Sunday, May 10, 2015

Motherhood Reflection



I've been meaning to write a post for quite some time; yes I have been on quite the hiatus.  It all started when we were busy building our first home.  Nathan and I spent countless hours completing various projects; "sweat equity" as it's called. After we moved into our home (and bought a puppy!) another big event started to occupy my time: I became pregnant with our first child. Needless to say it's been a whirlwind!  It's funny looking back on it now how quickly the time has passed since that morning I took not one but two pregnancy tests (you know, just to make sure it was real).  Seeing that today is Mother's Day - and my first Mother's Day - I couldn't think of a better time to reflect and write about this new and momentous title of Mom.

How I told my husband. He came home to find this on our kitchen island :)


The moment I found out I was in fact pregnant I cried and I laughed and felt elated and incredulous all at once.  Just the day before I had confided in Nathan that, for reasons I won't go into now, I thought I maybe was pregnant but had had a very early miscarriage.  "It just wasn't time," I remember saying.  And yet, here I was with two positive pregnancy tests.  I went into our living room, knelt down by the couch, and thanked God. I praised him for this child.  I prayed for my little baby and their sweet soul.  I prayed that they would come to know and love God.  What a great responsibility I had been given!



The next 9 months went by quickly.  We took childbirth classes and I read everything I could get my hands on.  Although I was excited to meet this baby, a sweet little girl, I was so focused on labor and delivery.  I was so afraid and focused on preparing for the pain I wasn't thinking very much about how much I would love her and how my life would change and how I would cope with the challenges of raising a child. I was completely unprepared for that aspect of parenthood. Needless to say, at 5:01 a.m. on November 16th, I delivered our little girl.  I made it through labor - in fact I did GREAT, if I do say so myself! And our sweet girl was absolutely healthy and perfect.  But again, I just wasn't prepared for how much our little Charlotte Mary was going to rock my world.



I knew my life would change but I didn't realize just how much.  My entire purpose in life is different; my existence is entirely devoted to the care and nurturing of this child.  Everything I see, everything I read, everything I do, everything is different, because I am a Mom.  I see all things, including the love of God and the love of my own parents, in an entirely new and clear light. What a gift.



How was I to know that every little event, from her smiles to new milestones, would make my heart feel like it was going to explode?  I truly was not prepared for the absolute heart-wrenching joy and love that would ensue once I became a mother.  With every day that passes my heart grows and I love her more than I even thought possible.  When I look back on my nervousness now, about letting go and becoming a Mom, it's silly how much I worried.  I had no idea how much I would adore being a mother to this little baby.  I suppose I simply couldn't have known. She taught me to love in a way that I didn't know was possible.  Being a Mother is the great blessing I've ever known.

Happy Mother's Day to my own amazing Mother and to all the mothers out there.  We are blessed.



~Christi


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Saturday, January 31, 2015

My 2015 Resolutions

A few weeks ago I posted on the Review of My 2014 New Year's Resolutions and today I am following up with my 2015 Resolutions (and crossing my fingers that I keep most of them!) I hinted in my last blog that we have a lot going on in 2015! This year, hopefully, will be the year that we will remember for a long time! (Not sure if it will be a good thing to remember or not!)

So here are my 2015 Resolutions, in no particular order!

BE HEALTHY 

In years past I have always wrote I wanted to "lose weight" to get my pre-baby body back.Well, newsflash (probably more to me then the rest of you) it's not coming back! Gone are the days of tight skin on my tummy and a metabolism that allowed me to eat Jimmy Johns and ice cream multiple days of the week. This year my goal is to be healthy. Don't get me wrong, I am a pretty healthy person and workout 5+ times a week. However, my diet is BAD. I am constantly on this binge eating roller-coaster. You know the one...eating healthy for 4 weeks, then eating HORRIBLE for 3 weeks ...and repeat! I have decided for me and my family (probably against their choice) that we are going to eat healthier for good. What does this mean? It's very simple in three little steps:

1. Eat Out Less- We eat out WAY too much! We enjoy food and going out is a fun thing for us to do! However, it's so expensive and the food is never really honestly that great! The plan is to try to only eat out twice a month (maybe with the occasional Jimmy Johns for lunch.)

