Friday, March 29, 2013

Freezer Cooking Series, Part 1




Back in July, I had my first ever freezer cooking session.
I loved it so much, that I've done it a couple more times.
Today starts a new series on freezer cooking.
I will answer all your questions and give you a few recipes {and free printables!} throughout the next couple of weeks!

I have received a few questions regarding freezer cooking.
If you find that you have questions after reading, post them in the comments!
I want to try to answer any questions you might have.
Now, I'm no pro and I don't know all, but I am wanting to help!


What is freezer cooking?
  • Freezer cooking is basically what it says it is.  It's preparing meals or snacks that can be frozen and eaten at a later date.
Why is freezer cooking a good idea?
  • For me, freezer cooking is a back-up plan.  I usually sit down and plan our meals for the  upcoming week(s).  Sometimes I run out of ideas, or need a quick supper fix (especially if we're gone for the weekend and Monday morning comes early).  I prepare {mostly} crockpot meals, so I can throw it in the crock in the morning and it will be ready when I come home from work!
Is freezer cooking expensive?
  • No...in fact, by the time you add up all your food expenses for the week, you will most likely be saving money, especially if you're buying items in bulk.
What kind of containers do you use to freeze your meals in?
  • I use one gallon Ziploc bags!  Since I only have my refrigerator freezer, I choose to use Ziplocs so that they will stack easier.  However, you can also use containers and other dishes.  I recommend using like sizes so they will stack nicer in your freezer.


Freezer Cooking Tips:

1.  Start small.  You don't want to overwhelm yourself the first time you try to fill your freezer.  After you've mastered a few recipes, then go bigger.  You really don't want to bite off more than you can chew.

2. Pick recipes you know you already love.  You can freeze just about anything.  If you have a favorite recipe, use it!  That way you know you will love your meal when it comes time for supper. 

3.  Make sure you have plenty of time.  I always tend to do my freezer cooking on a Saturday that I don't have anything else planned.  Granted, I don't have any kids, so all I have to do is sit my husband in front of his X-Box and I have all day.  I would advise setting at least an hour aside when you plan to freezer cook.

4.  Prep the night before.  I have found that preparing is the thing that takes the longest.  If I have time, I will prep {cut up all the veggies, etc} before I actually package it all.  That cuts out a lot of time on the day I want to freeze it.

5.  If you want a high quality, fresh meal, use high quality fresh veggies.  My husband hates frozen broccoli.  So instead of buying a bag of frozen broccoli like the recipe called for, I bought fresh broccoli instead.  I think that the flavor was better, too.


These are just a few tips that I have for you.  Next week, we will cover how I plan my freezer cooking session.  Be on the lookout for some free printables to help you get organized!

Have a question?  No problem!  You can either email me or put your questions in the comments! 


Catch the whole series:
Freezer Cooking Series, Part 2
Freezer Cooking Series, Part 3
Friday'sFabulousFoods

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trust in the Lord

Via


Sometimes I feel like I just need a wake-up call.
Okay, maybe I'm just that dense that God has to really slap me upside the head.
Maybe that's why I've been having all these headaches. Ha!

This past week has been a struggle for me.
It all started last July when I chipped my tooth.
I got it fixed for the time being, but knew that I could possibly need a root canal in the next several days.
I prayed hard for that dang tooth.
Those days came and went, and I was fine.

Fast forward to the end of January.
I had a massive toothache.
Oh my gosh...I couldn't drink anything without a straw, it was that bad.
I went to a new dentist this time.
Much nicer, lots more patience.
He had to numb me up so that I could get my teeth cleaned. 
The next day, I came back in for a root canal.

Things went well, but there wasn't enough time to finish it all up.
My tooth was "aggravated" in the words of the dentist.
I came back in 3 weeks to get the rest of it finished up.
Meanwhile, I developed an infection.
Went through 10 days of antibiotics.
Nothing happened.
Called back.
More medicine.
10 more days of antibiotics.
All while this has been going on, I've developed other problems stemming from this whole predicament.

