Today I’m sharing a brand new gift idea that I’m really excited about, as well as 4 of my most popular DIYs that are great for gifting. So let’s get started, shall we?? :-)
Homemade Flavored Cooking Oils
Using an herb- or spice-infused oil for cooking or marinades can really elevate the flavor of a dish, but they’re often hard to find. And if you can find one, it’s often in a specialty shop where it’s being sold for a premium! Luckily, it’s actually quite simple (and affordable!) to make infused oils right in your own kitchen!
To make a flavored oil, you’ll need some equipment:
- a small saucepan
- a fine mesh strainer
- a funnel
- a bottle with an airtight lid
Start by selecting your oil. I went with good old olive oil, an obvious choice because it’s used so widely (plus you probably already have some on hand!). Other good options are peanut, grapeseed, and avocado oil.
Next, select your flavoring(s). Herbs, spices, aromatics, and citrus can all be used alone or in tandem to infuse oils. You’ll need about 2 Tbsp total of your flavoring(s) per cup of oil.
If you want to make things easy on yourself, choose woody herbs, spices, and/or citrus for your flavorings. Woody herbs and spices can be used as-is and don’t require additional prep work, and citrus only needs to be peeled. Soft herbs like basil will need to be blanched in boiling water, then cooled and blended with the oil before the next step. Aromatics like garlic and shallots need to be roasted at 350 for a half hour or so before proceeding. I chose the easy route, and decided to make 3 different kinds using chile flakes, lemon, and rosemary and thyme (which is what you’ll see in the pictures).
Infusing the oil with the flavoring is very simple. Start by adding the oil and the 2 Tbsp of your desired flavoring to a saucepan, and place it on the stove over medium heat. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and stick around to make sure the oil is only simmering, not spitting or splattering. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and allow the oil to cool completely.
While the oil is cooling, prep your bottle. I found these cute milk bottles at a nearby craft store, and washed them out thoroughly using hot, soapy water. At this point you can add a bit of your flavoring to the bottle itself for decorative purposes, but you certainly don’t have to. If you do choose to add them like I did, you run the risk of getting a slightly “cloudy” oil at the end. But since it looks so pretty, who would care?? :-)
Once the oil is cool, strain it into a measuring cup through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Use a funnel to pour the oil into your bottle, seal it up, and you’re done! You can add some string and a tag to make it extra special, if you wish.
A custom infused oil would make the perfect gift for just about anyone on your list this holiday season. Got a brother who loves spicy food? Chile-infused oil for him. An aunt who can’t get enough lemon? Lemon-infused oil for her. It’s a gift that is not only thoughtful, but one that will definitely be put to good use!
Here are four MORE nifty ideas for your homemade gift-giving inspiration……
DIY Polaroid Photo Coasters
I made a set of these for myself last spring when I got a new dining room table and they turned out so awesome I knew I would be making more for gifts this year. So fun to make and you can personalize them for anyone on your list. Oh and did I mention PRACTICAL? I use mine everyday!
Homemade Lavender Coconut Oil Salt Scrub
SO easy to make, this scrub provides the magnesium boosting effects of Epsom salt, the moisturizing effects of coconut oil, and the skin calming effects of Lavender, all in one! Add some twine or ribbon and cute tag and you have a great gift!
Trial-Size Homemade Laundry Detergent
I know what you’re thinking….”Laundry soap? As a gift? Jillee…have you lost your mind?” Oh I lost that years ago. :-) But hear me out! Since I started making my own laundry soap…I’m always anxious to share the idea with friends and family. However, most of the time my confessions of love for this product are usually met with a glassy-eyed stare because they just haven’t caught the vision …..yet!
So….I thought if I made up a batch and presented a sampling of it to them in a cute mason jar with a cute tag, etc….they might be more inclined to give it a try and become as enamored as I am. :-) Sneaky huh? Oh yeah.
English Muffin Bread & Honey Butter Ambrosia
Be careful with this one! Once you give this bread and honey butter as a gift…family, friends, and neighbors they will never leave you alone! Every year they will be begging for more! Trust me on this one. :-) On the up side, you will be their “favorite” forevermore!