Make Your Own Gifts – For Busy Cooks

The current “economic condition” has many of us heading back to the kitchen and preparing our own meals. As it turns out, cooking at home is the silver lining to the recession. Meals prepared at home are healthier for the whole family, and they expose the kids to a more diverse array of selections than does the local fast food joint. (Wow – think about that statement, eating at home provides more diet variety than eating at most family restaurants. Thirty years ago that would have been laughable). But I digress. If you know a busy cook – and really, who doesn’t – it’s easy to pull together a much appreciated holiday gift.

I Want My Dinner Now Gift "Box"

Start with an easy, weeknight cookbook. I used our “I Want My Dinner Now! – Simple Meals for Busy Cooks” (50% off the cover price right now). The gift box base is a classic white casserole dish, but any baking dish or basket would work equally well. Into the dish goes all those things a cook never has enough of – wooden spoons, a bread knive, a pasta fork, measuring cups, and measuring spoons – all purchased at the local $1 Only store.  Also included is a magnetic shopping list to keep track of needed purchases, and a cooking themed potholder and dish towel.  If you are looking for a gift that will actually be used, this is the gift to prepare, and it can be made for as little as $30. (Sorry about the fuzzy photo – guess it’s time to get my eyes checked)!

Other variations on this theme would be to choose a recipe from the cookbook, for example Pasta and Fresh Mozzarella (page 108), and purchase the needed ingredients; maybe some gourmet mozzarella and roasted tomatoes and a basil plant along with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place it all in a pasta bowl with a bottle of wine. Or wrap up sweet potatoes, colorful bell peppers, mango and bananas with a can of coconut milk and some brown rice in a cooking pot to make easy Tropical Chicken (page 100).  Or include some of your homemade jellies and dried herbs or herb vinegars. Other needed kitchen “gadgets” are spatulas, mixing bowls, a digital timer, digital thermometers, and unusual tools that we never seem to buy for ourselves like an apple corer, a lemon zester, a garlic press and new cookie cutters (especially good for the grandmothers on your list). Be creative – it will be appreciated, I guarantee!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at SeedToPantry.com and HestiasKitchen.com.

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