Freezer Meals and FO’s Galore!

Happy Good Friday! Hopefully you have the day off as well!

This week I spent most of Sunday in the kitchen prepping freezer meals. I’ve been busting it trying to complete my 2017 WIP’s before the end of the month. My sister came to visit and even came along for knit night {she crochets}! I might swatch for a sweater this weekend 🙂


Finished Objects

At the beginning of March I declared four WIP’s {works in progress} that I’d started in 2017 to become FO’s {finished objects} by the end of the month. I finished one last week and two more this week. I still have one more day of the month though!

Clark Socks
“Clark Socks” by Jaclyn Salem

I finally finished my Clark Socks that I started back in October of 2017. These will hibernate in my Box of Socks until Christmas-time. I think my mom will love them!

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“Gina’s Brioche Hat and Cowl” by Purl Soho

I also completed Gina’s Brioche Hat and Cowl {just the cowl though} that I started way back in January of 2017. Feels so good to get this off the needles!

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“Huntley Gift Bag” by Rebecca Langford

My final FO is a cute bag that will be my after-school crochet club’s April project. I just made one adjustment for the pattern to be more beginner friendly- instead of holding the yarn double we will use a chunky weight yarn. It will be a challenge for these fourth and fifth graders, but I think they will love it!


WIP’s- Focus Projects

My final WIP-it-or-rip-it declaration for March is the “Sugarplum Shawl” by Rachel Roden. This pattern came as part of Jimmy Bean’s Craftvent calendar {which I highly recommend for 2018}, but is now available on Ravelry as a single pattern. The kit included 24 days worth of notions and yarn- all needed to complete the pattern.

Sugarplum Shawl
“Sugarplum Shawl” by Rachel Roden

It’s intended to be knit over the 24 days before Christmas… but I was bogged down by Christmas gift knitting and never finished it. I’ve got one more day of the month to meet my goal! This shawl will also be a Christmas present for 2018. Perhaps then I will have the time to knit 2018’s Craftvent calendar during Advent.


Something New

I approached a new obstacle this week: weaving in the ends of two-color brioche.

I looked at several videos and tutorials. All of them had you weave your end under the knit columns, like this. I just wasn’t satisfied with that approach. So I decided to try my own way! I will try to record a video soon.


What God’s Teaching Me

This week God is whispering in my ear to breathe and to be flexible. To say “YES” more often than I say “NO”. We’ve had a busy week with Young Life, Stars games, and my sister in town visiting. Where I usually have two week nights to go to the gym and then relax at home after… I got zero this week. That is super hard for a regimented girl like me.

I tried typing these key words “breathe” and “flexible” into my Bible App’s plan search engine. I found a 15-day plan titled “Margin”. Hmm… maybe I need to create margin in my life instead of scheduling every minute with a specific goal.

“… most of us are living at an unsustainable and unbiblical pace. The key is creating margin.” – Margin, created by Craig Groeschel and Life.Church

Is it “unbiblical” for me to book my day up with chores, cooking, and knitting goals so that when my husband asks if we can go see a last-minute movie, I panic? Perhaps. I can confidently say that I’m addicted to schedules. I live for the thrill of crossing all the items off my to-do list. I thrive on making goals for myself and meeting them. {Many people close to me would agree.} This can be a good thing, but am I missing some of the opportunities God’s giving me?

I’m not quite sure how to slow down, but I’m going to try to reap as much as possible from this Bible reading plan over the next two weeks. My sister is visiting us for the next few days, so this will be a good time to put the practice of “margin” in place- then we can enjoy the time together fully.


What We’re Cooking

Beef Empanadas

 

The Pillsbury beef empanadas from last week were such a quick weekend night meal. And, come on, anything wrapped in a pie crust is going to be delicious! I will change two things the next time we enjoy this recipe- 1) MORE CHEESE! I will layer the cheese within the empanada and put quadruple the cheese. 2) MORE SPICE! Perhaps I expected these to taste like tacos, so I was a little disappointed with the flavor. Next time I’ll try some taco seasoning {we like Ortega} to spice things up. Overall, we were very pleased with the empanadas. My husband devoured his, which made my heart very happy!

