The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 27 November 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Saving on food gifts.

My Vicky Challenge last week wasn't very huge but it was ok!
I counted making all the lunches, cutting Andy's hair and quite a bit of painting.
I wrote $345 into my savings book.

My savings topic this week is baking for gifts.  This can also include what to make when we are taking food to a combined event or when you just feel its appropriate to cook for someone.
I used to fall into the trap of feeling I had to spend a lot on these things. This is amazingly obvious but it took an article by Wendy to make me wake up to it!
Then I thought it over. Andy had taken a very expensive platter of food to a family event.  I had taken a huge bowl of trifle to a family dinner.  I noticed the desert was raved over and talked about for a long time so that was a success for sure. The difference between the two costs was over $150!
Wendy was really onto something here!  If you arrive with something generous and delicious that is the main thing.  It does not have to be expensive ingredients to make something that would be expensive in the stores or to be enjoyed by everyone.
Since then a friend was worried as she was asked to bring something to a large gathering and the hostess asked her to make it a cheese platter.  My friend really has a tight budget and a huge cheese platter was going to cost a small fortune. I suggested to her that she ring up and offer to make a giant potato salad instead.  And she did! Everyone loved it and this change saved her a huge amount and she was so relieved!

Chloe makes biscuits as her foodie gift or contribution.  They are delicious and everyone goes crazy over them! For gifts she packages them up nicely.  They are cheap to make and have variations.  I asked her for the recipe.

Butter Biscuits
(this makes around 25 biscuits)
125g butter, softened (this is about one cup or two sticks US) 
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg 
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon milk
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 180. Line 2 baking trays with paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the egg and mix till combined. Sift flour and baking powder over the butter mixture. Add the milk and stir until just combined.
Roll into balls (I make mine small so like 2 teaspoons of dough) place onto trays (allow room for spreading) and press with a fork to flatten slightly.
Bake for 12-15 mins depending on how big  you made them until lightly golden (I do 10-12 as I like mine kinda squidgy). Transfer to a rack to cool and dust with icing sugar.

These can be varied with a cherry on top, a nut on top, make an indentation and add a dab of jam etc.
180C is a medium to fairly warm oven.

On the weekend I needed a gift for my Uncle.  So I baked Gingerbread cookies. They are one of my go to recipes to give.

I have to apologise as I realised I had made a mistake when I posted this recipe ages ago! I have fixed it now!  The recipe is here.

I made five dozen and packaged them up leaving some for us this week.  These have given me several presents!

My Uncles gift became one of my little Christmas Cakes, a jar of farm honey, a large Gingerbread cookie in the shape of a Moose, a packet of cookies and a bag of my hand made goats milk soap.

He seemed to love it! 

My other go to recipes are shortbread, coconut ice, orange cake, banana cake...
My favourite things to take to a gathering are potato salad, rice salad, a cake or pavlova, nuts and bolts (snack) or a tomato bake that my Nan always made.
A beautiful cake or pavlova is always a massive hit as they look so spectacular!
Baking someone a birthday cake is always an amazing success. This is a great gift!  It makes people feel special!

A little bit of strategy and thinking can be a huge saver here! Using what you have would be the other obvious tip. Contributing or giving something fresh from your garden would be perfect! 

What is your best recipe that is suitable either for gifts or to take to a shared dinner?  Feel free to suggest your ideas and the whole recipe if you would like and lets build a selection of ideas. 
If you would like to contribute a photo as well then email me at and I will put together a future post of these recipes.  Think of taking a photo too as the Christmas season goes on as I would love to see!
Being almost December this is a good time to be thinking about this and suggestions will be so helpful!

When you have recipes in mind you can also accumulate the ingredients over time and keep them on hand. This means you can buy them all on special as well. Kaye keeps a tub especially for her Christmas cooking ingredients and saves them up. I love this!

