Dec 8, 2008

Christmas Food Gifts For $1

Continuing the series of one dollar gifts, this post is about food gifts.

For neighbor, coworker and acquaintance gifts, food is always a favorite choice. It's neither to personal nor too expensive. I used to make a lot of candy for gifts but, considering the glut of treats floating around during the holidays, I think foods more suited to year-round use might be better received.

Infused Oils
Here is a great way to use up your garden herb surplus. Save interesting bottles through the year or collect them at low prices from dollar stores and places like Ikea, Oriental Trading, etc. Dry sprigs and cuttings of herbs from your garden. Add a mixture of compatible dried herbs to a large container of olive oil. (shop sales or buy a huge jug at warehouse store). Set aside the most attractive dried specimens. Then strain out the herbs from the jug of oil and discard. Fill your smaller bottles with the strained oil then add a few of the sprigs you set aside before capping and labeling the bottles.
Oils do have a rather long shelf life but because you'll be exposing the oil to air twice and adding foreign materials before gifting it, it's a wise idea to include a note on the label to indicate it should be refrigerated.
If you have a source for lots of small bottles, you can give a trio of three different oils.
Approximate cost: $1 for an 8 oz. portion if you have the bottle already. $2 if you buy a bottle.
See more exact instruction on flavoring oils here: http://www.cheftalk.com/content/display.cfm?articleid=125

Herbed Butters
Let butter (not spread or margerine) soften on the counter and then whip with a standing mixer or hand mixer. The butter will lighten in color and become fluffy. Add diced herbs like chives, dill, or combinations of herbs and spices like rosemary and garlic or lemon pepper. Use an icing tip and piping bag to make small, decorate "pats" on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Pop the cookie sheet in the freezer until the butter hardens. Package in a glass jar or a cello-bag with ribbon. Keep frozen until you're ready to gift them. These make great spreads and are also very handy for cooking. Include your favorite recipe on the card.
Approximate Cost: $1 if you use existing herbs in your cupboard or from the garden.

Pancake Mix
Store bought mixes are, to be honest, a total rip off. Pancakes are the easiest and cheapest thing in the world to make and a mix is even easier. All the ingredients are dry except the milk and egg.
To make the mix a step easier for the user, replace the egg with soy flour in the mix. Add one extra tablespoon of water to complete the soy flour egg substitute. Add powdered milk to the mix and adjust the ingredients to call for water to make it a complete "no brainer" for the culinary impaired.

Basic Pankcake Recipe
1 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 C milk (don't add to mix)
1 egg (don't add to mix)

Make the mix more interesting by adding your favorite embellishments like mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, cocoa powder, finely chopped macadamia nuts, etc. Package in a zip lock bag and then place that into a cloth bag you have sewn or saved. Include instructions for adding the milk and egg.

Approximate cost: $0.50 (with no extras and using their milk and egg). $1.00 with some embellishments for pizazz.

1 comment:

Kim said...

This is really cool. I like these ideas!