Coastal Virginia's Food-ish Gift Guide: The Homemade Edition

Coastal Virginia's Food-ish Holiday Gift Guide Homemade Edition

One blustery December day, my husband and I—well, he likes to think I was alone on this one—thought it was the grandest idea to craft pine cone penguin ornaments for our loved ones. We visited his parents’ pine cone-abundant yard, bought felt, hot glue sticks and googly eyes—I mean, the works. A couple penguins in with the last few to assemble on Christmas Eve, we found what began as a fun, somewhat wallet-friendly gift turned into a sour let's-never-do-this-again situation.

Since that year we’ve decided to put what we love most into our gifts—food! So, in the midst of this bustling holiday season, take a day and trade the stress of the shopping malls for the comfort of your kitchen. Grab a cooking partner, if you like, and whip up multiple batches of these simple recipes in a jiffy!

Here are 5 Homemade Food Gifts:

Pickles. Who doesn’t love pickles? These are simple to make, yet so divinely crisp compared to store-bought pickles. Just cut up some veggies, pour vinegar over and jar them with a darling label. Experiment with different spices or other vegetable combinations for this no-sweat gift.

Holiday Foodie Gift Idea Homemade Pickles

Cookies. Try my lemon-infused jam thumbprint cookies kicked up a notch with toasted coconut! Glistening with fruit jam in the middle, these beloved cookies taste just as lovely as they appear and make a stunning gift.

Holiday Foodie Gift Ideas Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream. If you want to give your pal the quintessential spoonful of Christmas, make this sweet treat. Williams-Sonoma even makes these handy dandy ice cream tub containers that’ll make gift wrapping even snappier. Even these adorable pint-sized containers by Zak Designs come in festive colors.

Holiday Foodie Gift Ideas Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream

Sweet Potato Biscuits. Biscuits, biscuits. Lather on some jam or throw a poached egg in the middle, a basketful of these fluffy jewels are sure crowd pleasers.

Holiday Foodie Gift Ideas Sweet Potato Biscuits

Marinara. Pizza, pasta, you name it, marinara is a handy item we all need. Here’s my simple recipe:

Holiday Foodie Gift Ideas Marinara Sauce


8 garlic cloves, sliced

1 onion, wedged

2-3 large tomatoes, wedged

2 jalapeños, sliced

1 cup water

A few splashes red wine

1 tbsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste



First brown the garlic and onion in the saucepan for one minute. Add remainder of ingredients. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to lowest heat and cover. Allow to simmer for at least one hour. Keep it chunky, or blend to desired consistency.


Perhaps you’d rather purchase local food items for your loved ones. Visit my Local Foodie Holiday Gift Guide.

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