Jul 012004

Notes from Tammy

tammyHi everybody! Happy July! Summer is just zooming by at my house! I really need a cooking day, to re-stock the freezer. And I’m heading to PA to stock my mom and dad’s freezer for them. Mom lost her balance and went head first down her basement steps a week or so ago. She broke her left foot and smashed her right wrist. And of course she’s right handed! Her church has been helping with meals, but that won’t last forever. I told mom to pick some recipes from the manual, and give them to me ahead of time so I can enter them in my software to print a shopping list. Then I’ll come to her house, shop and assemble meals for them. Dad drives truck and is usually gone all week, so mom will be much better able to fend for herself with some food in the freezer! What would we do without 30 Day Gourmet?!?? It sure makes life easier!

I owe you guys an apology. I mentioned the Teddy Bear Snack Mix in the News last month, and when I got some emails asking about it, realized it wasn’t on the site anymore. I’m sorry!! I didn’t even think about that when I wrote it! It was on the site, but now you can find it in the Fourth Edition of the Manual. Give it a try.. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

This issue of “Chewin’ the News” brings you four new recipes from Stephanie and Betsi, consultants who run a “marinade exchange”, similar to a Christmas cookie exchange. In addition to their recipes, they give us all the details we need to run our own successful marinade exchange. Enjoy, and be sure to let us know how your exchange worked!

Bonus Recipes from Stephanie and Betsi

BetsistephAren’t Holiday cookie exchanges great? You make several dozen of ONE kind of cookie, take them to a friend’s house, and leave with several dozen DIFFERENT kinds of cookies. Instant cookie platter and it looks like you did tons of work. Take that concept and make it work for the summer with great marinades – you make several of one kind and leave with lots of different marinades.

Betsi and I ran our first marinade exchange in June of 2001. We invited several moms that we knew and hoped for the best. The results were wonderful – the turn-out was great, the variety was great, and it was great to go home with 15 different marinades to stash in the freezer.

We learned a lot that first year and the second year we instituted some rules. The rules helped to set expectations.

  1. You will need to RSVP to Stephanie by May 15. You can call 555-555-5555 or email email@email.com No RSVP – you can’t come. No exceptions.

  2. You need to bring 12 bags of the same marinade. You might want to make 13 so you have one to leave at home for yourself.

  3. The marinade should be something wonderful. (Easy qualifications, right?) What I mean is there should be more than two ingredients. No ketchup and coke recipes. There are tons of recipes in magazines this time of year – keep your eye out for a great one, or use a family favorite.

  4. You will need to bring 12 copies of your recipe to the exchange.

  5. Each bag should be labeled with the name of the marinade, the date, and the kinds of meat that could go in it. Example: Sassy BBQ, 5/02, shrimp, chicken.

  6. You may participate as 2 people – you bring 24 bags and will go home with 24 bags. I will need to know that you are doing this when your RSVP

We also found it was best to try to hold the event on a Monday – because people tend to put this off until the last minute and if they had the weekend to prepare the items, they were less likely to cancel.

A marinade exchange is really easy to host – assuming that everyone makes 12 marinades, even if you only had 4-5 people in attendance you’d go home with three bags of four different marinades. I loved having more than one bag of the same marinade – great when you’re entertaining.

Now, some more about Stephanie and Betsi:

We are the proud new owners of Mix It Up, Meals Made Easy. It is the brainchild of Stephanie Severson and Betsi Olson and is located just north of the Twin Cities in the suburb of White Bear Township. After many years of lecturing and teaching classes on freezer cooking, we took the plunge and opened a retail store. Mix It Up offers workshops that provide busy families with 8-12 delicious, healthy meals customized to their families tastes. Customers put together their chosen meals in a fun social setting, leaving the mess and the stress of cooking ahead to Mix It Up staffers. Visit our website at www.mixitupmeals.com Mix It Up is rapidly expanding and is currently looking for enthusiastic people to open new stores. Investment opportunities are also available. For more information, contact Betsi and Stephanie at info@mixitupmeals.com.

Here are a couple of our favorite marinade recipes. Remember that fresh veggies don’t freeze well. If you decide to use portabella mushrooms, or fresh tomatoes for kabobs, please refrigerate, but don’t freeze them. Each recipe is put together “dump” style. Mix It Up hint: Line drinking glasses with gallon size freezer zip bags. “Dump” the ingredients assembly line style in each bag. Each marinade recipe will flavor and tenderize 1 1/2 to 3 pounds of meat.

