Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Easiest 24 Crock Pot Meals for $175

This was by far my quickest round of meals. If you are looking for a round of meal prep that requires minimal prep and time, this is it. This is for two reasons: 1.) Lots of meat meals and none require the meat to be precooked, and 2.) 6 of the meals simply need to be frozen and thawed and thrown together on the day of consumption. These meals are also a lot of my kids' favorites. And they're also dairy-free. Because breastfeeding.

Menu |
(Make two of each)

Simple Spaghetti & Meatballs
Pulled Pork
Pepperoncini Pork Sandwiches
Tavern Style Beef Roast
Brown Sugar Salmon
Sweet 'n Sour Meatballs
Carne Asada California Burritos
Sausage Bake
Pesto, Goat Cheese Pizza
Beef and Broccoli
Turkey Club Sandwiches
Savory Beef and Potatoes

Grocery List |

Dried Goods:
2 packages spaghetti
4 packages of rolls and/or buns
2 loaves Italian bread
2 packages Tortillas
1 2lb. bag brown rice
2 premade pizza crusts

4 jars marinara (pick one you like)
1 jar pepperoncinis
4 cans French onion soup
1 jar pesto
2 jar pizza sauce

4 bags meatballs (26 count in each bag)
4 3 lbs. pork loins
2 chuck roasts
2 salmons (I purchased two whole salmons but you can also do filets...whatever is on sale)
2 packages carne asada (about 3 lbs. each)
2 smoked sausages
1 package pepperoni
1 package salami
6 lbs. cubed beef (stew meat)
2 packages of Turkey deli meat
2 packages bacon

Seasoning & Sauces:
2 Memphis BBQ Pit seasoning packets
2 ranch seasoning packets
2 Tavern Style pot roasts slow cooker pouches
Brown Sugar
2 bottles Soy Sauce
2 bottles BBQ Sauce
2 bottles grape jelly
2 packages of taco seasoning
2 Savory Pot Roast Seasoning packets
Garlic Powder

2 bags French fries
4 bags broccoli florets

1 package goat cheese
1 package shredded mozzarella

8 red potatoes

**Always make sure you buy gallon sized bags so you're ready to go when you get home. I like to get the Hefty brand with the slider top. They're easier to close and don't leak. (and trust me, when you make 24 meals at a time, you don't want them to leak!)

I shopped at Winco and my total was $175. When you get home, label bags and start dumping. It took me 30 minutes for all of these.

Simple Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 jars marinara
1 bag meatballs

6-8 hours on low. Store noodles in pantry.

Pulled Pork
1 Pork loin
1 Memphis BBQ packet
1/4 cup brown sugar

8 hours on low. Shred and serve on rolls (freeze those with the meals).

Pepperoncini Pork Sandwiches
1 Pork loin
1/2 jar pepperoncinis
1 Ranch seasoning packet
1 can French onion soup

8 hours low. Shred and serve on buns (freeze those with the meals).

Tavern Style Beef Roast
1 chuck roast
1 pouch of the Tavern Style marinade

8 hours on low. Serve this with roasted or mashed potatoes...perfect cold weather meal!

Brown Sugar Salmon
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder

Thaw and grill or bake. (400* for 15 minutes...usually) This is seriously my kids' favorite. (No joke, Isaiah told the doctor his favorite foods are salmon and broccoli. I felt like mom of the year.)

Sweet 'n Sour Meatballs
1 bag meatballs
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1 bottle grape jelly

6 hours on low. We eat this as a meal and I also use it as a party dish - grown ups and kids approve.

Carne Asada California Burritos
1 package carne asada (or round roast)
1 packet taco seasoning

Freeze the tortillas and French fries to go with this. Add one cup of water upon cooking, 8 hours on low. Thaw tortillas and cook fries according to package instructions. Serve with your favorite taco fixings.

Sausage Bake
Freeze the sausage and broccoli.

Thaw the day of and add sweet potatoes and any other veggies you might want. Toss in EVOO, garlic powder, and basil and bake at 425* for 45 minutes.

Pesto, Goat Cheese Pizza
Freeze crust, goat cheese, and salami

Thaw when ready to serve. Store pesto in pantry. Make a pizza. (Also note: I bought regular sauce and pepperoni for my kids because I'm nice.)

Beef and Broccoli
1/2 cubed beef
1/2 bottle soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder

8 hours on low, add frozen broccoli the last 30 minutes.

Turkey Club Sandwiches
Freeze turkey meat, bacon and bread

Thaw and make a yummy sandwich. The end.

Savory Beef and Potatoes
1/2 cubed beef
1 can French onion soup
1 Savory roast seasoning packet
3-4 cubed potatoes

8 hours on low.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Post Partum We Forget to Talk About

After the cracked nipples and stitches in your nether region. After the new found joy and euphoria from falling in love with your tiny new babe. After the many, many [too many] visitors and meals in the first few weeks, there are post-partum things we forget to talk about. And honestly, after I had my first baby, I really wish everyone hadn't failed to mention it. When you start reaching the tipping point of being "mostly recovered" from giving birth, there is still some crap you have to deal with. For example...

1. Your body sucks. There I said it. Right after I have a baby I feel fierce and strong and sexy and even skinny (hello, I dropped 20 lbs. in a week). I feel so happy to be able to breathe and move and function. Then the euphoria of giving birth like a warrior princess wears off and I realize this is what I'm left with. My hips are wide and my stomach is soft and saggy. And so, so out of shape. It can be discouraging, even when I try to not let it be. Getting your body back takes time, and if you make mostly good choices regarding food and exercise, it will come back. Until pants.

2. Your back hurts. Because breastfeeding posture is a real beast and can turn you into the hunchback of Notre Dame. And also, your abs are shot so there isn't much core holding you upright. This takes time to improve but the back pain is real, friends.

3. Thrush and Mastitis. This can pop up anytime while breastfeeding and it's never any fun. Never, ever, ever. First off, pray it doesn't happen to you and at any first sign of pain or tenderness, call your doctor. You don't want to wait either of these out. Trust.

4. Hemorrhoids. Oh, you lucked out and didn't get any of these while pregnant? Don't worry, they can *pop* up at any time while your body heals. Fun.

5. You're out of shape. And I'm not talking about your whole body, I'm talking about downstairs. Do your kegels, use your kegel balls, and have sex (seriously, doctors orders) to help get back into tip top, tight shape. (Also, you might qweef the first time you workout - consider yourself warned.) Call me inappropriate, I dare ya.

6. You're tired. I know that after labor and delivery you are tired, believe me. But the older your baby gets the more behind in sleep you get. And no one is coming over to offer you a nap anymore...or a lasagna.

I get why no one wants to talk about this stuff. Everyone wants it all to be hunky dory and back to normal ASAP. But it's not always a smooth transition. I remember after having my first baby thinking, WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THAT? So this is my way of telling you, mamas. Be warned. You will be okay though, because you gave birth. You are a warrior.