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Friday, December 30, 2016

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the week of Christmas

  • fully-loaded baked potato soup
  • bread
  • orange juice-cranberry sauce smoothies
  • pumpkin pie
Saturday (Christmas Eve)
  • spaghetti and meatballs in marinara sauce
  • canned green beans
  • leftover pumpkin pie
Midnight snack
  • hot cocoa, sitting by the tree, after the late Christmas Eve church service
Sunday (Christmas Day)
I served 2 meals on Christmas Day, brunch and dinner. I've included the menus for both of those meals.
The inspiration for our casual, snacky Christmas dinner was a frozen package of marked down Lil' Smokies, the tangerines that I bought for putting in stockings and a gift card to Jack-in-the-box. We split 1 order of chicken strips, 1 order of egg rolls and 2 orders of onion rings. With everything else we had, it was enough.

I required everyone to participate in putting this dinner together, as I did for our Thanksgiving dinner. My 2 daughters made the pie, I made the dip and washed/peeled the carrots and celery, my husband cut the celery and carrots into sticks, and my son and his girlfriend simmered the cocktail sausages in the bbq sauce while I ran out to get the Jack-in-the-Box. No one person carried the entire burden of a holiday meal on the holiday.
  • Lil Smokies cocktail sausage in bbq sauce
  • tangerines
  • carrots and celery sticks, with Ranch dip
  • Jack-in-the-Box snacks -- chicken strips, onion rings, egg rolls
  • pecan-chocolate chip pie
  • hot tea and milk
  • homemade cheese and olive pizza, using the leftover marinara sauce from Saturday's spaghetti and meatballs combined with leftover bbq sauce from Sunday's cocktail sausages, as the pizza sauce
  • cole slaw
  • last of the pecan-chocolate chip pie
  • baked acorn squash
  • baked potatoes, topped with cheese, Ranch dip, butter and Lemon-Rosemary finishing salt
  • applesauce
  • Christmas cookies
We were invited to friends for a Christmas tree candle lighting (real candles on their tree). There were lovely appetizers and desserts, enough to completely fill us. So no need to make any dinner tonight.

I don't know if you remember one of my shopping trips at Kohl's over the summer, with a $10 off coupon. I brought this box of candles, tied up with a red ribbon, as a hostess gift. I paid 38 cents at Kohl's, after coupon. (Oh and by the way, my 32 cent "holiday" entry mat, in the background, has been making merry at our front door, all season!)

I still have 3 more get-togethers with family/friends, in the next couple of weeks. This afternoon, I was baking 2 pumpkin cake rolls, and assembling and wrapping the last couple of gifts. Whew! Dinner was fast and easy. 
  • corn tortilla, black bean, salsa, olive and cheese thing (no other word than "thing")
  • leftover baked squash
  • Christmas cookies

I hope your week was jolly. Just a few more days and then it's back to routine, which will be welcome. Have a wonderful weekend.

Happy New Year!


  1. Sounds like you've had yummy food for the holidays! Was Jack in the box opened on Christmas? I was surprised! Also - sorry about noticing this detail - but did you really write this post at 2 am? I get insomnia also - just wondered!

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      Yes, Jack-in-the-Box was open on Christmas, and they were busy! They had a sign in their window a few weeks before Christmas, stating they'd be open on Christmas. But not much else was open, according to a couple of people inside, when we were picking up our order.

      My sleep is all over the place, Ruthie. Sometimes I go to bed at 12 or 1, sometimes I wake up for the day at 4. But, in answer to your question, I put these posts on auto. So, anyone who is up on the East Coast will get them by 5 AM, their time, and I can check back to answer questions and comments, early, if I happen to be up by 5 AM, my time. (Oh and I finish up posts, late, just before going to bed)

      Isn't the insomnia annoying? Sometimes, I wake in the middle of the night and feel frustrated by not being able to fall back to sleep. So, I grab my laptop and read for a while. What do you do when you can't sleep? Have you found anything that helps you get back to sleep?

      Hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve and Day, Ruthie!

