In My Kitchen (January 2018)

Happy, Happy 2018!


After Christmas, I usually post about the gifts we made and sometimes the homemade ones we received.  About five or so years ago, my side of the family decided that we had too much stuff and from that point forward only homemade items would be given at Christmas.   (My mom veers off a bit from the decree but her gifts are always well thought out and appreciated!  🙂 )

I recently found “In My Kitchen” (via Mae’s Food Blog) so I am linking up today and sharing our bounty. Today’s post has a dual purpose:  to show some items we made for gifts and some items received  as well as my inaugural “In My Kitchen” post.

First of all, The Hubs made the most fabulous garden trugs for me, Mom and Sis.   Mine was the prototype but I love it.   I cannot wait to use it this summer to harvest.  (If you want to make one for yourself, the plans can be found here.)

Ready to harvest kale and chard from the greenhouse.

We gave out lots of jams, jellies, hot sauce and pickled jalapenos.  The jalapenos were a special request from my sister.  We harvested TONS this past summer.  She hardly got any.  I also made some perfume and green tea skin toner for gifts. (It’s amazing what one can do with vodka!)  And, I’m venturing off into making jewelry and created some bracelets for Mom and Sis this year.

We received some delicious homemade preserves from both Mom and Sis including homemade ketchup, pear chutney, seedless raspberry jelly, mock pineapple (made from zucchini), salsa, harissa, malt vinegar and chive vinegar.   (That harissa that my sister makes is the best—especially on smoked pork loin.)

Packed in the pantry for future use.

Mom also made us some chocolate peanut clusters and a Kansas City spice rub.   I hope it warms up soon so we could grill and try it out.

Sis also got me the Lodge Cast Iron Nation Cookbook.  (OK, this was actually a birthday present but I didn’t get it until the Christmas holidays.)

The recipes in it are regionally classified.  The desserts sound fantastic (White Chocolate Strawberry Biscuit Pudding, Apple-Pecan Clafoutis).  The most interesting dish has to be Hay-Roasted Chicken.  I can’t wait to use it.

Mom had found a partial set (Volumes 1-3) of The Kitchen Grimoire at a garage sale or estate sale. (Going is one of her favorite hobbies.)  I received Volume I for Christmas.   She kept II and gave Sis Volume III.

These are expansive books and are quite interesting.  I don’t know a lot about the author but she must have been a recipe collector.   My copy contains a bit about astrology, beverages (with lots of homemade wine recipes), condiments, preserves (I can’t wait to delve into that section), salads, soups, sandwiches, breads, and barbecue.   I think we should swap volumes next Christmas after we mark up our favorites.   What do you think?

Mom also gave us many seeds, harvested from her garden, everything from pollinator friendly flowers to vegetables.  She packaged up seeds for deep yellow and pink shaggy zinnias, Amish cockscomb, red amaranths, cleomes, Japanese climbing cucumbers and many heirloom tomatoes.   I can’t wait to get these started.

Both of my grandmothers crocheted and I never learned from them.  My sister did, however, and made me the coolest water bottle carrier (after a not so subtle hint of what I wanted for Christmas).

Since she brought her supplies, she also whipped up some pot holders while she was here.

I wish I had listened to my grandmothers and learned how to do this.

Finally, Mom got me this for my recent birthday but it wasn’t until the holidays that we broke it out to use it.

The sheath is on this ulu knife for good reason.   I was chopping peppers (without the bowl) and cut myself almost immediately.  Thinking that it would be safer with the bowl, I later asked The Hubs to chop onions and peppers for a chili we were making.   He sliced his finger pretty badly.  🙁   I still love this knife and bowl but might use kevlar gloves the next time I use it.  🙂



What cool kitchen things did you receive (or give) this holiday season?



For more information on “In My Kitchen,” click here.

If you’re interested to see other gifts we have made, here’s what was wrapped up in 2016.


25 comments to In My Kitchen (January 2018)

  • mae

    IT’s great to have you joining In My Kitchen. Your collection of hand-made items and home-preserved foods is fantastic. This is a great post! I’m delighted to have introduced you to this blogging event, which has been going on for years: long before I joined.

