I have a tight budget for Christmas this year, but my gift giving isn't going to suffer. All it takes is little creativity to put together some holiday gifts from the kitchen. This way, I can get into the spirit of giving by delivering healthy homemade gifts that everyone appreciates without worrying too much about blowing my budget.

One of my favorite kitchen gifts to give is pasta sauce-every year I make a huge batch, divide it up into jars and give it to friends and family with storage instructions and a few ideas for how to use it. This year I'm going to make Salsa alla Capricciosa; for more ideas, check out these pasta sauce recipes from Ellie Krieger and more star chefs and cookbook authors.

For my pals with a sweet tooth, I make cookies. I make sure they're healthy, portable and of course wrapped up nicely in box or cookie tin. This year, I'm going to make Fig 'n' Flax Thumbprint Cookies. I love how the ground flax adds a nutty flavor and the brown sugar caramelizes on the outside of these thumbprint cookies. Fig preserves make this cookie special; other fruit preserves could be used as well.

For my friends who embrace a healthy breakfast, I like to make granola and pancake mix. I jazz them up by putting each batch in a decorative jar or clear cellophane bag tied at the top with some nice ribbon and a gift tag.

Try making:
Cranberry Almond Granola If you've never made your own granola, you'll be amazed at the difference in freshness and flavor-and at how easy it is. Use this recipe as a starting point for your own creativity: substitute dried blueberries or chopped dried apricots for the cranberries, or walnuts or hazelnuts for the almonds.

Blueberry Pecan Pancake Mix Say goodbye to frozen pancakes or box mixes: dried blueberries give this pancake mix rich blueberry flavor and the pecans liven up the texture with a bit of crunch.