Friday, August 5, 2011

All in a Day's Work: The Final Tally

Great success! I got an insane amount of freezer cooking done today and it feels great! Look for these items to pop up in my weekly meal plans over the next couple of months!

Here's what I made:

1 loaf of Whole Wheat Banana Bread - but let's face it, that's not making it into the freezer!

8 cups of pulled chicken - I kept 3 pieces out for Shabbos

4 cups of roasted peppers and onions

10 cups of homemade tomato sauce

15 cups of rice pilaf

I divided all the items into sandwich bags before putting them in the freezer bags. That way, I can just pop out a bag at a time as the recipe calls.

Ok, time to get ready for Shabbos! Shab Shal!

Freezer Day!

It's been a long time since I did some real freezer cooking! Since I'm home today I'm going to get to some freezer cooking. Nothing too structured because as of 7:52 this morning, I have no idea what I'm going to make!

I am going to start this morning with a banana bread recipe since we have 3 ripe bananas ready to go. It's a very simple recipe, found here.

It's just the 3 of us for Shabbos, so I will probably cut the bread in half when it is done to freeze.

Let's see, what else can I make...the Rachael Ray mag had a freezer cooking article that included building blocks for lots of recipes, including roasted veggies, tomato sauce and pulled chicken. I'm thinking I will make this stuff in the afternoon.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy August! Cash Envelope Check-In!

Hi! I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing weekend. We had a great Shabbos with family and friends in honor of DH's birthday and it included total yumminess! I also got all the leftovers stored away in the freezer for this Shabbos, which is great!

Since we are now in the 9 days, this week's menu plan is SUPER simple - pasta, sauce, cheese, pizza. What could be bad? I actually haven't quite decided, but I will probably make some type of spaghetti pie tonight to have for a couple of days and then pizza. So really nothing to post (or brag) about.

I did want to give everyone a follow-up on the cash envelope system I used for purchasing groceries for the month of July. We budgeted $400 for groceries for the month of July. We came in at around $370 for the whole month - so SUCCESS. A lot of this success came from my whole chicken experiments and the general menu planning and keeping to the budget. Overall, I think the cash envelope is a great system.

However, it was sometimes annoying to carry around an envelope with cash and coins and it also got a little confusing to decide when and how to use the envelope. For example, at Target, I buy groceries and home items...I didn't want to do 2 transactions so I would end up paying for everything with cash and then just factoring that in, so that got a little troublesome.

Also, I love my credit card. I know a lot of budget blogs tell you that is the first thing you should get rid of, but thank G-d, we have been able to pay our credit card in full every month, and we receive points to put towards other things. For example, I just got a blender/food processor with credit card points. Since groceries are such a big part of our monthly budget, I really don't want to give up putting them on my credit card.

My mom had a really great idea about using Monopoly money in my cash envelope instead of real money. Basically you pay with your credit card, but then take the fake money out of your envelope. This way you don't have to walk around with tons of cash and you can still use your credit card.

I think for the month of August I'm going to just keep to my credit card and keep an Excel document to keep track of what we are spending. But, if this doesn't work as well, we might just go back to that cash envelope.