Today kicks of my annual Christmas Planning in July series. You can see previous posts on planning for Christmas in July here:
If you have never considered undertaking planning for Christmas in July, I can highly recommend giving it a try. Undertaking some planning and preparation now saves you money, saves you time and helps make the Christmas season in December less rushed and enjoyable.
Key tasks for Christmas Planning In July
There are plenty of things you can do to get ready, but here are some I like to start with first:
- Set or reset Christmas budget.
- Choose a theme if not already chosen.
- Decide on handmade gifts and make at least half of them if possible.
- Start a Christmas present gift list.
Decide on handmade gifts
I will be talking more about each other topic over the next few weeks and today’s is about handmade gifts. Today’s post is a recipe I tested earlier this year which will make a perfect handmade Christmas gift. While I cannot make this in advance, I have tested it, know what I need to make it and was happy with the results.
I like to have a couple of food based gifts that I can make in bulk easily. They are great for neighbours and people that help me through out the year. It is also great to have a couple of extras stashed at home in case I need an emergency gift!
Other food type handmade gifts I have made before are:
I also then make handmade gifts in July to lessen the workload at the end of the year which I will share soon.
Chilli Chocolate Truffles
- 250g good-quality dark chocolate
- ⅓ cup thickened cream
- 1 tsp chillii flakes
- 2 tbsp cacao powder (for dusting)
- Grind chilli flakes into a fine powder. You will only need about ¼ teaspoon to add to the chocolate.
- Break up the chocolate into pieces and add to a heatproof bowl.
- Pour in the cream and then place on top of simmering saucepan of water. The water should not touch the bowl.
- Stir frequently until the chocolate has melted.
- Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add chilli. Stir so it is well combined, then cover. The chocolate mixture needs to cool in the fridge for around two hours. The mixture firms as it cools, so it needs to be firm enough that you will be able to roll it into balls.
- My chocolate mixture was quite hard (as I left it quite a bit longer than 2 hours!), but it was easy enough to scoop out chunks and roll it into balls.
- To make it as easy as possible, I used food handling gloves.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop out the chocolate mixture and roll it into a ball. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and continue to make the balls until all the mixture is used (makes about 28).
- I tried a number of different ways to coat the balls with the cacoa powder. I found dipping them in and rolling made the coating too thick. So in the end, I patted the cacoa powder onto the gloves then gave the balls a quick roll.
- The chocolate truffles then need to go back into the fridge for about 30 minutes so they can become firm or kept chilled until serving.
Our Family Menu Plan For This Week
No menu plan for me this week as I am away. I cooked for about 36 hours before I left so the kids and the husband will still be well fed while I am away!
The kid friendly menu planning app allows you to:
- Create weekly menu plans quickly, choosing as many meals per day as you would like to plan for.
- Generate the shopping list for all the meals selected.
- Modify the shopping list to check off items you already have at home.
- Email the shopping list to yourself and/or others.
The most popular recipes from the blog have been included and more will be added on a weekly basis. The app will notify you when new recipes have been added, so you will be able to deliver plenty of variety in your family’s menu plans. Each recipe lists the ingredients required, easy to follow instructions and a photo from the blog.
Have you started doing any planning for Christmas?