Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meal Time Short Cuts: Ground Beef

     It doesn't matter if you stay home or if you work outside the home we are all very busy! Sometimes I have been gone most of the day and get home within an hour of dinner, sometimes I've had a sick kid and dinner was the last thing on my mind, and other times I was the sick one and my poor husband, mother, or sister was left to cook for my family. In all these instances my meal time short cuts have proven invaluable! Yes they do take some time upfront but the payoff is wonderful!
     One of my favorite meal time short cuts involves ground beef. At the beginning of every month I buy all of my meat for the month (we have a large upright freezer). When I get home I take my ground beef and determine how much of it will be used in which ways. I immediately start to brown some of it, allow it to cool and package into freezer bags at one pound per bag and freeze flat. The ground beef that doesn't get browned either goes into freezer bags one pound per bag (frozen flat) or it gets made into meatballs and a meatloaf. I fry the meatballs after I brown the ground beef (in the same pan) and finish cooking them in the oven. After they have cooled I put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer (single layer, not touching) overnight and into a gallon sized freezer bag the following day. The meatloaf is placed in a pan and wrapped well to decrease freezer burn and then placed in the freezer. I put the meatloaf in the refrigerator the night before I will cook it so it will defrost before it goes into the oven.

     I find that it works well to do this all at once as you use many of the same items multiple times. It definitely takes a time investment upfront but I find that it's not a big deal as I'm usually working in the kitchen already, I will use the ground beef in that night's dinner, and the future time payout is huge! Now, when I'm short on time spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, pasta bake, hamburger helper, sloppy joes and many other dinners are quick to get on the table and I'm less likely to throw in a frozen pizza, serve PB&J on a tortilla (because I didn't have time to make bread either), or order take out!
     What do you do for a meal time short cut at your house?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!!!

If you haven't done so already it is not to late to vote! 
Please go and exercise your right to do so, many people have died 
so you could have this and many other freedoms.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wholesale Clubs

I'm not terribly sure that wholesale clubs are worth the cost of their membership, when comparing their prices to places like Aldi's, but the fact of the matter is... they are just so much fun!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!!!

Right now my life is rather busy! I have lots of meetings, e-mails, and phone calls. I have 1 year old who cries like a siren when she wants to be held (when I'm making dinner or doing dishes) and a 3 year old who is sneaky as can be. While I wouldn't trade my life for anything sometimes it becomes a bit overwhelming and I have to sit down and figure out how I'm going to get everything done. The last few weeks have been just that but today already feels better! I haven't had to leave the house at all today and it was wonderful! (To top it off my neighbor even brought me cookies and I ate 2 as soon as I got the girls to bed.) I think that sometimes we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and we need to cut ourselves a little slack: it won't hurt if every so often our meals aren't prefect. Give yourself a break and learn to say no every now and then!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ants are the bane of my existence!!!

I hate ants! You see I have been at war with the ants in my neighborhood for about 1 1/2 years. I am not stupid! I am well aware that ants have been around for thousands of years and I will not alter that fact but I would love to keep them out of my house.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breakfast Scramble

This is a delicious breakfast that is high in protein. I like to make it if I know we're going to have a big day. It also keeps and re-heats well as leftovers so I intentionally make a large batch. If you want to serve the leftovers in a different way add cheese and wrap in a tortilla for breakfast burritos.The picture below is roughly half of what the recipe will make. It is my version of the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Scramble you can find in the freezer section of your local grocery store. I very much enjoy their version however my husband does not enjoy onions in his breakfast food. This is also cheaper and easier to control the ingredients (awesome if you have a food allergy)!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Tator Tot Casserole

I was in a rush for dinner the other night and we were having a house full of company the next day so I was trying to create as little of a mess as possible! I vigilantly searched Pinterest for something easy (that I already had all the ingredients for) and lo-and-behold I found this amazing recipe. Only I didn't quite have all the ingredients so I decided to experiment and below is what I came up with. This is not remotely considered a healthy meal but definitely falls into the category of comfort food. It's it easily assembled with 1 pan, a spoon, a knife, and a measuring cup. I served this with steamed peas and fruit.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life has been...life!

A lot has happened since my last post yet not as much as I feel has.

- We went home a lot! (My husband was out of state for work for a while so the girls and I went to visit family.)
- We went on a mini-vacation sans our girls (they stayed with my parents). This was the first time I have slept through the night in over a year and probably will be the last for a while (B still wakes at least twice a night but is cutting teeth and is waking more at this time).
- B went from no teeth to four teeth in a matter of weeks.
- A graduated to a bunk bed but has been relegated to the bottom bunk much to her dismay.
- I have decided to start selling my planners in physical form (not just digital) and have been working on a prototype which will be bound in the next few days.
- I organized a suicide awareness class for spouses in my husband's BN.
- Last week was VBS (Vacation Bible School) and I taught 3rd-6th grade music. It was exhausting but I am really looking forward to next year!
- My girls got sick at VBS but not until the end.
- Last but not least, I had a house full of people over for a cookout (about 40 people). We had a great time visiting with many of the people my husband works with!

I say all of this to say things have been a little crazy around here and I hope to get into the swing of things again quite soon!

God Bless!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Wipes Solution

One easy thing I do to help us save money is use cloth wipes along side my cloth diapers. What? What is that you say? It is not gross!!! It actually makes sense. I mean if I'm already washing diapers, wipes sure aren't gonna make a difference in my water or soap use.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Upchucket Bucket

A few weeks ago I learned that my toddler gets carsick. How did I learn this you might ask, the hard way! (I thought the upchucket bucket was an original phrase but a quick google search will show you someone already beat me to it.) So out of this lovely experience I will share with you what we are now doing to be extra prepared for her next episode of motion sickness. Enter the upchucket bucket which really is not a bucket at all.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Should You Make Your Own Baby Food?

Because it's easy and cheap, that's why!!!!! B is finally old enough to eat baby food (we delay it a little more than most people due to family food allergies) so I have been making it. It is so incredibly easy that I have no comprehension of why you wouldn't do it.

Three ounces of frozen sweet potatoes ready to be defrosted for dinner.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Homemade broth is easy and free!!!

Tuesday is my normal crock-pot day and this past Tuesday happened to be Valentine's Day. I had no delusions of a date night as we have two small children and all of our possible babysitters would be celebrating with their loved ones. Instead I got creative and made a meal for us to have at home, as a family.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What you don't have a personal cook?

I do, it's my crock-pot! Sometimes my life is crazy busy!!! One way I ease my workload is by using my crock-pot and sometimes I will use two at once.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal Planning

Meal planning is a very important tool in both organization and frugality. It allows you to use what you already have, not have to ask yourself the dreaded "what's for dinner" each day, and saves you from buying foods you won't cook. At the end of every month I sit down with my planner and plan out my lunches and dinners for the following month. This doesn't take me very long however I still wait until the girls are either napping or down for the evening before I begin.

An old menu planning session while experimenting with a daily page.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spiced Apple Cider

Enjoying a cup of cider while meal planning this Christmas.
 A few weeks ago I had some of my friends over for lunch and thought it would be nice to serve a seasonal beverage. I looked up many different recipes online and found I didn't have all the ingredients for a single one. So... I came up with my own using ingredients already found in my kitchen (other than the cider itself). This is also something fairly inexpensive to take to a friend's home during all this cold weather. My crock-pot has a latch system which makes this even easier to take, and if you pair this with those Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider cookies well you will most definitely be the hit of the party!