Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post Submitted By Reader Katie…
Probably the BEST way that I save money during the Holidays, is by MAKING the majority of our Christmas gifts. Each year I make all our teacher’s gifts, extended family gifts, and neighbor gifts. I wanted to share with a few of my “frugal faves”! The fudge is the easiest, most crowd-pleasing treat I’ve ever given, and the apple butter is a close second. Even if you aren’t very comfortable in the kitchen, the three recipes below will turn out amazing! And at the very bottom you’ll find a “recipe” for homemade hand warmers.
5 Minute Fudge:
This is hands-down the simplest, CREAMIEST fudge I have ever found…
*12 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips
*14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
*1 Tbs butter
*1 Tbs cream
*1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, if desired
*Place chips and milk in microwave safe bowl. (You can just use the semisweet for a “darker” flavor, or add the milk choc. chips for a sweeter flavor.)
*Microwave on medium power for 2 minutes and stir.
*Microwave and stir at 1 minute intervals until all chips are melted and mixture is thick & smooth.
*Stir in butter and cream until combined.
*Pour into greased 8″ square pan and cool completely before cutting and gifting!
I love gifting savory treats at Christmas when I can because so many people are overrun by sweets. I typically give this out in inexpensive tupperware type containers from the Dollar Tree. It will stay good refrigerated for up to three weeks (but it’ll never remain un-eaten for that long!).
In a bowl combine:
*1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
*2 fresh seeded jalapenos, chopped
*2 fresh seeded long green chili peppers, chopped
*1/4 – 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
*1 clove minced garlic
*1 teaspoon lemon juice
*1/4 cup cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
(Collin, the salt addict, thought she’d also mention – “Add in Salt too!” ;) )
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender to desired consistency and ENJOY!
Homemade Crock Pot Apple Butter:
This recipe is so easy and will make you feel like a ROCK STAR!
*5 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped
(I use Rome apples, but really any type of sweet, mealy apple will work great!)
*3 cups sugar
*2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*Place apples in large bowl of Crock Pot.
*Combine sugar and spices and pour over apples in Crock. Mix well.
*Cook on high for 1 hour, then decrease heat to low and cook for 9 – 11 hours or until thick and dark brown.
*Uncover and cook on low for one more hour
*To reach desired consistency, either whisk (if you want it lumpy) or blend (if you want it smooth).
*Either can in Ball jars, OR can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
*All done and ready to go into the jars to be canned and gifted (top right picture)! One batch makes about 10 8oz jars.
Homemade Hand Warmers:
I just love these little cuties! I used fleece fabric scraps (most of which were purchased with 40% off coupons!) to make little heart shaped, rice-filled hand warmers. This year I’m gifting these along with gloves I bought on after Christmas clearance from last year for $1.45/pair!
*Take two pieces of felt or fleece (these are nice and soft and will not fray)
*Cut them into your desired shapes
*Line them up and begin to sew around the edges
*Use a sewing machine or by hand with needle and thread.
*Leave a small space open to pour the rice into.
*Using a small funnel or measuring spoon, fill about 2/3 full with whatever rice you find on sale! ;)
*Sew the opening closed and admire your “handy” work!
TO USE – Heat these in the microwave for 30 – 45 seconds and pop them in your pockets. They’ll stay warm for about 30 minutes!