Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mason Jar Mania

Oh, look! It's a mason jar! With a chevron tag! And kraft paper! And a chalkboard label! And...! All it needs is a neon fox with a mustache and I think this little bread-mix-in-a-jar has hit every handmade trend going right now. The sad thing is, it wasn't even intentional. That is not at all a claim that I have a finger of the pulse of coolness, or that I even understand true coolness anymore. It does feel a damned shame that what is cool gets to be chosen by people who are 13. (Sidenote: That's actually the truth, you know. In my linguistics classes we always talked about how language trends began with middle schoolers. So if you want to know what the next hot phrase will be, find a 7th grader. Totes Magotes.) I like to think I'm kind of cool, and that hair cut to mimic Johnny Lawrence from Karate Kid is NOT cool, but I guess that just means I'm getting old. I wouldn't go so far as to say that giving someone a jar of cookie mix is cool, unless maybe that cookie mix was inspired by Jem and the Holograms and makes you poo sparkles. That would be considered cool even by middle school standards. (Sidenote: Did you know a new in box Jem doll goes for over $300 on eBay now? I should have hung on to mine. Even Kimber gets $225 and she played the keytar.)

But anyhow, back to those pesky little on-trend mason jars. I dare you to get a mix-in-a-jar as a gift and not think it's pretty awesome. You can do so much with them! Soup, bread, brownies, cookies! And once you empty it you start scanning Pinterest pages for all the millions of ideas for how to turn your mason jar into something truly fabulous (A light fixture! A terrarium! A house for fairie folk!) It's just too much fun for one person alone! So you will just have to share with your pals. They are quick to make, inexpensive, and everyone appreciates a little something handmade, even if you didn't knit an organic, free trade alpaca wool afghan. Cause who can do that? You can do this:

Holiday Gingerbread in a Jar

-Grab a quart sized jar and three small bowls.

-Into one bowl, measure 1/2 c. brown sugar.

-Into the second bowl measure 1 1/2 cups of flour.

-Into the third bowl, measure 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger and 1/2 tsp. allspice.

-Pour 1/2 of the flour into the jar. Don't be silly; use a funnel or a spoon so you don't make a big mess.

-Add the brown sugar in a layer, top with the remaining flour, then add the spice mix in the last layer.

-Grab a ziploc sandwich bag. Fill it with 1/2 c. of powdered sugar, seal it up, and stuff it into the jar.

-Put the top on the jar with a cute scrap of fabric, a doily, tinsel, or whatever you have around the house that could pass for festive.

- Print out this little recipe card below. Punch a hole in one corner and tie it to your jar with baker's twine, ribbon, yarn, whatevs.

And voila! You have a ready to give little handmade gift! Want to dress it up for your hipster pals? Feel free to draw a mustachioed woodland creature on the jar with a sharpie, knit it a tiny beret, or tag it with faux bois prints. (Oh wait, I actually have some of those!) Or you can just ask me for some chalkboard labels and be done with it. I'm all stocked up.

Also, not so keen on gingerbread? No worries there! Take a peek at this board full of lovely ___-in-a-jar recipes for bars, cookies, breads, soups, and even bath goodies!

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