Friday, September 4, 2015

This Week's Freezer Meal Round Up

We just finished up our second week of school and I am soooo pleased with how it's going. A few things are attributing to our (whopping 2 weeks) of success:
 1) Doing dvd school
 2) Scheduling our entire day

It has truly been the biggest unexpected blessing...another blog post on that soon!

 Anyway, I cooked up some freezer meals at the beginning of this week (while the 2 older ones were finishing school and the little ones were taking naps) and I thought I would share them with you! These ones were super easy! I think I shared some of these before, but I'm sharing them again just in case. Trust me--once you start freezer cooking you won't want to stop! It's kind of daunting to actually begin but man. The thought of having all my food pre-done in the freezer is awesome, plus it's way cheaper to feed my family this way!

 I keep lot of frozen veggies on hand--broccoli, green beans and corn are favorites--to add for sides with our meals. And I buy fresh fruits/veggies once every week and a half or so. But I really try to grocery shop just twice a month and cook just twice a month. Nice, huh?

1) Cilantro chicken with lime and black beans  (1)(not sure how I feel about freezing fresh cilantro and cooking it all day in the crock pot, but we'll see how it turns out!) This we will do over rice and top with sour cream and cheese, maybe some tortilla chips if we have enough (they go fast around here ;)

 2) Maple Dijon glazed Chicken  (1) I use honey and forgot the vinegar! But I can add it after it thaws. We love this recipe! Super easy with baked or roasted potatoes and a salad!

 3) Meatballs in BBQ sauce (2) I adapted this recipe. I use turkey/ground beef, an egg and oats. I love the chili powder in these--great flavor! And I use cheap store bought BBQ sauce, ha. These are great over rice or with roasted potatoes and carrots.

4) Shredded pork tacos//pork roast with gravy/bbq pork (3): No recipes for these ones but so easy! I love buying a big pork butt roast (usually around $14-$16) and cutting it into 3.
 One I'll season with taco seasonings or any Mexican spices I have on hand and freeze in one chunk. Thaw overnight, put in the crock pot all day, then shred and put into tortilla shells with whatever taco toppings you like.
 Another I'll did a ranch seasoning packet with and cooked in the crock pot as a roast. After I remove the roast to rest I add a little cornstarch and milk right into the crock pot and whisk it until it makes a gravy. You could also do onion soup packet for seasoning and cream of mushroom soup that makes an amazing gravy with the soup mixes and juice from the meat. We ate over rice but would be awesome with mashed potatoes ;)
 The last one I'll freeze as is (maybe some salt, pepper and a simple rub), cook and add bbq sauce at the end when I shred it. This I'll usually serve over baked potatoes--a favorite for sure!

5) Lastly, I made 2 pans of chicken enchilada casserole. I actually didn't use a recipe for this either. I boiled chicken breast, shredded in the kitchen aide (best thing ever), then made a mixture with the chicken, some sour cream, mayo, cheese and seasonings. Layered that with green chile enchilada sauce and corn tortillas. The kids actually ate this tonight with Grandma and Grandpa while we went on a date ;). This morning I put on a big pot of beans on the stove to simmer and threw them in the blender really quick before dinner for refried beans. This is also great with rice and salad or another veggie.

 So, all in all we have about 9 meals but with leftovers we'll squeeze 2 weeks out of it. Plus on nights we're on the go I might just do some sandwiches quick. I also keep pasta and canned sauce on hand (Italian grandma turning over in her grave as we speak) and that's easy to throw together. I had a bag of shrimp left in my freezer that my brother-in-law left so I made some shrimp scampi the other night. So that's an easy option, too--trust me, it's not as daunting as it sounds!

If you have some freezer meal recipes to share--or just any recipes for that matter--feel free to leave in the comments!
  Have a great weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Music Themed Bridal Shower Brunch

I'm finally getting around to posting the bridal brunch we hosted for my sister who is getting married in a few months! We wanted it to be "her", so we picked colors and a theme that matched her personality perfectly: elegant, feminine and classy. So many people said, "this is so Anna!" so I think we succeed!

 We stuck with gold, rose and mint colors. We also tied in a little bit of a music theme because music is a huge part of her life, and her fiancĂ© has an amazing voice as well. The music theme was subtle because we didn't have the usual "black and white" that would be typical for a music theme but I think it tied in great in the places that we did incorporate it!
 We "DIY'd" just about everything to save cost, plus it makes it more fun to plan everything and work hard and see it all come together beautifully! As is typical in our family (haha), we all came down with the stomach flu and Anna actually had it the day of her shower... thankfully, it was mild enough that she could still function. We saved her a plate of food for when she could stomach it ;).

The "love notes" (get it? notes? hehe) table had small journals for guests to write little notes to Anna. They could choose from date night ideas, words of wisdom or just simply a little note to her. The chalkboard banner was from Target, and the we made pinwheels out of scrapbook paper that had little music notes on it.

My Mom, the beautiful bride-to-be, and my Grandma.

I ordered paper straws super cheap off Amazon for the glasses of orange juice. One of Anna's bridesmaids made the adorable heart garland at the top of the board, and another friend wrote love quotes from songs on cardstock. We clipped those and pictures up with twine and clothespins.
I got the glass bottles for $1 each (Target) and we labeled them (labels from Wal Mart) and filled them with flavored creamers for a coffee bar.

Centerpieces were made with mason jars that we glued scrapbook paper and a strip of ribbon onto. We filled them with flowers and placed them on a mesh circle of either pink or gold.

It's always daunting decorating a big stage, but it really turned out thanks to the creativity of my sisters and the other bridesmaids! Claire made the hanging garland wreath using a hula hoop, garland, lights and lace curtains. The backdrop was more lace curtains (can usually be found at thrift stores!) and pink plastic tablecloths and the heart garland was made by one of Anna's bridesmaids.

Claire, Anna and I have always had a special bond... a three fold cord is not easily broken ;)

We were so thankful that our amazingly talented friend came to set up tiered food tables, as well as the vases of flowers. All we had to do was add our plates of food and it looked gorgeous!

Our menu was mini quiche, breakfast pizza (made by none other than my dad), mini banana muffins, fruit salad, chocolate covered strawberries, mini cinnamon rolls and yogurt parfaits. 

One of Anna's close friends gave a really special devotional, which was a letter she wrote to Anna and read. It was very heartfelt and beautiful!

We decorated a bulletin board as a photo booth for the shower and it was a big hit!
Here is Anna with most of her sisters/bridesmaids (missing 3! Yes it's a huge wedding ;)

The guests (mainly all close friends because we're all just a big family up there!) were so generous and she got so much of what she will need for starting her new life with Jacob. We could not be happier and are so glad she loved this special day in her life! 

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