Homemade Gifts

Touching the heart, by way of the kitchen.

Give the gift of a satisfied tummy and a warm heart by presenting everyone with homemade gifts that they can eat!

For all the special celebrations in your life, show loved ones you care by making beautiful edible gifts. A homemade gift adds a personal touch, letting each recipient know that he or she is extra-special.

Give the gift of Good Fortune
One gift that’s fun for kids and adults alike is homemade fortune cookies with personalized fortunes. For children, the fortunes can be silly riddles, words of encouragement, or promises for a trip to the park, the movies, or out for ice cream.

For adults, the same guidelines apply–but you can also write fortunes for your sweetheart, like a backrub or promise to cook a favorite meal. Use your imagination to make each fortune fun!

To make the cookies, cut out strips of colorful paper and write the fortunes before you begin baking. Once the cookies come out of the oven, work fast and fold them while they’re still warm. If you want to get extra-fancy, dip the ends of the fortune cookies in chocolate after they have cooled.

Buy Chinese take-out containers at craft or party supply stores and decorate them with markers or paint. They will make perfect gift boxes for your sweet treasures!

For even more hints and tips, see how to melt chocolate.

A Thousand Flavorful Meals
Unless you have your very own window herb garden, cooking with fresh herbs can be expensive and they might not always be on hand when you want them. An indoor herb garden is a terrific gift for anyone who likes to cook.

Choose a narrow wooden crate, galvanized steel window box, or rectangular terra cotta pot that will fit on a windowsill. Fill it with several small pots of herbs: a good starter kit might include rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, Italian parsley, and cilantro. To add a personal touch, include recipe cards with your favorite recipes featuring the herbs in the garden.

Wagging Tails and Contented Purrs
When making homemade treats, don’t forget about four-legged companions. Cut pet treats with cookie cutters to make them more festive–bones, fire hydrants, dog houses, fish, or birds. Use miniature cookie cutters for cats and small dogs, and bigger cutters for bigger dogs. Present the biscuits in a fancy jar, a decorative tin with animals on it, or in a cute pet food dish. Wrap with colored cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Tail-wagging and purring guaranteed!

Easy and Elegant Meals
We all love to unwind and enjoy the casual elegance of a gourmet meal at home without all the worry and hassle. Provide dinner ingredients in a beautiful and functional container, and all your friends have to do is open a few packages, settle in, and enjoy…

Picnic for All Seasons

In a picnic basket or canvas tote bag, arrange crackers, cheeses, pâté, salami, smoked salmon, mustard, apples, mixed nuts, and brownies.

Wheat Crackers

Photo by CC♥’s2bake

Fiesta

In a decorative chip-and-dip bowl or tortilla keeper, place a bag of tortilla chips alongside some salsa, olives, bean dip, green chiles, margarita mix, tequila, and limes. Don’t forget the Mexican cookies for dessert!

Corn Tortilla Chips

Photo by SHORECOOK

Breakfast Worth Getting Up For

On a serving tray or in a newspaper basket, arrange packages of tea and coffee, scone mix or breakfast cookies, jam, honey, granola or muesli, dried fruit, and fresh oranges.

Grandma Johnson's Scones

Photo by S. Becker

That’s Amore!

In a pasta bowl, salad bowl, or colander, pile up a package of gourmet (or homemade) pasta, a jar of good tomato sauce or pesto, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, a head of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bottle of wine, and some homemade biscotti for dessert.

Basic Pasta

Photo by catherine.drew

A Cozy Night In
Pair sparkling wine and glasses with homemade chocolate truffles, or hot cocoa mix and mugs plus cookies for dipping. Tuck these items into a sturdy decorative box along with some quick-lighting fireplace logs (or candles, for fireplace-less households).

Easy Decadent Truffles

Photo by lil_cooker

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