I had an old dress with a hole that I was saving for just such an occasion, bought some burlap (only $2.50/sq yd) and Jute string. I mod podged the material, then hot glued the burlap (only in the middle, then pulled threads on top and bottom to fray), tied the jute and hot glued where the knot was. Then just hot glued a button and used little mini clothes pins to attatch the cards with instructions.
I chose a favorite pancake recipe of mine(http://ablognobodywillreadanyway.blogspot.com/2010/08/cinnamon-hazelnut-pancakes.html)
and the only expense on top of pantry staples was buying the hazelnuts. I made sure to pick one that the wet ingredients would also be staples and therefore easier and faster for the recipients to put together. I put all the dry ingredients in And voila! Really cheap but (hopefully) cute gifts!