Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cook Off Date!

I have an amazing husband. I knew he was amazing even when I started crushing on him in Grade 9. Let me tell ya - he only gets better with age. We were talking one night about where our hearts were at and I shared how I was feeling a little overwhelmed with "Blink" (my photography business). I have been starting to feel that every spare minute I have where the kids don't need me and after they go to bed is being spent on photo shoots, communicating with clients and post processing... meaning that my house is barely tidy and not clean and that often the day reaches 5:00pm and I haven't even thought about what to make for supper.

A solution to one of the issues is to pre-make a bunch of meals and store them in the freezer. I suggested that it would be more fun and less daunting if he would do it with me - like a date... he said "Absolutely". I just love him.

On the week of the cooking date we sat down and made a list of meals that we enjoyed and worked well as freezer meals and then narrowed that down to 4 meals with the intention of making at least 3 of each. On the Sunday I went out and power shopped for all of our ingredients while he put the kids down to sleep.

This is how we started...

And... 15 minutes in the boy one joined us. He's phasing out of napping.... and looking pretty stellar in his "Cars" apron ready to help!

I could have used a few more stove elements... and a few more pots!

We started by prepping all the vegetables.

Hamburger soup! So great on a chilly fall day!

The tall one chopping cabbage.

Hanners didn't nap very long either and joined us... in her cowboy hat.

Mixing/eating Chicken Tetrazzini. My friend Amanda made this when we did freezer meals. It's a Martha Stewart recipe. Martha suggests that it makes 2 casseroles but I'm able to make 3 meals out of it for our size of family. It's really yummy, you can check it out here.

My Rolkuchen bowl came in handy for mixing copious amounts of pasta!

Wow... I am a hot mess in this picture but it proves I was there.

During out cooking date we made:
- 3 meals of meatballs to go with various sauces and rice
- 3 Chicken Tetrazzini casseroles
- 3 Hashbrown casseroles with farmer sausage
- 4 pots of Hamburger Soup

Meatballs are one of our "go to" freezer meals. It's easy to make loads of them and then you can freeze them in meal size portions to go with any sauce. I try to make the meatballs a bit healthier by adding black beans. Here's how:

- Rinse and drain one can of black beans
- Puree the beans and add to one pound of extra lean ground beef
- Add 1 egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and 1 tsp ginger
- mix it all up and roll your meatballs
- Freeze them on a tray before dividing into freezer bags

*When I baked these the other day there was virtually no grease in the dish at all. They taste great and you can't even taste the black beans but they add lots of great fibre and cut down on the amount of fat!

One of our favourite sauces for the meatballs is from the Simply Delicious magazine (if you haven't checked it out you need to.)

Cranberry Chili Meatballs
- 1 can jellied cranberry sauce
- 1 jar sweet chili dipping sauce
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp chili powder

Mix it all together and pour over meatballs halfway through baking. Serve with rice. They are delish and definitely have a bit of kick!

We had such a great time cooking together and even with the kids awake and "helping", we managed half a month of meals in 2.5 hours. Can't wait to do it again. What are your favourite freezer meal recipes?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Up in the Air

On Saturday the Estevan Airport (yes, Estevan has an airport...) hosted an Airport Open House. Us and the Tregs headed out for a quick trip to see some planes up close!

First though we saw a mini quad :)

The same guy who let them sit on the mini quad also let them sit in the drag racing car. Vrrrrooom!

Hanny loves fast toys too :)

Unfortunately attendees weren't allowed to roam the tarmac and look at all the planes. For safety reasons you had to be escorted to where you wanted to go and look, which is understandable but I think that having an area fenced off (or in the hanger) where kids could look at planes would have been a big hit. We did however request an escort and went to view a charter plane and "Marvin's Grandpa's plane".

Here's the boy one in the charter plane.

Uncle Matt explaining something to us :)

The highlight of the day for us was that we booked a short flight for the boy one and the tall one to go on! It was super cool of the airport to offer and from what I understand most of the planes were privately owned and they volunteered to take people up in the air all day.

Here we all are sending them off!


The excitement in his eyes melts me!

He's even rocking aviators..

It was so fun to watch them taxi and take off! My son has an eagle eye for spotting planes in the air and he gets ridiculously excited every time he sees one. Him being able to be the one "up in the air" was truly a cool experience!

Daddy took a few iphone pics in the plane as well... So handsome in their headsets. Whenever Kai tells anyone about his airplane ride he says "We got to fly in the air and talk to each other!" (referring to the headsets.) Cute.

The pilot.

Our little city. 

And then they were done! Dean said he was a rock star the entire flight and they both had a blast!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blink Photo | Jenn and Scott's Sneak Peek

Do you remember this sweet family? I was able to do their E-Session a few months ago and 2 weeks ago I shot their wedding on a gorgeous September day! Gorgeous as in over +30 degrees... maybe not so fun in a big dress and tuxes... but they rocked it :)

Scott, Jenn, Chase and Braya here's your sneak peek!

 A little fun with frames...

Congrats Jenn and Scott!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A New Tab!

I've got a new tab! Look above you and you should see a tab labeled "Tutorials".... See it?

Click on it and now you'll be brought to a page that shows a categorized list of Pocket Full of Whimsy tutorials. Just click on the picture of the project and it will take you directly to that post!

I've been wanting to do this for forever and hopefully this makes it a bit easier to navigate the blog!

Also, stay tuned because I'm working on a "Give a Gift" series just in time to get you rolling on some handmade Christmas gifts!

~ Monique

For the Little Ones

Ruffle Bum Onesie

Doily Onesie

 Tab Blanket

 Pom Pom Petticoat

Numbered Bean Bag Toss Game

 Tree Stump Table and Chairs

Chalkboard Table

Ruffle Headband

For the Home

Book Page Wreath

 Tea Cup Centerpiece

 Corral Board Headboard

Cheeky Welcome Mat (Freezer Paper Stencil)

Custom Typography Print

Vintage Dish Magnetic Pin Holder

Just for Fun

Yo-Yo and Button Paper Clips 
 Rain Boot Cuff from Old Sweater

 "Mommy Needs Space" Door Hanger and Eye Mask

Grunge Family Tree Shirt

 Chalkboard Speech Bubble Sign