Saturday, January 29, 2011

30 Meals in One Day Review and Giveaway

I did it! I finally did it, and it was great!
So, the whole idea of 30 Meals in One day is that you cook up a months worth of dinners in one day. Sounds scary doesn't it? Well that is precisely the reason it took me so long to do it. It is a very intimidating process, but I would say it is very well worth the effort in the long run.
30 Meals in One Day is made up of 3 cookbooks in total, Lunch, Dinner and Side dishes, optional computer software and labels. Basically you choose 15 meals from the cookbook(or through the software, which is genius, really) make sure the portion sizes fit the amount of people in your family, you might want to account for some leftovers for lunch the next day. Go through the shopping list and delete all the items you already have at home, make sure you look at HOW MUCH you will need. That is mistake numero uno. If you don't have the ingredients then what? Run to the store every time you find something you don't have? Not only will that be a total pain in the butt, but it's also a huge discouragement. So now, go shopping, and get EVERYTHING you need. You must make a list. Honestly there are no ifs ands or buts, if you do decide to wing it, you will forget something and you will either decide not to make that meal or just stop the whole process, which would be really sad. Once you have chosen your meals, gone shopping, and sat down for an hour, its time to look through the book and read about the process, read about the tips that will make it just a little easier, this is essential for success. One thing they advise is not to do the shopping and the cooking all in one day, you will burn yourself out.

So here is the process I went through, along the way I will add the things I found that can make it much easier on you.

Step 1: Choose 15 recipes. The book will give you a more in depth way to decide which recipes to choose since there are different methods of cooking different recipes, this is a very important thing to look at.

Step 2: Make your shopping list. If you are using the software this will already be done for you. All you will need to do is look through it and get rid of the items you already have on hand. Just make sure you have the right amount.
I found this was a really great thing to have, I only wish there was a way to delete more than one item off the list at a time, I had a lot of the stuff the recipes called for, so it was kind of tedious deleting things off one by one. Also, my computer is not hooked up to a printer so I ended up having to write my list out since there is no way to copy and paste(I would have e-mailed it to my hubby to print at work)

Step 3: Go Shopping the day before Cook Day. Take your time, Don't forget your list. Be sure to get everything on your list, even if you need to go to more than one store

Step 4: Prep anything you can. I didn't have much time the night before as we were going out, but I was able to cook all the chicken for the recipes that called for cooked, chopped chicken breast. Chopping all veggies, and grating all the cheese the night before would be a huge time saver as well. I can't count how many different times during our cooking day that I broke out the grater and grated the cheese. Prepping is a huge time saver and I strongly recommend it. Also get all the dry ingredients out and on the counter, get your mixing bowls, cutting boards, slow cookers, pots, pans, and can openers out and in the right spots.

Step 5: Rest your feet for the night, they will be sore(if they aren't already) in about 24 hours!

Step 6: Cook, cook, assemble, cook, assemble, freeze!

My tips: First and foremost I would really recommend first timers to do half the recommended amount of recipes. Because you are unfamiliar with the process, it can really get overwhelming and when you get overwhelmed it can really be discouraging. It is also a LOT of work to do in one day.

Don't use new bowls for everything, after each meal just rinse out your bowl and start the next, no need to wash with soap and then dry. Now you will read this in the book, but I just want to repeat that it's a good idea to have one set of measuring spoons, cups and bowls for dry ingredients and one set for wet. This will definitely cut down on time.

So on the back of the cook book its says 'no unfamiliar ingridients'. Well I have to say for me, there were quite a few unfamiliar ingredients, mostly the different 'culture' if you will. I'm in Canada, and the recipes are from the south. I have to say though that it's great to try some new types of food, new ways of putting things together, I get bored with the 10 or 20 meals I know how to make.
We have tried about 7 or 8 of the meals so far and I have to say that most of them were absolutely delicious. A couple weren't my taste but that's kind of to be expected. Trial and error, right? The first time you try this it is definitely a huge learning curve and when you finally get to eat the meals you will find what works and what doesn't, how much more or less you need to make next time. I found that the recipes with any pasta or rice that got cooked before hand and then frozen ended up a little mushy for my taste, of course that is a personal preference so I've made a note of that for next time. Once you do this a few times you will definitely figure things out and get into a groove. Soon the whole process will become second nature which is awesome!

Here are some pictures of my favourite meals so far and what it will look like ready to freeze.

This recipe is great over rotini pasta. It is very rich so you'll want to have some light veggies or a salad to go with it.

This recipe was supposed to be boneless pork ribs but we couldn't find any so we just used some sliced pork and it was fabulous. We served over rice and we had some steamed carrots to go with.

We haven't tried this one yet but I can't wait. Cheese Manicotti. I LOVE CHEESE, and there is like 5 kinds in this one. YUM!

One lucky Mama to a Sweet Thing reader will win a Dinner is Ready Cookbook and Software, that's a $40 value.
Also if the winner purchases the Dinner is Ready combo and then wins the giveaway, they will refund their entire purchase and shipping! Or, if the winner purchases the full set for $75 (before the giveaway) and then wins the giveaway, they will refund up to $60 of their order!

Giveaway Open Until 12pm PST Feb 12th, 2011
(Open to Canada and US)

I received a package of items for review. All opinions are 100% my own. No other compensation was received.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gonna Move Into The Country, Gonna Eat A Lot of Peaches.

I am ready to move to the country like Pioneer Woman (oh, how I envy thee) and forget the rest of the world.

