Saturday, December 24, 2011


So...I have been cooking all day and feel as if I have nothing accomplished.  I was only able to get about half of what was planned actually cooked.  I was lazy and waited on dish washer to clean dishes.  Of course, I was gone about an hour trying to finish up last minute Christmas gifts.  I got completely put out with the crowds, so decided to just get up 6 am...and run to Walmart to finish up a couple of things.  For the most part I am done, just need to wrap up my daughter's gifts.  However, I did get some dishes made ahead of time for Sunday's Christmas dinner.  The dressing is made (including a small pan of no sage for mom), a batch of Jubilee Jumbles cookies (Christmas tradition around here), and a pumpkin roll (my first ever).  Also cooked a lasagna for the meal tonight and am now waiting for a batch of chicken wings to cool down so I can box them up for mom.  All of this while trying to keep my wounded thumb out of water or contaminants.  I was slicing potatoes the other night and some how lost a chunk of my thumb.  It burns like crazy when it gets wet, throbs like a heavy metal drum when I touch it against something.  So, not real impressed with my final offerings though, while they are still completely edible are just not really up to my personal standards.  The cookies - the recipe calls for evaporated milk or sour cream.  Now, for more years than I care to count, the cookies have always been made with sour cream.  I know this, even had the sour cream sitting out.  I of course went right ahead and made them using the evaporated milk.  The glaze on the cookie is a browned butter glaze (which is misleading because the butter is not browned or turns brown, just melted until it just gets a dark golden color) which the past two years when I made the glaze I burned the butter in the first batch having to start over.  True burnt butter does not have an appealing taste at all.  Knowing this, I had this wonderful idea to just melt the butter in the microwave instead of using a sauce pan.  It tasted okay, but did not thicken as much as when using the sauce pan method.  Even though my youngest son G is still sneaking them (they are his favorite) which proves that they do taste good, am sure I will be making another batch tomorrow.  Will also be making another pumpkin roll, using a different recipe, as I do not like my first attempt.  I will say it was much easier than I had anticipated, so that first has at least gotten me past that "trying something new block".  I had made some cream cheese icing for my youngest daughter J's birthday cupcakes, had a whole bunch left over, so had saved it to use for the filling.  While it was still tasted good, the end result was just not what I was looking for.

On the list for tomorrow:  pumpkin pies, buttermilk pies, cheesecakes, fruit salad, deviled eggs, all for Sunday dinner.  I just found out that I will be having a couple of extra boys over for the meal.  They are my son's friends and they have no family here so they are coming to eat with us.  One of which cannot eat pork, and of course we are having ham, so need to figure out something for him.  I am going to be totally exhausted for sure.

Speaking of crowds, if we are living in a recession the shopping around here just does not reflect it.  People were packed in there buying high dollar items.

What is more expensive is food.  I read somewhere that the department of agriculture reported a 28% increase in food items.  Personally, I believe it is a larger increase, but that's is just the opinion of this mom who even though we are down the number of people to feed, the cost to feed us is up.  Way up.  For just the basics.  It is just a struggle to keep the budget and yet feed us healthy tasty meals.  In an attempt to get healthier, trim hubby and I, trim the cost of food, I am working on spending the holidays on menu planning. I have been  printing off a huge stack of new recipes to try. Hubby has a ski trip planned for us just after New Year's.  I don't much care for skiing, will probably only ski half days, so will be taking a couple of projects to work on.  Told him I was taking my big old file tote and was going to work on my recipe files and create some menu plans while they play in the cold snow.  I will be sitting warm with my sugar-free hot cocoa. I know from experience that menu planning does save a significant amount of money, just takes a little planning time.  Along with that will be the healthy aspect I mentioned, am going to work on less processed foods and more whole food dishes.

Now, I am about as cheap as they come when it deals with spending, but I must say that a new show on TLC called Extreme Cheapskates is really going to be borderline ridiculous.  It is a spin off from the show Extreme Couponers.  The preview mentions one cheapskate that makes their own washable toilet wipes.  I remember when the Tightwad Gazette was the going thing and thinking how my family would react if I, as the book suggest, were to take all the rolls of toilet paper and separate the layers then re-rolling to make two single ply rolls out of one double ply roll.  Or especially if I were to go to the feed store to buy bulk oats to make oatmeal every morning.  I can at least see how that would work, but washable toilet wipes?  No way.  That is right up there with cloth feminine pads.  I didn't use cloth diapers because of the pooh aspect, would never use the cloth pads because of the trouble those would be.  No, I am sure there are many more areas I can cut the spending down with resorting to those type of over the top savings strategy.

I am off to see if the wings are cooled off now, so am shutting down the computer.  Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave a comment.

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