Writer, teacher, cook, and backyard farmer Kathie Lapcevic , over at Homespun Seasonal Living, has authored a wonderful new ebook which I am delighted to review. Gift It From Scratch features 60 of Kathie’s original recipes.
It used to be that “gifting from scratch” was a necessity. People made gifts in the kitchen or in the workshop, because they couldn’t afford to do otherwise. In those days, a “boughten” gift was a rare splurge.
Funny how things change, though. In our modern society based on abundance and consumption, “stuff” is cheap, and time is often more valuable….So much so, that we pay extra for shipping to save time shopping. Nowadays, gifts that take time and thought and energy – those made from scratch – are the luxury gifts, the splurges, the ones that make the receiver feel special.
And that’s what Gift It From Scratch is about. Kathie takes the commercialism out of gift giving, and restores the heart and soul and creativity. In her words: “Homemade gifts are not cheap, but rather priceless and full of that which cannot be bought, love.”
Gift It From Scratchis packed with recipes for yeast breads, quick breads, entrees, desserts, drinks and snacks, that you can make for friends and family (or enjoy yourself!). And if you’re not the type who knows what to pair it with, or how to package it, you’re in luck! For each and every recipe, Kathie gives you suggestions. For some recipes, she even suggests an appropriate occasion, or the type of person who might appreciate it.
So, for example, the Beef & Barley Soup could go with a savory yeast bread, to a young person living on her own for the first time. The Mac and Cheese in a vintage casserole dish, with the molasses spice cake for dessert, would be perfect for a collector. The Hazelnut Latte Muffins (recipe below) could go to a coffee loving friend, with a bag of locally roasted coffee beans and a gift card to a local cafe.
Oh, and I love the fact that there is also a separate section on gift giving tips, where she discusses various reusable vessels you can make or find at yard sales, that make great packages in and of themselves.
As for the recipes themselves, I am most excited about the yeast raised breads. Some of them are traditional, and others are new and different. I can’t wait to try the challah, the cardamom twist, and the coconut ginger loaves. In the Drinks and Snacks chapter, I am looking forward to whole grain crackers and homemade coffee liqueur.
So, in a nut shell: Great old fashioned homestead type recipes, with some new twists, and thrifty, homey, and hand made packaging ideas. These are gifts that take time, thought, and creativity – gifts that won’t go to waste, and that won’t create waste.
I made the hazelnut latte muffins, tweaking Kathie’s recipe a bit to suit my family’s taste. Chocolate is big at our house, and we’re definitely more into mocha than straight coffee, so I substituted cocoa for some of the coffee, and chocolate chips for some of the hazelnuts. And I made it as a quick bread, instead of muffins. The batter fits perfectly in a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. It was delicious right out of the oven, and, like a lot of muffins and quick breads, even better after it had aged for a day.
Hazelnut Latte Muffins, from Gift it From Scratch
Makes 12 muffins or one 9 x 5 inch loaf.
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp instant coffee (I used 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa and 1 tbsp instant coffee)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup hazelnuts, chopped (I used 1/2 cup hazelnuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line muffin tin with paper cups, or butter and flour.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and instant coffee (and cocoa, if using). Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
- Beat in eggs and vanilla, and then sour cream, until thoroughly incorporated.
- Alternately mix in the dry ingredients with the milk, until all is well combined.
- Fold in the chopped nuts (and chocolate chips, if using).
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes.
- Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
So get yourself a copy of Gift It From Scratch and start planning some holiday and special occasion gifts you can create in your own kitchen. As an ebook, it won’t take up any shelf space, and it’s a steal at $3.99.