Recipes

Save Money, Eat Better

We’ve all seen the meal prep plans where you prep a bunch of meals, throw it in a freezer bag, put it in the Crockpot and its an easy dinner. Well I’ve looked at quite a few, saved them on my Pintrest, but have been too lazy to do them. Well for those readers who don’t know I had a brain aneurysm about 5 years ago. Complications have landed me back in the hospital several times. So with my physical limitations we, that is my husband and I moved into my mom’s house. After my dad passed, my brothers took turns living there. They have both moved on and are starting families of their own. So we decided that with moms physical limitations and mine it would make a good compromise and save us both some money.

Up to now she does the majority of the cooking since I can not. However, with cataract surgery looming in the immediate future, we have to figure out an easy way to cook meals. She will not be able to bend over or lift more than 10 pounds.

My husband hates being in the kitchen, he’ll help me cook but, he must have step by step instructions and you can’t assume anything. He cannot boil water without the microwave. My sister-in-law now lives across the street and has offered to help out but, they have two small children at home and my brother works out-of-town for weeks at a time.

So an alternative is to try freezer to crockpot meal prep. It’s that or takeout and frankly its too expensive and very unhealthy. So here’s what happened…

After looking at various pins on the subject we decided to do a combination of our favorites and try very few we’ve never had. This required some adoptions of our normal favorite recipes. At the end of 2 days we have about 30 dinners in the freezer, ready to go. So here are the tried and true recipes we used.

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1 Month of Dinner Ready to go. Cannot believe we didn’t try this one sooner.

2 Meat loaves                           Chili                                                  Chicken Caprese

Orange Chicken                       White Chicken Chili                        2 Irish Skillet

Beef Stew                                 2  Moms Homemade Pizza             2 Spaghetti

Pepper Steak                           Beef tips with Mushrooms              Pot Roast with vegetables

Mongolian Beef Broccoli      Greek Turkey Burgers                      Pork Loin Roast

2  Lasagna                                 Beef Stroganoff

 

Most are ready for a full day in the Crockpot. Some like the Ranch or Korean pork chops, Shrimp Scampi, Bratwurst, Liver and onions, Creamy Tuscan Salmon do not translate well to the freezer and are very easy prep and time to make day you want to enjoy. If you only want freezer to table just skip those. (I included them because they are favorites.) We took our time and since this was first time through. We spent time deciding what to make, how much and grocery list and shopping. With the hard work done, all you have to do is enjoy.

If you have a recipe we should add to our list we are open to new ideas to answer the age old question of “What’s for Dinner”. I hope this makes cooking easier and you get to enjoy the extra time not spent in the kitchen. By the way Mom’s surgery went well with no complications. We had so much fun doing it and seeing the valuable time it saves it will be happening more often in our home. So when you are tired after a busy day this is quick, healthier for your family and economical. A home cooked meal beats a take out burger and fries etc… anytime.

One last note…. My husband and I are both Diabetic so the recipes have been talored for special dietary meals and we must be doing something right since neither of us require drastic medical for the condition. Probably to many burgers and fries that put us here, but that’s my perspective.

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Easter Egg-stravaganza

Are you looking to amp up your Easter Egg Hunt? As the years have passed, we now have diverse ages of participants. Starting with a 10-year-old 5, and two 2 year olds. So as usual when seeking inspiration I flip over to Pintrest to see what i can find. They never let me down. Everything from non-candy egg fillers to neat coloring technic and several ways to make the hunt more fun.

jensperspectiveblog.com

The Scavenger hunt looks like particular fun for the older girls, while Egg exercises look entertaining for the littlest ones. To make this fun I think we’ll try assigning a specific color to each child. (This will also work well with certain food allergies and sensitivities). Each younger child will need an adult paired with to read the exercises to them and make sure they are done before searching out the next egg.

The older girls will have to figure out and solve the clues to find their next egg. I may even add prizes to give incentive to the fun. It will also engage their parents in the game to entertain and participate in the fun.

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Before the big hunt I’m thinking of hosting an Easter Brunch complete with adults only punch. Coffee of course and maybe specialty coffee bar. This will give me the perfect reason to use my new espresso machine I got for Christmas. Regular orange juice for the kids and several selections for brunch itself.