  2. dear lilie,
    i wish you and your family a happy new year!
    hugs regina

  3. Happy New Year to you and your family, Lili!! Everyone, have a safe one too!!

    I have terrible sleep, wake up after 4 hours, almost to the dot. Stay awake for about 2 hours, then fall back to sleep for a few more hours. I definitely feel sleep deficit if I don't have at least 5-6 hours every night. I notice that little things bother me. It used to be work snafus, but now it is about "tweaking" details, or about our children and grandchildren. I usually wake up with a new way of looking at the problem, so I guess being waked up by thoughts can be somewhat productive.

    I might close my books for the year early too. We've more than stocked up. Next year, I hope to pare down our non-food spending. I think our food spending at around $200 for husband and me is just about right. Instead of opening our purse strings wide when the grandkids are over (and giving them spending money whenever they visit), I'm going to stress frugality to them (teach them how we save), and save as much as I can from our cash flow for their college years. It seems their parents are able to cover their expenses today, but the future is the big question. I don't think they are able to save enough from their incomes for those years. Raising children these days is probably more expensive then when we raised our children.

    Have a great weekend!!


    1. Happy New Year, YHF!
      Sounds like good plans for helping your grandkids learn more about living within means, as well as putting aside something for college for them. While a college savings won't sound exciting to them now, in time it will be appreciated.

      Have a wonderful weekend, YHF!

  4. I'm looking forward to more normal looking meals. My dad bought & cooked a beautiful prime rib for Christmas, as he always does. We didn't think we'd be able to get together as a family for Christmas this year because my mom was scheduled for surgery the week before Christmas, but her surgery got postponed, so we were able to get everyone together. We had a really lovely time. Even my brother-in-law, who works swing shift, was able to come.

    I spent this past week getting a new caregiver situated to work in my parents' home to help my mom out.

    Our family also visited my uncle's farm. That's always a big undertaking, but well worth the effort. My girls & I were able to make the two dinners we had & my uncle treated us to lunch at the little sandwich shop in town. They were absolutely overrun with our order for 12 people. It took them nearly two hours to put together our food. It's a very small town (about 800 people). I forget how big a group are family is until something like that happens. We got a good chuckle out of it.

    Happy New Year, Lili!


    1. Oh! I forgot my big girls & I took a little day trip & had a really good time. We scored some good buys at Goodwill. My oldest daughter bought herself a hoodie & didn't realize until after she'd washed & dried it that it has a built in cable to plug in a phone or Ipod in the side pocket & speakers sewn into the hood. It all still worked despite the washing. She was elated. Melissa

    2. Hi Melissa,
      Your Christmas with family sounds like it was a lovely time. I'm so glad for you! Your story of the restaurant meal for your large family did make me smile. Yes, I imagine it was more than they were accustomed to. Good thing you could see the humor in it all!

      Oh, lucky daughter of yours, with the hoodie find! That's great!
      Have a great day, Melissa!

  5. Happy New Year Lili! Your meals sound lovely. I gave myself the gift of purchasing some frozen appetizer type things in the fall with the intention of using them for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. I've found that I just feel so overwhelmed by the excess food and am tired of cooking (I bake a lot for gifts) so quick and easy is a treat. It was so wonderful and nice to make only the number of appetizers that we wanted to eat and not worry about how and where to store everything.

    1. Hi Laura,
      Your gift to yourself of frozen appetizers sounds like fun! And I certainly understand the sheer cooking fatigue from baking so many gifts. I'm glad you enjoyed your little treat. We all need that from time to time!

      Happy New Year, Laura!

  6. Dear Lili, I stumbled on your blog a few weeks ago (looking for a baking powder substitute and found your post about using baking soda + vinegar - worked like a charm!) and have been reading through the archives since then. I find your approach so inspiring. There is a certain peace and satisfaction in so ably providing for yourself and your family without getting caught up in mass consumerism, which is hard to resist sometimes! I'm a single gal and so only cooking for one, but I've kept your shopping tips in mind and will go into 2017 thinking about frugality and simple, healthy cooking. Love your blog. Thank you for sharing with us. Happy New Year to you!

    1. Hi Katie,
      Oh, thank you so much! I'm really glad to hear that you're finding some usual information on my blog, and can appreciate the choices that myself and my family make. You are so right, about the peace, knowing that you can take care of yourself, without spending a fortune or getting into the buy-buy-buy, got to have it now, mentality. Thank you for commenting.

      Wishing you a happy New Year, Katie!


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