My Facebook followers may have noticed I was a wee bit absent this morning/afternoon……..which is very much unlike me. Don’t worry….I had a good reason! No, I wasn’t brunching (though I do brunch well)…….I was getting down and dirty with some goodies for my freezer!
Sundays are typically the day I meal plan and prep like a banshee, and technically that’s what I did today……just in a different format. I guess you could say that I kicked it up a notch.
Those of you who know me know that I am one busy bee. I’m always coming or going or doing two things at once. Heck, that’s the fun of being an entrepreneur. Because of that, I love how meal planning cuts out time and even thinking and hooks me up with a healthy meal that I can heat up in seconds. I’ve talked about it before, but meal planning and prepping seriously has been a HHHUUUGGGGGGEEEEEE help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, plus it saves me a ton of money. I’m sure most of you can relate…..life is busy!
Awhile back I noticed my cousin Kirsten, a Pampered Chef consultant, posting about some freezer meal workshops she was hosting at her house. I thought they sounded really neat, but couldn’t make it because she lives in the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach area….not exactly an afternoon drive. My mom and aunt also liked the idea of them, but since they were in the same boat as me (aka 8 hours away), we sadly did not partake.
About a month ago my mom was hard at work getting things organized for the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk. Many of you may remember that my Grandma Bubu suffers from the disease and has for about 15 years, so this is a cause we all are very passionate about. My mother has handed the silent auction portion of the Youngstown walk for years and is always working tirelessly to raise funds for Bubu’s Bunch, the team we have that walks in honor of my Grandma. Kirsten, a cousin on my mother’s side, approached my mom about doing a Pampered Chef fundraiser. Not only would she donate a portion of the profits, but she would hold a freezer meal workshop for us. YYYYEEESSSSSSS! My mom and Kirsten coordinated it to fall during a weekend trip that Kirsten had planned to Ohio for a wedding.
Today, my friends, was the highly anticipated workshop!
Kirsten emailed us a list of all of the possible meal choices to choose. There were so many…..one for vegetarians, one for grillmasters, soups and stews, kid friendly, gluten friendly, etc. I chose Paleo since I know meat and veggies is what this household prefers. Once you chose the menu you wanted, you purchased your spices and received a grocery list and brought everything, along with a cooler and freezer bags to the workshop.
Bright and early this morning I loaded my car with seriously about 500 pounds of meat (my entire fridge was packed with it) and a cooler and was off! On the way I swung by my BFF Whitney’s house to pick her up since she was joining me for the event, grabbed a coffee from DD (duh) and hightailed it to good ol’ Leetonia! (SIDENOTE: Today was Whitney’s birthday, so if you haven’t make sure you send her some birthday wishes!)
One thing I learned upon arrival: people in my life like to meal prep and have delicious healthy meals they can pull from their freezer and make in a crock pot. Joining in on the fun: my aunt, cousin, other BFF Kelly, my mom’s BFF Bobbie, two of my mother’s coworkers, and a few family friends. It was an awesome turnout!
Here’s how a workshop like this goes, and let me tell you….it seriously is a meal prepper’s heaven.
Each workshop attendee has a small station with cutting board and all of the awesome tools you need to cut, zest, juice, measure, or grate the items in your recipe collection. Apron on, fun begins! You follow each recipe by dumping all of the ingredients into a nicely labeled gallon ziploc freezer bag, then move onto the next recipe, and so on.
Each menu provides 10 freezer meals that will feed between 4-6 people. Do the math…that’s a lot of prepping! Whitney and I decided to split the meals between us, but still…..there was a ton of food. Here’s a look at the meals we made from the PALEO menu:
-Chicken Lettuce Wraps
-Apple Pie Porkchops
-Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
-Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
-Lemon Herb Chicken
-Chipotle Shredded Pork
-Savory Jerk Chicken
-Moroccan Beef and Butternut Squash
-Mongolian Flank Steak
When I was shopping for everything, there was a time I did think to myself….man, this is expensive, especially when I was carting around enough meat to feed a small army. When looking at that menu, I’m guessing you may think that, too. However, all of those servings and all of that food break down to about $4.50 a person per meal. Pretty Darn Cheap. That’s what I love about meal prep, my friends….I know I am eating good quality healthy food AND sticking to a budget.
Once everyone had their meals prepped and in their baggies, the coolers were loaded and that was that! Several hours of prep for 10 meals???!!!!!! That means 10 nights you can spend more time with your family. 10 nights you can do something you love rather than slaving away in a kitchen. 10 nights you can feel good about the food you serve your family.
My favorite part? I got to hang out with incredibly fun cousin who I haven’t seen in years AND her husband AND my loved ones, all while getting things ready for the week. It was a great day! As soon as I got home Kyle requested I heat up the Mongolian Flank Steak, and based on his snap chats and my taste test, it was freaking the bomb.com.
If you live in the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach, VA area, you definitely should have one of these fun workshops, especially if you are newer to the meal prepping world and not sure how to make it work. This is an awesome way to get the ball rolling. If you are interested, email my cousin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me and I can connect you with her!
Kirsten, thanks so much for helping us raise funding for Alzheimer’s AND stocking our freezers. I can’t wait to come visit you and Mike soon (and whoop his butt at Cards Against Humanity)!