Freezer Meal Group Swap #2

So it was swap day #2 today at Maggie’s house (took the pic from our cooking group blog).  My kiddos call her “food storage Maggie” since that’s what brought us together the first time!  Well getting all these meals makes me excited to keep on going with the group.  12 new and prepared meals each month!  I love it!

This past month I really wanted to attempt a pork loin roast with pears, but then I learned that you shouldn’t freeze meat, thaw it, then freeze it raw again so I didn’t want to break any freezer meal group rules.  I did cook up one of my 9 pound beasts in 2 crockpots and the raw meat, blood, smell, and everything related to it nearly killed me!  Yes, I puked many times in the kitchen sink, but the pork cooked up just fine and I turned it into the main stuff to make Cafe Rio burritos.  So now I have another 9 lbs of a long ole pork loin sitting patiently in the freezer waiting for its turn at freezer meal stardom.  So for sure I’ll do Cafe Rio burritos this coming month and my other meal will either be attempt #2 at a pork loin roast OR chicken chow mein (link fixed).

Josh Turns 2

My parents came down this past weekend to celebrate Josh’s and my younger brother Brian’s birthdays.  My mom loves making the boys their bday cakes which is so nice for me.  I just provide supplies. 

So Josh got a dinosaur cake, big bday hat, helium balloons, a dinosaur stool hand painted by my mom, a ride on turtle, play kitchen, fishing puzzle, foam ABC puzzle, kite, garden rake, and lots of attention from everyone this weekend.  For being the 2nd child he sure made out well in the toy dept. 

More pics coming soon!

OAMC month 1

So I survived my first month of cooking, freezing, and exchanging meals and I’m going at it again!

My long lost friend and her hubby (restaurant owners of  Broadway Pizzeria) took me with them to their little known secret: Restaurant Depot- where the restaurant owners go!  Think Smart and Final, but bigger and better prices.  Ground beef- $1.50 something; salsa in a #10 can- $5 something; shredded cheese- $2.00 a lb, #10 can of pears- $4 something; boneless chicken breast pieces- 88c a lb;  boneless pork loin- $1 something a lb; noodles of all shapes and sizes (except large shells) $1 a lb.  I was in heaven and found 99% of everything I needed for my recipes.  If you have a small biz then I recommend getting a free membership to this place.  It’s free, did I mention that?  They’ve processed our paperwork so we just need to go down and get our cards and then I’m good to go shopping!

Next to do was the cooking.  Got it done at night and during nap times.  The hard part was that my meals weren’t going in to a casserole dish, but rather ziplock bags.  I had to flash freeze each lasagna roll and shell and then put the in a bag.  I was fortunate enough to do all the cooking and bagging a week before the due date, thank goodness!  We all got sick the following week so I’m glad I followed that prompting to cook and get it done early.

Rather than repost all the names and meals we exchanged I’ll just post the link.  You can see the recipes we do each month, get the directions to make and freeze them, and read the reviews as we each try each other’s meals.  So go on over to Late Night Cooking Mamas and look around! 

I’ve committed for 2 more months and then I gotta take some maternity leave to have and recoup from this girl kiddo who’s on the way (dang c-section recovery!).  I think after that I might try and do a group in my own ward.  I love the idea and even more love all the food in my freezer that’s ready to go once it’s thawed out.

My recipes for next month:

Ham and cheese braid and Pork tenderloin with pears

Once a Month Cooking Group

So my latest adventure has been joining a freezer meal group.  There are 6 gals total and we each pick 2 main dinner recipes we want to make that can freeze easily.  Sometime between now and next mtg. we each will make 6 batches of each of those 2 recipes then get together to exchange our meals.   So I will get 12 different meals when we meet next that can store in the freezer and will have minimal work required when it comes time to assemble and cook them.  Most usually require thawing overnight then baking for 30min.  

My recipes are:  Mexican Stuffed Shells (think taco meets pasta) which I found on the Once a Month Mom cooking website.  I’m also making the only vegetarian meal my family has ever tried: Lasagna Rolls (go check out the special healthy ingredient that doesn’t scare me anymore!) which I found when someone challenged me a year ago to find a vegetarian meal and then try making it.

