Now that the holiday season is upon us, weekends will be packed with holiday parties. Throwing a party can involve a lot of time, planning and expense, so it’s nice to show the host or hostess some gratitude with a simple gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or elaborate. For the host that loves to cook, here are three budget-friendly, easy gift ideas that anyone can master.
Infused Olive Oil
Ingredients & materials:
Bottle with stopper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Tag and cardstock or paper
This is such a great gift because it looks beautiful, is so tasty, and it’s so easy to put together. Chances are, you already have the ingredients on hand too. The fancy bottle can be found at discount department stores, housewares stores or even some hardware and craft stores, and can cost around $5 or less.
Simply place a couple garlic cloves cut in half, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs in the bottle. I used rosemary and thyme, but you could use just about any hearty herb such as oregano or marjoram. More delicate herbs like basil might blacken over time, so if you want to add that flavor, it may be best to use the dried variety.
After adding the garlic and herbs, fill the bottle with a good extra virgin olive oil. Make sure the funnel you use is one reserved for food items only.
Add a nice tag that explains the bottle’s contents. I also think it’s nice to add a little recipe card too. That way, the host will know what to do with this delicious oil. My card had suggestions like:
• Use as a dip baguette dip
• Mix with vinegar or lemon juice for a salad dressing
• Pour over roasted vegetables such as acorn squash or potatoes
• Cook with poultry or white fish for added flavor
The longer the oil and herbs sit, the more flavorful the oil becomes, so it’s best to put this gift together at least a few days in advance.
Oven Mitt Gift Bag
If you shop at discount department stores or housewares stores, you can find high quality items for this gift that don’t cost a fortune. This is a great gift for someone who has just moved into a new place, someone who needs to upgrade their kitchen items, or newlyweds who may need a few essentials.
Simply place a few kitchen utensils in an oven mitt such as a spatula, wire whisk, wooden spoons, potato masher, serving spoon, or even a meat thermometer, vegetable peeler, ladle; just about any kitchen tool will do. Then tie a nice ribbon around the oven mitt, and you have an instant gift.
Homemade Recipe Book
I love to have friends over for homemade meals, and often get asked for the recipes. I always say I’ll email them, but time goes by, and then I forget. If you’re like me, this is a great gift for those people who have asked for recipes over the years, or for that person who would like a little more guidance in the kitchen.
9 typed and printed recipes
3 sheets cardstock
Awl (or thumbtack)
Embroidery thread or jute
Glue, stickers, fancy paper for decorating
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First, type up 9 of your favorite recipes. If you’re using 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock for your pages, when you print the recipes make sure they will fit on each page. I made mine fit in a 4″ x 7″ space, leaving 3/4″ empty space on the top, so there would be enough room for the fastener. I also drew a box around the type so I would know where to trim the page. If you’re using software like Microsoft Word, this can be done by making a text box. Otherwise, this can be done using most of the design software by Adobe.
If you’re not computer savvy, you may need someone to give you a little guidance. You could also use 11″ x 17″ cardstock which will give you enough room for a standard size piece of paper, or you could hand-write, or type the recipes on an old fashioned typewriter.
Use a bone folder to fold the cardstock pages in half one at a time. You can do this without the bone folder, but you won’t get a nice, clean edge.
Unfold the cardstock and punch holes with an awl (or thumbtack) a half inch apart.
Sew the pages together using embroidery thread or jute, and a tapestry needle.
You won’t want a hole in your front cover, so open the booklet and punch a hole in the top of the first right-hand page. Use this hole as a guide for the following pages.
Trim the recipe pages, and punch a hole in the top of each one—I like to stack mine a few pages thick, so I don’t have to do them one at a time. Using the fasteners, attach the recipes to the cardstock.
Use both sides of the pages by attaching one recipe to the front of the cardstock and one on the back.
Decorate the cover with stickers or fancy paper.