Recipe for gardening: a dash of dirt, a dribble of water, a good sprinkling of fun and loads of laughter

Well I finally planted my “garden” yesterday. I had been putting it off for awhile because of the crazy weather we have been having here. Its been a really warm winter and then it all of a sudden cooled down in spring and we started getting frost. So I had to wait until the frost was gone before I could plant anything.

Yesterday seemed like a great day to do my gardening. It wasn’t too hot out and I actually had enough energy to do it! lol. So me and little bean went to Lowes and picked out a tomato plant and some herbs. Little bean made sure my flowers I had gotten for Teacher Appreciation week stayed nice and safe on his lap while on the ride home:) Once home we planted them all in the planters I had bought several weeks before (I like doing container gardening). Little bean had lots of fun helping, especially with the watering.

I had lots of fun doing this project with little bean. It was a  great way to teach him different things about plants and how to plant them. We are excited about seeing the plants grow and enjoying the “fruits” of our labor. This is also a great way to teach little bean about how God created things and how he provides for us by growing food.

Our Garden

Advertisements

I’m a Christian

So as I have said before I am a single Christian mom. I am proud to be a Christian and am happily one too. I find in today’s world it’s not easy being a Christian. There are many misconceptions about Christianity and how to live a Christian life.

I am by no means a perfect person and have sinned many times but by Gods grace I have been forgiven. I imagine that I will probably sin in the future and will need to seek God’s forgiveness for those times too. But I do try my best to follow Gods will and to maintain a holy life. I don’t have all the answers on how to do this, I am still learning too.

I have been a Christian for a little while and it certainly has been a rollercoaster ride but I’ve always had God at my side. There have been times when I have resisted His will and gotten myself in various personal  troubles (never illegal stuff). Though each time that happened God was still there with me. When I would finally come to my senses He would always help me to move on and grow from it. I have grown a lot in these past years and I know I will grow more.

I don’t know my future but I know God will be there. I know he will help me through whatever is to come and I trust Him to guide me. I hope to teach these things to my little bean so that he can grow up knowing the love of God and feeling secure in his relationship with Him. I also hope that the posts I share about my Christian walk will help you and others too.

Meal Planning, in with the new and out with the old!

I like to meal plan. It makes dinner time so much easier. After working all day and coming home the last thing I want to do is to try and think of a good meal to make. If I don’t meal plan I usually end up standing in front of the fridge or freezer or pantry just staring at the food wishing it would magically come together as a meal and then end up eating soup or hotdogs or some other lazy food. So instead I meal plan, it saves me time and money and endless staring.

What I have done in the past to meal plan is get a notebook, pencil, my cookbook and go online to allrecipes.com . I would write down the days of the week on a piece of paper and list the various meats I would like to eat each day (example: pork on Tuesday, beef on Friday, fish on Saturday, etc) I would also make note of anydays we wouldn’t be home to have dinner, such as on Wednesdays we had dinner at church. Then I would also make the last day of my meal planning week leftovers day, any leftovers we still had we would eat them for dinner that night. After all of that I would then go through my recipes and pick out what recipes I wanted to make. I would keep in mind that on certain days little bean has practice so we would need to do a freezer meal that day or cook something thats really quick. This is an example of what one of my meal plans would look like:

Sun.- Crockpot stew, buttered bread and fruit

Mon.- Modenese Pork Chops, mashed potatoes and corn

Tue.-Asian salmon, rice and broccoli

Wed.- Church Dinner

Thur.- Frozen meal chicken and dumplings, fruit

Fri.-Frozen meal pizza casserole, garlic bread and salad

Sat.- Leftovers

After making my meal plan for the week I would then make a grocery list. I would check my cupboards first to see if I already had ingredients that I needed for a recipe and anything I didn’t have I would put it on my list. Then I would go through and add any other groceries I might need for snacks or lunch boxes or breakfast, etc. After that I would grocery shop and cook my meals throughout the week that I had planned out.

That was my old way and still a fine way of doing meal planning. However my meal planning now a days has gone more high tech with the discovery of peppperplate.com. I love this website! It is perfect for meal planning and organizing recipes. Seriously go check this site out http://www.pepperplate.com/

Its very easy to use. You can import recipes from other websites with just a click of a button or manually eneter recipes in a very easy manner. Once you have your recipes on the website you can simply just add a recipe to whatever day of the week you want and make a grocery list from the recipes you added for the week. Whats even better is that there are apps for this on the iphone and ipad (maybe droid and others, I haven’t checked into that), so you can do all your meal planning on your computer and it will put your grocery list and everything right on the app (you can actually do the mealing on the app too with just a couple less features). I love this because I can just take my ipad to the store and grocery shop with this. You can organize the grocery list to follow the aisles in your grocery store and other things. This is a very intuitive website that makes my meal planning soooooooo much easier. I pretty much just meal plan the way I did before but on my computer and now no grocery list to loose or a bunch of papers laying around my house!

