or baby shampoo
1 1/4 c Water
2 tsp Sugar
Combine ingredients and pour into an unbreakable bottle.

Rock Candy
1 Glass jar or drinking glass
1 Piece of cotton string
1 Pencil or stick
1 Paper clip
1 Food coloring (optional)
1 c Water
2 c Sugar
Additional sugar

Tie a short piece of cotton string to the middle of the pencil or stick. Attach a paper clip to the end of the string for a weight. Moisten the string very lightly, and roll in a bit of sugar (this will "attract" the sugar crystals from the syrup to the string). Place the pencil or stick over the top of the glass or jar with the string hanging down inside.
Heat the water to boiling, and dissolve the 2 cups of sugar into it. For the biggest crystals FAST, heat the sugar-water solution a SECOND time, and dissolve as much additional sugar as you can into it. Add a few drops of food coloring to the solution if desired.
Pour the solution into the prepared glass or jar and leave undisturbed for a couple of days. Depending on how much sugar you were able to dissolve into the water, you should start to see crystals growing in a few hours to a few days.

Magic crystal garden

6 tb Salt
6 tb Liquid bluing (usually in the laundry soap section)
6 tb Water
1 tb clear Ammonia
Combine salt, bluing, water and ammonia. Pour over small pieces of rock or coal in a shallow GLASS bowl. Drip food coloring on top if desire. Crystals will begin to grow soon. Add water occasionally to keep crystals growing. You'll probably want to place dish on tray or wooden board as crystals grow over the sides of the bowl.