Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Nesting and Prepping

In the weeks leading up to Elliot's birth there was a lot of nesting and prepping going on at our house.  And there was even more planned that we didn't get to since he made his arrival earlier than planned. But we got the main things done that I wanted, and my mom was kind enough to finish prepping and freezing the last of the meals that I had on my to-do list but hadn't had time to do.  So, we crammed some projects into those last few weeks.  

I made thank you cards for a dear friend of mine's baby shower (who was due three and a half weeks before me, but ended up having her sweet boy only three days before I had Elliot) and for my own shower.  They were simple but turned out well.  

Then it was on to the main event, prepping and freezing meals.  I may have been a bit over ambitious with this project as I planned for 32 dinners and 14 breakfasts. We divided them and started with the dinners, so after three days my mom and I had made all 32. It took a day of shopping and two full evenings of prep. To ease some of the hassle, I picked only 16 recipes and then made two of each recipe. This is by far one of the best things I did to get ready for baby's birth, it is so handy not to have to worry about or think about what is for dinner, just to be able to grab it out of the freezer and throw it into the crock pot.  Which reminds me, did I mention that all 32 dinners are slow cooker meals?  They are!  And, it cost less than $10 a meal and each meal has at least 4 servings.  So, to recap, under $10 to feed a family of four, two days of work, and 32 meals ready to go. I am so thrilled with this that it left me wondering why I hadn't done it long ago. I am certain we will continue to prep freezer meals simply for the ease of it! 

Here is the first batch of meals prepped and ready to go in the freezer.
And because I think this is a wonderful way to do meals, here is a list of all the recipes we used and links to them:

A wonderful recipe.  Would love to make a huge batch this winter and can it.  Very easy too.

Delicious.  I highly recommend topping with cilantro.  

This came out amazingly well.  We will make this again for sure.

Always a hit at our house.

Very tasty.  One note though, if you are breastfeeding, you may want to leave the jalapenos out.  My little guy had an upset tummy after having this with jalapenos so we will leave them out next time (or put them on the side for those who are so inclined).  

Yum.  New favorite at our house.  The chicken comes out moist and flavorful.

Delicious.  Very good with sour cream and cilantro.  

This was a great recipe as well, another that we will repeat in the future.

Some of the best shredded beef tacos we've had.  This recipe is a keeper!

Great sloppy joes recipe.  Cooks fast in the instant pot.  

All the meals ready to go

A freezer full of meals
Many of these we cooked in the instant pot when we took them out of the freezer.  If you don't yet have one of these in your kitchen, you should!  From frozen to ready in under an hour for all of these meals and just as good as if they cooked all day.

We did not get to making the breakfasts before he was born, but my mom made and froze them for us after he arrived. These are the breakfasts:

- French Toast
Freezes well, and then toasts well right from the freezer.  My mom was even nice enough to make a gluten free batch for me & a regular batch for my hubby.

- Pancakes (with fruit)
These also toast well from the freezer and are easy to make in large batches.  

Always a hit at our house.  These freeze great and can be microwaved from frozen in about three minutes.  Great for breakfast or when you're up with a little one in the middle of the night.  

Yummy.  One of our new favorite breakfast recipes.  I'm certain that we will be making these again!

Great breakfast casserole recipe.  Another we will use again.  

Tasty for breakfast or just a frozen treat.

Very good.  These freeze great and microwave fast from frozen.  They are tasty warm.

The rest of our getting ready was miscellaneous house projects, laundry, and loving on the dog. We had play time, extra trips to the lake, and lots of snuggle time.  I am glad we had time to get these things done first, and since we ended up with several hours notice before we went to the hospital we even got all of our laundry caught up!  

Aria and her toys

Aria snuggles

Playing at the lake, taking both toys

More snuggles

Play time

Hanging on the deck

Last snuggles 

Next Up: The Birth of Elliot Michael