Category Archives: Healthy Living

In The Garden


Well now that I have posted about the worms and the Herbs it’s time to update you on the Veggie garden. It started out a little rough. First we planted before Easter which I quickly learned was a no, no.  Our seedlings popped up in a week! The photos of the beans were taken after about 2 weeks. The rest were taken after 4 weeks!

The green beans!
The green beans!
The tomatoes and marigolds!
The tomatoes and marigolds!
The carrots!
The carrots!

But then disaster struck…the dreaded last frost hit on the very weekend we decided to go out of town and were not home to protect our plants! We came home and the bean plants were brown and laid over.  So sad was I that I couldn’t bear to take a picture. We also lost the broccoli and one beet plant. Luckily all the other plants made it. We decided to replant the beans but this time with kidney beans, navy beans, and black beans:

2015-04-20 19.14.26
Not the whole jar I promise!

 

The result 2 weeks later:

The beans are on the back row.
The beans are on the back row. Then the tomatoes, carrots, onions, and beets.

Oh my goodness! How much fun is this?!

Here is this weeks pics:

Tomato flowers!
Tomato flowers!
Marigolds to make the tomatoes sweeter.
Marigolds to make the tomatoes sweeter.
Cucumber flowers!
Cucumber flowers!

If you are wondering what the brown stuff is, it’s cinnamon. Why, you ask? Because ants apparently hate the stuff!

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2015-05-27 14.50.23Yes, yes I know it all looks the same! But I just had to get it from every angle. I am so excited!

 

How does your garden grow?

 

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The Healer


 

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I was taking a nap one Sunday afternoon when it hit me. I need the Healer. I’m tired of dealing with the problems that come with PCOS. I rolled over on my back and placed my hands over my tummy and began to pray. Because I had been to the doctor many times before I was able to be very specific.  If you have ever gone through fertility treatments you began to feel like you are the doctor after a hundred visits!

One of the times I went for an ultrasound of my ovaries I asked the lady why my left one looked so funny.  Instead of being egg shaped like the right one it looked more like a crescent moon.  She smiled and said that it was tucked behind my uterus. I asked if that was a problem and she said no. They float around in there and sometimes do that. I breathed a sigh of relief and put it aside. Later that evening though it came back and really bothered me. The ovaries are attached by ligaments and the Fallopian tubes. What if that tube is kinked slightly? You know the egg travels from the ovary down the Fallopian tube right? Well now ya do lol. If there is even a slight kink or whatever, the egg won’t make it down in time to get fertilized and thus no pregnancy.

I mentioned it again to my Doctor but she still shrugged it off as nothing to worry about.

So on this afternoon of prayer, I asked God to move my ovary back where it was supposed to be and that if my uterus was wacky to do the same with it. After all, if that ovary is behind my uterus, is it possible that it is causing my uterus to be tilted?? See this is how my brain works. Haha.

Well on April 22nd I went to the Chiropractor. My hips and neck had been bothering me for quite sometime and were getting worse. It was getting harder and harder to walk without wincing and to stand without my feet going numb.  I filled out the paperwork and waited. I take a medication called Metformin because I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome but it is otherwise known to be used for diabetics.  If you would like to read more about how it works click here:  PCOS And Metformin. So of course it raises questions at the doctor’s office. I explained it to her and she got excited. She said, “You know there are articles about how Chiropractors can help with PCOS right?” I didn’t know actually. After my exam she explained that my uterus was probably misaligned because my hips and pelvis were twisted and basically jacked up.  That left ovary came to mind and so I mentioned it to her. She raised her eyebrows and said, “Your doctor didn’t think that was a problem? You know that’s not normal right?” I told her that it had been a concern of mine but what could I do? She said, “We are going to fix your hips which will put your uterus back where it is supposed to be and your ovary should go back!  I hope you still want to get pregnant because I’m gonna get you pregnant!”  She then quickly explained that she couldn’t actually guarantee that I would get pregnant but she was sure gonna try! She gave me a high five and said that I would be the first! Haha she is awesome.

Here is food for thought: Yes God could fix everything with just a flick of His little finger and that’s actually what I had expected when I prayed. I didn’t go to the Chiropractor for fertility reasons. I was in pain! But if this works, then my Chiropractor can then go on to help other women who may not have the same belief in the Healer but want so desperately to become a mother. I know exactly what that desperation feels like. I would love to be able to help others through this experience.  And this will only further Glorify God and honor Him.

Either way my baby  is coming. Even if this isn’t the exact way it happens. I am not getting my hopes tangled up completely in this. My hope is in God and I am following Him one more step at a time.