    Have a wonderful year in 2018.

    best… mae at

    • Thank YOU, Mae. It sounded like a fun idea. (However, it’s strange to see Sherry posting about her “summer kitchen” as I am getting ready to go out the door this morning in multiple layers!)

  • Those pot holders are really nice. Happy New Year, Deb.

    • Again, my grandmother used to make tons of these and my supply from her hands is running low. I was glad to get more handmade ones from my sister.

  • Oh yes, I used to follow a few Aussi and Sa bloggers who did this monthly post. Very fun and great stuff you got/made. Green tea skin toner, nice!

    • It actually is nice but needs to be used quickly. It’s nice to keep it in the fridge (especially in the summer). Refreshing.

  • Oh wow love the look of those vinegars!

    • I can’t wait to try them. My BiL is a home brewer and I think he made the malt vinegar. Love the color that the chive vinegar ages to.

  • Love the home made gift of water bottle carrier. How special.

  • I love the idea of homemade gifts. Those are the best anyway. I made some Candy Cane Vodka this year – the only gift from my kitchen. It was really good and I’ll make more of it next year. A reader of my blog emailed me to let me know she made several of my Jalapeno Cheese Balls and gave those as gifts. Why didn’t I think of that???? And just to let you know, we made plans to return to NM in March. yay. This time we’ll be staying at a B&B outside of Chimayo.

    • MMMM…Candy Cane vodka. Congrats on the upcoming NM trip. I was just perusing VRBO myself (seriously). You must let me know about staying in Chimayo.

  • Firstly Happy new Year Deb. Its so nice to see you taking part in IMK and I am glad as I am loving your stuff. I love homemade goodies and wish more people did this. I gave most of my colleagues and friends homemade jams and chutneys. I adore the crochet bottle holder and will ask my mother to make me one, she has recently got back into knitting. I know what you mean about learning, I don’t see my mother often enough now to learn from her and regret it.I am off to check your link for pickled jalapenos, i’d love to give this a go some day

  • Jen

    Oh if only I knew someone who could crochet I’d be begging them to make me a water bottle carrier too – so cute and practical! I had my first go at making pear chutney before Christmas and it is seriously the nicest thing I’ve ever had with ham. It’s made me want to branch out and try more preserving and you’ve given me a few ideas, especially jalapeno jelly! YUM! Happy 2018!

    • I love the water bottle carrier! And, I would open a jam factory (or chutney) if I could! 🙂 Happy New Year to you as well.

  • I love all of the kitchen things! Homemade gifts are among my favorite – Vegas’ mom sent homemade jelly! My mom sent a ton of chocolates from Paris and a book on Alice Waters that I’m super excited to read.

    • Is it her newest memoir? I want to read it but have heard mixed reviews. (What do book reviewers know, anywhoo?)

      Happy New Year, Laura!

  • Wow, I love the garden trugs…perfect for any gardener.

  • hi Eliot
    thanks so much for joining in with us here at IMK. it is lovely to have you here. and thanks to Mae for introducing you. i just got back from hols yesterday so now have time to get stuck into the IMK posts. those trugs are really wonderful – clever hubby. i have just read a book by alice waters which was a bit of a mixed bag. perhaps that’s the one you are referring to above? i love preserving too and usually make some mango chutney this time of year but a bit later when they go down in price. love the crochet water bottle holder. so clever is your sister! yep it’s darn hot here atm- a very summery kitchen. have fun and hope to see you next month. cheers sherry x

    • Thank you, Sherry. Did you read her new memoir? I want to but have heard that is a bit of a “mixed bag” as you say. Hope I remember to link up in February!

  • Welcome to In My Kitchen! Homemade gifts simply are the best and it looks like you gave and received well. The garden trugs would be perfect, I’ll have to remember that idea.

    • Thanks, Gretchen. I think the trugs were pretty simple to make. The Hubs did modify them a bit by routering some edges and adding some pegs to the handle.

  • Liz

    Welcome to In My Kitchen! What a great idea to have only hand and home made gifts, and your pantry looks stocked with yummy stuff for the year. I didn’t know you could freeze garlic, I am going to give that a try. Happy New Year.