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New Favorite Things Part 1

While recovering from my first iron infusion I thought I’d write something upbeat, especially with everything in the news and going on in the world. I’m not going to post purchasing links this round, although most items are available on Amazon (we have stairs to the apartment, so nearly everything gets delivered by a company because it’s almost impossible to carry stuff up stairs with a cane without bothering other occupants lol). I’ve been a bit spaced since the infusion and don’t trust that I’d put the right URLs honestly. 😂 Let’s get to part 1 (since I haven’t done one of these posts in a while I have several items and don’t want this overwhelming)!

These have been so awesome for us! If the eldest has sports practice, I can still have a “plate” ready for him when he gets home without him pulling out every dish or feeling left out, and the younger can eat on time. Plus, they do well in the dishwasher and when things go bad, they’re cheap enough that I don’t feel bad if one gets left at school or grows the cure to something because it fell to the back and needs tossed during the refrigerator cleaning. They make great to-go lunch boxes too, as long as the actual lunch box can handle the size.

This is so easy to clean and handy! They have a wide variety of colors, but if you’re not picky, the less popular colors are often cheaper, so you can nab a great deal. So far even tomato based foods haven’t stained this little workhorse and no balancing like with the type that slides onto the side of your pan and holds your utensil (I had a pig that stood with the pan edge going in the middle of the legs and utensil slid inside the mouth, for example, and even a Nessie standing holder that fell and made a worse mess than just putting the spoon on the stove directly, so trust me, I’ve tried others).

This could be handy for anyone, but what has worked wonderfully for me is giving this to the 10 YO. It allows him to write recipes he comes up with, have a copy of ones he loves that others make (he’s learning to help in the kitchen, so having his own recipe card to read to know if it dive the tomatoes or slice them, etc, is great, plus empowering), and it makes a great way for you to peek and see what meals your Little truly likes when menu planning and they appreciate whatever you do, so you have no idea what to make. *grin* It’s also just plain handy for getting them interested in helping in the kitchen! Worth every penny IMO.

If you’re cooking for a family, especially when it’s a protein push time for athletes, this is SO handy! I have a smaller one I used for years and it had the circle element underneath that you worked with for being the hottest area and using the other spots as the resting or warming area. Although this is boxed back up in prep for hoping to move here in the future and is in the longer rotation so it could be packed, it’s an essential for us. It takes up your counter space when you have it in use, but cooks SO MUCH food at once and is more even in my experience than the cheaper/smaller versions. You can store it like a cookie sheet or on a shelf under other appliances (with padding between to keep you surface nice, of course), but Mr Tea and the can opener can definitely sit on top without causing any issues and using the space in a practical way, since I personally don’t like having it standing on the side. You use the storage method that works for you, but I tell you that this is awesome when you don’t want multiple pans going in order to get breakfast done for more than a couple of people, and my French Dips are so much easier than all the shuffling a smaller plate requires. If you have the power, plug both in and you have it all made in a jiffy and ready with easy clean up. Totally be the kitchen rockstar. 😉

These were all kitchen based, so I think I’ll end here and not make a super slow loading due to the pics. I think I’ll sim for Part 2 to be kid based and 3 to be miscellaneous. I’d love to hear any recommendations you have of course, especially when it comes to making life easier with busy kids! (Btw, we love the bento boxes so much they were actually on our Handfasting gift list, so that should show just how much they’re loved! Lol)

Freezer Space

I thought I’d share a little tip today that’s been a huge help after we binge shop at Sam’s Club. Have you ever bought that big package of hamburger there, or at Costco, because you realized how much cheaper per pound it was than you’ve been paying at the regular grocery store, but then start to hate all of that ground beef because it’s taken up half of your freezer? Could just be a quirk of mine, but the tip works, so I’m still sharing it. Figure out your own situation that it might apply in. *teasing grin*

We actually bought a smaller bulk package of lean ground beef this time, but fitting over five pounds of it into my freezer while I still have leftover buckets of ice cream from the 4th of July was still going to be a challenge. If you think about how you’re packaging your meat before you freeze it, you can get it all to fit so easily and it’ll make you look like the new Martha Stewart. Who doesn’t want to look all organized and on top of everything?!

Instead of taking a handful of the meat, dropping it into your bag, pushing all the air out, and zipping it up, you’ll want to take one more little step. Just flatten the meat out. Seriously. Yeah, I smacked myself in the forehead over that too. *grin* If you gently push the meat into the corners (hey, if you’re having a rough day you can even slap it around a bit, no harm no foul, just don’t break the bag) and try to get the whole package pretty level, and then zip, this is how nice they can look.


The best part is that you can stack your packages and you’ll be able to actually get more food in your freezer, since you’re not having to try to play food Tetris or balance things so no one gets knocked out by a frozen meatloaf when they open the freezer door. You can easily see what you have and they freeze so much faster, so then you can stand them up, stack them on top of the tater tots, or whatever. So simple and so incredibly handy!


(Sorry about mottled pictures, by the way. All of the packages at the store had gotten a little air. Please don’t worry though, the meat was fine. Larry used to be a butcher, so if he says it’s just affecting the looks, then it’s true. One of the few times I’ll admit to him being right about something…*laugh*)

I find myself putting cooked leftovers into bags like this too. Apparently it just becomes a habit. I let my fried ground beef cool a bit, spoon it into a zip bag, get it all flat, and stack my leftovers. Lol. Our freezer looks like a card catalog sometimes. I start flipping through frozen cards of meat trying to decide what meals to plan. *grin* This works great for shredded (cooked) chicken and beef, too. I also have a few “cards” of frozen watermelon and even bell pepper, too. (There are a few steps to freezing bell pepper, so please research before you try it. It’s seriously handy when you don’t live in the city though and can’t just pop in to a grocery store or market for a pepper!) Another great benefit to packaging this way, I massively cut back on the amount of freezer burn we would find. We all know I’m too prone to bad luck to think I suddenly developed a knack for handling foods (I mean, don’t you remember when I had whipped soap on my glasses and in my hair, or the lotion that splattered the wall?! *laugh*). Mostly it’s because you won’t have much air in that package to expose the meat. I think it also has to do with the fact that there aren’t any mystery meats anymore, so you’ll use it before it can go bad. When they’re packaged flat it’s easy to see what in the world it is, because you won’t have crystals or warm air splotches on the bag from breathing heavily because you’re juggling that frozen meatloaf on top of the round ice cream carton, while the Popsicles are trying to dive bomb onto your shoulder. 🙂

Hopefully you’ll give this simple tip a try (and hopefully it helps you as much as it has us, of course). If you have any other freezer tips, I’d love to hear them. Happy pampering!

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