Sunday, March 21, 2010

Freezer Cooking Part 2.

My first session went pretty good. I ended up having to go to the store once I realized that I'm a math-tard and was gonna get WAY more meals than I thought. I spent a total of $85.66 and used $70.36 of it (percentage wise by item) and could have saved more if I went to Aldi for all of it and/or looked for sales!

I did some more cooking today, so in total I had meat (16.5 lb ground beef + 3 lb ground turkey) and a whole chicken + 3 breasts I had thawed which made:

15 lb of meat mix that goes into almost everything (next time I will omit the onion, celery and peppers because my family are weenies), 4 lb Meatloaf mix, 6 cups of cubed chicken and 5-(20 oz) and 4-(1 cup) frozen blocks of chicken broth which now live in 3 Ziplocs in the freezer plus about 2 quarts in the fridge that I'm undecided about and 1.5 lb extra ground beef that I froze by itself.

That turned into:
3 chilis
1 ziti
3 macaroni hamburger
2 sloppy joes (with extra meat in each cause it just didn't look like enough)
2 regular shepherds pies plus a mini for Travis' dad
2 chicken curry
1 batch of bbq chicken that we ate last night
1 sloppy jakes (the regular sloppy joe plus corn mixed in, leftover from the shepherds pies)
2 meatloaves
12 mini meatloaves (more like meatballs and will be 1 meal instead of 2 like I thought)
and I have a meat mix bag of 6 cups in my fridge waiting for inspiration.

That's 18 meals plus unmade soup and 6 cups (2-3 meals worth) of meat mix. That's $3.50ish per meal. !!!. I am so excited about that. It was a LOT of work but worth it I think.

I'm sure that if I had not been sidetracked by 2 hospital visits to my MIL that I would have been able to finish instead it took a day and a half.

I will plan another session in a few weeks. I used a fancy schmancy spreadsheet to come up with my totals and percentages and savings had I gone to Aldi. Next time I will only get 10 lb of meat plus a chicken or 2, pork chops and some corn tortillas to make an enchilada pie.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Freezer Cooking Part 1.

So, I got laid off 2 weeks ago yesterday and I have been trying to find some creative ways to save money while attempting to eat healthier. I went to the library and got 2 books by Deborah Taylor-Hough called "Frozen Assets" and "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" both with the tag line "Cook for a day, eat for a month". The theory - just like it sounds. 1 day of cooking for 30 meals, and by creating menus around big sale items (like ground beef and chicken) you can save lots of money. In her example, a $200 shopping trip equaled 41 meals for her family of 6. !. !!. So... I am giving it a go.

Today, I made a list of a few items that I want to try in a mostly ground beef mini-session. I am following her recipes for the most part because they look good and they have been freezer-tested.

My menu choices = 12 meals, some with leftovers:
Sloppy joes - 2 batches of 6 servings = 3 meals of 4 servings.
Texas chili - 1 batch of 12 servings = 3 meals of 4 servings.
Poor mans casserole - 2 batches of 6 servings = 2 casserole meals w/leftovers
Chicken curry - 1 batch of 10 servings = 2 meals of 5 servings
Chicken noodle/rice soup - 2 batches from stock, leftover chicken & veggies.

I spent $70 on:
15 lb ground beef
3 lb ground turkey
1 whole turkey
3 onions
2 green peppers
bunch of celery
32 oz diced tomatoes
32 oz kidney beans
1 can of sloppy joe sauce
1 gallon of milk
(on hand I had 1 can sloppy joe sauce, taco seasoning, can corn, frozen veg, potatoes, cheese, can mushrooms and an apple plus other normal pantry stuff)

Right now I have the chicken boiling in a stockpot over it's body with water, plus 1/2 an onion and 3 stalks of celery. This will make the chicken curry meals plus leave about 2 quarts of chicken stock to make soup from.

Tomorrow after I get the kids to school/daycare I'll chop my veggies and brown my ground beef/turkey. Ugh... how the heck does one brown 18 lbs of meat? lol. Very Carefully!!

Ok, so I just did my math and the meat mixture is 5 lb = 12 cups of mix. My 18 lbs will be about 42 lbs. I only need 12 to make what I listed. Whoopsy! Let me add some more meals!!

I'll update tomorrow with my final menus. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ribbons Hat

I had this idea for a Ribbons hat that is ribbed and each rib has a ribbon and vice versa. I've decided on a flip up brim thing, so the chart is done upside down and backwards (knit purl wise) than the rest of the hat. I did it this way so that the ribbing would match nicely and I like the decreases I chose when they're done on the knit side.

I've swatched it out and put together the proposal to send to Knit Picks for their Independent Designer Program. It's with some friends for input now, and hopefully in the next day or so I can send it to them. They put the patterns up for sale on their website and preview them in the Knit Picks catalog, for $1.99 each, and that gets paid out to the designer. All of it - which is rare.

