Monday, February 15, 2016

An Uncommon Reason to do Freezer Meals

I've been freezer cooking for only six weeks. (I'm no expert)  

I've been freezer cooking for six weeks!! (It's working enough that I didn't disregard the plan at the first mistake.)

Hello!  My name is Wendelyn Daly.  I am a recovering control freak.  I am taking one teeny tiny step at a time to give up said control and free my mind, my time, and my creativity.

As a mama who homeschools her two children, manages a home, passionately loves her husband, volunteers at our church, helps out with the neighbor girl, recently started a business, and wants to make a positive impact on our community (and the world), my brain wants to go in twenty directions at the same time.  Sometimes, my brain can go in three directions, but I do my best work when it has one direction.  That's right.  ONE.  Not always gonna happen, but it's good to be aware of what I need to do to be the most effective.

For years I have wanted to try freezer cooking.  The idea has literally been taking up space in my brain for years.  One winter day, I decided to try it.  I mean, what else is there to do on a winter day when you've exhausted all other options?

I did a little research. Thank you, Pinterest!  I put together seven freezer friendly recipes, and made a shopping list that would cover meals for weeks.  First two overwhelming things completed.  
Then, I went shopping.  I won't bore you with the details, multiple stores, best deals I can manage, blah, blah, blah.

Did I mention I despise grocery shopping?  Like, avoid it until the only option is to eat out.  Eat out?  Why, yes!  I would love to spend (at least) four times as much money to have someone cook and clean up for me.  

I spent an afternoon preparing 14 dump and freeze meals.  Two weeks later, I threw out all but three of the recipes, gathered three more, and started again.

(9 freezer meals, three mini meals for my husband for when the kids and I go out of town, and twenty breakfast burritos to make mornings a little easier.)

That brings us to week six and here's what I've discovered this far:

1) I still have evenings when I would like to prepare a meal.  Spend an hour in my kitchen, puttering around, and making one of those yummy meals that would not freeze well.  Plan accordingly.

2) There are crockpot freezer friendly meals, and there are casserole friendly meals.  Do what fits your day, your week, your life.

3) The hardest part is remembering to take the meal out to thaw the day or the night before.  If I can do it, you can do it. Give yourself time to work on the new habit, and cut yourself some slack.  You're only human.

4) We are not as tempted to our meals out.  When my kids complain they're hungry?  It's a fifteen or thirty minute drive home, and dinner is waiting.  It would take us just as long to swing through the drive through, and the meal at home is way more tasty and a whole lot healthier.  Save money and be more healthy?  Yes, please!!!

5) I have more time.  Originally I looked at how much time it would take to plan for, shop for, and prepare freezer meals, I thought, "Who has that kind of time? and "Would this be the final straw that broke the camels back?"  Seriously, taking a chunk of my time to do the work frees up multiple slots of time.  This has freed my brain of the constant planning, thinking, and doing.

I recently read the book "An Organized Mind" by Daniel J. Levitin.  I am in no way as articulate as the author, but he talks about how our brains are limited in capacity.  If we take information, tasks, ideas, goals, etc., out of our brains, put it on an external memory drive, (like, a piece of paper, a calendar, an app on your phone, etc), you will free up space in your brain.

Guess what I've been doing with my additional brain space?  Playing the piano-- for enjoyment. Journaling.  Reading my Bible. Reading more books.  Enjoying the everyday, and sometimes mundane tasks, more than I had before.  Slowing down, basking in the conversations, the questions and the noticing.  Organizing other areas of our days.  This spills over to leave more time and brain space for the things we enjoy.

Try it!  If not with freezer cooking, then with something else.  Do something that relieves that stressed out brain of yours.

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