It’s Christmas Eve 2018. Where has the year gone? I still have a few jobs to do today, but I am generally calm, organised and in control. It has been a Shoestring Christmas. We have spent the money we wanted to spend on food and presents but haven’t gone crazy.
No over indulgence so far…
Usually I buy far too many Christmas treats and we are looking at them in disgust as the New Year (and our resolutions to be fitter and healthier) approach. I have so far bought very few. We are out and about a lot over Christmas so we don’t need them anyway. I don’t want any food waste.
We do seem to have gone generally overboard on cheeses, however! I think I will be searching out some good recipes to use those up. At least they last a long time in the fridge and some can even be grated and frozen.
The last of presents have been wrapped in brown paper and raffia. This year I wanted to reduce waste and make sure all of our wrappings were recyclable, compostable or reusable. We had a lot of gift bags given to us last year, so I have reused as many as possible. This approach has proved extremely cheap: just the thing for our Shoestring Christmas.
Mr S is full of cold, so I made some stock yesterday from a chicken carcass and loads of vegetable trimmings. I keep a pot in the freezer and add to it as I go along. This made the base for a lovely vegetable soup. We will have the leftovers for lunch today. I really do not want his cold on top of my neck problem, but woke up with a sore throat today…
Tonight’s tea will be Nigel Slater’s casserole of chestnuts, parsnips and mushrooms. I make versions of this quite often, but this time I have all the ingredients so will follow it properly and have some creamy mash to go alongside, and sausages for the carnivores. We also have a chocolate cake, made by no 2 daughter, for dessert.
I haven’t bothered with a traditional Christmas cake, but might get one once they are reduced!
Last minute cooking
Although the rest of the family are eating meat at Christmas dinner, I am going for Sarah Brown’s cashew nut and mushroom roast. It’s an old family favourite. My friend Jan found a lovely recipe for vegetarian gravy on the BBC Good Food website, so I think I will make some of that too.
I also have a quiche to put together for Christmas tea. Red pepper and sweetcorn makes a good combination I think, so I am making that.
Every year I intend to hit the shops before they close for Christmas to find bargains. In reality, I am usually too busy to do so, but today I am going to have a quick whizz round Sainsbury’s and the Coop at around 5 pm to see if there is anything worth buying. I have checked the websites and they close at 6pm.
If it isn’t at a knock down price, I shan’t bother. I’m not going to be spending for the sake of it. If I can get some cheap food for the freezer it will help towards my no spend January and low spend grocery plan.
Sloe gin for a slow brain
We went to friends for a walk and drinks yesterday. Their home made slow gin was delicious and it turns out it has great pain relieving qualities. My neck didn’t bother me much at all!
However, Mr S did somewhat over indulge. He was dopey as hell last night! I will have to see if our home made grape liqueur has a similar anaesthetising effect later!
A night at the pantomime
We had a brilliant night at the panto at the Mercury Theatre in the week (oh no you didn’t, I hear you cry…). Our friends’ daughter Jade was in the chorus for the second year in a row so we wanted to go and support her. It was such good fun. We were off to the side, making our tickets cheaper, but had a good view of pretty much everything. My friend said she got tickets right at the back for one performance but still had a good view. Hers cost just £12, so I think we will explore that option next year.
If you live in Essex, I believe there are some January tickets left – I highly recommend it – so much fun!
Mr S would prefer to be as far away from the dame as possible as he literally ALWAYS gets picked on. This year was no exception and he ended up with the dame on his lap and his head under her voluminous skirts! He reckons he needs counselling to get over it. I absolutely love a good panto!
Whatever you are doing this festive period, whether you are having a Shoestring Christmas or even if you have decided not to bother and to hide under the duvet until it’s all over, we wish you warmth and happiness and all the best for a happy new year. See you when it’s all over!