26Jul

BREFFUST and Cards

Usually on the weekends, Andrew and I will crawl out of bed long enough to get Finn up and then we let the kids watch TV for awhile so we can wake up slowly, like normal people.

I’ve told you before how Finn crawls into bed with us, I hand him my phone, and he hangs out while we doze. It’s all very cozy and cuddly.

But not this morning.

This morning I couldn’t make my arms and legs move properly, so I asked Ian to pull Finn out of the bed for me. A few minutes later, I heard Finn’s bare feet slapping their way through my bedroom door.

He tiptoed around to my side of the bed and stared at my lifeless form. “Mama?”

“Mph,” I said.

I watched him through one eye barely open. His face broke out in a grin and he threw himself at the bed to join me. Normally, he crawls over me, I get in a snuggle, and then he sits on Andrew’s head until we get him settled under the covers between us. Instead, he climbed right on top of me, crouched on all fours, and bounced.

“Det up! Det up, Mama! I wan’ BREFFUST.”

“oof.”

He bounced again, just in case my spleen hadn’t heard his demand.

“DET UP!! TIME A’ DET UP! IWAN FIX BREFFUST!”

He stuck a knee in my rib cage and headed to Andrew’s side to beg. Andrew wrapped him up in a too-tight cuddle that sent him scrambling for my side of the bed, giggling. “No, Dad-dee. No. BREFFUST.”

His little form climbed back on top of my sad carcass for another bounce. “MAMA! DET UP! TIME ‘A EAT BREFFUST! I WAN’ BREFFUST!”

He reinforced his message with an elbow to my collar bone and a quick nuzzle of my neck. I tried to wrap my arms around him for a hug but he wasn’t having it. “Noooooo, Mama. BREFFUST…”

And he wriggled away. I planted him on the floor while I tried to free my limbs from the covers. “Pweeeeeeeeze, Mama????”

I shuffled in the direction of my robe. “Okay, Mama! You getta bwue wobe.”

I reached for my ugly blue paisley robe. “This one?”

“Yep. You dot it! Now… Wet’s GO! Wet’s Go Det BREFFUST!!!”

And we did.

Because my two year old is the boss of me.

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As it should be, Ma.

And in case you didn’t already think that this kid is gonna rule the world some day, watch him play Go Fish with authority… like he KNOWS it.

 

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100 Meals Made In A Day

100 MEALS

Ok, that’s technically a misnomer since we did some of the work in advance, but the hard truth of it is, on Wednesday morning, my freezer was empty and by Wednesday night, it looked like this:

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I posted the general ideas behind why we do it the way we do it before, but a few of you were interested in the logistics of how two families created 100 meals per family (give or take a few), so here’s the nitty gritty details. This is just our system, I’m sure someone could do it better. But maybe this will inspire you to try it out yourself with a buddy!

Recipes -

We learned a long time ago that unless we froze good recipes made with good ingredients, our people wouldn’t eat them. If you need some inspiration, head to Pioneer Woman’s freezer food section.

Lasagna Roll-ups (8 meals each)*

Enchilada Mix (8 meals each)*

Grilled Chicken (12 meals each)

Fluffy Potatoes (side dish – 8 meals each)*

Meatloaf (with bacon…drool now…8 meals each)

Chicken Pot Pie (8 meals each)

Corn Dog Muffins (8 meals each)*

Beef Stew (8 meals each)

Mustard Whiskey Meatballs (8 meals each)*

White Chicken Chili (8 meals each) – link is not the exact recipe we used

Cooked Ground Beef (12 meals each)

*indicates it was easy to use kids to help put the recipe together

Shopping -

My friend, Sheryl, took these recipes and made up a master grocery list. (Click on the picture to see the full list. You’ll have to zoom in):

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Sheryl and I went through the list and noted which ones we would purchase. It boiled down to what we already had in our pantries and where we shopped. I shop at Costco so I claimed everything I knew I could get there. She shops at Sam’s and could find most of the rest at the grocery store.

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Prep Work -

Before the actual day of cooking together, we divvied up some advance work. Now, Sheryl took more than a fair share because she has some older helpers at home. She will receive extra jewels in her crown when we get to heaven, I’m certain of it.

Sheryl’s Jobs:

  • grilled/cooked most of the chicken
  • browned the ground beef
  • made chicken chili

Lora Lynn’s Jobs:

  • bake 108 potatoes for fluffy potato recipe
  • cook and pick 4 whole chickens (mostly because I had them in my freezer)
  • make the beef stew

Sheryl also got all of the recipes ready for us, laminated and eleventy-billion quadrupled so they reflected the correct measurements for the amount of meals we were making. (You can do this right in PW’s site. Click on the recipe & click print. There is a box for number of servings. Edit that box and the new quantities will appear!) This made it easier to just grab a big bowl and start dumping in ingredients by the gallon on cooking day.

Doing some of the cooking in advance did involve meeting up to swap ingredients that the other had purchased, but that wasn’t much of a problem. This also meant that our day of cooking was mostly full of easy recipes and putting stuff in containers.

 

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Cooking Day -

The day we met up, Andrew took off work and we loaded a bunch of food and large mixing bowls in the van and headed to Sheryl’s house. We did have some extra hands in the afternoon to help with the kids, but for the most part our kids play well together and were left to their own devices. Unless we needed them in the kitchen…

This time, we decided to put our older kids to work and discovered just how quickly kids can make enchilada sauce, fluffy potatoes, lasagna roll-ups, and corndog muffins. In the future, we will definitely choose recipes that they can help us with. It was good for morale and good for our time limits.

In the end, if you count the individual packages of meat and chicken, we came home with the makings of 100 meals per family. We also had about 12 batches of fluffy potatoes per family, which may or may not be a meal in your household. (They were tonight at my house. We scrambled some eggs and called it DELICIOUS.)

We were done with our meals, including all the dishes washed and cleaned, by 3:30 in the afternoon. Not a bad day’s work! For 112 meals per family, we spent about $650 per family total. Totally reasonable for meals that will last us several months.

You will need a whole lot of freezer space to pull this off. I have the half freezer you see above plus a big chest freezer. It’s full to the brim.

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All the effort is totally worth it. Pick somebody that you like to do this with, someone who isn’t afraid of some hard work, and do as much in advance as you can.

I absolutely cried like a baby when that last container was jammed into my freezer. Time to cook is not something I have when the school year gets cranked up so it was such a comfort to have dinner time covered for awhile.

A few notes we’ve come up with of things we want to remember for next time:

  • Chicken pot pie is labor intensive and doesn’t make as much as other recipes. It’s delicious but we’re not sure it’s worth the effort. Recipes that don’t require a lot of sauteeing are easier because you can use huge pots and dump in ingredients.
  • Meatballs – We only made half the sauce we intended to and regretted it the first time we ate the meatballs. Make more sauce than you think you need. It’s YUMMY.
  • Corndog muffins are kind of delicate. Not sure we will do these again, but the kids loved helping. Highly recommend using a nonstick muffin tin. Otherwise, they’re impossible to get out of the tin without crumbling everything.
  • We use the enchilada mix for enchiladas AND chicken tortilla soup. Just whatever suits my mood at the time.
  • Good freezer containers are everything. We buy these plastic quart containers for soups. They freeze well and are reusable for leftovers. We also buy the aluminum pans with lids and good sturdy ziploc freezer bags. This helps avoid leaks and other disasters in our coolers and freezers.

Got any tips to share? I’m all ears!

Edited to add: Sheryl’s version and her tips are here.

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