Friday, October 30, 2009

Apples galore!

I don't think I've mentioned here that Evan is teething. All four front teeth at the same time, in fact. So last weekend when we went out to Wisconsin to make apple sauce with my cousins, Evan was pretty needy. Despite that, I was able to do quite a bit and contributed to making 61 quarts of apple sauce in one day! Of which our family gets 20 quarts. For basically free -- just the cost of gas to and from Wisconsin and two packages of lids for the jars. Pretty great! We didn't add anything to the apple sauce but a little lemon juice to retain the color. It's a mixture of several different varieties of apples, and it is delicious! Thanks to Amy's food mill attachment to her KitchenAid stand mixer, making the sauce went pretty fast! I left before the rest of the cousins were done. I think the total for the day ended up being about 80 quarts.

I took home some whole apples to slice up and freeze for pie. My cousin Katie gave me a great tip, which I tried today.
  • Peel, core and slice up the apples (8 cups)
  • Mix the pie ingredients in with the apples (flour, sugar, cinnamon, etc)
  • Place into a freezer bag and seal it up
  • Place the sealed freezer bag inside of your pie plate, arranging the apples into the confines of the plate
  • Put the whole thing in the freezer
  • Once frozen, remove pie plate

Then, when you want to make a pie, all you have to do is make a crust and plop the frozen apple pie mixture right into the crust, top it with the top crust and bake frozen. I need to double check how long to bake it. I got enough apples for four pies. I haven't tried baking the frozen apples into a pie yet, but I thought it was a pretty great idea!

Other things I did today:
  • Baked a loaf of bread
  • Prepared an egg bake for breakfast tomorrow
  • Played with my beautiful baby boy!
A day well spent.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some good deals I found today

You can get a free 11 month subscription to Parenting (early years) magazine here.

And a $1.50 off 2 Ziploc bag packages here. If you purchase 3 packages of Ziplocs total, you can mail in this $5 rebate!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What I've been up to in the last 20 days...

Wow. Has it really been that long since I posted? I guess having good intentions doesn't equal posts magically appearing on my blog...

Well, since I last wrote, I:
  • Roasted my first turkey! The hardest part was thawing it and getting the neck/giblet bag out of the cavity. Gross. After that, I just put it in the roaster, slathered the bird with butter, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and added chicken stock to the roaster (I didn't have turkey stock). It turned out okay. A little flavorless, actually. Not as good as my parents' turkey. But, it was pretty good. We only actually ate a couple slices of it. The rest turned into some other great food.
  • Froze 3 turkey pot pies! And a Ziploc full of cubed turkey. Plus the filling for 1 more pot pie.
  • Made turkey rice soup from the turkey bones/meat! Delicious. I have 5 2-serving bags of soup in the freezer, and we ate another 5 servings throughout that week. That means I made 15 servings of soup.
So, for all of the above food, I think I paid about $8 out of pocket. Most of that was butter and half and half for the soup. Unbelievable to get that much food for so little!
  • I went to an apple orchard with my cousins and picked a huge amount of apples. They have an arrangement with the orchard to pick up any apples that have fallen to the ground, good and bad. We pitched the bad apples into their compost heap and were able to keep all the good apples for free! On Saturday, we are all getting together to make applesauce. We'll likely each come home with at least 25 quarts of sauce! Plus some sliced apples to freeze for pies, crisps, etc. Wow!
  • I pureed a bunch of baby food for Evan. Mixed veggies (corn, peas, beans, carrots and tomato sauce), peaches, sweet potatoes and squash. Making my own baby food has been so much cheaper than buying baby food! The mixed veggies were from a frozen veggie pack, plus the tomato sauce. That cost about $0.75 for a good 12 meals' worth. The peaches were canned peaches in apple juice (not syrup). I bought 3 sweet potatoes from the grocery store for about $2 and got 10 meals' worth from those. I paid $2 for a couple acorn squash, plus a couple butternuts I had in my garden. I pureed the squash for Evan's food and for us. I got about 10 cups of squash.
  • Went to Mikes Discount Foods (thanks MP!) and got the squash mentioned above ($1 each), 4 containers of strawberries ($2.50 TOTAL for all 4), raspberries ($1), celery hearts (2 bags for $1) 1 lb of ground beef ($1.99), pureed sweet potatoes ($1 for a frozen gallon size bag), and a couple other things I'm forgetting right now. Great place to get some great food cheap!
So, that's what I've been up to. I'll try to be better about posting!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dinner tonight

Tonight, I am making Swiss Chicken Casserole, baked potatoes and butternut squash from my garden. I have 2 coupons for $1 off Golden Plump chicken breasts, and they are on sale at Target and Cub this week. I think I'm just going to go to Target, so I'll end up with a package of chicken breasts for $2.99 (x 2 if I decide to get 2 packages and use both coupons)!

I'm saving the beef roast for tomorrow since I'll have more time to get everything in the crock pot.

This weekend, I'm going to figure out some bulk recipes to fill my freezer with cheaply. In the past, I've done Enchiladas, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Ala King, Beef Chimichangas, marinaded chicken, Chicken Caccitore, various soups, and other miscellaneous things. Most of the time, the meals I've made have ended up being $.50-$1.00 per serving.

I have a whole turkey in the freezer that I want to thaw and use in several things, but I want to figure out how best to use the bird! I'm thinking turkey tetrazzini, turkey ala king, some sort of turkey soup...does anyone have some great turkey recipes for me to try?? Or other great freezable recipes?

Free night of theater!

Go NOW to get a reservation -- it just opened at noon!

I got tickets for Rebecca, based on the book by Daphne DuMaurier, which I read in college and loved. It's playing at the Theater in the Round. There are several other shows to choose from and it's absolutely free! Maximum reservation of 2 tickets.

This link will take you directly to the Twin Cities listings of plays.

Leave me a comment if you are able to get a reservation -- I want to hear what show you want to see!