On Sunday, I was texting my mom.
And I was just laying on the floor crying because of all that is going on.
I've been so blessed to be "healthy" most of my life.
I've never struggled with medical issues, so this has been stressful for me.

I know that God has been trying to get my attention.
This is just a trial.
I feel that often times, I depend on something other than Him to get me through the situation.
In this case, I feel like I might have depended too heavily on the medication, and not enough on Him.

I went back to the dentist yesterday.
I was praying that the infection would be gone.
It wasn't.
So we are trying the last thing before he will recommend an extraction.

This time around, I've realized that Satan is disguising himself as an infection in my tooth.
For some reason, he won't get outta there.
I have realized, that he is wanting me to get upset, frustrated, and discouraged with everything that has been going on.
And he is loving every second of watching me live like that.
He wants me to live this miserable life...because he is miserable.

But I said, "No more!"
My God is SO much bigger than Satan...than this little infection.
My God is healer.
He's comfort, He's strength, and He's encouraging.

This morning, I was listing to the radio and this song came on:
"Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord..."
God met me in my moment.  
As I wait on Him to do His thing, I will have the strength to continue down this road.
I am putting my trust and hope in Him alone.
Yes, I think that this last medication can help, don't get me wrong.
But I know that my God is better than science and medication.

I am praying fervently that by April 8th at 11 am this infection will be gone from my mouth.
That at that time, the dentist will be able to finish up the root canal, and we'll be able to put a finish to this long saga.
More importantly I want to live out Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.  In all my ways, I want to seek Him so that He will direct my paths straight. (This is my paraphrase.) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Lamb




A few weeks back, I purchased "The Jesus Storybook Bible."

You might ask why, since I don't have any kids.
Well, Leslie had started a Bible Study for anyone who was wanting to learn the basics and stories of the Bible.
I didn't have the book, but I thought it was a wonderful idea!
A few months went by, and I kept seeing several Instagram friends post things from the JSB. 
I decided to add it to my wish list on Amazon.
The next week, I got an email that the price had gone down.
I bought it.

Last night, I sat down to read the Easter story out of it.
Since it's a kids book, I knew it would be an easy read.

W R O N G !

I only read 3 or 4 pages and had to put it down.
Please, let me share with you part of it.




"But this is how God will rescue the whole world.  My life will break and God's broken world will mend.  My heart will tear apart--and your hearts will heal.  Just as the Passover lamb died, so now I will die instead of you.  My blood will wash away all of your sins.  And you'll be clean on the inside--in your hearts."
I couldn't read anymore, because those few sentences got right to my heart.  My Jesus, the One I serve, died for me.  He became the Passover lamb.  He was the pure, blameless, spotless Lamb.  He was slain for me.  For me and for you.

Sometimes reading the Bible is like reading mumbo-jumbo.  Sometimes we need to get back to the basics...even having child-like faith (Matthew 18:2-4).

This week, I want to focus on why we celebrate Easter.  I want to reflect and meditate on it in my heart.  I pray that you will be, too.

JESUS IS ALIVE!!



miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Sunday, March 24, 2013

365 Days

Dear St. Louis,

You are not what I expected.  We have officially lived here a whole, entire year, and to be honest, I'm still not sure what I think of you.  I tend to have a love/hate relationship with you.  You are definitely different from what I'm used to, and I'm not positive that I want to begin a serious relationship with you.  And actually, I think the big city is a tad lot over-rated.   Sorry to be so blunt.  Hope it didn't hurt your feelings. ;)  I just prefer a little more of my own space.

However, if it's God's plan for us to live here, then we will make the best of it.  And if it's God's plan to live here, He will make it so that we will love living here.  I just know it.

We've had some really good times and we've had some really crappy times.  I think we've had more good times than crappy, but how is that the bad times tend to linger in my head?  I keep thinking of the spring time and how happy it will be compared to the winter, and that makes me hopeful.  We live in a beautiful apartment complex, and I am excited to see foliage once again.  

