Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Gift Series - a bonus gift!

We usually publish our series articles on Thursdays, but since we're running out of weeks before Christmas (!!!), we have an extra gift idea to share with you today.

All of my friends should be getting coal in their stockings this year.

Does that sound mean?  Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, someone asked us what the best way to store charcoal would be (like for using your cardboard box oven).  After some discussion with my mother-in-law, we determined that it would be a good idea to vacuum seal it in little pouches and store it in a 5-gallon bucket.  This is especially helpful if you buy quality quick-lighting charcoal.  Vacuum sealing the charcoal would keep the chemicals from deteriorating away.

So, I bought a giant bag of really nice charcoal from Sam's Club and brought it to my in-laws' home for Thanksgiving, and we spent an hour or two vacuum sealing them up (since I don't have a vacuum sealer).  We sealed them in packs of 9 or 10 briquettes, since each one gives off 40 degrees of heat and this would give me either a 360 or 400 degree oven.  Then my mother-in-law suggested that this would be a great gift for friends!  Just put a bow around the little charcoal pack, and include instructions on how to make a cardboard box oven, or just suggest that people add them to their 72-hour kits.  You know, "coal in your stocking".  I could even go to the dollar store and buy those small cheap stockings if I wanted to. Perfect!!

Since we didn't have a 5-gallon bucket handy, we filled a large garbage bag with our charcoal packets and threw them in the back of the car to bring home.  When we got home late Sunday night, I put the bag in the laundry room and told myself I'd take pictures and put bows on some of them the next day.

Well.... my husband lovingly took out the trash on Monday morning, and we have to walk through the laundry room to go out to the carport where the trash bin is.  He saw the garbage bag by the door and tossed it into the bin outside, then dragged it to the street to be taken away.

A noticed a few hours later that it was gone, but I was too late... the truck had already come and had taken away my big bag of charcoal packets!  I was really sad because I can't buy another big bag of charcoal, let alone a vacuum pack machine and baggies.  Thankfully I have lots of other options for gift ideas, but it's too bad I can't do this cute (and easy) one this year.  Maybe next year.

So, that is why I have no pictures to show you of this gift.  However, I hope you can imagine what I'm explaining, and I hope that maybe some of you can try something like this for your friends and family this Christmas.

Stay tuned for another great (and delicious!) food storage gift idea tomorrow!


Candace said...

I LOVE your blog! I love the charcoal idea too. Too bad your hubbie was being super efficient!

Lynn said...

Oh no! That would of made be REALLY sad!!!

Michelle said...

Oh, no! Great idea, though!

Southerner said...

Doesn't that make you want to throw up- it is so sickening! He owes you.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I wish I had a vacuum sealer to do this with. I'm sorry that there was a mix up and you can't use your idea now. I'm trying to decide which idea to pick for gifts!

Sondra said...

I would want to cry!! OOOOOooh I am so sorry that happened... All that work thrown away. So sad. It is a great idea... I'm going to have to do that one year for my friends. This year I asked for a dutch oven for Christmas to be part of my food storage program. I need to get charcoal for it - to store. That is a great idea about vacuum sealing them up. I'll have to do that. Thanks for sharing and soooooo sorry about all your hard work.

Garrett said...

In my own defense, I would everyone to know that:
1.) She asked me to take the trash out.
2.)It was dark.
3.)It was past my bed time and I was in a hurry.
4.)I have been working out a lot lately and I didn't notice the fact that the bag was so heavy
5.) #4 is a lie.

Anonymous said...

That is a great idea actually.

Wouldn't the chemicals in the quick lighting charcoal leak or melt the plastic of the bags?

They normally use some type of flammable petro chemical to soak the pieces in, thinking it would leech out and ruin the plastic.

West Family said...

If it makes you feel any better my sister once had her daughter's blessing dress (which was made from her wedding dress) her daughters "home from the hospital" outfits, handmade blankets, first shoes/booties, first baby doll, etc...in a garbage bag that got thrown out in the trash. She was heartbroken to say the least, but it does remind you that they are just things. So sorry about the wasted gifts.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this idea! I just blogged about it here: http://giveldsgifts.com/2008/12/food-storage-gifts-giveaway-alert/

If you don't have a vaccum sealer, I wonder if the new Ziploc freezer bag vaccum would work. (http://www.ziploc.com/?p=b10) I am trying it for the first time and it seems to be working well on the meat in my freezer. Thanks for the great blog!