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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

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You can now purchase microwavable bowls of white, dark, and semi-sweet chocolate for dipping strawberries.
You can now purchase microwavable bowls of white, dark, and semi-sweet chocolate for dipping strawberries.

A gift a day: homemade decorations and tasty treats

Looking for some inexpensive holiday gifts? Why not give from the heart, and feed the stomach, or your child's imagination?

Especially if you have little ones, making holiday gifts together can help teach them the true value of holiday giving, and following the old adage, "it's the thought that counts." If you have time to go thrifting or antiquing, you can usually find some beautiful, kitschy, or just fun containers for items like homemade cookies, infused olive oils, or even from scratch Irish cream, wine, beer, or eggnog. Just be certain to properly clean and sanitize your containers as needed. Here are a few easy ideas to get you started:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
You can now purchase microwavable bowls of white, dark, and semi-sweet chocolate for dipping strawberries which is a great project to do with the little ones. Just wash and thoroughly dry about 5 dozen strawberries and spread them out on waxed paper on the counter or table. Follow the directions on the package for melting the chocolate, and then grasp the top of the strawberry and dip into the chocolate, swirling slightly to remove the excess. Set on the waxed paper and allow to cool about 30 minutes before refrigerating.

Salt Dough Ornaments
2 cups of plain flour (not self-raising)
1 cup fine grained plain salt
1/2-1 cup water at room temperature or a little warmer
Acrylic paints or markers
Clear varnish (if you want shiny ornaments)
Ornament hooks or silver, clear, or gold string

You probably remember using salt dough as a kid, but it's a versatile enough dough that big people can use it for crafts and holiday gifts as well. Mix together your salt and flour and then slowly add in your water until the dough takes on a firm, but not too wet consistency. Knead the dough thoroughly, and then use rolling pins, cookie cutters, cups, or whatever you like to create your ornaments. (Don't forget to make a hole with a straw for the hook or hanging string.)

Once they are shaped, decorate them, and then bake them at 200 degrees until they are firm (or microwave 1-4 minutes depending upon the power level of your microwave. Varnish painted ornaments for a shiny look. And don't forget to engrave or write your initials in the back.

 

Talkbacks

PlayerGotGame | Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:26 p.m. (report)

I was at a co-worker's home this weekend and his wife gave me some of her homemade fudge. It was unreal--just as good as anything you get at Kehr's or other places. Then, she told me how easy it was to make.

I'm going to make some this weekend with the little lady.

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