Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 12 – December 18, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! Wow – where has the month of December gone? In fact, where has 2016 gone? It’s hard to believe that the last time I wrote was the Sunday after our Thanksgiving holiday, and next Sunday will be Christmas.

Today’s first tid-bit was shared by Sue.  I really did want to get this out prior to now, as I am sure that many of us had a hunk of celery stashed away in the fridge from one holiday recipe and in hopes of getting it to the next holiday.  Or what about just putting celery in the fridge, in general?  I’m sure we have all experienced what Sue describes, but you are going to love her trick!

                Lora, I was getting mad because as one person; I’d use a couple ribs of celery. Next time I needed it, I looked at wilted yellow ribs…I can keep it almost forever if I wrap the celery tightly in aluminum foil. Now I don’t have to throw celery away in between batches of spaghetti and stir fry.

So, if you would like to run off to your fridge and wrap your celery up in tin foil, I will certainly wait so you can preserve some food. Sue also made mention that she cuts off the root end, but this is not required.

So, now you have the bottom end of a celery bunch…  seriously, don’t toss that out – or the leaves and tops!! I know that I have shared this little trick in the past, but it might be a good time to remind you, and share a new recipe for soup stock. Recently, our son has had a “special lady friend” joining us for Sunday night meals.  She is a vegetarian and I am delighted to get to cook for her – I now get to try out all those recipes without a single complaint from my son, who knows it is only polite to try to honor our guest’s food needs, and it is a sure-fire way to get him to try some new foods!  Mommy score, all around! So, the last time that I went to replenish our chicken stock supply, I decided to also make some vegetable broth.

The first little trick in either broth recipe is to save all the little ends and parts of veggies that you would normally throw away. I toss these into a large zip lock freezer bag, labeled, “for stock”. Please note that things like broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies cannot be used for soup stock.  They will leave your broth bitter. So, leave those out of the stock stash! The recipe below has great instructions, and they make their broth on the stove.

http://ohmyveggies.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth-with-kitchen-scraps/

My little trick is that I wrap all the veggies in a piece of cheese cloth and tie it together with string, then pop it into a crockpot full of water and set it on low for about 8 to 10 hours. After all that time, you just pull the cheese cloth bag out of the broth (feel free to add this to the compost pile!), and start ladeling up some pretty amazing veggie broth.  I freeze this in 2 cup portions, and of course label and date your broth!  I would not want to get the veggie and chicken broth mixed up! To make this as a chicken stock, I just add the frozen chicken carcass to the veggie pieces and parts (in a new piece of cheese cloth that gets tied together with string), and let it simmer on low for 8 to 10 hours in the crock pot.

Notice that some recipes suggest to cook some of the aromatics together in oil, then add it to the crock pot.  I am sure that this is a great way to add complex flavors, but for me, I just don’t have time for that extra step. I just chuck my scraps in a bag and let it simmer away in the crock pot.  It is so easy, its almost like cheating, AND you get to use pieces and parts that you would normally just toss out. SUPER SCORE!

It appears that I have gone on and on about my over-excitement of food scraps. But, seriously, how cool is it that you can make such wonderful broth from stuff you were going to just throw away.  And did I mention that I do not add any salt to my broth?  Now it’s pretty darn close to sodium free. And no weird canning junk that some companies add to their cans. Yeap, pretty much a perfect recipe, as far as I’m concerned.

With Christmas just days away, now, here are some really neat ideas that you can try.  They might even be gift worthy, or possibly a great activity to eat up some of the kids’ free time over a long and cold Christmas break.

This first one was sent to me by Britt.  I just LOVE the idea of jiggly soaps! And the recipe looks pretty easy – it might be a fun craft to do with your family. Seriously, jiggly soap… just the image makes me smile! Who couldn’t love jiggly soap?! https://www.buzzfeed.com/hitomiaihara/these-soap-jellies-are-way-more-fun-than-a-regular-bar-of-so?utm_term=.pxKjPaqbR#.co9lJEnWY Thank you, Britt, for sharing!

Does anyone remember making peanut butter play dough, as a kid?  This would be the holiday (and not edible) version on a classic homemade toy. And you can store it in a mason jar – could this project get any cuter?!   http://masonjars.com/blogging/diy-gingerbread-playdough-in-a-mason-jar/

I hope that you have had many opportunities to celebrate with family and friends over the past few weeks.  Tis the season to enjoy these gatherings, try new recipes or bring out classics, and to reconnect with those near and dear through holiday cards, gift giving, and all the craziness that we seem to put ourselves through. But, truly, during all of this, please remember to take time and enjoy the magic of the season.  Take in a children’s Christmas program (one really can’t have negative feeling after such a cute program!).  Enjoy the excitement of the season. Go out and view the light displays throughout the neighborhoods and downtowns.  Turn on some Christmas music, or possibly enjoy a family sing a long or play along! The main factor is to enjoy SOMETHING this season. Whatever the magic that brightens your heart may be, please stop the craziness, even for just a moment, and enjoy the magic happening around you.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you enjoy your holidays. Enjoy your celebrations, respect others, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun, but most of all, find the magic and enjoy it. Merry Christmas.

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