Fill empty glass, or plastic jars with your favorite homemade treats, and you will have inexpensive food gifts for everyone. Simply fill jars, decorate the lids, or tie a big bow around the bottle neck, and voila!
Candies, Cookies & Cookie Bars
Using empty glass, or plastic jars (sterilizing will remove leftover smells) fill with your favorite recipe for candies, brownie bites, cookies, or cookie bars. By making your cookies, and candies bite-size, you can fit a colorful selection into every jar.
Make my bite-sized, healthier “Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal-Walnut Cookies” recipe, by rolling into small balls, and then bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until they start to brown. Or turn my “Toasted-Coconut Mexican-Wedding Cakes” (also called snowball cookies) into a traditional bite-sized cookie, baking for only 10 minutes, and when cool roll into shredded coconut and/or powdered sugar (both recipes as seen on Twinas Latinas Magazine).
Cupcakes & Muffins
Although you will need a very large-mouth container to fit cupcakes or muffins, give it a try, with recipes found in “Outrageous Holiday Cupcakes”. An easier solution may be to purchase oval serving dishes (from yard sale or thrift store, for pocket change) and sterilize, before presenting a gift-platter of cupcakes, wrapped or not.
Another great way to gift a selection of muffins is in a kitchen basket (or left-over Easter basket) lined with an inexpensive, dish towel. Then draw up the 4 corners of cellophane over the handle and tape down, or arrange muffins on a circular cardboard piece, and cellophane-wrap before placing them inside the basket.
Dry-Ingredient Decorated Goodie Jars
You can fill a sterilized glass jar with cookie, muffin, or brownie mix (only the dry ingredients) and include a recipe tag requiring the addition of eggs, milk, or water to the dry mix, along with baking instructions. Example: mix all ingredients thoroughly, pour into a square, greased pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
You can use most sweet-treat recipes, filling your jar with attractive dry layers, and then decorate the lid by gluing on anything from pine cones to fabric bows. Add a gift tag (with recipe on the back) and you’re finished, no need to wrap, or even bow-tie this lovely presentation.
Dried Herbs Seasonings, Teas or Beverages
Do you have a favorite meat rub, chili seasoning, or salad dressing and dip mixture? My favorite pre-made jar gifting is hot-cocoa mix, containing 3 to 4 easy layers of dark-powdered cocoa, sugar, powdered milk, and miniature marshmallows, or peppermint candies as pictured.
If you grow mint, oregano, or other teas, herbs, and spices, first dry them, and then crumble into a bottle, labeling for gift-giving. Oregano can be dried, and crushed for homemade spice gifts, and mint can be dried, and decoratively bottled for teas as pictured.
Nuts & Dried Fruits
Decorate a goodie jar as pictured, filled with homemade cookies, candies, and treats. Try making my easy and nutritious “Nutty Berry Trail Mix” as featured in Taste of Home Magazine (the recipe makes a lot).
Or fill a plain jar with mixed nuts (as shown) and embellish the lid with, flowers, pine-cones, a fancy bow, or simply tie-on a length of glitzy rickrack. If supplying healthy nuts in their shell, be sure to include an inexpensive nut cracker stuffed inside.
Spiced Cooking Oils
Because I cook and use spiced oils myself, the decorator oil bottles in most stores were such a disappointment, as they were mainly for show and inedible (rendering them useless in this economy). So I make my own now, and you can too.
Spiced oils are heavenly when used in your normal baking or frying, and they really make lovely food gifts. Using sterilized long-neck bottles, pour in signature-spiced cooking oils, seal with a lid or cork, and tie on a big bow!
The above picture shows a long-neck wine bottle, sterilized, and filled with extra virgin olive oil, peeled garlic cloves, thin sliced and vinegar-marinated carrots, along with hot Jalapenos and mild Peperocini peppers. More of my easy spiced-oil recipes can be found in “Quick & Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas to Make with Your Kids”, for a family-fun-filled holiday season.