I have a serious problem. I might even label it as an addiction. I am fully addicted to…….recipes! There, I said it, I am so ashamed. I have been working on a project now for almost 5 months trying to wrangle up all of my 18 recipe books and combining them into 4 binders……well, 4 binders plus the cookbooks I don’t have the heart to cut recipes out of like Pioneer Woman.

Her pictures and stories are just too lovely.

This turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated! Right now it is just a big mess!

One would think that since I have such a big mess that I would steer clear of acquiring anymore recipes. WRONG! Ugh, I just can’t help myself. I can’t walk through a thrift store or Costco without passing through where they sell cookbooks. It is like there is some inner force that literally pulls me that direction, like a moth to a flame.

What is even worse is that recently I have smartened up and started checking out cookbooks from the library and going through marking the recipes that I want to copy down for my collection.

And so my collection just sits there and continues to grow. Most recipes I will probably never try, but I just can’t throw them out because I might want to try them someday….right?

If you are thinking to your self, it’s ok Bekah…..we have all been there. There is something else that you need to know.

My online collection is about 5 times bigger than my physical recipes. Holy cannoli!

mmmmmmmmmm……Cannoli’s! I need to find a good recipe for that!

Focus Bekah FOCUS!!

On my browser tool bar, I have a tab just for recipes. There are over 26 recipe sites bookmarked…….18 of them I subscribed to and are updated with recipes multiple times a day. Probably the biggest problem area of all is pinterest. Pinterest has a section labeled “Food and Drink” it literally has hundreds of thousands recipes posted by everyone and their mother. Each picture represents a recipe. Most “normal” people would simply repin the recipe and move on. Not me. I have to keep on clicking until I get to the original source which 99% of the time leads to a blog……not just any blog……a cooking blog full of recipes. And just like a habit, without even thinking about it, I click the “subscribe” button and add it instantly to my list of recipe sites. And so the cycle begins once again.

Is there any hope for someone like me? A 12 step program? “They” say that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem………..Hello, my name is Bekah, and I am a recipe hoarder……….


Menu Planning 102: Tools Needed

CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are back! Did you decide to take the plunge? Are you determined to rid your self of processed foods for 30 days? If you have made that commitment this is the next step; TOOLS. Tools?! Why would anyone need to have tools for this challenge? The success of this challenge (especially if you are doing the majority of your cooking in one day) is heavily dependent on the tools that you surround yourself with.

1. 9×13 pans- preferably glass and preferably with lids.

They make stacking up your dishes in the freezer super easy and they don’t allow much moisture to enter the dish like aluminum foil will. I own about 5 or 6 of them. Most of them I purchased from our local thrift store.

2. Crockpots- different sizes works great I have three of them. One of them is big and fancy that has a temp gauge for cooking meats. I like it a lot!

The next two that I have are small and have just a little knob to adjust the temp. They are old and well used and were purchased again at the local thrift store.

The problem with only having one crockpot is you can only work on one recipe for the whole day. What a time waster! During my cooking days I use the large one for either big recipes or for cooking meats. The two smaller ones are for slow cooked soups or dips.

3. An Upright or Chest Freezer CRUCIAL!! You need a place to put all of your meals in! We bought ours at a garage sale. It’s old, smelled when we first bought it but hey, it works and that is all that matters! It is a rare thing for our upright to be empty, it is usually jammed packed with foods. This what ours looks like right now. Nice and filled with yummy ingredients!! This is how it looks before I do my Saturday cooking. I will show you what it looks like after as well.

4. Food Processor- This I actually do not have, but, I would love to get one some day. I am sure that it will make my life 300% easier! This is the one I want.

One day, I will find one at a thrift store, but until then……chop, chop, chop!

5. Food Scale- this really isn’t a necessary tool, just a helpful one. As of now, we buy our beef in bulk at Costco. The size I buy is fully dependent on what I am scheduled to cook. This past month our “beef” calendar consisted of two meatloaf nights(1.5 lbs per recipe), one chili night(2lb recipe), two burrito nights(1 lb per recipe) and one spaghetti night(1 lb). That is 8 lbs of beef needed for one month. So, I pick out a package that is closest to that weight and take it home and try to figure out how much is 1.5lb/ 2lb/ etc with no scale. Yikes!

I have generally stayed away from scales because I have this notion that food scales are for dieters measuring their portions in grams, but, I need to just bunker down and get one.

So, there you have it. You have the goal/mindset, you have the tools needed, next up is planning your meal calendar…..kiss those processed foods goodbye!!

Menu Planning 101: Getting Started

I love menu planning!! I have been doing it for almost two years now and it is a huge life saver! No more picking out meals by how you are feeling, and no more staring blankly at your fridge wondering what to do.

I do my shopping at the beginning of the month even my fresh fruits and veggies. I do most of my cooking the Saturday following the shopping. There I cook the majority of my dinners that call for the fresh ingredients and then freeze them. I will say that it is an all day thing and it takes planning, but it is so worth it!

We do most of our big shopping at Costco as well except for chicken. Chicken we buy through Zaycon. Organic, skinless, boneless chicken breast for $1.69lb!! They catch is they come in 40lb boxes. Now we will use all of that but for other families who won’t or don’t have freezers (more on that later)to hold all of that chicken you could always split the order with a friend or 3 other friends! The boxes are divided into (4) 10lb bags. Super easy, super nice!

I am not that big on New Year’s Resolutions but last year I did make one and I did keep it, well, mostly. Last year I stated that it was my goal by the end of the year for my menu to be free of processed foods and for the most part we are. There is only one meal that is processed and that is Orange Chicken from Costco. I cannot find a good Orange Chicken recipe that the sauce has good flavor. I even tried Panda Express’s Orange Chicken Sauce and I still didn’t like it. So, we buy Costco…..mainly for the sauce. But other then that everything else is homemade, no more store bought nuggets or fish sticks or tator tots or soups or prepackage pasta meals. Now, I still have on hand a few boxes of mac and cheese as a backup plan for babysitters to make or if grandma watches the kids at her house I will take a couple of boxes over for her to prepare.

Let me challenge you, even if it is for one month, to eat homemade meals! It is awesome and you will feel so domesticated! I am still working out kinks with planning and I want to get to the place where I can make my own pasta sauces, marinara sauces, and enchilada sauces from scratch as well, and find a better homemade applesauce recipe.