Thursday, October 16, 2008

Once a Month Cooking, Home Remodeling, and Transfer Meds

Does anyone do Once a Month (or once a week) cooking? Not the kind of once a month cooking where you eat takeout the other 29 days ;) ....the kind where you cook an entire month's worth of food in one or two sessions and then freeze it?

Because I knew THIS was coming...

I spent the day cooking a bunch of meals for us so that I wouldn't have to try to cook in this mess and so we wouldn't have to resort to takeout.

The days' results?
•2 Meals of Baked Spaghetti
•3 Meals of Chicken Enchilada Casserole
•2 Meals of a Dish my family has always called Chinese Casserole, though there's nothing Chinese about it
•2 Meals of Chicken and Stuffing Bake
•3 Meals of Ham-Tot Casserole
•2 Meals of Chili
•2 Meals of Chicken and Rice

I also have two meat loaves that I made the other day. Tomorrow I'm making a lasagna (enough for 3 meals), a double batch of beef stew, cornbread for the chili, and maybe a chicken broccoli bake. (Fortunately I bought most of the ingredients for these things today so I know where they are!) Theoretically, after these things are done, I shouldn't have to cook until after my kitchen is put back together.

Today's cooking took me about 4 hours, plus an hour of shopping and an hour to package and label everything and organize the freezer. The cleanup took some time but even it wasn't too bad.

I thought about it and I was so pleased with how little time it took compared to how many meals it produced. I typically spend an hour to an hour and a half on making dinner each night! I'm thinking I may endeavor upon this again!

My one complaint was that a lot of the recipes from my book that are freezer-friendly are casseroles--heavy on the cream soup and/or cheese. Great tasting, bad for the diet. It's hard to reheat lighter fare things like grilled chicken. I did find some recipes tonight that are basically frozen marinades and you still cook the night of--I may try those when I have meat that's not already frozen. It'd still be easy to pull a bag out of the freezer, toss it in a dish and put it in the oven. That would allow for some lighter recipes.

Does anyone else do this? Have you found it to be helpful overall? Do you have any recipes or words of wisdom to share?

In other news, my home is a total disaster. So much for all that nesting! We decided to go ahead and replace the kitchen cabinets. We also found some vanities for the bathrooms on clearance. So every free inch of space has some kind of cabinet on it, be it an old one or a new one! The kitchen cabinet contents are in boxes on every table we have and I generally feel like the house looks like a tornado went through it! I'll be glad when this is done because the disorder is stressful!

But the great news is that God was very generous to us in purchasing our home improvements. Through various coupons, sales, clearances and negotiations, we've ended up with 20% to 60% off everything that we've bought, saving thousands of dollars off of what the project easily could have cost and what we were expecting to pay. And my brother is an absolute wizard when it comes to all things handy (I decided he should open a business called "Rent a Jeff") and he has graciously given us his time and talents to spearhead the work! (We help, but we're Tim and Timmitha Taylor when it comes to handyman things!) We're just overwhelmed with God's provision and generosity!

Hopefully this project will be done soon!

One minor prayer request: I'm on my next med for the transfer. It's very unpredictable. At times I'm 100% fully functional, and at other times, it totally wipes me out with a severe migraine and/or total exhaustion. The inconsistency is almost as frustrating as the side effects themselves because I can't get in to any kind of routine! I'd appreciate your prayers for relief from the side effects. There's also another kink in my body's cooperation with timing--we'd love your prayers that that gets straightened out, too. But speaking of side effects, I'm a little dizzy at the moment, so I'm going to sign off!

One last thing before I do, though. Please keep Sara and baby Brynn in your prayers. Sara has a number of complications that are making little Brynn try to come early. She's 32 weeks now so well out of danger she could have been even just days ago, but still much earlier than is best. We're not sure if she's in labor or not--the last update on the blog seemed to imply "maybe." Please keep them in your prayers and pray that Baby Brynn will hang tight a few more weeks.

Night, all! Love and hugs to everyone.