Monday, May 4, 2009

Baking or Cooking for the Freezer and Eating Healthier

Right now my husband and I are working to change our families eating habits. We both need to lose a little more than a few pounds. Our girls are super active and are thin but we don't want them to grow up having bad habits.

We started the day after Easter. We had been on vacation the week before so we figured this would be a great start. First on the list was to make sure I was buying fruits and veggies every week. Next was to cut out soda! This was a crazy one but I can be pretty determined. I was a serious Dr Pepper addict and I am proud to say I haven't had one in 3 weeks. I will confess that last Tuesday night I was not feeling great and I had a Sprite. So 1 soda in 3wks not bad for a soda-holic. The girls are not forbidden from soda but I am just not buying any to bring home. If they go somewhere and want one they can have one.

This last part has been probably the hardest....cutting down on too much processed food. Okay so we are not going to be processed food free but we just wanted to make a conscious effort to bring home less. So we are buying less frozen meals, frozen snacks and such.

So the first thing I needed to do was figure out some lunch ideas for hubby and I. On the 23rd I cooked up a big pot of Pinto Beans and Rice. I just went by the directions on the bag. I added in plenty of seasoning, salt, pepper, etc. I also cooked up a big pot of Lentils and Rice. I separated these individually and put some in the downstairs freezer and some upstairs freezer. In the morning just sit one out to thaw. Later heat up on a tortilla and add lettuce, tomato, salsa, cheese, sour cream or whatever you like.
Last week while I was cooking dinner and was already in the kitchen I decided to start up a batch of Chili. I got it all ready and turned it on simmer then just set the timer for 2 hrs. I divided this into 2 meals. One will be for Chili Dogs this week and the other will go to my Grandparents tomorrow.

Saturday I decided to bake some snacks for the girls. First I premade Peanut Butter and Syrup Sandwiches for the school lunches. 1 Bag is here and the other is in the upstairs freezer.

I used 1 Jar Skippy Natural and mixed it with enough maple syrup to sweeten. Honey also works great but I was out. 1 Jar made 17 sandwiches. They are each individually bagged then are loaded into a ziploc freezer bag.
All they have to do is grab one out in the morning and stick it in their lunch box and by lunch time they have a thawed sandwich.

I also baked 8 dozen Oatmeal muffins. The girls love these, so do hubby and I. I am not a great baker but these are easy.

3 packets Instant Oatmeal
1 cup milk
1 cup self rising flour
1tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup oil (use applesauce for healthier version)

Empty oatmeal into a bowl and cover with milk and let sit while you mix other ingredients. In another bowl add flour, salt, brown sugar and mix together. Then add egg, applesauce and milk oatmeal mixture. Blend together. 1 batch makes 12 regular size muffins. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. I checked mine at 15. My stove time varied from the recipe.

I made some in muffin pans and some in a square pan and cut them into bars. The flavors I made were, Blueberry, Banana, Strawberry, Strawberry/banana, Cinnamon Swirl, Apples and Cinnamon, Peach. A couple were doubled.
By using skim milk and applesauce in this recipe the muffins came to 100-120 calories a piece.

Needless to say by the time my baking day was over I had lost about 1 1/2 doz of the muffins. Kids and Hub had to taste test most flavors.
We ended up with 3 bags in the freezer and 1 in the fridge. These are great for Breakfast, in the lunch box or after school snack.

My older daughter is adapting to these changes very well my youngest is not. She wants chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas and hot pockets. So I am in search of healthier ways to make similar convenience items at home. If anyone has any bulk freezer recipes on kid approved snack foods I would love to hear them.


jules said...

good for you on making the family eat more healthy. I have been doing freezer meals for a couple months now. I get together with a friend divide ingredients in half, we purchase them when they are on sale, then we get together once a month and cook for a day. We ended up with so much food, it's great to just pull a meal out of the freezer each night for the next nights meal, make some jello, applesauce etc and you've got a meal with no work that day. Here is a great site they also have a book, I borrowed the libraries, and it has tons of great recipes.

When you put them in your Ziploc bags just make sure to lie them down and flatten the ingredients and get all of the air out, or they may taste like freezer or get burnt. We also made pancakes, waffles and cookies to freeze on our cooking day. Have fun, it's a blast.

Amber said...

Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions! I look forward to really checking out the website! I have done pancakes and waffles before I just need to do them again. They make for a really quick breakfast for the girls! :)