How did you save last week? I hope you had lots of opportunities to get ahead and do well! 
And I hope this week will be a good one! xxx


  1. People always go crazy for a big loaf of homemade bread and it costs less than a dollar to make. Package up a warm loaf in parchment paper and tie with baker's twine and it looks good, too.

    1. Dear Lana, Thank you! You are right! if my sourdough works out I will be set! And I like your presentation too.
      I notice hand made loaves and fancy loaves are expensive too. Thanks for this I am encouraged on in my current attempts... with love

  2. Annabel I love the idea of a recipe repository of tried and true foodie gifts. I will email the recipes and photos to you. I make these recipes regularly so it wont take long to get photos.
    I have a go to biscuit/cookie recipe. This is 'Cheap and Easy Biscuits', on Rhonda's 'Down to Earth' blog. I bake what I need, portion the dough into sausage shapes, wrap in baking paper and freeze. It is easy to thaw and add any extras to. Within an hour I can have cookies ready to take or to give.
    I have an apple cake recipe that is super easy to make. I take it to parties with some cream as a side, to serve as a desert. You can add walnuts if you want to be fancy.
    My go to banana cake is a quick and simple, no fail recipe. If we go to my brothers, he always asks for me to bring one. It's a recipe Mum cut out of the newspaper when I was a baby, so quite old. Years ago I changed it over from imperial into metric measures. I also place this batter into muffin trays when I want individual serves. Iced and on a cake stand they are a great addition to a party table.
    Zucchini Slice is another wonderful foodie gift I have given to neighbours when they were busy with other family business. I've also given this to a past colleague who didn't like cakes. At the time we had chooks and a market garden with plenty of zuchinni. A very cheap recipe and one where you can change out the veges.
    My Christmas Pudding is a recipe that my Great Grand Aunt has handed down. I don't know where she got it from. It originally had suet in it but this has been changed out to butter.
    I hadn't ever costed it but as Katie wanted to make one to take with her to her boyfriends home to add to the Christmas feast, I took note of the cost of her purchases for this. The pudding contents came in at less than $10. There was some dried fruit left over. The pudding steamed on an outside burner for 6 hours. The gas bottle has been through 3 of these puddings and still has gas in it. The pudding is huge so a great value gift to take to a family feast.
    Tim Tam Balls are another go to gift here. They're not that cheap but being so rich you only need a few as a gift. Once again super easy to make and ever so yummy. I use the Aldi, 'Divine' biscuits instead of Tim Tams. Just as yummy and much cheaper. These balls are an alternative to rum balls.
    Think I might need to go and make some Tim Tam Balls now.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Ok there is a lot to talk about here! Firstly the puddings sound fabulous and they re a great gift.
      These Tim Tam balls... how do I not know about these? PLUS I do not even know about the Aldi Divine biscuits. I keep learning of new things from Aldi. So I need to get this recipe from you and Im pretty sure others will be lining up also!
      I can't wait to get your photos and recipes. Just take photos as you go and as you make things and I will post them and the recipes as we can do this in a few instalments. I would like your zucchini slice recipe also. At times I can get zucchini at a great bargain. A gift like this is a gift of help as well.
      The banana cake sounds fantastic. It all does! I think freezing ready to go dough is brilliant too.
      I hope this week will be a good one! Your life is good/getting better ending is a barometer of how things are... so sounds good!
      With love and thanks,

  3. Annabel,
    I have always given gifts of food what kind depends on who I am gifting. For some it is trays of baked goods others it is jars of things that I canned from the garden. My homecanned vegetable soup is always requested and I add a loaf of French bread. For a few this year I am doing a breakfast basket with the fixings for a good breakfast! Some eggs from my chickens, pancake mix and apple cinnamon syrup with a little bacon and some honey butter which I can whip up quick and put in a pretty jar.
    For gatherings I take a cheesy potato dish(you have the recipe) or a pan of chicken spaghetti which everyone loves too and I always have the ingredients on hand.
    My aunt always wants pineapple whip which is also super easy to make and she looks forward to it every year so it's really not hard to make someone happy if you know what they like and I would much rather give them something they like than spend money on something they don't like or would never use I think that's just a waste.