 

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Worms, Herbs, and Other Things


Yes I know a lot of my posts have been about the worms , but I have more this time! I told you that I wanted to plant some herbs right? Well I finally did it! I also cheated and bought some plants. We planted: Rosemary, Basil, Cilantro, and Parsley seeds. We bought, Rosemary, Cilantro, Lavender, Lemon Balm, and Basil plants to get started. The dirt I used was from our worm compost. This stuff was super fertile! But it was very difficult to get all of the baby worms and eggs out of. The original dirt has now turned into dark black, clumpy compost. It was wet when I started separating and filling the pots but also a little hard.

I read and watched a video about sifting through your compost to make it light and fluffy for planting. It also helps to separate the worms out. Unfortunately there isn’t a very easy way to get the eggs out because they are so tiny. So some of them were sacrificed. Well they made it into the pots anyway. I read this after I had already filled my little herb pots. :/

I had looked up a bunch of different ways to grow your herbs and I finally picked one! Here is what ours looks like:

Wall Of Herbs and Buddy. ;)
Wall Of Herbs and Buddy. 😉

I love it! Hubby of course made it for me using a 2×4 and some rope. It was super easy to make and looks great on my front porch! For the labels on the pots I used Chalk board spray paint:

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As you can see I had already been using it and made a mess. I did not spend a ton of time trying to make the lines perfect and you may find an easier way to do it, but for mine I used painter’s tape:

Like this.
Like this.

Then just prayed. Now, you need to know, this stuff runs! Bad. So make sure that your tape is secured tight.

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Not the neatest thing ever but it will do.
Not the neatest thing ever but it will do.

Now they are ready to be written on.

So about the compost, after reading about sifting I asked Matt to make me one. This also turned out to be an easy project. A little time consuming, but easy! First your materials:

Hardware Cloth

He had started before I could get home to take pics...
He had started before I could get home to take pics…

Screws

Wood glue

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2X4

Drill

In the making...
In the making…
Finished!
Finished!

It worked great but we have learned a thing or two. Finished compost is wet and hard. So instead of sifting through it to use as potting soil, I am going to try compost tea. No I have no intention of drinking this tea. But my plants will love it! First I have read that using city water with chlorine in it is not recommended. The chlorine will kill off vital bacteria that your plants need. But that’s all we have. City water. So the suggestion was to fill a bucket up with the water and sit it in the sun for about two days. The sun will evaporate the chemicals and leave you with fresh water. The next step is to put the finished compost in the water and let it steep in a dark place for 5-7 days. Strain it, then pour this liquid gold into your garden! I’m gonna give it a try and let you know how it goes.

By the way…if you loved my hanging garden but don’t feel like making it yourself, holla. The hubs and I will do it for you!

I’ve Got Worms!


Yep you read it right…I’ve got worms! Not the kind you are thinking of, but these guys:

Hey there little buddy!
Hey there little buddy!

Those folks are Red Wigglers or more affectionately called “Reds” at least by the guy at Bass Pro Shop. These guys are great for composting all of your organic trash and biodegradable things. They break it down by eating all the time. The result: Wonderful food for flowers, veggies, herbs…anything green. Yea I know that it all comes from their poop and pee and maybe that’s a little gross but…if it makes my food happy enough to feeds me later why not?

So Matt and I went to Bass Pro Shop and bought 60 fishing ‘Wigglers” for our compost pile. Here is what we used for ours:

A 25 gallon plastic tub with a top to keep all the rain and sunshine out (they are kind of like vampires…they hate the sunlight!)

Top soil (cheap cause I’m cheap)

Organic trash (banana peels, tops of carrots…you know everything you don’t actually eat but is actually eatable.)

Red Wigglers

We wanted to start small that’s why we chose only a 25 Gallon plastic tub.  But you can go as big as you want! First we drilled some holes all the way around the lip of the container so that they can breathe. Then we drilled two small holes at the bottom edge. Why you ask? Well they also produce this amazing juice. Yuck right? But wait! Not so fast. This stuff is awesome to water your plants with! Seriously they love it! Matt built a cool little table for my compost bin to sit on so that I could place a 5 gallon paint bucket under the holes to catch this great stuff. Once we drilled our holes we put the top soil in. Then the worms. Then the trash. Now, I have read some articles that say you can add some meat and bones to your compost. I have no intention of doing that however. Worms totally prefer rotted veggies and fruits to rotting flesh and bone.  Another thing to remember is keep the dirt moist! It keeps your worms very happy. 🙂 But don’t over water them! For instance, the dirt we bought was already wet so we didn’t add any water to it until today almost a week later. Even then we only sprayed it lightly. How much to feed them? Welllllll that depends on how many worms. I’ve read that they eat their body weight and sometimes more in food. So if you have a pound of worms then they will eat a pound of food a day.  Just keep an eye on how quickly they make the food disappear. If it starts to stink stop putting food in there! Give them a chance to eat what they already have. Yea learned that already. :/

As far as how many worms to get goes…I have no idea! 60 seemed a good start. They reproduce…umm…a lot! So 60 will soon turn into many many more. Who wants to go fishin’ eh?

