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Kitchen-Themed Gift Baskets

Personal concoctions from your own kitchen are great one-of-a-kind gifts for any occasion

So many of our favorite mixes lend themselves to easy gift-giving. If you shop all year long for bargains in packaging, you'll find great savings - and a whole lot of fun - in presenting homemade gifts to friends and family.

Here are a few of our favorite themes.

The aroma of coffee is a treasure for many people. A serving tray makes a terrific base for coffee or tea gifts. A mix of coffee - both beans and ground - makes this an easy throw-together gift. A thoughtful item to include in this basket is a spice grinder for the coffee beans; look for sales, especially during the holidays. Include a package of cinnamon swizzle sticks for a little extra kick. A coffee-flavored candle will make a great finishing touch.

Hot teas are the perfect picker-upper on a dark, dreary winter afternoon. You may be lucky enough to find an antique tea kettle to add as a prop for this basket. A variety of teas are the main ingredient, but you can also include that old homemade favorite: spiced tea.

Chili Theme
If you have a favorite chili mix recipe, then this will be a great gift to put together. You can purchase a chili pot to put the items in or just use a basket. Include a set of chili bowls, and a wooden spoon with a red bow around it. Don't forget the recipe card!

(Our chili recipe calls for a large can of crushed tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce. When we build our basket, we use colored cellophane to camouflage the cans, so our giftee will have enough ingredients for the first batch - minus the chopped onion and jalapeno.)

Baker's Delight
A two- or three-tiered cake plate makes a fun and useful backdrop to a handful - or more - of your favorite cake, muffin, and bread mixes. Add some fun cookie cutters to decorate around the outside of the plate.

Ice Cream Lovers
It's always nice to have a few embellishments hand for a big bowl of ice cream. Peppermint, colored sprinkles, chocolate flakes, and syrup flavorings, along with a set of soda glasses and long spoons make this a sugar-lover's dream.

Recipe Lovers
If you enjoy scrapbooking and/or stamping, a recipe album filled with your favorites will make a gift that comes straight from the heart. This is a great tradition to pass along to daughters, daughters-in-laws, and grandchildren. Include recipe cards, a card file, and a wooden cookbook holder to complete this gift. This may be the most time-consuming gift in our list, but it is well worth it - because it will be around for years to come.

When including spice or other food mixes as gifts, make sure the packaging is FDA-approved. You can find cellophanes at hobby stores and through on-line packagers. Use fun stickers or create your own with free templates and sticky-backed papers.

No matter how well-stocked the kitchen, these gifts will be useful and appreciated!

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Pittsburg, TX 75686
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