I've decided that money received this design (or if it's more than $500, then half) will fund my Making Strides walk. It was such a blast to do last year and I look forward doing it again.

If my design gets chosen I'll let you know!!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Well that was interesting.

Yesterday morning I got laid off from my job. Yes, it sucks but mainly because I really loved doing what I did. I was a meeting planner for an association and it was SO much fun! I also have one of the best friends that I've ever had there. It is a sad thing but I am confident that something better is coming. I will take this opportunity to work on my designing - you never know what'll happen!

SO, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Not so much to find a job (although if something awesome comes I'll be thrilled) but more for clarity and direction.

The past month or so I have had so many design ideas and I've been really trying to make the time to swatch and sketch what's been in my head (and in my notebooks). I've begun to see design elements everywhere and I believe that this is why.

Oh, I finished Kaitlyn the other night and wore her yesterday to work. I haven't had a pic taken of her completed but I am going to give her a wash first to see if I want to do anything with the collar or if it will relax enough as it is to not be wonky.

So that's it for me for now.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kaitlyn is DONEish

I finished binding off Kaitlyn during lunch. She is giving me ulcers. No, Simply Soft is giving me ulcers, Kaitlyn was good.

When you think of "No Dye Lot" What does that mean to you? Well, to me that means that when my stash skeins run out, I can go to Joann's and buy another skein and it will match.

Apparently I am not correct.

This is the right sleeve. I changed yarn about 5 inches from the end. You can CLEARLY see that they are not the same color. You can Really clearly see it in person in a dark room. The flash helps, as does sunlight, but it's there. When I noticed the difference I had 2 choices. A) hunt down a skein of the Berry Blue from everyone I know and see if theirs matches any better or B) keep knitting. I kept knitting. UGH! However, If I ever see another skein that matches I will not hesitate to rip that sucker back out and fix it.

So tonight I will weave in all her ends and hopefully wear it tomorrow. Yes, I should give her a bath first to see if she relaxes a bit in the neck and sleeves but I am the queen of impatience. We'll see how the evening goes. :)

Next I will be a swatching fool because I have SO many ideas floating in my head that need to get out. I'm just glad that I decided to start writing them down and sketching the out. And by sketching I use the term VERY loosely.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stress and all

Today I'm kinda anxious, for a few different reasons.

Number 1 - I sent off my application to the Associate Professional program to the CGOA. I had to write a letter talking about what I've done and what I expect to do in the next couple years. It was like a self-proclaimed ego trip. It was odd. SO, that is in the mail and hopefully I'll hear back from them soon.

In doing that little exercise I've come to some conclusions about what I'd actually like to do in my designing. I would like to offer projects with both crochet and knit patterns to go along with it. Take for example the twins' quilts. I have almost finished crocheting one in pink and cream, in which only 1 seam has to be, uh, seamed. 12 measly inches of whipstitch. For a kinda-quilt. That makes me happy because I HATE seaming. A lot. I have been playing with this for a while, and since Kaitlyn's overtaken my life I haven't worked on it but I will soon. It is the closest thing to a finished design I have right now. I also think it would would look awesome knitted up, where you could offer different textures for corners instead of just different colors. So that will be next up. It will take a while to actually DO the knitting but I think the design/pattern will come out easily.

I have 2 sweaters, a hat, purse and little eyemask thing that I want to do the same thing with. Yeah, the design muse has been beating me over the head lately. I am just itching to finish with Kait so I can swatch. I have vowed not to do anything else until she's done so I'm trying to boogie. (I am trying to put together some squares for a comfortghan but that isn't being counted right now since my total is 1.5 squares. Not enough to think about being a ghan.)

Number 2 - today is my review day for my real job. I hate review day.

Number 3 - Travis' Grandma has surgery on Thursday - she's who the ghan is for. It's kinda freaking me out.

And finally, I have decided on a new name for my Design Business - Hook 'N Stick Designs. I've created a blog for it - - it's just starting out but thats where I'll put design stuff as it comes out, and keep this one for regular life and crochet stuff. That's it for now, have a great day!

Monday, March 01, 2010

No Gold for Me

I didn't finish Kaitlyn yet. I've almost run out of yarn and at 12:07 I called it. 2 blisters, tennis elbow and twitchy eye later... I gave up. I shoved her unceremoniously into my knitting bag and went to bed. I slept like the dead!

I am still proud of my accomplishment. I did knit a lot. It was a challenge for me, a BIG challenge. And yes, if I had spent less time playing around online holding knitting in my lap and actually knitting then I probably would have made it. No, I still would have run out of yarn. Ugh!!!

Here she is right now in all her glory:

There's always 2012. I'll give it a better go then.