St. Louis, there is still so much of you that has yet to be discovered.  Hopefully we'll be able to find a farmer's market this spring.  I hope to explore more than just our part of West County.  I hope to hang out with more people, as we get to know them.  I hope to find my way around, just a little more.  I hope to find my place in this city...to know the reason why I'm here.


Here are some memories as we look back on our year here:





Those posts highlight the ups and downs of the relationship with our new city.  Of course, my favorite memories are the ones where family got to come and visit. :)

It was about this time that we started unloading all of our stuff into our new home. It was a beautiful day...we couldn't have asked for better weather.  In fact, we worked up a sweat as we hauled everything up from the van and trailer to the second floor of our apartment building. 


Today is about as opposite as you can get.  We had a beautiful 55 degree day yesterday, and when we saw the highway signs that said, "Winter Weather Warning for the Metro Area," we really didn't want to believe it.


This past year has definitely been a learning experience for us both.  I pray that this next year we will continue to follow God's plan for our lives. :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

Happy Friday, everyone!
Are you as happy as me that it's almost the weekend?
It would only be better if it were 70 degrees out, but I'll take it any way I can get it! :)

Today's recipe was, again, inspired by Pinterest.


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 3 small heads cauliflower
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup starchy boiling water from pasta pot
Directions:
Chop up the cauliflower.  Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a sauce pan.  Add cauliflower.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until soft.


Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the minced garlic and saute for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until fragrant.

As the garlic and cauliflower are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the fettuccine according to the directions on the package.  Make sure to save a cup of the starchy water to add to the sauce later.

Transfer the cauliflower to the blender with about 2 cups of the broth.  Add the sauteed garlic, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper and puree until very smooth.


Once the mixture is moving, stream the olive oil into the blender.  If it's too thick, you can add more broth or water.  


When it's smooth, transfer the mixture back into the skillet that had the butter and garlic.

Add the cream and cook on low heat.  Add the starchy pasta water (this helps mate the pasta and the sauce together).  


Combine the noodles and sauce in the skillet and serve.


If you're like me, you can't just eat pasta and sauce.  I had some "warm and serve" chicken strips in my freezer that I baked and added to the pasta.  It added some protein to the dish.  

It was so delicious, and my husband kept asking me what was in it.  He was {a little} surprised that there was cauliflower in it. :)

Happy Cooking, friends!

Friday'sFabulousFoods
KitchenFun

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fantastic News

So I told you that today I would have some good news.
Well...I do!!!

To read about it, click here.

Isn't she the most precious thing you ever did see?
She has such a special family that will love her forever.
Thank you to you who helped that family reach their adoption fund goal.
Thank you to those of you who purchased something from my shop in the month of January.
Thank you for helping make this little girl's family become her Forever Family.

Red, brown, yellow, black, and white...
They are precious in His sight...
Jesus loves the little children of the world!

That's the song that keeps replaying in my head.
And it is the truth.
God is so good.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Miscellany Monday

1.  So, many of you know that Google Reader is going away on July 1st.
I am quite sad, because this is where I read all of my blogs.
I decided to jump on the Bloglovin' train with everyone else.
If you want to follow my blog, click here:
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

2.  Remember when Joy was here telling us about her foster daughter, Pie?
{Click here to read that post.}
Well, today is a special day!
Be in prayer and celebration with them.  
Hopefully tomorrow I'll have wonderful news for you!!

3.  Guess where we're going on vacation?



To see my favorite Disney Princess' castle!!
Oh, I am SO excited!!
Tyler has never been, so I can't wait to take him on all my favorite rides.
Space Mountain, here we come!!

4.  Today is the last day to get 15% off in my shop!
I just added several more Date Jars, but a couple of them are already gone!
Thank you!!
Use code NEW15 at checkout.
If you're unsure of how to enter the coupon code, click here for directions! :)

Happy Monday, friends!