  4. Yummy post Annabel, on Saturday I made your orange cake again, it's a firm favourite here now. Having chooks, I don't even think twice about using six eggs in one hit, which I'm sure you appreciate too. Chloe's biscuits look tasty as well. Agree on the homemade being better than shop made - your trifle and seafood being a case in point. I actually have a cake in the oven now which is how I can sit and read your blog as i wait for it to cook. It's a birthday cake to take out for dinner this evening. My better half said when I mentioned cake, we better buy a cake on the way. I was like heck no I'll make one for a couple of dollars as opposed to 30 ish I'd guess for a nice one. It's coffee chocolate cake which will have whipped cream in the middle with fresh raspberries scattered across the top. Can't wait. Have a lovely week. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      The eggs are a big help with baking gifts! I know enough of your cooking to know the cake will be fantastic! I love coffee flavour so I will be over shortly!
      Have a lovely evening out! With love

  5. Dear Annabel, we love foodie gifts too. And they don't have to be baked. I've done foodie hampers in ten minutes flat by cubing and marinating Feta with whole chilli and cloves of peeled garlic in a jar of olive oil, adding Maple Syrup Walnuts or Pecans which are easy to make...just stir fry the nuts in a hot wok with a couple of glugs of Maple Syrup until they're dry...add a jar of home made jam or marmalade, which I always have on hand, a cellophane bag of pancake mix, and a bouquet of Kaffir Lime Leaves, fresh herbs or whatever else is growing at the time. These are always welcomed and enjoyed enormously, and so quick to put together, and it looks like you've spent a fortune at a designer deli. Home made Pate` is another one for those who prefer something savoury. Baking-wise, I love flourless orange cakes and the vintage-inspired desserts like Sacher Torte or Black Forest Cake, which are rarely seen any more, and which are so easy to make and always a hit. A hazelnut and coffee pavlova is easy to top with cream and drizzle with caramel for when you want to take something inexpensive that will impress, and I agree that the old favourites like a special potato salad or slice, are the things that always disappear first. Who needs ten cheeses and half a dozen different types of cracker...stupidly expensive, and not that festive if you ask! I'll look forward to this compilation of favourites. What a great idea. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I love your ideas and I love the feta! Yum! I also really like the idea of mixes and ready to make items...
      I have done things like add herbs from the garden including a branch of bay leaves etc.
      Your deserts would basically and you could get into any even invited or not! haha that could be handy!
      It seems homemade is more sought after than ever and deemed special and fabulous. I am so happy about this!
      Thank you for your ideas! With love Annabelxxx

  6. I must try your biscuit recipe Annabel! It looks delicious and definitely would make a great addition to homemade Christmas hampers which I am in the process of planning right now. Chloe's biccies sound good also so I might add them in too!

    I have made cherry ripe and pineapple balls but not tim tams ones. I am intrigued now, and am going to have to try them. I think you can use anything to make different balls, just add a tin of condensed milk to the crushed biscuits or chocolate etc and roll in coconut. They are very nice, give them a try!!

    Enjoy your week,

    Love Tania xx

    1. Dear Tania,
      Oh wow! I would love the cherry ripe ball recipe! Is that all it is... cherry ripe, condensed milk, coconut? That would be amazing. I am already accumulating new things to make! They would be amazing gifts.
      Hampers are a beautiful gift. Have a look at some prices online from some of the department stores. Its a shock!
      Thank you Tania! Have a good week! With love

    2. Whoops sorry Annabel, I missed the biscuits. There is a packet of crushed biscuits in the mix!

      Here is the recipe...

      And this one sounds yummy too. It adds a peppermint crisp bar as well. Must try this one myself :)

      And the recipe for pineapple truffles...


