homemade christmas: cards, nuts & spicy tea

consensus seems to say that homemade gifts are the best ones. i’m hoping i’m not the only one who feels that way since, by and large, that was what i focused on this christmas. unfortunately, i didn’t have so much time that i got to indulge all my ideas, but i did give a few a shot and here is some photographic evidence of my favourites.

we begin with cards. normally, i make a whole ton of cards. this year, not so much. i got a major head start (in july, i think?!?) but then fell behind and never recovered the prep time lost. as a result, only eight of my best and most influential friends received these babies in the mail. there are so many others to whom i wish i’d had more to send, but i’m going to get started on next year’s soon and plan to be papering the world with qc creations! (i have a few tricks up my sleeve!)

the full fold out view

pressed for time, i opted to spread some joy through baking and other treats from the kitchen this year. several batches of candy cane cupcakes made the rounds and i also handed out some yummy spiced pecans.

pecans
+ olive oil
+ thyme, cayenne, nutmeg, cumin
+ salt & ground pepper
+ 350 degree oven
= snacking bliss


i kind of fell in love with the product of this recipe a few weeks back. i found the link via a tweet from meghan telpner and it dates back to some spicy detox tea she posted in april of 2009. i tried it once and was instantly hooked on the taste, the results and the amazing scent it left behind in my apartment.

improvised tea bags

as always, i immediately thought of a few friends with whom i wanted to share my new treasure. instead of emailing them the recipe or even just the link, i knew it would be perfect to do the collecting for them and gift them the chance to brew up a pot immediately. once i divvied out the spices, i wrapped them up in swatches of cheesecloth and tied each pouch with a strip of the same. if you check out the link above, you can assess the detox details of most of the ingredients, though i made a slight variation of my own.

6 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons green cardamom
2 tablespoons cloves
4 pieces of star anise fruit

add spice mixture and 2 inches of sliced fresh ginger to eight cups of water and simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
serve with a sweetener and/or milk or alternative, if desired.

cloves are antiseptic, cinnamon’s warming, ginger aids digestion. as i mentioned, click here to learn more about the benefits of each of the spices. since star anise was my addition, here‘s a little more background info. turns out, it isn’t just another pretty face.

the to do list for christmas 2012 is growing by the hour. whether cooking, baking or crafting, it feels good to put my hands to work on gifts from the heart. cheers to more in the coming months!

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