Category Archives: parties and gettogethers

Plants vs. bouquets

Standard

Cost: $3-$10
Success:  Depends on the recipient, but 5/5 for me!

A friend of mine got me a plant for my housewarming. I thought it was a great present. Bouquets are very pretty, and I like those too, but they cost a lot and die after a few days.

Plants on the other hand, can live for years. They’re great markers of important events, and you can watch them grow throughout the years. My parents have a gigantic spruce (or fir?) tree  in their back yard that they got when I was about 8. It started out my size, but it grew up to probably 25 feet. One year for Christmas, my dad took a big ladder and chopped off the top so we could use it as a Christmas tree. (Yeeehawwwww!)

I haven’t taken any photos of my new plant yet, so here are photos of the Oehler Family Christmas Tree 2007.

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Dips on the cheap

Standard

Cost: varies
Success: 5/5

If there is one thing I learned from making those really lame chicken fingers some weeks ago, it’s that dipping sauces are ridiculously easy to make. Memorize this cheat sheet.

Dipping sauce formula
Mayonnaise + flavour

Chip dip formula
Sour cream + mayonnaise + flavour

For the chicken nuggets I served at my housewarming, I mixed mayonnaise, honey mustard sauce and pepper together. It took 30 seconds and it tasted amazing.

For the vegetables, I made two dips, including one that was made of sour cream, mayonnaise, a dash of curry, and pear ginger chutney. It was a loose adaptation of this recipe. When mayonnaise and curry get together, something happens that is just too amazing to describe.

The advantage to this, besides the total creative control, is that you can mix as little as you need with ingredients you already have. It’s cheaper, and there are fewer preservatives.

Party platters on the cheap

Standard

Cost: $12 including lots of leftover vegetables
Success: 5/5

Overall, I spent a lot of money on food for my housewarming party. I feel like if I had planned a little better, I could have saved quite a bit. Now that I know what is popular, I will be able to save money next time I have a party.

What I learned:

  • Having a vegetable platter and a cracker/sausage/cheese platter and some chips is a good and inexpensive start
  • Drinks really add up when you get different types of pop, juice, tea, coffee and so on. I only had one bottle of wine (which I got free when I gave away a bookcase)
  • People will bring food, even if you tell them not to worry about it
  • $12 buys a lot of vegetables from the farmer’s market
  • It’s really easy and inexpensive to make chip and vegetable dips
  • Kids love familiar foods like chicken fingers

I was pretty pleased with my vegetable platter, because it was full of fresh and healthy vegetables, and it didn’t cost much at all. Something similar at the grocery store would have been at least $10, with sadder vegetables and less variety. I used maybe 20% of the vegetables I bought in the platter, and the rest I have been eating my way through. I also saved money by making my own dip, which is ridiculously easy. I will stretch that into another entry, because otherwise I’d run out of stuff to write about!

I stopped by the farmer’s market, where I got 3 boxes of mini tomatoes, 3 peppers, a head of cauliflower, a head of broccoli, tiny carrots, and celery for $12. Pretty sweet! There were some especially good deals on that day, so the peppers were about half the normal price, and the tiny tomatoes too.

Also while I was there, I bought an oregano and a basil plant to replace my last ones, may they rest in peace. They were $2.50 each.