2018 Freezer Meal Challenge

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One of my 2018 goals is to do more batch cooking. Each week, I want to make something that can be tripled. Two batches will go in the freezer.

By February, we can have 2 meals per week that we don’t have to do any work for. This will simplify meal planning each week. By the end of the year, I’ll have created over 100 “fast-food” meals that can be used in a pinch. YES!

Wanna join me? There’s a Facebook group for sharing recipes and grand plans.

A few things we’ll need in order to get started:

  • Freezer containers. I’m having a heckuva time finding glass freezer containers with lids that hold up to lots of use. There’s a snap-lid set that I got from Target a few years back that I really enjoy, but they seem to have been discontinued. We also use big plastic containers and try not to heat them up.
  • Masking tape for labelling the dishes with the contents and date (Because I don’t want to wait until the oyster crackers and sour cream are on the table before I find out that container of chili was actually meat sauce).
  • A list of your freezer meals. This is optional, and I’m fairly sure this will be quickly abandoned around here. But it’s still a good idea to keep track of what is going into your freezer and what you have used.

Here are my big-batch January plans:

  • Week of January 1: Meat sauce. I like to start with this one because a double batch makes six meals. SIX! It’s a great way to jump-start our freezer reserves.
  • Week of January 8th: White chicken chili. We have a ton of leftover chicken in the freezer. This recipe is crazy simple for our first week back to school.
  • Week of January 15th: Pinto beans. So versatile – we use these for rice and beans, burritos, tostadas, and side dishes.
  • Week of January 22nd: Black bean soup. Because it’s everybody’s favorite.
  • Week of January 29th: Peanut soup. Another fave.

I hope you will join me! Check here for updates, recipes, and check-ins.

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Entryway Clutter Collector

 

Entryway Clutter Collector (The Reluctant Hippie}

Our entryway is a mess. Our home doesn’t have a mudroom, so everything gets tracked into our kitchen (via the garage). We installed a bench with space underneath for shoe storage a few years ago (which we LOVE), but it was constantly covered with jackets, school papers, lunch boxes, mittens, mail, you name it.

We needed a place for all of the STUFF to go. And that stuff had to go in a pretty small space. I looked into lots of products, but none of them seemed like the perfect solution. I looked up plans for building a custom piece, and we could’ve figured that out, but it still would’ve cost around $150 and taken us a long time to complete (we lack both tools and skills).

So we decided to cheat and use a pre-existing piece of furniture to create the shelving/coat rack unit. I found a bookshelf at our local furniture resale shop, sanded and painted it, added a few hooks and bins, and voila! Entryway Clutter Collector. Continue reading

Car-Free Days

{The Reluctant Hippie}

I was out of excuses. Everybody had bikes and helmets. We had a great bike trailer, loaned to us by some dear friends who wanted to support our 1-car existence. There are tons of activities and places to visit nearby. School was no longer in session – we didn’t have to worry about being late all the time. There was no reason for us to be spending so much time in the car.

It was time. Last summer, we had to stop driving everywhere all the time. Continue reading