I counted making all the lunches, cutting Andy's hair and quite a bit of painting.
I wrote $345 into my savings book.
My savings topic this week is baking for gifts. This can also include what to make when we are taking food to a combined event or when you just feel its appropriate to cook for someone.
I used to fall into the trap of feeling I had to spend a lot on these things. This is amazingly obvious but it took an article by Wendy to make me wake up to it!
Then I thought it over. Andy had taken a very expensive platter of food to a family event. I had taken a huge bowl of trifle to a family dinner. I noticed the desert was raved over and talked about for a long time so that was a success for sure. The difference between the two costs was over $150!
Wendy was really onto something here! If you arrive with something generous and delicious that is the main thing. It does not have to be expensive ingredients to make something that would be expensive in the stores or to be enjoyed by everyone.
Since then a friend was worried as she was asked to bring something to a large gathering and the hostess asked her to make it a cheese platter. My friend really has a tight budget and a huge cheese platter was going to cost a small fortune. I suggested to her that she ring up and offer to make a giant potato salad instead. And she did! Everyone loved it and this change saved her a huge amount and she was so relieved!
Chloe makes biscuits as her foodie gift or contribution. They are delicious and everyone goes crazy over them! For gifts she packages them up nicely. They are cheap to make and have variations. I asked her for the recipe.
(this makes around 25 biscuits)
125g butter, softened (this is about one cup or two sticks US)
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon milk
Icing sugar to dust
Preheat oven to 180. Line 2 baking trays with paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the egg and mix till combined. Sift flour and baking powder over the butter mixture. Add the milk and stir until just combined.
Roll into balls (I make mine small so like 2 teaspoons of dough) place onto trays (allow room for spreading) and press with a fork to flatten slightly.
Bake for 12-15 mins depending on how big you made them until lightly golden (I do 10-12 as I like mine kinda squidgy). Transfer to a rack to cool and dust with icing sugar.
These can be varied with a cherry on top, a nut on top, make an indentation and add a dab of jam etc.
180C is a medium to fairly warm oven.
On the weekend I needed a gift for my Uncle. So I baked Gingerbread cookies. They are one of my go to recipes to give.
I have to apologise as I realised I had made a mistake when I posted this recipe ages ago! I have fixed it now! The recipe is here.
I made five dozen and packaged them up leaving some for us this week. These have given me several presents!
My Uncles gift became one of my little Christmas Cakes, a jar of farm honey, a large Gingerbread cookie in the shape of a Moose, a packet of cookies and a bag of my hand made goats milk soap.
He seemed to love it!
My other go to recipes are shortbread, coconut ice, orange cake, banana cake...
My favourite things to take to a gathering are potato salad, rice salad, a cake or pavlova, nuts and bolts (snack) or a tomato bake that my Nan always made.
A beautiful cake or pavlova is always a massive hit as they look so spectacular!
Baking someone a birthday cake is always an amazing success. This is a great gift! It makes people feel special!
A little bit of strategy and thinking can be a huge saver here! Using what you have would be the other obvious tip. Contributing or giving something fresh from your garden would be perfect!
What is your best recipe that is suitable either for gifts or to take to a shared dinner? Feel free to suggest your ideas and the whole recipe if you would like and lets build a selection of ideas.
If you would like to contribute a photo as well then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put together a future post of these recipes. Think of taking a photo too as the Christmas season goes on as I would love to see!
Being almost December this is a good time to be thinking about this and suggestions will be so helpful!
When you have recipes in mind you can also accumulate the ingredients over time and keep them on hand. This means you can buy them all on special as well. Kaye keeps a tub especially for her Christmas cooking ingredients and saves them up. I love this!
How did you save last week? I hope you had lots of opportunities to get ahead and do well!
And I hope this week will be a good one! xxx