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Category: Baking Day

Why I’m Back to Grocery Shopping, Menu-Planning, and Freezer Cooking Again (it might surprise you!)

As you may have noticed if you follow me on social media or watch my Facebook Live videos, I’ve been doing a lot more deal-shopping recently.

I feel like this Year of Rest has impacted me in so many different and powerful ways — some very personal and some very practical. One of those practical ways it has impacted me is in helping me to clarify what I love, what I want to invest my time in, and what I want to be sharing here on this blog.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Something on Clearance

In all honesty, as this blog grew, life got so full of good things. Things like speaking opportunities, travel opportunities, writing opportunities, interview opportunities, partnership opportunities, etc. These began crowding out my time to do things I loved — like deal-shopping, menu-planning, and cooking.

Between the business growth, my team’s growth to accommodate the business growth, and trying to juggle everything and still make my family a priority, a lot of my former loves had to take a backseat.

I just couldn’t do it all. And I had to choose between spending my time growing a business and keeping up with the demands or shopping deals, finding markdowns, menu-planning based upon what’s on sale at the store, freezer cooking, and making things from scratch.

I struggled with this because the whole reason I had this growing business in the first place was because I was known for being so frugal and finding such great deals. So it felt weird to let go of some of my frugal practices or hand them off to Jesse in order to focus more time on the business.

Truthfully, I missed it. I missed the days of being able to just leisurely stroll the store seeing what markdowns they had. I missed being able to tinker around in the kitchen. I missed getting to make some of our favorite recipes. I missed getting to share those things here on the blog, too.

And I know many of you missed these things, as well. But you’ve been patient with me as I’ve struggled, grown, floundered, learned, experimented, and fumbled along.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Something on Clearance

For that, I say thank you so much. Thank you for sticking around here with all of the changes and ebbs and flows. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for giving me the space to experiment, the space to try new things, the space to stretch my wings and stretch myself as a person.

I took the first 6 months of this year to do a lot of pondering, sitting, thinking, processing, and letting go. With all my heart I can say that deciding to cut way back, to say “no” to almost everything new, and to downsize just about everything when it came to the business, was one of the greatest blessings to me and to my family.

I have joy and peace that I’ve not experienced in years. I feel so much calmer. I feel so much happier. And I feel so much more settled in who I am, what I’m called to, and who I’m not and what I’m not called to. 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Something on Clearance

Many people have asked me what my plans are for the rest of this year and how I see the Year of Rest playing out and changing my life.

Well, I plan to spend the rest of this year similar to how I’ve spent the first 6 months, with a few exceptions. As I’ve had space in my life to breathe and try new things, I’ve also had space to start doing some of those things I used to do that I’ve missed so much — like deal-shopping, shopping the markdowns, menu-planning, and freezer cooking.

And I’ve enjoyed it oh so much! I realized that even though our income is in a different place now and we aren’t on a beans and rice budget, I get so much fulfillment from finding great deals, planning a menu based upon the markdowns, and cooking healthy and yummy food for my family.

So, all this to say: while Jesse is still going to be doing some of the cooking and grocery shopping (because he discovered he really enjoys it, too!), I’m taking a lot more of it over again (because I’ve missed it so much!). Which means that there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing a lot more of menu-planning, cooking, and grocery shopping posts around here again. 🙂

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Something on Clearance

I’m excited to feel like I’ve “come full circle” in sorts… getting back to my roots and back to some of the foundational parts of what this blog was founded on in the first place.

I don’t regret the journey it took for me to get here. I’ve learned so much along the way.

I’ve learned that fame and success aren’t where the joy is. I’ve learned that blog numbers and income numbers don’t equal happiness. And ultimately, I’ve learned that I find a lot more fulfillment in the quiet, small, simple spaces of life.

I’m not going to run from stages or platforms or opportunities if I feel like it’s in line with my priorities, but I’ve stopped chasing after more. Because, at the end of the day, I’ve discovered that I already have enough… exactly where I am. 

This Week’s Freezer Cooking (yes, I’m *finally* back to it again!)

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

So, as you may have noticed, after years of being a big advocate of Freezer Cooking, I had sort of fallen off the bandwagon.

Well, “sort of fallen off the bandwagon” isn’t even close to accurate.

I fell off hard and didn’t even attempt to get back up on the bandwagon. I kind of just laid on the side of the road and tried to pretend I wasn’t once such a hardcore freezer cooking proponent. 🙂

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

I could state a dozen different reasons why I stopped freezer cooking, but the truth of the matter is that I let other things take a higher priority. And since Jesse’s been doing so much of the cooking, we’ve been surviving just fine without me regularly stocking the freezer.

However, now that summer is here, school is finished, and I feel like I have more breathing room in our schedule, the freezer cooking itch resurfaced again.

For a little while, I tried to ignore the itch.

But then I thought of all the yummy things I used to stock the freezer with. And, well, my appetite got the better of me and I came to my senses and realized that I should stop ignoring the itch and actually get up and do something about it.

