It’s coming…and I’m bracing myself. I’ve been doing everything I can to prepare and be organized so that I won’t be stressed and short tempered with my boys. Not that I would ever be short tempered with my boys. Ugh, I do try not to be short tempered with my precious angels who leave their stinky shoes in the middle of my kitchen floor so that I can stub my toe on them while I’m trying to cook and fill their constantly hungry bellies. I try.
So what’s coming, you ask? Just a very busy couple of months, that’s all. August and September are two months of very,very hard work while I do a lot of canning and preserving in the midst of beginning our school year and running to lots of soccer games. I absolutely love this time of year, but it can sometimes get hectic.
As soon as I finished writing and putting together Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve Curriculum Kit, I saw that I had about three weeks before we were going to start our school year. (We like to start in early August at our house.) I decided that during the last part of July, I would prepare a bunch of freezer foods, stock up on items like canned salmon and tuna for easy meals and order meat from our local farm source so that I’d have a full freezer and plenty of meal options. I even pulled out Do the Funky Kitchen and read it again so that I could get my kitchen organized an in order! Anything that I could do ahead of time to prepare for this busy season, I did. I think. I’m pretty sure I forgot a few things.
Anyway, my pantry and freezers are well stocked so that putting meals on the table during the next few weeks will be easy and quick. I am excited now to begin a new school year with the boys! (More details on our school year coming soon.)
Here are some pictures of the food I prepared and froze during the last part of July:
Strawberry Bread – Pictured above is the unbaked version. Isn’t it a pretty pink?!
Mini Pizzas, using this Pizza Pockets recipe…
I’ll be able to just pop a few of these into our toaster oven to bake up while we finish our morning school-work.
Whole Wheat Waffles – ready to be re-heated in our toaster oven for a quick breakfast or dinner.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Biscuits – I may use these for turkey/cheese melts…or I may grab some turkey sausage I have pre-made in the freezer to make some quick gravy to pour over them. NOBODY would complain if I made biscuits and gravy. :)
Sloppy Joes and Meat and Cheese Burritos
Whole Wheat and Honey Zucchini Bread
In addition, I’ve got these items stashed in my freezer:
- Soft Pretzels
- Giant Breakfast Cookies
- Lasagna Casserole
- Bean and Cheese Burritos
- Popcorn Chicken
- Turkey Sausage
I also started a new gallon sized batch of Homemade Vanilla, which as you can see, will be finished “extracting” in January! I didn’t get “carded” this time when I was buying my gallon of vodka. Sniff. Do you think that means I look older than 21 now? ;)
Call me a nerd (go ahead – you know you want to), but I purchased a whole bunch of canning lids and put all of my canning supplies into a basket and put the basket on top of my fridge. That way, I know where everything is and I have it all ready to go each time I’m ready to can a new batch of something. I may be one of the only people who think that canning supplies in a basket is…cute.
Okay, so food (lots and lots of food)? Check. Schoolbooks? Check. Canning supplies? Check.
Oh good grief…where are the soccer cleats?
I knew I forgot something.
So why is my bread never that pink when I make it?
I was surprised at how pink it was too…maybe it was the fact that I didn’t measure the berries when I made the bread? I think there were extras in there. :)
It baked up to a normal brown color though.
Ok, then I guess I won’t be too jealous! :)
Chrissy Boyd says
Oh, my goodness, I feel so unorganized & unproductive compared to you! I’m not sure where you live, but do you think you could come to AL & be my live-in mentor for a few months?! ;-)
Trust me…I’m not ALWAYS this organized. I just know I need to be crazy-organized right now or I’ll lose my mind. :)
I’ll go with the idea that canning supplies in a basket ready to use is CUTE (I like to shop in hardware stores too), but anything left on top of my frig for a month (week) would be too .d.u.s.t.y. for food prep :-( We left a very dusty old house for a dusty new house ~ maybe when the subfloor is covered with laminate, and I’ve vac-ed the carpets more than once? Hmmm, my vac IS here now… I guess I could vac the carpet and subfloor with something besides a shop vac? :o
Seriously… Really looks good, Laura ~ and I hope you are really as relaxed as you sound! Enjoy the busy weeks! =)
The soccer cleats….They’re in the middle of the floor, right? :)
Oh, that’s right. I’m sure I would have tripped on them eventually and found their stinky socks too!
I am gearing up for canning season here to! I keep my lids in a plastic container since there is no room on top of the fridge. Every time I go to the store lately I buy a couple more packs of lids, it never hurts to have to many and usually I never have enough. I am going to have to try those mini pizzas my children would love them and lunch is my worst meal to be preparesd for. I think I need to do a lunch cook one of these days.
You look well prepared for the season! Now if all the food would trickle in instead of coming in all at once. :)
I keep thinking that I also need to do some freezer cooking. I only have myself to feed, but I work full-time outside of my home and have church/recreational activities. Freezer cooking is becoming more and more of an essential.
