Freezer Cooking (Getting Prepared)


A year ago I discovered something wonderful. FREEZER COOKING! Why is it wonderful? Well, I’ll tell ya. It saves money, time, and stress. I can also control what we eat. That, my friends, is good enough for me! Allot of people will not embark on this daunting task because they don’t know where to start. I am in no way an expert on this subject but my system works for me. If you would like to know more then read on!

The first step is to gather your recipes all in one place. Then decide which ones you would like to cook for the month. Pinterest of course is my go to site for finding great recipes to try. I try to throw in some new recipes each time along with the tried and true ones.  I like to use the free app Pepperplate for organizing my recipes and shopping lists. But there are several good apps. I like to discuss recipes  with my husband. I call them out and closely watch his face for signs of ‘yes’ or ‘no’. This part can be a challenge as he is not very expressive. This is his least favorite part of the whole thing! Ha.

Then it is time to make your shopping list. With pepperplate all you do is click a recipe and add to shopping list.  Sometimes I will double a recipe. Pepperplate also gives you this option. Be sure to go shopping in your own cupboard first! You would be amazed at the stuff you already have. Then check out your local grocery store for sales and coupons for the stuff on your list. This can save a ton! You may want to add throw away bake ware to your list as well as gallon sized Ziplock bags. Don’t forget Saran wrap and foil! Don’t go cheap on your bake ware or on your gallon sized bags. Just trust me mmmk?

Go shopping! I take my husband with me. With two of us shopping it is done in less than an hour usually. If you have children I suggest a babysitter. Or if they are older, turn it into a game and have them help.

My stash!
My stash!

Keep it organized! I print out the recipes on my list and divide them between my hubs and I. I know that it can be a waste to do it that way but I just function better with paper. Call me old fashioned! As we finish with a recipe, we either throw away the paper or keep it in a binder for next time. The next thing to do is to clean your kitchen. Get all of those dirty dishes clean! I usually do this the night before right before bed. This helps for real! Clear your house. Once again a babysitter lined up for cooking day will help out allot unless they are older and would be a help.

Label your bags before you fill them!! Very important step! I keep a sharpie handy. Put the date, title, and instructions. This makes it easier for your loved ones and for you.  An easy way to fill your bags is to put them down in an empty blender. It holds your bags in place making it a breeze.

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. I also wear an apron. It can get dirty up in that kitchen honey!

Next it’s time to cook. I usually go shopping one day and cook the next. It’s easier that way. As far as cooking goes my husband helps allot. I usually have things that just need to be assembled and things that actually need cooking. I do the cooking he does the assembling. We get it done in half the time! By myself it can take up to 8 hours. That’s a work day folks! Ain’t no body got time foe dat! Find you a buddy. You will be glad you did. There are allot of women that actually do everything together. They have cooking groups. The sky is the limit.

As far where to start in the cooking process, that is solely up to you. I like to cook my spaghetti sauce and the filling for my Chicken Pot Pies first thing. Cook any meat that needs cooking as well. For example, if you have allot of recipes that require browned ground beef, cook it all at the same time then divide it among your recipes. Same goes for chicken. If you have allot of chicken that needs precooking, cook it all at once and set it aside to cool. While it is cooling, chop your veggies. There are lots of ways to do this and as long as it gets done you are doing it right! You will also learn techniques that work better for you.

I will be posting some of my recipes and my most recent freezer cooking adventure soon. If you have any questions please feel free to fill out the form below! I would love to answer them if I can!

 

 

 

Advertisements

What If That Were Me?


Recently Matt and I moved to Macon. Well just outside of Macon. I took a full time position at Central Georgia Technical College May 1st. Matt works in Macon and goes to school there so why not right? Anyway if you know anything about Macon then you will know what I mean by saying there are some crazy folks that live there! Well on that note, I wanted to share with you a humble moment that I had on the way home Thursday evening.

There he was again. A skinny, dread locked, bearded, crazy, African American man walking up Eisenhower Parkway. I had seen him before. He would dance himself up the street and at times looked next to himself and carry on a conversation with an invisible friend many times laughing at some joke they had shared. I just shook my head normally and frowned in disgust. “This dude needs to be locked away at Central State Hospital for sure!” I would think to myself. One day he danced so hard he almost fell into oncoming traffic! Seriously he needs to be locked away before he gets killed!