I am 22. I am a mother to 1 beautiful little girl. Wife to a stubborn and wonderful man. And utterly sick of this world and being an 'adult'.

It`s not about the responsibility of paying the bills or taking care of a child. Its not about making tough decisions. Its not about having to cook dinner every night or the worries of how my kid might turn out. It`s about the drama between adults. It is seriously 100x worse than it ever was in high school and I am so disgusted. The world of social networking doesn't help one bit. People feel that they can say whatever they want without consequences. I have been guilty of it too, but that doesn't make it right or any better. Just because we all do it at some point doesn't mean it`s OK. People are far more nasty and confronting than they ever would be if they were talking to a real person face to face. It`s an extremely sad thing to think about really.

Therefore I will be cutting down the use on my personal Facebook account and doing a major clean up of so called `friends`. I love Facebook and I have become far too addicted and I feel like it is majorly cutting into my family time and seriously damaging to one`s mind. It`s great for keeping far away family informed on your life and to see pictures and updates of their grandchild, but other than that it`s just a hole for drama to accumulate.

Sorry for my little rant. Hope you can sympathize.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One'a Baby Two'a Baby

One baby crying in the corner, one baby crying by the stairs, one me not sure what to do. This is a pretty rare scenario but one that still happens in my life these days. I am taking care of a friends daughter Monday through Friday, 8am-1pm. I have to tell you its been great! They are both around 14 months old, but so very different and so much the same. Sweet Thing is very independent, and mostly wants to do things on her own, she has huge ideas of what she wants to do with certain toys. C is quite easy going, this could be in part to the fact she is in someone else's home, but I'm pretty sure is usually this way. C is super sweet and girly, she loves to give kisses, and is so gentle(most of the time) with the pets. Sweet Thing is more bi-polar, super sweet, giving kisses and hugging her toys one second and freakin' out and throwing things the next. They are both extremely charming when they smile and they both love to show off their Bee-Bo's (aka. belly button if you are not familiar with the Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton).

We've just arrived at the point where the girls are getting along so well and my days are getting much easier. Of course each day has it's moment such as when they both want the same toy, or when Sweet Thing wants EVERY toy. I know there will be new challenges, but for now things are awesome. Now it's just a matter of getting off my butt to do some housework instead of watching the girls play all day long.

Anyone else out there caring for other's children during the day? Give me the details. What kind of activities do you do? How do you deal with not sharing? Jealousy from your own child?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Zooper Update

After ordering my Zooper Tango from the deal site Mother of a Sale. I was informed by the official Zooper facebook page that Mother of a Sale was not an authorized retailer for Zooper and that everyone was advised not to purchase from them. They were not advertising the proper model of stroller, they also would not come with the standard warranty. As with most deal sites they do not take returns or even let you cancel your order once you have paid. So I was basically SOL. Unless I called my credit card company to tell them this was not my purchase. But I figured I would wait it out and get the stroller and let this be a learning experience. Now I don't know if this is the age of the stroller (2008, I believe), the nature of the part or the fact I bought it from an unauthorized dealer, but the cord that is attached to the handle that you pull up to adjust the seat snapped on the second or third time I used it. Sweet Husband said it is fixable, but honestly, who wants to fix a supposedly brand new item? Some other things that are bugging me and it just may be the nature of the product is that the 5 point harness is incredibly hard to undo, and with a cranky kid in the seat ready to get out, having to fiddle around with the clips is a real pain. Hopefully it will loosen up with use. Also I noticed the stroller did not come with instructions on how to fold and un-fold. Maybe I am just dense but it took me about 15 minutes to figure it out. I was not at all impressed. Also the 'boot' that comes with it is supposed to snap on both sides and those are also so tough to push in, I literally had to get a hammer out, hopefully that will become easier with use as well.

Of course there are things I love about the stroller as well, but right now the bad parts and the fact that I overlooked something so important(especially with the price of the item) are overshadowing them.

My advice is to research the product and where it is coming from and especially if you are purchasing from deal sites that you make sure the company is an authorized retailer, otherwise you may get stuck with something with no warranty and inevitably a bunch of problems with the product. Whether it's the product itself or the fact that they might be seconds. This is definitely a learning experience for me, and I would not have bought this stroller on-line if I had more resources for such things in my area. I'd much prefer to shop locally and be able to see and touch and use things before purchasing such big ticket items.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back to the Daily Grind

After many a day away I am finally back to my normal schedule at home. I will hopefully be blogging more regularly now that holidays and vacations and visits are over for the season. I won't say that is my New Year's resolution because honestly, who keeps them? Definitely not the procrastinator that is me. I'm sure you have noticed I am a procrastinator if you have read this post.

Now for the updates, as if you really care about them.

Christmas was a wonderful time with my little family here at home, turkey dinner was a hit and Sweet Thing got spoiled.

Our trip to Vanderhoof went great. Our time there was even better, Sweet Thing definitely has a thing for animals just like her Grama Work. It's adorable, she says 'hi' to all the dogs and cats and even the horse outside. She'd rather hug and kiss the animals than the humans. She also had amazing power over the animals, when she would walk toward them they would all just move out of the way, not so much with any adult around, they literally act like you don't exist.

Now we are getting settled back down at home, Sweet Thing is trying to adjust to the minimal amounts of animals and far too many toys.

Today it is snowing like crazy and we are going to use her brand new sled from Christmas. Can't wait!

Many pictures from the holidays to come.

I am so happy to get back into blogging. I've missed it!