Oh I’m excited to tackle this since I’ve made these recipes before.  My biggest concern is finding the best deal on my ingredients and not freaking out when I have a grocery bill that’s above 50 bucks since I have a ton of stuff to buy.  I’m not used to shopping too much in bulk, but may need to head to Costco or Smart and Final to get a bigger better deal. 

So, wish me luck in my new adventure.  I’ve committed to 3 months so I’m already looking to see what’s on sale (especially from the meat department) to determine what my next recipes will be.  And hey, I really like the idea of having a stocked freezer of meals for when kid #3 arrives.

Grocery Smarts

So if you’ve come to know me (personally or through this blog) then you know I’m a big budget conscious, coupon clipping, deal seeking kind of gal!  I do it because I want to, not because I have to!

That being said, if you’ve become intrigued with my way of shopping and would like to know how I get so much and pay so little then let’s get together on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 11am.  I’m having a Grocery Smarts class at my house AND I’m serving lunch.  FREE food and FREE tips to save you some serious moolah?  Yes, because I care and I want to teach the world a few people at a time how they too can shop and save like me =o)  Consider yourself invited and bring a friend too, or your spouse!  

Leave me a comment if you’re interested or know someone who is and I’ll email you more info!

Apple Dessert

A few Octobers while I was in college I would go to General Conference with my grandma, mom, cousin, and whomever else was there.  Afterwards, we would pick boxes and boxes of apples from my aunt and uncle’s house.  I think they had 11 apple trees.  My roomies and I then had the daunting task of cooking/ eating/ giving away apples for weeks!  We had a similar experience with watermelons every year as well!  Those were fun times =o)

Well I had some peeled and cored apples in our deep freeze that I finally pulled out today (since it’s a cold cloudy wintery Vegas day) and threw together with some other ingredients to make my Aunt Susan’s famous Apple Dessert.  This recipe is nice since it uses apples and is NOT an apple crisp.  It’s more like warmed apples on the bottom with a sugar cookie topping.  It became one of my favorites back in college so hopefully it tastes just as good now.  (We have to let it cool and we should probably eat dinner first before we try it.)  Here’s the super simple recipe:

Ingredients:

peel/core/ slice 5 C of apples (about 12 med apples)

1 stick melted butter (or margarine)

2 C flour

1 1/2 C sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter bottom of 9×13 dish.  Spread apple slices in pan.  Mix remaining ingredients until cookie dough consistency is reached.  Spread dough (use fingers) on top of apples.  Sprinkle more sugar across the top of the dough.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool and serve warm or cold.

Note: I doubled the dough recipe since it looked like I had a lot of apples to cover and it took quite a while to cook through.  We’ll eat it after dinner and I’ll let you know what I thought.  So far, the cooked dough I keep picking off is delicious =o)

Giddy Giddy Giddy

Smith’s is having case lot sales!  Get out of my way!  I’m on a mission to stock up my pantry and my new Shelf Reliance food rotation shelf.  So happy!

Harmon’s up in St. George is also having case lot sales through the entire month.  They have food buckets, bucket openers, bread making supplies, and food in #10 cans, in addition to the regular case lots.

Usually these sales are closer to March and September, but I’m excited to get stocked up in January and then see how long it all lasts. 

PS- That kiddie sized grocery cart was found in the Smith’s grocery store in Price, UT.  Mikey was just as much a part of shopping the case lots as I was =o)

Happy shopping!

Cheers to a New Year!

2009 was a good year, but it’s always nice to have a restart to all the things I didn’t finish, lose, start, or accomplish.

I started off last year with attempting to really clean the house 1 room at a time.  I did start, but didn’t finish.  This year I think I’ll try that again.  I’ve already sorted through all the boys’ clothes and managed to fill 5 Space Bags and 1 under the bed storage bin with any and all clothes related to newborn- 5T sizes.  Next up are their toys- yikes!

And after watching the movie Julie and Julia and can’t help but be inspired to give new cooking a try!  From new recipes to just making more homemade foods more frequently, I just want to do more in the kitchen.  Using the crockpot or sunoven for Sunday for lunch/ dinner is also something I want to do to.  1 crockpot Sunday meal down, like 50 more to go!

