The Best Meatloaf (or Meatballs) Ever!!

Ok so I’m sure some of you are probably thinking eww yuck…meatloaf!! But seriously this is the best meatloaf I have ever had! It’s my grandma’s recipe and my mom made it when I was growing up and now I make it.

Since I’ve been talking about once a month cooking I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes for freezer meals. To catch up on my freezer meal series you can go here and here

Ingredients: 

  • 4 lbs group beef
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 2 cups onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups oatmeal or breadcrumbs 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix with dough hooks until full combined.

Meatloaf: Divide in half and put in two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or until they reach 160 degrees in the center.

Meatballs: Shape into meatballs and brown on both sides in an electric frying pan. Add 2 cups of water mixed with 2 tsp beef soup base. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. The broth can be strained and thickened to make gravy.

Serve with ketchup on the side!

For all you Meat Loaf lovers out there here is a video to take you back to 1993!!

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A Very Magical Princess Tea Party

My sweet Taylin turned 3 last week and I had so much fun planning her birthday party. She is really into princesses and dress up so I planned a Princess Tea Party in our back yard. Taylin’s favorite color right now is purple so I decided to do everything in purple, yellow and white. For the food I did a pretty simple menu but made the food look really pretty.

  • tea sandwiches – Ham and Cheese, and cream cheese with jelly cut with cookie cutters into hearts and stars
  • Sub Sandwiches for the adults
  • Fruit Kabobs – the fruit was also cut into fun shapes
  • Cheese kabobs
  • Baby carrots and celery in ranch dip

For the drinks I went to the Business Costco and got individual sized Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider, and an assortment of lemonade.

When the girls arrived I had a table where they could decorate a tiara – we had jewels and glitter stickers (from Dollar Tree) to decorate with.

We had a dress up station for them.  I had necklaces and bracelets for the girls to play with. I think Tay changed changed 3 different times!

After we ate and let the kids run and play a bit we had story time with princess Amy! One of my good friends dressed up in her wedding dress to be a princess for Tay’s party! The girls loved it!

After story time and presents we did cake. My step mom loves to make cakes so she made Taylin’s beautiful cake.

After cake we did the pinata – I made a pull string pinata but it didn’t really work so we let the girls hit the pinata!

Towards the end of the party we had some special visitors. My friend decided to crash Taylin’s girls only party and dressed her two boys up as Princes!! So stinkin cute!!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Tay’s party and made it so special! A couple more of my favorite pictures from the day!!

Shopping for Freezer Meals {Part 2}

This is part 2 of my freezer meal tutorial! You can read part 1 here!

After I have done my meal planning and created my shopping list I “shop” my pantry and mark off the items I already have.

Here is what I had in my pantry and freezer already. It’s not a lot but it’s a start!
I got the ground beef for $1.50 each because they were 2 day’s out from their sell by/freeze by date. I always check the clearance meat because you can usually get great deals…just make sure you freeze it right away!

Then I go shopping – it sounds pretty straight forward but for me I like to break it up into a couple of trips. We budget $150 every two weeks for groceries so if I were to go out and buy all of the ingredients in one trip it would wipe out a big portion of our budget. I generally spend around $100 on all the ingredients for my meals so if I spread that out over a couple of weeks then it doesn’t feel like such a hit to our budget.

So here is what my list looks like after “shopping” my pantry

Quantity Measurement Item Already Have?
1 piece Ham  
14 pounds Ground beef 3 pounds
2 large Pork roasts  
2 large Costco sized bag of chicken  
1 pound Sausage  
12 medium Onion  
3 15 ounce cans Petite diced tomatoes  
9 15 ounce cans Stewed tomatoes  
1 28 ounce Diced tomatoes  
3 6 ounce cans Tomato paste  
1 box Lasagna noodles  
1 can Evaporated milk  
1 16 ounce Low fat cottage cheese  
12 ounce Monterey jack cheese  
1 tub Fat Free Sour Cream  
1 bag Parmesan cheese  
1   Green pepper 1 Green Pepper
3   Red pepper  
1 24 ounce jar LaVictoria Salsa  
2 15 ounce cans Black beans 1 can
4 16 ounce cans Cannellini Beans  
2 cans  Cream of Chicken Soup  2 cans
2 cans Corn  
2 packages  Taco seasoning  2 packages 
5 15 ounce Thick and chunky cans of chili  
1 bottle Yoshida Sauce  
1 16 ounce bag  Split Peas 1 16 ounce bag
10 cups Fat free chicken broth 6 cups
2 large Carrots  
1 large bag Broccoli  
1 Jar Oat Bran  
1 Jar Wheat Germ  
1 box  Quart – Ziploc Bags  
3 9 x13  Foil pans   

A couple of additional items I added to my shopping list are:

  • Quart sized Freezer Ziploc bags – I freeze almost everything in Ziploc bags (taco meat, pulled pork, soups). If you lay them flat in the freezer they take up less space and work really well.
  • Foil pans for casseroles – I get mine at Dollar Tree – they have a great selection and are only $1!!

Start watching your weekly adds for what is on sale – and happy shopping!