Thursday kind of changed my thinking. The sun was blazing through my window and was blinding me even with my sunglasses on. The tinted windows of my car didn’t help much. There he was again. But this time he looked right at me, smiled, and bobbed his head in greeting. He went on about his merry little way oblivious to the shock that ran through me. “What if that were me, Shalah?” I heard His voice say. “What if that were an Angel in disguise? Would you laugh Me to scorn?” Tears immediately started to form. I remembered then another time that I had seen this man. He was dancing but his dance was different. He was bending down and throwing his hands in the air with a glorious smile on his face as if in worship.

My friends, I am ashamed. Ashamed of my first thought being an ugly one. What if he were God Himself in disguise? An Angel of the Lord? What right do I have to scorn him. True he could just be a crazy man strung out on drugs or drunk. But who am I to judge him? Or assume anything about him? I do not know from where he comes. I do not know his story. But I do know that he blessed my soul that day. I will not be so quick to judge.

jesus_smiling

For The Love Of Teal


Soo. I love teal. Plain and simple. LOVE teal.

Who remembers gauchos?
Who remembers gauchos?

To tell the truth I got a bright idea several months ago to make a skirt into gaucho pants. At one time they were very popular and everyone was wearing them so why not? Yea they went out of style for a reason. :/ So these beauties have been sitting in my drawer for months. I was to afraid to wear them lol. Then I came across a post from my hero Jillian Owens and got a better idea! You can see her post Here. And here is mine:

Hello night out!
Hello night out!

This one is a no sew folks. I simply put my body through a leg and my arm through the other leg and that’s it. I am really liking the look of this. I may go hunt up some more gauchos!

Tribal Queen


So, as you can see, I am totally getting over whatever funk I was in and my creative juices are beginning to flow once more! I’m telling you Milledgeville people, if ya haven’t gone to Maranatha Thrift store on Allen Memorial Drive you are missing out! Another $2 score coming your way:

A bit drab, eh?
I’m loving this wild print!

So this one caught my eye right away. I  love earthy tones and doesn’t this just scream tribal to you? No? Just me? Anybody?

Earthy tones go with just about anything and can be worn year around. This little deal is very comfortable but as you can see doesn’t fit me very well and is plain. Let the magic begin! (Picture me waving my magic wand. It’s more fun that way. hee hee hee.)

Once again this refashion was inspired by a student of mine. She got very excited about the print. She decided very quickly that this should be a skirt for sure! Check out the slit in the side right? Poor thing. She doesn’t know my hate for skirts does she? Tsk Tsk. But what the heck? Maybe she was right?

So I chopped the top off, folded the raw edges over to create a casing for some elastic.

Tribal 1

I finished it and whatdaya know?

Oh my gosh!
Oh my gosh!

I might have to rethink my dislike of skirts. I am in love with this one!

 

Mauveless


Look at this lovely number that I scored for $2!

A bit Stiff don'tcha think?
A bit Stiff don’tcha think?

Yes, yes I know! Not much to this one huh? Except there is so much just not working out! It’s big, it’s frumpy, it’s sad, it’s boring….blah, blah, blah! But come on. You know me by now right?

So what inspired me to get this one was the lace at the top. I am loving vintage style clothing and lace. The color is nice too.

First I got rid of those sleeves leaving raw edges which I promptly hemmed. That still wasn’t enough though. It was way to big and way to long. So I took it in and cut the length. I threw in a hem and I was done. Yup yup done. I took the left over from the bottom of the skirt and used it as a sash. Check it out:

 

Much better!
Much better!
Feeling quite fetching in my new frock.
Feeling quite fetching in my new frock.

I love refashioning clothes! Have you refashioned anything lately? If so please share! I would love to see your creations. Goodnight.

 

Green Goblin


Here it is! My first refashion in a long time! Are ya ready? Check out this beaut!

Yipe! Pretty scary huh?
Yipe! Pretty scary huh?

So this sweet gal I picked up on our way back from vacation. I must say the moment I saw her I fell in love! Look at the potential. You can’t see it? Ok well I’ll help ya out. First I had  to get rid of a few things:

Ya gotta go ugly bow :/
Ya gotta go ugly bow :/
Buh bye!
Buh bye!

And what the heck is this stuff?

What the???
What the???

