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Dec 132013
 December 13, 2013  Posted by  Features, Food, Holiday, Hot Deals

There is nothing more heartfelt than a one-of-a-kind gift you make yourself. So many different types of gifts lend themselves to being handmade — candles, soaps and, of course, edibles and drinkables. Most folks on the receiving end of such gifts appreciate the thought and time it took to create such a personal gift, and love that they don’t have to find a place to put yet another knick-knack (aka dust collector).

When it comes to creating and giving homemade foods and drinks, you can create very fancy gifts by going just a bit beyond the edible portion:

  • Pick up a cute basket or holiday box at your local Michaels, AC Moore, (don’t forget to bring your 40% off coupon) or Christmas Tree Shoppe.
  • Scrunch up some colored tissue paper or shred some colored paper to use as a basket or box liner.
  • Use your computer to print up cute labels to tie to bags or stick on jars. Google holiday or food images, or any subject that ties into the gift-giving occasion, to find a cute image to put on your label such as these from Land o’Lakes. (You’ll need to join its free club to access labels.)
  • Foods and drink mixes can be packaged in cellophane bags, canning jars or decorated foil pans. Pinterest is a great resource for creative ideas. Check out this board and this one to get you started.
  • Place your gift in the basket or the box and fill with coordinating accessories. More on that below.
  • Wrap with clear cellophane and tie a big bow at the top using wired ribbon, which will hold its shape better than fabric ribbon.
  • Don’t forget to include any preparation instructions the receiver will need.

A flavored coffee mix is perfect for the coffee lover and can be accessorized with a mug for home, a thermal travel cup, and a package of biscotti or stroopwafels for dunking. Try this Cappuccino Mix.

For tea-drinkers, gift this chai tea mix along with a tea cup and saucer, a tea cup cover to let tea steep, a tea ball and a tea towel. You might even whip up a loaf of quick bread to complete tea time.

Mulled wine mix goes wonderfully with a bottle of a favorite wine, a pair of wine glasses, a wine opener and a fancy wine bottle stopper.

Yummy hot chocolate mix can be put in a cellophane bag and paired with a big mug. Add another bag full of mini marshmallows and perhaps a few individually wrapped chocolate candies.

Brownie mix can be packaged along with a personalized baking dish, spatula and pot holders.

Who wouldn’t want to receive a selection of sweet, gooey sauces? They can be used on pies, to dip cookies in, on cakes or ice cream and more.  An adorable way to gift these is in a basket along with a nice ice cream scoop, a couple of sundae glasses and an assortment of colorful sprinkles.  Maybe even a little jar of maraschino cherries to add a pop of color. Try these hot fudge, salted caramel  and butterscotch sauces.

Be sure to store any perishables in the refrigerator until gift-giving time.

Heidi McIndoo

is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, author, and bargain hunter. She loves saving money and finding great deals, and can’t help but share the wealth when she does. She also loves all things food: baking, cooking, buying, eating, and more. She’s written about nutrition and healthy eating for Parents, Woman’s Day, All You, Prevention, and more. She enjoys teaching people how to eat both nutritiously and deliciously. And, in her two latest books she does just that — When to Eat What and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 200-300-400 Calorie Meals. She lives with her family in the Metro Boston area.

2 comments on “5 easy homemade mixes for drinks and sweets

  1. I’ve been making that Chai Tea mix for years with the added ingredients in the description. I get rave reviews and thanks for it.

    Cardamom can be pricey but try to find it in the bulk spice section of a natural foods store. It will be so much cheaper. I actually get it sent to me (pods) from my friend in India, along with other spices, and it’s dirt cheap. I just have to grind the pods. But when I run out, I do the bulk thing and it’s way better than buying it in a small bottle for $12!

  2. PS – I also make my own vanilla creamer for the Chai Tea Mix – much cheaper.

    One hint about making the mix – if you have the “large granule” milk, then make sure to run it, and the tea mix, through the blender. It will reduce the amount of mix, make it a smoother mix, and help it dissolve better. If you have fine powder milk, do not use as much as the recipe is set for the larger stuff.