December 9, 2009

Save Money With Homemade Holiday Gifts

By Janet Macon, M/S., R.D., L.D.
HyVee Registered Dietician
Davenport, IA
(563) 324-9948

Thinking about holiday gift-giving? And are you trying to find a gift that’s meaningful, personal and also easy on the pocketbook? Homemade gifts from the kitchen can meet all those needs and can be relatively simple and even fun to make, especially when you get the entire family involved.

Many of us are trying to fit holiday gifts into an already tight budget. What could be more timely this holiday season than DIY (do-it-yourself) gifts from the kitchen to help save money? Gifts from the kitchen will be a hit on your holiday list, especially for those hard-to-find gifts that you want to be special and personal for teachers, neighbors, secret pals and co-workers.

No matter what gift you choose, don’t forget packaging your gift with decorative containers or jars that can be found in craft stores. Hand-write your recipe on a plain recipe card and add a holiday sticker with the date and your name. Or make a festive gift tag that also serves as a tree ornament.

Say “Happy Holidays” with one of these homemade holiday food gifts.

Praline Pecan Crunch Snack Mix
Whole-grain cereal and dried cranberries are in this irresistible snack mix.
Serves 30 (1/2 cup each).

All you need
12 cups Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal
1-1/2 cups Hy-Vee pecan pieces
1/2 cup firmly packed Hy-Vee light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tbsp Hy-Vee butter
1 tsp Hy-Vee vanilla
1/2 tsp Hy-Vee baking soda
1/4 tsp Hy-Vee salt
1 (6 oz) package Hy-Vee dried cranberries

All you do
Spray 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine cereal and pecans in pan; mix well. Bring brown sugar, corn syrup and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda and salt. Pour over cereal and pecans; mix well. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Transfer to a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or waxed paper. Cool completely; break into pieces. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
Nutrition facts per serving: 190 calories, 7g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 13g sugar, 3g protein.

Interested in more homemade holiday gifts? Visit your favorite Hy-Vee dietitian. Find a Registered Dietitian near you at; click on health. The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Other Homemade Gifts:

Peppermint Spa Foot Scrub
Relax and pamper yourself with this homemade sugar scrub for soft feet.

All you need:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp Burt’s Bees peppermint foot lotion*

All you do:
Mix sugar and lotion mixture in small bowl. Transfer to decorative container for gift.
*May substitute Hy-Vee Vitamin E therapeutic moisturizer lotion for an economical gift.
Source:Adapted from

Creme De Menthe Hot Cocoa Mix
All you need:
1 1/4 cups Hy-Vee instant nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup Hy-Vee instant powdered chocolate drink mix
2 tbsp powdered creamy chocolate coffee creamer
1/3 cup Andes Creme De Menthe baking chips
All you do:
Place all ingredients into a medium bowl and combine. Place mixture into a pint jar.