Contributed by: News Canada
By J. C. Carroll
(NC) - How wonderful it is to receive a homemade gift, especially since the thought and effort needed to make handcrafts or baked goods, candy or homemade jam, really does take a lot of time, and talent.
Or, does it? Thought and effort, yes, but time and talent? Not necessarily.
Here are a few of the latest little tips and tricks for producing beautiful homemade gifts in just 10 minutes:
Save old jars, or buy new ones, and fill them with colourful, wrapped or unwrapped candy. To create a decorative lid, cut a brightly coloured square of material, large enough to cover the neck of the jar with several centimetres on all sides to spare. Tie it with a contrasting ribbon, creating a bow, or make lots of curlicues.
Quick Homemade Jam:
Forget the long and arduous stovetop method of boiling, stirring, blending and skimming. Now in just 10 minutes, at any time of year, you can microwave a delicious mixture of fruit with an ingenious, pre-measured, all-in-one formula called Jam Express. Follow package directions for two, 250 mL jars: In one microwavable bowl, mix the Jam Express with whole cut fruit, or fresh frozen fruit. Microwave for 5 minutes, fill the jars and cool. No sugar is added, the jars do not have to be sterilized, and the jam will be set in about half-a-day. A pretty ribbon makes it an instant gift.
Flowers are abundant at this time of year, and they make great gifts. Take a pretty cup and saucer (old or new), line the bottom of the cup with a piece of florists foam, soak it in water, then pick some of your garden flowers, or wildflowers to place creatively in it. Tie a bow to the handle, place it on the saucer, and you are ready to give.
Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge:
In a 2-litre microwave-proof bowl, melt 3 to 4 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and same amount of peanut butter on high power for 3 minutes. Stir well. Add 2 cups of sweetened condensed milk and stir until well blended. Pour mixture into an 8x8 dish lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate. Cut into 40 candy-size squares, place in wax paper, and then in a pretty gift bag.
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