Linking up with Carissa today!



miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Life Update

This week has been so busy that I haven't had time to blog!
Maybe I can get caught up this week...we'll have to see.
I thought I would give you a little life update, since I posted my whole heart on this post.


>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

Back in February, Tyler and I went to Branson to hang out with my Mom and Dad.
We met up with them in Springfield at Braum's.  
My brothers and their girlfriends were there, so I know this was a God-thing.
We got there, and instantly I knew something was wrong.
My mom didn't even look up to say hi.
She had this look on her face, and I was about to ask who died.
Literally...it was that bad.
Seconds before, my dad had gotten off the phone with his sister.
She had told him that their other sister (the baby of the family) had just been told she has

C A N C E R.

That's not a scary word when you're not directly affected by it.
But oh goodness, it is scary now.
You may say that I'm not directly affected by it now.
You're right...she's not my mom or sister, but she is my aunt.
See my family is a little strange (okay, maybe a lot).
All of us love Jesus a lot!
The Buntons have a legacy.
Whether they are my extended family or my immediate family, they are still my family.
Cancer is something that takes an entire family (plus some) to beat.
My heart aches, knowing that she has to go through this.
But God has a plan.  A wonderful plan.

My momma brought my aunt up here to see a special doctor this week.
She had seen 2 others, but she wanted another opinion.
So on Tuesday evening, we had a houseful of guests!
My momma, aunt, uncle, and cousin (who lives here in town) all came over for supper!
It was great to see them, but the circumstances weren't so great.
We had a lot of laughs and numerous conversations about our quirky family.
Ya know, we may all have our moments, but I wouldn't trade them for anything in this world.
Long story short to say, please pray for her!  
Also, pray for her husband and 6 kids.
We would really appreciate that!

>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

We also got to see my brother this week!
He brought his girlfriend up on Wednesday to hang out (it's their Spring Break), so we met them at The Cheesecake Factory for supper!
It was so nice to see them and get to catch up for a little bit.
I hope they'll come up again soon and hang out longer!!





>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

After many visits with area churches, we were just struggling and aggravated.
We decided to go back to the church that we originally liked and have a small group with.
However, against my traditional ways, we decided to attend the Saturday evening service because there are 2 couples from our small group that go to that service.
We decided that this could be a positive thing, and they could possibly introduce us to other people.
We've only been going back for 3 weeks, but we've hung out with several people since then.
This has really helped me, since I'm an extremely extroverted person.
I need to be around people to recharge my batteries.
I am hopeful for what is to come in the future.
I am grateful for the people who've been praying for us.

>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

I do have to brag.
My husband is a stud at his job!
He got "TSR of the Month" for the month of January (yes, they put the wrong year on it), AND he was the fastest TSR to get $1 million in setups for his job!
That may mean nothing to you, but just know that he is amazing at what he does.
He also has a VERY proud wife!! :)


We are hoping to go on vacation in about a month, so stay tuned for that! :)

We are just living the working couple's life right now.
I feel that life is getting better, and our my attitude is getting better.
Those are both positive things!

Oh and I did just give my shop a little update.
Get 15% off your order this weekend with code NEW15!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baked Taco Ring

I have been wanting to try this recipe for over a year now.
I'm not sure why I haven't made it before now, but oh my goodness...it was delicious.
I don't know where the recipe came from, but I wish I did so I could give credit where credit is due.
Just know that it's not mine...and that I'm sure you can probably find it on Pinterest.
Just "Pinterest" it. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup pitted ripe olives
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • guacamole
Directions:
Preheat the over to 375 degrees.  Brown the ground beef and then drain.  Add the taco seasoning and water, then simmer.

Unroll the crescent rolls.  Separate them into triangles.  Arrange them on circle pizza pan with the wide ends toward the middle, overlapping each other.


Spoon the meat mixture onto the widest part of each triangle. 

