Plan a Family
Make hot chocolate and have a family
meeting to review and discuss your
traditions and menu plans. Start with
prayer, asking the Lord what He
would have you do to celebrate
Thanksgiving, His birth, and the New
Year. Ask whom you might be able to
reach out to through these activities,
what He wants to do in your family,
and how you can carry out His will.
Then talk about it. You might be
surprised to learn what your family
members passionately feel is an
important part of Thanksgiving or
Christmas celebrations. You might be
able to drop a few expensive or time-consuming dishes (and activities) and
focus on the ultimate favorites, which
are often simple. Try to let everyone
choose at least one favorite!
Narrowing the list can really help
you save money and avoid the stress of
cooking so many dishes, not to
mention the quandary of what to do
with leftovers on those dishes you
“always” make but never really get
gobbled down! It may be time to let
some traditions end. It would not be
Christmas without Peanut Butter
Fudge in our home, but my family is
okay without the homemade cranberry
sauce and the Southern Living
stuffing of the year.
Don’t get sidetracked by all of the
beautiful feasts portrayed in magazines, which entice you to buy
multiple ingredients not normally on
your list. Make a commitment to
simplify this year!
Plan to Organize
Now that you have revamped your
family plan, grab a notebook and
create a “Holiday Recipe Journal.”
Include in it all recipes for
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s
Day, events you are going to, food
gifts, and parties. This keeps things
neat and all in one place, allowing you
to see which ingredients you will need
throughout the season. You now have
the tools with which you can compile
a master grocery list for the holidays.
Pull a math and economics lesson
in by having the kids help you scour
the Recipe Journal and determine how
many ingredients you will need altogether. How many cups of sugar and
flour will you need? Therefore, how
many bags of flour and sugar do you
need to buy? How many cans of
pumpkin, evaporated milk, broth, etc.
will be needed? Let them peruse the
pantry to take inventory. Do you have
enough cinnamon, cloves, sage, and
other spices? Write directly on the
cans, earmarking them for certain
dishes, or put colorful stickers or
labels on your cans and boxes of food.
Let the family know that these labeled
containers are reserved for holiday
meals; they are not to be used for
other meals. Write down all of the
ingredients you still need, creating one
Take the kids on a grocery trip to
establish a baseline for what the prices
of those ingredients are now. Compare
the prices of these items at your local
grocery store, health food store, and
Record current prices for flour, sugar,
turkey, ham, spices, etc., so that you can
easily spot a good deal when you notice
one in an upcoming sale flyer. Figure out
how much it would cost at “today’s
price” and what that total might be. Yes,
this takes time, but it helps everyone
learn what the best price is. If corn is
always 89 cents a can, you know that two
cans for $1 is a sale, and three cans for
$1 is the time to really stock up. Is it
wiser to purchase 10 lbs of sugar at the
warehouse store than it is to purchase the
grocery store’s 4-lb bag that’s on sale?
Often what we perceive (or are led to
believe) is a deal isn’t a deal at all.
Compare ounces and pounds for best
Keep a copy of your master list in
your Recipe Journal and a second one in
your car, so that you can take advantage
of super sales you might run across
unexpectedly. You are training your children to be good stewards.
For more great recipes visit www.ThePrudent Wife.com.
198 Natural Schoolhouse
Peanut Butter Fudge
3 cups sugar
¾ cup butter (I always use real butter.)
⁄ cup evaporated milk
12 oz peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
OR chocolate chips for chocolate fudge
7 oz marshmallow cream (whole jar)
1–2 teaspoons pure vanilla (not vanillin)
Stir together margarine, sugar, and milk in a
heavy 2-½ to 3-quart saucepan; bring to full
boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes over
medium heat or until candy thermometer
reaches 234 degrees, stirring constantly to
Remove from heat. Gradually stir in peanut
butter until melted. Add remaining ingredients;
mix until well blended. Pour into greased 9 x 9-
inch pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into
squares. Makes 3 pounds.
That is the real recipe done the proper way.
However, I cheat! Below is the microwave
version, which works beautifully as well.
Lisa Baughn’s Cheater
Plop 3 cups of sugar and 1-½ sticks of butter into
a microwave-safe bowl. Swirl ⁄ cup evaporated
milk into it. Microwave for about 3 minutes. Stir
really well, scraping the edges; normally it is
warm at this point.
Microwave 3 more minutes. Remove the bowl
carefully, stir, and scrape down the edges. Return
to microwave for another 3–5 minutes (with it
While that mixture is cooking, put the peanut
butter and marshmallow cream in a big bowl.
(You don’t have to stir these two ingredients
together at all—the boiling fudge will melt them
for you.) Place that bowl in the sink. Remove the
boiling sugar mixture carefully and pour it into
the peanut butter/marshmallow cream mixture
in the other bowl. Stir well, and then add vanilla.
Pour into a pan and let cool. That’s it!
My grandfather was the king of peanut butter
fudge back home, and he would “beat it and
beat it” to get the high gloss of high-quality
fudge. My family ended up loving my microwave
version almost as well, but of course, nothing
ever tasted as good as Grandpa’s! Enjoy!