December 10, 2012. Is it Better to give or to receive? Usually Cheaper to receive. But what if a gift just takes up precious space? Or costs too much precious time. Without really making you happier than you were without it.
Here are some things that take little space. That save time. Or help create happy time. And you can buy them online to save your time. And give yourself a Better Cheaper Slower holiday. If you see something you'd like to receive, well, feel free to forward this to a prospective giver. In the holiday spirit, this Way is for all, not just subscribers.
The Gift of Balance. For someone you love. Someone who loves you back and appreciates your genuine concern for their well-being. Someone who likes to stand on their own two feet. Who could benefit from light exercise on a Balance Board.
The Gift of Fresh. Fresh legs. Fresh, hydrated everything when they're on a long walk or hike. The gift that makes it so easy and convenient to take a sip of water before they need it. They'll think of you when they're in beautiful places.
The Gift of the Future. Totally free, totally clean, totally cool energy. The Little LED Lantern That Could. This thing spends the day sunbathing; it stores the sunlight in a little battery; and it lights up when the sun goes down. A profoundly cool gift of this-is-how-it’s-going-to-be-someday.
The Gift of Growing. Fresh herbs. They take so little. They give so much. Whether she's a veteran herb gardener or he can't remember the last time he touched actual soil, this gift improves with age. Because the growing is as good as the eating. And the eating's great.
The Gift of Knowledge. From people who really know. How to cook. Five great cookbooks for five very different reasons. For five very different people on your gift list.
The Gift of Revelation. Pizza. The big cooking revelation. Watching flour and water become pizza dough. Watching pizza dough become a pizza crust. In your own oven. In your own kitchen. If I can do this, you and everyone you know can, too. Give a very cool kit of inexpensive tools.
The Gift of Sparkle. Sparkling water. Blow-your-own-bubbles for Better Cheaper seltzer and soda pop. The gift that improves health, saves money and prevents planetary wear and tear.
The Gift of Strength. Better Cheaper Stronger for $30. A set of resistance tubes that weigh next to nothing and take up next to no space. They let you "weight train" without weights. Perfect for anybody who can't stand lifting weights. Like me. P.S. I already have these. But thanks, anyway.
The Gift of Time. Time to eat Slower. Because you make dinner faster. Some kitchen tools that save me time. Time and again. Anyone who spends time in the kitchen would like to find one of these under their tree or in their stocking.
The Gift of Wonder. Wonderful bread. From your own oven. Makes you wonder why you never did this before. The no-kneading, easier-than-pie bake-your-own-bread kit. Perfect for anyone who never bakes but still has a sense of wonder. Or who just loves great bread.
And then there's the Gift of Better Cheaper Slower. A New Way Every Day for a year. For $10. If your budget is $10, this is a lot of bangs for ten bucks. Let's Do The Math: 2.7 cents per bang. Less than a penny when you count the archive of Old Ways.
The Feast of 7 Vegetables
Sushi for Santa
Beet & Goat Cheese Gratin
Barbecued Parsnip Ribs
Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding
Roasted Glazed Pineapple
OK, 6 vegetable courses and 1 fruit course. All vegetarian, 5 of 7 vegan and gluten-free. And a low glycemic load.
Shopping for the big meal
I planned the Christmas Eve Feast of 7 Vegetables with shopping in mind. You can get almost everything at the Farmers Market. All in, you can get enough to serve four healthy eaters for less than $20. Really. Less than $5 per person. This meal's so happy you don't have to put a toy in it. If you don't want to go whole hogless, each of these is a great starter or side dish.
Here's how it breaks down:
$9.50 at the Farmers Market: 7 beets, 1 sweet potato, 1 onion, 4 parsnips, 1 butternut squash, 1 celery root, 1 fennel bulb, 1 bunch of kale
$9 for groceries: a half-quart of milk, a half-stick of butter, 3 eggs, parmigiano and goat cheeses, a half-can of tomatoes, 1 lemon, 1 pineapple
$1 for flour for that great crusty bread for the pan tomate and the Savory Bread Pudding. Note: I'm not counting sugar, salt, mustard and stuff in your pantry.
And there's always the traditional Italian Feast of 7 Fishes.
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