Freezer meals, mmmm mmmmm good (part 2)

There are tons of recipes that you can freeze. Most of the recipes you already cook are probably freezeable. Don’t think that you have to go out and find specific “freezer recipes” you can use what recipes you already have. Thats what I do, I go through my recipes and simply pick out ones that I want to cook and think will taste great being reheated. I tend to avoid recipes that have a lot of fruit or veggies in them because they don’t always freeze well for me. You can go give it a try and see if freezing veggies and fruit works for you. I usually end up with mushy veggies or fruit after they have thawed or been reheated, which I really don’t like. So most of my freezer meals are starchy types (pasta, rice, potatoes) with meat in it or its just meat. Don’t worry me and little bean eat plenty of fruits and veggies typically as a side to the main dish. As I said before in my previous post I make sides (veggies and fruit) for each meal and don’t freeze them.

Here is some links to various blogs or websites that has recipes that I’ve used and enjoy or has great tips on freezing food. Look through and see what you find and try what interestes you.

http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/02/10/freezable-foods/

This article gives you a lot of great tips on what you can and cannot freeze. There’s tons of things mentioned that I would have never thought to freeze. Really worth checking out especially if you have never frozen foods before.

http://formamas.blogspot.com/2011/08/pizza-casserole.html

This pizza casserole is so yummy! I did do some changes to the recipe to fit my tastes. I did 1 pound of ground beef and half a pound of ground italian sausage. I also used penne or rotini noodles and added some Garlic Garlic and Onion Onion (those are seasoning mixes from Tastefully Simple). It turned out great. I didn’t have to double this recipe. The recipe alone provided enough for me and little bean to eat a meal that night and have leftovers for lunch and freeze 2 meals from it!

http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-garlic-chicken-5478

Made this a couple weeks ago and love it! I just bought a family pack of chicken tenderloins and doubled the recipe. Cooked it all up and froze half of it and we ate the other half.

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/11/chilis-copycat-salsa-recipe.html

I”ve made this salsa several times and its sooo good. To freeze this I put 1/4 cup amount each in dixie cups. I put the cups in the freezer and once frozen pop the salsa out and put them in a freezer bag to store in the freezer or simply keep them in the cups and pull one out when I want to have a snack. I like to freeze them in 1/4 cup amounts so I can pullout as much or as little as I want. I then just put them in a bowl in the microwave and warm it up until completely thawed but not warm.

http://www.pepperplate.com/recipes/view.aspx?id=1499916

These freeze great and my little bean just loves these for a quick and filling breakfast in the morning. I just put 2 puffins on a plate in the microwave and heat for 1 min. He then can eat them at the table or we can wrap them up in a paper towel and eat them on the run:)

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/piggy-wiggys/detail.aspx

I make a bunch of these and just freeze them. They are great for a quick snack or meal. And can easily be thrown into a lunch box for school lunches. My little bean loves eating them and helping me make them;)

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/modenese-pork-chops/detail.aspx

This is a really yummy recipe that freezes well.I’ve used it for several years and always enjoy it. I made one change to the recipe instead of white wine I use apple juice, I like the flavor it has with the apple juice.

Listed below is a bunch of other blogs and websites that have freezer meals. I haven’t had a chance to try these yet but you might find something yummy that you would like to try. I hope to try some of these soon, if you try some of them let me know how it turned out and what you thought of it. Now just to be clear all these recipes listed here are not my own creations, lots of other people made these recipes and shared them on their blogs or website. I am simply sharing their recipes on here for you guys to easily find and enjoy. Make sure to tell them how much you’ve enjoyed their recipe should you try one of theirs, thank you.

http://whenthedinnerbellrings.blogspot.com/2011/06/super-easy-way-to-getting-meals-ready.html

http://www.budgetgourmetmom.com/breakfast-pockets/

http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html

http://sixinthesuburbsblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/breakfast-omelet-muffins.html

http://momonamission.me/?page_id=2140

http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/freezer-meals-on-cheap.html

http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2012/01/smoothie-packs-my-favorite-smoothie.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BudgetBytes+%28Budget+Bytes%29

http://joelens.blogspot.com/2007/01/freezer-friendlymake-ahead.html

http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/06/frozen-banana-bites.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+neverHomemaker+%28%28never+home%29maker%29

Freezer meals, my way (part 1)

I love to cook. I always have loved cooking. I find it to be relaxing, exciting, invigorating and just simply enjoyable. When I go to a grocery store my brain gets all happy and does a happy dance when we’re in the produce section. When I go out to eat I always end up analyzing my food, figuring out what ingredients would make it better or if its already great then I try to figure out what ingredients they used so I can make it myself. I know this must all seem strange or just silly but this is how I am and I love it!