Enjoy the bonus recipes!

Sassy BBQ Marinade

This recipe debuted at our very first marinade exchange. We had to search all over for Thai Chili Sauce. Look in the Asian food aisle of your grocery store. It is usually just called Chili Sauce or even Chili Garlic Sauce. If you can only find the one with garlic, just reduce the minced garlic by half. It is a bit spicy, so you can adjust it to your families preferences. Wonderful on all types of meat.

Black Dog Marinade

Why is it named this? We don’t know! Annie Tuttle contributed this recipe. She recommend chicken breasts, but Stephanie likes to have steaks marinated in it. While the steak is still partially frozen, slice very thinly and use with fresh mixed vegetables for a delicious stir-fry.

Website News from Nanci

nanciwebNew Shipment of Freezer Cooking Manuals is Here!! This makes 60,000!! 
Do you own an updated version of our Freezer Cooking Manual? If you’re still using an older version – or WORSE YET – if you don’t own a manual at all, now’s the time. The manual  is the freezer cook’s Bible. It teaches you HOW to freezer cook. Once you read the manual , you’ll be amazed at how much more sense our whole website makes. The manual includes:

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • 65+ Delicious Freezer Recipes
  • Nutritional Information for all Recipes
  • Multiplication Chart for Quantity Recipes 250+ Equivalents
  • Time Saving Worksheets
  • Indispensable Tally Sheet
  • Cooking Tips & Practical Advice
  • Master Mixes
  • Convenient Side Dishes
  • Delicious Snacks & Desserts

This is our 4th edition and by far the best yet. So if your old edition is dog-eared and full of cooking day spill stains OR if you haven’t bought a manual yet, click here to order now. Manuals are $14.95 for one, $12.95 for 2-9 and only $11.95 each for 10 or more

Any freelancers out there? 
I’m looking for a few freelancers who might be interested in writing and submitting articles about 30 Day Gourmet. E-mail me and we’ll talk.
Invite your friends! 
Please forward our newsletter to your friends and invite them to join our yahoo group. If you are on other cooking newsletter groups, feel free to mention us. And don’t forget – you can always read the newsletter from the website if that’s easier.

Recipe of the Month Contest Winner

sconesOur winner this month is Myrna Matulevich with her recipe for “Whatever Scones”. This is a versatile recipe with lots of options, not only for freezing, but for flavors too. Which is why they’re called “Whatever Scones”… they are whatever flavor you choose to add!

I made blueberry scones as I had a bush full of ripe blueberries in the backyard. Myrna said in her comments that this recipes was “easier to make and clean up than muffins, but just as tasty.” We love muffins at my house, so I wanted to try the scones recipe to see how it compared. The scones have a drier texture than the “Tara’s Favorite Muffins” recipe I use, but everyone at my house really liked them. We ate them plain, but you could easily split them and add some butter like you might do to a muffin. And I agree with Myrna that they are easier to make and clean up than muffins!

The recipe calls for 1/2 C. of dried, fresh or frozen fruit. Use that as a starting point. We like lots of fruit, so mine (in the picture above) have almost 1 C. of fresh blueberries. Adjust the amount of fruit based on how you like it. Our favorite muffins are chocolate chip ones, so I had to try some scones with mini-chocolate chips as well! I used cinnamon instead of ginger, and 1/2 C. of mini-chocolate chips was plenty. Everyone liked that flavor too! I would probably use cinnamon with chopped apples too. And maybe sprinkle the top with a cinnamon-sugar mixture instead of just sugar? Let your taste decide!

Let’s meet Myrna:

I work full time as a teacher during the school year, and 30 D.G. helps me keep from going through the drive-thru 2 or 3 times a week. During the summers I stay home and recharge my batteries with my 2 kids, age 13 and 8. I am a classic mini-session person, I usually choose a recipe I like, and make one for dinner, plus 2 or 3 more meals for the freezer, at the same time. I have a favorite poem that was in an Amish cookbook (one of those fundraiser favorite recipe cookbooks) and is attributed to ‘Author Unknown’ that also describes me pretty well – I like to experiment:

I didn’t have potatoes so I substituted rice
I didn’t have paprika so I used another spice.
I didn’t have tomato sauce so I used tomato paste,
A whole can – not a half can – I don’t believe in waste.
A friend gave me the recipe,
She said you couldn’t beat it.
There must be something wrong with her –
I couldn’t even eat it.

