what's in my freezer

With baby girl due to arrive in six weeks (theoretically), I've been nesting like crazy lately.  I've become a tad bit obsessed with cooking and freezing food to stock our freezer.  I remember how crazy it was in the first few weeks after the bean was born.  It took every ounce of energy I had to take care of and feed the baby, much less to cook for myself and the hubby.  I did some freezer cooking the first time around, but definitely not enough.  With kiddo #1, I had enough food stored away in the freezer to feed us for about a week or so.  This time around, in addition to a newborn I'm also going to have a very energetic (and increasingly defiant) two-year old to contend with.  So I really need to get ahead of the game and get plenty of food in the freezer now, before I add kiddo #2 into the mix.  To that end, my goal lately has been to get at least one thing a day prepared and into the freezer.  Whether that means muffins made from a mix, ingredients thrown into a freezer bag to thaw and dump into the crockpot later, or a fully cooked ready-to-go meal, I figured that doing one item a day was a decently doable goal.  I've also been trying to meal plan with that goal in mind, doubling whatever I can so that I have extra leftover to freeze.  Plus, I've been taking advantage of store sales to stock up on things like frozen veggies, bread, pizzas, and snacky-type stuff that don't really require any work.

I'm pretty proud to say that after a couple weeks' work, I think I have enough food in the freezer to feed my little family (two adults and a toddler) for about a month after baby girl makes her arrival.  That includes food for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  And it doesn't include pantry staples that I'll also have on hand to whip up simple meals.

So without further ado, here is a list of links to some of the recipes I've put together to stock my freezer.  In addition to using some of my tried-and-true favorite recipes, I've been scouring Pinterest lately accumulating new recipes for us to try.  And as you will notice, I am really putting my new Weelicious cookbook to good use.  Hubby got it for me for Christmas and I LOVE it.  Seriously my new favorite cookbook.  I've made a ton of recipes out of it already and can't wait to try more.  And I love it because the food really is good...for the bean and for us grown-ups, too!  So alot of the items listed below that I originally made with the bean in mind will probably end up being eaten by mom, too.  Just being honest here, folks!  Anywho, here ya go:

Lunch-type Foods for the Bean:
  • Corndog Muffin Bites...I made mine with boxed cornbread mix and turkey hotdogs.  The bean loves them!  Great for lunches.
  • Mac & Cheese Bites...I made a few substitutions/additions with this one.  I used ham instead of chicken because that's what I had on hand.  I also added finely chopped broccoli.  Gotta sneak some veggies in there somehow!

Veggie-type Foods:
  • Carrot Snack Sticks...The bean loves these (and so do I).  They are a great side dish for toddler lunches.
  • Zucchini Tots...Yum!  These could work as a side for a toddler lunch OR with dinner for us grown-ups.  Very tasty.
  • Baked Zucchini Coins...These are so good.  We had some as a side with dinner the other night and hubby could not get enough!
  • Veggie Nuggets...A great recipe from Weelicious.  I made mine with sweet potato instead of regular potatoes just because that's what the bean prefers.  They are sooooo yummy!  Here is the how-to video direct from the Weelicious site.
  • Spinach Gnocch-wee...Haven't actually tried these yet, but I had all the ingredients on hand so I figured why not!?  Excited to see how they taste!

Ready-to-cook Meal Items:
  • Cheesy Potatoes and Ham...I added broccoli to mine!
  • Hawaiian BBQ Chicken...I just threw all the ingredients in a freezer bag.  I'll thaw it the night before and then dump everything in the crockpot to cook.  So easy.
  • Bacon and Cheese Chicken...This is a favorite of ours.  Again, I just put everything (except the cheese and bacon...I'll add those on cooking day) in a freezer bag to thaw and cook in the crockpot when I'm ready.
  • Corn and Black Bean Tostadas...I add ground beef and diced tomatoes to mine.  I browned the beef and threw everything (except the rice...I'll add that on cooking day) into a freezer bag.  Just thaw, reheat, and serve with tostadas, chips, or in taco shells.  This is a favorite in our house!
  • Meatballs...Alot of uses for these (with pasta, sandwiches, in soups, etc.).
  • Sloppy Joe Meat...Already cooked, ready to reheat and throw on some hamburger buns.
  • Meatloaf...I don't follow a specific recipe, just threw together my favorite meatloaf.
  • Mexican Shredded Chicken...Again, no real recipe.  Just chicken and a can of diced tomatoes and chiles.  Throw in the crockpot for a few hours until cooked, then shred the meat.  This is great in tacos or just over rice.


Breakfasts and Snacks:
  • Oatmeal On-the-go Bars...These are really more of a snack-type food for me.  It's tough to find time to eat during those first few days after baby comes, so these should come in handy!
  • Carrot Cake Cookies...From the Weelicious cookbook.  These are soooooo good!

In addition to the food I actually made, I am also stocking up on things like bread, waffles and pancakes, and of course meat.  I always keep a bag of individually frozen chicken breasts in the freezer...they are great for throwing in the crockpot with some bbq sauce or italian salad dressing for an easy dinner.  Just serve over rice.

