Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where it all began...

My life changed (for the better) in July of this year with the birth of my first child.  It has been the most amazing experience of my life.  Having the new additon to our family has made me more aware of time - I want to spend all of it that I can with my husband and son (not always in the kitchen cooking!).  It is important to me that we all sit down at the dinner table as a family, especially now that my son is approaching the age that he will be starting solid foods.  I started seeking a way to make dinner time easier.

I looked around the internet for ideas and suggestions.  Then I remembered one of the most wonderful baby gifts that I received.  Not long after we arrived home from the hospital, my best friend (Colleen) gifted me with several freezer meals.  It was so great to have those meals ready to go during those first weeks home.  I discussed with Colleen the idea of starting a meal exchange and she jumped on board.  The idea is that each month we will each prepare a pre-determined number of meals, making double of each one.  She will keep one of each of her meals for her family and give the other one to me.  I will do the same for her.

I was a little nervous about the exchange.  I wasn't sure what the time commitment would be.  Was this something we would be able to manage?  How many meals should we exchange each month?  Would I be able to cook meals that her family would like as well as my family?  I have to say that after just the first month, all of my fears have been put aside.  The first month's exchange (November) was decided to be for one breakfast, two dinners, and one dessert.  I did a bit of prep in recipe searching, grocery list development and shopping.  It took me one Friday evening and a few hours the next Saturday to prep and package all the food.  When it was done, I was on a natural high.  It felt amazing to dedicate a small amount of time to yield a huge reward - healthy, homemade meals for my family that would be quick to prepare and would increase quality family meal time!

We have started to serve these first meals and are seeing good results.  The coming posts will be discussions and reviews of these recipes.  Each meal will be rated on a 20 point scale.
Ease of preparation 1 to 5 points
Freezer friendliness (how well did it hold up in the freezer) 1 to 5 points
Overall taste (as rated by us) 1 to 5 points
Happy Hubby (ratings by our loving husbands) 1 to 5 points.

For the month of November, the following meals were exchanged:
Breakfasts -
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Pumpkin Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Dinners -
Mexican Lasagna
Pizza Casserole
Pizza Kits (ground turkey, hawaiian)
Cranberry Chicken Bake

Desserts -
Peanutbutter chocolate cookies
Fruit Crisp

The links to the recipes can be found under the recipes tab at the top of this page.

Please join us as we make the journey to fill our freezers!

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