Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Freezer Recipies...

Crockpot Enchiladas
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans
1 can (15 oz.) tomatoes w/ gr. chiles
1 can olives sliced'
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 packet enchilada sauce mix
1 c. water
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 c. mozzarella cheese
6 flour tortillas--6 in.
Cooking day: Fry hamburger w/ onion. Add ingredients down to the water. Heat and stir. Cool & pour into freezer bag. Put cheese into quart size freezer bag. Put both bags into another bag, label, and freeze. You can either have the tortillas on hand--or put them into the bag as well.
To Serve: Thaw. Put 1/2 c. beef mixture in bottom of crockpot. Repeat the following layers 6 times:
3/4 c. beef mixture
Cook on low for 5-7 hours.

Italian Meatloaf
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 egg
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 t. oregano
1 t. garlic salt
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
Cooking day: Combine ingredients except for cheeses & mix well. Pat beef mixture into 14 X 8 rectangle on waxed paper. Sprinkle with cheeses and roll up jelly roll style. Seal the edges. Use the waxed paper to transfer meatloaf into a freezer bag. Freeze in the loaf pan of your choice until frozen.
To Serve: Transfer meatloaf from freezer bag to loaf pan. Thaw completely. Cook at 350 for 1 hour or until done, draining liquid off the meatloaf every 20 minutes.

Ziploc Chicken (couldn't be easier!)
4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1 c. BBQ sauce any type
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
12 oz. Coca Cola
Cooking day: Combine sauce ingredients, stir. Pour over chicken in freezer bag, label & seal.
To Serve: Thaw. Pour into crock pot & cook on low 6-8 hours or until tender. Shred chicken & add back to sauce. Serve on buns with additional BBQ sauce as needed.

Baked Chicken Dijon (this one was yummy!)
6 chicken breasts
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. butter
1 t. garlic minced
2 T. fresh parsley, minced
1/3 parmesan cheese grated
1 1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs (oriental section--or by the regular bread crumbs)
Cooking day: Melt butter in skillet. Add the garlic & simmer for 5 min. Blend in mustard, stirring well. Let cool enough to touch, but not solidify. While mixture cools, mix parsley, cheese, and bread crumbs. When the butter is cooled, whip it vigorously with a fork or whisk until the mixture thickens. Dip chicken into butter, then coat with crumbs. Place on cookie sheet to freeze, then put into bags, or freeze in disposable baking dishes.
To Serve: Bake chicken in baking dish and bake at 400 for 30 mins. to an hour until done. Top with finely shredded parmesan cheese, and dijon mayonnaise--(1 part Dijon to 2 parts Mayo).

Lemonade Marinade
6 chicken breasts
1/3 c. worcestershire sauce
3/4 c. frozen lemonade concentrate
1 t. celery seed
1 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. minced garlic
Cooking day: Mix marinade ingredients & pour over chicken in bag. Label & seal.
To serve: Thaw completely. Cook on grill, basting with marinade every 5 minutes.

Asian Pork Roast
3 lbs. boneless pork loin, or pork roast
5-6 whole cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tsp. lemon juice
Cooking Day: Put roast in bag, pour marinade ingredients over roast, or put them in a separate quart size bag. Label & freeze.
To Serve: Thaw completely. Put roast in crock pot & pour sauce over the top. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until tender. Shred & serve over rice.

Crock Pot Saucy Pork Chops
6 boneless pork chops
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 t. dried parsley
Cooking day: Combine sauce mix & pour over pork chops in freezer bag. Seal, label & freeze.
To Serve: Pour thawed mixture into crock pot & cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve over rice or pasta.

Citrus Herb Pork Loin (this one is our favorite! & super easy!)
1 boneless pork loin roast
1 jar orange marmalade
1 c. water
1 t. thyme
1 t. rosemary
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
1 t. sage
1 t. savory
1 T. minced garlic
Fresh orange or lemon slices (if desired)
Cooking Day: Sprinkle roast with garlic salt & put in freezer bag. Mix together all the other ingredients & put in separate quart size freezer bag. Put both bags into gallon size bag, label & freeze.
To Serve: Thaw. Put roast into crock pot & pour sauce over roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs. or until tender. Serve over rice.

