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Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.
Today: So you selectively forgot about holiday shopping? Here are some easy and affordable edible DIY presents that won't leave anyone feeling like the Grinch.
When I don't want to deal with something, I simply ignore it and pretend that it doesn't exist. (See: the leak in my bedroom ceiling, the mouse that used to live in my kitchen, laundry, every cold I've ever had, any and all discussion about Miley Cyrus this past year.) Infuriating to some, it's actually a genius tactic that serves to keep me relatively sane.
Unfortunately, I've also taken that same route with the holidays this year. And that's how I found myself blearily waiting in line to pay for my morning coffee when I was suddenly jerked fully awake by whatever saccharine Christmas music was playing in the bodega. I realized that I had somehow willed myself into believing that I didn't have to buy any presents this year.
When you're running low on cash and time, holiday shopping is even more of a chore. So here's what you'll do: Buy a pack of mason jars, because they're hotter than they've been since the mid-1800s (that's your box/wrapping paper). Set aside a weekend afternoon before you're exchanging gifts, and get cracking on one of these DIY presents.
Make a giant batch of candy and break it up between your jars. We've got Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary, Salted Maple Honeycomb Candy, and White Chocolate Fennel Truffles to get you started -- if you're feeling ambitious, make all three and pack an assortment.
You know those giant tins of butter, cheddar, and caramel popcorn that are suddenly everywhere during the month of December? There's a reason why they're so popular -- novelty popcorn is friggin' delicious. Try this Around the World Coconut Popcorn Mix, Caramel Corn, or Party Popcorn, for your own unique blend.
More: Here's how to make perfect popcorn, every time.
Everyone loves homemade spirits -- look over this guide for a tutorial to everything from spicy tequila to black tea bourbon. Or, try making a shrub. Include a hand-written recipe card for a cocktail that your recipient can make with whatever you've whipped up.
Tell us: What are you favorite DIY edible gifts?