Click here to view/print the July Recipe of the Month!

Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner

Our winner this month is Jori Maguire. Below is the email she sent me. It just reminds me again how thankful I need to be that no one in my family has allergies that I have to work with when I cook!

I have been freezer cooking for about 4 years now and have always loved the ease in which dinner gets on the table every night. Okay, most nights! But where it has really proved to be the most rewarding is in feeding my 6 year old son, Riley. He has asthma and life-threatening food allergies to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes, seeds and shellfish. We are currently shopping with a list of approximately 120 ingredients that he may not consume in any form. I have had to learn a new way of cooking with his multiple diagnoses of allergies and freezer cooking has been right there beside me.

My previous knowledge of the “freezability” of most baked goods has allowed me to have a “safe” treat at a moments notice when my son is invited to a friend’s house or the teacher calls to say that they will be having a party at school. Using the worksheets from the 30DG manual has helped me create some of our own recipes in larger size batches without making mistakes with costly ingredients. Having a full freezer means that I can be with him in the hospital (as I had to twice this winter) and know that my husband and daughter were well-fed. It also means that I can enjoy the privilege of “escaping” with my kids for an afternoon and not be worrying about getting back in time to make dinner. We always have at least a few meals that only require heating and a quick salad or vegetable and we are set. I am able to bless my husband by being frugal with his salary so that I am able to continue being a stay at home mom to my children.

I find that my eyes have filled with tears of joy as I write this. It sounds silly, but freezer cooking, as I have learned it through 30 Day Gourmet, has become a ministry by which I can serve my family.

So, how do you make 30 Day Gourmet work for you? How do you use it to help you deal with a challenge in your life? How do you use it to help others?

Gourmet Q&A from Tammy

Q. My newsletter has been coming through with weird print and is hard to read. Any suggestions? Sherry

A. We’ve gotten a couple similar comments from people. The majority of stuff 30 Day Gourmet does is in Comic Sans font. So I was being consistent with that when I did the News. It’s a pretty basic font, or so I thought. Apparently everyone’s computer is set differently as to how they display the different fonts. One of the options as I put the News together is to use a “default font” and “default” font size. Which means that your computer decides what font to use to display the News when you pull it up. So I’ve started using that, which should take care of this problem for those of you who were having it. And if you haven’t been having a problem like this, it still could change the look of the News for you. But this step should make it easier for everyone to read their newsletter!

Cookin’ at the Keyboard with Shelley

ShelleyI have experienced a new dimension in raising children. Our oldest daughter is driving! Although our state doesn’t require a licensed driver to complete an approved driver education course, Sarah started class this week.

It’s not that she doesn’t already drive well, or that my husband and I felt we couldn’t teach her adequately. Driving lessons are just so time consuming! And without a doubt, nothing can replace a structured and thorough outline given by an experienced teacher.

These are the same reasons that I’ve included several tutorials in the “Advantage Cooking” help menu. It’s not that you can’t use a computer, or that you couldn’t learn the software on your own, or that the manual isn’t easy to read. It’s just more time consuming!

To find the tutorials, click “Help” on the top menu bar, and select “Contents”. Resize the tutorial window so that it is side-by-side with the Advantage Cooking screen. This allows you to read the tutorial instructions in one window and practice the exercises in the other.

Just like driver’s training, nothing can replace the tutorials, written by the very person who created the software, to get you safely cruisin’ down the road!

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

HomeLife Magazine – I have an as yet unconfirmed report that we got a mention/recommendation (I’m not sure what) in HomeLife Magazine. This is a publication that goes out primarily to Southern Baptist families (about 500,000 of them). If anyone has seen a copy, could you send me an e-mail and let me know what the article says? Thanks!

Final Thoughts

Hope you’ve enjoyed another edition of our Newsletter. We enjoy putting it together for you! If you have any ideas of topics you’d like to see us cover in an upcoming month, please let me know! If you have any questions for the Q&A section, please send them to me too. Click here to send me an email with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you all!

Hope you have a great rest-of-the-month, and we’ll be talking again soon!


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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