A spinach and bacon Quiche, Easter egg fruit pizza, bunny shaped Orange rolls, and carrot shaped pre-rolled silverware. To make this easy cleanup, The Dollar Store is my go to for Tablecloths, plastic table ware, napkins and plates. I like the idea of very little cleanup. I can remember going to family gatherings and the ladies spent quite a bit of time after dinner putting food away and doing dishes. Even with the dishwasher it still took quite some time and more than one load. It’s not the most environmentally friendly, but in this case throwing away the plates, napkins, and tableware, cloth if need be saves hours that can be spent with little and big ones this Easter.

The phrase “They grow up so fast”, is more true than most of us think. It seems only yesterday of oldest was just learning to walk. She is now getting ready for her first ballet recital.

Easter Sunday

To one and all I hope these ideas inspire your family fun. To all the hunters out there good luck and happy egg finding. Live, Love, Laugh, as your Easter is filled with wonder, good food and the blessing of family to surround you.

We love ideas and like to keep things fun, new, and exciting, so what do you do for this occasion? Share your traditions, recipes, menus, games, and gifts. We’d love to hear from you. If you like any of their ideas featured here make sure you visit the links to their sites.

We appreciate every like and share, or drop us an email at jensperspective71@yahoo.com

Managing Your Year

Facing the rest of the year ahead.

If you’re like me we look at the year ahead and try to put habits in place that will make it easier to handle. My Pintrest boards are getting lots of added ideas. Every thing from recipes to holiday ideas, and don’t forget to update the calendars. I take this time out to both show myself some love, and get organized. Anyone who knows me has seen me go a little OCD when being organized. I try to start with the basics. Holidays, Anniversarys, home and garden, Birthdays and finance, parties, and other projects throuout the year. I start with the basics.

My planner/engagement/brain for the year. I like a full desk size book. Why paper you ask? In the digital world we live in things like smartphone, tablets, smart tv, and even the laptop & desktop give us access to technology at our fingertips. Paper and pen are still my go to medium. I will probably add it to my digital devices, but for my main list I prefer paper. It’s where I start from. If you’ve ever tried updating or creating a note when you were fast asleep you’ll know why I still keep my pen and paper.

I enjoy daily/weekly/monthly views in my planner. It helps me stay on track with both what I need to do today as well as looking ahead in the week or month. There are a lot of free pages available that can be printed however knowing myself, I would probably take a page out and loose it as I become involved in what ever project I’m currently working on. The last several years I’ve turned to Cat Naps.

It is wire bound so I can leave it open atop my desk for quick daily checkins. I have important dates, appointments, moon cycle, holidays, and contact info that I transfer yearly into everyone. I usually purge or make changes as I go. I know your reading this and saying I have all that in my phone. I do too, but the tangible works better to help me stay on track.

As the bills arrive by mail I enter the due dates, and mail by dates. Jot gift ideas as I come across them by person. I often hear people say I wish I had this or that, if appropriate I make a note of it and the name. As my husband and I do not have 9 to 5s it helps track both income and expenses.

My digital lifesaver is a financial program I read about in a top app review… from

I love it!!! There are lots of competition in this area, probably including your regular bank.

Prism is a safe and secure way to not only keep up with but pay my bills as well. “Prism is the easy personal finance app for managing and paying bills. • “Love, love, love this app! For those of you stranded by Mint Bills…..This IS your life preserver ..”

It gives reminders, schedules payments, income and current balances of both bank accounts and credit cards. It saves me a great deal of time, stamps, and energy. Unlike some I don’t have to go between apps to get all the info I need. it does take some time for initial setup but so worth it! Even locks the info on your phone if you left it up. Keeps prying eyes out of your personal information yet with a pin code it can easily be synced to all your devices.

With these two it’s easy to control the chaos in my world. Well time to finish this up because according to my handy book it says I have more to do before hubby gets home from his job. Weeding recipes for collection cookbook to be ready for Mothers Day, Plan Easter Family Gathering, and take some free time to catch up on my to be read pile of books. What do you do to stay on track in your busy life?? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Brrrr….  “Baby it’s Cold Outside”.

Turn on the volume and enjoy.


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Okay I know most of the country, are watching the weather maps and hating Florida. While we are not buried under several feet of snow, it’s too cold for us.

    Not to disappoint or irritate anyone, I do not live where we have subzero temps with bitting wind chill. We get our fair share of cooler weather. Last week our high was only in the 40’s. What gets us is the humidity down here. In summer the moisture in the air guarantees afternoon showers with only 20% precipitation. It weighs heavily on everything during our hot and humid months. Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas… you all get the same conditions. 

    What makes those frigid lows so bad here? We have no supplies nor experience with the snow and ice. Natives like me who were born here have very seldom even see it (unless on holiday somewhere north) or have moved here from cold climates. My hubby hails from Wisconsin,  and we have other family there and in Missouri.  He refuses to drive even with all his experience doing so.

    It’s not the sleet, snow, ice, or even blizzard conditions that keep us off the roads unless absolutely necessary. No my friends he will not drive with my fellow southerners who cannot drive in it.  “I freely admit this”.  We have no chains, snow tires, and the most salt we see is on the rim of a Margarita glass.

    This winter has been an interesting season so I thought with snow and ice reaching as far south as Tampa it would be a good time to remind ourselves of cold weather preperations since it’s not over yet.

    For most of us it’s not very different from hurricane prep. Batteries, water, food, prescriptions, and extra warm blankets are just a few.

    Hurricanes – What you need to know

    • Take measures to protect people, property, plants, and pets.
    • Store some extra gallons of water in case of frozen or burst pipes.
    • Have cold weather attire. 60% of body heat is lost from the top of your head. Warm knitted hats are helpful, and those that block wind can be added if needed outside.
    • I love my Isotoner gloves! The soft inner layer keeps hands toasty warm while the leather outer layer blocks both the wind and wet, your hands may come into contact with.
    • If your hat doesn’t cover them you may want to consider ear muffs. Since I have grown my hair long again I generally leave it down to help.
    • Invest in a warm outside coat. Wool pea coats ( I got mine at JCPENNEY) still one of the best and as most are lined they are very effective. I prefer mine in a longer trench length for days I may wear a long skirt.

      New Years Eve

    • Wrap outside or exposed pipes in fabric or foam. If you have something like a Dollar Store pool noodle,  cut for length and secure with zip tie. Protection that will hold up all year long.
    • Move potted plants inside or cover with plastic sheeting, to create green house warmth around the plants.
    • Bring animals indoors. If it’s too cold for you it’s too cold for them.
    • Make sure if you cannot bring animals indoors that they have heated shelter from the weather, and plenty of food and water.
    • Great story with happy ending for caring for community cats.

      Www.alleycatadvocates.org

    As for me well I just got a notice that the temps are going back into freezing this weekend.  I’m also goning to order some more Florida Sunshine, to go with the hearty recipes inspired by the cold.  We  are out of our stash we got for Christmas.  With colds and flu’s on the rise the citrus will help our systems ward them off.   Stay warm my friends.  How do you stay warm this winter?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or drop us an  email at.   jensperspective71@yahoo.com 

    It’s Beginning to look A Lot Like Christmas

    Ahhh as the song says break out the Holly .  As everyone gets ready Christmas.   Lights up outside,  tree with all the ornaments.   My first we’re kept and passed down to me so when additions to our family arrive it’s sure to be on a list.   At 37 my first halmark rocking horse holds a place of honor.   I find my self really missing my dad this time of the year.   Every year after my parents bought this house my dad took great pride in decorating the outside with lights.   For the last several years it was a special memory that we shared.

    I would take my regular day off and meet early for breakfast,  then spend the day getting them up.   I climb the ladders , he hands them up and helps with ground level,  and the front porch.   As grown children we all have our own families,  so usually we would be finishing when my mom got home work . She would cook something wonderfully homemade,  my husband would join us,  for a nice quiet evening to admire our hard work. 
    I thank God everyday for the time i got with my father before cancer took him from us.  
    “No more lives torn apart,  everyone will find a friend,  right will always win.   This is my grown up Christmas wish list”.  It hits home at this time of year .  I was lucky and reminded at my brothers wedding when I watched my brothers wife enjoy her father/daughter dance. 