      Love Tania xx

    3. Dear Tania,
      Thank you so much! I will be trying the cherry ripe truffles. I have someone in mind to make them for as a gift. I will box them up. I think this will be amazing!
      It is great to pick this recipe up from you thank you! Plus also for the pineapple one.
      When you see truffles usually they are sold individually and a box full would be worth a small fortune! yikes!
      Ill get the biscuits from Aldi then Ill be set... Many thanks! Love

  7. Hi Annabel!

    I have quite a liking for good food, so I am enjoying the talk here!!

    We're not social butterflies, at all, so my baking/cooking repertoire in this area seems small ..... but then I think of the types of food I've made to share .....

    There's semi freddo (our single freeze version of ice cream) in passionfruit, lemon or mint (or vanilla!). It is very satisfying, if one can keep it cool!! I do have my own whole wheat bread recipe (written when I had no way of measuring yeast to match up with recipes on hand!), which I like to add dates and spices to. Last time, Mum said it was excellent and, in my sweet little oven, only takes about fifteen minutes to bake! I like simple tarts that chill overnight - a simple custard tart with freshly grated nutmeg on top; a thick batter type tart to go with juicer ingredients like berries; and my newest .... what do they call it? ..... 'clafoutis', which has no pastry, and is originally designed for baking up sour cherries. It bakes up looking rustic and wonderful! I think I would use cornflour in the clafoutis for a guest with gluten intolerance, making a variation to a gluten-free baked rice pudding that I make. At home, when we have wild berries, I make French-style tartlets with a spoon of these berries in each. My husband finds them very energising!

    If it is a picnic, I love to make olive oil hot potato chips in an old saucepan, over a gas flame. Dad says they're really good!! Also, a very simple 'bottled quiche', in which the flour settles to the bottom to make a kind of crust is wonderful - filled with whatever is on hand!! I can now add 'pengelles' - like French toast, which I choose to top with what preserves I have .. in this case, mulberries and citrus syrup! I find them sweet and satisfying! I still haven't made the molasses crinkle cookies. They are on my list for when we next buy olive oil, which could be a while, yet!!

    I agree that Fiona's baking sounds excellent! I love the bread idea of Lana's! I'm keen to see Jane's recipes, too. I wonder how quick her banana bread is. I am reluctant to bake things that take an hour so this has piqued my interest!! Zucchini slice always sounds good.

    I'd really like to bake Annabel style. A generous cake with cream and flowers (& maybe lemon butter!) is my aim!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      All your recipes sound divine. Somehow I picture them like your photos and think how I would love to see all of these! I love them all but particularly the custard tart. And anything with berries...
      Also the picnic food. You gave me some great ideas! In summer we have beach picnics. So I better get planning those.
      I already have quite a few recipes to post... coming up!
      If you need to keep baking times low I think make things up as muffin sizes or else as my Nan did... she made most cakes in a large baking tray so really they looked more like a slice. It made them quick and then you get more icing per piece! These mean ten minutes is your baking time, maybe 15.
      Many thanks Rachel! All beautiful! With love

  8. Annabel, I'm looking forward to all these recipes! I like the idea of making up the cookie dough, rolling it into a roll and freezing it for when you need a quick desert, treat or gift. I used to do this years ago when my children were still at home but had gotten away from it. With the holidays upon us now, it would be a good time to do this again. I baked a coconut cake for my husband's birthday yesterday. Yum, it is surely good and so easy. I'm looking forward to the recipes and photos!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      The frozen dough also has me looking at frozen bread and pizza dough. Anything ready to go is a good thing!
      Your coconut cake looks glorious to me (see A Working Pantry anyone wanting to see!) I thought it looked like snow. Lovely!
      Recipes are coming in so we will have a few posts! With love

