Feb 012004

Notes from Tammy

tammyHi everybody! Hope you enjoyed the slow cooker recipes last month! It seems too obvious to talk about Valentine’s Day for February, but we haven’t done that before! (Probably because we haven’t gotten the February News out before the 14th!)

What can you do to make Valentine’s Day dinner special for your family? Plan a heart-theme, or a red (or pink) and white theme. You don’t have to go extravagant with new recipes either. Family favorites are probably best.

pretzelsI planned a heart-themed dinner for my family last year, and the kids especially loved it! I made family-favorite recipes, with a little tweaking, to go with my heart theme. I made individual meatloaves with the Master Meat Mix, and shaped them using a heart cookie cutter. I made Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, and plopped them in a heart shape on the plates. I made homemade bread, and salad too. I put salad in each bowl, and then drew a heart on top with each person’s favorite salad dressing. And I put butter in a chocolate candy mold for heart-shaped pats of butter. Add a few candles, real glasses for the kids, and prepare to enjoy!!

Spaghetti or lasagna would be great options for a red-and-white dinner. Or make pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni. Write “I love you” on top of your pizza with veggies. Add a few drops of red food color to your mashed potatoes, for pink potatoes, if your family will still eat them. Use your imagination and come up with some ideas to work for you!

If your family packs their lunch, use cookie cutters to cut out a heart-shape from their sandwich. Rob eats wheat bread, and the kids eat white, so I fill the heart-cutouts in the kids’ sandwiches with a wheat bread heart from their dad’s sandwich. Or, if that would embarrass them too much, cut their cheese and bologna in a large heart shape. Just a little something extra to do to show them you love them!

Making Oreo Truffles is a great way to show someone you love them! After making them, I had some leftover melted white chocolate, so I dipped some small pretzel twists in the chocolate. I like the sweet/salty contrast, so I only dip 2/3 of my pretzels in chocolate. Then for an extra touch, I sprinkled some pink crystal sprinkles on the wet chocolate. My family ooh’d and aah’d over how pretty they were.

Tammy's-familyIf you haven’t dipped pretzels in chocolate coating before, it’s really easy! Melt it in the microwave and dip. Make sure you use a deep bowl, so the melted chocolate is deep enough to cover the pretzels as you dip them in. Put the dipped pretzels on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet until the chocolate is set. Put the dipped pretzels in a rigid container or freezer bag. They keep very well in the freezer!

I hope this gives you some ideas to get started, and I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day dinner with your family!


Happy Valentine’s Day, from my family to yours!

Bonus Recipes

meatloafMaster Meat Mix

This recipe is from the Freezer Cooking Manual, and has been a crowd-pleaser since the first time I made it! To make heart-shaped individual meat loaves, use a cookie sheet with sides. Put the heart cookie cutter on the cookie sheet, put a spoonful of Master Meat Mix inside the cookie cutter, and spread it around to full the cookie cutter. When it’s solidly full, lift the cookie cutter up, and repeat with the rest of the mix. The meat loaves will keep their shape as they bake. Depending on the size you make them, the cooking time may need adjusted. Thirty to forty-five minutes should probably do it, instead of an hour.


BBQ Chicken Pizza

This is a great slow-cooker recipe! Easy, tasty, and a nice change from regular pizza. The recipe calls for chicken tenders, but you can use boneless, skinless chicken breast also. Since the chicken cooks in a BBQ sauce, it’s very flavorful. To make the pizza, you dump the chicken and sauce on a pizza crust, add cheese, and put it in the oven. It doesn’t get any easier than that!


buttermilkButtermilk Biscuits

Do you know you can buy powdered buttermilk at the grocery store, keep it in the fridge indefinitely, and you’ll always have buttermilk for cooking? You can use it in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. It’s in the baking aisle at my local grocery, near the powdered milk and canned milk. It comes in a 12 oz. round cardboard can, and is made by SACO Foods. I went to their website (www.sacofoods.com) to find a biscuit recipe, and was not disappointed! This recipe is just like grandma used to make! I changed the assembly directions a bit, so it was more freezer-friendly. I have you making it like a mix, that you take out of the freezer, dump in a bowl, add water, mix, cut and bake. So homemade biscuits are only minutes away, with this mix in the freezer! And be sure to check out the SACO website for more recipes using this innovative product!

