Goodbye relaxed easy days of summer when time wasn't at a premium, and the day planned itself. So long to not caring if the To-Do list was finished because you could finish it tomorrow. Sayonara to saying yes to one more episode, one more game or one more chapter - sorry kids - the alarm will go off when it's still dark. Au Revoir to afternoon naps... welcome to afternoon coffee instead.
But still, it's fall, and as much as I hate for summer to end I'll welcome the change in the weather, the lessening of garden and food prep chores, and being the first born, Type A that I am, I'll even welcome the return to routine.
There are a few things on my before school starts check list that make our year run much more smoothly.
1) Food Prep: When I'm making something that will freeze I always double the recipe, but I also dedicate one day over the summer to preparing an abundance of freezer meals and lunch box muffins.
|Pizza Biscuits: In a muffin liner - biscuit round, pizza sauce, pepperoni slice, shredded mozzarella. |
Bake at 400 for 15 min.
In picture below - Dogs in a blanket: Biscuit dough wrapped around a hot dog, bake at 400 for 15 min. Send with ketchup.
|Twenty Three Freezer Meals (took about 5 hours total to make - including clean up time). From back: Burrito Bake, Oven Enchillada, Burgers and Fries Casserole, Mommy's Recipe, Pizza Casserole, Mac and Cheese, Chicken and Biscuit, lunches packed and ready. Not shown: Vegi Lasagna, Tuna Rice Casserole|
Burrito Bake - adapted from Simply in Season: Cook some brown rice with some tumeric and salt. Put it in a casserole dish, cover with taco seasoned black or kidney beans, cover that with sauteed swiss chard and garlic, cover that with cheese. Freeze with flour tortillas so they'll be there when you need them.
Burgers and Fries - adapted from Taste of Home: Saute about a pound of hamburger, turkey burger or vegi burger with some onions and garlic. I also add TVP to make it a bit healthier and to stretch my budget. Drain the meat mixture. Add in a can of golden mushroom soup, and a can of cheese soup or a cup of shredded cheese. Put the meat mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish, cover with frozen fries.
Mommy's Recipe: Make your basic chili, but don't make it as soupy. Make your basic corn bread. Fill the casserole dish about half full with chili. Top with corn bread mix and cheese.
Pizza Casserole: Cook some noodles. Toss with Spaghetti sauce. Add in some cooked ground sausage and pepperoni. Cover with more pepperoni and shredded mozerella cheese.
Mac and Cheese: Cook some macaroni. Toss with a cup of shredded cheese and a cup of cottage cheese, add a T of dried onion and a t. of dry mustard. Add salt or soy sauce if needed for flavor. If you have an egg add that too to help it all hold together.
2) Processing and Garden: I try to get as much of my big processing chores out of the way before school starts. Our after Labor Day start is a big help, so I usually have everything except Spaghetti Sauce done before students start. I'll keep chipping away at my processing tasks, and doing garden maintenance during the teacher work days, but once school starts I won't make it into the garden or do any processing until the weekend. I take a Laissez-Faire approach to the garden at this point in the year. I figure that any plant that has made it to this point in the summer will probably make it to the frost, and if it doesn't then we like supporting our local farmers. At this point, if the zucchini dies I think I'll be OK.
|The August kitchen....|
|Salsa party! The girl chopped the peppers.|
|Onion goggles make chopping onions much easier. Kids with good knife skills make this job much faster.|
May your coffee be strong, and may you never spill it on your white shirt on the way out the door. May you remember to turn the burner off, and let the cat out every day. May you see your house in the daylight, at least for a little while, and may you find some peace in your day.
God Bless and Good Luck! Happy New Year everyone! I hope 15-16 is a good one.