2.  Eat Less Sugar- Maybe it's because on New Year's Day I watched a bunch of food documentaries about the amount of sugar our nation is eating, but it was scary! It's very addictive and I know that I have a HUGE problem with sweets! My goal is to keep my sugar intake to only 30 grams a day and lessen the amount of candies, sweet breakfast cereals, and cookies my kids get.
3. Cook With 1-Ingredient Foods- Just like it sounds. It's really pretty simple. I am just going to try to make things from scratch myself more (which I do a lot anyways) and use less of the prepacked food items.

LEARN A NEW SKILL

Do you ever have something you have always wanted to do? Like learn a new language, learn how to fix a car, learn to not hit curbs when you turn corners? Well, 2015 is the year that I am taking up a new skill....or I should say I am learning something new. I find when you become an adult and have kids you end up hitting this wall where you have all these ideas of things you want to learn, but never really make time for them. This year, I am making time for it...uh really we are making time for it. My husband and I are doing learning it together. I really don't want to go into much details, but it's an activity my husband have started learning this last month (without the kids) and it's been a pretty fun time! I'll go into more detail on this later on in the year.

BUILD THIS TABLE

Yes, this was on my last post but this super cute table is from Shanty2Chic (or something very close to it) will be sitting in my dining room at the end of 2015! We have already started cutting the boards for it to make it happen.

BECOME A LANDLORD
My husband and I, for a long time, have been wanting to have a rental property. When a nice looking foreclosure came on the market, we put in an offer on it and it was accepted. The house has quite a bit of work to do on it, but overall is a pretty cute place. I'm super excited to get in there and rip out my THIRD set of shower doors! {see this post} I hate those things! I can't wait to post blogs on all the repairs we do to this place as well. Some day, hopefully soon, this place will be a cute little house for a family to live in....and when I say a family to live in I mean OURS! {Read More Below}

BUILD THIS HOUSE
It's almost been four years since I wrote this post on the house we moved into here in South Dakota. In short, we found our current house on a beautiful acreage with a pond, but the house has a lot of problems. We LOVE our land and after consulting over eight contractors on remodeling our current house, we made the decision to bulldoze and build a new house. The last four years we have saved, invested out time in the land, and waited for the time to come that we felt we should build. I am excited to say that the summer of 2015 we should break ground on building this house. (Barring any unforeseen circumstances.) Our plans are to move into our rental house and build a new one on our current land. We still have a lot of work to do before we can make this dream happen, but it's getting closer!

Well that's all my goals for 2015! I know I am a bit late on posting this blog, but my life is a little crazy right now and I am just happy I was able to write something up before 2016! 



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Friday, January 9, 2015

Review Of My 2014 New Year's Resolutions

It seems like every year I write New Year's resolutions but every year, I never really update the blog on how I did with them.  I have to be honest, most of my resolutions go right out the window within a few months...but doesn't everyones? I wrote this post last year about my New Year's resolutions and I thought now would be a great time to update them before I decide my goals for 2015.

Here are my 2014 New Year's resolutions in review:

1. Lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight.
Here's the same picture that I posted last year and still I find it a little embarrassing, that I gained 60 pounds while pregnant.
I lost most of the baby weight through calorie counting and working out 5 times a week, but the remaining (and elusive) 10 pounds I couldn't get rid of. So in 2014 I changed up my dieting plan and tried some "fad" diets out there. I did Paleo for a month, Power Protein for a month, 3 day Lemonade Diet, and 21 Day Fix Diet. Also, I increased my workouts to 6 times a week. So did I lose the weight....NO! And actually I am up 4 pounds, so that puts me at 14 pounds to lose. I will rant more about this in my 2015 goals. 