Cherry Cloud Salad
This pretty pink salad/dessert goes perfect with your Valentine’s Day dinner! Easy to stir together, you can freeze it in a family size container or individual serving sizes.


Website News from Nanci

nanciwebNew Members Section is Ready! 
Kudos to Curtis and his team for finishing this big project. Members can now download:

  • Classic Recipes (individually or as a complete set)
  • 3rd edition Recipes not included in the 4th edition
  • Recipe additions & variations mentioned in the 4th edition
  • Software files for all of these plus newsletter & winning recipes prior to 1/03

Check it out here!

Who’s a member? Anyone who has purchased either a 30 Day Gourmet Freezer Cooking Manual and/or the 30 Day Gourmet Advantage Cooking Software. Your user name and password was included with your order.

Gaylen and Shelley have just completed an upgraded version of our software. Read Shelley’s notes for full details. If you already own the software, a free upgrade to the new version is now available on the site (click here).

International Orders 
I’ve been working with our shopping cart provider to make it possible for more of you who live outside the US to order on our website. Here’s what we were able to add recently:

  • APO addresses
  • Canada
  • Great Britain
  • Australia


New Links Page 
Thanks to Carol our links page has finally been updated. If you’re looking for sites with great information pertinent to freezer cooks, check it out!

Newest eBook – Healthy Freezer Cooking: A Guide to Creating Nutritious
Meals by Carol Santee

Want to learn how to reduce fat, sugar, cholesterol, and salt in recipes? Then this is the ebook for you! The book includes tips on how to reduce fat and sugar in a recipe, information on all of the different sugar substitutes available and tips on menu planning. Includes 25 great tasting healthy recipes – 21 recipes with 10g or less of fat per serving! Nutritional analysis included for all recipes. Watch for it soon!

Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner

I received the following email from Heidi, of Columbia, MO and had to award her Cook of the Month for February!

On January 7, 2004, 35 weeks pregnant I began my first cooking day. I had prepared for 3 days in advance and had everything chopped, recipes ready to go, and I was starting bright and early with a crockpot recipe. My two toddlers (15 months and 35 months) were set for a day in front of the TV. I decided since it was my first time and I was pregnant and had two other small children to start out slow. I had 11 recipes that I was going to get done. I cooked ALL day long. I did fix and sit down with my children to eat lunch but that was really it. At 4:15 I noticed some strange cramping sensations. At 4:30 I decided they might not be cramps after all. I called my husband (who works 40 min. away) and told him to step on it. I then called a friend to come over. She and I finished packing up the last 4 recipes. My husband then took me to the hospital, where it was confirmed that I was in labor. My poor friend had to clean my totally destroyed kitchen (good for me), and I got a freezer full of food (not a moment too early either), and a little boy. Unfortunately, he had to stay in NICU for 10 days, but is doing great and at home now. So, the moral of the story is… don’t do this pregnant… unless you’re over due and anxious to meet your new little bundle of joy.

Congratulations, Heidi, on getting your first cooking day done, and for the new man in your life! Glad everything turned out okay! This is proof-positive that we freezer cooks can be a determined bunch! Some might even say a little crazy! But let us show you our full freezer, and then you’ll begin to understand that we aren’t crazy at all!!!

Gourmet Q&A from Tammy

Q. I’ve got a new email address… what do I need to do to keep my newsletter subscription coming? Zoe

A.  I’ve gotten a few questions like this in the past month, and the answer is very easy. At the top of the News is a link that you can use to subscribe. Use that, and enter you new email address. At the bottom of the News is a link to use to un-subscribe. Use that, and enter your old email address. And that’s all there is to it!

Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley

ShelleyThe new version of Advantage Cooking is now available! Download the trial version and use it free for 30 days. Current software users can get a free upgrade from the website (but be sure to use the “upgrade” download and not the “trial version” download in order to save your existing recipe files!) See the link at the bottom of this article to get your trial or upgrade.

New features in version 1.5 include:

  1. MasterCook® Compatible Recipe Import 
    Advantage will now accept MasterCook® version 4/.mxp files. (The import of .mx2 files will be included in the next release.) The converted recipe is displayed for editing before it is automatically imported.

  2. Recipe Category Filter
    Choose a recipe category and the recipe manager will display only the recipes in that category. Now it’s easy to find a chicken entrée without having to scroll through a list of luscious desserts.

  3. Print the Cooking Day Recipes
    Locating and printing all the recipes to be cooked together on a cooking day was once a time-consuming task. But no longer! The Cooking Day window now has three new options:
    Print Preview – to view a recipe on the screen,
    Print Recipe – to print an individual recipe, and
    Print All – to select any or all of the recipes assigned to a Cooking Day.

  4. Merge Ingredients
    My ingredient file is often cluttered with different entries for identical ingredients. For example, my file may use “Ground Beef”, but the imported recipe used “Hamburger” – which means I now have two entries for the same ingredient! With this new feature, it’s easy to merge one ingredient into another and get rid of the clutter.

  5. New Recipe Fields
    Two new fields have been added to the recipe information: Recipe Source and Preparation Time.

  6. Ingredient Pricing
    The first step in pricing is complete. The price of any ingredient assigned to a grocery store can be entered. The prices appear on the grocery store reports and total at the bottom. Cost analysis will be added in later versions.

The list of possible features to be added to the software is seemingly endless. I hope you’ll find these enhancements useful as we begin to design the new capabilities for the next release. If you have any suggestions, click here to send me an email.

If you haven’t tried our Advantage Cooking software, click here for a 30 day free trial or to order your own copy.

30 Day Gourmet in the News

Lots of our consultants and “regular” cooks are being featured in their local newspapers as word about their “unusual” cooking plan spreads. Please let us know if you are one of them! We want to add links on the site to any 30 Day Gourmet related news media. Thanks!

Nashville, Tennessee 
30 Day Gourmet Cherrie Hays was recently featured on Newschannel 5’s Talk of the Town show. Thanks, Cherrie!

The Mom Show 
Those of you who are Flyladies may be familiar with The Mom Show. It’s an online radio show. You can listen “live” or tune in to the archives at your convenience. I did an interview with Traci and Michelle for the 1/22/04 show. Click here to listen online.

Texas Co-op Power Magazine 
Welcome to all of you Texans who just read about us in the February issue of Texas Cooperative Power magazine. Click here to read the article in the 2/04 issue.

Working Mother Magazine
An article about Dinnertime Shortcuts is slated to run in the May issue featuring 30 Day Gourmet. Watch for it!

Website of the Month

Since chocolate is such a popular Valentine’s Day gift, I gotta go with www.hersheys.com as the website this month. It’s “The Sweetest Site on the Web!” Send a 2 pound chocolate “card” to someone, personalized with a chocolate message from you. (As a recipient of a couple of these, I can vouch for their yummy-ness!) Find some rich recipes, learn about chocolate, plan a visit to Hershey PA or check out some neat gift ideas.

Final Thoughts

January has been cold and icy here. It sure has been nice to have food in the freezer so I didn’t have to go out in the nasty winter weather to stock up. And I’m very thankful that I’ve had my electric, in spite of the ice and snow storms! Hope you have a fabulous February, and enjoy Valentine’s Day with the ones you love!
Talk to you again next month!


Carol Santee

Carol is the co-author of the Big Book of Freezer Cooking and the author of 30 Day Gourmet’s Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites, Freezer Lunches To Go and Healthy Freezer Cooking eBooks. She is a computer information specialist and works for a computer software company.

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