I have nothing against cookies. However, cookie exchanges run a bit too rampant at this time of year for me. Maybe I’ve been scarred.
When I lived in the Northwest Territories, I was invited to an elite cookie exchange. It was intense. I needed to be nominated. That’s right, nominated. There must have been a last minute dropout or something because after living there for four years, I got the call.
I wanted to prove worthy of the nomination, so I picked a complicated recipe. This wasn’t a good idea. I spent way too much money buying ALL of the available pistachios in town and then proceeded to break off all of my fingernails during the many hours spent shelling them. But, despite these and other lowlights, I did manage to pull things together and finish my pretty little lemon wreaths covered in crushed pistachios and dried cranberries.
I left the exchange with more cookies than I could carry. Eventually, I found myself eating them whether I really wanted them or not because they were there. I knew I had entered uncertain territory when I had eaten enough cookies to be sick of the look of them.
This year let’s think outside of that pretty little box. What if we exchanged something that:
- We always need
- Will make our lives easier
- Will add variety
- Will save us money on lunches after the holidays
- Will contribute to our health
A meal exchange!
Ok, hear me out. In the New Year, wouldn’t it be nice to grab a healthy, homemade meal from your freezer on your way out the door to work? When life gets busy and everyone’s schedule fills up, chances are you will be wishing you had a freezer full of healthy ready-made meals in single serving containers. Here are the steps to an exchange that everyone can benefit from:
- Find out who wants to participate
- Decide how many servings of each meal you will make per person
- On your own, pick a main course recipe that can be frozen - soups, stews, curries and casseroles all work great
- Buy the ingredients and re-useable freezer friendly containers
- Make the recipe
- Portion the food into the agreed upon number of servings
- Label the portions (include reheating instructions if necessary)
- Get together, be merry, exchange the meals
- Store the meals in the freezer
Go ahead and try it. In January, I doubt you will open your freezer and wish you could exchange your friend’s famous lasagna for broken green sugar cookies.
Have you ever tried a meal exchange? Share your story!