Homemade Food Gifts: Baked Goods

The most frugal way to make these foods is from scratch. Admittedly, I often use boxed items when I’m able to purchase them on sale, with a coupon. They can be pretty affordable just before and during the holidays. The trick to doing this in the most frugal manner possible is by figuring out whether it is cheaper to bake from scratch or a box when all factors are added in, or deducted 🙂 Be sure to factor in home preserved produce for the food items that have fruit as an ingredient.
Just a note: These are not healthy baked-goods. But most people on my gift list won’t likely eat healthy versions. They like what they are used to. So yes, I give sweets at the holidays. Also, I don’t think it is necessarily bad to treat yourself once-in-a-while. You just don’t want to make a habit of it.

Fill baskets with one or more of the following:

  • HM (Homemade) quick breads
  • Quick breads from a box: Lemon poppy seed, apple cinnamon, pumpkin and cinnamon swirl are all tasty options.
  • Brownies
  • HM pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or bars.
  • HM sugar cookies decorated with colored sugars or icings.
  • HM apple or zucchini bars with chocolate chips.
  • HM mints


  • To save money on electricity, I bake multiple items at once.
  • To save time, I mix up multiple batches at once in large bowls.
  • To save a few more pennies, when mixing up multiple batches I delete and egg or two.
  • To save more money, I use small or medium eggs – or large depending on what is on sale. You can use any size eggs in baking, even if large eggs are specifically called for. 1 small or medium egg = 1 large egg.
  • Use mini loaf pans, if possible.
  • Use mini decorative cake pans for breads, bars and cakes.

What homemade baked goods do you make to give as holiday gifts? Please share with us in the comments below.



Baked Squash and Potatoes

The temperatures outside are cooler, and our minds start thinking about delectable autumn and winter meals, the smells of home cooked meals and homemade breads, and the holidays ahead.

I have mentioned before that I love potatoes. The white and red ones, that is, and I have begun to get used to sweet potatoes. More recently, I have added squash to the mix when baking potatoes.


small acorn or butternut squash

2 large potatoes

  1. Wash the squash and the potatoes, cutting off bad spots, and cut each in half. Scrape the seeds out of the squash.

  2. Place, skin side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.

  3. Mash the potato with the peel.

  4. Scoop the squash out of its shell and add to the potatoes, mixing the two together.


  • Use potatoes and squash from your garden for the ultimate in money savings and nutrition.

  • Try different types of potatoes and squash.

 Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with baked turkey or chicken.

  • A side salad will also go nice with these potatoes.