“Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung. It came, a flower bright, amid the cold of winter, when half spent was the night…
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere; True man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us, and lightens every load.”
– Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming (My favorite Christmas Carol)
I absolutely love the Christmas season, there’s no getting around it.
I love the baking, the decorations, the gifting, the crafting, the music, the family, the traditions, and the nostalgia of it all.
If only it were as simple as that. But there’s the ugly side of Christmas: The shopping malls, the parking lots, the Black Friday lines. The anxiety, stress, and despair. The wish lists, greed, credit card debt, and consumerism. The poor, the broken, the forgotten, the needy.
It’s all so unsettling.
But three years ago, I watched one short video (from the wonderful folks at The Advent Conspiracy) and it changed the way I do Christmas. The message was so simple and clear: Love All, Spend Less, Give More.
Those six little words pack quite the punch. They’ve given me a new outlook, they’ve given me hope. Christmas is different, in the best way.
And that about sums it up, honestly.
I think I’ll keep it short and sweet, but if you’d like to read more about my thoughts on having a thoughtful and relational Christmas, I encourage you to read my ‘Handmade Holiday’ post from last year.
Below is a list of a few of my favorite ideas for handmade gifts, as well as a recipe for my new favorite winter beverage: Spiced Eggnog with Rum. Also, as a head’s up, I decided to split ‘A Handmade Holiday’ into two posts: Volume 1 is Edible and Foodie Gifts, and Volume 2 (which I will post in the next day or two) is Crafts and (Non-Food) Projects.
I hope that these links and ideas inspire you to give fun and thoughtful gifts. I’m including a recipe for eggnog, which I plan on making for family and friends on Christmas day (and I may give a few mason jars of eggnog away as gifts as well!).
All that to say, Merry Christmas!
A HANDMADE HOLIDAY, VOLUME 1: SPICED EGGNOG WITH RUM AND A ROUNDUP OF DIY EDIBLE GIFTS!
(Scroll down to see my list of handmade edible gift ideas!)
Spiced Eggnog with Rum
(Adapted from Season with Spice)
Makes 4 small servings
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar (or white sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
1/2 a vanilla bean
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
Rum, to taste (the amount of booze really depends upon your preference!)
1. In a small pot, heat milk on medium-low. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and stir into the milk. Stir occasionally, until small bubbles appear along the edges (about 5 minutes). Remove the pot from heat and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly pour half of the heated milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (to prevent cooking/curdling). Pour the milk & egg mixture back into the pot and stir to combine.
3. Return the pot to the stove and cook the mixture over low heat. Stir constantly, and be careful not to overcook the mixture. Let it cook over low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Layer the bottom of a large bowl with ice cubes, and set a small metal bowl inside (atop the ice cubes). Pour mixture through a strainer into the small, metal bowl (this will clarify the mixture and remove any odd egg bits). Once cooled (15 minutes or so), transfer the mixture into a sealed container, and store it in the refrigerator.
5. When you’re ready to serve the egg nog, prepare the whipping cream. Remove chilled cream from the fridge and pour into a bowl. Add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to the whipped cream, and using a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream until it reaches desired consistency (thick, with soft peaks).
6. Gently fold half of the whipped cream into the egg nog. Pour equal amounts of egg nog into 4 glasses, and pour rum (to taste) into each glass. Stir, and top with a dollop of whipped cream and some freshly grated nutmeg.
Note: The eggnog mixture will keep in the fridge for a few days. However, I would wait to add the whipped cream and rum until you’re ready to serve it.
A DELIGHTFUL COLLECTION OF DIY EDIBLE GIFTS!
*Chipotle Lime Salt
*DIY Cocktail Bitters
*Ginger Carrot Curd
*Homemade Creme de Menthe
*Grapefruit Cranberry Marmelade
*Banana Bread and Honey Butter Gift Basket
*Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
*Crema di Limoncello
*Homemade Vanilla Extract
*Savory Onion Jam
*Rosemary Crackers with Olive Oil and Garlic
*Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur
*Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce
*Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce (heck yes!)
*Chai Tea Mix
*Hot Chocolate on a Stick
*Balsamic Fig Thyme Jam
*Maple Cinnamon Granola
*Spice Blend: Herbs De Provence
*DIY Mustard (6 different kinds!)
*Homemade Grenadine Syrup
*Vanilla Sea Salt
*Homemade Curry Powder
*Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Please let me know if you have other edible gift ideas, and I’ll be sure to include them on my list.
Thanks, and happy holidays!