  9. Dear Annabel,
    Fantastic idea to have a virtual recipe exchange. I still make an old family recipe that's a cross between biscotti and strudel. The dough is filled with cinnamon, sugar, raisins and jam.I also make something my children have always called "crack" because it's so addictive and is almost a no bake recipe that combines chocolate and toffee. For my family and friends who are gluten free I've developed a festive scone recipe that uses almond flour instead of all purpose flour, dried cranberries and gluten free chocolate chips. Even though they're not "Christmas cookies", homemade chocolate chip cookies are always a hit. I will email some recipes to you. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Thank you very much for sending me the recipes! For anyone waiting on them a post is coming soon!
      Many people are gluten free so that is very hand that you have a recipe for them. Much appreciated I would say.
      Thanks so much! Love

    2. Cookie could you also please pass on your pumpkin impossible pie recipe - I love lemon but my second favourite is pumpkin.



    3. Lynette, lemon is my favorite pie too. This is the first year I made the Impossible Pumpkin pie. Here's the link. We like our pie a little bit more spicy than the recipe calls for so I added just a bit more. When you read the reviews you'll see it doesn't make a traditional pie crust. However my family thought it was quite good and I was able to make one gluten free for those who follow a gluten free diet. You'll see that some people who reviewed the recipe added pecans, whiskey, or altered it in some other way, so the sky's the limit with this recipe. Hope you enjoy it. Cookie

  10. This is a wonderful, yummy subject! I have many times gone way over budget buying ingredients for something I was asked to bring, so it's also helpful. It was usually something way out of our normal eating habits and therefore every ingredient had to be purchased. It's a great idea to make a suggestion closer to what you normally make so that your pantry can supply some of the cost.

    I made red beans and rice for a Christmas party one year and it was a real hit! It was much more popular than many of those much more expensive things I have made when people requested them. Red beans and rice is a recipe we have frequently here at home and it only costs "pennies on the dollar". My kids love it and are so happy whenever it's on the menu.

    I'm looking forward to all the recipes and photos, too. I'd especially like the Tim Tam recipe. It sounds wonderful!

    1. Dear Cristy,
      I think we have all done this. I certainly have. With entertaining too. I completely re thought it. Its changed everything!
      Your red beans and rice sounds really interesting. I will have to look into this as it is not something I have heard of. Jane has said the recipes are coming so we will have a few posts soon! Many thanks Cristy! Love

    2. Christy, I'd love to see the red bean and rice recipe!

      Rachel Holt

    3. Red beans and rice is a typical "Cajun" meal. It is very common in New Orleans. When I moved to South Alabama, only hours from New Orelans, many people made it so I learned how. It's yummy and cheap to make.

    4. Sure, Rachel. I'll make some up and make a picture. I'll send the recipe and to Annabelle.

    5. Sure, Rachel. I'll make some up and make a picture. I'll send the recipe and to Annabelle.

  11. Thank you for this wonderful post! I see you have mentioned coconut ice in your blog and I am wondering how you make it. I have done some research but of course I'm in the US and I don't know what copha is or where to find it. What brand do you use?
    Looking forward to making the gingerbread cookies.

    1. Dear Laurie,
      Coconut Ice is lovely to give and you give in small slabs as it is rich. It is so yum and so pretty! I will be making some soon. This is my recipe...
      I do not use copha so I have solved that problem for you! It is creamy and lovely! The rose buds I am saving up are to decorate it.
      I hope you love it! Thank you so much! Love

  12. I do love to bake and often make birthday cakes for friends and family. When it comes to holidays, my go to gifts seem to be candy: peanut butter cups, chocolate covered pretzels, two ingredient fudge, truffles (they make a ton and are so rich and good!), peppermint patties, and Ritz type crackers sandwiched with peanut butter and dipped in chocolate.

    I recently found a recipe for a biscuit/cookie that I want to try. The base is orange and then you add white chocolate chips. It looks very good! Chloe's look delicious! I will have to give them a try. I also love Russian tea cakes (which I haven't made in years as nuts are so expensive) and Peppermint Drops. Oh! And meringue cookies!

