What’s festive, local, and packed-to-the-gills with creative people, ideas, and goods? The  INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Holiday Mini at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

It’s Friday, December 5th, from 5:00pm – 10:00pm, in downtown Indianapolis. Oh, and did I mention… it’s FREE?

Knock out a slew of people on your holiday shopping list with modern handmade goods from some of the most talented crafters and artisans in the midwest.

And, new at the Holiday Mini this year: D.I.Y. food and drink demos all evening long from some Indy Food Swapper All-Stars. If you love the idea of giving homemade food or drink items to the food-lovers on your list but don’t know where to start, make a date with us for this fun, free event. From infused vodkas to vegan baked goods, there will be something for everyone in your circle of food friends. The demos will be in the Underground, in the basement of the Harrison Center. The complete schedule and list of topics is below. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Don’t miss it.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours. See you December 5th!

Suzanne Krowiak
Founder, Indy Food Swappers 


5:30pm – 6:00pm: Marinated Olive Mixes with Keri Geiger

Add flavor to the holiday table with a homemade, marinated olive mix. Keri will demonstrate how to make a unique mix using Castelvetrano olives, oranges, figs, chiles, and almonds, and teach you the principles of creating your own custom mix at home. They are perfect appetizers for holiday parties, and great gifts for the food fans in your life.

Keri Geiger is a full time technologist and mom whose true passion is growing food, creating in the kitchen, preserving, and teaching her two children to eat fearlessly.  Her current obsession is fermentation, and she stands by her belief that if you feed people real food, they will love real food.


 6:00pm – 6:30pm: Vegan Shortbread Cookies with Jenn Nickels

It’s not the holiday season without homemade cookies. Shortbread cookies, a traditional holiday favorite, are known for their melt-in-your-mouth, buttery richness. But did you know you can make them without butter? Jenn will demonstrate a simple, six-ingredient recipe that’s friendly for vegans, and everyone else who loves a delicious cookie.

Jenn Nickels is a food swapper, kitchen bartender, cookie baker, tea maker, and master crafter. Her shortbread cookies are famous in these parts.


6:30pm – 7:00pm: Every Day Spice Mixes with Christina McDougall

Spices add flavor and nutrients to food. Christina will show you how to blend three common, yet frugal, spice mixes for sweet, spicy, and savory dishes. These are great to have in the pantry for quick meals at home, or paired with complementary culinary items in unique holiday gift baskets.

Christina McDougall is a writer for the news website The Examiner, and owner of Potentia Consulting, where she works with sustainably minded nonprofit organizations, farms, and businesses. She loves eating local, healthy, fresh, seasonal gluten free fare, and sharing her passion for frugal living.


7:00pm – 7:30pm: Cooking with Coffee with Jessica Weaver

Cold brew coffee and cold brew coffee syrup are the perfect addition to holiday brunches, cocktails, and savory dishes. Jessica will demonstrate how to enjoy cold brew coffee this holiday season, including delicious drinks, and an updated take on a traditional side dish. Take your sweet potatoes to a savory level, with the creative use of cold-brew coffee syrup.

Jessica Weaver is an avid home cook, food preserver, food swapper, and owner of Black Heart Enterprises, where she thoughtfully produces small batch cold brew coffee products in the heart of Indianapolis.


7:30pm – 8:00pm: Homemade Cheese Dip & Hot Chocolate Mixes with Dassie Rice

The gift list can add up during the holiday season. From aunts, cousins, and teachers, to babysitters, co-workers and more. Dassie will demonstrate how to make custom mixes for homemade cheese dips and hot chocolate drinks, and package them in re-usable holiday ornaments with recipe cards. It’s a holiday gift they can return to year after year.

Dassie Rice enjoys cooking, baking, event planning, designing, arts and crafting, and participating in the Indy Food Swap. Her work can be found on Etsy, and at Homespun Modern Handmade in downtown Indianapolis, under the name DassonMass.


8:00pm – 8:30pm: The Healing Properties of Dehydrated Herbs with Cara Dafforn

Learn how to dry herbs grown at home, or by local farmers, and use them in your kitchen and medicine cabinet all year long. Cara will demonstrate a variety of strategies for dehydrating herbs, and then use them to make Ipocras, a spiced wine used historically as a digestive aid. With the season of celebration in full swing, a natural home remedy like Ipocras is a great gift for friends and family this holiday season.

Cara Dafforn is the Executive Manager of U-Relish Farm, a company that solves the chore of dinner with crockpot meals, teas, and other goods at the historic Indianapolis City Market. She represents the Mid States Living History Association, and is interested in teaching historic food preparation and preservation techniques.


8:30pm – 9:00pm: Infused Vodka & Gift Cocktails in a Jar with Mary Pouch

Why spend a lot of money on infused or flavored drinks when you can make your own at home, easy and inexpensively? Mary will teach the basics of infusing alcohol with interesting and creative flavors, including Red Hot Vodka and Candy Cane Vodka. She’ll also provide fun ideas for gifting cocktails in a jar, including a white cranberry cosmopolitan. Cheers!

Mary Pouch is a food enthusiast, food swapper, middle school counselor and mother to one zany three-year-old. She believes you can cure many evils just by sharing food with people, and sitting down to dinner with your family.


9:00pm – 9:30pm: Homemade Harissa with Suzanne Krowiak

Every year, a different condiment seems to get extra lovin’ from the D.I.Y. food community. If 2014 belonged to sriracha, 2015 may be the year of harissa. A spicy paste that’s a staple in North African and Middle Eastern cooking, harissa can be used in everything from traditional ethnic dishes like shawarma or spiced couscous, to old standbys like scrambled eggs or spicy cheese dip. Homemade harissa in a jar, with a creative but simple label, is a great holiday gift for those who love food as much as you do.

Suzanne Krowiak is a Master Food Preserver and founder of Indy Food Swappers. She teaches classes and gives presentations year-round on food preservation and other D.I.Y. food topics.