Some sort of lining.  I have to say when I tried it on it didn’t bother me so what the heck,  I let this one stay.

After cutting the skirt portion off it left, of course, some raw edges. Which I promptly hemmed.

Much better yes?
Much better yes?

That’s it. No fuss. Easy peasy. I have way more to come so keep an eye out but for now,  have a wonderful evening friends!

Dealing With Infertility And Loss Part 3


Small Flames
Small Fire

Positive? What?! But I thought? No way!! I started shaking. My heart stopped for a moment I swear. I’m going to be a Mom! I started laughing then crying! If ya coulda seen me you woulda thought I’d lost my mind! I called my doctor immediately for a blood test. “I’m not going to tell Matt until I know for sure” I said to myself. Yea right! I called him on the way to the Doctor.  I know, I know not very creative! But I just couldn’t wait! We had the results within the hour. A definite yes! My HCG levels were 80. She said that was good and that judging by the calendar and my levels I was about 4 weeks pregnant.  She wanted to see me in 48 hours to make sure those levels were going up.

Matt met me for lunch and we sat staring at each other in shock. Remember, the nurse had said that this month was a no go! But here we were expecting our first little miracle. We told our parents in person. Mama squealed and daddy cried. His daddy cried and his mom squealed. My brother Jon was the first sibling to find out on my side. He called in the middle of tears and squealing.  Matt’s sister Jessica was the first sibling to find out on his side. She also called at the right time. Spidey senses I think. 😉  The nieces and nephews were super excited to have another cousin! We proceeded to tell the world! We were flooded with well wishes and excitement that could be felt tangibly! This baby was so loved and was barely the size of a grit. I could not believe how many people came forward and told us that they had prayed for us and hoped for us. I was and am eternally humbled.

Thursday came and I went in proudly for my blood work. The staff was as excited as I was. You have to understand that they don’t always get news like this. Many men and women leave and never become parents. I was humbled and thankful and…wait what was this? Suddenly I stopped and realized something that has changed my life forever. All of that bitterness and anger that I had felt for so long was…gone. Completely. In it’s place was joy, unspeakable, and full of glory. God had heard. Tears came and I bowed my head and prayed a prayer that I never thought I would pray. Thanksgiving to the God that had created me and was even now forming my precious little one. Wow.

About two hours later the nurse called back.  “Shalah, I’m so sorry but I don’t have very good news. Your levels have plateaued. When this happens it means that you will probably miscarry. You need to come back Sunday for another blood test.” What? No way! No, no, NOOOO! This can’t be happening! As quickly as that joy had come it left and in it’s place was fear. Fear ugly and tormenting.  I called Matt and told him. When he came home he broke. I had no tears. I was scrambling for hope. He cried for a long time. We held each other.

Sunday came and somberly we went to the Doctor’s office again. One stick and she was done. She looked at us sadly and said she would let us know as soon as the results came back. The odd thing was that I felt fine. No spotting, no cramping, nothing. We got home and piddled around the house waiting. The call came and the moment of truth was upon us. The only hope we had was that my levels had gone back up. They hadn’t. They had gone down to 47. I was actively miscarrying and there was nothing to be done.

I fell to my knees and screamed in denial! No, no, NOOOOO!!! My husband met me on the floor where I fell and grabbed me.  Tears flowed and I could barely breath. I have never in my life felt such pain and despair. My chest tightened and I felt nausea roll over me. Spots were starting form and for a moment I thought I would pass out completely.

What happened next was the single most powerful thing that I have ever felt. God showed up. He sat down beside me to hold my hand. I looked up as a calm that only He can give came over me. I knew what had to be done. I took my husband’s hand,  placed it over my womb and prayed.

“Thank you Father. Thank you for this amazing gift that you have given us. I praise you and thank you. Now, Father, I am giving this gift back to you right now. Take my sweet baby and hold him/her where I can’t. Love this sweet baby until I can meet him/her in Heaven one day. I give you this baby.” At that very moment I felt the baby’s spirit leave my body and my creator, his/her Creator, took him/ her home.

Is it over? No. Is the pain gone? No way! Are there days when I still break down in sorrow and anger? Yeppers. But God is with me. He holds my hand. He healed my spirit. He gave me life. The baby was a spark of hope and joy that we had lost sight of through our struggles.

We named the baby Keagan, it means ‘Small Fire’.  🙂