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Friday, November 4, 2016

Festive Friday

I fully understand how lame this is, but it is part of a compilation gift for My Beloved Sister.  We only had each other as siblings while growing up and we are just 19 months apart so we have always been extremely close.  When we became adults we decided we would give each other 52 Christmas presents each year (one fore each week) but most of them were very small to zero cost items.  A free sample of detergent was wrapped and given, or some swag key chain or ball point pens.  It didn't matter as long as at the end we had about 52 wrapped presents. Over the years (we have gotten old and lazy) the number decreased and now we only do 15-20.  We usually give each other a couple of "real" gifts and fill in with the fun things we pick up . (I found a great set of vampire teeth after Halloween for a quarter.  She will love them!)

One of the "real" presents she wants for this year is a small colander. I was a reviewer for Amazon items for a brief while and would occasionally get free or small fee items to review.  One of them was a collapsable colander so after reviewing it (Yes Beloved Sister, you are getting a colander than has been messed with) I tossed it in her gift pile.  I couldn't figure exactly how to present it, because with cheap crap presentation is everything, so I decided to stick a bag of BOGO croutons and some salad dressing then wrap the whole thing in an Ikea dish towel (.79).  By my count that would be 4 gifts in one.

Today While I was cleaning out some of the kitchen cabinets, I found an old magnum bottle from champagne we got in a gift basket last Christmas. So now, instead of having to buy a bottle of salad dressing I have a much cuter item to stick in the colander.

Basil Infused Wine Vinegar

This is a very technical process so pay careful attention, ok!


Take a cup and a half of wine vinegar and heat it to where it is just about to boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of dried basil, remove it from the heat and let it sit for about an hour.  Strain it through a sieve to remove all the basil bits.  I used a pyrex measuring cup to strain it into because it has a pour spout.  Rinse the sieve and pour the vinegar into the bottle through the sieve once more.  Easy Peasy!

If I had used a clear bottle rather than the green champagne one I probably would have dried a stem of fresh basil to stick into it for looks, but it would not show through the green glass so I figured there was no need t worry about it.

This also would work well using champagne vinegar and would actually be prettier in the bottle but I had none and was not inclined to go to the store today.

Now My beloved Sister will have the beginnings of a very nice oil and vinegar dressing for the lettuce she can wash in her colander.  Nice cheap present plus I had every component on hand!

You can try your hand at this using any herbs you have on hand, but dry them before you infuse them.  I don't exactly know why but it is something about bacteria on fresh herbs, shelf life and food safety.  Even though I made this today, I will most likely put it in another container and use it myself, re-wash the champagne bottle and make her more closer to Christmas just for the food safety because I don't want to take up refrigerator shelf space just to insure it's safe at Christmas. Another option would be to process it in a Mason jar and 10 minute water bath, but that is way too much trouble for one container of infused vinegar.

Anyway if you have a sister who asked for a colander for Christmas you might want to try this.  It also might be good with a nice olive oil and a pair of salad hands or tongs for a salad loving friend.

20 comments:

  1. Clever Anne. What did you use to write the Basil Vinegar on the bottle? you have lovely handwriting.

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  2. I used chalk markers. I figure it won't last but I only need it to look good for one day.

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  3. You do indeed have beautiful handwriting. Something I notice more and more as fine motor control issues mean mine looks like chicken scratching.
    Years back we took to giving each other Christmas stockings. The small things inside them are frequently the highlight of our Christmas. I still remember bath crayons. One very, very hot day I spent the afternoon in the bath. Drawing ships and shipwrecks on the sides...

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    1. My handwriting is nice but this printing is just so so I am not a great printer or cutter. I think I have crooked eyes. I love the idea of drawing in the tub I don't do land or seascapes so I probably would draw faces all over the tub sides

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  4. I want fifty-two bottles of Valium, please.

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. So do I have to drinking wine to make this gift?

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    1. No it is your basic Regina red wine vinegar. It's not one of the really good ones, just a cheap red wine vinegar

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  6. Anne,
    Great idea--52 gifts. I had a version of that for my two sisters and mother.

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  7. 52 gifts is a marathon of gift giving!

    the fancy vinegar is a fab idea and perfectly matched with the colander

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  8. I like that I could recycle a bottle. Since I grew the basil my only oop cost was the vinegar. When I inventoried the pantry recently I found 2 unopened bottles so I am looking at this gift as just using inventory.

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  9. Where did you get your salad hands? I got mine at Christmas Village from Doug, a forest ranger from MS.

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  10. I got mine at a kitchen shop in Mt. Brook, but I ordered some from Amazon for Mom and My Beloved Sister

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    Replies
    1. Have you ever been to White Flowers?

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    2. I have been in the shop but never bought anything there.

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  11. You are just FULL of good ideas! And to think I was going to return the two empty wine bottles I currently have sitting by the recycling bin. Nope, going to re-use for gifts - thanks for this great idea!

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    1. You're most welcome. I save odds and ends, especially cool jars, thinking there will be some other way to reuse them, and most of the time there is. If it is still here a year later unused then I recycle

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  12. Replies
    1. It is kind of fun to think of things for My Beloved Sister that have little oop cost, but will be something she will use. We are both at that age where accumulating stuff is just not essential, so perfect gifts are something that can be used and enjoyed.

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