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Food gifts $10 or less

My family puts a limit of $10 on our Christmas gifts. Looking for some good food gift ideas.

I've done wine, beer, 4 packs of Godiva truffles, and jams. What else can I do?

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  1. You can probably fit some interesting salts and vinegars in the budget if they are cooks. Include a recipe card or "idea" card. Unusual pickles or chutneys can be found during the year as you travel or go to different stores- pick up and save for the holiday gifts. I have also had fun at ethnic markets putting together a little basket. $10 is pushing it, but you can find cool stuff and pack it into a thrift shop bowl or basket.

    1. Some fun pastas, wine vinegars, coffee/tea sampling, maybe there is a tasting/cooking demo in the area they live that you could get a gift certificate for?

      1. That's such a good idea. Incidentally, do you think that you focus more on the meaning of Christmas by doing that?

        1. herbs and spices: herbes de provence, peppercorns, salts, saffron, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jpmcd

            I like this idea--if you have a Penzeys near you, you can get a few of those little jars of spices for $10 (I think if you ordered online you'd end up paying too much in shipping)

            Or I'd get one thing for $10 that you'd normally only spend $2 for--like a really good jam or honey, imported cookies, or as torty suggested "interesting" stuff from an ethnic market.

          2. a wheel of brie. Hard to wrap, But beats frankensence and mirhh.(spelling is overrated)

            1. Maybe the idea of using $10 to buy ingredients and make a series of frozen meals...a batch of extremely great cookies...even pre-mixed and set up pancake/muffin/cookie mix. $10 plus the spirit..of your special effort?

              1. how about an entire indoor potted plant garden of fresh herbs grown from seeds? if you aren't able to germinate yourself, give seed packets along with potting soil filled pots.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cimui

                  A guest to a recent party gave us a variety of goodies from Trader Joe that was greatly appreciated and used. She put the following in a pretty bag; honey, Earl Gray Tea, and jelly beans.

                2. This year I am planning to make limoncello -- there are a number of recipes on the home cooking board. All you need are lemons, vodka, and bottles. Other types of homemade liqueurs would work too.

                  For a storebought present, I like to make little "kits" -- like a waffle kit, with waffle mix, a whisk, a little jar of syrup, and a recipe; or a tea kit, with a tea ball and small containers of a few different teas and maybe a little jar of honey; or an ice cream sundae kit, with different toppings and a scoop.

                  1 Reply
                  1. I really like the $3-$4 paring knives. I think Amazon has a set of 3 for $10.

                    1. A chunk of manchego cheese and a container of fruit paste. I think quince is the traditional Spanish paste, but I found shelf-stable spiced cherry and passion fruit pastes in little containers in the cheese section of my grocery store which I think will go well with a number of cheeses. Also I have a recipe for perada, pear paste, that I plan to make for my next tapas party, but I don't know how long it keeps, so that might not be an option for you to make too far ahead.

                      Boar's Head makes some delicious condiments that come in squirt bottles. My favorite is sun dried tomato mayonnaise. In the deli section of the grocery store. A friend uses it as a dip for hot or cold shrimp. I like it as a dip for raw cauliflower, and of course on a sandwich with Boar's Head deli meats! Also Wegman's, which is a NE grocery chain, makes a house brand of artichoke-asiago bruschetta topping which is also good as a sandwich spread, excellent on sliced summer tomatoes, and even on pasta (thinned out a bit).

                      Ditto earlier poster about ethnic markets. Pappadums from India, those Japanese shrimp chips that you toss in hot oil and they puff up in a second, a bottle of pomegranate molasses from a Middle Eastern shop, or even a poppyseed roll from a local Eastern European church. They often sell them this time of year as fundraisers.

                      I'm definitely stealing some of the great ideas here! Excellent thread!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nemo

                        either bake homemade cookies (NY times choc chip cookie recipe is aces)
                        or supply dry ingredients (other than butter) to make them
                        bequet caranels, allie's edibles-they ship

                      2. for bakers, I really like to make home made vanilla extract - 6-8 beans, split lengthways, stuck in a bottle of vodka (I go with the cheap stuff, since this isn't for drinking). Leave in a dark place for at least six weeks (since this is for Xmas, leave it longer). Just give the bottle a swirl once in a while when you remember. Then decant into small little bottles, put on your own label, tie a ribbon around it and voila! Always really appreciated, considering how much the commercial extract costs.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gooseberry

                          gooseberry, this is an excellent idea. My Mega Baker Mom has been doing this for years, the cheap stuff(vodka) actually works great. She gets excellent results from just 3 beans in the bottle! I will add this suggestion for the other 3 beans: Place them whole in plain old sugar. Let it sit for a while (Mom uses a Huge old coffee can, fills it 2/3 with sugar and buries the beans) shaking and stirring it once in a week or so. Which is why the coffee can works well, easy to shake and stir, no mess. Result vanilla scented and flavored sugar, use at will! I have done this for years myself. I have used the vanilla beans from that sugar, cut off a piece, sliced it open and added to cream for recipes. A pretty nifty way to store vanilla beans while getting them to infuse your sugar.

                          1. re: Quine

                            I'm a bit more thrifty -whenever a recipe calls for a vanilla pod, I use it, then rinse it off, dry it until it's hard, then stick it in the sugar bowl. As you said, it flavours it really strongly.

                        2. Meyer's lemons start coming into season in November, which would give enough time to make Moroccan preserved lemons! Just a small jar with 3-4 lemons and some recipe ideas would produce many meals to explore. Most people are hesitant to make them, even though the process is quite simple. But once you have this little treasure in your pantry, you never want to be without it!

                          1. Thanks for the ideas! I definately want to try making my own limoncello...maybe irish cream as well.

                            My dad loves mary janes and squirrels (i think that 's what they are called) so I may just get him a large bag of those.

                            I may try making my own fudge...never done it so I should test it first.

                            Teas will be great for my grandmother.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rizzo0904

                              Rachel Ray has a really easy five minute fudge recipe-it really is good and easy-you should try it out.

                            2. I'm chiming in with the homemade vanilla extract crowd! I make two different kinds: vanilla-brandy (using cheapo Christian Bros.) and vanilla-bourbon (using Jim Beam). I give this to my sister as one of her Christmas gifts every year. Nice in a cup of coffee, too!

                              How about an interesting spread (purchased) and some homemade crackers (which are far more divine than anything you can buy and are easy to make and cheap to boot)?