You’re deffinately not the only one who thinks canning necessities look cute in a basket. It’s better than spilling all over a chair in the sunroom, which is where mine are right now. We’ll be starting school next week – after all the canning this week. BTW-thanks again for your e-book on it!
I would love to try making my own vanilla extract. Where to you purchase the vanilla beans? I’ve only found them at the health food store and they are crazy expensive!
You can get them on Amazon.com. I got enough to make 2 half gallon
jars, plus I have enough beans to make one more half gallon. I think
they were somewhere between $25-$40, can’t remember exactly. Now I just
need to get the bottles for gifts and home…trying to decide if I
should do 4oz sizes or 2oz sizes…..
Here’s the link that explains how to make vanilla…and you’ll find links there too for buying vanilla beans!
It’s so awesome to see what all you do, Laura. You encourage me every day to work a little harder. I love seeing your freezer cooking posts and most if not all I want to try! I did actually get some freezer cooking done today!
I wish I was so prepared and organized. We started school this week, but baby #4 is due in 7 weeks and I keep thinking I need to get some meals put away in the freezer. It is so hot here right now though, just getting together 3 meals a day is exhausting. I’m hoping to at least get some breakfast items made ahead so that at least we’ll all have a healthy start to the day after the baby comes. If we have to live on sandwiches and spaghetti for a few weeks otherwise, so be it.
Laura, you are my hero!! =)
Rebecca Miller says
oh my! that first paragraph could not be more dead on for how I feel this week. Everytime I turn around there is a child or pet right there. Thank you for not allowing me to feel so alone today.
Travelin Pilgrim says
Ok, Laura, here is my dilemna… I have your tortilla recipe, but I have not been able to make my tortillas as, shall I say pliable, as you can do yours. If I try to fold them in to a burrito, they break in half. What am I doing wrong?
Yes, I understand the whole “break in half thing” and I haven’t been able to figure out how to make a tortilla that is soft forever. The only way I can make burritos with my tortillas is if I make them RIGHT AWAY when they’re fresh and haven’t been refrigerated yet. Just off the skillet, they are soft and pliable and will easily roll up into a burrito.
Travelin Pilgrim says
I have tried that too. I wonder if I am using too much flour, water, oil???? etc….
Amazing and inspiring! Thanks for sharing. I’m intrigued by the strawberry bread…
Laura, you amaze and inspire me! Plus you are so REAL, I love it! Thank you for your blog (and time.) I wish I had someone like you close to me to teach me hands on how to do these things! I was raised by my father who made a lot of Hamburger Helper…sigh. I have taught myself how to cook and I love eating healthy. Canning and bread making are too time consuming for me to try out on my own. I did try bread and pizza dough a couple of times but was very disappointed. And hey, I have two toddlers!!! I will be praying for the Lord to send me a new friend to teach me this stuff one day as I am a hands on learner.
If you ever have extra time in So Cal, hit me up!! :)LOL
Wow, I’m impressed you can fit it all into a basket. :)
I have a Sterilite drawer tower for this year’s lids and pectin and rings and some freezer containers, and 4 (or 5?) packed up moving boxes full of more lids, pectin, and freezer containers. Sigh. I have enough lids for the next 2-3 years, minimum. But I can a good 800-1000 jars a year when I don’t have a new baby on my hip. Off to go see if I have the ingredients for those adorable little pizzas…
Good morning Laura! I made some pizza pockets yesterday and today I want to try and make some using a white sauce with chicken and broccol. :-) I’m just wondering if I should leave the broccoli as it is or steam it first. What do you think would be the best way since I would be freezing it before cooking? I appreciate your help. I am also going to be making up some sloppy joes today too! Thanks for the inspiration :-)
I think I’d steam the broccoli first!
Ooooo yummy! Thanks for the strawberry bread recipe. I wanted to make strawberry muffins and was thinking of using blended strawberries in it, now I know it’ll be good! :)
OK, you think it is bad that you have a basket to organize your canning stuff? I have an entire shelving system to organize mine LOL. I found some huge metal shelves at a garage sale for $5 and had my dad haul them home for me. My mom and I went to town getting organized. All my jars in one place! So exciting! I have several bags of just lids, rings, funnels, pectin, etc. sitting on one shelf. It makes me so happy to see everything so neatly organized.
Wow! I can’t believe how much you’ve accomplished. You’re family is blessed to have you feeding them! I’m keen to try out some of your recipes, especially the strawberry bread one, although I’ll have to wait till strawberry season. (We’re in the middle of a New Zealand winter right now.)
Also, quick question. What are sloppy joes? We don’t have them in NZ.
Sloppy joes: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/yummy-and-easy-sloppy-joes