New Leaf Freezer Meals

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After making some freezer-to-crockpot meals with some success, I decided to do some meal prep on a larger scale. I ordered my Ziploc bag stands from Amazon {sanity-savers!}, picked four recipes, made my list, and went off to the grocery store on Friday night. I walked out about an hour later with under $100 worth of groceries to make eight meals– oh yeah!

I got my recipes and grocery lists straight from New Leaf Wellness. They had a FREE downloadable in January for a year’s worth of crockpot meals! I picked four recipes from April’s menu to double- Shredded Chicken Quesadillas, Chinese Pepper Steak, Chicken Teriyaki, and Mushroom Spinach Stroganoff. I had most of the spices and sauces in my pantry/fridge. I had to purchase the produce, meat, and dairy items. Like I said, under $100 for eight meals… that’s less than $15 a meal. Half of the whole budget was beef top sirloin, so I know I can do it for even less with different recipes.

LESSON LEARNED: Next time I meal prep, it will most definitely be a Saturday morning/early afternoon. Although the time per meal is only about 15 minutes, I don’t want to spend hours of my #scrappysunday trapped in the kitchen! These freezer meals will give me the time in the future for my beloved Granny Stripe Blanket and Cozy Memories Blanket.

My process was as follows:

  1. Label all bags with meal name and today’s date.
  2. Chop all vegetables for all recipes (so meat can stay in fridge). I did all the bell peppers first (40 minutes) and divided them into respective bags. Then all the onions (30 minutes). Then all the garlic (20 minutes).
  3. Get some wine… you deserve it.
  4. Then, two bags at a time I completed each recipe by pulling out all the remaining ingredients, and dumping them into the bags.
  5. Put away ingredients from previous recipe and repeat step three for the next recipe- repeat for all recipes- this was the quickest moving part (1 hour)!
  6. Flatten and zip bags, place on cookie sheet {to freeze them in the flat shape I wanted}, stack in freezer. I’ll take them off the cookie sheets once they are thoroughly frozen.

 

As you can see, this is quite the process. The most time consuming part is chopping the vegetables. I’m not a quick chopper, but I wouldn’t say I’m slow either. It took me 40 minutes to chop six bell peppers, 30 minutes for six onions, 20 more minutes for twenty cloves of garlic {I love my x-large GarlicZoom}. Everything else was relatively quick. I got all the spices, sauces, and meats in the bag in an additional hour (I trimmed and sliced steak in this hour as well).

Feedback to come on these freezer meals! I plan to use them for our Sunday meals since I’m usually home on Sundays to check in on the meals and stir them occasionally. Sunday is also the day that I don’t want to be in the kitchen so I can spend quality time with my husband and my #scrappysunday projects.

Overnight Oats

 

A quick and filling breakfast this week. My overnight oats recipe is simple: 2 parts old-fashion oats to 1 part yogurt and 1 part milk. Then I add honey and brown sugar to taste. Lastly, I stir in frozen berries and nuts if I have some in the pantry. I like my overnight oats to be very thick with no liquid at all. You can adjust the amount of oatmeal to satisfy your tastes!


What I’m Reading

Last Friday night I finished reading Ready Player One. I’m psyched to see the movie! We purchased MoviePass last weekend before we saw “Black Panther” so now we can see all the movies we want. We’re planning to see RPO this Sunday- perfect theater knitting time to start my April socks.

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A well-loved copy of “A Wrinkle in Time”

One of our generous fifth grade teachers loaned me a paperback copy of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I started it on Saturday with a chilly toe dip into the pool {85 degrees outside and a frigid temp in the water}. I’m about 70 pages into this 232-page book. It’s… odd. Peculiar would be the best way to describe it. Having never read the book or heard anything about it before, I didn’t know what to expect. Is this really a children’s book? 

However, I think it’s really about to get good. I hope so! Even so, I would like to see the movie when it becomes available for renting. We’ve still got an old-fashion Blockbuster-like video store in our town and my husband loves any excuse to go there.


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

2 thoughts on “Freezer Meals and FO’s Galore!

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