Helpful Tip Tuesday: Utilize your Freezer!

When you buy a month’s worth of dinners at once, you end up with a ton of food. The only way to really make it work is to utilize your freezer. You don’t have to have a chest freezer just organize the one you have.  Here are a few pictures and links to give you ideas of how to do it! They all look WAAAAY better than my freezer. But just in case you really, REALLY want to see what my freezer looks like, there’s a picture of it at the bottom 🙂

Here’s my favorite one that uses matching baskets and labels. Seriously, it puts my freezer to shame.

 

What a great idea!  - Use the baskets to organize packages by type (frozen pizzas in one, bags of vegetables in another, etc.) and nothing will get lost in the back of your freezer.

Freezer Organization

Freezer Organization with Plastic Bins and Painter's Tape

My husband is going to die when he finds out I’ve posted these pictures. But I think he is a genius for thinking of this solution! We needed a way to organize our freezer so it wasn’t risking our lives every time we opened it. We had these free flat rate boxes lying around and Voila! Both of the mail boxes are completely full of meat. I had about 43 chicken breast halves here. Then there’s fruit, deli meat, lots and lots of cheese (behind the ice cream) among other things.

Freezer Main

In the door, we keep my smoothie packs  and other random
items. Freezer Door So there you have it! It’s totally possible do have a month’s worth of food in just one normal sized fridge and freezer. You just have to be a little creative 🙂

Helpful Tip Tuesday: Using your produce in order

Many of you have asked about buying produce once a month and how it’s possible. Well, to be honest, most of the time I buy produce and milk twice a month and I just make sure I have enough money left in my food budget to do so. But it is possible to buy your produce in one whack! You just have to know which produce needs to be used right away and which will stay good throughout the month!

Making Produce Last

Here’s a good reference for what order you should use your produce:

  1. Produce such as berries, bananas, leafy greens, avocado, cucumbers, and grapes  need to be used up first.
  2. Tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, peaches, pears, melons are next.
  3. Followed by pineapple, bell peppers,  and pomegranates.
  4. Produce like apples, oranges, celery, carrots and potatoes will all last until the end of the month. So you can buy these at the beginning of the month and not eat them until the last part of the month.

Also, utilize your freezer!! When you do your monthly trip, come home and chop your bell peppers, onions, and other things like that, put them in little ziploc baggies and throw them in the freezer. This makes sure they don’t go bad AND it saves you time when you’re trying to make dinner.

If you have produce that is on the verge of going bad and you can’t use it immediately, freeze it!
Frozen fruit is perfect for snacks (frozen grapes and blueberries are a favorite snack of my son!) and smoothies. Frozen veggies can easily be added to soups or casseroles.

Did you know you can even freeze fresh spinach? Ya I just discovered this little beauty but that will be for next week 🙂

PS  if you want to look up how long a particular item will last, check out Eat By Date.

Helpful Tip Tuesday: Brown Sugar Substitute

Have you ever been in the middle of baking something when you realized you were out of brown sugar?

Brown Sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That happened to me just the other night!  I was trying to make a new granola recipe and I went to get the brown sugar out of the cupboard when I had a sad, sad realization: We were completely out of brown sugar! GASP!! Whatever should I do? I did the same thing I always do when I’m in that type of situation. I googled it 🙂 Here’s what I found:

Homemade Brown Sugar

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 TBS molasses (or 1.5 TBS for a lighter brown sugar)

Put molasses and sugar in a bowl and stir until completely combined.

Voila! Brown sugar! Crisis solved 🙂

I was able to make granola after all and believe me this new recipe is AMAZING! I will share it with all of you on Friday. Because it really is fabulous.

Helpful Tip Tuesday: Birthday Edition

Happy birthday to me!!

I love my birthday. It’s one of the best days of the whole year!

My first birthday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cute husband even made me a count down chain last month with sweet little notes on each chain so I could count down to my birthday. He’s the best! So because it’s my birthday, the helpful tip of the day is about FREE BIRTHDAY FOOD! What could be a better way to celebrate than with free food?! Now I know there are several places that offer a B1G1 on your birthday but that’s no fun because you still have to pay for a meal in order to get your free meal.

The offers listed below are completely free! (Except for leaving a tip at some places.) Now it’s not a complete list just the ones I could think of off the top of my head. I’ll be adding to this as I go. These are just some of our favorites 🙂

Firehouse Subs – Free sub on your birthday with proof of ID

Red Robin – Free burger during the month of your birthday when you sign up for a Red Loyalty card (you get other free stuff through the year too!)

Ihop – Sign up for their email club and you’ll get a coupon for a free meal PLUS you get a coupon for a free meal just for signing up AND on your anniversary of signing up. Sweet nelly! This is one of our favorites.

Denny’s – Free meal on your birthday Baskin Robbins – Sign up for their emails online and get a coupon for a free scoop for your birthday

If you live in Gilbert/Mesa area here are a few more for you:

Joe’s Real BBQ – $10 towards any meal on your birthday

Liberty Market – $10 towards any meal if you eat in OR a free dessert to-go on your birthday

Joe’s Farm Grill – $10 towards any meal on your birthday