A few days ago, I came across a hilarious tweet in a list of “Dad Memes”. (Why I was looking at Dad Memes, I cannot fathom. The internet is a strange place!)
Anyways, giggling with glee, I showed it to my husband:
“My God!” my husband exclaimed, laughing. “You’ve turned into your dad!”
Yes, I replied. Yes I have.
It’s actually pretty simple: As an adult, a homeowner, and of course, a person who pays bills, I care about saving energy and saving money. And truthfully, it probably took all three for me to realize the importance of managing my electricity use. Not only can I monitor my energy consumption in an effort to reduce long-term energy costs, I can also increase the comfort, usability and market value of my home.
Thankfully, with a brand new home, we have a head start. All of our appliances are ENERGY STAR certified, which means they use less energy than older models. Our new, high-efficiency furnace is controlled by a smart thermostat, reducing our heating and cooling costs by up to 15 per cent. And, we’ve sealed our ductwork joints in our unfinished basement, diverting warm air to the places that matter most, like our bedrooms. It’s true, I’m an energy-saving ninja.
Even if you’re not in a new home, there are many ways to save on energy costs! Visit Save on Energy to learn about the actions you can take now and into the future to ensure your home and community are energy-efficient. You’ll also find tips, resources and rebates to save on your monthly energy bills. Sweet!
Of course, with the holiday season right around the corner, I’m realistic that my energy usage will increase. From late nights planning menus to long hours in the kitchen – not to mention the tidal wave of holiday lights that seem to be plugged in EVERYWHERE – it’s hard staying energy-efficient this time of year. However, that’s when I rise to the occasion! Working with Save on Energy, Ontario’s go-to source for energy efficiency, I’m pleased to share the following tips for reducing energy consumption during the holidays.
1. Prepare dishes in advance to save some of your mental energy – especially when entertaining. You’ll be thankful you prepared side dishes and desserts in advance when you have a full house of family and friends.
Late night bake-a-thons are a tradition in my family and my favourite way to usher in the holidays!2. Use the right baking dish. Did you know that glass and ceramic dishes retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees F? (If you’ve ever baked a cake from a boxed mix, you’re familiar with this bit of info!) Glass and ceramic dishes also distribute heat more evenly and stay hot longer, reducing the need for reheating – perfect for vegetable sides.
3. Try a no-bake recipe, like these No Bake Pumpkin Shortbread Bars!
Skip the stand mixer and the oven (an energy-saving two-fer!) with these super simple holiday-themed bars. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas – or any time you want a pumpkin pick-me-up – they’re my favourite dessert to bring to potluck dinners. They will definitely be making an appearance at this weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner!
Adapted from this popular recipe from Recipe Girl, I’ve added my own twists including a dash of pumpkin spice because, pumpkin spice.
2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tub whipped topping, thawed
In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs, butter and sugar. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 11-inch pan. Place the pan into the freezer while you prepare the rest of the dessert. (If making the crust ahead of time, the fridge is fine!)
In a large bowl, use a whisk to mix the cream cheese until creamy. Stir in the sugar, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and sour cream until well-combined. Add in the milk and the dry pudding mix; stir vigorously for two minutes.
Remove the pan from the freezer/ fridge and spread the pumpkin mixture evenly on top. Next, spread the whipped topping (as much as you’d like). Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, crushed cookies or both! Refrigerate the dessert for at least a couple of hours before enjoying.
Et voila! An out-of-the-box and made-from-scratch way to reduce energy costs this holiday season. Combined with my hawk-eyed thermostat monitoring, my dad would be proud :)
Remember, visit Save on Energy for tips and tricks to reduce your energy consumption, ways to save on monthly energy bills and information on keeping our communities powered and thriving.
This post is sponsored by the Independent Electricity System Operator, a not-for-profit entity established by the Government of Ontario. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.