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Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Bonus Recipes
Recipe of the Month Contest Winner
Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner
Closing Comments from Carol
Freezer Cooking News from Nanci
Company and Website News
Emails from Happy Customers
Consultant News
Closing Comments
Cookin' at the Keyboard with Shelley
Recipe Section
Software Suggestions
Closing Comments from Shelley
Notes from Tammy
Bonus Recipes from Tammy
Message Board Updates
Final Thoughts

Kitchen Fun with Carol



Hello cooks!

First I want to say a big thank you to all of you who sent me winter exercise ideas! You sent so many interesting options. I want share some of these ideas with you in case someone else out there is looking for some suggestions. Here are some of the ideas that I received:

An idea for winter months that may sound just plain wrong: do you have an indoor pool at your park and recreation center or YMCA? Water fitness is awesome - a good program is well rounded and hits all four elements of good physical fitness: strength training (just from resistance to the water alone as well as water weights, noodles, etc.), flexibility (stretching in the water - you'd be surprised at how much more you can do with the buoyancy help), core strength (similar to pilates mat when you exercise with toes up), and cardio (water aerobics, especially deep water, is a tough workout). A lot of city/county programs offer discounts in the winter months because people don't think of pools during colder weather.

 

Also, many hospital-affiliated rehab centers offer water aerobics and some gyms offer pool-only memberships. Also, check local churches. Ours offers (all for free): men's open basketball, floor aerobics, pilates, powerflex, volleyball and more. Volunteering in an Upward Bound program (I think mostly Baptist churches) would offer you benefits as well.  Tracy

 

Have you considered a treadmill? I don't just mean for you but also for your dog. I've seen it before and it works (after a bit of coaxing).   Luanne

I decided to try a combination of walking and a stability ball. We have had a very mild winter so far with temperatures averaging 12 degrees above normal. That makes walking bearable. As for the stability ball, I have had one for about a year  but it did not come with a video. I found an inexpensive video at Walmart and I am giving it a try. (What would we do without Walmart!) It has three levels of exercise - beginner, intermediate and advanced. The American Heart Association recommends that you engage in some physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes three or four days a week. This will be my beginning goal. Eventually, I would like to be exercising five days a week. The American Heart Association sponsors a web site called Just Move. This site has lots of information on the correlation between exercise and heart disease. They also provide a place for you to keep an exercise diary. You can set goals for yourself and track your progress. Again, thanks for all of the suggestions!

 

February usually makes you think of Valentine's Day. But it is also time for Super Bowl Sunday! I know lots of people who are planning a party with friends and family. Even if you are only watching the game for the great commercials, I thought it would be great to talk about recipes that are fun and easy to prepare for a crowd! There are so many 30 Day Gourmet recipes that work well for gatherings. My favorites are the finger foods that are easy to serve, disappear as the night goes on and clean up easily. Here are some of my favorites:

 

Chili and Sandwiches

 

Desserts:

 

Dips:

 

Finger Foods:

 

Snack Mixes:

 

Good luck to all of you out there who are are planning a party! I hope it is a fun time for everyone. This issue of Chewin’ the News brings you two finger food recipes. Read more about them in the Bonus Recipes Section.



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Bonus Recipes



Brownie Bites

These are so fun to take to a party or gathering! These are so easy to make if you have a mini muffin pan. You can serve them plain or frosted. One of our favorite frostings is peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate are so wonderful together. You could also make white frosting and color it red for Valentine's Day or your favorite team color.

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

 



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Recipe of the Month Contest Winner



February Recipe of the Month... Cheddar and Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes  

Our winner this month is Nancy with her recipe for Cheddar and Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes. I have been looking for more potato recipes and this one is great! To get a more fancy looking potato, you can pipe the filling though a star tip on pastry decorating bag. It makes them look ruffled. This is a great recipe to have on hand for lunch. They are very filling.

 

I was unable to reach Nancy, so we'll have to meet the creator of this recipe next month. Nancy, if you read this, please contact me at carol@30daygourmet.com to claim your prize!

 

Click here to view/print the February recipe of the Month.

 

Congratulations Nancy! Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe. You too can get in on the winning! Just post your favorite freeze-able recipe on the message boards.