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

So I looked through the refrigerator, cupboards, and freezer and made a real freezer cooking list.

And I felt all domestic and homemaker-y just by writing the list.

{Of course, I’m one of those weird people who just absolutely adores list-writing and lists. They make me so happy!}

Here’s what I put on this list:

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

I made the Barbecued Chicken first because I wanted to get it in the oven for dinner. This is literally the easiest recipe on the planet. A bottle of barbecue sauce dumped over chicken breasts.

(I used frozen chicken breasts and stuck it all straight in the oven. Which meant it had to cook longer and probably goes against all the cooking rules. But whatever. I’m a cooking rebel like that. ;))

You can also cook this in the crockpot or on the grill. It’s yummy however you cook it!

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

 This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

Berries have been on sale at Aldi and elsewhere recently, so we’ve been in berry heaven around here. We had some extras and I wanted to freeze them for smoothies. Why? Because my kids down smoothies in summer like their life depends upon it! 🙂

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

Okay, I sort of lied. Because I told you Barbecued Chicken was the easiest recipe on the planet. Except, I think Italian Chicken might tie for first place when it comes to the Easiest Recipes on the Planet Contest.

{If there really was such a contest, you know that I could enter pretty much all my recipes in it. Because, well, I’m the cook who likes one-bowl recipes with fewer than seven ingredients and two steps, thank you very much!}

This recipe is such a winner and every time I serve it to people they rave about it. And then I’m kind of embarrassed when they ask me for the recipe. 😉

People always wonder how I can make so many different recipes in such a short amount of time. Well, it’s because my “recipes” are so crazy easy that we probably shouldn’t even call them recipes. But they are food that my people eat and love and that I make with ingredients (even if there are only two or three of said ingredients!), so that qualifies them as “recipes”, right?

{If you just said “wrong”, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to be wrong! I never like to be wrong, ever, but especially not if it means I have to start using multiple bowls and steps and ingredients I can’t pronounce. No, ma’am!}
This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Southwest Rollups recipe has been a family favorite since the beginning of our marriage. It’s easy (of course!), frugal, and filling. 

I got lazy and decided to change things up a little this time around. Instead of rolling up the filling inside the tortillas, I tried making it like a sort of Southwest Rollup Lasagna. It was super easy, but we haven’t tasted it yet to see if we like it this way or not.

(That’s the only downside to posting about my freezer cooking the week I cook… We haven’t actually tried everything yet! Because the point of freezer cooking is so I have things in the freezer for later! ;))

I think it will work well, but it does kind of negate the whole “being able to pop a rollup in the microwave at any time of the day or night” thing that the usual way of making the recipe allows you to. However, I don’t think my family will complain.

Plus, it will guarantee that no one sneaks rollups without me knowing about it and then me going to serve my family rollups and finding that they are all G-O-N-E! Don’t ask me how many times that has happened!

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session
This Week's Freezer Cooking Session
This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

I loved this Mac & Cheese recipe so much that I had to write a whole post swooning over it already. You can go read it here.

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session
This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

And I made Freezer-Friendly PB&J Sandwiches — a perfect thing to have in the freezer on busy summer days! I even did a quick video about it because so many people have asked me about this “recipe” recently. Watch the video here.

This Week's Freezer Cooking Session

And I saved the best for last! This Berry Crisp is amazing. Amazing, I tell you. (I used blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. I also added some almonds to the crust and used flour instead of almond meal.)

Truth be told, I had no plans to put this beauty in the freezer. It was going straight into my stomach as soon as it was done.

I had it for dessert last night and then again for breakfast this morning. I told myself it was basically like eating a bowl of oatmeal with fruit. Ahem. 🙂

{I’m so good at justifying eating dessert for breakfast. I mean, don’t you know that chocolate cake is basically like eating a cupcake which is basically like a muffin? And muffins are healthy and 100% breakfast food. Therefore, you can totally eat chocolate cake for breakfast! ;)}

So there you have the full scoop on my freezer cooking from this week! It felt so good to be making ahead food in the kitchen and it feels SO good to have food at-the-ready in the freezer.

Now tell me, why on earth did I ever think it was okay to fall off the Freezer Cooking bandwagon?? I have no idea… but I can tell you this: I’ve hopped back up on the train and plan to be sharing lots more freezer cooking posts with you in the coming weeks and months! 🙂

Do you have any great freezer cooking recipes to share that you think I should try? Share the link in the comments!

10 Healthy Crockpot Freezer Meals In One Hour

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

10 Healthy Crockpot Freezer Meals in One Hour

Kelly from New Leaf Wellness has a great list of 10 Healthy Crockpot Freezer Meals In One Hour. Her free download includes grocery lists and recipes for all of the meals.

Psst! Looking for even more freezer cooking meals? Be sure to check out the extensive New Leaf Wellness eCookbook Collection! It has something for everybody — even those with specific diets such as gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, and more.

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