Saturday, November 29, 2014

Freezing potatoes!

4:36 PM 10 Comments
I am sitting down for the first time today, I have been in the kitchen since early this morning, processing pounds and pounds of potatoes.

I still have a ton to do, but those will be saved for next weekend because my back is really not happy at the moment.

Sometimes you come across a really good deal and I know often we think that even though it is a good price, the food will go bad before we actually get around to eating it all.  That is where preparation and freezing comes into play.

We live in a time where nothing should be wasted and with a little effort and time, we can make use of what is at our disposal and prepare a lot of items for eating throughout the following weeks and sometimes even months.

Last week my husband and I picked up 50 pounds of potatoes and some onions too.  It was a very good price.

Potatoes and Onions

I sat down this morning and made a list of what I wanted to freeze, sort of a plan for all these potatoes and onions.

Mashed potatoes
Baked potatoes
Fries
Steak fries
Cubed potatoes
Diced and sliced onions

I'm not going to tell you that it is easy or not time consuming, because it is, but it is also well worth the effort and time you put in.

The trick to freezing potatoes is in either blanching or cooking them slightly, unless you're doing mashed potatoes or baked potatoes.  You can't just freeze cut up or whole potatoes because they will go watery and brown and just be plain yucky.

It's actually quite a simple process.

So let me show you what I did.

Freezer potatoes

My family and I love potatoes with the skin on, not to say that I don't peel them sometimes, but a lot of our potato dishes include the skin, besides it is where most of the vitamins and nutrients are kept.

First thing, if you are not going to peel the potatoes, then pop them into the sink and give them a good wash and scrub.

Right......let's make some french fries for freezing.

Freezer potatoes
French Fries

Peel and cut them into the size you want.  Put them into boiling water and blanch them for about 4 to 5 minutes, plunge into an ice cold bath to stop the cooking.  You can also deep frying for about 4 minutes if you want.

Place them on a baking sheet in one layer, season according to taste and place in freezer until completely frozen.  Transfer to ziploc bags. 


Freezer potatoes
Steak Fries

Cut each into lengthwise wedges then toss with some olive oil.  Add seasonings, I did seasoned salt and some garlic with these.  Spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray, or some waxed paper with the spray, add the potatoes in one single layer.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool then flash freeze on a cookie sheet.  Remove when frozen and place in a ziploc bag.  When ready to eat, just bake again at 400 degrees for another 20 minutes.


Freezer potatoes


Freezer potatoes
Cheesy, Garlic and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Make your mashed potatoes according to taste. For these I added in cheese and crumbled bacon too. Allow to cool completely, then place in ziploc bags.

Freezer potatoes

I made two batches and divided the potatoes into the big freezer ziploc bags. I just scoop in there and then use my hand to flatten it out and let all the air out, then close tightly and freeze flat.

Freezer potatoes

You can also make hashbrowns, but today I decided to go with some cubed potatoes which I can use for a number of things.

Freezer potatoes
Cubed potatoes for breakfast, corned beef hash or stews

Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Put potatoes in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Plunge in an ice bath. Drain well. Freeze using the same steps for freezing french fries. I also added in some diced onion to these.

Freezer potatoes
Baked Potatoes

Make your baked potatoes as you usually do.  Just remember that for these to freeze, it is better that the potato filling remain much thicker than mashed potatoes.  I don't add mayonnaise when I'm freezing them for fear that it will separate and be yucky.  I do add a little bit of sour cream and have never had an issue with that, but I know that some people say it goes watery for them, so use your own discretion.

Freezer potatoes

Once the potatoes are done and filled, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them for about 2 hours.  Remove from the freezer and pack into ziploc bags.

When ready to eat, bake in a 300 degree oven until warmed through.

Freezer potatoes
Roast Potatoes

I cut up the potatoes and tossed them in a baking dish with olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika, garlic powder and some dill. I baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

When they were done, I removed from the oven and let them cool completely, placed them on a baking sheet and froze them. If you skip this step they will stick together together. Scoop them into a ziploc bag, label and freeze.

When ready to eat, pop them onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non stick spray, bake at 425 for about 15 minutes or so.

Freezer potatoes

The last thing I made or rather, prepared for the freezer was onions.

I had quite a few that were already in my pantry before we even bought the big bag, so wanted to do something with them before they went bad.

Freezer potatoes

The great thing about onion is that you don't have to pre cook before freezing.

I got a few bags of chopped, sliced and onion rings in the freezer.

With the rest of the little onions I got in the big bag, I am going to dice some more and then actuallyy pickle some onions, which I love.  That will be next weekend's project, along with the rest of the big bag of potatoes.

A lot of work, I am knackered right now, but my freezer is filled with ready to go side dishes which will help a lot during the week.

I do hope this post will inspire some of you to look into buying in bulk and freezing.  When you see a good deal don't be afraid to jump on it, remember that with a little time during the weekend, you can prepare a ton of things to have on hand when you're rushing around trying to make dinner.

Right now it is raining really hard outside, so I've got a pot of potato and onion soup simmering on the stove.  Might as well keep with the theme of today right? :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

And creamy chicken soup it is.....

7:35 PM 9 Comments
Thanksgiving 2014

Oh folks, I am so over the Thanksgiving food.  I always look forward to it, for months and months I envision the spread and piling my plate high with all the different foods.

And then the following day I have leftovers for lunch, and by the time dinner rolls around, I can't even look at the food anymore and I want to forget it until the following year.

So here I am, it is 7:20 pm and I have been sitting in my bed since about 4:30pm.

I haven't just been sitting straight without any breaks, but I have been relaxing today and trying to take it easy and kind of digesting all the bad things I put into my body yesterday.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014.  It was a good day, I don't think we really got to spend much time together or chatting as we quickly ate and then headed to Walmart for the Black Friday sale.  My brother wanted to get the 32 inch tv which was only 98 dollars, a really good price.

We got there at 4:30pm and didn't get back home until 9pm.  By the time we walked in the door my feet hurt so bad and my lower back was screaming in pain.  I left all the dishes and all the tidying up for this morning, I really didn't want to deal with it last night.

Thanksgiving 2014

So yeah, 3 dish washed loads and 2 hand washed loads later and I'm finally done with the dishes from Thanksgiving.  Oh my!!!

The house is back on track, everything is where it belongs and clean and I also tackled my bathroom, the toilet, the floors and the bathtub all got a good scrub, and even Miss Lola got a bath.

My back is absolutely killing me and my feet still hurt, but I have taken it easy today, for the most part, and now I'm sitting in bed typing up this post, watching a documentary on Queen Elizabeth I and eating some creamy chicken soup.  You know the Cup a Soup little pouches?  Yes, those.

Not exactly the healthiest thing but it is all I really felt like right now, I'm sick of all the other stuff.

Oh and I also got all the scarves finished for my giveaway winners, now I just have to pop them in a package and off they go.

I don't have anything really planned for this weekend and I'm so thankful for that, because my laundry basket is overflowing again.  Where the heck does all the laundry come from?  How is it that the minute we get caught up and the empty hamper gets put up, it gets filled again right away?

I'm so sick of doing laundry, it really is a never ending task.

So tomorrow, my plans are very simple.  I am going to get cracking with all the laundry, I am going to work on my menus for the next two weeks, and the grocery list because I have to go shopping on Tuesday. 

I need to look at my list of Christmas gifts so I can figure out what and if I'm still going to do handmade this year, which I want to but at the moment I don't know if I'm going to have any time at all.

Housework, family time with the hubby and kids, maybe a board game later in the evening, some homemade pizza, a few more Christmas decorations for the inside and I don't know, maybe a movie.  I would love to do some crochet but I'm drawing a complete blank at the moment and nothing is really speaking to me, so I don't know what to crochet.

Any ideas?

Right, I am going to finish sipping on this soup, finish my documentary and then I may just lay down and pop in a movie until I fall asleep.  I do hope you are all having a great day after Thanksgiving and that you have an equally wonderful weekend.

God Bless,
Sandra
xoxoxo

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you all :)

9:12 AM 10 Comments


Morning my friends, I hope wherever you are at this moment, it is warm and cozy and filled with a flurry of activity leading up to your sit down dinner with the family.

It is after all, Happy Thanksgiving here in the United States.

I want to start my post by wishing every single one of you and your wonderful families, the best Thanksgiving Day ever.

I am extremely grateful for the family in my life, for my husband and children, our health, our home, our pug girls and above all for the Love and Grace that the Lord continues to bestow upon me on a daily basis.

So have a great day, eat lots, drink lots, smile, talk, catch up with family and friends and don't let the small stuff bug you, there's plenty of time for that in the future.  For today, just concentrate on what matters :)

What have I been up to the past few days?  I'm sure you've noticed I haven't really been updating much, but it's been nuts trying to get everything ready for Thanksgiving, plus homeschooling and all that other fun stuff in between.

I have been taking photos though so I bring you a photo filled post which I hope you will enjoy :)

I can't stay long as I have food to prepare, thankfully I did a lot of it yesterday so I don't have that much this morning.  Whew!!!

Sunset

Kitchen Chalkboard

Preparations

Deviled eggs

Bokeh

Kitchen Christmas tree

Girls

Toasted marshmallows

Sleepover

Lola

Smores

Turkey brining

Pecan Pie

Chicken Sliders

Evening

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jamberry Nails Review

4:14 PM 5 Comments

Hello sweet friends, I am here this morning to tell you all about Jamberry Nails.

Now I know that most of you already know about it, and have been wearing it for a while, but it's something new to me, and the other ladies in the family.  My sweet friend Amy is a Jamberry Consultant and she knows how much I love doing my nails and always trying to put on pretty nail polish or even dabble in a little nail art, so she sent along a couple of wraps for me, my daughter, sister in law and niece to try.

We were so excited when they arrived in the mail.

Jamberry Nails

One of the things that I love about these is that you can even design your own, but I didn't have to do that because they had so many that were very similar to Cath Kidston, which you know I adore. I went with the Vintage Chic design, a very simple mint green with beautiful flowers on it.

My sister in law picked the Rose Glitter which is gorgeous, my niece picked the white tips with the bows and my Jasmine opted for the Galaxy look. They were all so pretty.

Now I have never applied these, so that in itself was quite daunting, but we watched a few videos,


First thing we did was look up some videos that Amy kindly passed along.

Here is the official application, the baggie method and cold method with baggie and pedicure method.

I went over to my sister in law's house and we sat down at the table and went for it.  I don't think we've laughed that hard in a long time, it was quite funny.

Jamberry Nails

We tried going step by step and I still ended up messing up a couple times.  My sister in law though, she was a pro, she caught on very quickly and was way ahead of us all LOL

Jamberry Nails

To be honest, these are very easy to apply but when it is the first time it can be a little confusing, I either skipped a step or did it wrong lol  But I managed to fix it, it's not a problem and easily taken care of.

Jamberry Nails

It really was a lot of fun applying these and learning together how to get them on.  And have I mentioned how much I LOVE mine?  The vintage chic is so me, and just gorgeous.

Jamberry Nails

These are Hayley's nails, the rose sparkle which are stunning.

Jamberry Nails

These are mine, the Vintage Chich.  I love this design it is so pretty.

Jamberry Nails

So the real test for me came to housework, I am constantly washing, cleaning, picking up and moving things around, so I need something that will stay on and work.

The first thing I noticed was that I didn't do a very good first application, these were the first time I was doing them and I know that I didn't exactly make it perfect.  I did deal with a bit of lifting at the edges and also a bit of scratchy feel, but after filing them down a bit more, it seemed to take care of that.

