Erin's self-sufficiency blog

Dedicated to sharing my efforts in radical homemaking, self-sufficiency, simplicity, and general craftiness on a very, very small budget.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Thriftmas

I had a great time with Christmas this year, in part due to having hardly any money. I spent a dollar on decorations (floral wire). We have a plastic tree which we decorated with ornaments we have collected. We hung our little string of Christmas lights. I made an advent wreath from branches that a nice man at the tree lot gave us for free. We made popcorn strings to go around the tree and paper cut-out snowflakes to go on the windows. So it looked very festive around here.

We decided on some new traditions. Those crafts were part of it, but we also decided to donate to the food bank. We don't have a lot to offer and I am scared to let go of food, but we did it and hopefully we helped someone. We also wanted to contribute to a toy drive, but we only had two toys, and they were used, and we either needed to donate new toys, or a truck would drive up to collect our donations, which hardly seemed fair when there were only two toys.

We got lots of food sent from our families. I did my shopping at the dollar store, the used book store, and the grocery store. I made my husband some pajama bottoms from a sheet that I got a while ago from the Salvation Army. They're Thomas the tank engine pajama bottoms. It would have been pretty funny to watch me sew, as I did every seam wrong at least once and ended up sewing the legs shut or something like that. Eventually it worked out and they look pretty good. I will try to get a picture soon. He seems really happy with them.

Then there was food. It was just the two of us but I put out appetizers of cheese, sausage, smoked oysters, smoked almonds, crackers, fig spread, antipasto, and pepper jelly. All these things were gifts! I also baked for a few days so we had popcorn balls, butter tarts, peanut butter cookies, and banana bread. For dinner I made roasted chicken legs with homemade mustard, mixed roasted veg, gravy, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. I am especially proud of the stuffing because I took breadcrumbs that I had been saving up for six months and made a huge amount of food. It blows my mind that people throw away their stale bread heels and then go out and buy dried breadcrumbs in the store. I put all my stale bread pieces in a plastic bag in the freezer. You never need to buy breadcrumbs again. You can either cut them up or grind them in the food processor if you want finer crumbs. Anyways, I had only made stuffing once before, and that was 10 years ago, so I was pleased with how it turned out. I also made my gravy from a mix because I have some mix, and I didn't know how much the chicken would drip. Anyway it dripped a lot so I put some of the fat into the gravy, which was a really good idea. I added the rest to the mashed potatoes. We ate this with our ginger beer and we were so full after we didn't have room for dessert. I had to put most of the desserts in the freezer, save the popcorn balls. I actually have decided not to make popcorn balls again because I cut my hands up pretty bad on the caramel.

We ended the evening by watching a wonderfully terrible movie, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Highly recommended if you like B-movies.

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