My Lifesaver – Freezer Meals {Part 1}

When I was growing up I was home-schooled and I remember my mom doing once a month cooking. She would prep for 1 day and cook for 1 day and because we were home-schooled my brother and I had the pleasure of doing it with her. At the time it probably wasn’t my favorite thing to do but now I’m so grateful for learning because it set the foundation for what I do now.

I work full-time and so the last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is cooking a meal for my family. I do it even though I don’t want to because I know it’s important for my daughter and my family but it’s really not my favorite thing to do!!

The first thing I do when I decide to do a major cooking day is plan out which meals I want to cook. Since we are going into the fall I’m planning to do a few different soups because they freeze really well and it’s super easy to make large batches of them. Here are the meals I plan to make next month (most of these are more than one meal per recipe):

So now that I know what I’m cooking the next thing I do is look at all the recipes and determine what I need to buy for my cooking day. Because I’m quirky and love Excel I put all the ingredients in an Excel spreadsheet to create my list. I left out all the spices and anything I knew I already had. I created a column that say’s “Already Have” because I always “shop” my pantry before I go to the store so I’m not buying things I already have.

Quantity Measurement Item Already Have?
1 piece Ham
14 pounds Ground beef
2 large Pork roasts
2 large Costco sized bags of chicken
1 pound Sausage
12 medium Onion
3 15 ounce cans Petite diced tomatoes
9 15 ounce cans Stewed tomatoes
1 28 ounce can Diced tomatoes
3 6 ounce cans Tomato paste
1 box Lasagna noodles
1 can Evaporated milk
1 16 ounce tub Low fat cottage cheese
12 ounces Monterey jack cheese
1 16 ounce tub Fat Free Sour Cream
1 bag Parmesan cheese
1 Green pepper
3 Red pepper
1 24 ounce jar LaVictoria Salsa
2 15 ounce cans Black beans
4 16 ounce cans Cannellini Beans
2 cans Corn
2 packages Taco seasoning
5 15 ounce  cans Thick and chunky cans of chili
1 bottle Yoshida Sauce
1 16 ounce bag Split Peas
10 cups Fat free chicken broth
2 large Carrots
1 large bag Broccoli
1 Jar Oat Bran
1 Jar Wheat Germ

Because I’m planning I’m actually planning ahead this time, I’m hoping to find these ingredients on sale. The bulk of the money your spending is on meat so watch for good sales on Chicken, beef and Pork and you’ll save a ton!

Next Up: Shopping for the big day!

Taylin’s Special Day

I am a full time working mama and often I feel like I’m missing out on quality time with Taylin. The weekends are always so packed with cleaning, laundry, parties, and church so I decided that I wanted to take a day off and do some fun stuff with my girl. Today was the day and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day! Tay had a great attitude – which is huge right now – the sun was shining – also a big deal in the Pacific NW!!

We started off our day with breakfast with my two sister in laws and my two nieces. The girls had fun and it was great to spend some time with my sister in laws.

Then Tay and I met up with my mom to get pedicures. Tay loves to have her nails painted but had never been to nail salon before so I thought she would have fun (and so would I!!)

She was very interested in what was going on

She was totally chillin- waiting for her polish to dry
Taylin and my mom

My girl and I enjoying our Pedicures

Then we went to the pool and swam with some of our friends

Tay so excited to go swimming!

This was the best day with my sweet girl. I can’t believe she is going to be three on Thursday! I’m so blessed to be her mama and hope to have more fun times like this in the future!

How to use Rit Dye {A Tutorial}

I wanted to do a quick tutorial because a bunch of my friend have said that they were scared of Rit Dye and they thought they would end up with dye all over them…hopefully from my tutorial, you will see that is not the case and it’s a really simple process. The process I’m showing you is one of multiple ways you can dye fabrics, you can also do it in your washing machine or on the stove top. I haven’t tried either but I’m sure they work as well.

Materials:

  • Clothing item or fabric to Dye
  • Rit Dye
  • Tub or Sink
  • Tongs or spoon
  • Rubber Gloves (optional)
  • Apron (if your worried about splashing)

Total Cost of project – $3.00 for cardigan at Value Village + Rit Dye for  $2.50 at Joann’s = $5.50 for a cute “new” sweater!

Before

The color I used is called Golden Yellow – if you want a specific color that they don’t sell this link to the Rit Dye website that will tell you how to mix ANY Color!! It’s super cool and really easy to mix colors! I’m going to try it next time! I filled my sink 1/3 of the way full with hot water then poured 1/2 the pack of dye into a measuring cup and let it dissolve for a couple of minutes (stirring often). It’s really important that the dye is completely dissolved otherwise your fabric will not dye evenly!

Pour into sink and stir well – I used tongs to stir the water and my cardigan so that my hands didn’t also end up dyed in the process!

Put sweater into water and stir constantly for 10-30 min until you get the color you want. (I did mine for 20 min.) Note: your fabric will be roughly 2-3 shades lighter than what it looks like wet.

Rinse until water runs clear starting with warm water and slowly working cooler until you end with cold water. This is important because it helps to set the color.

Wash and dry by its self so it doesn’t bleed onto other clothes

Enjoy!!