Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cooking ahead

Have you checked out my blog entry on my other blog "I'm Not Cheap I'm Thrifty"???? There is a post there about another blog I have started following called Mommy Making Money and she had the most fabulous ideas about preparing meat ahead of time and freezing it. I tried her idea with the boneless skinless chicken, and also I did her ground beef version only I used ground pork and turkey because I don't eat beef.

Saturday I made chili with the precooked meat. It was so easy to just dump the bag in and add all of my other ingredients, turn on the pot and GO!

Tuesday night I made tacos and enchiladas with the prepared shredded chicken and they was delicious! I just thawed the meat, wrapped the enchilada shells around it and threw it in the oven. Tasty and good! QUICK TOO!

Tonight is baked ziti with the prepared ground meat mix. It will be so easy! The meat is thawing, now all I have to do is boil noodles, open a jar of sauce and throw it all together. Put in the pan and throw cheese on top and pop it into the oven. Now that's the way I like it....quick, easy and GOOD!

I decided to compose a list of reasons why I like doing the meat ahead so much:
1. I only had to handle raw meat one time. This is a major ICK factor for me in cooking, and also the reason I keep rubber gloves on my microwave.
2. I only had to chop raw onion and cry once.
3. I could easily see how many meals I had enough meat for when I stacked it in my freezer.
4. The Ziploc bags of cooked meat take up much less room and store flatter that the bulky packages of meat.
5. The precooked meat makes it super quick and easy to throw together easy homecooked meals. It was quicker to put the tacos and enchiladas together than to order pizza.
6. The flexibility of the cooked meat makes trying new recipes easy and enticing again, even when I don't feel creative. :)

If you have not checked out the idea of cooking ahead, please give it a whirl. It took me about 2 hours to do both the chicken and the ground meat, and I have enough meat prepared now for about 12 meals.

Let me know what you think!!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not Valentine's Day, but.......

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my husband? Not only is he a wonderful husband and an excellent father, but he is my very best friend. We have been married almost 13 years, and while I would like to say they have all been simply blissful, that is not the truth. We fuss and fight just like any other couple. In the early years, we would yell and scream and basically make fools of ourselves. Then came the pouting and the stomping around the house and the door slamming. Thankfully, now most disagreements are settled with only slightly raised voices and minor pouting :)

There was a time not so long ago however when I really didn't think we were gonna make it together. We were like sandpaper against each other...nothing made either of us happy...we spent a lot of time not really talking or spending time together. We sort of coexisted in the way that roommates do, but we were not really partners.

I am not sure what really changed things, although a near tragic situation that arose certainly didn't help. It wasn't a sudden change, more of a softening of hearts that occurred. I learned to be more tolerate, he learned to be more attentive,and all in all things began to improve. Fast forward a year to our Tres Dias weekends, when God totally melted our hearts and put everything in perspective for us both. That was a painful process but it was so worth the journey! I remember when I came home after my weekend, we just talked all night long, looking right into each others eyes. We cried, we laughed, and we discovered a love that had never been there before. It was an amazing thing that happened between us...

We discovered that putting GOD first and each other second really made all the difference in the world. I stopped putting him down, and he started listening to me more. It made me feel so unvalued when he would only half listen to me spilling my heart while he watched TV. He would be so hurt when I would make snide and hurtful comments about him to my friends....often in front of him.

We learned a lot about what God can do in a marriage IF YOU ALLOW HIM TO DO IT. It has been so much better for us. We are this crazy thing called life together and loving every precious moment we have.

Valentine's day is nice,and although we usually end up spending it apart due to his job, I prefer to think of every day as a day to celebrate out love and our friendship. I thank God for opening my eyes before I lost something very precious.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello is a big {HUG} for you on this special day! I saw on my niece's facebook page where this is sometimes referred to as 'Single Awareness Day" and that kinda cracked me up. I had never heard it called that.

I guess I am kinda single this year too, because Jamie left for the boat yesterday. He is working night shift, so I won't get to hear from him until after 8:00 tonight. Before he left we both bought each other valentine cards, and we are planning to go out to eat somewhere when he gets home for a late Valentine's Dinner.

This morning though I got up to find a box of chocolates and a card from my wonderful inlaws and that was a very nice surprise! I gave Marissa her goody bag from her Daddy and had a teddy bear that we wrote messages on, a chocolate bear, a box of sweethearts, some Croc bits and a card. The card was very was a Hannah Montana card that allows you to record a 10 second message inside. After your message, a Hannah song plays. (We lucked up with this one because after she opened it I learned that this is her current favorite Hannah song. Of course I played it off like I had planned it that way)

We are getting ready to make some heart shaped sandwiches and some cookies for a special Valentine's lunch. Strawberries, cookies, and heart shaped sandwiches with red Kool Aid makes for a very nice treat on Valentine's day.

Hope your day is happy and filled with mine has been. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We went to Jacksonville this past weekend. With everything going on this past week we really needed a break and since Jamie had to go to the union hall and also have his physical done at the industrial medicine in Jacksonville anyway, we just made a long weekend of it.
Our first stop was the Budweiser plant on the north side of Jacksonville. It was a really neat tour!

We had a great time walking along the riverfront there on Jacksonville Landing. We shared a yummy snack of crawfish nachos at the American Cafe and sat outside on the deck. It was a beautiful night.

Sunday we walked around Treaty Oak. The tree is over 200 years old and the city has built a park around it. Since it is a live oak, it is green all year round and the branches swoop very low. It was a really neat place!

One of the highpoints of our trip was eating at our favorite restaurant there, a place called Jackie Lee's China Bistro. It was so delicious! Sorry there are no pictures to post of us inside--I was too busy enjoying the delicious spring rolls and honey chicken and the delightful tea that smells just like fresh honeysuckle. Mmmm...wish I had a pot of that now!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you all so much for your support and prayers after the death of Jamie's mom. I wanted to share this picture with you of the sunset at the memorial service last night. It was so beautiful!