Wow! Can you believe that November is here already? I know that I can’t! This Mom is still in Summer mode, and in complete denial that the holiday season is here. But you can’t fight the calendar, so now is the time to start planning for the holiday season. I don’t know about you, but this year I plan on having an energy-efficient holiday season. It is a great way to end the year on a positive note.
*This post was sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities as part of their Project Envolve Ambassador program. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is time spent with family and friends. And the food. And the holiday lights. But these can lead to big energy costs if you aren’t careful with your planning. Speaking of planning, one of the first things you need to have a successful energy-efficient holiday season is a good planner and a holiday cookbook.
These are two of my favorite books to help get us through the holiday season. One is a planner/organizer, the other is a simple recipe book. Trust me, you want both of these on your kitchen bookshelf!
3 Big Obstacles To An Energy-Efficient Holiday Season:
There are 3 major things that are present during the holiday season that can put a damper on your holiday celebrations and prevent you from having an energy-efficient holiday season.
- Improperly insulated areas. Air leaks and poorly insulated doors and windows, are just a few of the areas that can lead to not having an energy-efficient holiday season. Besides wasting energy, these can lead to other problems with family & pets.
- Tons of Christmas lights. Don’t get me wrong, this lady loves her Christmas lights. But did you know that they can be a huge energy drain? I never realized how much energy I wasted with my zillions of lights.
- Use of large appliances for all your cooking. Yeah, food and the holiday season go hand in hand. And those major appliances are a huge energy-hog and lead to an increased energy bill. Our appliances are old(as in 20 years) so they are not energy-efficient. Definitely something we are working on updating.
Simple Tips To Make It An Energy-Efficient Holiday Season:
- Do early winterizing and a home energy audit. Take some time before the holiday season begins and have a home energy audit done on your home. By starting early, you can fix major problems early, and save yourself money(and energy)before the season even begins!
- Use LED or battery operated lights for decorating. One of the best decisions I made regarding my holiday lighting was to switch to LED holiday lights. Yes, initially it was a bit more expensive, but the savings have been amazing. The money I saved from the lights can be used towards gifts for my family.BONUS ENERGY-EFFICIENT TIP: Use LED lights that are battery powered. I found this cranberry string that is battery-operated and has a timer! Toss in some sparkly rocks, and you have more shine for your holiday season.
- Use small appliances such as a slow cooker to make Thanksgiving dinner. Most people are so used to using their oven and stove to make Thanksgiving dinner. Did you know that there are many things that you can make in the slow cooker for your holiday dinner? And by starting them early, you are taking advantage of off-peak hours. These savings will definitely add up to an energy-efficient holiday season.
Speaking of slow cookers, I am sharing a recipe for an easy breakfast that will fill you up until your main meal is ready, and won’t use your large appliances to make it.
Hands-off and delicious, it is the perfect way to start your holiday morning without spending hours making it. After all, you will be spending time basting that turkey for your holiday dinner or making those whipped sweet potatoes!
How To Make The Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple French Toast Breakfast Casserole:
This recipe was adapted from A Day in Candiland. Used with author’s permission.
- The night before, cube the bread into smaller pieces. Let sit in a bag until morning so it gets hard. Now, I know that this is a French toast casserole, but we prefer Italian bread. I think it soaks in the egg mixture better.BONUS: This is a great way to get a member of the family involved by working together in the kitchen to cube the bread. You can catch up on life and take a few moments to enjoy the quiet before the festivities.
- Peel and chop apples into chunks. BONUS TIME SAVING TIP: Use already sliced apples in a bag and just cut off the peel.
- In a bowl, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, beat until blended.If you really want a unique taste, use homemade vanilla. Once I started using homemade vanilla, there was no going back.
- Pour egg mixture over bread, and stir. Gently fold in dried cranberries(if you know how to use fresh ones, have at it!) and apples.
- Spray your slow cooker lightly with cooking spray, and spoon bread mixture into crockpot.KITCHEN TIP: For easy clean up, use slow cooker liners.
- In a separate bowl, cream brown sugar and butter to form crumbles, and sprinkle over bread mixture. I also added a little bit of apple pie spice for some extra zing.
BONUS TIP: You can use a fork, or wash your hands well and use your fingers to create the crumbles. One less utensil to clean, and a great way to unleash any excess energy you have preparing for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Turn high for 2-3 hours, then turn down to warm. By the time you have your morning holiday prep done, breakfast will be ready for you to enjoy!
ENERGY-EFFICIENCY TIP: Use a countdown timer so that your slow cooker will automatically turn off after the prescribed cooking time.
If you get called away or get sidetracked decorating your table, you won’t burn your breakfast casserole or waste energy by cooking something longer than it needs to.
- Relax and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.
Here is a printable version of the recipe:
- 2 loaves French bread(Or Italian like me) cut up and cubed.
- 6 large eggs.
- 2 cups of milk (I use 2%).
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon.
- ¼ cup butter softened.
- 1¼ cup brown sugar packed.
- ½ tsp. vanilla.
- Dried cranberries.
- Diced apples.
- ½ tsp. apple pie spice(optional)
- Take two loaves bread, cut it into cubes. I found that doing it the night before was best to make sure the pieces were harder.
- In another bowl, place your eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon and beat together until well blended.
- Pour your egg and milk mixture over your bread cubes and toss until all the bread is coated. Fold in the cranberries and apples.
- Spray your Slow Cooker with cooking spray.
- Add your coated bread mixture into slow cooker.
- Take your butter(slightly less than ¼ cup works well), apple pie spice(optional), and brown sugar and cream together with a fork until crumbles form.
- Take your crumbles and sprinkle over bread mixture.
- Cook on high for 2-3 hours, and then turn on warm.
So there you have it. My best tips & tricks to have an energy-efficient holiday season. You can enjoy all the things that the holiday season has to offer without spending more than you need to on energy costs.
PPL Electric Utilities offers tools, tips and energy efficiency programs to help customers save. They share some great tips that you can apply in your own home. Want to know more?