 

Bring the points up over the meat and tuck under the wide end of the triangle.  The filling won't be completely covered.


Bake for approximately 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

While it was baking, I went ahead and cut up the lettuce, olives, and peppers.  You can use whatever you like as toppings.  We don't like tomatoes, so we left them out.



Place the toppings in the center of the ring.

We left the salsa, sour cream, and guacamole off so that our leftovers wouldn't be soggy.


Enjoy!! :)

Friday'sFabulousFoods

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Thursday!

Happy Thursday, everyone!
It's almost Friday!!

Today I'm guest posting over at Abbi's.
Head over there and introduce yourself! :)

I'm sharing my Date Jars and how the idea came about!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Miscellany Monday

Happy Monday, friends! :)
I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing weekend!
Did any of you do anything exciting?


1.  Thursday evening, we used Tyler's birthday present and went to see Pentatonix in concert.  Tyler has loved them ever since they were on The Singoff.
If you've never heard PTX sing, please go do so right now.
I'll wait right here.


They're amazing, aren't they?
My {phone} camera didn't like all the lights, so I didn't get a great picture.
Oh well.


2.  Guess what?
We hung out with friends all weekend long.
It was pretty amazing.
We taught them how to play Phase 10 Friday night, went to church and then supper on Saturday night, and on Sunday we saw a movie together.
God is good.
(I think our attitude is slowly changing from when I posted this.)


3.  I found "leftover" gift cards in the desk drawer.
It was like Christmas all over again.


I called each number to get the amounts and wrote them on the back.
I love finding things like that!
Does that ever happen to you?


4.  I will be wearing this owl necklace all week long.


Wanna know why?
Because in 7 more days, "Pie" will have a Forever Family.
It makes me giddy with excitement for Joy and her family. :)

5.  Oh, and this also happened this weekend. 


He's definitely a keeper!! :)
Here's the finished product!
Not to bad for $7.



6.  Oh, and there are some big things happening for my little, tiny shop.
Stay tuned for that!! :)

Linking up with Carissa today!


miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Sunday, March 10, 2013

10 on 10 {March}

I remembered it!! :)  
To find out what it's all about click {here}.












Today was so eventful! We slept in later since we went to church last night.  I looked up vacation options, we saw Oz, Tyler helped with laundry, did a bit of organizing my washi tape, worked on some stuff for the shop, grocery shopped, relaxed and watched The Amazing Race, ate some leftovers for supper, and *tried* to see what the hype was about with Downton Abbey.  

Overall, it was a great day!!
Hope you all had a great one! :)

ten on ten button

Friday, March 8, 2013

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

As I was searching for something to make this week, I came across this recipe.
Yum!  I just knew I had to try them out!
What a perfect opportunity to make them for this week's Friday's Fabulous Foods?

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp light butter, melted
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 1 cup shredded, fat-free cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk
My ingredients may differ from what the recipe calls for...but it's what I had on hand. :)
What you do:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.  The best thing about this step is that you don't have to wash the cookie sheet when you're done with it. :)
  • In a large bowl, combine the bisquick, cheese, and 1 clove of minced garlic.  I didn't have garlic (because I have so much garlic powder and garlic salt that I'm trying to get rid of), so I used 1/8 tsp of garlic powder.

  • Stir in the milk.

  • Using a spoon, drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the cookie sheet (This is where the term "Drop biscuits/cookies" comes from).

  • Bake for 1o minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the butter in a small skillet and melt on medium-low heat.
  • Add the garlic and saute on low for about a minute (again, I just stirred in an 1/8 tsp of garlic powder).
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the parsley.


  • When the biscuits are done in the oven, take them out and brush them with the butter mixture.

  • Then stick them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

There ya have it! Really simple! :)

Servings: 12
Serving Size: 1 biscuit
Calories: 95
Fat: 2 g
Carbs: 14 g
Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 8 g
WW Points+: 3 pts








Friday'sFabulousFoods