2. Build this table.
This super cute table is from Shanty2Chic and I couldn't be more in love with it. We had removed 39 trees from our yard two summers ago and we had some of the trees milled into boards for us. They have been sitting in the basement waiting to get the bark removed. In 2014, we did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the boards. However, January 1st hit this year (2015) and my husband and I got after cutting the boards down to size and remove the bark. We are making some progress on this! We are about 75% done with the bark on all the boards and my super sweet neighbor is going to let us borrow her shop tools to plane the rough boards smooth. 

3. Get organized.
Like most Moms, I felt completely unorganized in my life. 
Between all the kid things, the dishes, the toys, the puzzle pieces, the dog, the laundry my life is all sorts of unorganized. I spent the better half of 2014 organizing cupboards, toys, rooms, etc. and it worked out great! I created the cool puzzle organizer for my son's puzzle pieces.
I also created a cool Lego Table for my son's legos, that I have yet to post on. However, all my efforts of organizing this house will be wasted in 2015. More details on this in my 2015 New Year's Resolutions to come. 

4. Be More Present.
My friend Greta over at Modern Garden wrote the goal of being more present in life for 2014. What a great resolution!
Honestly, in 2014 I was more present. I had to be. I have a very precocious 4 year old son who wants to learn all the time. We spend hours with him reading books, doing math problems, writing, making science experiments. He takes a lot of my time and it sort of made me regret not starting him in preschool earlier then age 4. We also have a spirited, very independent daughter that has had her struggles this year with eye surgeries and stomach issues. Life of a mother is always busy right?? In addition to all my mommy duties, I still work from home and 2014 was my busiest year since having kids!

5. Climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Yeah, I know crazy goal right and did it happen in 2014? NO!
I blame the US Department of State for issuing a travel warning to any American citizen going to Kenya and that pesky Ebola for getting in the way. It's an adventure I know my husband will make one of these days, but we would rather be safe then sorry on this trip! 2014 was not without travel, I feel like every year we go more and more places. In 2014, I went to Kansas City, Omaha, Dallas, NYC twice, Vegas, Colorado, Oklahoma, St. Maarten, and California! (Typing all that made me exhausted!) 2015 we have started planning our year trips, but trying to keep it down because of some major life changes we will be facing. Again, more on that in another post.

There's my 2014 New Year's Resolutions updated! As I predicted, many were not accomplished but I feel good that a few were. Even though I didn't accomplish all on my list last year, we did accomplish a lot of projects around the house. We finished the little bit we had left on the fire pit, we dug landscaping trenches around all of our 500ft of  bushes and filled it with wood chips, I added a new 150ft of landscaping to our side yard, we built a dock, and we stocked bass in our pond.

As I said above, I have some big plans for 2015 so stayed tuned for my upcoming post on my 2015 New Year's Resolutions and plans for the year!



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Sunday, December 14, 2014

9 Tested Appetizers For Your Party

I don't know about you, but my Pinterest boards are overflowing with cool recipe ideas that I seem to never have a chance to try out. So when my husband said he wanted to have around 20 people over to try out his latest home-brew beer, I jumped at the chance to make some recipes that I have pinned! 

Here's my list of the nine recipes that we made for the party. All but two were made a day in advance, and they all turned out wonderfully! They were well tested at our party and I have already had some emails/texts asking for the recipes. 

Stuffed Baguette

Who doesn't love bread, cream cheese, salami, and roasted red peppers? This idea of a stuffed bread was so easy to do. I just diced everything up and shoved it in there! Also, this was an easy one to make the day before the party and put in the refrigerator. On the day of the party, I only had to slice it and put it on a platter. 

Pull-Apart Party Loaf

This recipe turned out so cute once baked. I ended up using regular old American cheese (instead of what the recipe called for) and it tasted just like a pull apart "suped-up" grilled cheese sandwich. The kids loved that you could pull off bite sized pieces off the loaf. I made this the day of the party, but after doing so, I really feel it could be made a day in advance. 