    So as the shopping , decorating and general merry making goes full speed ahead,  make time for the special moments,  yes even adult children should hope to have them while parents and grandparents are still here.   I’m working on a family cookbook full of favorite recipes from mom, grandma, aunts and cousins before they disapprare.  I’m including photos and memories disks.  I look forward to baking with my mom every year it’s one of those special times .  I hope my nieces get to join in the fun.  You can be assured that powdered sugar and flour will dust a lot of surfaces,  and the adults will have “spiked egg juice”.   That’s eggnog according to my five year old niece .  So here’s to family recipe’s,  and Holly,  whatever the tradition share your favorites.   Enjoy every moment for time and those memories are what we take with us always.   In the meantime I know my dad will always live on in our hearts,  and what we pass on will shape them and our world in future years to come.

    Watch “Let There Be Peace On Earth (lyrics)” on YouTube

    All attribute to original owner.  I Do not own video.
    Warm wishes from our family to yours.  May you have plenty to be thankful for!

    Giving Thanks

     

    Cooking Up Memories

    Wow! Where did the year go? I would like to apologize for the hiatus in posts.
    It was not planned that’s for sure. As many of you know I have been taking physical therapy since my spinal surgery two years ago, however as I prepared to leave for my weekly appointment I started experiencing shortness of breath. As I attempted to get in my wheelchair, I started not being able to breathe. I asked my husband to call 911. I awoke 5 days later having never met the paramedics who came and transported me to hospital. I was in respiratory distress, a breathing tube was inserted and kept in a medically induced coma while testing and stabalizing treatment was given. Luckily the drugs they gave means I remember nothing about this obviously scary time I spent in ICU.

    Ten days in step down care before release to a skilled nursing facility. After another twenty days ton make sure prescribed therapy worked I was released to go home on October 30th. As a result I combined my homecoming dinner with my birthday celebration also the 30th. With Thanksgiving fast approaching the stress of the holidays starts creeping in. My answer is to remember just how lucky I am. The main thing I would tell anyone is to cherish the time the we have with family and friends. Instead of coveting toys, gadgets,clothing, or other material items take a brake from the hustle; look around and see all the blessing in your life you have to be thankful for. Friends, family, pets, even a kind word from strangers.

    One event that I will never forget ; I think I met my guardian angel during my stay in hospital. After friends, family, visited I have to admit I was feeling really down with fears creeping in. I went to bed that night to shut off my brain from all those stupid thoughts. So 3am comes around and they collect blood for laboratory testing. The room was freezing, this beautiful young girl felt how cold my hand was she was encouraging me to get warm. I’m not proud of it but I was feeling pretty low and I just did not care which way it ended. She stayed with me. Held and rubbed my hand to warm it. She only left long enough to get some heated blankets. The rest of the time she held my hand and sought to reassure me that I would be deeply missed in this world. This girl didn’t know me at all. I’ve never had someone touch my life so profoundly. I try to make it a point to leave nothing unsaid. When I told her how mush her gestures and caring touched me she replied that she was just glad that she could help. After making me feel better she collected her sample, encouraged me to get some more rest because the sun was gonna come up soon enough. When my door closed the biggest thought was this bright light in this world just left me and I didn’t even know her name.

    I’m happy to say I related this to my wonderful nurse and she agreed that it was in deed special. She helped me find out her name and since patients do not talk directly to their supervisor I could mention her in glowing terms in the follow-up survey following my stay. Wherever you are Whitney I want you to know how special you are. I hope this holiday season is indeed magical. If by some chance you get to read this please know how special you are and I hope you continue being a light in this sometimes dark world.

    As we move into the holiday season I hope the world benefits from many more just like her.  I have many people who are special to me and I have seen evidence of how simple gestures  can touch the lives of others but this is probably the first time I have been so profoundly touched by a stranger.  I hope there are many more like her and they continue sharing that special gift with the world.

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