As mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to make some of my gifts this year (for sustainability and budgetary reasons) and I’d seen some cool ideas for mason jar gifts. After doing some internet searches, I decided do make a combination of cookies, body scrubs and happiness jars (as separate items, not all rolled into one crazy present!)
I bought all of the jars from Kmart or The Reject Shop ($2 each – win!). I got the fabric and the brown tags from Spotlight, but you could get something similar from any craft store. I made the crochet hearts – you can find more info here.
Mason jar cookies
I was going to do some cookie mix in jars, but it actually worked out easier for me to just to make the cookies (plus I figured some people would prefer something ready made!)
I don’t make cookies very often and my over is a temperamental jerk so I had to do a couple of runs to get them right and even then they spread a little bit too wide for the jar openings, but some creative cutting made them fit!
I wanted a recipe that was tasty but not too full of crap (so many basically just said “chuck cookie pre-mix and m&m’s in jar” – yuck), so I chose this one from taste.com.au. The recipe is actually for the mix, but i just followed it through to just the cooking phase. They turned out really nicely and will definitely be my go-to cookie recipe from now on.
Just an FYI: my oats were mixed with quinoa flakes and chia seeds so I threw them in as well and it added a nice rustic feel.
On the brown label tags I put the name of the cookies one 1 side and the ingredients on the side. I felt it was important to be clear with the ingredients givens allergies and such.
Gluten free variation: Someone I was giving a jar to has a child with coeliac, so I swapped the flour for a mix of quinoa and rice flour (I felt the combo of these two gave a nice density and flavour) and made sure the baking powder and chocolate chips were gluten free. (NB: the jury is still out on whether oats are gluten free, but most research shows that the issues come from contamination because they are processed in the same plants as wheat products. If you aren’t sure, leave them out or swap for something like quinoa flakes).
I have a few work friends who aren’t really into baked good or are dieting and I didn’t want to be that annoying person who gave them something that didn’t consider their preferences, so I thought a body scrub would be nice.
I’ve experimented with homemade scrubs made with coconut oil and decided against gifting these, as thought that the fact that it hardens would be frustrating and confusing for some. Instead I went for a salt scrub infused with some of the herbs from my garden.
I used this recipe for lemon and thyme salt scrub on Food+Words as my base, but I also added some rosemary since it is flourishing in the garden and smells lovely. It smelt so amazing that you would have wanted to rub it on your steak (which you technically could have done!)
I had previously made one of these for the office and the ladies I work with loved it so much that a few of them requested one for Christmas.
I got the idea for this lovely gift from The Frugal Girls website. They focused on it as more of a jar to record ‘blessings’ but I choice to say ‘happiness’ instead as the recipients weren’t religious.
The basic premise is this: each time something makes you happy or you have a postive experience or memory, write it down and pop it in the jar. Once the jar is full, on a special occasion or if you just need a pick me up, pop the lid and read one or many of the pieces of paper, either on your own or with you family. Pure joy in a jar.
I wrote some instructions on the brown tag (as inspiration and also so passers by can stop and read about the jar without popping the lid and invading the person’s happy thoughts) and I also included a nice notepad and pen so it is ready to go.
So that was my mason jar gifts for 2015. It was nice to be able to give my work friends gifts that were simple and made with love and didn’t create more waste.
Some of my ideas for future years: homemade vanilla extract (in pre greys right now!), infused salts, drawer fresheners and hand creams. So many possibilities!