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Time flies!

Hi, all I must apologize for not writing anything sooner. I have not been feeling well and there was a bunch of things that fell by the wayside and this blog was one of them.

I lost about a week to migraines. I am doing much better now and I will say this. I am thrilled that I made all of the freezer meals, what a great help it was to have some dinners completed. It has been working out great and the meals are good too! The only problem has been quantity, it appears that we are eating every bit of it. There is not anything left over for lunches. This is a good problem to have.

See you all later!

Karen

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Organizing #3:Freezer cooking

I have to be the first to say that plans change. Our plan of cooking with my mom on Friday has gone by the wayside. She has too much going on. So I started assembling the meals yesterday and put hers in smaller freezer storage bags since most of her meals are single or double serving size. I also added to our meals as the servings were for a family of 4 and we are a family of 6. Originally I was going to just have the meals for the times the kids were working! As if they weren’t going to come home hungry anyway.

I have roughly 12 meals of it finished and will finish up the rest today.  Just some pork and turkey meals today. I got a little distracted and didn’t follow the recipes precisely, I am hoping that this is not going to be a problem. I will take a few pictures when I am completely finished with all of the meals.

The cost of the food came in about $305 for 20+ meals or about $15 per meal about $2 per person.I am the first to admit that I am not a very good coupon or bargain shopper.  The other part to this is that one of us is allergic to cod and I had to buy a more expensive fish for a couple of the meals.  I believe that my savings will kick in when I am not running to the store for anything more than produce and milk, which will save gas, time and money. I bought more chicken and fish than needed for the menu plan and also had some pinto beans and ham cooked that needed to be bagged up and put in the freezer.  If this system works out, it will reduce our overall grocery costs and we will be less tempted to eat out or use frozen dinners.

This feels a bit like a huge gamble as the recipes are not our family favorites adapted for freezer cooking. On the good side the kids were very interested in the meals and thought that they looked good. They are teens, everything that looks like food  looks good, except maybe leftovers! We will see what happens when meal times arrive.

I spent a large portion of yesterday chopping vegetables and prepping the ingredients for the meals. The recipes are arranged according to meat; beef meals, chicken meals, fish meals, pork meals, turkey meals and vegetable soup.  I have the beef, chicken and fish meals completed and in the freezer.  Today is busy but I need to get these completed so that the meat doesn’t spoil and I loose all of the savings.

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Organizing part 2

How do you organize your home work place or studio area? What do you use?

I have latched onto what I already own; mason jar or canning jars, inexpensive cardboard boxes, and  plastic storage pieces. I found some new cardboard boxes at office depot last night. I am sure that they will work well for storing the small squares of paper that seem to over populate my desk right now. The mason jars I use for all the up-cycled and recycled hand punched paper elements that I use for my tags and cards. You can see one in use below for paper snowflakes. I now have an entire case full of  mason jars. They work really well as I can see what I am using and what I have on hand. I also use them for pencil cups.

I am also using old child sized divided dinner trays to hold the gems, and more paper elements that I use all the time. Here you can see some of the jars and the carry out trays.  The black trays are black plastic produce trays washed and repurposed .

The flowers in the lower left hand corner were created byhttp://www.etsy.com/shop/DragonflyExpression. She makes wonderful dimensional paper flowers. These paper board boxes I use to keep my Christmas gift tags and covered clothes pins in. Well, these are a few of the tools I use to cut down on clutter. There are some things that I need, a recycling bin for paper that goes to the recycling center, and another trash can in the sewing area. I also need to clean up my packing center and photographing table and the area around it. That will be on the list for today!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Send me your links to your studio, craft area or kitchen! I am always interested in how people arrange the things in their lives.

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Organizing part 1

As part of my efforts to organize and streamline my house and life. My mother and I are planning a freezer cooking session for next Friday. It should be a good thing for the both of us. My recipes are for six servings and she only needs one or two servings. Often at our house we only have 4 or five eating dinner as the older kids have work and activities. Do they eat the good home cooked dinner when they get home? No, they often eat at work. This plan should work as we will add up the receipts and then divide by six so we know the cost per person.

I used to cook freezer meals all the time when the kids were little. It sure cut down on the pre-prep mess and saved a ton of time. I don’t need to have freezer meals all of the time just two to three meals a week. We enjoy cooking so the other meals aren’t going to be a problem. Just the times when we all leave at 7 and don’t get home until 5 and head out again at 6 or 7. That is currently about  three days a week. So this will help Mom and I have hot nutritious food when we don’t feel like cooking. It is a huge peace of mind thing! lol

Our recipes and shopping list are from the http://www.saving dinner.com website. I am not clear headed enough to plan menus, make the enormous shopping list and then head to the store and do the shopping to cook the next day. I have done the meal planning, menu writing, recipe hunting, grocery shopping, and grocery list making for 30 freezer meals in one cooking session for the month in the past. I know my time limitations and that will not be happening this time.

We bought the 20 meal plan so we will have a variety to pick from. As one of the kids has food allergies we will drop all the recipes that have tree nuts  and fish unless it is salmon or tuna or we will make substitutions.

I will e-mail mom the recipe names and quantities of some ingredients so she can chop veggies and get a few of the items at her country grocery store. I will get the rest the day before while the kids are in classes.  I think that this is going to work well it will give us twenty freezer meals for about three a week for 5-6 weeks. A huge time and budget saver for the both of us. Stay tuned so you can see how this works out!

Here are a couple of websites for you to try for yourself!

http://www.dinnersinthefreezer.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Panic-Dinners-Freezer-Great-Tasting/dp/0800730550

http://www.southernliving.com/food/whats-for-supper/easy-freezer-meals-00400000009133/

http://food.yourway.net/my-plan-for-stocking-the-freezer/

talk to you later,

Karen

Do you cook and put meals in the freezer for meals later in the week or month? How many do you prepare at a time?

I am just curious!