Antipasto Appetizer

This recipe hands down was my favorite of the group. It was so simple to put together the day before and feeds a ton of people! Everyone loved to be able to take toothpicks and pick out their favorites among the group. We poured the Italian dressing on all the ingredients (except the peppers and colby jack cheese) the day before. Then we just place the cut up peppers and cubed colby jack on top of the rest in the container and let it all marinate overnight. This one was great to make ahead one day, but honestly it's been almost a week since we have made this recipe and we are still eating the leftovers.  I think it could be made a little further in advance if needed.  

Hawaiian Baked Ham and Swiss Sandwiches

I ended up doubling this recipe for our party guests and I am glad we did. The sandwiches went like hot cakes! The butter and mustard poured over the top and layered throughout created the perfect hot little sandwich bite. I also layered the sandwiches a day in advance and then baked them on the day of the party. A word of caution though, when it comes to feeding these sandwiches to kids...they are very buttery (and delicious) which means greasy kids hands!

Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels

I have to say out all the recipes I made, these were my least favorite. I have never been a pinwheel fan, so I was not surprised to think these were OK. However, our guests loved them and I think if you enjoy pinwheel rolls, this is a nice spin on the normal ones you might serve. The buffalo sauce and blue cheese added a nice kick to the chicken rolled up inside. They were easy to make a day in advance and slice up on the day to serve to others. 

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

This recipe and the next were specifically made thinking of the kids at the party. What child does not love Pizza and Hot Dogs! Each little roll is stuffed with a little string cheese and pepperoni, baked with a garlic butter glaze, and dipped in pizza sauce! YUM! The only thing that would make these any better would be if you could make them a day in advance, but I didn't think the pizza dough would hold up without becoming dried out or soggy. 

Cocktail Wienies

What's a party without cocktail wienies. Part of the reason these are so popular is because they are so darn easy to put together. I just threw mine in a crock-pot with one bottle of Sweet Baby Rays and a jar of grape jelly. They were perfect! These were mainly made for the kids (and ease of recipe) and I felt like the grape jelly tamed the spiciness of the barbecue sauce, which my kids LOVED!

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

I think everyone and their Mom has made these cookies at some point. I like them because they are easy, make a lot, and you can customize them! I made half of ours with red & green plain M&Ms (for Christmas) and the other half I topped with pecan halves. Everyone ate them up fast! 

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

These cookies are going to be on my make every year Christmas cookie list! In fact, I plan on making them again for a cookie exchange I am doing. They are easy, but look so fancy. I followed this recipe almost all the way except for the cream cheese filling part. It called for 2 cups of powered sugar and 4 ounces of cream cheese. I ended up using 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1 cup of powered sugar. I think 2 cups of powered sugar would have been too sweet. They baked up to look just like the picture above, so cute and fancy! Everyone thought I had spent a lot of time on them, but I hadn't....hence that is why I will be making them again this week and for years to come! 

I hope I gave you some menu ideas for your next party! It was nice that all of the recipes above were a hit and we will definitely be making them again at our future parties!

Happy Cooking! 


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Perfect Whole Grain Freezer Pancakes

Every morning I ask my kids what they would like for breakfast, and their answer 95% of the time is PANCAKES. Now getting up every morning making pancakes gets tiring and on some sleepless nights it sounds terrible! On special occasions I do make my own pancakes, but in the last year I have gotten lazy and started buying pre-made pancakes. You know the one you find in the freezer section? 

There are a few problems with this:
1. They are expensive. 
Homemade anything is usually cheaper then the pre-packaged version.

2. All are made with white flour. 
I am not anti-white flour but research after research shows everyone needs more whole grains in their diet. I think it's better to start your kids out younger eating the whole wheat flours, so as adults they have adjusted to the taste difference (because there is one) and will hopefully enjoy (and choose) the healthier version. 

