Simple and Inexpensive Hostess Gifts – Recipe for Vanilla Scented Sugar

Frugal Recipes, Kitchen Gifts | 19 comments

Anyone who’s ever hosted a party knows that a lot of work goes into it. It doesn’t matter the occasion, every hostess deserves a little token of your gratitude.

Summer is often a time for entertaining. This month for the Eat Well, Spend Less topic we thought we’d focus on ways to make that fun, inexpensive, and memorable. You’ll definitely want to check out what the other ladies are sharing (links at the end of this post).

lemon curd recipe

Because it’s so hot right now, we haven’t been doing a whole lot of entertaining, or even spending much time outdoors, so I thought I’d share some tips and ideas on Hostess Gifts.

With back-to-school and holidays sneaking up on us before we know it, keep this post in mind to refer back to next time you’re in need of a holiday gift or treat for your child’s teacher.

Inexpensive Hostess Gifts

Hostess gifts don’t have to be extravagant, expensive, or even store bought. Check out these simple and inexpensive make-at-home ideas next time you need a little something extra to tell someone “thank you.”

Edible Gifts

It is always wise to ask your hostess if she needs any help with the food or drinks. Many hosts appreciate extra hands and help, but some prefer to run the show themselves. If your hostess declines your offer, consider treating her to one of these delicious recipes instead.

how to make vanilla scented sugar

photo via My Baking Addiction

Any of these fun recipes can be neatly packaged in cute, inexpensive containers to serve as a hostess gift. Some, like the canned homemade salsa, scented sugar recipes, and homemade pancake mix can be made ahead and stored for when the need for a gift arises.

Vanilla Scented Sugar

Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours

Vanilla Scented Sugar is a great way to get another use out of leftover vanilla bean pods.

Print Save Recipe


2 cups granulated sugar
2 - 4 whole vanilla beans, empty pods work too


Layer sugar and vanilla beans (you can slice them in half for smaller jars and for stronger scents) in a jar. Let sit for at least 24 hours for the sugar to become scented.

Sugar can be used in baking, tea, or anything else you'd want a lightly flavored sugar for. Makes a perfect, simple and inexpensive gift.

Variations: Use citrus peels, herbs or rose petals for other scented sugar options.


Adjust the number of vanilla bean pods you use to make the vanilla sugar to vary the strength of the vanilla scent.

Other Thoughtful Gifts

Often times the focus of party preparation can easily become directed at the food, drinks and guest list. If you’re hostess has all of that covered, look for another way to show your appreciation. Flowers to add to the table are great. Look at these gorgeous homemade painted vases!

painted bottle vases

Photo credit: Angus McRitchie (L’express Bistro) for Canadian House & Home.
Found via poppytalk.

Entertaining takes a lot of energy. Sometimes something as simple as fresh flowers or something to soothe the body show your gratitude. Try some of these gifts to treat your hostess to some pampering.

hostess gifts - eat well spend less

These gift ideas are a simple way to show a little extra appreciation to those who have so willingly opened up their home and hearts to entertain. Be sure to check out the other Eat Well, Spend Less ladies to read their thoughts on inexpensive summer entertaining.

Once everyone has posted their topics, I’ll update this with links direct to their posts.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    TidyMom - July 19, 2011 @ 6:10 am

    Do you know I bought a jar and vanilla beans moths ago and forgot to do this! lol…….thanks for the reminder!!

    LOVE all the gift ideas, I’d love to get a jump start on the holiday season with some of these ideas.
    Thanks for including my honey butter Katie!


  • 2
    Bev Weidner - July 19, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    Awesome ideas!

    I especially love the collection of blue jars and mini vases. I actually collect blue jars and mini vases! So this collection of blue jars and mini vases brings me to tears.

    How many times can I type “blue jars and mini vases?”

    How ’bout one more time? “blue jars and mini vases.”

    Okay, I’m done.


  • 3
    Cami - July 19, 2011 @ 7:22 am

    I am always looking for inexpensive gift ideas and these are great. Thanks for sharing these!


  • 4
    BarefeetInTheKitchen - July 19, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    This is a great post, full of awesome ideas. I am already planning to use a few of these for Christmas hostess gifts! Thanks!!


  • 5
    Michelle - July 19, 2011 @ 7:34 am

    Some great gift ideas, thank you for posting.


  • 6
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - July 19, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    Great post, Katie! I love all of these ideas, especially the bath salts and sugar scrubs! Those vases are so crafty and adorable!


  • 7
    Rob - July 19, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

    The citrus curd link is incorrect.

    Incorrect Link: http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2011/2011/04/citrus-curd-three-ways.html

    Correct Link:http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2011/04/citrus-curd-three-ways.html


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — July 19th, 2011 @ 2:00 PM

      The link is showing as correct for me.

  • 8
    Tracy - July 19, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    Love these hostess ideas! Perfect for the upcoming holidays too!


  • 9
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - July 19, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    Great ideas! I love those painted vases, I’ve got quite a few glass jars at home I could do that with!


  • 10
    kellie@foodtoglow - July 20, 2011 @ 3:23 am

    All great ideas and a reminder that giving homemade things is much nicer than slinging an extra bottle of wine in the grocery cart for gifting. I often give whatever jam I have made recently along with homemade cheese crackers or similar. I am an urban hen keeper so they always get a box of fresh eggs too. NIce timesaving, freebie, that one!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — July 21st, 2011 @ 12:05 PM

      It should be fixed now. Try refreshing or clearing your browsing history if it isn’t. I just went through and edited. For some reason wordpress keeps adding an extra 2011 in the url.

    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — July 21st, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

      Sorry…replied to the wrong comment! :)

  • 11
    Jill - July 21, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    Hi – the links to the salsa, pancake mix, curd and hummus did not work. I love this idea and would love to check out more of the links, especially the curd and the salsa. Thanks.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — July 21st, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

      It should be fixed now. Try refreshing or clearing your browsing history if it isn’t. I just went through and edited. For some reason wordpress keeps adding an extra 2011 into the url.

  • 12
    Jennifer - July 23, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    These ideas are wonderful! I’m always at a loss as to what to bring to my hosts, and these are so creative yet simple to make. Thanks for the inspiration!


  • 13
    Donna - July 26, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    I just bought a dozen vanilla beans. Yum!!! Can I store the whole (uncut) beans in sugar until I’m ready to use them? Thanks!


  • 14
    Shari Brooks - August 03, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    I love this idea. Just the other day I bought some beautiful Ball jars and spent an afternoon making homemade jams and pesto sauces with items from my garden. I put a label on them and have been using them as thank you/hostess gifts! Not only are people pleasantly surprised but it’s seen as a very thoughtful gift.


  • 15
    Carol Egbert - November 11, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

    I’m planning on making ketchup for giving this year, homemade of course, as soon as I perfect my recipe. It is red after all.


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