You would be surprised at how yummy these are coming out of the freezer--you can really take almost any of your favorite recipes, double them and freeze one for later. Marinades are great because the meat really takes on the flavor when it's thawing all day in the marinade & they are a breeze to whip together, pour over the meat & freeze on cooking day. I use marinades all the time during the summer because I love to grill during the summer. The only thing to be careful of is rice doesn't freeze well, and pasta tends to get mushy when you freeze it, so you only cook it halfway if you have a pasta recipe. You can also google freezer recipes & there are a ton of them online! Happy cooking! Look for some of my other favorites HERE, or HERE.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crazy Week...

This week I decided to try to get organized...a recipe for disaster! Seriously, I know that you all know people who are organized, and have things all together, and their house runs smoothly, and their kids all have jobs, and it's like living with June Cleaver--let's just say that I'm about as far from having June Cleaver as a mother as you can get! (Do you remember Roseanne? I'm probably closer to her...sad huh?) First of all, a few weeks ago I let my cleaning ladies go. I have had them helping me off and on for a few years now, and they were seriously my favorite people in the world--I might have even loved them more than my own, seriously. They did the jobs that I did NOT want to do--especially TOILETS, UGH. And they never complained, or whined like my children do when I need their help. Lately, though, I've come to the realization that I am not having my children help enough around the house, and I need to teach them to work more, and do less for them. Plus, we are trying to cut some spending & save our money not knowing how this new business will go (scary...starting over...). This is hard for me--I am a control freak. If something isn't done right--I will do it over, and they know that. Half the time they do it wrong on purpose, or do a crappy job, just so I will do it for them. I see this all the time with the older kids, and it's driving me crazy. The other thing is how they will just leave things I find one kids shirt on the counter by the sink, shoes right by the refrigerator door, and yesterday Emie seriously pulled a pair of Josh's underwear out of the drawer we keep the towels in in the kitchen. SERIOUSLY?? They were clean ones, but still. My kids just leave things wherever they want. Yesterday I put the following note on a chalkboard in my kitchen:
Dear family,
Clean up after yourselves, I am NOT your maid.
Today, I came home to this note, written by Erin:

Charming, huh? Our maids??? Little ingrate...
So as if that wasn't enough, I have also been slacking on dinner over here. Dinner is always insane at this house. We're running to games, or mutual, or pack meeting, or wherever, and it's always like 5:00 before I start thinking about dinner. By then it's always easier, and sometimes cheaper (ummm...Sonic 1.49 Wacky Pack Wed.) to just go buy something. So I decided that this week I'd put some freezer meals together, and at least have some dinners to eat the next few weeks. I always forget how CRAZY cooking day is when you want to finish 30 dinners--you'd think I would remember, since I blogged about it HERE (notice how this was almost exactly a year ago...funny!), but somehow, I always just remember the convenience of HAVING the dinners, and forget about the CHAOS that ensues when I'm cooking them. I picked 5 chicken, 5 beef, and 5 pork dinners, and doubled them to make 30 meals. It did take some time on Tuesday shopping and preparing, and 10 hours to actually finish them on Wednesday--since I was distracted like 30 different times, but they are DONE! Aren't they pretty? Okay, they might look gross to you--but these were a labor of LOVE! YAY!

