11.22.2009

Energy Conservation for the Holidays

Energy Conservation is a favorite topic of mine. It involves a combination of strategies designed to let you save your energy on the multitude of tasks in a day so that you can save it for the things that matter most in your life. Holidays can be very draining, but here are some ways to save your energy. Please add your own suggestions in the comments section.

Tips for Family Get-togethers
-Try to limit excessive travel (I speak from experience- last year was a 10 day 8 location trip).
-When you do travel, make sure to take rest breaks at least every 2 hours to get out of the car and stretch. Rotating driving responsibilities is also a good idea
-Rotate hosting responsibilities within the group so that no one person has to bear the brunt of continual entertaining
-Consider meeting friends at a restaurant or other gathering place
-If you're doing the entertaining, ask for setup and cleanup help
-Try to take a nap before any gathering that will go into the evening hours

Tips for Meal Prep
-Spread the responsibilities around the family or group. Have people volunteer to make a specific dish so that the host is not saddled with the entire meal
-Prepare some dishes ahead of time if possible
-Use tools to save you time and effort. This includes mixers, microwave, and the crockpot
-Try to prepare more foods in the crockpot or bake them in the oven instead of cooking stovetop, since it requires less tending
-Keep a stool or extra chair in the kitchen so you can take breaks during cooking time. A higher stool can be pulled up directly to the stovetop for stirring pots, or to the sink to wash dishes
-Oven Bags can cut the cooking time for a turkey down substantially and decrease basting needs
-Perform prep tasks seated at table if possible
-Split large tasks between a group

Food Substitutions
-Several stores offer completely catered meals
-A rotisserie chicken can be substituted for making a full turkey
-Steam n' Mash Potatoes by Ore Ida are pre-cut potato pieces that you add to your own milk, butter, and spices. Saves the trouble of peeling and cutting the potatoes.
-Betty Crocker and Bob Evans both have instant mashed potatoes that can be heated up in the microwave. They also offer sweet potatoes and stuffing.
-Many schools offer cookie batter in large buckets as fundraisers, making cookies into a scoop & bake operation

As always, I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with any of the aforementioned companies or products. However, I have used them myself frequently.

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