Homemade for holidays: Find gift inspiration in the kitchen

2012-11-30T00:05:00Z Homemade for holidays: Find gift inspiration in the kitchenBy ALEXANDRA ECONOMY | For the Love of Food and Health Winona Daily News

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and it can be a struggle to find the perfect gift and stay within budget when shopping for a long list of family and friends.

Take the stress out of this giving season by providing personalized, homemade gifts. Even if you aren’t one who enjoys arts and crafts, homemade food-themed gifts can be unique, simple to prepare and save you money.

For instance, create a gift basket with a theme such as movie night and include a large bowl, packaged popcorn, snacks and a coupon for a free movie rental. Fill a holiday mug with packets of flavored tea, hot cocoa or coffee for those who enjoy warm beverages. Other themed basket ideas could include wine and cheese, gardening, sports, and beauty and spa treatments.

I often give gifts of homemade berry jam that I canned during the summer berry season. It is always a hit. Other favorite gift-giving ideas include gifts-in-a-jar such as seasoning blends, cookie mixes, bean soups and flavored beverages.

Try the tasty and inexpensive recipes below for your holiday gift-giving season. Decorate your jars with fabric and a ribbon, and attach the recipe instructions to finish it off.

Alexandra Economy is a Winona dietitian.

Friendship Soup Mix

1/2 cup dry split peas

2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules

1/4 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup dry lentils

1/4 cup dry, minced onions

2 teaspoons Italian seasonings

1/2 cup rice

1/2 cup macaroni noodles

In a clean, quart-sized jar, layer all the ingredients except the macaroni.

Place the macaroni in a sandwich bag and place it on top of the other ingredients.

Cover the jar tightly with a lid, decorate it and attach a copy of the recipe card.

Recipe card (to be attached to your jar):

Friendship Soup

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey

3 quarts water

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 container Friendship Soup Mix

Brown meat and drain. Place meat in a large pot; add water and tomatoes. Add soup mix except macaroni. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Add macaroni and continue cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until macaroni is done. For best flavor, use this mix within 1 year. To avoid overcooked pasta in leftovers, add the appropriate amount of macaroni to the portion being served. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 150 calories, 4 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrate and 390 milligrams sodium.

Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookie Mix

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Layer the ingredients in a clean, quart-sized jar.

Cover the jar tightly with a lid, decorate and attach a copy of the recipe card.

Recipe card (to be attached to your jar):

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 container Cranberry Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter, vanilla and egg together until smooth. Add cookie mix and mix well.

Spoon drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. For best flavor, use this mix within 9 months. Makes 28 cookies.

Per serving: 100 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrate and 70 milligrams sodium.

Homemade Cornbread Mix

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup dry milk powder

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Place the mixture in a clean quart-sized jar. Cover the jar tightly with a lid, decorate it and attach a copy of the recipe card.

Recipe card (to be attached to your jar):

Homemade Cornbread

1 container Homemade Cornbread Mix

1 egg

1 cup water

2 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour dry mix into a large bowl.

In a second bowl, combine egg, water and oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir well.

Pour into a greased baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. For best flavor, use this mix within 9 months. Makes 10 servings.

Per serving: 150 calories, 4 grams fat, 25 grams carbohydrate and 330 milligrams sodium.

Copyright 2016 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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