    As for gatherings...well, we aren't social butterflies. The only gatherings we go to are family and I am always asked to bring the same thing: deviled eggs and Oreo stuff.

    I will be sure to email you recipes :)

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Nuts have become very expensive here also. Unfortunately!
      It sounds like you have your family contribution well sorted out! I can't wait for these recipes thank you so much Jenn! With love

  13. Dear Annabel, Love the recipe ideas that everyone is going to send in, I'll try and wait patiently for the recipes.
    I agree a lovely homemade food gift is always welcome and it means more that someone has actually made it and not just gone out and bought something to take, shows they care.
    A cake or dessert is always welcome and I have a curried rice salad that is simple and everyone asks for me to make and bring to bbqs or dinners, will send it to you.
    Ill make Chloe's biscuits today, they sound yummy.
    Looking forward to everyone's recipes. Have a wonderful week. Deb xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      I would love to see your recipe. That sounds like a salad that will travel and keep well. I love these!
      I hope Chloe's biscuits worked for you! She churns those out and says no one notices it is the same recipe with variations she does with it!
      People seem to love it if you turn up with food! I agree a cake is always good. A pavlova gets you in anywhere I always say! With love

  14. Ladies in the USA castor sugar is superfine sugar and icing sugar is powdered sugar.

    1. Thanks! I've learned so much Australian lingo since I started reading this blog!

    2. Thank you for the conversion!
      Debby in KS... I have been learning so much US lingo! haha! I love it. I love certain expressions such as "put up" so I say that now.. I put up several jars of honey today! xxx

  15. Annabel how did you know that next year is going to be food gifts for my two? This thought came as presents were opened on Saturday.

    In the past I have done food gifts - I have a couple of biscuit recipes that I make, one only comes out at Christmas. It is a version of one I use to make years ago that involved a lot of rolling, this one is no rolling required - love it.

    Do not forget the basic every day biscuits - Anzacs can be dressed up with a drizzle of chocolate.

    I have used the '120' biscuit recipe for a long time now, (it use to be a Women's Weekly recipe) - I just change up what is included to reflect the season. I have also coloured some of the dough green and called them 'Grinch Biscuits'.

    Now that our small Christmas is over I can move to the next thing - Christmas at my mother in law's place. It is her birthday on Friday so hopefully we can talk about it then.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I think food gifts are so helpful. Its a good idea.
      Anzacs are a great biscuit and keep quite well also.
      Mum makes bulk biscuits similar to those I think, for Christmas they have a cherry and so on to vary slightly. They are very good. Jars of biscuits are a lovely gift.
      I expect you will have a lot of work to do for Christmas at your MILs as I think she basically provides the venue and you do all the cooking. At least you have a slight break between the two celebrations! Just as well! Lots of love

  16. Hello!
    Thank you so much for the recipe!
    Love your cooking!

    1. Dear Michelle, Thank you! I hope it works well for you! With love

  17. Hello Annabel, I seriously love your gifts. Your Uncle's one sounds soooo good! I am very proud to be giving your Christmas cakes as gifts his year. I am so excited fact. In terms of what plates I take...meatballs have gone down well, as has potato salad, a simple greek salad and zucchini slice. My family always enjoys trifle at Christmas. It is funny because at work morning teas, curried egg sandwiches have always gone quickly. Something as simple as that. It just shows people really do appreciate home made rather than something bought. I seriously want to try those ginger biscuits! And Chloe's! They look beautiful. Yum yum yum! Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Well done on the Christmas cakes! They are a lovely gift.
      It is high time I made trifle. Chloe did the other day and everyone she had over for dinner went crazy over it! I think making it in little jars for a picnic would be really lovely so that is my plan.
      I love greek salad, zucchini slice... all so welcome and a gift of help too. Many thanks Bridge! Love

