I did it. Everything on the list…I got it done. By Friday late afternoon, I started to feel completely wiped out and didn’t think I could do it. Then I remembered that I needed to eat something. Somehow because I’d been in the kitchen all day around food, my brain figured I had already eaten dinner even though I hadn’t. After I ate, I got a second wind and checked several more items off the list. Saturday I finished up and well…I’m still alive and able to tell about it.
Let’s start with a few picture highlights shall we?
Here we have a box of frozen meat, butter and fruit. As I took this picture, one of the boys asked me if I was making a movie of the meat. I said, no of course not, because making a movie of frozen meat would just be weird. Taking a still picture? That’s not weird at all.
Here was the result of round one of cooking/baking. I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies into bars to save time. I browned up all eight pounds of the ground venison and beef at the same time. We sliced into some of the Strawberry Bread because how could we not? The Corn Dog Muffins turned out ugly with all of their hot dogs exposed. The Cheesy Beef and Rice, Lasagna Casserole and Beefy Enchilada Bake went together easily. And that bowl with the cloth? That’s Whole Wheat Tortillas soaking for burritos.
This is a picture of what I got done Friday night after I got my second wind. I already had the meat browned, so I cooked my beans and put some of the meat into a jar of chili. I stirred up three jars worth of Sloppy Joes. I stuck Graham Crackers into the oven. Then I made my Tortillas and finished up a big pan of Meat and Cheese Burritos. I was happy to have leftover tortillas for quesadillas. I put everything away and staggered up to bed.
Saturday, I baked Zucchini Bread and Honey Whole Wheat bread. One of those loaves up there was made into Cinnamon Swirl Bread. Oh dear…which one is it? Last but not least, I put together Pizza Pockets and one batch of Popcorn Chicken.
Based on the assumption that you may have several questions for me about how I did all of this…I took the liberty to interview myself.
Me: How long did it take you to make all of this stuff?
Me again: I started on Friday afternoon about 1:00 and cooked/baked/wash dishes until 9:30 that night (with a two hour break to run a couple of errands and feed the boys). Then, I started Saturday morning again around 9:00 and finished the last of the list around 3:00.
Me: What were your boys doing the whole time you were working in the kitchen?
Me again: You mean besides asking me 34 times each if they could eat all the food I was making? Well, I had a list of several house cleaning chores I needed them to do, which they did ever so cheerfully and whistling whilest they worked. Yeah. Beyond that, both days we had extra kids here to play…so they all spent hours running through the house shooting nerf guns and playing hide and seek and making lego movies and eating the food I actually let them eat. Remember, my kids are five, eight, nine and twelve…I don’t think I could have pulled all this off in two days with littler ones.
Me: When you put all the food into the freezer, how’d you do it? Have any cool storage tips?
Me again: You mean besides standing on my head with my foot in the freezer trying to hold the frozen hamburger in while I stuffed one last loaf of zucchini bread in before everything fell out? I first tried Amy’s/Tammy’s frozen casserole method…except that I used parchment paper and it didn’t work very well. I then just resorted to using up most of my pyrex casserole dishes with lids. Matt surprised me with these for Christmas, so I had plenty.
I used freezer bags for the quick breads and cookies. Also, for the popcorn chicken, burritos and pizza pockets…I flash froze them on cookie sheets, them transfered them to freezer bags to save space.
Me: How long will all of this food last you?
Me again: Hard to tell. We’ll be eating quite a few of these items this week, since we have quite a few activities that will require warming up a quick meal before we leave or as soon as we get home. I’d really like to just leave a couple of the casseroles and loaves of quick bread in the freezer for a time when I’m in desperate need for a quick meal. Plus, it’s nice to have items like this on hand for a time when company comes over unexpectedly or when I need to take a meal to someone else.
With the amount of time it took me to make the food I made this weekend…and the amount of food my family can consume in one week…I can’t IMAGINE trying to pull off the OAMC (once a month cooking). Maybe I just don’t know enough about it, but trying to cook the majority of our meals for one entire month within a couple of days time…I think I’d pass out cold.
Me: How would you rate your bulk cooking/baking experience overall, 10 being the best?
Me again: I’d give it an eight. I mostly loved it. It was a VERY productive two days and I actually feel like I got ahead a little bit. One thing I struggled with during this whole thing: I have a tendency to be very task-oriented. I get into “get-it-done” mode and forget to stop and smile at my children and husband and say nice things because “oh my word, I have so much to get done so don’t bother me”. I caught myself doing that and had to make a real conscious effort to remember that my “to-do-list” was just a “try-to-list” not a “have-to-list”.
Me: So, did you actually get around to experimenting with homemade Catch-Up (ketchup) ?!
Me again: Why yes as a matter of fact I did. Would you like to hear about it sometime?