Thursday, September 3, 2009

Once A Month Cooking

Sometimes when it's to hot in the evening to go to the park, we like to go to Sam's club and wonder around looking at all the fun stuff we usually ignore when grocery shopping. We were looking through the book aisle and I came across this cookbook that's called "Once A Month Cooking." As I mentioned in early posts, I sometimes feel like I spend half my time in the kitchen so I instantly took to the idea. Aaron and I scanned the book and decided a lot of the recipes sounded good and so we bought it. I went through the book and started picking out recipes that sounded good. It's an awesome book that comes with shopping lists, order of preparation, order of cooking lists, recipes, and more information than you could possible want about this program.

The next morning I decided I wanted to try it, but only cook two weeks at a time. I made my food calendar, made my shopping list, and once I picked up Ashton from school, we headed to the store. Now in the book it tells you to clean your kitchen and do your shopping the day before you plan to cook. Well, I'm a wonderful listener and decided to do it all in the same day. We got all the shopping done and when I put the kids down for a nap, I cleaned my kitchen just enough to get started. Of course I wasn't as well organized as I should be and 7 hours later I finished my fourteen meals. Now to give others hope, I made a lot of mistakes and am confident I can cut the time in half. The hard part is that I had to create all my own lists because we don't eat beef and other meats which are in this book. It probably would have gone a lot smoother if I could have just followed the book.

We are on meal 3 of this new plan and so far everything is fantastic. It reduces the mess and stress at dinner time. I will keep you posted on how it all turns out, but I am confident it will be successful. The program was designed to help save money and reduce stress. I have already seen a difference in both. I would recommend the book to anyone, you can always add in your own recipes to replace the ones you don't like. I created my own cooking book that has just this months recipes in it. This way I can go from page to page, instead of flipping through several books. I am posting my calendar below, I am always happy to share recipes that sound good to you. The first fourteen days are highlighted because those are the ones that are already prepared. On the last day, I will prepare the next two weeks worth. Hopefully by then I will figure it all out :) Yes it's a lot of work that day, but there are lots of little tips and tricks to help lessen the work, but I feel it is totally worth it for the energy I save on a daily basis. Get a babysitter and recruit some help for the day and enjoy stress free dinners for the rest of the time! Hope you enjoy!


This week, I realized how big my little Ashton really is getting. On Monday he went to his first day of preschool! We had been talking about school and how he was going to learn his numbers, letters, and colors and he was really excited. Then we got there and he didn't want me to leave. I made myself go knowing he was in good hands and that he would have fun eventually. He did pretty good for his first time in a classroom setting. He was a little hyper and only wanted to do half the activities. The next time we went to school, I decided we should walk since it's close and help burn off his excess energy. He did much better. Even though he still cried when I left (for like 30 seconds) he had a lot of fun and really likes his school. I am posting his first two art projects. Can't help myself, it's so much fun to see his creations. I am so proud of him, I know he is really going to enjoy going and learning. Not only did he start preschool, but he also stayed in Nursery at church for practically the first time since we moved to our new ward. Leaving is always a little rough, but he has so much fun after. Now I just have to figure out what to do with myself now that he has class. I believe Yoga is calling my name. I could use a relaxing workout in my life :).

Weekend Trip to Mesquite

This past weekend Aaron finally had some time off of work so we decided we should do something really fun to celebrate all his hard work. So I had heard about this small town that was suppose to be cute and found hotel were we could stay. I also found the Valley of Fire State Park and thought that it would be really fun to go hiking in the morning. So we drove out to the park only to realize that it was mostly camping grounds and some neat national landmarks to see. Nonetheless, we were able to see some amazing ancient Indian markings. We got out of the car and still walked around the rocks. It was all red rocks, much like St. George and just as hot. We realized that we love Mt. Charleston even more because it's thirty degrees cooler than the desert. It was a lot of fun and the scenery was breathtaking. We spent several hours in the park and decided to head over to the small town of Overton that we heard about. Well were we in for a surprise! It truly was a small town with tractors riding on the main road and not a mainstream restaurant in sight. We kept driving thinking somewhere there would be a cute old fashioned downtown, but we never found it. We found a park and stopped to eat and let Ashton play. There we found one of our church buildings burned to the ground. It had been a very recent fire and we stood in awe knowing that the fire had to be set on purpose. The church looked a lot older and they had already built a new one down the street. It still made us sad to see the ruins.

After lunch we were trying to decide what to do. I realized we were only twenty minutes from Mesquite so we decided to be adventurous and stay there for the night. We checked in at the Casa Blanca hotel and while waiting for our room went to the swimming pool to play. They had an awesome pool with waterfalls and a water slide. Ashton ran up to it and wanted to go down by himself. He is not afraid of anything and swam around that pool for hours. There was a DJ there playing music and we sipped on our nonalcoholic daiquiris enjoying the sun and spending time together. It was refreshing to be at a family friendly hotel pool. We swam till Ashton was about to fall asleep floating in the pool.

After naps we got dressed went to dinner and decided to drive through the Virgin River Gorge since it was only five minutes up the road. For anyone who has driven to St. George, you know this is a beautiful drive. Aaron has never driven that far north so I knew he would think it was fun. The sun was setting as we were driving back through to our hotel. Desserts sunsets are beautiful and it made the end of the drive perfect. We had so much in just one day and it's always fun to explore other areas of the state of Nevada.

Our First Dinner Guest

This past week was a very busy and fun week for us. It seemed like everyday, we had something fun planned. When Ashton and I first got back from California, I took him to my friend Becca's house. Aaron and I had a meeting at church and she was nice enough to watch him for us. Not only did she watch Ashton, but made us dinner as well. It was so nice after a long morning drive to not have to worry about anything. Her husband works on the same base as Aaron and they both work crazy schedules. Luckily this past week, their schedules were close enough that we could all get together. So we invited them over to our house for dinner. I made my signature lasagna and a pretty yummy chocolate pudding pie. It was so much fun to sit and chat and just let the kids run around and play. It also made us feel like Vegas is becoming our home and we are planting some wonderful roots. A few days later, we also had the missionaries over for dinner and in between dinner guests, I had park play dates. Needless to say, by Sunday I was pooped! I also felt like I spent half my week in the kitchen. As much as I love to cook, sometimes it can be a little time consuming. I am sure we will have many more dinner guests, but since it was our first one in our new home, I felt it was nice to share. A house always feels more like a home when it is filled with guests and laughter.