Monday, October 31, 2011

Challenge Accepted.

I follow a good number of blogs, as you will see in the right margin (scroll down). Every so often one of these blogs inspires me to do something.
  • This past weekend, Cake Wrecks inspired me to get out of the house and have some laughs and eat some cake on a Saturday afternoon. (Okay. Enticing me to eat cake really isn't such an achievement, but doing so out of the house? Where there are ... people? That's a challenge.)
  • The Bloggess (caution: salty language) and Dooce have inspired me to stop hiding my mood disorder.
  • My niece Diane mentioned a free, online photography course on her blog, Diane, Diapers and Drool, and really got me going with my camera.
  • Kristine at Wait in the Van, with her Product of Silence and my friend Stephanie, whose blog is All Things Conceivable, (and who bravely shared her struggle with infertility and is well on her way to producing a novel as well as twin girls), both inspired me to do a little creative writing. (If I didn't have four children already, Stephanie might have inspired me to have a baby!)
  • Raeanne at Everyday Rae challenges me to make positive changes for my health.
  • And, last but not least, Diane, Raeanne as well as John and Sherry at Young House Love inspired me to check out Pinterest, which is one of my new online addictions. Seriously. I lose track of time when I'm on there.
This last item is what nudged me to work on this particular post. Young House Love has challenged their readers to actually follow through on one of the items they've pinned on Pinterest.

See, Pinterest is all about eye candy: you "pin" pictures to a virtual peg board for others to see and "repin" onto their own boards. It abounds with home decor, photography, architecture, fashion, design, do-it-yourself projects ... you get the idea. The pitfall is that it's easy to collect all these things and never do anything with them. As Sherry notes, "I’ve pinned 1001 things and only done about 1% of them." 

So, taking up Sherry's challenge, today I'm going to write about one of the items I've pinned. This is one of my "boards." Some of the things on this board are funny, some are yummy, and some are just pretty, but they are all [technically] edible.
Top row: Construction cake; tomato-feta salad; pumpkin vomiting Guacamole;

Middle row: Jell-o worms; a spectacular cake; instructions to frost cupcakes;

Bottom row: instructions for setting a table; a candy "breakfast" using M&Ms; long-lasting salad-in-a-jar
Today, I decided to use this one to respond to the challenge:
It's a recipe for Freezer Cooking With Slow-Cooker Recipes
from Mama and Baby Love. Doesn't it all look tidy and efficient?

This is my version of the recipes.
It's a jpg, so you can print it, but you can't copy-and-paste the text. Sorry.

Printing Instructions:  Right-click the recipe/picture and select Open in a NEW TAB. Print from the new tab.
When I decide to take on a project, I don't always consider when would be the best moment to carry it out. When I painted our basement ceiling, I dawdled until it turned into a near catastrophe. In this case, I suddenly decided at 4:15 on a Sunday that there was no time like the present.

I made up a shopping list, hopped in the car and went to Farm Boy, the produce store nearby. Eighty-five dollars later I came home with two big bags of food, including some Hungarian paprika. That all needed paring and chopping. Did I mention that this was at dinnertime?

There was about half an hour left before dinner was ready, so Steve helped get the meat and carrots under control while I worked on the rest of the veggies and the mango [mmmm! Delicious, sweet, ripe mango].

You knew I would go all "cooking show" and lay out all the ingredients, didn't you? It felt very professional doing it that way, but it sure made for a lot of dishes.

And anyone who has seen me in the kitchen [or seen me move, for that matter] knows that I am a little on the clumsy side. This project had a LOT going on, which made for a LOT of mess.
You can tell by the streaks of flour that I had already spilled and wiped once.
Dinner was ready long before I was finished peeling, chopping, measuring and combining. In my naivete, I thought I was very close to being finished, so I told the family to go ahead and eat while I finished chopping and measuring.
Curry recipe, assembled.
I ran out of curry powder because I hadn't thought to check my spices when I did my grocery list. And I was fortunate I'd picked up the special paprika because it turned out we were out of paprika as well! As there is more than one chef in the household, I should know better than to assume we have all the "staples" in stock. 

I failed to appreciate that these were real recipes, not just add-a-can-of-mushroom-soup-and-bake recipes. An hour or so later ...

Steve and the kids had finished eating, so Steve helped with the final shaking and labeling of the packages.

Stephanie, the creator of this approach, notes that, "Even with doing it this way, it was still a 3 hour affair, but during this time I was able to finish all the cooking AND the cleaning." Well, I didn't do all the cleaning (I left the bowls for Brian to put in the dishwasher),  but I did do all the shopping within that three-hour window, so I guess that's not bad.

Here's what I ended up with, per meal:
  • A full, healthy, hearty meal ready to pop into the crock-pot before I go to work and ready to eat when we get home.
  • Half an hour of prep per recipe (more than that if you include Steve's time.)
  • $14 per meal for a family of six (I added more chicken for the barbecue chicken recipe, to make sure we each got a piece).
  • Zero additives.
  • No hidden egg, wheat or dairy, which is a big deal in our household. (There is pasta in the Goulash recipe, which I could have prepared separately, but didn't)
The real test will be in the eating, of course. I'll let you know how that goes.


  1. Yeah! That's awesome! I love doing a big prep on the weekend so dinners are easier to throw together after work. I've also completed a few pinterest projects and should do a follow up post. Also happy to add some inspiration into living healthy!

  2. I pinned that one from you, then looked at all the work and kinda thought "nah... I think I'm good...". Also, Jason hates vegetables.

    I have done a number of the recipes I've pinned, though, as well as a few of the small things around my house! Yay for great Pinterest ideas!


What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...