3. Packed with preservatives.
Again, I am not anti-preservatives, they are necessary in some foods to help them keep longer. However, if I can't pronounce you preservative ingredient in a simple pancake recipe (which for hundreds of years people have been making at home without preservatives) then I probably shouldn't be feeding it to my kids. 

4. Environment Impact
Ok, yes I know my hippie self is coming out, but all of the pre-made pancakes come in a cardboard box and about every 3 pancakes are wrapped in a plastic bag. Just imagine how much garbage goes into landfills each year? I am just adding to that with each plastic bag I unwrap because I have been too lazy to make my own pancakes?

With all those reasons listed, I have been on a hunt for the PERFECT whole grain pancake recipe. I have tried many other recipes on the internet and have been highly disappointing with most of them. Either the whole wheat flour alters the flavor too much, the texture is off, they are flat, or too fluffy. Finally, I can say I have found the PERFECT recipe! The kicker to this recipe is the dry mix can sit pre-made in your cupboard for weeks if you feel like stirring up a batch of fresh pancakes OR you can make a bunch of pancakes and freeze them! Here's my recipe and I hope you enjoy!
{now only if I could learn to pour the perfect pancake}

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes

Dry Mix:
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda

1. Pulse old fashioned oats in food processor so they are broken up a little. Do not puree into a flour. 
2. In a large bowl, mix oats, flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
3. Store in airtight container.

To Make The Pancakes:
1 Cup of Dry Mix above
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk or unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon of orange juice
1 large egg

1. Place 1 cup of dry mix into a bowl.
2. Whisk in vegetable oil, buttermilk/almond milk, orange juice, and 1 large egg.
3. Cook on a oiled skillet or griddle.

TO FREEZE YOUR PANCAKES:
1. Lay pancakes out on a cookie sheet. Do not overlap them.
2. Place in freezer for 1 hour or until completely frozen. 
3. Remove from freezer and place 3-4 in plastic freezer bag. 
4. When ready to eat, place in microwave for 60 seconds or until hot.
Tip: Save your plastic bags to reuse when you make them. 




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Sunday, October 26, 2014

22 Healthy Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave

Many of you might not know this, but my little sister Christi (who also writes for this blog) is 9 months pregnant. Here is her beautiful pregnancy photo here:
{Adara Photography~She is AMAZING!}

With her expecting her first child, one of the main pieces of advice I could give her is to make some freezer meals. I didn't make them with my first child but I stock piled them with my second and honestly it was a HUGE lifesaver! **PS- This is going to be the longest blog EVER!!**

Over the last few months we both have pinned quite a few freezer meal ideas but there were a few problems with some of them:

1. They Are Unhealthy
 Many of them use bricks of cream cheese, loads of shredded cheese, and lots of white pasta. We really wanted meals we felt like we could eat and not feel super guilty for just eating enough calories to support a normal sized human for a week. 

2. The Prep Time Is Ridiculous
There are a lot of recipes out there that the prep time is crazy. I don't want to sit there and wrap each individual thing, saute this for 2 hours, etc. We wanted some that we could throw together and be done! 

3. Cheap Protein & More White Pasta
Many of the bulk freezer meal recipes out there claim to make '20 Meals for $50' or some other cheap amount of food. I looked into some of them and when you tell me to use 1 frozen chicken breast to make 4 meals, that just seems crazy. Protein is a good thing, it keeps you fuller longer and makes you eat less. And last time I checked, adding more white pasta to a meal to make it "stretch" is honestly not good for you. With our meals here, we used protein and we used GOOD protein. We used lean beef, boneless skinless chicken, and cut our own pork loin. 

4. Sweet Meat
Christi does not like sweet sauces on meat. I don't mind them. However, in keeping with the somewhat healthy theme, adding less sugar is always a good thing in my book. 

5. Many Freezer Meal Are Gross
Some things DO NOT freeze well. It's true. I would say about 50% of the meals I have tried to make into freezer meals just didn't thaw and bake up as good as they were the first time. We wanted to try to find recipes that actually taste good after they were frozen and I am confident we did. 