Anyway I’ve been told that once a month you need to pour all of your dirt and worms onto some sort of smooth surface like a large piece of ply wood or sheet of metal. The best time is when the sun is high because it causes your worms to go to the middle of the pile where its the darkest. The purpose of this is to harvest their poop. Ew! I lost ya didn’t I? Once again this stuff is great for your plants! Once you separate the poop from the dirt (I’ve heard that you can tell the difference once it dries a little) Then you go after your worms. Time to weigh them all to make sure that your bin isn’t getting too populated. What to do with the extra worms? Take ’em fishin’!

Beautiful!
Beautiful!

Also be sure to keep your compost in the shade and consider moving it into a shed or garage on the really hot days. Remember worms like it dark, cool, and plenty of food. Also don’t worry about them leaving their new home. As long as there is plenty of food, water, and dirt they will stay put!

 

Do you have a compost pile? How did it go? Please comment!

Living The Simple Kind Of Life


Ok so by now you all have discovered that I like to do it myself right? I want so much to live as simply as I can. At the risk of sounding 90 years old may I say that all of these new fangled gadgets and gizmos are great for emergencies but…all day everyday? (As I use my computer right? Ha!) It’s rather sad really. I remember a much simpler time when if you were not home you had an answering machine that took messages and the person on the other end had to wait for you to call back. It was a lot less stressful wasn’t it? We would play outside until dark and used our imaginations. Ahhh to go back…

Anyway all that to say this…we planted a garden…again. We honestly haven’t had all that much success in the past because…erm…life is busy. This year however WILL be different! It has to be! If for no other reason then I just said it has to be!

So last Saturday was beautiful here in middle GA! We stayed outside for most of the day drinking up the sunshine ad getting our garden started. We had put in a raised garden bed last year but while in the process of moving all of our plants died. 😦 So this year we used it again.

First we put this great stuff called Black Kow  from Lowe’s on top of the old soil:

Black Cow

Then we put the cheapest potting soil with fertilizer in on top of that. Then Black Kow, then potting soil.  This will revitalize the old soil and nourish our veggies.Then we planted the seeds directly into the dirt.  No plants this time. We have always just planted the plant so I’m a little nervous about this. Weird huh? Seeds are supposed to just grow right?

So here is what it looks like so far:

Pretty cool huh?
Pretty cool huh?

As you can see I marked each square with what looks like a wooden paint stirrer. Actually it’s left over slats from some crates we made at Christmas, but that’s neither here nor there. We planted cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and onions. Yep that all fit in that tiny garden. By the way it’s 4ftX4ft raised garden.  I am super excited and I really want it to work this time! I also plan to plant a small hanging herb garden. I will keep you updated on that one!

I will post more pics when they pop up!

 

Do you have a garden? Do you have a green thumb? Do you have some great do’s and don’ts? Please leave a comment and share!

A Day Of Freezer Cooking


Ok so it’s cooking day!! Are you ready? If you are just tuning in check out Freezer Cooking (Getting Prepared). So now that you are organized lets get cooking!

Now gather your printed recipes and divide them with your partner. Or if you are going at it alone separate the items to be cooked from the raw assembled. Then start cooking your bulk meats. These were the ones I used for this go around. I like to change it up from time to time. I take the ones that are tried and true and then add some new ones. If we don’t like the new ones so much then we just don’t use it again.  Here is a list of the recipes that I used and the instructions:

Chicken Pot Pie

Yummy Pie Crust

Spaghetti Sauce

Marinated Steaks

Mango Chicken Bake

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Meatballs

BBQ Beef

Slow Cooker Philly Cheesteaks

My Meatloaf

 

Chicken Pot Pie

INGREDIENTS

(6) Breasts

(3) Onions

(6) Carrots

(6) Celery Stalks

(3) Small Potatoes

(4) tablespoons butter

Chicken Broth (42oz)

3 cans peas

3 cans cream of chicken soup

3 Boxes of Re fridge pie crust ( I make my own)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

 Wash & Trim ALL the Chicken Breasts. Put (6) Breasts in a pot of water on the stove and cook on med high heat for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. While the Chicken is cooking… chop vegetables for chicken pot pie: (3) Onions, (6) Carrots, (6) Celery Stalks and (3) Small Potatoes. Put aside 1/8 cup chopped onion for another recipe. Melt (4) tablespoons butter in large sauce pot and add all chopped vegetables EXCEPT potatoes.

Chicken Pot Pie all wrapped up:

 While the veggies are sauteing, shred the cooked chicken breast with two forks and set aside. Add Chicken Broth (42oz) & diced Potato to pot with sauteed veggies after about 5 minutes and let simmer over med-med high heat until reduced by half. Remove pre-made pie crust from fridge. It will need to sit for (10) minutes before placing in round foil pans. After the Chicken Broth has reduced by half with the veggies- stir in shredded chicken, 3 cans peas and 3 cans cream of chicken. Line each of the (3) foil round pans with a pie crust. Evenly distribute chicken/veg mixture into each pie pan. Top each with remaining pie crust. Pinch sides of each together using your fingers or a fork. Cut 2-3 vents in the top using a sharp knife. WRAP WELL with plastic wrap and foil. Using a permanent market- write on each one “Chicken Pot Pie, the date and 350 degrees 45 minutes” *or until golden and bubbly. Place in Freezer.

Recipe originated from: MELISSAFALLISTESTKITCHEN.com

Yum!
Yum!

Just so you know that pot is huge!!!! As you can see it is filled to the rim. Since this has to cook for quite sometime I start with this one and it is the last one I wrap up. This one made 8 or 9 pie sized Chicken Pot Pies. Or you can make the personal ones. It will make A LOT of those! I usually try to make them but forgot to buy the little tins. When I do make them I make at least one large one with the small ones. I really like to make my own crust. It’s cheaper and way yummier than the store bought kind. If you are interested in making your own the recipe is below. I didn’t take pictures of the finished project because I was too darn tired. Sorry…you will be too. 😉

Yummy Pie Crust

INGREDIENT

2 1/2 C flour

1/2 C butter

1/2 C shortening

pinch of salt

ice cold water, add teaspoon by teaspoon until right consistency has formed

INSTRUCTIONS

Place flour, salt, butter and shortening in bowl. Use your hands to combine ingredients until small pebbles form. Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the dough begins to hold together and form a ball. Do not over handle the dough. Dough should be soft, moist but not wet. Divide dough in half. Place ball of dough onto wax paper and flatten. Place another piece of wax paper over the top and roll out the pastry into a circle. If your pie pan is 9 inch make sure your circle is bigger than 9 inches so you have enough for the edging. Remove the top layer of wax paper and place pastry into pie tin. Remove other piece of wax paper and press pastry into pan. Use your fingers to crimp the edge of the crust. Freeze for 30 minutes to firm up the pastry. This helps prevent pastry from shrinking during baking. Prick the bottom of crust to prevent bubbling during baking. If pie calls for a baked crust bake at 400 degrees. For the first 10-12 minutes keep the edges of pie covered with foil and then remove for the last 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown. This one is used for the Chicken pot pie so I do not pre-bake it.

 

Best Spaghetti Sauce Ever!!!

INGREDIENTS

2 lb. hamburger

1 lb Italian Sausage Chopped

2 cloves Garlic, Minced

4 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes (puree until smooth)

4 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste

4 Tablespoons Dried Parsley

4 Tablespoons Dried Basil

2 teaspoons Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes. Divide in half to freeze. I like to freeze mine in gallon sized Ziplock bags labeled Spaghetti Sauce and the date.  I use this sauce for my lasagna and baked ziti.

Best ever!
Best ever!

I didn’t take many photos but here is my big pot full. I will double this recipe from time to time to make 4 meals out of it.

Marinated Steaks

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds t-bone steaks

2 teaspoons meat tenderizer

0.5 cups ketchup

2 Tablepoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup red wine (or sub grape juice)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoons pepper

1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/2 teaspoons celery salt

1/2 teaspoons chili powder

 

INSTRUCTIONS

In a glass baking dish or plastic container, place the steaks. Pierce both sides of the steak with a fork at 1/2 inch intervals. Sprinkle both sides of meat with meat tenderizer. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Marinate steak for 4 hours turning several times throughout the process. Place steak on the grill close to the hot fire and brown on both sides. Remove from direct heat and continue to grill 5-10 minutes on each side or until desired rareness is achieved. Baste frequently.

