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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, December 10, 2012

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Eco-friendly Tips for Gifting Kitchenware

Frugal Kitchens 101

Last week's Frugal Kitchens 101 discussed a few ways to save on buying small kitchen appliances and equipment, specifically the best time to buy these items.  During the pre-Christmas season, the end of January and the two weeks before Mother's Day, great bargains can be found on all things kitchen related.  This is the best time to buy kitchen items for your home as well as gift giving.  Gift giving usually involves some type of wrapping because let's face it part of the gift includes the surprise of opening it.  Traditionally, the wrapping is some type of themed wrapping paper with a bow and card or tag.  Unfortunately, wrapping paper is not only expensive, it is not eco-friendly.  Wrapping paper can't be curbside recycled and while there are some novel ways to reuse wrapping paper, you are essentially paying for something that you know will end up in the landfill.  The same is true of gift cards.  A frugal kitchen seeks to reduce waste wherever possible including gift giving.  There are many ways to 'wrap' small kitchen appliances and kitchenware without resorting to wrapping paper and cards although a homemade gift tag is still a nice touch.  Here's a few tips for wrapping those kitchen items for gift giving without breaking the bank while being eco-friendly:

  • baskets - Baskets are an ideal way to give small kitchen items like mugs, tea balls, milk frother and those types of things.  Add in a jar or two of homemade jam or coffee mix, or tea bags to compliment the gift.  Tuck in a recipe to go with their coffee, tea or hot chocolate.  The basket can be reused by the receiver for a multitude of purposes.  The best places to find baskets in order of price are: resale shops, dollar stores, department stores (eg. Walmart, IKEA).  Keep in mind, you can spray paint baskets or dye wicker baskets for a personalized touch.  Larger baskets with or without cloth liners are perfect for holding some small kitchen appliances.  Picnic baskets are an ideal way to gift someone with a set of dishes, glasses and cutlery.  
  • metal/plastic containers - Metal containers are usually used for food items like fruit cake or cookies when gift giving.  The dollar stores usually have the best price on these containers.  However, there are metal storage containers with lids meant for the office that could be used to wrap kitchen utensils or gadgets, t-towels, and smaller items.  Plastic totes come in all sizes and colours, just perfect for wrapping all types of gifts in pluse the plastic tote is very useful in the pantry.  Think outside of the box.  One year we bought a stainless steel kitchen waste can then stuffed it with all kinds of kitchen essentials (eg. dish soap, t- towels, dishcloths, garbage bags, etc.) for one of our kids that was just setting up their kitchen.  A new recycle bin can be used much the same way as a basket.  
  • textiles - Textiles (eg. t-towels, tablecloths, cloth napkins) can be used to wrap a kitchen item for gift giving much the same way you would use wrapping paper.  Reusable cloth shopping bags are ideal for wrapping small kitchen appliances.  Smaller cloth bags are available for potpourie, soaps, and wine but you could use them to gift a wide range of kitchen related items.  They are available at dollar and department stores but if you are handy with a sewing machine, make your own.  Be sure to buy the material on sale.  If you crochet, there are several nice, free patterns available online for shopping and gift bags making your gift and wrapping personalized.  If you happen to know the receiver also needs a sheet set, use it to wrap small kitchen appliances or you can use sheets bought on sale to make gift bags.  

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