Really quick, last-minute consumable and clutter-free gifts

this is what I gave to most of my friends and colleagues this year
I made two versions: Savoury and Sweet

Here’s the Savoury version:
  • 9 cups of cereal (I used O-Tees, Popped Rice and Corn Flakes)
  • 1 cup nuts (peanuts)
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1 cup bagel chips (I used cream crackers because I had half a packet left basically any savoury biscuit will do)
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a huge bowl, one where you can stir the ingredients and they won’t fall out
In another smaller bowl, melt the following in the microwave and cover the bowl with paper towel to avoid splats (unless you like cleaning – I don’t!):
  • 6 Tablespoons butter (I used margarine)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons flavoured salt (I only use 1 teaspoon since I don’t like very salty things and I did a cheesy version at first and the next time I did a garlic and herb version)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (I used flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
·        A note on the seasonings do one batch exactly as is and then you’ll know if it’s salty enough for your taste.
  1. When the butter mix is melted, pour half into your bowl, stir well and then pour the other half and finish stirring.
  2. Put the bowl in the microwave for one minute, take out and stir, and then do another minute and stir. Don’t do two minutes all at once you don’t want it to burn. My microwave is 1000W so adjust accordingly.
  3. The smell of the Worcestershire sauce is quite strong at this point. Don’t worry,  that’s normal.
  4. Empty  your mix onto 3 cookie sheets lined with wax paper to absorb the excess oil and cool down.
  5. I left mine out for about 20 30 minutes to cool down and then packaged it all up.
  6. While the mix is cooling, prepare the containers.
I used scrapbook paper on clean formula cans. I put the mixes in plastic snack bags inside the cans so people could re-use my pretty cans. 
Then I made the top pretty, tied a ribbon, a tag and a little ornament and voila a pretty, frugal gift straight from my heart.
It’s hard to say how much this makes but at a guess, I’d say about 6 small formula tins.
If you don’t have tins and you don’t want to bother with scrapbook paper and the like…. use empty glass jars (the big ones the coffee comes in), add a  piece of material to the top and and tie a ribbon to secure it.
Sweet Snack Mix
  • 5 cups of cereal (I used 6)
  • 1 cup biscuits (I used Marie biscuits the first time, Tennis biscuits the next time) The one is a plain, buttery biscuit and the other has coconut in it.
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (let me tell you my trick   a small bag of choc chips costs about R20 but a large 200 g Cadbury’s slab only costs about R13 – R14. Get the slab and a big butcher’s knife and have at it. I chop on the diagonal, swivel my chopping board  and chop on the diagonal again. It seems to be quicker that way. Within minutes you’ve got nice chocolate chunks in your favourite chocolate instead of the boring choc chips, and you’ve saved R7)
  • If you don’t like raisins or chocolate, add 2 cups of anything – dried fruit, sweet nuts, etc.
Mix the cereal (not the choc or raisins) in a huge bowl.
In another smaller bowl, melt the following ingredients in the microwave and cover the bowl with paper towel to avoid splats.
  • ¼ cup butter (55 g margarine)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  1. Pour half into your bowl, stir well and then pour the other half and finish stirring.
  2. Put the bowl in the microwave for one minute, take out and stir thoroughly.
  3. Now add raisins and chocolates and stir again.
  4. Lay out on wax papered cookie sheets for 20 30 minutes, package nicely and enjoy.
When I handed these out at work, they were a huge hit.
Now here’s the beauty of these snack mixes.
You can adjust the recipe according to taste.

I also made a healthy version for the babies
  • Cereal
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruit, chopped up
(no butter, no sugar)
They eat theirs when we eat ours.
The family that snacks together stays together? 🙂
These are sweet mixes I keep ready to combine. I forgot to keep the chocolate (and I threw in some Smarties too – candy-coated chocolate buttons) separate so I won’t microwave for that extra minute. It will still be fine because I’ve made that mistake before. This is another one of my tricks because I hate messing up the kitchen so I do it once, measure dry ingredients for at least 2 more batches and then it’s easy to quickly whip up something 🙂

this one has raisins, smarties and chocolate chunks
and Marie biscuits
I did two cans each for some friends – a savoury and a sweet

And once more…

Please let me know if you make it, if you try different ingredients and if your recipients LOVE it like I do 🙂

What are your quick and easy gift ideas? (not necessarily in the kitchen or handmade)

Help! I need your best DROP cookie (biscuit) recipes

The baking for Christmas has started in earnest.

But I only have one good recipe for drop cookies (we call them biscuits) and I need your help.

I don’t want to just google “drop cookies” as I want recipes that people have actually tried and tested. And loved to eat!

Like my oatmeal cookies, the easiest things in the world to make.

Why drop cookies?

I don’t do the “normal” ones, the ones where you roll the dough in flour and cut out with shapes – far, far too much work and way too messy!

Unfortunately I’m not in the least bit crafty so this is how they’ll be presented to people.

Please share your favourite recipes for drop cookies with me.

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P.S. So far two of those huge formula tins filled with biscuits have been handed out; I have another two wrapped and ready on my launch pad to go next.

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