Lemon tree loaded with huge, lovely Meyer lemons

Creative Ways to Shop, Save and Give

I love getting feedback from readers about past columns. Whether it’s an email to me at Mary[at]EverydayCheapskate.com or a comment posted on my blog at www.EverydayCheapskate.com, I thoroughly enjoy reading the follow-up responses and tips. For example, Carol sent me this great idea for my lemon bounty.

Lemons

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GOT LEMONS? MAKE LIMONCELLO. I loved reading the Everyday Cheapskate column on Mary’s lemon bounty. I wanted to suggest for anyone who has an excess of lemons—make Limoncello. This is an Italian lemon liqueur that also uses the lemon’s peels, and it is delicious. I made it last year for Christmas gifts, and had the most fun shopping swap meets and yard sales to find really beautiful and unusual bottles. I even researched recipes using limoncello and attached them to the bottles. It takes a few weeks to make, but it’s easy and the end result is beautiful. With all the juicing, peeling and cooking, there’s not a smidgen of waste. Carol, email

HUNGRY GIRL TASTES BEST. I subscribe to the Hungry Girl emails and website (www.Hungry-Girl.com). The recipes on the site reduce calories and carbs by a whole lot. Food for me is all about taste, mouth-feel, flavor and satiety, and this website has all of these. Suzanne, email

RUB OFF CANDLE WAX. With the holidays coming up, I wanted to share a great method of removing candle wax from glass. Just rub a little olive oil on the wax and it will melt away easily. No need to heat the oil, either. Mary, Minnesota

FANCY RECIPE CARDS. Not being able to throw away the beautiful greeting cards I receive, I wondered what I could do with them. After looking through them, I found that many lend themselves to becoming 3 x 5 cards. Some even work well as 4 x 6 cards. Once sized, I use these as recipe cards. Now I can enjoy the colorful designs of these cards over and over. Shirley, North Carolina

BACON STARS AT THE MEAT COUNTER. I do not buy prepackaged bacon (around $5.99 a pound where I live). Instead, I buy bacon from the fresh meat section (where I am served by folks behind the display case) at $3.99 a pound. It is better quality bacon and I can get as much or as little as I want. Deb, EC Blog

DOLLAR STORE FROZEN FINDS. I live alone and I buy several things in the refrigerated and frozen food sections at my local dollar store. Because the packages are small, the food doesn’t go bad. I’ve gotten Land O’Lakes cheese slices, sour cream, cream cheese and bags of frozen fruit for my smoothies, for only $1 each. Abuela, EC Blog

NO MORE LOST TOAST. In the morning, my husband and I enjoy a piece of toast with our coffee. Unfortunately, the bread we like is small and hard to get out of the toaster. I bought an appetizer tong and it works perfectly for lifting the toast out of the toaster. Willa, email

Question: Any plans to give Christmas gifts from your kitchen? If so, share your edible gift ideas here

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12 replies
  1. Priscilla
    Priscilla says:

    I sure hope Willa’s appetizer tongs are either plastic or wood. If you stick metal tongs into the toaster, you could very well receive an electric shock or worse.

    Reply
    • Ann
      Ann says:

      Wooden or bamboo chopsticks, even if you don’t know how to use
      them to eat.. Bamboo BBQ skewers can “skew’ the toast.
      Ann, North Carolina

      Reply
  2. Jana
    Jana says:

    I love to make flavored oils and vinegars to use myself and give as gifts. One of my favorites is to thinly peel a blood orange and put the peels in a jar of with good olive oil. In no time at all the oil is beautifully flavored. It has remained so even after straining out the peels. Fresh herbs in vinegar are wonderful too! Garlic gloves, dried chilis, there are as many flavor combos as you can imagine for scrumptious flavored oils and vinegars! Put your creations in pretty bottles, and voila!

    Reply
  3. Kmay
    Kmay says:

    I’m thinking of making homemade vanilla this year. I found a recipe for it, using vanilla beans and vodka! Anybody ever done this? Does it turn out ok?

    Reply
    • Sunny C
      Sunny C says:

      Hello Kmay; I have made Homemade Vanilla using Beans and Vodka. It takes several months to make it as the longer that the Beans soak in the Vodka, the better the results will be! At present, I have four large bottles going. I made them well over a year ago, and the Vanilla tastes out of this world GOOD!!!! It makes the most Wonderful Gifts, and I Bake so much myself that it is a huge Gift to me!!! Good Luck!! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    right now I am canning Cran-Rapberry sauce. 16 qt. of Apple sauce are in the pantry, with more to come. There is still Blackberry jam, pear sauce, pear butter and pumpkin butter to be made. Many jars will go to friends and family along with baked goods for breakfast. After all what is jam without something to put it on. Our troop in “stan”: will get some jars too.
    Sarah in CA

    Reply
  5. Marge
    Marge says:

    We have many birds here during the winter. For gifts, I layer different types of wild bird seed (thistle seed, cracked corn, sunflower seeds and wild bird seed) into quart size jars. I put on a festive fabric top; and tie with a ribbon or raffia.

    Reply
  6. Kate
    Kate says:

    I have resused plenty of greeting cards that I’ve received. Usually the cover of the card has a smaller, cheerful picture or drawing that I cut out, hole punch the corner, and there I have a new gift tag to tie onto this year’s packages.

    Reply
  7. Sunny C
    Sunny C says:

    I normally make as many things to give as Gifts for the Holidays as possible. I truly enjoy doing this, as I LOVE to Cook and Bake!!
    One thing which I do is to make Stunning Gift Baskets for Gifts. They look like they cost a huge amount of $$$$. I purposely make them look as lavish as possible, and I add little extras which add up to making them look as if they were purchased in a pricy shop somewhere!!! My (wealthy) Brother, also PAYS ME to make him some Baskets for some of his Clients!!!! His Clients actually think that their Gift Baskets were made by some Fancy Shop!!!!!

    Reply

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