One year I found myself scrambling for gift ideas that wouldn’t cost much and I seem to be finding myself in this situation again this year. I’m sure there are many of you reading this today that are in similar situations, given the state of the economy all over the world. So, no matter where you’re reading from, I hope you can find an idea or two to help reduce the costs this season. My wish for you is that you will find more satisfaction in giving something that more thought has gone into and is personalized for the receiver.
This first recipe is a great substitute to use for what we can buy at the store but the best part is that you know exactly what goes into it and you can control those amounts. This is also a great money-saver for all of us if we use a lot of Bisquick, which like anything can become an increased cost to our grocery bill when we have to constantly replace it.
Master Baking Mix
9 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 c. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2-1/2 c. nonfat dry milk solids
2 c. shortening (which does not require refrigeration)
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and sugar three times. Add dry milk. Mix well. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives until mixture looks like cornmeal. Store in covered container at room temperature. NOTE: To measure the Master Baking Mix, pile it lightly into cup and level off with a table knife.
I am not going to list all the goodies that can be made from this mix, instead I’ll give you one link to check out which allow you to personalize your gift for what your recipient might like to make with it – after all, you know them best. And, if you can’t find a recipe for something they would like at this link, Google “master mix” and I’m sure you will find something good. As an added bonus, from the link I’m providing, you might find some other ideas for gifts you can make – have a look here. You can be as creative as you like in how to present this as a gift but I can assure you it will be greatly appreciated.
- 3 c. sifted flour
- 3 c. yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 c. instant nonfat dry milk
- 3 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp sugar (optional)
Stir all ingredients together and put into a quart or larger canning jar. (You can also present this in a tin or something similar. This will store for months in a cool, dry pantry.)
Attach these instructions to the jar:
Combine 2½ c. cornbread mix with ¾ c. solid shortening; 3 eggs, lightly beaten; 1 c. water. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut shortening into the dry mix till it resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and water and mix well. Bake in an 8”x8”x2” greased pan for 15-20 min. or till a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Giving With Love
The beauty that I find in preparing gifts like these for the people I love is the thoughts that run through my mind while I’m preparing them. I can picture the people mixing them together and sitting down to dinner to enjoy their efforts. When it is given to someone that you know doesn’t cook much for themselves, you know that you’d had a small part in providing an easy way for them to enjoy something they might not otherwise fix. To me, this is just a small way to pay it forward to people we care for, whether it’s family or friends. I hope you will mix these up and even if you make them as a gift for yourself, know that it’s done with love.
Mary Cunningham would never claim to be a financial expert but has worked in the area of finance with personal taxes for over 15 years. Those personal taxes included all personal aspects, rental property and small businesses. She will be offering some Canadian insight to this venture but she came to live in Canada by way of Kentucky.