21 Aug 2014
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9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves

Save cash this season with these delicious DIY holiday gifts.

9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves 9 DIY Foodie Gifts That Practically Make Themselves
'Tis the season for giving—and accumulating random coffee mugs and paper weights. While it is the thought that counts, nothing is worse than giving or receiving a holiday gift that you know is destined to become clutter.

Break the cycle with these nine DIY foodie gifts. All you need is 10 minutes to whip up rosemary, garlic and sea salt dipping oil or about an hour for a meatballs and sauce meal in a basket. And with an average price of $8 to $12, none of these will break the bank.

Bean Chili Mason Jar Gift Basket

Prep time: 10 minutes


  • 3/4 cup great northern white beans
  • 1/2 cup split green peas
  • 3/4 cup black beans
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. ea) fire roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans
  • 10 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 3/4 cups dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dehydrated parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dehydrated garlic, minced
  • 1 baguette
  • 3 ounces Parmesan

Gift Basket Preparation: 

In a 6 cup mason jar, add beans in layers starting with red kidney beans and ending with pinto beans. Place unwrapped bouillon cubes on pinto beans and cover with dried mushrooms. Close lid and secure over mushrooms. In a clear bag or sachet, layer black pepper, parsley and minced onion. Secure bag to jar with ribbon. Arrange in a gift basket with two cans of diced tomatoes, a baguette, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, and a recipe card (see below).   

Bean Chili Recipe Card: 

  • Remove dehydrated mushrooms and bouillon cubes from top of jar. 
  • Empty beans, peas and lentils into a large cooking pot and cover with water to a level 2 inches over the beans. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, skim and discard foam. 
  • Set aside for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Once beans have hydrated and softened, drain and rinse them. 
  • Add 10 cups of water, bouillon cubes, seasonings, mushrooms and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 to 2 hours until beans are tender. Adjust seasoning with additional salt if desired. 
  • Split baguette and shred cheese. Cover baguette halves with cheese, melt cheese on the baguette in a hot oven and serve with remaining cheese to garnish chili.

Rosemary Garlic and Sea Salt Dipping Oil for Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes


  • 2 cups cold pressed extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, washed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse cracked peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  • Using a funnel, pour olive oil into sterilized bottle. 
  • Add rosemary sprigs, garlic and seasonings. 
  • Seal with cork. Refrigerate.

Blueberry Syrup

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup maple syrup


  • Combine maple syrup and 1 cup blueberries in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Let cool; pour into glass jar.

Hot Apple Rum Wassail

Prep and cook time: 15 minutes


  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • nutmeg and cinnamon for garnish


  • Stud orange with cloves, slice. 
  • In a medium pot, combine studded orange slices and the remaining ingredients except rum. Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and add rum. 
  • Strain, ladle into mugs and garnish with cinnamon stick.

Ice Cream Toppings Basket

Total prep and cook time: 50 minutes


  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 6 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups toasted pecan halves
  • ½ cup light corn syrup; 6 ounces hot chocolate mix
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Bourbon Butter Pecan Sauce Preparation: 
  • Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add dark brown sugar; stir with wooden spoon until incorporated. 
  • Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring infrequently, until mixture changes from wet sand look into a smooth molten liquid sauce. 
  • Add 1 1/2 cups cream, lower heat to medium-low, and whisk until combined. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  • Transfer to glass bowl and cool to room temperature. 
  • Add bourbon and salt; stir until combined. 
  • Package as desired; refrigerate.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce Preparation: 

  • Bring 1 cup cream, corn syrup and hot chocolate mix to boil and simmer in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. 
  • Add chocolate chips and remove from heat; stir until melted and smooth.
  • Package as desired; refrigerate.

Presentation idea: Bundle two dessert sauces, toasted pecans and an ice cream scoop in a holiday basket.

Preserved Lemons

Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 4 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups kosher salt


  • With soap and boiling water, thoroughly clean a small ramekin, a 1-quart glass jar and its air-tight lid. Allow to dry completely. 
  • Scrub lemons and wash with soap and water. 
  • Slice small bumps off both ends of the lemon, then quarter each lemon pole to pole. 
  • Remove the seeds and trim the white material that runs from top to bottom through the lemon.
  • Pour salt into a bowl. Place each lemon slice into salt, one at a time, rolling it until lemon is heavily caked in salt. 
  • Place lemon into the glass jar. Repeat until the glass jar is almost completely packed. 
  • Pour lemon juice into the jar, leaving 1/2" of space at top. 
  • Add a tablespoon of salt. 
  • To ensure the lemons remain completely submerged in lemon juice, place the bottom of the ramekin through the mouth of the jar and on top of the lemons. 
  • Close lid. Allow the lemons to pickle for 30 days at room temperature, turning/shaking the jar each day to redistribute the salt throughout the liquid. (The lemons will be fully preserved after 30 days.) 
  • The preserved lemons can be transferred to refrigeration and stored for up to 6 months.

Meatballs and Sauce Gift Basket

Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 (16 ounce each) cans tomato paste
  • 2 cans of water per can of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup sweet basil, dried
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, dried


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, dried
  • 3 eggs

Sauce Preparation: 

  • Cook over medium heat to warm the sauce. 
  • As it warms, prepare the meatball mixture to add to the sauce.

Meatball Preparation: 

  • Mix all the ingredients together and roll into balls—about the size of a tennis ball. (Consistency should be somewhat sticky.) 
  • Add meatballs to sauce and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Lemon Thyme Infused Champagne Vinegar

Prep Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 cups champagne vinegar 
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, washed and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest


  • Using a funnel, pour champagne vinegar into sterilized 1 quart bottle. 
  • Add thyme sprigs and lemon zest. 
  • Seal with cork. Refrigerate.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Wreaths

Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes 


  • 2 (20 ounce) packages chocolate almond bark
  • 1 (9.25 ounce) bag of salted pretzels
  • 2 (2 ounce) jars multicolor sprinkles


  • Melt almond bark in a double broiler or in the microwave on 50 percent power, about 3 squares at a time. 
  • Dip pretzels in the melted chocolate so that they are completely coated. 
  • Place on cookie sheet or other flat surface. 
  • Add sprinkles quickly so they will stick to the chocolate. 
  • Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere. 

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