May 27, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 23 - May 27th

In today’s reading, Amy covers Christmas gift giving recipes. I know that it is the end of May, and Christmas is several months away, but if you make a plan now for Christmas and put that plan into action you will not only save money, but the holidays will be less stressful. Amy gives a few recipes in this section and if you think these are recipes you would like to try for gift giving, then when these ingredients go on sale now (if they will keep) or in the fall, buy them. Make a list of what you will need and then buy your ingredients when they go on sale and check them off your list.

If you have a Household Notebook, have a section for Christmas and put the list of things you will need along with the ingredients and recipes so that you will be all ready when Christmas arrives.


Stained Glass Cookies

1/2 cup softened margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 lb. assorted colored hard candies (such as life savers)

Blend together the margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, salt and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add water, about 6 tablespoons, until the mixture forms a stiff but workable dough. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Unwrap and sort candies by color into separate bowls. One at a time, put each bowl of candies into the plastic bag and crush with a mallet. The final texture should include granules and small chunks. Return crushed candies to their separate bowls.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Flour your hands and roll a small piece of dough into a rope exactly the thickness of a pencil. Shape the ropes into holiday designs such as stars, bells, etc. I have done this by rolling out the dough and cutting it out with cookie cutters and then I take a sharp knife and cut out a portion of the center of the cookie. Also I bake cookies on parchment paper as it saves on your cookie sheets and makes clean up so much easier.

Prebake the cookies for 8 minutes til lightly golden. Remove from the cookie sheet from the oven. Fill the centers with crushed candy. The depth of the candy should be even with the dough. Bake about 4 minutes or a little less. Watch carefully you do not want the candy to bubble, but to melt. Remove from oven and cool.

Homemade Toffee

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Butter an 8 inch square pan. Spread the chopped walnuts or pecans in the pan. Heat the butter or margarine and sugar, and boil over medium heat in a 1 quart saucepan, stirring constantly. Do this until the mixture darkens and just begins to smoke, about 7 minutes. Immediately pour the mixture over the walnuts.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot mixture, and put a cookie sheet over the top to hold in the heat so that it melts the chips. Spread the chocolate with a knife. If desired sprinkle ground walnuts on the melted chocolate. Score into 1 1/2 inch squares while still warm. Refrigerate. Break into squares when cool.

Christmas Cheese Ball

2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon minced onion
2 teaspoons chopped pimento
Dash garlic salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine the first 7 ingredients and form into a ball. Roll the ball in the chopped walnuts so that the outside is completely covered.

Whole Wheat Crackers

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup wheat germ

Sift the first 5 ingredients together. Add the margarine and process in food processor. Add the buttermilk and process until it forms a ball. Set it aside for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into four parts. Grease cookie sheets and sprinkle them with wheat germ. Roll each dough piece out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Cut into diamond shapes with a pastry wheel. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and put into a covered container.

Does this inspire you? As you come across possible recipes for gift giving, put them in your binder in the Christmas Section. Then you won’t have to look for them when the time comes.


Bird Food Blocks (similar to the suet you find in the store)

2 cups shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup birdseed

Melt the shortening with the peanut butter in a large saucepan. Add the cornmeal and mix well. Add the birdseed and mix well. Pour into a rectangular baking pan or cupcake pans, and let set overnight. You can cut the pieces in the baking pan into squares to fit into a suet feeder or you can set out in your birdfeeder.


Give away several rolls of homemade freezer cookie dough as gifts.

Tomorrow we will continue our discussion of Christmas by reading pages 205 through 214. I’m excited at the prospect of making a list now of all of the homemade gifts I want to make such as aprons, and get those sewn over the next few months. I would much rather spread the work over a few months than stay up late several nights before Christmas to get the work done. It is my goal to have a less stressful and enjoyable Christmas this year. Make it your goal too.

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