Now being a single mom means I am busy a lot of the time, work, church, school activities, housework, etc. So cooking a meal from scratch everyday isn’t always possible, hence the reason I love doing freezer meals. I have read on other blogs about how they will set aside one day a month to make a bunch of different freezer meals at once and then use those meals throughout the whole month. That is certainly a great way to do it and if you have the storage space go for it! However I do not normally have that amount of time to set aside or storage space to do that. So this is how I do my freezer meals…

I usually make a meal plan for the coming week (I’ll do another post on meal planning sometime soon). I try to make something different each night and to use a different meat each night, so things don’t get boring. When I meal plan, I plan on making the main dish for a meal double of what I need for me and little bean (doubling a recipe if I need to). I go and do my grocery shopping once a week to save me time and gas.

I then cook the meals throughout the week on their designated day. When I cook the meal I will make the main dish double of what I really need. That way I can freeze half of it and the other half we will eat for dinner that night and still have leftovers for lunch the next day. I don’t usually double the side dishes becuse they are typically pretty quick and easy to make. I make just enough of the side dish’s for dinner and to have leftovers for lunch the next day. So in one night I made dinner for my family  and froze another meal to use another night. Do this a few nights each week and you’ ll have plenty of meals stored up! The next time I meal plan I can then include one or two of my freezer meals or more and save myself time, especially if its a busy day.

Either way of doing freezer meals works great. My method of doing freezer meals probably works best for small families, 1-4 people I would guess. This method works well for small families because you can buy the family size packs of meat at the grocery store and save money incomparission to having to buy smaller packs. Any groceries that you can buy in larger sizes or amounts tends to save you money. Also it won’t be as easy for a larger family to cook a doubled recipe each night, it would be such a large amount to prepare and cook.

The other method of doing freezer meals would probably work better for a large family as long as they have the time to set aside and the space to store it.

I will post part 2 tomorrow. It will include some recipes I like to freeze and links to other blogs with freezer meal recipes and tips. I found a lot of these from pinterest. Pinterest is so great, you’ll probably hear me reference pinterest a lot in future posts!

I’m Back!

I know I haven’t posted in over 3 months. Things got busy with the move and other stuff happened that distracted me from my blog. I am sorry but now I’m Back!

With the nice warm weather little bean and I have been enjoying the great outdoors lately. We have a new patio set thats been great to use, little bean thinks its really great to sit outside and eat. We’ve been taking walks and exploring our neighborhood.

Last week on one of our walks we collected 3 “tent worms”. Little bean decided to name them sensei, Kai and Jay (after Ninjago characters, lol). So we brought them home and put them in a tupperware container with some leaves. By the next day they were all in coccoons! I had already done some research the week before about the “tent worms” (for my preschool class). The worms are actually Eastern Tent Caterpillars, you have probably seen their big white “tents” hanging in the trees. This year there was a ton of these caterpillars and tents everywhere so it was real easy to collect these guys. Once they are in a coccoon they will stay that way for about 2 weeks and then “hatch” and come out as a moth. So right now little bean and I are waiting for the moths to hatch next week. Little bean is really excited about this and likes to check on them almost everyday.

This whole project has been a lot of fun for me. Not only have I learned something about Eastern Tent Caterpillars but I got to do something special with my little bean. Teaching him about these little creatures and how to take care of them and using it as a lesson about how God takes care of us too. I really hope that our efforts will be rewarded with 3 little moths but if not there is always another lesson to be learned. Until then I’ll keep you posted.

To keep or not to keep…

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days. It’s just been so busy with moving and working.

Moving is going well. I am rather enjoying this move. Growing up I was use to moving by throwing everything into a uhaul truck and taking everything all at once to our new home. Well this move isn’t very far so I can move in slowly, take a few boxes over at a time, unpack them and put the stuff away. So hopefully most of my things will already be in place when me and the little bean move in.
Today we are moving the big items into the apartment couch, beds, dressers, etc. I’m really looking forward to having those things put in, I think it’ll finally make the place feel more like home. The little bean is getting more excited about the move and keeps asking when we are going back.
With all the unpacking I am finding lots of his baby items and keep showing them to him. Little bean isn’t to excited about them but I certainly am!
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a lot of his baby items, years infact. It’s so fun seeing all the tiny outfits, blankets and toys that he use to use. It brings back a lot of memories good and bad.
I have lots of boxes to go through, I am one of those moms that never want to get rid of anything that their child brings home or grows out of. But the apartment is too small to hold all of those boxes, so now I have to go through all of it and decide what to keep and what to give away. That’s going to be a difficult task but I will get it done! I’ll probably just give some of it away and the rest will be put in a yardsale or sent to Goodwill.