Homemade Foodie Gifts for the Holidays

Simple Syrup Lemonade

On a budget? Wanting to give something more meaningful? Looking for something unique to give friends? Well, here you go! I’ve compiled a list of simple homemade foodie gifts for the holiday, and will be chatting them up on San Diego NBC 7/39 News at 11:25am (12/16/13).  Hope you can tune in!

First off the list:

  1. A “3fer” Candied Citrus Peels, Spiced Simple Syrup, & Fresh Juice
  2. Candied or Spiced California Almonds
  3. Kahlua
  4. Vanilla Extract

The 3fer to start! Living in Socal I have citrus trees, and what I don’t grow my friends or neighbors do, which makes this recipe very budget friendly.  Why is it a 3fer? 3 for 1–you get 3 products for 1 production: the juice from the citrus (don’t waste it, it’s delicious), the syrup that the citrus cooks in, and the candied peels.

Here’s the recipe I used from Martha Stewart’s website.  Now here are my modifications, pay attention!

  1. Cut the citrus along the hemisphere and juice them (the juice can be used for lemonade or orange juice or whatever).
  2. Scrape out excess insides (see pictures).
  3. Then slice up into thin strips.
  4. Next, boil them 3 times (not twice) for 3 minutes each time…this really helps with bitters.
  5. Add in whatever spice combination you’d like (lemon-lavendar/ginger-orange/cinnamon-orange are the ones I did).
  6. I don’t wash down the sides, I stir every 15 minutes until the citrus look more clear.
  7. Lastly, I don’t use a slotted spoon…I used tongs, they worked wonderfully!
  8. Once the syrup has cooled pour into mason jars or fun jars to give as gifts of simple syrup! Add in a recipe for spiced lemonade or a fun cocktail!


Next up, spiced California Almonds.

Most folks add in a lot of sugar, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t adjust this as you see fit.  Play with it and make it yours! For me, almonds are plenty sweet on their own.

Spiced California Almonds


  • 3 cups raw California almonds
  • 3 Tbsp sugar (up to 1 cup sugar if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (many recipes will say this in steps—doesn’t need to be that way, just mix and go!)
  • Spread out onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Spread out to cool on parchment paper and store in Mason Jars.
  • FYI: you can omit sugar and cinnamon and add fun spices to make this more savory instead of sweet.


spiced california almonds

Kahlua…who would’ve thought this was so simple?! Thanks to my co-author, Meri Raffetto for suggesting this recipe!

Here’s the recipe, but here’s what I did:

  1. I divided the coffee amongst 6 (16oz) mason jars (1 cup into each jar–if the jars are labeled with measurements that is a plus)
  2. Added ¼ cup brown sugar into each
  3. Added in ½ cup vodka & 2 tsp vanilla into each

To me, seeing the recipe this way made it easier, especially if you want to cut the recipe down. BTW, I used TItos Vodka!


 kahlua & vanilla

Vanilla Extract

Loved this recipe, simple with great suggestions!  No changes on my part!

Today’s hard work paid off…I now have fun gifts for all of my friends.  Hope y’all try some of these out, too!

Grand Finale~

Homemade gifts





 Just Wendy Jo

Recent Related Posts

3 thoughts on “Homemade Foodie Gifts for the Holidays

    • Yep, it’s not as thick, but if you want it thicker you can reduce the coffee and sugar over medium heat, like a simple syrup. This is perfect added to hot cocoa for a hot spiked mocha 😉

  1. Pingback: Perfect Gift to Give #Giveaway #CaliforniaAlmonds | Just Wendy Jo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *