Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Freezer Cooking

So last week I attempted my first batch of freezer cooking. I had been thinking about doing it for quite some time. I'd seen a whole bunch of recipes on Pinterest (you can see my Freezer Cooking Pinterest board here) and had seen people posting on various blogs about their attempts at freezer cooking. After realizing that we have over 30 different soccer and volleyball games to go to in the month of April (with who knows how many more practices), I knew I wasn't going to be able to put dinner on the table every night without some help, so I finally bit the bullet and decided to do it. I went through the different blog posts I had pinned, reading about how others had done it so I could decide how I wanted to do it. I marked the recipes I wanted to try. I made up a list of all the ingredients I would need for those 10 recipes and then marked which ingredients I already had and which I would need to buy. Luckily, I have my own "store" to shop from, full of all the food storage items I have already stocked up on (I'm really glad that I coupon and price match, and already had quite a lot of ingredients that I had already bought on sale or with a coupon!). I ended up really only having to buy the meat (I was low on chicken breasts and I decided to buy the stew meat and pork chops, as mine were already frozen and I didn't want to defrost them then freeze them again) and a few other specialty items (like the teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, etc). I did spend about $11 on the ziploc bags (I bought a large box of the gallon size freezer bags at Sam's), but I didn't even use a fourth of them, so I'll have plenty more bags for the next time and won't have to count that price in. My final total ended up being $148.41 which, divided up into 22 meals, comes out to $6.75 a meal. That is not bad AT ALL!! Granted, most of the meals will still need a side dish, but holy cow!! MAYBE that'll come out to $10 a meal, which is something we could NEVER come close to at McDonald's or any other restaurant with a family our size. I am so super stoked about that!!

In reading some other blog posts, a couple ladies had said that they weren't happy with recipes they had used that had a lot of veggies in them (like stews with potatoes, or ones that added frozen broccoli, etc). They said that all the veggies were mushy and tasted the same at the end. That sounded like it was probably true, so I looked for recipes that were mainly meat with sauces. There were a couple I chose that had carrots added, and I also never have a problem with using onions in the crockpot, so I didn't exclude those. Two of the recipes I chose called for frozen broccoli, so I bought it, but I didn't put it in the bag with the rest of the meal. I'm planning on adding the frozen broccoli to the crockpot for the last half hour, so that it'll be cooked but hopefully not mushy and gross. I ended up going with 10 different recipes. I had planned on making 2 of each meal but, because of the amount of meat I had purchased, I was able to triple 2 of the meals, so I ended up with a total of 22 meals. The recipes I went with were Teriyaki Chicken, Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks (I made 3 of this one), Mongolian Beef, Beef Stroganoff, Honey Sesame Chicken, Black Bean Taco Soup, Chicken Alfredo, Maple Dijon Chicken, Cilantro Lime Chicken, and Marinated and Baked Pork Chops (I made 3 of this one also and it's the only one that doesn't go in the crockpot).

To start, I pulled out the ziploc bags and, on each bag, wrote down the name of the recipe, the date it was made, and the cooking instructions. (I don't have a picture of that.)

Then I got out every single ingredient I was going to need and put them all out on my kitchen table.

I started by prepping the veggies. I cut up all the onions; some called for large slices, some chopped, some diced fine. Since I'm a little OCD about things like that, I had to divide them all up on my cookie sheet lol. I also cut up the green peppers that were going into the chicken alfredo meal.

After that, I started prepping the meat. I washed and dried all the chicken breasts and drumsticks, got all the pork chops out of their packaging, and cooked the ground beef with the onions for the taco soup. Then I went through each recipe and put the correct amount of meat into each bag. Because our family is large, I put in a little more meat than was called for in each recipe (if it said 1.5 lbs of chicken, I put 2). I also made a little more sauce for each recipe (I didn't double them, but multiplied by 1.5).

After I had the meat in the bags, I added the veggies (fresh and canned). Here are all the bags with veggies and meat added.

The next step was to make the sauces. Somehow this took me SO much longer than I thought it would. My printer is broken, so I couldn't print up the recipes. I had my laptop on the kitchen counter with all the recipes pulled up and would have to keep going over to it to check the measurements, so that might have taken up some more time than necessary. I mixed up each sauce, poured it into the bag, sealed the bag, rinsed out the bowl, then started on the next sauce. The only bag I had a problem with was the pork chop bag. I was using bone-in pork chops and, I don't know if I had a particularly sharp bone or what, one of the chops tore a small hole in the bag. I just made up a new bag and double-bagged those ones. Once I had all my sauces made and my meals bagged up, I was done!

I took pictures of them all individually (but in the interest of space am leaving those pictures out) and then carried them down to my deep freezer. I have them all laying flat so they won't take up a lot of room. I plan on pulling them out of the freezer the night before using them and putting them into the fridge to defrost. Some people had said you can put them straight from the freezer into the crockpot, and I'm sure you can, but I'm a little concerned that stuff might stick to the bag. Then I'll put them in the crockpot that morning and we'll have dinner ready when we get home from our games that night. A lot of them are supposed to be served over rice, but I also have a rice cooker that I can set to cook before we leave the house. Then when we get home, while the girls are putting away all their stuff, I can steam/sauté some veggies or throw together a quick salad, and we'll have our meal ready to go!

To recap, I made 22 meals for about $6.75 each in a total of about 4.5 hours (5 with the cleanup afterwards). I really was happy with these results (and I bet I could put them together even faster next time)!

Just so you know, I haven't actually tried any of these recipes yet, so I can't swear that they're all good, but they look good and they've got to better than cereal, right? I'll post an update as we go through the meals and let you guys know what we thought of each one. If anyone has any questions, let me know and I'll answer as best as I can. And if you decide to do it too, I'd love to see what you make!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


How has it been so long since I've posted???? Sorry guys, I'll try to be better. I just have one little piece of news for now...

EDD is 07/22/2011. :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

AMAZING giveaway

So this picture has been one of my absolute FAVORITE of all favorites since the very first time I saw it. It's been on my Christmas wishlist for years (are you listening, Keith???) and, truth be told, I tear up every time I see it. I LOVE this picture. And then I find out today, the artist is having a contest and giving away 5 copies of it!!!! SOOOO cool!! Click on the picture to find out more...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

SM Birthday Blog Train Stop #26

Hey everybody!!! I'm excited to be a part of the blog train for ScrapMatters' 3rd birthday!! Hopefully you just came here from HayNay's blog.

In honor of SM's birthday, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite birthday memories. One of my best birthday memories was from my 28th birthday. It was also the year I graduated from college (took me long enough, huh?) and college graduation, our 9th anniversary, Mother's Day, and my birthday were all right around the same time. So we decided to do things big and go to Hawaii. We were in Hawaii on my birthday and it was SO fun. We had a great time down there and can't wait to go back again!!

I have a quickpage to share with you guys that I made with the Cupcakes and Candles kit that you receive free with a $20 purchase over SM's birthday weekend. Here's a preview of the page I made...

You can go -->here<-- to download it (link is no longer active). You have until Aug 14th to download it... after that all of the blog train freebies will be packaged up together to be sold in the shop. I hope you enjoyed your stop here! Your next blog to go to is Kat's. Have fun on your trip today!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Am Not A Runner

After I saw this video on Amber's blog, I knew it would be the perfect start to tell about what happened today.

This was me not quite a year ago (minus the man boobs). Noah was about 3 months old, we had some friends over for dinner, I was complaining about how I wanted to start losing weight so I'd be a little skinnier at Kara's wedding, they told me that they run every morning and I should start running with them. UGH. I HATE running. I hate any form of exercise/dieting/whatever. I've never been a fan of any form of physical exercise whatsoever. Reluctantly I agreed to start running with them cause the weight wasn't going to come off by sitting on the couch. I almost died that first day. I think I ran a total of 3, maybe 4, blocks before I had to start walking. And then I'd run a block, walk a block, repeat. It was horrendous. I was not a runner. Yet. 2 weeks later, both my knees were killing me and I had to stop running for about 3 weeks. Keith said I was walking around like a 92 year old, instead of a 29 year old. But I got new shoes, started running again after the knees stopped hurting, and kept going from there.

The route they run is about 1.8 miles long. I can't even tell you how proud I was of myself the first time I ran it without stopping. It took a LONG time to get there. Then winter came along and it was too cold and icy to keep running outside. So we started getting up even earlier and going to an indoor track to keep running. I decided to start adding in a lap so that I could eventually be able to run the route twice. By the time we were ready to run outside, I was up to 3 miles indoors and thought that was all I could do. The first day we went back to outdoor running (I think it was the end of Feb or beginning of Mar), I ran the whole route twice. Without stopping. WooHoo!!

One of the friends has since moved, and the other can't run right now... but I found 2 other friends to run with and so I've continued running. 3 weeks ago I decided to run my first 5k. I dragged Keith's brother, Arax, along with me. We got there ahead of time, heard them say to start lining up, and got ready to run. I had looked at the map the night before so I'd be prepared and when everyone started turning where we weren't supposed to turn, I wondered what was going on. I just figured they'd had a last minute change of plans and we kept going. We got to mile 2 and then they started turning again. There was also a half marathon going on that day. I had looked at the map for that as well and realized we were running with the half marathoners. ACK! We were so not ready to run 13 miles!! So while everyone else turned, we kept going straight and eventually made it back to the finish line as the other 5kers were coming back in as well. We ended up running 3.7 miles (a 5k is 3.1 miles) and did it in pretty good time. Oh, and did I mention it started raining about 5 min in to our run? And then the hail started coming down? Yeah, that was a lot of fun. But we did it. And we were proud of ourselves. Then last weekend there was another 5k. So we ran that one too. This time at the right time and on the right route. Arax hadn't run for two weeks and ended up grabbing Amya's scooter halfway through so he could keep up with me lol. We came in at 32:06. Not too shabby.

Today was another 5k. This time I got my running partners to sign up with me, Arax, our nephew Joseph, my bil & sil Noel and Carrie. So there would be 7 of us running together. I was pumped. Until 4am this morning when I woke up with horrible stomach cramps and had to make a few trips to the bathroom. I was up from then on, in a lot of pain. I couldn't run. I was SO upset. I was supposed to be there. I was supposed to run with everyone. I cried. Can you believe it?!??! Kathleen... crying about not being able to run? It doesn't even sound like me. At all. But it's the truth. I guess I'm now a runner. The amazing thing is, Amya ran it for me. She put on my shirt, got my number, and ran with my group. She came in 2ND out of our group of 7. (Arax was first - he said he felt so guilty about last week that there was no way he was going to walk or run slow this week.) I think her time was 35 min:something... I don't remember the exact time and she's already asleep so I can't ask her. Oh. I am SO proud of her. First, for filling in for me and second, for doing such an amazing job at it. Seriously. She is so cool. I'm so so proud of her and everyone else in our group who ran today. They did an awesome job. I'll post some pics tomorrow when I get them loaded onto the computer.

And I guarantee you I'll be there running next weekend with all of them. I think there's at least 6 more 5k's I'm planning on running this summer. Now to work up to the 10k. :D

Monday, May 3, 2010

I needed to watch this today....

After a LONG day, (week, month... with more yet to come) I saw this posted on someone else's blog tonight and watched it. And cried. And prayed. And resolved... to be better. to do more. to be more grateful.

I don't know if you know, but we're going through a little bit of a tough time right now. Keith has had pain in his right leg since November and it's steadily gotten worse. Since the end of February, it's been harder and harder for him to even move. And for pretty much all of April, he's had to lay down almost all day long. We finally found out what's wrong - a disc in his lower back is half an inch out of place. There's pretty much nothing they can do to fix it, except surgery. He'll be having back surgery very soon to bolt two of his vertebrae together. He'll be in the hospital for a few days, bed for a while after that, and then a 3-5 month recovery till he's back to normal. And we have to hope that the disc being out of place for so long didn't permanently damage the nerve... because if it did, he'll still have the pain after surgery.

But we're alive. Our children are alive and healthy. And happy. We'll make it through and we'll be stronger for it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

SM iNSD BlogTrain!!

Hey everybody!!!! Welcome to stop #23 on the ScrapMatters' iNSD blog train! You should have just left Jennifer's blog. You're now back in Utah (and I don't think it'll be your last time here today). I'm so excited about being a part of this HUGE and super cool blog train!

By now, you know all about our NSD mega-collab at SM this weekend called "Moments that Matter". Make sure you get over to the store and check out all the new grab bags that have been released, along with the 40% off sale on almost everything else. You can get "Moments that Matter" free with a $20 purchase. And trust me, with all the goodies we've got over there, it won't be hard to fill your cart up. :D

With my husband's and my anniversary coming up in just 3 more days (May 4th), the special moment I want to share with you is the night we met. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, about all the little things that fell into place so that we could meet that night.

We met on August 1, 1998. I had just graduated from high school 2 months before that. My family had moved from FL to WV at the beginning of July, but I wanted to spend my last summer before college in FL. So I convinced my parents to let me stay there with a friend's family until shortly before I had to leave for college. Surprisingly, they agreed, and I spent the next few weeks hanging out with my friends. We are LDS and our church was having a regional singles conference July 31 - Aug 2 in Fort Lauderdale. My friends and I decided to drive over there (we were on the west coast) to attend the conference. The first night was not that fun. While it was advertised as a singles conference, and my friends and I were single, we were around 18-20 and it seemed like everyone else there was 35 and older. So we decided we wouldn't bother going to the dance Sat night, and we'd go out to a club instead. That sounded like way more fun. One of my friends (Kim) and I got ready the fastest and decided to go down and see how the dance was going while we waited for our other friends. We walked in and sat down on the outskirts of the dance floor (this was taking place in a big hotel).

Meanwhile, my soon-to-be husband was trying to convince his friends to go over to the dance. He was living in FL for the summer selling pest control. He and the guys in his apartment had thrown a disco party for all the people out there in their office. Then he heard about this singles dance and thought it'd be fun to go over and crash it. But none of his friends wanted to go. It took him a long time to convince them to go with him. When they finally made it over to the hotel, they went up to the front desk to ask where the dance was, and were told there was no dance that night. Needless to say, his friends were annoyed with him and they turned to leave. As they were walking out, some random guy stopped them and said, "If you're looking for the LDS dance, it's down that hall". They followed his directions, found the dance, and started dancing with all the girls who weren't being asked to dance.

Shortly after, my friend and I walked in. Keith saw us sitting down across the room and said to his friend (also named Kim), "You take the short one, I'll take the tall one", not knowing what we looked like or anything. And that was that. Keith and I danced that dance and then the next one, which happened to be the last one of the night. I told him we were leaving to go to a club, he convinced us to go back to his apartment for smoothies instead. We went and we stayed until 4 in the morning. As we were leaving, he asked for all of our phone numbers so he could stay in contact with us (he says now that he really just wanted mine but didn't want to make the other girls feel bad). He also says he was sending me signals all night long, but I had no idea.

He called me 2 days later and asked me out. We went on 2 dates in 1 week. He had to drive over from Ft. Lauderdale - it was a 2.5 hour drive, one way. He'd drive over after he got off work, take me out, and then drive back. Crazy, huh? I left a week later to go home for a week, then out to Rexburg, ID for college. He gave up his work bonus to leave early so he'd have a few days to spend with me in ID before he had to be back to school in Utah. We were engaged by Thanksgiving and then married in May. And that's that - we'll celebrate our 11th anniversary this coming Tuesday. Every now & then, one of us will say to the other, "Can you believe that we actually met?" I know it seems like my story was already long, but there's even more to it that I left out, that should have kept us from meeting each other that night. We really feel like it was meant to be. I made a scrapbook page with a picture we took that night (and please ignore the crazy drop shadows, it was one of my first pages and I was still learning lol)....

Alright, now that you've made it through my LONG story, here's the freebie you'll be getting from me (click the image to download) -

and here's the page I did with it....

**Links will be active until midnight Thursday night 5/6. Then all these blog train goodies are getting gathered up and put into the store!**

Well, I've taken up enough of your time! You can move on to your next train stop - Wendy's blog. Have fun on your "trip" today!!!