For those who don't know, Bob and I have bought my mom's old house and are officially living in it as of yesterday, (though we started moving in a couple weeks ago.) We've already done some upgrades and made some major purchases.
It's going to be very tight for the rest of the year. I plan to stop working near the end of September. The baby will be born at the end of October and then there's Christmas. Plus, Bob's car needs major repairs, but it will cost more than the car is worth so we plan on buying a vehicle this month. We're going to be broke!
Which leads me to my point: Freezer cooking. In an effort to save time and money, I decided to give freezer cooking another try. It was something I did a couple times in the past, but wasn't entirely satisfied with the results. This time I did my research. I found a website called Once a Month Meals. It's fantastic!
There's hundred of recipes all for different lifestyles, including Paleo, Whole 30, and Gluten/Dairy Free. There's a menu builder, where you pick out 15 different recipes and a shopping list is generated for you, plus a prep list of things to do before your big cook day, full cooking instructions, labels you can print off for when it's time to freeze, and thawing instructions! You have to be a member and that costs $16 a month for the Pro Membership. It's totally worth the money guys!
The whole process is supposed to take 3-4 days. You go shopping one day and spend anywhere from $300-$600 worth of groceries. The groceries you have to buy will depend on the recipes you've chosen and what you have available in your house already. I definitely spent on the high end cooking all primal and paleo meals, plus my new kitchen was void of food due to the move. A lot of the shelf stable items will carry forward into the next month's mass cooking spree making my next big grocery shop cheaper than this one.
The second day, you prep the food. Chop up veggies, steam veggies, make rice and pasta, brown your meat and chop it ect.
The third day is when you put it all together. You're expected to spend 8-12 hours cooking depending on the recipes you've chosen and how many dishes you have to wash in between.
For me, this process has already taken 7 days and I'm still not done. I couldn't prep in a day. I didn't have enough room in my fridge for everything. I definitely bit off more than I could chew trying to cook 15 different double batches of meals. I completed about 8 recipes and then I said fuck it I can't cook any more!
Tesla's in my way all the time, my ankles would swell slightly from being on my feet for hours, my portable dishwasher takes up the entire kitchen so I can't do much while dishes are washing except try and rest. Bob refused to help me for longer than an hour. I still have my canvassing job to go to. It was too much! I froze what I prepped so it wouldn't spoil, but I still have more vegetables to prep including sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and carrots.
On the plus side, I learned a lot about freezer cooking and what to do next time. There will definitely be a next time! I want to get good at this so that in September and October I can fill my freezer with food and then when the baby's born, I won't have to cook for a couple months and can use that time I would have spent cooking on doing other things.
We've been spending a lot of money on eating out the last few weeks and it seems like there's never anything ready to eat at home. My goal with freezer cooking is to save money by going grocery shopping less often, buying in bulk, and wasting less fresh food. I even got a costco membership!
As it stands now, all we have to buy for the month of June is dairy, fresh fruit, and salad stuff.
I hope I can one day feed my family for less than $10 a day, because right now it's costing me double that. But this is just month one. As I stock up my pantry with more items and get better at freezing meals, I'll actually be able to fully utilize the deals I find in stores on fresh produce and meat. That's something I never did before, a lot got wasted, so I'm excited about it!