As I mentioned before, a group of us local Knoxville Bloggers decided to have a series on different Holiday tips to help our readers through the Christmas season. It is in a way a Christmas Helper Carnival. You will be seeing a series of posts from Blue Frog Creations, Coupon Katie, Coupon Mommie, Couponing in Critical Times, Coupons Are Money, Frugalisa Finds, Frugally Farming Family, Knoxmoms.com, Knoxville Mamabelle, Knoxville on a Dime, and Sharing Savings with You .
Today it is my turn to share some ideas with our readers. I will be giving you advice about how to have a local and organic feast for Christmas while staying in your budget!
- Plan a Menu
As with any meal, you should always plan a menu. If you are like my family, you have a lot of things you LOVE to have each year for Christmas. Write these things down. Keep in mind you may not be able to get ALL your items organically or locally.
- Check Your Pantry, Freezer, and Fall Garden
Before you go shopping, check your pantry, freezer, and fall garden for items on your list. For instance, I have potatoes in my pantry which are from my garden. I also have canned green beans. I canned apple pie filling with apples from our garden and pumpkin pie filling from a pumpkin I purchased from a local farm.
- Barter with Family members or neighbors
If you know a family member or neighbor has something you would like to have for your Christmas meal, ask if you have some to prepare your dish and trade with something you have which they may not have. You can also have your family member make the dish for which they have ingredients. For example, my mother-in-law grew sweet potatoes, and I did not. I can trade something of mine such as blue corn for meal or she can make a dish with sweet potatoes.
- Shop Local Farmers Markets in Your area or Call local Farms
Most of the Farmers Markets in the Knoxville area closed for the season around the end of October or November. If you have one in your area, check there for local produce. More than likely, you will just have greens, carrots, and other cool season vegetables available. For Tennessee residents you can check Pick Tennessee Products for farms available in your area. Many of farmers who sell at farmers markets will still sell outside of the farmers markets as well. You never know until you ask! If you are outside of Tennessee check Local Harvest for farms and farmers markets in your area.
- Shop Organic Stores or Local Produce Markets
For the Knoxville area, the best place to find local and organic products when Farmers Markets are not available are Benefit Your Life, Go Nutrition, Earth Fare and Three Rivers Market. Sign-up for Earth Fare’s emails to receive coupons for free items.
- Shop Your Grocery Stores
Kroger and Ingles often have mark downs for their Organic Items. Ingles often has local produce as well. Many times with a coupon, I can get organic items at Kroger for next to nothing. Ask your store when they mark down their items, and plan to go at that time to purchase your food.
- Shop closeout stores
United Grocery Outlet is a store which specializes in closeouts, overstocks, and seconds. They often have fresh organic or local produce as well as other organic items in their store. Unfortunately, their stock changes from week to week, so you will never know what you may find. I was recently told Big Lots has began to carry organic items from time to time as well.
- Don’t forget decorations!
You can get many decorations from your own yard! Pine cones, holly, juniper berries, etc. make great decorations. Cedar Springs Christian store is a LOCAL business who needs your support and has wonderful Christmas Decor!
**Remember, your entire meal may not be organic or local items; however, you can get a good majority of it that way. Below is a menu and a few recipes for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meal which includes where the items originated. Again, not every item or ingredient was purchased locally nor are all of them organic. You may have to get creative and try other dishes, but you can do it! I will be posting the other recipes later on as Christmas gets closer. I have shared my spinach dip recipe with you below!
Christmas Eve Menu
- Spinach Dip served with carrots, celery, and broccoli as well as homemade blue corn chips
4 pounds fresh spinach (or two 10 ounce pkgs of frozen spinach drained and squeezed dry) Spinach from fall garden
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese (have Horizon Organic I picked up from Kroger marked down at $1.19/pkg)
1 cup sour cream (have Horizon Organic from Kroger marked down to $0.49)
1 cup Mayo (I will use homemade mayo or some Spectrum Canola Mayo I purchased for $1.99 at UGO)
1/2 cup shopped green onions (from fall garden)
1 1/2 tsp. dill weed (from garden)
1 garlic clove minced (from garden)
1/4 tsp. black pepper (Simply Organic from Ingles on sale $0.77 each)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (Heinz not organic for free at Ingles during triple coupons)
- Beef Sausage Balls (beef from our farm)
- Beef Jerky (beef from our farm)
- Hot Wings (organic chicken on sale at Ingles
- Popcorn (my dad gave us popcorn from an Amish community a few miles from where he lives. It is about 3 hours from us.)
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Swiss Christmas Cookies
- Springerle Cookies
- Gum Drop Cookies
I hope you enjoy my post today as well as all the posts to come. Some of the topics you will see include:
- Black Friday
- Online Holiday Shopping Tips
- FREE Holiday Events and Activities for Kids
- Couponing for Charity: Black Friday Freebies and Money Makers
- Free Holiday Fun from Your Local Library
- Setting and Stretching Your Christmas Budget
- Organic/Local Christmas Feast (my topic)
- Volunteering with your children
- Homemade crafts and traditions
- Giveaway Bash