Archive for DIY

$5 DIY Gift for Popcorn Lovers

Eeeek! It’s three days to Christmas!

You may be smugly sitting in your perfectly-decorated living room with a cup of Bailey’s hot chocolate and your feet up, all your shopping done. Or maybe you’re still running around looking for things and battling the crowds at the mall. Or maybe, you haven’t even started…

Here’s a quick and simple DIY gift for the popcorn-lover on your list. Bonus! It won’t cost you more than $5!

DIY 5 popcorn lovers gift

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Popcorn bucket: $2 at Wal-mart
  • Bag of popcorn (can make several gifts): less than $2 (from your grocery store–buy the no-name brand)
  • Paper lunch bags*: $1 (at the dollar store, will make several gifts)
  • Glass shaker containers: 2/$1 (at the dollar store)
  • Seasoning**: made from ingredients you already have lying around the house

DIY popcorn lovers gift

Here’s how to make your gift for popcorn lovers:

  1. Take 6 paper lunch bags out of the package, and place them inside the popcorn bucket.
  2. Measure out 2 cups of popcorn kernels, and put them into a nice, pretty bag. As an alternative to this, you could buy some snack-sized ziploc bags at the dollar store (again, $1), and measure out 1/3 cup of popcorn into each.
  3. Create your popcorn seasoning, and fill up one of the shaker bottles with it. You could even make a couple of different kinds and include more than one (instructions follow below**).
  4. Write a note with directions to your friend, or you can use mine (see below). Include the note in the popcorn bucket, as well. Wrap it up pretty, and gift!

*I stopped buying microwave popcorn quite a while ago. I was a bit scared of what was in there. If you know the person has an air popper, you can skip the lunch bags. But making popcorn in the microwave has been my go-to method for the last couple of years, and it’s awesome. Read all about it here.

microwave popcorn info

**Popcorn seasoning:

Get creative! Here are a couple of tutorials for making your own that I pinned: Popcorn Seasoning Kit, and 50 Flavoured Popcorn Recipes. Here’s one I really like from Thug Kitchen. As a bonus, it’s vegan, as it’s made with nutritional yeast (or nooch), which has a nutty, parmesan-like flavour. Combine: 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried dill, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt.

 

DIY Flavoured Salts

I’m a fan of homemade gifts. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a cheapskate, but I just feel like people don’t very often do homemade gifts these days. I like to give homemade gifts, because I feel like they are special.

Most of my homemade gifts centre around baking. I’ll make batches and batches of different kinds of cookies, and put them in a beautiful Christmas cellophane bag, and seal them with a bow. I also like to gift homemade sauces. This year, though, I’m doing something new to me.

flavoured salt

Flavoured salts are really all the rage right now. They are primarily used as finishing salts–which means that you use them just before you serve the food to give it that last punch of seasoning. You can, of course, use an infused salt during the cooking process, but you’ll probably get the best use out of them if you use them as a finishing salt.

Because these salts are so “hot” right now, they can be expensive to buy. I’ve paid up to $17 for some (but to be fair, it was truffle salt), but on average, you’re probably looking at about $7-10 to purchase a container of these salts.

You can easily make your own for a lot less, and they make impressive gifts.

Be sure that you use good quality salt. When I say “good quality salt,” most people think French sea salt. For mine, I used a Canadian-imported grey French sea salt from Maison Orphee. By the way, if you think it’s too much work to make your own, Maison Orphee also makes their own seasoned sea salt–in a couple of different flavours. They also sell a giant 2kg bag of grey French sea salt for $4. This is what I used to make my Herbs de Provence finishing salt for gifting. I also grew and dried my own herbs to incorporate into this salt, taking the “homemade” part of it just a little further.

maison orphee flavoured salt

Okay. So. What the heck even are Herbs de Provence? They are the herbs that are native to the Provence area of France, and so the cuisine of that area uses them a lot in cooking. Generally speaking Herbs de Provence include woody herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, and savory. Here in North America, lavender is often added into the mix.

I think of mine as “Scarborough Fair” salt, as I added parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (all of which, except for the parsley, I grew in my garden and dried). You can use whatever combination you like best.

DIY Flavoured Salt (Herbs de Provence)

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup good French sea salt
  • 2 tsp each dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
  • coffee grinder

How to:

Combine the salt with the herbs. Place in the coffee grinder and blitz it all well together. Package in a pretty glass jar. That’s it!

Notes: I tried making this, at first, in my blender, but the blender was kind of big. I tried it using my mortar and pestle, and that did work, but didn’t get the salt quite as fine as I liked. I purchased a cheap coffee/spice grinder for $10, and it really did the trick! If the salt is too clumpy for whatever reason, spread it in a thin layer on a baking sheet and let it sit in the oven overnight with the heat off. It will help to dry it out a little.

In terms of packaging you could use mason jars, but I found these adorable little flip-top glass spice bottles at my local dollar store, 2/$1.25. Finally, you might want to print off some adorable labels, or wrap them with raffia or a pretty ribbon, and use a printable tag. Additionally, you could include a recipe letting your recipient know how they can use their new flavoured sea salt, like, say, this beautiful Rosemary Focaccia.

 

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