Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Food -Themed Homemade Gift Baskets

One of the great things about homemade gift baskets is the endless possibilities of items to include. When it comes to food-themed gift baskets....count me in! I love to receive baskets of goodies to play with, and I've been introduced to foods that I might not have otherwise tried myself.
Another great thing about
homemade gift baskets is that they really fit any budget. If you don't care how much you spend---great! But if your budget is tight---this type of gift will work well for you also.
I'm going to give you ideas here for any budget, and your recipient is sure to love any of these
homemade gift basket ideas!

For those of you on a tight budget, I highly recommend the dollar store to find a container and other items.

An Italian food homemade gift basket:
A colander as your container. (Yes, you can find these at the dollar store....sometimes even a stainless steel variety.)
Line it with a dish towel from the dollar store
Put a couple boxes of spaghetti in, a jar of more "gourmet" looking sauce. (In other words, probably something other than Ragu or Prego.)
Include a hunk of cheese like Romano or Parmesan
A wrapped loaf of Italian bread or a French baguette, and...Presto! A great dinner in a basket and you can get all of this for around 10-15 dollars, max.
Wrap the whole thing in cellophane and tie it with a pretty bow....maybe a red and white checkered bow to make it look more like a little Italian restaurant in a basket.

Mexican Food Homemade Gift Basket:
Choose a container like a wooden crate or a rectangular basket. You can find wooden crates at any craft store or you might be able to pick one up at the grocery store. Sometime fruit deliveries come in wooden crates and your grocery store might be getting rid of them for free.

Line the crate with a dish towel that is colorful or has a chili pepper design.
Fill the basket with a jar of salsa, cheese dip, black bean dip, etc.
Include a small packet of rice and some spice mixes for tacos or fajitas.
Add a bag of tortilla chips and you're set.
If you'd like, you could include a bottle of margarita mix and a couple of cactus glasses. I have a couple of cactus shaped margarita glasses that I found at the dollar store....just look around, you're sure to find something.

Chinese Food Homemade Gift Basket:
I think you're getting the idea by now that you can do this with anything....
Your container could be a small wok or a Chinese-Style take out container. I saw some of these containers at Michaels craft store. They come in all sizes and colors.
Put some filler in the bottom of the container, and then put your food items in.
You could put a package of rice, a bottle of soy sauce, some Chinese Five Spice, (found in the spices section of your grocery store) a piece of ginger root, (found in the produce section of the grocery store) a head of garlic, and a couple pairs of chop sticks.
If your grocery store has an ethnic foods section, look around. There are lots of jars of sauces and ingredients that you could include as well.
With this particular gift basket, you'll want to be sure to give it right away if you are using fresh ginger root and garlic because those items will go bad over time.

Gifts in a Jar Homemade Gift Basket:
A very inexpensive way to make a great homemade gift basket is to use homemade food gifts in jars, such as brownie mixes, cookie mixes, cocoa mixes, hot tea mixes, etc.
All you need to do is get a basket, line it with an inexpensive dish towel from the Dollar Store, and assemble the jars inside. You could include a brownie pan or a couple of cute mugs depending on what's inside your jars and you're done! Canning jars are usually easy to find. You could check ebay or your local freecycle. People are often giving them away for free or cheap. If you can't find any, you could use any jar you have, just make sure it's clean and sterilized before you add items.

Here are a couple of recipes but if you search for gifts in a jar recipes for your homemade gift basket ideas, you'll find many more.
Homemade Gift Basket Butterscotch Cookies in a Jar:
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup white sugar

To Make the Layered Jar Gift:
Layer ingredients in a one quart mason jar, in the order given. Screw the jar on the lid, and cover with a circle of fabric or a paper doily, held down with a rubber band. Cover the rubber band with yarn or ribbon and tie a bow.

Print a Butterscotch Cookies Label, include the directions and tie on as a gift tag, or glue to the front of the jar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Add 1 egg and 3 to 4 tablespoons of water. Add entire jar of butterscotch cookie mix and stir until blended. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookies sheet. Bake for 12 minutes in 350 degree F. oven. Remove from oven and cool.

Homemade Gift Basket Hot Chocolate in a Jar:
1½ cups skim milk powder
1½ cups white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
¾ cup non-dairy creamer

To Make this Jar Gift:
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well. For a finer mix, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix well.

Store in an air tight container.

Place 2 or 3 tablespoons in a mug and add boiling water.

Homemade Gift Basket Apple Crisp in a Jar: A favorite of Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

8 Graham cracker squares, crushed
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Sift together the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place in the bottom of a large (quart) canning jar.
Put in the rolled oats, then the brown sugar. The graham crackers go on top.
Put the lid on, and place a small square of cute fabric on top, screw the ring on, then tie a ribbon around it with the label.
On the label write the following instructions:
Apple crisp: 1/2 c butter or margarine, melted. 4-6 large Granny Smith apples Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice apples and arrange in the bottom of an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. Pour the contents of the of the jar over the apples. Add melted butter to the mix, covering it thoroughly. (You can add a 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the butter if you'd like for a little extra flavor.) Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Hopefully you'll find some great uses for these great
homemade gift basket ideas to make your loved ones very happy and very full!