Christmas is only 12 weeks away.
Depending on your personality, that either made you say, “Yeah, and?” or made you faint from the sudden onset of holiday stress.
Personally, I fall somewhere in between. Since marrying my awesome husband who has the “save money” gene (which I might have, but it’s dormant and recessive and has to be brought out by the right reagents), Christmas has gotten a lot less stressful for me. In a normal year, we put away $25–$50 a month for gifts and travel, which saves us from the dreaded January credit card nightmare.
But this year, we had a baby. A lot of our time and money has gone into caring for her, which is as it should be, but it also means that the Christmas fund is a little thin this year—at the very time I’m longing to make sure we visit both sides of the family for baby’s first Christmas.
SO! To make those bucks we do have stretch as far as humanly possible, I’m going to be making a lot of our gifts.
And because it’s me, most of them will in some way involve food.
So I thought I’d share! Believe me when I say that these will be the easiest of the easy in terms of time, money and skill; anyone, with any level of cooking skill should be able to make these gifts. And yet, your friends and family will be super-duper impressed.
A word of warning, though: if I know you in real life and you prefer to be surprised for Christmas, stop reading now! SPOILERS AHEAD!
To get started, I’m going to try to kill two birds with one stone: use up some of our glut of fresh produce that’s still rolling in, and get a head start on my gifts.
Our CSA gifted us with a TON of different kinds of peppers this year, ranging from sweet to spicy. I’ve put them in everything—everything—I can think of, and now, I’m going to put them in vodka to gift to my friends.
This kind of thing is so easy it really doesn’t need a recipe, but I did look one up just to find out the ratio of peppers to vodka, which is:
1 750ml bottle of vodka
You will also need containers in which to infuse your vodka. I thought about buying fancy glass bottles, but then I remembered that this is about saving money, not spending a ton of it, so I decided to go old-school with large Ball canning jars. I find them all the time for less than a dollar each at the thrift store, and you can buy new, clean lids in the canning section at your grocery store if needed.
Here are the instructions for making infused vodka: pour vodka in container, add stuff to give it flavor, seal it up and let it sit.
Didn’t I tell you this was going to be easy?
Some other infused vodkas I might try include: apples and cinnamon, cucumber, or pink grapefruit. I’ll report back.
Pineapple Pepper Martini
1 1/2oz pepper vodka
1/2oz simple syrup
1/2oz fresh lime juice
2oz pineapple juice
Shake ingredients cold and serve in a martini glass.
Total Price: $6.25 each
$10.99 for 1.5L of vodka at Costco
$0.79 each for two Ball jars at the thrift store
8 peppers, ~$1 per pound
That’s it! One down, 11 to go…