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Homemade Gifts from the Kitchen

Of all the gifts that we receive, perhaps none is more appreciated than those that are homemade. Those are the special gifts that come from the heart and take extra time and thought. I have compiled a list of recipes and ideas that you can make in your kitchen. All can be prepared well ahead of time. Some need to be refrigerated or frozen, others can be stored in air-tight containers. A few require canning so consult an expert canning guide, such as the one that comes with the jars. Buy some clear plastic wrap, colored tissue paper, decorative tins, pretty ribbons and bows for festive presentations appropriate for the occasion. Do not forget to print or write out the recipe and include it with the gift (unless, of course, it is an old family secret). And, during the Christmas holidays, it is always a good idea to make a few extra packages to surprise those unexpected guests.


Baked Goods

Sweets and Treats

Canned Goods
Spice Blends

Soup Mixes

Flavored Vinegar
Rugelach Cookies Recipe Photo

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Baked Goods

This is a list of a few cakes, quick breads and cookies that make delicious gifts. All of the recipes can be made several months ahead and frozen. Bake the breads in mini loaf pans. The cakes can be made in 6-inch round or square cake pans, as well as mini loaf pans, adjusting baking time as needed. Make certain they are completely cooled before wrapping or freezing. For additional recipes, see the Cakes, Breads or Cookies pages.

Apies Cake

Nana Ranck's Molasses Cake (Dry Bottom Shoofly Pie)

Mrs. Rickert's Crumb Cake

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread

Zucchini Bread
Pumpkin Nut Bread

Blueberry-Orange Muffins

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grandmom Weber's Sand Tart Cookies

No-Bake Rum Balls (Cookies)

Rugelach (Crescent Cookies with Fruit and/or Nut Filling)

Sweets and Treats

I must admit that I do not make candy very often because I have a great source for delicious homemade-style chocolates. However, I do make a few favorites now and then, especially chocolate truffles that are to die for. In this category, I included my granola recipe that makes a delicious breakfast cereal or lightly sweet, healthy snack. Several of the remaining recipes are shared recipes contributed by visitors.

Dark Chocolate Truffles (with flavor variations)

Candied Pecans

Tammy's Caramel Corn

Mary Ellen's Orange Glazed Pecans

Vanessa's Rocky Road Fudge Bars
Mary Ellen's Chocolate Dipped
Peanut Butter Balls

Butterscotch Haystacks Candy

Chocolate Spiders Candy

Crunchy Homemade Granola with Oats, Nuts, Seeds and Vanilla-Maple Syrup

Canned Goods

Up until a few years ago, my mother and I canned all sorts of vegetables every summer. The pickles and tomatoes kept us through the winter with plenty leftover for gifts. Recipients loved those homemade gifts more than any others. Mom is gone now and my garden is smaller so I no longer preserve as much as in the past. Some of the items below can be refrigerated or frozen instead of processed, as indicated in individual recipes. If you are a novice canner, consult an expert or reputable canning guide. For more information and recipes, visit the Preserving page.

Chow-Chow (Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Vegetables)

Eric's Chow-Chow

Homemade Green Tomato Relish

Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish

Homemade Pickled Hot Peppers
Homemade Apple Butter

Stewed Rhubarb

Tomato-Based Barbecue Sauce

Homemade Steak Sandwich Sauce

Eastern North Carolina Vinegar-Based Barbecue Sauce

Spice Blends

Spice Blends make great homemade gifts. And they are so easy to make. Place the mix in small jars, attach labels with a list of the ingredients and include a favorite recipe in which to use the blend.

Cajun Seasoning

Chili Powder

Crab Boil

Curry Powder
Pickling Spice

Poultry Seasoning

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Taco Seasoning

Soup Mixes

Take the dried ingredients from your favorite bean soup. Make a packet of the herbs and spices, place it in a jar or bag with the correct amount of dried beans and other dry ingredients, in separate packets if they get added to the soup at different times. Do not forget to add the recipe. To make it even easier, add the amount of appropriate low-sodium dried bouillon granules needed to make the amount of broth needed. Dehydrated vegetables, such as onions, garlic and celery can be added as well to replace some of the fresh called for in the recipe. All the recipient has to do is add water, additional fresh vegetables and/or meat. The following are examples of recipes that adapt well to soup mix gifts. Others can be found on the Soups page. You can use any of your favorite recipes, as well.

Lentil Soup With Red Wine Vinegar

Lentil Soup with Pasta and Pancetta

White Bean Soup with Pancetta
Mom's White Bean and Ham Soup

Lima Bean and Ham Soup

Split Pea Soup with Pancetta or Bacon

Flavored Vinegar

This is a great idea. Make up your own flavor using your favorite herbs and/or spices. The possibilities are endless depending on the type of vinegar and seasonings desired. Place the herbs and vinegar in a covered jar or bottle and let it set in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, for 2 to 3 weeks. Shake the bottle occasionally.

Nut Bread

Cranberry-Orange Nut Bread Recipe Photo

Grandmom Weber's Sand Tart Cookies

Sand Tart Cookies Recipe Photo

Homemade Steak Sandwich Sauce

Steak Sandwich Sauce Recipe Photo

Lentil Soup with Red Wine Vinegar

Lentil Soup Recipe Photo