With all that said, we had a little bit of a challenge picking out the meals, but because I have made frozen meals in the past I had an idea of what froze well and what didn't. So here is our list of 

 Healthy Maternity Freezer Meals*
{Prego Christi preparing for 2 hours of freezer meal prep!}

*Disclaimer- I am saying healthy because the calorie content of these meals is very reasonable for the portion size. You will notice in many of the meals we did use *Cream of Whatever* soup which many people do not find healthy. We used the 98% Fat Free soup, as a means of simplicity in preparing these meals. If you are not a fan these canned soup, feel free to look up a recipe to make a homemade version. I was unsure how the homemade version would freeze up so I stuck with the canned because it has worked in the past for me. 

Chicken and Wild Rice  x 4
Chicken Taco Soup  x 4
Goulash  x 4
Tater Tot Casserole  x 4
Creamy Ranch Pork Chops  x 4
Parmesan Pork Roast  x 2

That's a grand total of 22 meals!
{We did not use all that cheese (only a half of one bag) but we did use the rest of the ingredients!}

Now before you begin, here are a few tips for you:

Tips For Freezer Meals:
If you haven't ever prepared a bunch of freezer meals, I can give you a few tips:

1. Buy Half Size Aluminum Steam table pans and lids.
They are about $5 for 15 of them and $5 for the lids. They are great to keep on hand and less dishes are always a good thing with new babies.

2. Buy Crock Pot Liners & Gallon Bags
Again, less crock pot cleaning is always a good thing. You will need the gallon bags for some of the meals. 

3. Buy In Bulk
We purchased a large pork loin and cut our own pork roast and pork chops. You get so much more meat for a lot less cost. Also, we bought boneless, skinless chicken, and 88% lean ground beef to keep things healthy. Large bags of frozen veggies are the best and cheaper then the canned. 

4. Prepare throughout the week
-Dice up onions (or other veggies) 
- Brown ground beef
- Use a crock pot to cook your chicken (just throw it in for 8 hours with no water) and then use a Kitchen Aid Mixer to shred it (or two forks)
- Cook up rice another day
- Do not cook up pasta in advance. It will stick together. 

5. Make a Recipe List
Know how much you need of each item and organize your ingredients at home by recipe. 

6. Make a Shopping List
Go to the store with a list of what you need organized by department.

7. Print Labels For Your Containers
Label your containers earlier in the week and set them with the ingredients. Each label should give you the recipe name, calories, how to prepare, and if any other ingredients are needed. 


After you have all that done, you are ready to begin. It took us about 2 hours to assemble all of these. Now the recipes below are in one meal quantities. I left them this way so you can decide how many meals you want to make and just double, triple, quadruple...whatever the recipe. 
So without further adieu here are the recipes:

Chicken and Wild Rice 
1.5 cups wild rice 
10.75 oz  cream of 98% fat free mushroom soup
10.75 oz  cream of 98% fat free chicken soup 
1 small can mushrooms, drained
16oz chicken breast
1 cup slivered almonds, optional

1. Cook rice according to package. Mix in both cans of soup and mushrooms. 
2. Pour in to freezer dish and top with 1 pound of chicken pieces and sprinkle with slivered almonds. 
3. Double wrap in heavy duty foil, label and freeze. 

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw and bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour until chicken juices run clear.

Serves 4 @ 456 calories

Chicken Taco Soup
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can of chicken broth
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
12 oz chicken breast
Combine all ingredients into a Ziploc bag. Freeze. 

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, or tortilla chips, if desired

Serves 6 @ 391 calories
Goulash
1lb ground 88% lean beef
10 oz  tomato soup
6 oz Tomato Paste 
2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 can (15oz) corn, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

1. Brown Ground beef (earlier in week)
2. Cook noodles according to package, drain (on day of)
3. In a large bowl, combine soup, garlic powder, onion powder, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, noodles and ground beef.  Stir in corn.
4. Transfer to freezer baking dish and top with cheese. 

