November 8, 2011

Once a Month Cooking are you crazy? Yup sure am

Hey remember me! The crafty Mom blogger. Ummm... don't think I can call myself that because it would imply that I have actually been blogging. So it's been a dog age since I've been able to sit and take a minute to blog but I'm hoping to make a change to that.

I wanted to share my recent project. It's not really crafty it's about food. With our little guy starting school it's been a struggle to have a meal ready quick enough so he can get to bed early enough without falling asleep in his dinner. I've been reading some different sites about once a week or month cooking. I found Once A Month Mom. I was floored at the variety of menus and the resources it provides. It has the menu with includes about 3 breakfast recipes, 3 lunch recipes and 6 dinner recipes. The idea is that you would eat each meal twice so you'd end up with about 24 meals. Other resources they have is a downloadable grocery list with a cell to put in how many people you are cooking with and it adjusts the portions. Recipes, labels for the frozen meals and instructions on how to use your time efficiently. I would strongly recommend looking through this site at all it has to offer.

Ok so as you can probably already  tell I decided that I was going to attempt this once a month cooking to see if I could save time and money. I'm a very frugal Mama and enjoy feeling like I'm stretching our family's dollar as far I we can. Just a quick side note about saving money, Mrs January is a fantastic site to assist you in that. I have been price matching my butt off and starting the couponing.

Anyways back on topic. Cooking, cooking and more cooking. Here were my thoughts before doing this.
  • I can hunt down my groceries price match
  • Buy everything in bulk when I could because we were cooking for 2 families
  • All the majority of my cooking will be done during an off peak hydro time making some savings there
  • I was going to do this with someone so we can share the work and make it fun
  • This would be a one day cooking marathon saving me time during our hectic days and reduce that thought about ordering out when all is falling apart
So the cooking marathon was on. My Sister in-law was going to jump in on this adventure with me. We went through the menus and whole foods were for us. I enjoy making our food from scratch. Well most of it anyways. I went out with our grocery list getting everything reasonable priced. They used all foods that are in season which helped a lot. So most of the food was bought and this is what my counter looked like. Mind you this is missing a few things as well. After everything was bought we spent close to $500.00, that's including all the containers to package everything as well.

The night before our cooking marathon we did all our prep and then some. We made sure everything was all chopped up. I decided I was going to get a jump start by making up all the bread and tortillas. First time making tortillas and I'm going to do it again they were so delicious and really not that complicated. After about 6 hours of cleaning, chopping,  roasting 12 squash and baking up all the breads we were ready to get started.

The next day started very early for me as our kids don't know the meaning of the work sleep in. So my day started at 7am where I jumped right in. The day was filled with hard work but for the most part I enjoyed it. I really do enjoy cooking. It was also nice to have a kind of kid free day.

The day wrapped up for me at about 9:15pm. I didn't take any breaks because my eye was set on the goal of finishing in one day. I was exhausted by the end I didn't even take any pictures of our mound of food.

So my thoughts after my once a month cooking experience.

  • I really enjoyed sitting down when everything was all done and feeling a weight being lifted from my shoulders. I don't need to think about what's for dinner every night.
  • $500 for 2 families of 4 to eat about 24 meals for each family (which will have a good portion of leftovers) is pretty good in my books
  • Instead of a one day grocery day I would have spread it out over a few weeks making sure to get things on sale
  • I don't know if I'd do it with someone next time. It was hard for me not to do everything myself because I wanted the best price for everything, to push and get everything done and having someone else cook our food was a little different too

So in conclusion I feel like this is something I'd do again. I feel like our family could save as long as I was organized and didn't rush though the planning stage. Plus the cooking in of peak times for our hydro is the cheapest way to cook because we usually cook during the most expensive time. The feeling that we are organized for food for those crazy days is a fantastic feeling plus we had our first dinner tonight and it was AMAZING!!

Have you ever done freezer cooking? Do you have any tricks or tips? As a newbie I'd love to hear them.

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