Here's what I made:
Crockpot Enchiladas, Italian Meatloaf, Sloppy Joes, Delicious Pot Roast, Beef Stroganoff, Baked Chicken Dijon, Cashew Chicken, Ziploc Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Noodle Soup, Asian Pork Roast, Teriyaki Pork Chops, Citrus Herb Pork Loin, Crock Pot Pork Chops.
Then I just rotate through them so we mix it up each week. We really use only about 5 meals a week, so they will last for 5-6 weeks. That was worth the work. Now if only I could be more organized and do this more than 2-3 times a year! I have had people ask for recipies, so you can find some of them by clicking HERE, or HERE, or HERE--and I will post some more recipies tomorrow--but tonight I am TIRED! We are still getting up at 5 a.m.--and I am so exhausted--but I am getting STRONG! I can even do 1 pull up--that's right 1! Hey, that's more than I could do 6 weeks ago! This gym is kicking our butt--the workout Wed. was 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats. You had to finish one before moving on to another. Oh, man! I have never been so sore in my life--OUCH! Maybe if I was going to bed earlier and not blogging at 11:48 it would be easier to get my big butt out of bed in the morning! Another day...blah.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Can I just tell you that I forgot (again) how TERRIBLE two actually is? I don't know why I don't remember, but each time I get to another 2 year old, I can't believe how rotten they really are. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the baby stage, which tells you why I have 6 kids--they are SO precious, and needy, and smell so good, and I just can't help but want to hold and cuddle them. This stage--from about 2-4, I could just give them away. I am no good at dealing with tantrums, and screaming fits, and the freakouts. My nerves just can't handle it, and patience is NOT my best virtue. So Jack was a little pill last week for our photo shoot--and he just drove me crazy. He was done after about 10 minutes, and just wanted to GO. There was no reasoning, no making him happy, even though we were all trying to bribe him with treats and what not (at least when they turn 3 or 4 that works a little better). He was just DONE. So I took some of my own pictures on the way home from the photo session--in the car--while he was FREAKING out! I know it's mean, but these kids need to know what I had to put up with when they were ALL 2 years old. WOW--you're all lucky we kept you around & didn't just give you away. I swear two year olds are possessed with a demon sometimes! Check out this pathetic little boy--(not even a tear in his eye!)what happened to my SWEET BABY??? Then, on Wednesday, (the next night), he was in full blown tantrum stage again while I was trying to do dishes and clean the kitchen. He wanted me to hold him, but I was almost done, so he walked out of the kitchen crying, and I figured he was downstairs playing with Josh. About 20 minutes later, I was trying to round all the kids up to read scriptures and it was eerily quiet. Josh and Abby came up from downstairs, and I asked them where Jack was...ummm...they hadn't seen him. Ashlie had fallen asleep on the bean bag in the family room, and Todd and the girls were at mutual. Josh, Abby and I began looking around for Jack. After searching the house, all the rooms, and all the closets, and yelling for him--he was NOWHERE to be found! At this point, I start freaking out myself! We checked all the bedrooms again and I started walking the streets outside, thinking maybe he escaped again? Todd and the girls got home and started looking as well. So Todd goes into our room, and pulls back the covers on our bed and finally found him--asleep under the covers. Poor little guy had given up on me, comforted himself & fell asleep! I swear I had walked by my bed 20 times & not seen so much as a lump--but Jack IS a little guy! OY! I was so relieved and we really were happy to find him! We still love this boy--even if he is TERRIBLE TWO!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the Fence...

We were talking about this story tonight while we were reading scriptures. I love the message that this story gives my teenagers. We don't have the luxury of taking our time to sit on the fence. The time to choose sides is today--NOW! You are either on the Lord's side or on Satan's--each choice we make in our lives brings us closer to one side or the other--and sooner or later your time is up. If you haven't heard this story, it's a good one!

Sitting On The Fence

There was an incredibly large group of people assembled. On one side of the group stood a man, Jesus. On the other side of the group stood another man, Satan. Separating them, running through the group was a fence.

The scene set, both Jesus and Satan began calling to the people in the group and, one by one, each having made up his or her mind, each went to either Jesus or Satan.

This kept going, and eventually Jesus had gathered around him a group of people from the larger crowds, as did Satan. But one man joined neither group. He climbed the fence that was there and just sat down on it. Then Jesus and his people left and disappeared. So too did Satan and his people.

And the man on the fence sat alone.

As this man sat there, Satan came back, and appeared to be looking for something that he’d lost. The man said, “Have you lost something?” Satan looked straight at him and replied, “No, there you are. Come with me.”
“But,” said the man, “I sat on the fence. I chose neither you nor Him.
“That’s okay,” said Satan. “I own the fence.”

“No man can serve two masters."

We were reading tonight in Alma, about missionary work, and how Alma and his brethren were persecuted time after time by the people they were trying to save, trying to love. But they never gave up--they kept trying, and had faith that God would help them and protect them. I was telling the girls that there will be times in their lives that people will persecute them, or make fun of their beliefs. There will be people who say that when you keep the commandments, and do the right things that you are a "goody goody", or that all of the rules are stupid & church is a waste of time. Will it always be easy to live the gospel? No. It is tempting in these situations to sit on the fence. To not be TOO good, but not that bad either. Sometimes if we sit on the fence, people will leave us alone, we don't attract much attention that way. But, I told them, your place in this world is NOT on the fence. The prophet has challenged us time after time to take our place, to stand up, to do what's right--even in the face of mocking or persecution. We are to be a light to the world! It wasn't easy for Alma either, or for Abinadi, or for Nephi, or for Joseph Smith, or for our Savior. Each of our heroes in the scriptures endured persecution, and stood up for what they believed. One of my favorite scriptures is, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for ME and MY HOUSE--we will serve the Lord!" Our challenge in these last days is to get off the fence, and stand for right. If we won't do it--who will???

