Christmas Gifts with Flavor: Quick Breads

Ok, kids....so it's December 3. That means approximately 2 to 2.5 weeks to get all your Christmas gifts planned, bought and wrapped before the big day. Over the course of these next two weeks, I'm going to share with you some great gift ideas that involve food, or the ingredients therein.

Giving food-related gifts not only saves you tons of cash, it allows you to make something from your heart and possibly provide something new that your friends and family members may have never tried before.

What I'm sharing today is something I've done throughout the years, when money was exceptionally tight and Christmas shopping was fairly out of the question. Most of the ingredients I used were bought at the local discount grocery (Save A Lot) and only took about a day to bake, then package the foodstuffs.

Quick breads 

I don't have my own recipes for these, I got each one out of one of the best, most useful cookbooks, ever:

Keep reading...it's worth it!  

The possibilities are endless, here are just some of the quickbread flavors you can try: 
  • Banana
  • Pumpkin
  • Applesauce
  • Cranberry-Orange
  • Zucchini
  • Lemon-Poppyseed
I'm telling you, with the advent of the Internets, you can find a quickbread recipe in ANY flavor imaginable. 

My go-to flavors have been banana, pumpkin, applesauce and cranberry-orange. Because during the holiday months, you can pick up canned pumpkin and fresh cranberries for great prices. Bananas, you know the ones that are turning brown and sitting on the Markdown cart? Those are the bananas you need for a great, sweet banana bread! As for the main ingredients, I always picked up a 5-lb bag of flour, a large tray of eggs and generic-brand stick margarine or butter. You can also buy generic applesauce, because really, the only difference between that and the brand-name stuff is the brand name itself. 

Depending on how many bread gifts you want to give, you're going to need some loaf pans...I've done both mini and normal-size loafs, using my own collection of glass and metal pans and those disposable aluminum pans. If you use the aluminum variety, I suggest purchasing and using some non-stick cooking spray (normal or butter flavor) to line the aluminum buggers, otherwise you will contort them beyond recognition when trying to make the loaf exit the pan. 

As for presentation, there's a wide variety of colored plastic wrap available. You can either wrap them completely, or pull the plastic up and around the loaf and then secure it with a festive kind of ribbon of your choosing. The choosing is yours!  When I made full-size loafs, I did the complete wrap, then placed 3 loaves (one of each flavor) in a smaller gift bag. 

You can get some fairly inexpensive gift bags at places like Dollar General, Big Lots, etc....the kind that are just plain paper, then just add red and green ribbon or draw a delightful Christmas design on each one. Again, choice is yours!  

While I don't recall the exact total expenditure for such an undertaking, I do know that it fell well below the $40 dollar mark for all the ingredients and packaging and possibly even under $30, and this made enough for each couple in the family (which at that time was 6 couples), so essentially, you're spending less than $10 for each gift. Sweet, yes?  

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