Freezing Directions:

Prepare meat and marinade as directed. Place both in a gallon freezer bag and freeze. To serve: Thaw. Place steak on the grill close to the hot fire and brown on both sides. Remove from direct heat and continue to grill 5-10 minutes on each side or until desired rareness is achieved. Baste frequently. Servings: 4 I try to give credit where its due but for the life of me I can’t seem to find where I got the recipe! I know it was from Pinterest…

 

 

 

Mango Chicken Vegetable Bake

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 pound boneless chicken breasts

5 cups fresh diced vegetables (I used carrots, zucchini and broccoli)

1 mango peeled, cored and diced

2 sliced green onions

0.5 cups cilantro

0.5 cups water

0.25 cups lime juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Spray 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray. Place chicken in pan. In a food processor, process mango, water and lime juice until pureed. Stir in green onions and cilantro. Pour over chicken. Place diced vegetables on top and around chicken. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for one hour or until chicken has reached 165 degrees.

 Freezing Directions:

Prepare as directed above but do not bake. Cover and freeze. To serve: Thaw. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for one hour or until chicken has reached 165 degrees. Servings: 4 I actually got 3 meals out of this one! It was good but I think it might need a bit more salt. Again can’t remember where I got it from but I know it was a link on Pinterest. :/

 

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Rice

 

INGREDIENTS

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large onion, chopped

1 to 8 ounce box Zatarain’s Yellow Rice Mix, cooked according to directions

1 cup cheddar cheese

1 to 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup (regular or fat free)

1 to 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

INSTRUCTIONS

Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Scatter chopped onion over top. Spoon cream soup over top of that. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. A few minutes before serving, add in cooked rice, corn, and cheese. Stir to combine. Serve hot. I made yeast rolls to go with it as well. It was great! Here is the link for this one: http://www.southernplate.com/2010/09/slow-cooker-cheesy-chicken-and-rice

Slow Cooker Sweet and Tangy Meatballs

 

INGREDIENTS

1 (16-18 oz) jar grape jelly

1 Bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce

1 (2 lb) package frozen meatballs

INSTRUCTIONS

In a bowl, combine Sweet Baby Ray’s and grape jelly until smooth. Place meatballs in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix together in the bag until thoroughly combined. Zip bag closed. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on HIGH for 1-2 hours or LOW for 3-4 hours. Serve over rice or with toothpicks (makes a great appetizer too!). Love love love this one!! We either eat them like they are or on toasted sub rolls with cheese.

 

CROCK POT BBQ BEEF

INGREDIENTS

8 oz Tomato paste

1 Tbsp pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 (16 oz) bottle Baby Rays BBQ sauce

3 to 4 lb. boneless roast

INSTRUCTIONS

PREPARE FOR FREEZING: Combine tomato sauce, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and pinch of sugar, add BBQ sauce. Place sauce in gallon freezer bag. Place roast in a roaster or pan that can catch drippings and cover with lid or foil. Cook roast at 350 for 5-6 hours. Let cool. Divide if needed and place in freezer bag with sauce and freeze.

PREPARE AFTER FREEZING: Thaw. Warm in oven at 350 for 1-2 hours. Slice and serve on hamburger buns or your favorite bread. I freeze this one raw and thaw it out the night before then proceed to cook it in the crock pot. Works great! Here is the link for this one: Crock Pot BBQ Beef

Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteaks

INGREDIENTS

1.5 to 2 lbs round steak, thinly sliced (the more thinly they are sliced, the less cooking time is required)

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 onion, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

32 oz low-sodium beef broth

6 French rolls

12 slices of Provolone, American, or other cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

Rub the steak with pepper and garlic powder. Place in the slow cooker. Add onion, bell pepper and beef broth. Stir to mix. Cook on low for 5-7 hours or until meat is tender. Toast open rolls for several minutes until slightly crusty. Lay a piece of cheese on both sides of the roll. Use tongs to remove meat, onions and bell pepper from slow cooker (letting juices drip off) and pile on top of rolls. Return to the oven to melt cheese. Serve hot!

To Freeze: Assemble all ingredients in a gallon sized Ziplock bag and label with directions. Easy Peasy! Here is the Link: Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteak

 

My Meatloaf

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs ground beef

1 bell pepper

1 onion

ketchup

About a cup of oatmeal

2 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix all ingredients. Place in loaf pan bake at 350 for 1 hour. Spread ketchup to taste over top and bake for 10 minutes more.

 To Freeze: Wrap with saran wrap and foil then label with instructions. Be sure to thaw before cooking!

And that’s it! These recipes made about 20 meals all together. I didn’t count this time. Oops 🙂 But you have to keep in mind too that some of them will have left overs. Giving you lunch and dinner again if you choose. Remember also to add to the ingredients according to your family size. Since its just the two of us I usually make for 4 so as to have left overs or seconds. Please let me know if you have any questions or need any more trouble shooting! Happy cooking!

 

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!