Monday, April 30, 2012

Freezer "Cooking"

This weekend I gave freezer cooking/meal prep a shot. Paul and I were both getting tired of not knowing what to prepare for dinner, and we were getting tired of the same old boring things every night.

With working a full time job, and driving 80 miles a day (between preschool-for Mason, grandpas house - for Connor, work for me then home) I'm lucky to be walking in the door by 5:45.  This leaves me with zero ambition for making a dinner much more complicated than a box of mac and cheese.  Paul typically does most the cooking.  A) Because he's better at it and B.) because he and the boys get home around 4:00.

With nicer weather coming, I figured having some oven or crock pot ready meals on hand would give Paul and the boys more outdoor time - and give our tummies I nice reward too.

I started my prep by scouring Pinterest.  Where I found lots of great tips and recipes by searching for "freezer cooking" or "plan ahead meals".  I looked for recipes that sounded the most simple - with ingredients the kids were use to eating - that way they would be more likely to try something new, and I had a lot of necessities on hand.  After selecting my top recipes I started my lists - what I needed, and what was on hand.

I ended up spending around $65 at the store and made roughly enough food for 13 meals. Based on my math (when I figure a rough est. for supplies I had on hand) my total comes to about $6 a dinner - dirt cheap!  Of course some things need to be added the day of - veggies to go with the casserole, rice or taco toppings for others.

Here's what I chose:
"Chickaroni" - the recipe can be found HERE at Freezer Friends
Teriyaki Chicken for the crock pot - the recipe can be found HERE at Ring Around the Rosies
Cilantro Lime Chicken for the crock pot - the recipe can be found HERE at scratch that, I can't find the link - I'll update when I do :-)
Stuffed Shells - the recipe can be found HERE at 101 Cookbooks. (note: I added venison burger to the red sauce).

Not pictured - Paul also Smoked a pork butt for 3-4 meals worth of pork and I have this recipe in the crock pot for dinner tonight.  I'll follow up with a review on whether or not all these items are a hit, or a miss.

I'm looking forward to having more variety - and simplicity in our evening routine!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby Shower Gift

I'm a firm believer in shopping from a registry for baby showers, but I also have a new love of making things from pretty fabric!

This past weekend I attended a shower for a friend expecting a sweet baby girl.  For me, making things with pretty flowers and pinks and purples is double fun in a house full of boys.  I found my inspiration, and loosely followed a tutorial, found here on Cluck Cluck Sew.

I've been buying up cheap clearance fabric for a few months - so, luckily, I had everything I needed on hand.  I used, roughly, two yards of fabric (a print for the top - flowers, and a print for the inside - big polka dots).  I also used scraps of yellow to make the straps that attach to the carrying handle.

My Polka dot fabric was a bit smaller than the flowers, so I used it as a template to cut the top fabric down to size - first I rounded out the edges as seen here.
Then I placed the two fabrics right side together and sewed around the edges - leaving a hole to turn it right side out.  Once turned right side out I pressed it and sewed all the way around the edge with  1/4 " seem allowance closing the hole up.  I placed the piece on top of my car sear, as the tutorial suggested, to decide where the handle straps should be placed.
I then pinned them on and sewed them on. (Note - I used super strong glue to attach the velcro to the straps because my thread kept breaking).

In the end - this is what I got!

I was pretty proud of myself - and I think the mom to be appreciated the hand made effort.

*Sorry for the poor picture quality - we're computerless and I haven't been able to upload any "real" pictures yet!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dirty Jobs

Dirty jobs sometimes pay off. Paul found this gem in the trash on route today. No lid, but still a score.
You see, our oldest is named Mason and the ones that say "Perfect Mason" sum up how we feel about him quite nicely (even though he's quickly approaching the five year mark and pressing our patience more and more every day!)

The picture of Mason was taken this past weekend while at the MSU v. Alaska (Go Green!) Hockey game - Where he announced he would one day play - before moving on to play for Detroit.  It's good to have goals!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What comes first

The chicken or the egg?
For us- it was the chicken. We bought our first egg layers in the spring of 2011. We got a variety: 3 barred rocks,  3 easter eggers, and 2 black asterlorp. We were under the impression they were all hens. To our surprise we ended up with two roosters {1 barred rock, 1 easter egger}.
It took about four months for the girls to start producing - resulting in fresh delicious eggs like these.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This little piggy...

Went to the freezer :-) 
Today we picked up a pig we had processed at a "mom and pop" meat processor. We didnt raise the pig - this time - but bought it from a local farmer. If you've never had farm fresh pork, you're missing out! 
This is the third time we've purchased a live pig for processing, and havent purchased any kind of pork product at the grocery store in nearly three years. I love that we know where our meat is coming from, that it's not loaded with hormones and who knows what else. I also love the money we save. 
We had the pig processed into a variety of the following: chops, steaks, ham slices, whole ham, bacon {mmmmm, bacon}, sausage, roasts and ribs. Broken down we paid $2.58/lb. You can't beat that price. This should be the last pig we purchase though because hubby plans on raising our own pigs this spring. Stay tuned for more details on that hobby farming adventure!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Testing the Waters

I'm working on setting up this blog - for a few reasons:
One - Log all of my {failed} attempts at recreating something awesome that I find on Pinterest.
Two - Keeping track of my hobby farmer of a husband, Paul, and his shinnanigans. Because I'm sure you're curious. Admit it. You are.
Three - Sharing funny kid stories - because life can't be just about quilts and chickens {can it?}.