Jun 192013

MovingDayMoving Day!

Hello everyone! A lot has happened at my house over the last month. Moving day finally came for my son and his family! The moving truck arrived and they began their cross country move from the west coast to the east coast. Now my house is a little emptier but my heart is filled with happiness because my son gets to finally be with his family!

MovingDayCarMoving really puts things in perspective. As I watched the movers pack my son’s possessions, it inspired me to go through and get rid of the stuff we don’t use. I gave some of the small kitchen appliances and pots/pans to the kids to use in their new household. We have also donated other items we don’t use. It feels good to eliminate some of the clutter.

Memorial Day weekend we hosted a First Birthday Party for my grandson/Goodbye Party for my son and his family. We served the standard cookout dishes:


But the best part of the celebration was the cake! I thought this was a great idea for a birthday cake. It’s made from 24 cupcakes and was very easy to serve. You just grab a cupcake and go! And of course my grandson had is own personal “smash” cake.

We had a great time! It was wonderful to spend time with the kids before they moved.



My Summer Cooking Day(s)

It’s hard to believe but we now have kids on three coasts – east, west, and gulf! Now my husband and I are true empty nesters. We’re still adjusting. We are changing the way we cook and the way we eat. We eat more fruits and vegetables and we’ve cut out a lot of the high calorie/high fat snacks.

I chose more grill, stir-fry, and salad recipes for my summer cooking day. I also used high fiber or multi-grain pasta instead of plain white pasta. We only use brown rice. It tastes great and is more filling than white rice.

I split my big freezer cooking into two separate days this summer. Sometimes it’s easier to do it this way when you are cooking alone or if specific meats go one sale in your area at different times. That is how the meat sales usually run in our area. I usually wait for the Aldi sale for my chicken cooking day. They will run boneless skinless chicken breast on sale for $1.69 a pound. What a deal!

Here’s what I made this summer. Cooking Day #1 recipes:


Cooking Day #2 recipes:

  • Garden Vegetable Lasagna
  • Grown Up Mac and Cheese
  • 2 Tuscan White Bean Soup (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
  • 2 Slow Cooker Oatmeal (from the Notes section on our Facebook fan page)
  • 2 of my healthier version of Jambalaya (new recipe I’m testing)
  • 2 Black Bean and Chicken Pasta Bowl (new recipe I’m testing)
  • Breakfast Cookies (from the Big Book of Freezer Cooking)
  • Muesli
  • 2 Mexican Gumbo (using the Tortilla Soup recipe from Qdoba‘s Notes section on Facebook)
  • A new recipe for Multi Grain Waffle Mix

The freezer is full and we’re ready for summer. Are you?

Bonus Recipes

Sometimes when I am testing recipes, I’ll post the test version on Facebook in the Notes section so you can test it too. Here’s the latest recipe I’ve been testing:

Slow Cooker Oatmeal Mix

Cooking Day Ingredients:
1/4 C. brown sugar
1-1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
2 C. rough cut or steel cut oats
1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

On Hand Ingredients:
2 apples, cored and sliced
2 C. milk
2 C. water

Assembly Directions:
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, oats, and raisins/dried cranberries (if using) in a freezer bag or storage container. Store in the freezer or in the pantry.

Serving Directions:
Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place apple slices in bottom of slow cooker. Add mix on top of apples. Do not stir. Pour in milk and water. Do not stir. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Serve and enjoy!

The recipes below are ones that have passed the freezer test and are ready for “prime time”. Both these recipes are part of my summer recipe collection. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.


Grown-Up Mac and Cheese
This is our new favorite Mac and Cheese recipe. I served to the my kids when they were home and I can report that it is grandson tested and approved! If you want to make it more kid friendly, just leave out the tomatoes and spinach. The chicken and onion in the sauce give it a more robust complex flavor.




Smokey Chicken Marinade
I have been making this recipe for a couple of years. It’s my “go to” recipe for fajitas and chicken for Southwestern Black Bean Salad. The liquid smoke combined with the lime and spices gives it a very unique flavor. The chicken always comes out very moist when grilled.

Closing Comments from Carol

Enjoy the recipes! Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

Do you have any recipes that you would like to share? I’d love to try and share them with everyone. You can post your recipes on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page or click here to send me an email. Or do you have any other topics that you would like me to cover? Click here to send me an email. I enjoy hearing from you!

Have fun in your kitchen!


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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