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until heated through and melted cheese.

Serves 4 @ 390 calories

Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb. ground beef 
1 small onion, finely chopped 
10.75 oz  cream of 98% fat free mushroom soup 
1/4 cup skim milk 
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
4 ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese 
1 lb. tater tots 

1. Brown Beef (earlier in week)
2. To the ground beef stir in frozen veggies, soup and milk. Mix well. 
3. Pour soup mixture into bottom of pan. Top with potato nuggets and then shredded cheese.

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw the meal in the fridge overnight and then bake at 350 covered for the first 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until hot. 

Serves 6 @ 369

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops
4 Pork chops
1 Can Cream of chicken soup
1 Package Ranch dressing (dry)

*Cut the bottom 6”off both ends of loin for roast and then cut the center 1" thick to make pork chops
1. Mix cream of chicken soup and ranch powder together.
2, Place Pork Chops in crock pot bag. 
3. Pour soup mixture on top. 
4. Twist crock pot bag and tie. Place in labeled gallon freezer bag. 

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw over night. Place in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. 

Serves 4 @ 473 calories

Parmesan Pork Roast
1 boneless whole pork loin roast 
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

*Cut the bottom 6” off both ends of loin for roast
1. Place pork roast in crock pot bag. 
2. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, garlic, oil and salt;
pour over pork. 

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS:  Remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours. Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy. 

Serves 6 servings @ 518 calories


So that's the meals! I know many of you are wondering how much the meals cost us, so I will tell you. We made 22 meals for $214.04. That's $9.73 for a meal that feeds 4-6! I know that is a little higher priced then some other websites claim to be, but our meals have a lot of protein in them and we bought the healthier version of ingredients which always cost more

{I feel like Yeti should give me some sponsorship money for this pic!}

Also, for your convenience I have uploaded a few documents for you.
1. Freezer Meal Labels ~Just print them on sticker paper
2. The Recipes
3. Excel Shopping List ~Just plug in servings for each meal and it will calculate how much to purchase


Well, I hope I have inspired some of you out there to make some meals ahead of time! I know that when it comes to a new baby, the last thing you want to be doing is slaving over the stove in the kitchen! If you have any question on making these meals, feel free to email us!

Happy Cooking!! 




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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rainbow Birthday Cake

I know it's been a while since my last blog....at least 6 months....but life sometimes gets in the way. I have been very busy chasing around 2 children under the age of 4, planting a huge garden (over 20 tomato plants!), moving wood chips to my flower beds (150 feet of flower beds!), numerous vacations, and so much more! 

I am hoping to post some of the projects I did this summer in the future. For now, I am celebrating this little girl's 2nd birthday! She is my smiley, crying, barefoot, dancing, giggling, yelling, tickling, chocolate eating, thumb sucking little girl Remy! I forget how little they are when they are born :)
 *Photo by Adara Photography 
 *Photo by Adara Photography 

For her 1st Birthday I went with a Pink & Green Princess theme. This year I wanted to do a rainbow theme, so here is her 2nd birthday cake! I threw in a My Little Pony, just because it seemed fitting. (Too bad I couldn't find a Rainbow Bright figure!)

 I used the Pillsbury Bold Funfetti Cake mixes to create the colors. I had to split the orange and blue to make the colors red and purple. I frosted each layer and really felt that if I did the outside it would be WAY too much frosting.  

I added a #2 to the top for her birthday!

The top is made with Nerds and Rainbow Twizzlers, carefully held in place by toothpicks
Here's the back of the cake:

Here is how the cake looked once we cut into it. (Sorry for the blur, I was a little in a hurry trying to serve cake before the ice cream melted.)

Overall, I think it might rank up there with some the best cakes I have made! Thanks for checking out our blog and look for more of my summer projects coming up!




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