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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Gifts from the Kitchen

Frugal Kitchens 101
While homemade goodies have always been popular for gift giving over the holiday season there is a renewed interest in gifts from the kitchen this year. Part of the reason for this is the forced belt tightening of the recession. The fact is many have lost their jobs and many more are facing the very real possibility of losing their jobs. At the same time the holidays are a time of celebration and a time for a brief period of time to put the cares of the world aside for a few days. Gifts from the kitchen need not be expensive and it is surprising how creative you can get. Today's Frugal Kitchens 101 will focus on some of the basics necessary for getting the necessary materials needed for creating some gifts from the kitchen.

There are two main components for making gifts from the kitchen:

  • the edible component - For the most part choose foods where refrigeration is not a concern especially if the gift needs to travel any distance.
  • the non-edible component - This consists of any wrapping and/or containers for the food itself, the container to carry the food in and/or any additional items such as stuffings and decorations.
Edible component (of course as many homemade as possible):
  • good choices - breads, cookies, cakes, dry mixes, many home canned foods, jams, jellies, maple syrup, candies, vinegars, oils, chocolates, spices, herbs, coffee, teas
  • themes - Try to establish a theme for gift baskets or packets. One year we made movie theme baskets for friends of ours who had younger kids that included a video tape, a coupon for a free video renta, popcorn and pop. They still talk about that! What really matters with the theme is to come up with something that really reflects the recipient.
Non-edible components:
  • think non-disposable - Choose baskets or re-usable bins to put the packaged foods in. Get creative! For example one of your friends brown bags it. Make a cute and thoughtful gift basket using a reusable lunch bag with water bottle packed with appropriate eco-friendly lunch goodies. If at all possible use non-disposable wrappings for the food itself. Consider the reusable food container part of the overall gift. Find cute but inexpensive mugs to include as part of breakfast basket. Add in inexpensive items like serving spoons or butter knives to accent the the basket. Package in reusable but inexpensive tin cans and wood boxes found in discount stores, dollar stores and department stores (bought on sale). One cute idea would be to fill those a large silicone gloves with a few different spices and maybe a kitchen gadget then give it that way. There are so many possibilities. Many store bought baskets have some type of stuffing usually plastic or paper to make the basket look fuller than it is. Replace this with T-towels for a useful part of the gift baske.
  • wrapping - Most store bought gift baskets come wrapped in some type plastic wrap. If you need some type of wrapping aside of the actual basket or tin get creative using inexpensive T-towels or dishcloths something the recipient will find quite useful.
Please watch for next week's Frugal Kitchen 101 post that will continue the discussion on gifts from the kitchen.

5 food lovers commented:

A Year on the Grill said...

I am a big fan of taking something to friends (we have two close friends who are both laid off...

A nice batch of treats or even a found bargain (I just found turkeys for 89 cents a pound, and bought three, one to give away) is appreciated

very timely post

Garden Gnome said...

I think most people like getting gifts from the kitchen :) I like your idea of sharing a found bargain. That's a great idea!

Darlene said...

Great post.
We're doing homemade again this year. These ideas are a big help.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Darlene! I'm working towards getting more homemade ideas out there earlier this year. I know it is going to be a tough year for some so hopefully some of these tips and ideas will help.

Enjoy :)

Darlene said...

We make fudge. I knit and crochet. Then there's a BUNCH of "xxx in a jar" ideas. If it's a dry mix, you can put it in a canning jar with how to fix it attached. (I'm sure you know about these, but if not, let me know. I have a BUNCH of recipes I've downloaded over the years.)

Then there's homemade beauty items. Have a bunch of "recipes" for this stuff too.