Unfortunately for me and the amount of housework I do, they didn't last very long and by the 3rd day I had already lost one.  I am in no way blaming the nails themselves, I honestly think this is due to my own error when applying them.  I'm also sure that next time I put them on the application will run smoother and I won't have issues with them.......matter of fact I am thinking of putting them on again for Thanksgiving, so we'll see how they do then.

I do love all the designs and I think it would be quite cute to have different ones for different times of the year and holidays, and the fact that you can personalize them means you can really make them meaningful to you.

If you're interested in trying out Jamberry Nails, be sure to contact my friend Amy and check out her website, she can help you out with some stunning wraps. 

Thank you Amy for passing these along to us, we had so much fun trying them on and will definitely put them on again :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/24/2014

8:58 AM 10 Comments
Happy Monday morning everyone :)  Well here we are, another week ahead and only a few days away from Thanksgiving.  Can you believe it?

I'm going to be so busy this week getting everything done and ready for Thanksgiving, it's always such a crazy busy time of year, but one I look forward to immensely, it's so exciting.  Oh and don't forget our Blogmas coming up next week, if you want to join in go and take a look at my post, it will tell you all about it and give you the categories for each day.

Right but now we need to concentrate on today's HHM, so let's get on with that.....



The weather outside is::::
30 degrees right now and blue clear skies.  We're supposed to get some rain later on in the afternoon, but we'll see.   

On the breakfast plate this morning::::
Woke up quite hungry, we didn't really eat dinner last night because we had a very late lunch.  I decided to have a breakfast sandwich this morning, so right now I'm munching away on a Onion Bagel with honey ham, cheese, egg and spinach.  Yummy! 

As I look outside my window:::
The sun is shining really bright this morning.  I can see the mountain from here and it is no longer covered in snow.  There are a few cars going by on their way to work, I'm assuming, for all I know they have some mighty exciting adventurous lives they're living and going off on some sort of adventure.  I have a very active imagination.  Like I swear some of my neighbors are cannibals. Don't ask why, I don't know hahahah   

Right now I am::::
In the kitchen trying to type up this post while eating a very messy sandwich.  I'm still in my pj's and probably will be for another hour, I usually check my email, blog, and all that interweb stuff first thing in the morning before getting ready for the day.


As I look around the house::::
Trashed......I mean, really trashed.  With the decorations coming out of hiding yesterday, there are boxes and little foam balls and green garland needles all over my house.  My eye is twitching and I have to get on and clean all this up otherwise I can't function.

On today's to do list::::
Laundry....Mount Laundry awaits me.  *sigh*   I didn't do laundry this weekend and it looks like I haven't done laundry for 2 months.  Pathetic!  So yes, lots and lots of that to do.
Cleaning....In the kitchen, Unload the dishwasher and reload with breakfast dishes, sweep and mop.  Clear off the counters, again.  Water the plants in the window will.
In the living room....The rug was washed and cleaned this weekend and is now back in the living room where it belongs.  There are boxes of decorations and some toys laying around.  When I say toys I don't mean toys like when the kids were young, I'm referring to Nic's Infinity and Skylander figures.  Dust....and tidy up.
In the bedrooms....make the beds, pick up and tidy up, open curtains and blinds and windows to let in some fresh air.  Vacuum.
In the bathrooms....usual, clean the toilets, sinks and mirrors.
Homeschooling....prepare the lessons, homeschool 4 kiddos.
Crocheting....I think one day all my WIP's are going to climb out of the crochet basket and take their revenge on me.  I have GOT to get in there and finish these things.
Cooking.....Lunch is a free for all, just grab what is leftover in the fridge.  Dinner will be Chicken Korma Curry, Rice.


Currently reading::::
Still reading my Diana Gabaldon Outlander series.  This series is huge, and I have her other series on the Kindle to read as well, the Lord John I think?  Don't quote me on that, I'm sure I've messed up the name. 

