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Gift Basket Ideas And Recipes

giftbasketNeed Gift Ideas for Christmas but don’t want to spend a lot? Here are some tips to help you remember your friends without breaking the bank:

  • Buy items in sets and divide them among the baskets. Buy a four pack of nail polish for four ladies baskets or buy packs of whistles or other party favors for the kids.

  • Remove individual popcorn, coffee or cocoa packets from their boxes. They will fill the baskets better.
  • Shop garage sales and thrift stores for baskets and other containers.
  • Dollar stores have lots of great inexpensive gift ideas. Browse!
  • Use cellophane bags to package your mixes. They are inexpensive when purchased at party stores or florists.
  • A gift can be as simple as tea bags in a tea cup tied with a pretty ribbon. A large soup mug and saucer with soup mix or a small glass bowl with some potpourri might also make a simple but nice gift.

Try making these specialty gift baskets:

  • Football Fan– (teenage boys, brothers, fathers and brothers-in-law!) Fill a large bowl purchased at the dollar store with candy bars, bags of microwave popcorn, sodas, chips, dips, a favorite football flag or hat, and a calendar of game days.
  • Fisherman– In a tackle box or fish bowl put hooks, bait, line, hot chocolate or sodas, trail mix, gloves, fishing magazines and a fish pillow.
  • Dog– In a dog bowl, place a ball, old sock with a knot tied in it, dog bones, rawhides, a leash, a name tag and a brush. You might include a picture of a mailman with “the enemy” written on it.
  • Cat– In a cat litter box, place a catnip toy, cat food, a poop scoop, a leash, a name tag and a little rubber mouse.
  • Car– In a large bucket, place fuzzy dice, air freshener, wax, car wash, chamois (“Shammy”), tire cleaner, a car trash can, a key ring, ice melter for cars and an ice scraper.
  • Baby Basket– Spray paint a basket white and line it with a baby blanket or use a diaper bag. Fill with bibs, baby oil, baby lotion, baby powder, diaper ointment, a teething ring, burp cloths, wipes and a rattle.
  • Relaxing Basket– Line a basket with a hand towel. Add a lavender candle, bath oil or bubble bath, bath salts, a favorite magazine or book, a poof and scented soap, and a do not disturb sign (Make one out of a piece of cardboard).
  • Coffee Lover – In a basket, include flavored coffee packets, cinnamon sticks dipped in chocolate, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon, cookie mix or cookies, flavored powdered creamer and a coffee cup.
  • Baker’s Delight – Line a large mixing bowl with a dish towel. Add cookie mixes, hot chocolate mixes, brownie mix, muffin mix, a package of walnuts, measuring cups and pot holders. Of course, be sure to include a copy of Dining on a Dime :)
  • Ice Cream Lover– Place tissue paper on the bottom of a basket. Add sundae dishes, an ice cream scoop, nuts, hot fudge sauce, butterscotch sauce, chocolate syrup, Maraschino cherries and a gift certificate for 2 1/2 gallons of ice cream.
  • Soup Basket- In a basket, stock pot or bean crock, add large soup mugs, 7 bean soup, cornbread mix, cookie mix and oyster crackers wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon.
  • Nail Polish Basket- In a pretty bucket or basket, add a variety of nail polish, emery boards, nail clippers, polish remover, cotton balls, hand cream, cuticle cream and a nail buffer.
  • Family Night– In a large bowl, add a puzzle or game, popcorn, candy bars, soda, hot chocolate mix and mugs.
  • Fruit Basket- Line a basket with tissue paper. Add apples, oranges, hot chocolate mix, various teas and dried fruits (like figs or raisins). Sprinkle nuts on top of everything.
  • Cookie Delight-In a basket lined with tissue paper, add two cookie mixes in cellophane bags or jars tied with ribbons, Russian Tea (also in a cellophane bag or small jar tied with ribbon), cookie cutters, a teacup and two pot holders.
  • Chocolate Lover- In a basket, add Hot Chocolate Mix, Brownie Mix, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Mix, Party Mints, Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix and a small package of marshmallows.

Hot Chocolate Mix

8 cups dry milk
4 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 3/4 cups cocoa
1 1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
1 sm. pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix

Sift the ingredients into a large bowl. Place the mix into an airtight container.

Attach this to the jar:

Hot Chocolate

5 Tbsp. (1/3 cup) Hot Chocolate Mix
1 cup hot water (not boiling)
marshmallows or whipped cream

Place the Hot Chocolate Mix into a mug. Add hot water. Stir until Hot Chocolate mix is dissolved. Garnish as desired with marshmallows or whipped cream. Serves 1.

Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins and/or nuts

In a bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients. Place in an air tight container. Package raisins and nuts separately.

Topping

3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Mix topping ingredients in a bowl. Package in a small cellophane bag.

Attach this to the jar:

Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix

To prepare, preheat oven to 350°. Mix together: Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix, raisins and/or nuts, 1 cup apple juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 cup applesauce, margarine, melted

Stir just until combined. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. While still warm, dip in melted margarine and then topping. Makes 12-15 muffins.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com

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