Inexpensive Gifts to Make and Give, Pt. 3: Food

As you can probably guess…giving gifts of food are my favorite gifts to give. (Say that five times fast.)

Everyone likes to eat…and food gifts are very likely to be used and loved. (Unlike a big fish on a plaque that has a sensor in it and sings when someone walks by.)  (My apologies to those of you who have a fondness for Billy the Big Mouth Bass.)  :)

Here are some of my favorite ideas for Inexpensive Gifts of Food:

Calico Bean Soup Jar


Layer in jar:
1/2 cup dried lima beans
1/2 cup dried pinto beans
1/3 cup dried kidney beans
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup dried lima beans
1/2 cup dried pinto beans
1/4 cup dried kidney beans

Attach a note with the following directions for making soup:

To make soup: Bring Bean Soup Mix and 8 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit 1 hour.
Return pot to heat, 2 carrots, chopped, 2 stalks celery, chopped and  2 pounds ham hocks  or beef soup bones. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours, until beans are tender, skimming fat as necessary.
Remove ham hocks or soup bones from soup. Remove meat from bone, chop and return to soup. Heat through and serve.

Hot Fudge Sauce



1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar or rapadura
½ cup cocoa
1 stick butter
1 t. vanilla

In medium saucepan, stir together cream, sugar, cocoa and butter. Cook on medium heat until butter is melted and ingredients are thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pie of the Month Club

Someone emailed or commented about this idea back when I was putting together the For the Love of Pie Ebook. I CAN NOT find the email or comment to give credit to whom credit is due. (If YOU were the SMART person who mentioned this idea, please claim it in the comments.)

Anyway, using recipes from the For the Love of Pie FREE ebook or your other favorite pie recipes…you can give a loved one a certificate for a “Pie of the Month Club” or some clever title you come up with. Then, you get to make the recipient a pie every month for a year. Who wouldn’t LOVE that?


What are some of your favorite food gifts to give? (Or receive!?)


  1. says

    For coworkers, friends, and neighbors, this year I did homemade lentil soup mix. Last year, I did granola. The year before, I did split pea soup mix.
    One of my coworkers gives out jam as gifts at Christmas. She makes oodles of wonderful jam during the summer. We all love receiving it and return the jars to her when we’re done.


  2. says

    I love the ideas, but my problem is that I am having a hard time finding the right kind of canning jars. Where do you get the ones pictured in the Hot Fudge sauce recipe?

    Great ideas!


  3. says

    Lorrilou, where I live, it’s easy to find canning jars of all kind (those look like jelly jars) at Walmart and similar in the SUMMER but next to impossible in the winter, I did find one grocery store that carries them year round, but they cost more, so check around this year but plan ahead next year & save money & headaches :)

    Laura, am I correct in assuming the hot fudge sauce needs to be refrigerated?


  4. Laura says

    Yes, the canning jars I used were half pint sized jelly jars. And yes, the hot fudge sauce needs to be refrigerated…then warmed up to put over ice cream. :)


  5. says

    I was the one who was given the idea last year for the “Pie of the Month Club,” but the idea wasn’t mine originally, and I’m not sure who to credit either! It was a fun gift for my husband and I, although I still owe him a few pies! Oh well, the coupon won’t expire until I make good on it. He’ll get 12 pies of his choice made by me one way or another!

    Last year I made about 24 gifts in pint jars. For the families, I made a soup mix that was just-add-water. For the single people, I made hot cocoa mix. I bought everything from jars to ribbon to ingredients and typed up little ingredient and instruction cards. I was amazed that the gifts were only about $2.50 each when I got done with all of them! Plus, with careful ingredient planning, they went together really fast. It was fun, but I think I’m going to concentrate on giving some neighborly bread loaves and give lots of hugs to people at church. This baby’s taking all my energy!


  6. Honey says

    I baked for my neighbors/babysitters this year (things like candy, fudge, muffins). I got tins at the thrift store-very inexpensive. Next year I already decided I am going to do just the fudge and a cheese ball with crackers. That way, they can enjoy it or serve it to guests who stop by. I like to make a cheese ball that looks like a pear. It is cream cheese, mozarella, parmesean mixed and formed into a pear or apple shape. Put a cinnamon stick straight down into it and a bay leaf next to it. Sprinkle paprika all over it heavily. I think looking for some dessert plates or other nice plates on sale would be nice then people can just keep them. And the cream cheese goes on sale frequently for $1 at Kroger. Thanks for all the nice ideas. I came over from moneysavingmom.


  7. Honey says

    I just remembered another thing I’ve done before as a wedding gift, but it would work for any occasion. I get one of those plastic or glass bowls that says “popcorn”. Put into it coca-cola glasses ($1 store), some microwave popcorn,and cokes if you want and a blockbuster giftcard-instant date night-so it becomes an “event” and a “memory”, not just a gift! Another idea is the same idea, but with a theme of pasta dinner. Serving bowl, towel or apron, pasta spoon, pasta, sauce. I feel like food gifts don’t go to waste. I also thought of doing a “cleaning” themed basket with all my freebies from couponing. I can put together some items in a mop bucket and get some rubber gloves and with puffy paint write “domestic diva” on it. I’ve also done picnic themed baskets and car wash buckets for the guys! These gifts aren’t very romantic or sentimental, but they are practical and people won’t stuff them in a drawer and not use them…


  8. nancy says

    I found nice glass ice cream sundae cups, long spoons and ice cream scoops at the dollar tree. Throw all that in a basket with a jar of fudge and you have a sweet gift!


  9. hakimah says

    For your Hot Fudge Sauce, what type of cocoa do you use, please?
    Not powdered, that for baking right? is it drinking cocoa? or???
    Please and thank you!


    Laura Reply:

    I do use powdered, or “cocoa powder” as my package says. It is not the drinking cocoa, just unsweetened cocoa powder.


  10. says

    Just made this hot fudge sauce as a special “first day of summer” treat over icecream…AWESOME!!! The whole family enjoyed it, thanks for the recipe!


  11. Terri says

    For the hot fudge sauce will sucranet or maple syrup work? Also is there a truck to getting sucranet to dissolve, I am not having very good luck with it. Thank you


    Laura Reply:

    I’d use brown sugar instead of sucanat if you’re having trouble. Maple syrup would make it pretty runny. I’ve not had trouble getting my sucanat to dissolve, so I’m not sure what to advise on that.


    Alli Reply:

    Maple syrup actually works well and tastes great if you also add a Tbsp (give or take) of arrowroot powder to a couple Tbsp of cold milk or cream. Dissolve well and stir into the rest of the ingredients. As soon as it starts to thicken, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. (sorry I didn’t measure)


  12. Melody says

    If you heat the sauce in the jar, would you refrigerate it again after it is cooled?


    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes! :)


  13. kay says

    How long will the fudge last in the refrigerator before spoiling? (I imagine the Caramel sauce would be about the as well?)


    Laura Reply:

    I’ve kept them both in the fridge for about two months at a time without any problem.


  14. Bess says

    I just made your fudge sauce and it tastes great! It is not very thick, though. Is there anything I can do to thicken it more? Would boiling it for longer help?


    Laura Reply:

    Yes, boiling longer would thicken it well!


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