01 October 2013

sister security detail

This morning is the first morning of enrichment classes at our web academy.  The school offers optional, on-site classes twice a week: PE, math support and writing plus semi-monthly science labs and additional electives for the high-schoolers.  It gives the kids a chance to meet other students, get some energy out and interact with the teachers face-to-face. It also gives me two mornings a week with just Nolan and Evie.  Our kids are regular attendees. 

As Mason was eating his oatmeal, he remarked, "There is this boy named Evan who kept bothering Sarah last year.  He's my age, and I am going to tell him to leave her alone."

Puttering in the kitchen, I answered "I love it that you want to protect your sister!"

To which he replied, "She doesn't want me to protect her, so I am just going to have to do it in secret."

My heart swelled with pride.  I love the nobility of character that leads my son to protect his sisters.  I love seeing the sibling love shine through, especially since it is hard to spot some days.

10 February 2012

Bulk cooking: Chicken: Jan 2012

Another Zaycon chicken order, but only 80 lbs this time.  I really didn't have the energy for even 2 boxes, but these meals rescue me from dinner prep so often that I can't afford to run out!

Instead of having one long, "Just do it" session, I broke it down.  We did one box Friday and one box Saturday.  With 3 people working, it took less than an hour per box.

Person 1 trims the fat and cut the breast in half, using kitchen shears.  Person 2 slices off the tender then fillets the breast.  Person 3 labels and fills freezer bags.  Voila!  Done.

I kept it simple this time, relying on prepared sauces instead of making everything from scratch.  Here's the breakdown of meals:

  • 20 lbs cooked, chopped chicken, for salad, pizza, tossing with pasta, etc., 7 bags total
  • 4 trays, 10 fillets each, parmesan chicken
  • 5 bags BBQ sauce chicken
  • 4 bags Creamy cesar chicken
  • 4 bags Honey Chipotle chicken (recipe below)
  • 4 bags diced, raw chicken for soups and stir frys
28 meals for a family of 9 =  ~2.86# per meal at $1.69 per lb. = an average meat cost of $4.82 per meal. ($0.54 per person) My goal for dinner is to keep the total cost under $15. ($1.67 per person). So this leaves plenty of room in the budget for side dishes and the sauces I used on the chicken.

(When I posted this to Facebook, I forgot to include the cooked chicken in my total.)

Honey Chipotle Chicken

3 cups prepared salsa
1 cup honey
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

Blend all ingredients together in the blender. This will make ~4 cups sauce.  Add it to fresh chicken before freezing.  I add 1/2 cup sauce for each pound of chicken. Label and freeze.

To prepare, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Dump the chicken into a large casserole dish and cook for ~45 min at 350 F. OR using tongs, carefully retrieve the chicken from the bag and lay it flat on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Discard remaining sauce. Cook for 45 min at 350. (The 2nd method results in a nicer presentation.)

Using a sharpie, I label my bags with the name of the recipe, the date and either the number of fillets (F) or the weight of the tenders (T).

For example:
Honey Chipotle chicken
1/29/12                   10F


BBQ Chicken
1/29/12                   3.5# T

The point of this post is to emphasize that putting up a batch of meals isn't all that time consuming or difficult.

Any questions about the process?  or anything else? Do you have a go-to recipe for OAMC chicken?  What about ground beef?  (I pick up 40# this Saturday and need to get organized!)

*This post may contain affiliate links which support this blog. Thank you!

08 February 2012

a soft moment

"Mommy, willaputtabownmyhay?" asks Evie.

"You want me to put a clip in your hair?"

"No, Mommy.  A bow!"

"Okay, you want a bow in your hair?"


I put a clip in her hair.  I don't happen to have a bow handy.  Thankfully, she is satisfied.

"Danue, Mommy. Bye."

She turns to run from the room but stops just short of the door and turns, arms outstretched.

"Huh, Mommy?"

She runs back to hug me. Turns and heads towards the door again.  Stops, again. Turns with lips pursed.


She gives me a slobbery kiss, which I manage to direct to my cheek.  I kiss her cheek, thankful for the soft moment.  She is so very two that these moments are rare.

One last look over her shoulder, she smiles and is off to play with her siblings.