  18. I love this idea! It is so nice to hear about other people's go to dishes. I work a weird schedule, live miles from town, and we run a small farm, so I always try to have things on hand to make something for surprise gifts or Food Events. I live in Texas, so I'm not sure what the Australian corollary is, but I take cinnamon rolls to a lot of "get togethers ". It's an old family recipe. Well, recipe is a loose term. There aren't really hard and fast recipes for yeast breads, but if anyone is interested I can give a basic how-to with hard measurements for what can be measured. I take them to church breakfasts, work meetings, and meals with my husband's family. In fact, in 1992, my mother in law nervously asked if I would make her a large batch for Mother's Day and freeze them uncooked and individually. I was happy to. She was thrilled to have about 20 breakfast treats and I saved money as they are inexpensive to make. Cinnamon rolls have become her traditional Mothers Day/birthday gift.

    For gifting, I often make a couple of different kinds of scones and package them up with four ounce jars of homemade jams and preserves. I also make honey butter, orange honey butter, brandy butter or pecan butter to include. Another thing I do is make several batches of candy: nut brittle, chocolate truffles, Mexican burnt milk candy, fudge, or pretty chocolate covered marshmallows (or candied ginger or dried apricots etc..). Then I divide them up and do baskets with some of each. Last year I used cheap little cellophane bags and tide brown paper labels on with jute. I wrote on the labels with red and green ink. Piled in a basket, these samplers were very popular with my coworkers, and dividing the candy out stretches the number of gifts I can make within my budget.

    I love your gang and lurk here often!
    Cherilyn in Texas

    1. Hi Cherilyn!

      I got to read your sign-off before your comment! I had to show my husband! Thanks for the laugh!!

      I wanted to reply - bring on your recipes! Your family cinnamon roll recipe, the orange honey butter, burnt milk candy ...... We Bluebirders like treasures! Also, you don't have to like food to be in Annabel's mob, but it sure helps!

      The more characters here, the merrier!

      Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Cherilyn,
      Welcome! Thank you for commenting I am so glad to have you here.
      It sounds like you have a very busy life!
      In Australia you would be very popular turning up anywhere with cinnamon rolls! You would pretty much be a star.
      Yes please on the recipe that would be just wonderful!
      Wrapping them individually for 20 treats is a fantastic thing to do. What a nice gift!
      I also love the scones with the preserves. Brilliant. And your brittle and treats baskets sound beautiful too. You do very well! I think you must be loved by your co workers! Thank you for all of this. I hope you get time to give us that recipe it sounds great. Take a photo to next time! With love

  19. What a fun post and comment thread!
    I agree that homemade bread is a marvelous gift. At one of the churches my husband and I have served I was known for making a certain type of braided egg bread. I'd take it to church auctions and gift exchanges and it was always prized. Homemade apple butter was another favorite at those church auctions. One time a gentleman paid $80 (US) for a half pint! I'm sure he paid so much because it was a fundraiser, but it didn't hurt my ego any!
    Homemade vanilla extract is another of my favorite foodie gifts. Few people in my circle make their own, so a gifted bottle is always admired.
    Perhaps it's because I lived so long in the suburbs where more things are bought than made, but I think homemade anything taken to a pitch-in meal or given as a gift is valuable. Homemade treats, particularly when they're seen as "rare" as in the 'burbs, always go quickly at potluck suppers. I've taught my children since they were young that homemade is always better because it has love in it!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh, I have never made apple butter... I make lemon butter but I would love to try it. Yours is obviously good!
      I do have vanilla brewing... and it is looking and smelling good. I need to source some nice little bottles for that.
      Your braider bread sounds beautiful! I am working on my sour dough... I have some rising... it is looking ok so far but we will see! With love

    2. I love that comment, "Homemade is always better because it has love in it!"

    3. I love that comment, "Homemade is always better because it has love in it!"


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

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