On the TV today::::
Agents of Shield from last week.
Haven from last week.
Vlogs.
Christmas movies


On the menu this week::::
Monday - Chicken Korma Curry with Rice
Tuesday - Lasagna, Salad
Wednesday - Tuna and Broccoli Pasta Bake
Thursday - Thanksgiving - Fried Turkey, Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Casserole, Pumpkin, Apple and Pecan Pies, Dinner rolls
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Hotdogs, Homemade Buns, Fries
Sunday - Potato Soup, Sandwiches


What I am creating at the moment::::
A mess with my sandwich.  HA!   I am creating so much, just ask my WIP basket.


New recipe I tried or want to try this week::::
I made a really good chicken dishes last week, but forgot to take pictures.  I told you, I am just horrible with my cooking blog lately.....luckily for me, it's not a main blog and mostly my online recipe collection.
 



Favorite photo from the camera::::

Rain

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals::::



PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

And there were potatoes and onions.....

9:51 PM 6 Comments
Snowy mountains

Good evening folks, how are you enjoying your Saturday night?

I am currently sitting in bed, under my nice warm comforter, watching some vlogs on the Roku and typing up this post.

Saturday.....so what did I do today?

First I have to tell you that the snow is finally all gone, save for what is left on the mountains.  I'm fine with that because honestly it was just ice at this point and making everything so difficult.

We woke up this morning to no Wifi.  I love technology but sometimes I feel it is such a pain in the behind, especially if it decides to conk out.  We sat on the phone, or rather my husband sat on the phone with the techs for a while to try and get it all back up and running again.

It's fine now, obviously or I wouldn't be here right?  Haha

Once that was taken care of, Curt had to head to work so he dropped me off at my sister in law's, as we had to head to Walmart for some Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner shopping.

It's always a treat when we get to go just the two of us, we catch up, we laugh, we ogle and ooohhhh and ahhhhh all the cute things we see and take our time without having to worry about kids or husbands.

By the time she dropped me back off at home, my hubby was just arriving himself.  We came in the house and then realized that he had forgotten to get firewood, so we headed back out again.

Potatoes and Onions

We got the firewood we needed and then on the way back home we saw a farmer selling potatoes and onions on the side of the road.

50 pound bags for $10. I mean, can you believe that? That is a steal!

Picked up one bag of red potatoes and one of the onions. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow. Yes, freezing pounds and pounds of potatoes for future meals.

Fries, hashbrowns, mashed potatoes, twice backed potatoes. I'll also pickle some onions and freeze some as well. Busy busy day I'm thinking.

Fruit Cake

I'm running a little late this year on my Fruit Cake. Usually by this time I have it made already, but time has just gotten away from me.

Not a problem, I actually got my Fruit Cake baked today and it has received it's very first rum dose. I'll keep it stored tightly wrapped and every few days I'll give it a little more booze.

It smells SO amazing, I want to dig in already.

Fruit Cake

Hubby and I also made it to the storage to put away the Halloween Decorations and grab our Christmas ones. I am dying to start putting things up, but I've been good.

Problem is, now I have everything at hand and I don't think I'll make it past tomorrow without at least my Village going up. Oh goodness.

Enjoying the fire

We've spent the rest of the day watching movies and enjoying the fire.

Christmas with the Kranks....have you watched that one? We watch it every year, along with a few other favorite Christmas movies. We also watched Free Birds which is the animated one about the Turkeys trying to save Thanksgiving. It was really cute.

Yarn

And I've also been messing with my yarns and trying to figure out what I'm doing with some of them. Planning, thinking, finding patterns etc.

So yeah, that is what my Saturday was all about. I think I may just watch a girly flick on Netflix tonight, I feel like something cute so I'm thinking either Scents and Sensibility or The Real Jane Austen Documentary?

Ugh, decisions, decisions!

Either way, I better get out of here if I'm going to watch anything before falling asleep, and with this rain coming down outside I may just conk out within the first 30 minutes.