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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Confession: It's Good for the Soul, Right?


This is an actual photo of the "originals" back in the early 1900's.  I am not sure of the exact date but this is The Family.

I probably should not have started this 200 dollar challenge until the beginning of September because of a couple of outside commitments we have known about for quite a while (Since last year!).  Our family has a reunion every year the Saturday before Labor Day which is always lovely, and this year was no exception.  I also have relatives who come from out of state and they usually fly in the day before.  I have bedrooms that are not in use and they are always open to whomever needs a bad.  This year my lovely cousin Kathryn, (she is truly lovely both in the physical and in her wonderful personality) her husband and adult son stayed with us. Every year on Friday night prior to the Saturday event we have some sort of dinner here at my house and we laugh about shared stories and memories. (We may or may not have a nip or 2 which may or may not make us a tad more boisterous)

Long story short: I definitely did not have enough in the budget for the Friday dinner plus food I needed to prepare for the family event, so I decided a compromise was in order. I would use what I had frozen and would not purchase anything specific for either day, except for dessert.  I was having 14 people over for dinner and did not want to heat the house up by turning the oven on.  The Pig had 14 layer cakes (7 layers of cake and 7 layers of icing) on sale for 6 dollars each so I bought 2 of them.  (One for the diner here and one to take to the reunion on Saturday).  Since we would not use them as part of our meal plan ( TheHub's  and mine) I put them in the T&E budget

When talking to my other lovely cousin Sally, she asked if she could bring some takeout.  Of course, so she stopped by a local restaurant and picked up a pan of lasagne, salad and rolls. All I needed  to make was some appetizers and I had bought the cake for dessert, plus I needed tea and some assorted adult beverages. MyBeloved Sister gets bottles of wine each year from people she does business with and rarely drinks it, so she donated several bottles, plus my other cousin, Sandy, brought a couple of bottles.  Jack and Bette are white wine drinkers and brought theirs already chilled, and Fran and Pete brought their favorite Scotch. Rick's son had given him a case of beer and he shared a good bit of it.  Our liquor cabinet remained fairly untouched except for the pineapple infused vodka I made a while back which everyone seemed to like.

For the apps I grilled 3 pounds Conecuh sausage (which I had in the freezer) cut them into thick coin size pieces, then made a dipping sauce of melted raspberry jam and hot jalapeno jelly (both were hanging out in the fridge). I had a package of cream cheese also and mixed it with about 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (the last of them) a couple of tablespoons of minced fresh rosemary (compliments of Otis, my rosemary plant, that thinks he is a tree) and a couple of tablespoons of walnuts (the last of them also). I had 4 boxes of  various crackers, all previously opened with varying amount so I tossed them on a platter with the cream cheese spread. Then I brewed tea for those who wanted it and had a pitcher of lemonade. (I think only 2 people drank it but it was here nonetheless)

Dinner was very nice and we missed those who couldn't make it!

For the day of the reunion "dinner on the grounds" meal everyone brings  food for a huge potluck meal.  As Son1 was explaining to Mama K when she asked if there would be a table filled with food, "No there is a kitchen filled with food, but there will be a table filled with desserts"  I think there were about 55 - 60 people there (but I am not positive) and there was enough food for about 55 more people.

I took picadillo (3 quarts I had previously frozen) over rice, cauliflower casserole (using frozen cooked bacon, cheese from the freezer,  and kefir instead of sour cream (I make kefir daily and just let this batch sit a little longer).  I did have to buy the cauliflower so I included it in the budget total. I also took some cornbread (We are out of cornmeal so I had to use corn flour instead and a little kefir instead of buttermilk) and the chocolate cake. (See above and the T and E budget)

My total expense was 14.50 (12 dollars for 2 cakes and 2.50 for the cauliflower, but like I said, I am tossing the cake prices in the travel and entertainment budget and we will just have to be homebodies for the next 2 weeks.)

And another 2 confessions:  1.TheHub's cannot take his lunch with him to work.  He eats out daily but due to the nature of his job he is either taken out by people trying to do business with them or he and 2 others eat together and discuss business strategy over lunch while the company pays for it. I suppose it is considered a perk and sounds great in theory but it really means he has zero down time during his work day. (He is at work before 7 and never leaves until at least 6:30 so his days are long with no breaks.)
2. He also has several dinner meetings a month, and last week he had 2, which meant I mostly only had to come up with a dinner plan for one. When it is just me I will eat whatever, so I barely cooked at all last week. We have most of the food I bought left for the remainder of this week and it will carry forward into next week.

