FALL IS HERE. picmonkey-collageGuess-Up-Emoji-Ski-Bootsjack-o-lantern

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kind of.

I know you summer lovin’ crazies are all up in arms because it’s not REALLY fall, but Labor Day has come and gone now, so I am breaking out the boots and scarves. BOOTS AND SCARVES! BOOTS — AND — SCARVES!! I know in my heart of hearts that I will be rocking sweatshirts and tennis shoes by mid-October, but I will be a fashionable lady for the next six weeks, and it will be glorious. I might even get a haircut. Things could get wild.

I could go on and on about my love of fall (just click here for more fall-lovin’, daily planning goodness), but today is all about FOOD. Specifically, freezer meals.

Our family schedule changes pretty dramatically from summer to fall. I teach piano and voice lessons in our home from around 2pm-7pm four days a week from September-June, and our kids go to bed between 7-7:30 – which means I completely miss dinner time more than half of the week. Add to this equation that we have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old and that my husband works in student ministry AND is in seminary (hello, super random hours and frequent late nights) – and the result is that dinner time is OFF THE CHAIN in this place. We eat together around the table approximately once a week. The quintessential “family dinners” will happen one day, but our lifestyle does not support the ideal at this time.

However.

I’ve made my peace. I love the unique rhythm of our family, and especially the fact that our schedules are the way that they are because my husband and I both have jobs that we love. I’m also starting to learn that just because I don’t have time to cook does NOT mean we have to sacrifice quality, healthy dinners.

Enter freezer meals.

STAY TUNED, FRIENDS…

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But more on that later.

I did a major experiment at the beginning of the month and made 10 freezer meals in one marathon cooking session to help ease the burden of our weirdo family schedule. Honestly, I’ve never really considered freezer meals – especially in this capacity – because the options seem so limited. Just search Pinterest for freezer meals and you will find a TON of recipes – but it is Casserole City out there, man. Not that I have anything against casseroles. They have their place (and you better believe I will bring you some bangin’ lasagna after you birth a baby), but we can’t be eating Cream of Whatever Plus Some Chicken and Noodles every night around here. It would be scrumptious, but there is a price to pay for such delicacies (You heard me, muffin top. I’m looking at you.)

So, I researched. Planned. Recipe-hunted. Planned more. Researched more. Made lists. Checked lists. Made more lists (you know I have a thing about lists, right? If not, see every other post on this blog).

Then grocery shopped, vegetable chopped, and cooked A WHOLE LOT OF FOOD. If you followed my marathon cooking session on Facebook, you know that this whole ordeal took close to 6 hours – NOT including the massive amounts of prep time.

The Final Verdict

Was it worth it? OH MY GOOD GRACIOUS YES YES YES. Here’s why I’m doing this again next month:

  • I ended up with 15 meals instead of just ten, because a lot of these recipes make enough to feed my family twice. Score. Plus, we almost always have leftovers the next day, so it’s much more than even the 15.
  • I have gotten HOURS back each week that I can now use for other things. It’s not only the cooking time you get back – it’s the clean up, too! Not to mention…
  • I have spent zero minutes of the past 19 days wondering what in the world we are going to eat tonight.
  • It is now September 19th and I have cooked ONCE this month. Once!!! And I didn’t even HAVE to.
  • We have SAVED MONEY by staying in for dinner every night instead of going out (Chick Fil-A = “going out”, right?)

I mean, come on! Why have I not been doing this my whole life?

So, you ask – am I doing this again next month? Oh. You Betcha. I will never go back to my old ways of last-minute meal prepping, frozen-pizza-making, random fridge-hunting, “I’m sure there’s SOMETHING to eat in this house!”. This is the way.

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So, will you join me?

I’ve spent the past few weeks refining my system, and I am so excited to share it with you during my Freezer Meal Email Challenge!

From Sept 26-30, I’ll send you an easy task each day (for instance, Day 4 will be labeling your bags). This is to help you plan your meals well and make your meal prep day run more smoothly.

On Saturday, October 1 – WE COOK! Block off a part of your day to spend in the kitchen. We’ll have a little fun with this on social media too 🙂

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Let’s do this thing together.

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The challenge starts SEPTEMBER 26. COOKING DAY IS OCTOBER 1.

I CAN’T WAIT.

Kelsey