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Highland Jr. High Softball!...

The girls just finished up their softball season--Erin on the 7th grade team, and Emie on the 8th. It was awesome that they had all of their games the same days--but kind of hard to watch because they were at the same time too! The girls were awesome & we were so proud of them for trying out & making the team! Emie's team did well, and knocked off a higher seed in the first round of tournaments, but lost in the second round. Erin's team won the 7th grade championship, beating Desert Ridge 8-3 in a super close, exciting game! Awesome job girls! We love you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Introducing...Old Jerusalem Treasures!

So we have been working on a new business idea with Todd's parents, who just returned last week from their mission in Jerusalem. A few months ago, Bob floated the idea of starting up an olive wood business, and selling olive wood and other products that are made in Israel, specifically in Bethlehem. While they were over there, they absolutely fell in love with the people and the culture of Israel, and wanted to bring some of that back home so that people here could experience part of what it means to visit the Holy Land. Most people will never have the opportunity to visit that place, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a piece of it in your home. We jumped at the idea, and have been working on ideas for locations, and inventory since then. This week, we settled on a store front located in the Superstition Springs Mall in Mesa, a few minutes from our house. We are getting started remodeling the space, and hope to be up and running before Easter time. We are new to the retail business, and have plenty to learn, but are very excited to offer some products that are very hard to find here in America. Wish us luck...because we are diving in head first! If you're in the mall in the next few weeks, stop in and say HI! We are two doors down from Wetzel's Pretzels--(YUM!)--on the Dillards side of the mall. I will give the website and blog information later, but in the meantime, here are some before photos, so you can keep track of our progress...

The only problem??? THIS is not good for our diet--but it sure is YUMMY!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Early to Bed, Early to Rise...

The saying is "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Yeah--what a load of crap! Who makes up these sayings anyway? Oh--I need to be careful here, I think something like that might actually be in the scriptures somewhere or something. Anyway, I have been trying out this theory over the last 5 weeks or so--with Todd and I getting up at 5 a.m. to go to our Crossfit bootcamp, (or 5:24 a.m. which is exactly 5 minutes to get ready, and 1 minute to drive there). Those of you who know me know that I am NOT a morning type of girl. That is seriously putting it lightly! I am not even generally a nice person before around 9 or 10. Everyone told me that once I had kids I would have to get up early--but it has worked out that all of my kids are night people too--I don't really have any early risers, so it has been easy for me to stay in bed until the last possible minute before we need to be someplace! I talked Todd into doing this bootcamp because I have always thought that this was one of the major things in my life that I needed to fix. All of the really productive women that I know get up at 4 or 5 in the morning--you know them--those super hero women who you see when you're dropping your kid off at school in your pj's and they are dressed and ready and heading out for the day. I've always hated those women. Show offs. Just kidding--I've always secretly envied those women, and wanted to be one of those women. Umm...I don't know if it's gonna work out for me.
Let's just take a closer look at this theory about going to bed early, and waking up early:
1. Is going to bed early really even possible? Ummm...EVER??? NO!! Not when you're a mother--and especially not a mother with more than one or two kids! I have had nursing babies, or toddlers for the last 14 years of my life who do NOT let me go to bed early, nor do they let me sleep through the night if I do happen to get to bed early. Let's don't even talk about the fact that if I get to bed early, ummm...that doesn't mean that I actually get to sleep early either if you know what I mean. You know...TV and all. (Keeping this blog G rated). And now I have teenagers who think they need to stay up into all hours of the night, and on weekends end up heaven knows where and with who and might need a ride at 11:58 when they call you in a panic that they are going to miss curfew. When is this gonna end--another 18 years...need I say more?
2. Let's examine the early to rise theory... Isn't 8 early to rise? Who says early to rise means 4 or 5? Who made those rules? I think 8 or 9 would be a perfect, EARLY time to rise. It's early enough for me.
3. Does this really make you healthy? Hmmm...let's see--is it healthy to fall asleep at stoplights when you're driving to and from preschool? Is it healthy to have your head already pounding by 9 a.m. because you haven't had any Coke yet? (When I wake up at 8 at least it doesn't kick in until NOON or so)! Is it healthy to catch yourself nodding off at the dinner table, or while you're talking to your children, or in relief society, or in a restaurant? Where is all the extra energy I'm supposed to have? I am flippin' TIRED--all the time!
4. What about wealthy? I haven't noticed that we've gotten any richer since we started waking up earlier--but then I haven't gone to bed earlier either for reasons explained above--so do you have to do BOTH parts of the deal to reap the benefits? If so, should I just quit waking up early now since I won't be able to go to bed early for at least 18 years? Also, I have been getting ready for the day earlier, which means I have gone shopping more since I am ready for the day, which means we may actually be getting poorer since I am waking up earlier--this one is not working either.
5. Do you really have to guess whether I am wiser from waking up earlier? If you have spent any time at all reading this blog--I would guess not. I'm still about as dumb as they get--and my brain cells are leaving me just as fast--if not faster. If you don't believe me--ask my children, they will tell you it's true!