We will be at the lake place for the long Labor Day weekend and will eat in the entire time.  I will not only be cooking our regular meals, but SEC football (Roll Tide Roll) will be on all day Saturday which means I will need to come up with some really good game day treats, as well as bbq for Labor Day. As I mentioned earlier, I still have a good bit of the food I purchased last week, so I am carrying it forward


20 comments:

  1. Is the photo a family photo? It is too bad your husband does not have down time. That kind of day can be brutal! You did well on the food front. I love the PIG.

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  2. Linda the picture I first posted was not the family, but then I remembered I had this photo of a long ago family reunion on my computer. This is the original family reunion group. Now over 100 years later we are still doing it, but we are a subset of this group.
    I love ThePig too!

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    1. When I came back just now, I thought the picture was different. At least I know I am not losing it. I don't possess any family reunion pictures from that long ago. Actually, I don't have any reunion picture that has so many people. Do you know who the people are, or at least do you know direct ancestors? It is a great picture.

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    2. My grandmother is the second little girl from the left on the first row (seated flat on the ground). Her brothers and sisters are also in the picture as well as her parents. Also in this picture are some of my grandfather's brothers and his father. This was a reunion of my grandmother's family but my grandfather's family were close neighbors so they came too. Later we realize how close they were since my grandmother and 3 of her siblings married 4 from my grandfather's family.

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  3. Over 100 years of a family reunion! That's remarkable! Has it been continuous? We've been having a family reunion with my father's family for over 50 years, but there were some years we didn't do it after my grandmother died. Also, ours aren't so big, but it's good to see whoever shows up all the same.

    Nice job with the food.

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    1. It has been continuous but not necessarily yearly. The reunion now is more of a subset of the family but anyone who is a part of the originals is more than welcome

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  4. I want you to post your game day food ideas! I'm tired of my standard fare and want to mix it up this year!

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    1. It might have to be retroactive. Other than knowing I have to do it, I haven't given it a thought yet

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  5. I think you array staying with the challenge. Very creative options.

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  6. I am not sure they were creative options really, but I did not want to spend real cash (Said the woman who paid 12 bucks for 2 cakes)
    This week will be a better example of living within a specific budget. I am planning at least 2 meatless meals and am pretty sure a quiche will be happening as well. (I have leftover eggs and they can fill some protein requirements)

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  7. I love trying to feed a crowd on a budget. It does not have to be expensive. One time at a family reunion we were running out of food and we had a rack of old hamburger buns. Lot's of milk and eggs, so I made bread pudding with plums, every one loved it. All from left overs.

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    1. Cool! That is kind of the way I like to do it too!

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  8. Wow.
    Our family has been separated by distance and temperament over the years. Family reunions just don't happen (I was in my forties before I knew I had cousins). That said, I am so impressed with the ingenuity you put into the meals for that big gathering.
    And feel so sorry for your husband with no down-time. It would do my head in.

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    1. The no down time has gotten out of control. We have already decided as soon as he get home we are going for a swim before doing anything else so he can shake out the bad mojo!

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  9. Oh I really have to go through your recipes as everything sounds wonderful. I remember when I lived in the States how impressed I was when all the "ladies" (my MIL was 12th of 12 kids) got together - all the wonderful food and just so different to what I was used to. And I LOVE that picture. I really love old pictures, especially when it is of my family. One time when I came back from England I bought all the old photos back (with my mom's permission) and in pride of place is a photo (about 100 years old) of my dad's dad in uniform during WW1. It was on cardboard so I put what I knew of him (his medals, where he was injured etc.) on the back and it is now in a beautiful frame on my wall (where it should be). Anna

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    1. That is just wonderful! There are some old tintypes of our family photos somewhere in the family. (Most likely at some cousin's house) I would love to track them down and have copies of them made

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  10. How well you plan. I've never gone to a family reunion, which is easy because I think we've only had one. At the time, I was pregnant with my second child, and the reunion was quite far from our home. Not attending was the logical choice. I love your photo of The Originals.

    Love,
    Janie

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  11. Thanks Janie! I love the photo also! One day I will post one of TheHubs tribe. It's a cool picture too

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  12. That's the thing with these challenges, you need a little slack. Get close sounds great to me. But then if I didn't cut myself so much slack, I would be able to make it on $200/wk for gas, food, liquor and anything else for the two of us. I think you did an amazing job!!!

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    1. I was pleased with my lack of spending. This week is getting harder because the food ads are not great

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