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The holiday hustle is in full swing. We’ve made our list, checked it twice and oops! Missed one. Now what?

The perfect gift is homemade and given with love.  And who doesn’t love comfort food on a chilly mid-western day or snacks to enjoy while watching their favorite movie? “Mix in a jar” gifts are tried and true. With a hint of nostalgia and a splash of practicality these cute little packages are the gift that keeps on giving. Needless to say, we’re fans.

Recipes that have simple, inexpensive, pantry ingredients are our favorites. Bonus points for those that can be whipped together quickly and can be made in bulk! To make our recipes stand out, we’ve added a secret ingredient …. powdered milk.  The perfect way to add creaminess to cocoa and protein to popcorn.

Ready to taste for yourself? Here are our 5 favorite “gift in a jar” ideas for this holiday season:

 

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Creamy Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups dry milk powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and creamer. Stir till thoroughly combined ( can be placed in a food processor for a smoother product). Store cocoa mixture in an airtight container. Makes about 4 ½ cups mix, or enough for about 10 servings.

To gift: Divide mix into 2 pint (16oz) jars. Include the following message with your gift: For 1 serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Top with dollop of whipped cream, mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips, if desired.

 

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Flavored Oatmeal at the Ready

Ingredients

  • 8 cups quick oats, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ – 1 cup brown sugar depending on how sweet you like your oatmeal
  • 1 cup dry milk
  • 1 cup dried or dehydrated fruit chips (banana, cranberries, strawberries)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, (toasted)
  • 24 Snack-sized resealable bags or 6 (16oz) Ball jars

Directions

  1. Measure out 5 cups of quick oats and place them in a large bowl. Then add the remaining 3 cups of quick oats and 1 cup dry milk to your blender and blend until powdery. Pour the powdered oats into the bowl with the other oats.
  2. Add the salt and brown sugar to the bowl of oats and stir until well mixed.

To gift: Divide up the mixture into your “packets” or jars. Scoop 1/2 cup of the oatmeal mixture into each snack-sized resealable bag or 2 cups mix into each jar and seal tightly. The recipe makes approximately 24 single-serving bags or 6 (16oz) jars. Include the following message with your gift: Empty one “packet” (or scoop 1/2 cup) of oatmeal into a bowl or mug, then add 3/4 cup of water. Microwave on High for 1-2 minutes until hot. Let cool for a minute or so, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

 

 

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Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups instant potato flakes
  • 1 ½ cups dry milk powder
  • 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 3 tablespoons dry Ranch mix
  • 1 ½ teaspoons seasoning salt

Directions

  1. Combine potato flakes, dry milk, bouillon granules, ranch spice mix and seasoning salt in a bowl and stir to mix.
  2. Pour into a 1-quart jar.

To gift: Attach the following instructions: To serve, place 1/2 cup soup mix in bowl. Stir in 1 cup boiling water until smooth.

And two amazing popcorn seasonings from our friends at Half and Half Magazine:

parmesan

Parmesan Herb Seasoned Popcorn

Ingredients

For the seasoning:

  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning

To gift: Divide seasoning into 2 (4oz) Ball jars. Attach the following Ingredients and Directions for preparing popcorn. Add a bag of uncooked popcorn for extra points:

Ingredients for popcorn:

  • 8 cups popcorn, popped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoning mix

Directions

  1. Put popped popcorn in a bowl large enough to stir, and drizzle olive oil on top.
  2. Stir gently to coat.
  3. Evenly shake seasoning over the popcorn while stirring until completely coated. Serve immediately.

cinnamon

Cinnamon Seasoned Popcorn

Ingredients

For the seasoning:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To gift: Divide seasoning into 3 (4oz) Ball jars. Attach the following Ingredients and Directions for preparing popcorn. Add a bag of uncooked popcorn for extra points:

Ingredients for the popcorn:

  • 8 cups popcorn, popped
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup seasoning mix

Directions

  1. Put popped popcorn in a bowl large enough to stir and pour melted butter on top.
  2. Stir gently to coat.
  3. Evenly shake seasoning over popcorn while stirring until completely coated. Serve immediately.