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8 Simple Tasty Gifts that Anyone Can Make

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller

Gift giving is not just for Christmas. Holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion are great times for surprising someone with something tasty. These simple, frugal recipes make great gifts any time of the year if you don’t eat them all first! Be certain, however, that the recipient will enjoy and can use these items. Someone on a diet or with food allergies may prefer an alternative.

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Pooh Honey Truffles

This recipe was adapted from the 100 Acre Wood Picnic Edition of the Candy Land Game. It’s tasty and easy to make.

1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Milk chocolate chips
Sweetened cocoa powder

In a small bowl, blend well the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar little by little until all ingredients are blended and smooth. Chill for about 30 minutes or until the dough has thickened slightly. Use a teaspoon to scoop a spoonful of dough. Place a couple chocolate ships in the center and roll into a ball. Roll the ball of dough in the cocoa powder until completely covered. Place the truffles on a plate and refrigerate for about 2 hours until the truffles have slightly hardened. Yields about 30 one-inch truffles

Peanut Butter Chocolate Marshmallow Treats

Marshmallow treats made with crispy rice cereal are always a wonderful treat to make. You can make marshmallow treats more interesting by mixing peanut butter with the marshmallow mixture and spreading melted chocolate on top, if desired. When mixing the marshmallow mixture, spray nonstick cooking spray on your spatula to keep the marshmallows from sticking. Wet your hands with cool water (to prevent the mixture from sticking) and press the mixture into the pan. (You can also use a plastic cereal liner to press into the pan.)

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn balls are great fun to make and make inexpensive gifts. Use gelatin to color the balls and decorate with small candies or wrap in various color plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon. Place these in a basket for an attractive gift. For several easy recipes (including a healthy alternative) read Popcorn: More Than Just a Delicious Nutritious Snack

Hidden Valley Ranch Snack Crackers

This is an inexpensive, quick gift that is a great snack alone or excellent with soups.

One bag Oyster Crackers
1/2 cup oil – vegetable, canola, or olive
1/2 to 1 tsp dill weed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic salt or powder (if you want to reduce the salt content)
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Salad mix (dry)

Mix all ingredients. You can use the lesser amount of the dill and garlic to reduce the 'spice' for folks preferring plainer snacks. It is not necessary to bake these crackers, but the flavor will be enhanced by baking for 15-20 minutes at 275 degrees.

Candy-Filled Coffee Mugs

Note for chocolate gifts: If you purchase discounted chocolate after Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or other holidays, these gifts cost even less.

You may be able to find some inexpensive, but great looking mugs at yard sales, thrift stores, or discount stores. Fill the mug with small candies. Wrap clear or colored cellophane around the mug and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate Mug

You can also fill a mug with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Melt chocolates and dip a plastic spoon in the melted chocolate. After the spoon hardens, place in the mug. Wrap the mug in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.

Chocolate-Covered pretzels

Chocolate-covered pretzels are some of the easiest, yet attractive, gifts to make. You can use either pretzel rods or small pretzels. Melt some chocolate. Dip one end of a pretzel rod in chocolate about half to 2/3 the way down. Then roll the pretzel rod in holiday sprinkles. You can also completely cover small pretzels in chocolate (either white or dark or a combination of both).

Candy or Cookie Tin

Save cookie and candy tins. Place tissue paper in the tins and fill with your favorite cookie recipe and/or candy. You can also include peanuts, mixed nuts, raisins, and dried fruit.

Try making some of these simple recipes together as a family. Then surprise a neighbor, friend, or relative with some tasty homemade treats.

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Copyright © 2011 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.
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