Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Giving & Getting

Although I'm a supporter of the ideas behind Buy Nothing Christmas, I still like to partake in the gift exchange surrounding the December holiday time.  What can I say, I'm part-anthropologist - gifts and rituals are our bread & butter.

The obvious solution is to give homemade, and preferably edible gifts. This year, I decided to make little bags of spiced nuts to give to the people Andy and I find enjoyable.  It was pretty easy to put together, and cheap (but shh... don't tell the people I gifted!)

I got a big bag of peanuts, and smaller bags of cashews, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds and pepitas from the asian grocery store, so they were not very expensive.

I mixed the nuts with a good drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful of golden syrup, and a generous pile of the Ethiopian spice mix Berbere, freshly ground for the purpose. 

Mix it all up, spread into a baking tray, and cook at 180 for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10.  Once they're toasted, and then cooled, I scooped them into little clear-plastic gift bags we got from the craft store (our pack of 25 cost $2.50, and contained 37 baggies - score!).

Tied off with pretty cords and adorned with a bow, they were ready to go.

My friends must know how much I love edible gifts, because the things we received in the annual gift exchange were pretty delicious.  My supervisor had a similar idea with spiced nuts, hers flavoured with chilli and garam masala.  And my wonderful friend Mel shared some fantastic cookies, all yummy with spices and macadamia nuts and white chocolate.

 I'm always looking for new ideas for homemade gifts - what are your faves to give or receive?


Emma said...

Yum, berbere nuts sound amazing. I have a whole jar of the stuff in my pantry :D

I like to bake stuff for gifts. Usually I make four or five different types of cookies and put them in a little gift box with cellophane or something to wrap it. Brownies sometimes end up in there too :)

Amy said...

Mmm I love flavoured nuts and I love berbere so I'm going to have to try these!

I highly recommend "crack nuts" (I'm sure you could use egg replacer for the egg white). They really are violently addictive! Even my Mum who usually doesn't like sweets loved them.

Hannah said...

Oh, brilliant! I overdosed on the Union Square nuts last year and haven't made spiced nuts since, but I love your berbere idea :) I made fudge as gifts this year and will blog them, but alas! Not vegan :(

Carissa said...

I love the nut idea for gifts! I made a bunch of stuff this year. I made heat packs with cloth and beans inside (just microwave and ready to go), soap crayons, and lavender bath soaks. Oh and I made dog biscuits.

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

My favorite homemade gifts are cookies! I indulged in too many of them, and now I need a cookie break. I'm going to try for something a bit more crafty and less sugary next year.

Mike said...

Thanks. Made a large batch of this yesterday for our BBQ and it went down well (home made Berbere too!). I may have added too much syrup though - the nuts tended to stick together as one large block and had to be repeatedly broken up with a fork!

Theresa said...

Woops! I like the slight sweetness of the syrup, and it makes the spices stick to the nuts, but I suppose too much of it could make a sticky mess! We got a few clumps of sunflower seeds, but that was kind of good as they are small and you got more with each bite :)

Vaala ◪ said...

Homemade gifts are always the best. I mostly bake all sorts of cookies and slices and stuff like that for Christmas presents. Mum always makes a huge Christmas cake and gives us a large slab too which is cool because it lasts for ages (and made a great emergency breakfast when we got stranded).

I absolutely love homemade cards...probably my favourite thing ever to receive. Unfortunately I'm really the only person I know who makes cards for everyone.