Groceries and shopping- think I’ll try the cash method this year.  Well, I’ve already charged a bunch, so maybe we’ll just stick to spending no more than $50 a week.  That means no going overbored when diapers at TRU go down to $1.50 a jumbo pack and I want to buy the whole display in every size possible!  Restraint girl, I’m going to have restraining power during my super shopping trips.  I’m also going to keep up on my coupons!  When they come Sunday I will look though and clip the ones I won’t use.  That way I can send more than I am now to the Expired Coupon Queen in Colorado.  She sends them to overseas military bases where expired (and unexpired) coupons can be used.  I really slack when it comes to clipping my coupons on time and keeping them up to date.  This shall help me be even more efficient.

Of course there’s always excercise more.  I don’t want a gym membership to Gold’s since they are walking distance, have a pool, and kid’s club, but have obstructed my view of downtown.  I just  want to get out of the house more with the kids and go for walks or trike rides.   Maybe we could even start walking to the close stores by our house.

Me time- at least once a month I’m getting a sitter during the day (you should see how many babysitting bucks I’ve racked up) and going and doing something alone!  Shopping, pedi, haircut, whatever! Just kid free is the way to be.

Date time- maybe I should just plan what the heck hubby and I should do and take matters into my own hands as far as the execution.  Attend the temple at least once a month, go see a movie, go out to eat…  Friday date night swaps anyone?  I’m serious!

Crafts- if they get started then they have to get finished!  That’s all there is to it!  I have 2 pillow cases, 1 layered skirt, 1 truck pillow, a big mending pile built up again, and some cards and scrapbooking things that need to get done.  There’s some magnets, Gospel ABC books, nursery CDs, and felt puppets still waiting for my time and energy too. 

So that’s the big stuff.  Nothing too big or small.  Nothing that can’t really be accomplished realistically.  I’m feeling good in 2010 and I’m hoping to make it a great year.

Oh yeah! And actually plant something in my garden boxes this year rather than have them be the kids’ favorite dirt piles for digging and such!

Going Private

Team Edward-Bella-Jacob

 

Ha ha not my blog just yet, just the NEW MOON premiere last night!  I’m talking 81 people in a private theatre all to ourselves with our potluck, soda and drinks and NO screaming little teenagers to ruin our fun.  

The process started months ago to get a large enough crowd to rent out a theatre at the Rave at Town Square, but since it’s New Moon we’re talking about, the group was actually split between 2 theatres since we were so big. 

The movie- loved it!  The company was fabulous and we weren’t even sardines in the theatre like I thought we would be.  I am slowly becoming more of a Team Jacob fan than Edward, wow! 

We had so much fun kicking out the non private party goers and just being in such great company.  We had soccer moms and UMC nurses with a mix of Mike’s hs friends and all my church gals there to celebrate and party with at 11pm and then the movie started right on time at midnight. 

Just a note that #3 is coming out next July so start planning now to get your group of gals together and come join our private party next year.  I think we’ll top 100 people next time which is very exciting to me.  Food storage and event planning- all part of my resume of fun times!

Oh Croup, No Soup!

So my kids have croup.  Think really bad colds with coughs that sound like barking seals and so congested that you can hear their little selves weazing with every in and out breath they take.  The amazing thing is that 2 days ago these boys slept the whole day.  Talk about giving a mother anxiety.  What the heck was I suppposed to do all day with my kids sound a sleep in their room? 

Well last night I thought tomato soup with rice would be just the right thing for these guys.  Mikey walked up stairs before dinner was even started and went to bed for the night.  Josh, used his spoon to fling food everywhere and didn’t even have a bite.  Mike was working late, got about 4 min from home, and then got called back to work.  So I enjoyed soup by myself.  Rice in soup- not too bad!  I really liked it.

Not sure if these guys are getting any better and I’m sure I’ll be pulling the weight in nursery this Sunday since someone will have to stay home with sick kids, and I doubt it will be me.  Oh well, a break from sick kids is always welcomed.

On the bright side, these boys have proven that you’re never too old for Mommy hugs and have requested more hugs and to be held in the past 3 days then I can remember.  They’re so sweet and I love that they find me irresistable and are comfortable enough to wipe their noses on my shirt.  Well, I could do without the snotty nose stains, but I know it comes with the territory.  And I get to sit in my favorite piece of furniture, the glider recliner, and rock rock away with the thought of doing chores pushed off for another day.  Sick isn’t so bad really.

Here’s to hoping this counts as our winter sickness and that we can make it through the New Year with no more illness.  And thank goodness it isn’t H1N1!