So even though I still have a ton to do before baby comes, I'm feeling a little more prepared.  At least I know that we'll have plenty of yummy food to eat and that the dinnertime craziness won't be quite as crazy as it was the first time around.



With the holidays approaching, I've been thinking alot lately about how my little family can help out some good causes.  A charity that immediately came to mind was Operation Christmas Child.  This is one that I've helped out before and I just love the idea of stuffing a shoebox full of love and goodies to send to a child who really needs it.  As a family, we decided to fill 2 shoeboxes...one for a boy and one for a girl, both in the 2-4 year age range.  We also decided to make our donation online so that we can follow our boxes to see where in the world they end up.  So the bean and I headed out to a few places to pick out the stuff to fill our boxes.

Here's what went into our boy's box:

Here's what went into our girl's box:

The bean even did some coloring to include in our boxes.  Sweet kid.

Last week, we dropped off our boxes at a local church and they should soon be on their way to our "shoebox kids" as the bean so lovingly called them.  So excited to help such a great cause!  I can't imagine my kiddo having no presents to open on Christmas day.  Hopefully our boxes will spread a little cheer to some kids in need this Christmas season.


library day

Ever since he was a teeny tiny guy, the bean has always loved books and being read to.  He loves grabbing book after book after book and curling up in my lap for story time.  Now that he's older, he also loves going to the library.  I try to take him every few weeks and so far, every trip has been a huge success.  He understands that we have to be quiet and that we have to take care of the books that we check out so that other kids can enjoy them when we return them.  

We went to the library today and he picked out eleven books to borrow.  It's always interesting and sweet to see what he picks out.  Today's selection included a truck book, a couple of books about trains, a Busytown book, a Curious George book, and a book about a kid and his big boy undies.  We haven't really been pushing potty training yet, so that was an interesting choice on his part.  He also picked out The Little Engine That Could, which we totally have at home.  But this version had different illustrations, so it immediately caught his attention.

He plopped right down on the floor with the book and started flipping through the pages, "reading" it to himself.  I was super impressed that, even though the illustrations in this version were different, he still recognized it as the same story and was talking through the storyline as he flipped through the book.

I am a lucky mama to have such a smart and inquisitive kid.  I really hope that he keeps his love of books and reading as he gets older. 


happy fall

It's official...fall is here!

Our Florida weather may not reflect the change in season, but today is the first day of fall.  And I am so excited!!  Fall is by far my favorite time of year.  I've been wasting...err...investing a lot of time on Pinterest lately looking at all the fun fall crafts and getting inspired.  I've already started a little bit of fall decorating around the house.  And I am so excited to start working on the bean's Halloween costume.  He is going to be Buddy from Dinosaur Train...so, so cute!  Can't wait!  I'm also looking forward to our church's pumpkin patch and Trick-or-Trunk event.  Always so much fun.

To me, fall is all about cuddling up with your favorite people, drinking yummy hot cocoa.  It's all about putting on your coziest, most comfortable sweaters and watching the leaves change colors (although, not so much here in Florida).  It's a great time to think about all our blessings and to give thanks for all the past year has brought us.  And when I think about where we were last year (that's us in the picture below) and where we will be this time next year (2 kids...eek!) I do feel really blessed.  I really do have have the best little family ever and I am so, so thankful.

Happy first day of fall, everyone!


what we've been up to

Oh boy...it's been a while since I posted.  A very long while.  Our family has been so, so busy lately.  Here are a few of the things we've been up to in the past couple of months:

  • We're expecting baby #2!  Our newest addition will be arriving sometime in late February.  And we are so excited...and nervous.  But mostly excited.  I can say that this pregnancy has been totally different (and much tougher so far) than my first.  But I think and hope that the worst of it is over and that I'll feel better from here on out.  Fingers crossed.
  • The bean turned two.  Of course, we celebrated with a big party...lots of family and friends, the whole nine yards.  And the bean had a great time!  I absolutely cannot believe how quickly he is growing and changing.  It seems like he learns something new every day.  Along with that, he's becoming very independent...and much more defiant these days.  Hello, terrible two's!  Guess I need to re-read a few chapters in the Love and Logic book.
  • The hubby has been traveling for work ALOT lately.  He spent two weeks in China in mid-July and has taken several other short trips here and there since then.  As you can imagine, chasing around the aforementioned energetic and defiant two-year old while being pregnant is tough work...especially while hubby is out of town and I don't have my regular back-up.  Those make for some long, exhausting days.
  • We got a new car.  Well, new to us, anyway.  Since we are due to add another kid to the family in 2013, we figured we should probably upgrade to a vehicle that will accommodate two carseats.  So, we ended up with a 2007 Kia Rondo.  And I love it!
  • Hubby and I celebrated our tenth anniversary.  I'm such a lucky girl.  Ten years is a long time to be stuck with somebody, and I really do feel blessed to have been stuck with such a great guy.  We celebrated with a quick, bean-free overnight trip out of town.  And it was wonderful.
So with all that going on, plus the regular day-to-day stuff, I've neglected the ol' blog just a tad.  Hopefully, I'll be able to stay more up-to-date now that things are hopefully settling down a bit.  We'll see...