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).

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!

I Heart TVP

So I was making a chicken with veggie and stuffing covering the top casserole for dinner last night and the chicken was showing no signs of thawing out!  (Yeah, I pulled cooked frozen chicken out of the freezer 10 minutes before starting on dinner!) My solution= ditch the chicken and throw in some TVP sausage from a can that’s in my food storage!!

Results= totally delicious and flavorful!  I will be making this again. And the spices are such a nice treat since I only use salt and pepper pretty much.  So daring, I know!

So I’m totally thinking this would be a great casserole for that sister in the ward who just had a baby!!!  I loved this dish and I think the rest of my ward would too!  I just can’t figure out why I never get called to take in a meal!?!  And I think Dream Dinners should start using TVP meats in their casserole dishes too! A lot more of us would try this dinner service if the price was cheaper.  The more cheaper chicken is called TVP people.

Read more about TVP meat here.  It’s pretty easy reading and just may change your mind about it.  I am half tempted to ditch meat altogether and go TVP all the way baby.

I’ve TVPed the sisters at Enrichment and put the sausage bits in a nacho dip and they loved it.  I’ve TVPed the missionaries and some friends who came over for breakfast for dinner.  Those scrambled eggs had TVP sausage bits in them my friends =o)  And now I’ve TVPed my family members who had no complaints about my casserole.

Who’s next?  Oh, maybe 2 wards at our Emergency Preparedness Fair next month (mwah ha ha ha)!

Ooh Eee Ooh, Killer Tofu!

Not really, but I remembered this song from the cartoon Doug that used to be on Nickelodeon back in the day and it stuck. 

Tofu however, is not sticky.  It’s actually kind of spongy and wobbly and not very tasty looking.  I’m not even sure how the heck tofu came to be, but I have ventured into the land of vegetarian cooking and I have, my friends, experienced tofu.

Tofu

Not like eat it plain right out of the plastic box all soaked in water, but as a really ingenious substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna.  Lasagna rolls to be exact.  I thought I’d try out a meatless recipe since we have meat in some way shape or form (as long as it’s ground beef, chicken, or pork chops) for dinner every single night.  So I must say it was really dang good!  You would have no idea that was tofu in there, because it crumbled up and looked and tasted just like ricotta cheese!  My hubby and toddler even ate it and had no problems with it!  The cooked spinach had more of a slight “weird” flavor that popped through a few times, but nothing weird about the tofu.  This was an easy recipe to follow (as long as you get your ingredients together before you start cooking!) and it looks so fancy when you’re done!  A definite thumbs up for vegetarian lasagna rolls and it fed us for 2 meals.

Give tofu a chance!!  Try it in this easy lasagne roll recipe: http://food.yahoo.com/recipes/eatingwell/508/lasagna-rolls

I don’t even know the whole deal with using tofu-  it’s healthier or something and made from soybeans, whatever those are!?!  I just wonder when we’re surviving on our year supply of food storage, how the heck are you supposed to get tofu in there and all the other “market fresh” stuff?  Can you imagine storing a year supply of tofu??