How many layered jars of brownie & soup mixes do you currently have in your pantry or on your counter? Why is it that we save those mixes “for a special occasion” rather than using them like the gifter intended, just to enjoy?! Sometimes it’s because making what the mix is for is still a lot of work, even with the addition of the mix to help out. Sometimes you still have to add a lot of ingredients that you may or may not already have on hand. Sometimes it’s just that the jars are so pretty, all layered up, and you don’t want to ruin it by using it!
Our church gives out a special “welcome bag” gift to new visitors each Sunday and a special one on Christmas Eve. We are a part of the group that helps put those gifts together. Usually it’s a food mix of some kind. We’ve done layered brownie & cookie mixes in jars, dip mixes, beverage mixes, etc. A lot of times we do a little something special for the Christmas Eve welcome bags since we have an abundance of visitors for those services especially. One year for Christmas Eve we gave out apple crisp mixes that you could make in a mug, along with a church mug & an apple to make the mix.
One of the reasons people like to give out gift mixes is that they’re meant to be an inexpensive but homemade, thoughtful gift. However, sometimes with the cost of ingredients (like expensive M&M’s) and the jars and the tags, it can add up to be not so cheap.
Recently I saw this gift mix & thought it would be simple & inexpensive as well:
Capture the yumminess of s’mores in a jar to be made at the recipient’s leisure!
In a Mason jar, layer in this order:
- 1/3 cup graham crackers, crushed (on the bottom)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of Holiday M & M’s
- top is off with mini marshmallows
On the tag, it should read:
S’mores in a Jar
Combine ingredients of the jar with 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 tsp. vanilla.
Press mixture into 9-inch square baking pan.
Place the marshmallows on top.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Cut into bars and enjoy!
The jars, ingredients and decor were less than $5 each.
**Cari’s Note: Even easier, you can buy graham cracker crumbs already crushed for you!
This year we gave out gift mixes to friends, neighbors & co-workers. A couple years ago we moved into our first house & I was overcome with Christmas cookie baking energy, so I took plates of Christmas cookies to several of our new neighbors. Last year I was lacking that same energy, but several of our neighbors blessed us with small gifts of cookies, candy, etc. This year I didn’t want to have to count on extra energy and we’re still on a pretty tight budget, so I decided to make beer bread mixes for everyone on our list. The list is fairly long, but these mixes are pretty inexpensive to make, so it still stayed within budget. And it didn’t take a lot of energy or time, so that was a bonus!
Beer Bread Mix
In a quart Ziploc bag, add ½ C sugar and 3 C self-rising flour. Label bag “Beer Bread Mix”. Put in pretty paper bag or leave plan & attach a Direction label. (I used Christmas scrapbook paper & printed the directions on the backside. Approximately 12 labels per sheet. Then I used a holepunch and some brads to attach to the paper bag; you could easily attach to the Ziploc bag instead, though.)
1. Add 12 oz beer / soda & mix well.
2. Spread into a greased loaf pan.
3. Brush 1 T melted butter over top, if desired.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 min.
**This bread is easy, inexpensive & delicious!! (Yes, you read that right. I actually like beer bread okay since it’s more dense & moist than normal bread, with a mild sweet flavor. Great for dipping in soups.)