Food Gifts: Give of your time and talent, save dollars

November 30, 2009 | Peggy Martin

Food Gifts: Give of your time and talent, save dollars

This holiday season there are many reasons to make gifts of food. The gift is more personal, you can save money and control nutrition for those on specialized dietsand, you really do give a bit of your heart.

Food gifts can be given individually, or developed around a theme. Just group like items together in a basket and wrap them with cellophane paper and ribbons—like muffins or quick breads and packets of tea. Consider things like dried foods, jerky, condiments, low-moisture breads and cakes, cookies, candies, flavored coffees, teas, cereals and nuts. All are candidates for edible gifts that also can be shipped.

I remember the year I got a new mixer and made a dozen large braided Christmas wreaths made from yeast dough. Other years I have given soup mix , salsa and cherry and peach jam.

When my grandfather was alive and living on his own,  I remember buying a set of plastic containers and making him homemade dinners that I would freeze after meals with my family. When we visited, I would gather the clean containers and take them home to fill again. He seemed to enjoy the dinners and it was something I could give all year long.

If you are giving gifts of food this year, please share what you are doing. I am always looking for new ideas.

Corn Chip Chili Mix

Ingredients for each gift jar

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley or cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated minced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups dry beans (such as black, pinto, garbanzo, or kidney)
  • 1- to 2-ounce package of corn chips, unopened


  1. Wash hands.
  2. Layer the ingredients in the order listed in a 1-quart glass jar or food-grade plastic container.
  3. Place the corn chip package on top of the beans. Cover with lid. Attach gift tag.

-pointers by Peggy

Peggy Martin

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