Monday, November 12, 2012

Food Storage

Since I think everyone's had enough updates about my surgery I won't make a post about it (if you haven't - it all went well, legs hurt a little where they went in, heart is still doing silly tachycardic things, but that should hopefully subside after a few months, as the scar forms).

So, as I'm still in forced recuperation mode (meaning I feel okay, but am being forced to just sit around and take it easy until Friday), I decided to work on our food storage! - yikes

We have a good sized shelf full of food, but not enough, if we're being honest here. We're lucky enough to have a giant unfinished basement so we don't lack the space, just the somewhat important food.
I'm all about having a ton of the basics since I like to make things by hand anyway, so we have a lot of that, and then a bunch of awesome stuff from Shelf Reliance (love them). I don't have an inventory of exactly what we have though, so I decided to start there.

Enter some wonderfully prepared lady whom I found on Pinterest, of course.

She has already created these great inventory lists:
You simply write down each item you have on hand, then go through with a highlighter and color in the boxes for how many you have of each item (you can also highlight with a second color more boxes indicating how many more you'd like to have on hand) and with a sheet protector over it, you check it off as you use it. Then simply erase the check when you've repurchased it. So easy huh?!

So I'm breaking mine down into categories (Baking goods, Dairy, Fruit/Veggies, Meats, Misc.) and putting them each in a sheet protector on a clipboard (with a wet erase marker attached) to hang from my shelves.
I think it's even easy enough for my kids, who are often the ones bringing up the items to be used, so all they have to do is simply check it off before they bring it up!

Do you have any awesome food storage ideas or tried and true ways of organizing it all?
Now I'm off (totally bundled up - coat, gloves, scarf - it's freezing down there!) to start checking off what we've got, wish me luck!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Freezer Meal Monday!

In case you haven't heard me raving about freezer meals, here you go! ;)

The backstory:
My sister Denise lives in another state so we often call each other and chat while we clean the house, do laundry, etc. Our conversations start like this, "Want to clean?" or, "I'm folding laundry, wanna chat?" haha.
We decided we needed to start "cooking together" as well, so we started planning a whole day to just chat and make freezer meals! We both pick a day that will work with our schedules (We usually try for Monday, mostly because I'm selfish and it's the only day I don't have Zumba in the mornings), plan a big list of meals (usually we have pretty similar menus so we can talk about what we're doing or what worked best, etc.), go shopping beforehand (we've had to reschedule a few times because one of us forgot to go shopping or something!), and plan it all out.
We've come up with our own pinterest board that we can both post to, this was Denise's brilliant idea, where we pin all our freezer meal "want to try" recipes, or recipes that have worked for us in the past. We've done it enough times now that we have our favs that we cook each time, and we'll throw in some new ones to try and see how our families like it. Sometimes we find recipes specially made for the freezer, and sometimes we just use our regular recipes and freeze it and they work out great (using a regular recipe depends on what it is, some things don't freeze as well as others). We try to make meals that use similar ingredients for at least a few, so we can buy in bulk and just split it up. We'll often double at least a couple of the meals so we have more than just what's on the list. Ziplock bags and aluminum pans are great for storage.

These have been SO helpful for our family! I am currently the ward compassionate service leader, so when I'm not able to get a volunteer for a meal, I can just grab a meal from my freezer and get it ready for them, without any worry of figuring out what to make someone! They've also been a life saver for random surgeries or ER visits, because the instructions are all on the container/bag, so Thor can just throw it in the oven or on the stove and dinner is taken care of. They're MUCH more economical and definitely healthier than buying a frozen dinner from the store.
You should try it ;) If you only have a few on hand, that's better than none. And I promise you, some day you will be truly grateful you had one in there! 
If you have any suggestions of things to try or that you love, let me know, we're always looking for more ideas!

Here is our pinterest board if anyone needs ideas: 
And here is MY menu for this round of meals:
(If you want the recipes, let me know, it's a lot to list here!)
Chicken Tikka Masala
Cafe Rio Chicken (The pork is also amazing, but I've made it a lot lately)
Crock Pot Orange Chicken (this is a new one to my freezer meal list, we'll see how it works out!)
Breakfast Pockets (also new, but I think Denise has tried it?)
Chilean Empanadas
Taco meat - hamburger and shredded chicken (This usually gets eaten throughout the week for lunches)

Let me know if you do freezer meals, have any ideas, or try it out, I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Halloween was great this year!

Started the day off with Zumba, where of course we all dressed up and had a great time!

The kids had a school parade and then Nate's work had a big trick-or-treating party. Nate dressed up as a "little person" and won a prize! The kids probably got all the candy they needed this Halloween just at his work! But no, on to the REAL trick-or-treating!

Ninja Nate!
Pirate vs Ninja 
Thor as a ninja
Erik as a knight (wearing Nate's handcrafted chainmaille)
Annika and Nettie as pirate girls

Party time! We had lots of delicious food (most of it was already gone at this point, oops!)
Active Zombie Virus, Truth Serum and Spider Venom. Yuck!

We had a few rounds of Halloween Scattergories and some other silly games and had a great time!!

The good witch and the wicked witch
Follow the yellow brick road!

Erica Morgan and Emily