So, here is my theory...when you wake up earlier in the morning--you feel like you are going to get SO much more accomplished in a day--and you do. BUT--and this is a big BUT--then you feel like you can add more things into your day, because you are getting more accomplished--so pretty soon, you are back where you started, with too many things, and not enough time to do them, and discouraged again. So I say--I'd rather lower my expectations, wake up later, and do less in a day. Hows that for inspiration? Can you tell that I'm not feeling like getting up to go to bootcamp in 5 hours?...ugh.

Here's what I do know: "Late to bed, early to rise, makes one cranky mother!"
SLEEP--how I miss you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Girl's Night Out! Our Favorite Things!

Last year, we started a new tradition--copied from a cousin's blog (thanks Tyler!). It's like Oprah's Favorite Things show, where she picks her favorite things and then gives one to everyone. Last year, I just brought my favorite things--(see that post HERE) but this year we decided to do it where everyone brought a favorite thing for everyone else. I LOVED it! I was like a kid at Christmas waiting to see what the next person brought! We did it around Valentines Day, since that way we were sure to get something for Valentines! I loved that the things everyone brought were so different, and I loved ALL of them! I LOVED just being together with the beautiful, amazing, creative, & talented women that are in my family! I especially LOVED having Sue there, and Kristy there--it was great to ALL be together! You are all so awesome, and you make me want to be better when I am with you! Thanks so much for such a fun night and for sharing some of your favorite things with us! What a GREAT tradition! Here are some of our favorite things this year:

This isn't actually the necklace I gave--I didn't buy one for me, but I tried to recreate this necklace (my favorite) with a string of pearls, with a flower pin attached. You can buy both at Icing--or the pearls at Downeast Basics, and I think they turned out pretty cute and you can change out the flowers to different colors--or just wear the beads alone!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

They're FINALLY Home!...

On Friday we went to the airport to welcome Bob and Sue HOME! We have missed these guys SO much! 18 months was a long time to have them gone--Jack was barely 6 months old when they left! We were all SO excited! Imagine how the security guards LOVED our huge group at the airport. With 36 children in tow--all under age 15 we were quite the scene! The security people were freaking out while we were waiting for them to come off the plane since the kids were all standing right by the DO NOT ENTER sign. It was actually pretty funny to watch them. When we finally saw Bob and Sue, it was a loud, crazy, melee of people trying to get to them to get a hug. We were all overcome with emotion & there were some tears shed. I am so grateful to have them home--it's not the same here without them. I am grateful to have such a wonderful family, and for their example and their faith. They are truly amazing, and have such an amazing love for their family, and for their Savior. Welcome Home Grandma and Grandpa! We missed you SO much!
Here are some of the MANY pictures I took on Friday:

After the airport we went to the park and had Barro's Pizza--which Grandma had requested! There's no better pizza than Barro's Pizza here in the valley! LOVE IT! Thanks for a great afternoon! We had a blast!

We are SO happy to have Grandma and Grandpa back home with us--we LOVE YOU! Now, you aren't allowed to leave again--for a LONG, LONG, LONG, time! HA!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bored to Sleep...

Let's face it, sometimes I do this during Scripture study too! Poor little guy was just pooped! Isn't he adorable? Love this boy!

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