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Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner



Our winner this month is Amyjoy from Boise, ID. Read how a 30 Day Gourmet freezer meal baby shower has changed her life.

 

Amyjoy says:  

"I have been raving about my new cooking "lifestyle" to everyone I can. My life has totally changed and it has been a very easy change to make. It started last January, one year ago when my sweet friends through me a "freezer meal" shower right before I had my third child. It was going to be a scheduled C-section and my second boy so I didn't need lots of clothes or toys, I needed help! So, we enjoyed freezer meals for an entire month which was plenty of time to get me back on my feet. Then my friend was also going to have a baby a few months later, she wanted the same yummy food stash as me. So we formed our "freezer meal group". We totally love the different yummy meals, ease of our days, and the fun it allows. Thank you for the book, the website, the great format and easy recipes that have always turned out! This is Awesome!!!"

We think so too! We are glad that you are enjoying the freedom that comes with your new cooking lifestyle. Enjoy! 

 

So, how do you make 30 Day Gourmet work for you?  How do you use it to help you deal with a challenge in your life?  How do you use it to help others?  Do you have a funny cooking story to share? Email me at  carol@30daygourmet.com to be entered in our contest.

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Closing Comments from Carol



I hope you enjoy the finger food recipes! Enjoy the game and we will talk again next month!

 

Calling all cooks...I'm looking for your favorite recipes so post them on our message board, the Cook's Corner. Any recipe posting will be considered for the Recipe of the Month contest and a chance to win $25 cash or merchandise from the 30 Day Gourmet store. Just post it under the appropriate category on the message boards. Be sure to include freezing directions! I look forward to hearing what you have to share.

 

Email me at carol@30daygourmet.com with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you!

 


          Carol



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Freezer Cooking News from Nanci



I don’t know about you but February can be a tough month to get through here in Indiana . Spring is a long way off and we are growing tired of winter. The only major “holiday” is Valentine’s Day which often falls during the work week making it hard to do any real celebrating. One family tradition that we Slagle girls always look forward is our valentine flowers. My husband, Bob, always buys a dozen roses and divides them among his four girls (Not evenly I might add. I get 6 and the daughters each get 2J).  He also takes the time to pick out a special card for each of us. We often leave them on display for a month or more since they seem to brighten everything up.

 

Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal
February seems to be a month when we eat a lot of oatmeal. Even though the store brand packets are fairly inexpensive they still come out to .25 per packet. Bob eats two packets every morning and usually adds more raisins, nuts and/or brown sugar. This month I tried making my own packets. We really like them and they are much less expensive.

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

Onion Rice
I have trouble coming up with side dishes. For awhile now, I have given in and bought the various “sides” packets at the grocery store. Not only can they be expensive but the sodium and preservatives also factor in. I decided to begin freezing sides again. We have begun to eat more rice at our house so I tried this VERY easy rice dish. It freezes great – either in a casserole dish, in meal sized freezer bags or in smaller freezer bags for an individual side or snack.

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!


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Company and Website News



Don’t forget that we do gift-wrapping for only $1. Our website is also configured now to ship almost anywhere in the world!

Here's a quick list of our items:
Freezer Cooking Manual $14.95 (2-9 are $12.95, 10+ are 11.95)
30 Day Gourmet Logo Apron $19.95
Advantage Cooking Software $34.95
Cook's Assistant Notebook $12.95
Kitchen Pro Calculator $34.95
Kitchen Calculator (handheld) $24.95
Freezer Labels $4 for 1 pkg of 50, $3 for 2-3 pkgs., $2.50 for 4+ pkgs.
Holiday Freezer Cooking $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Freezer Cooking on a Budget $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Freezer Lunches to Go $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Freezer Desserts to Die For! $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Freezer Cooking for Daycare Providers & Busy Parents $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Healthy Freezer Cooking $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Vegetarian Freezer Cooking $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD
Co-op Cuisine $6.95 download OR $8.95 CD


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Emails from Happy Customers



I have to share a success story with you. After freezer cooking off and on for several years, I finally tried out the trial version of the program last fall. My married daughter (she and her husband both work and attend college full time, and they had been living on fast food and freezer foods from Costco) grudgingly joined me for some cooking days. She hates to cook and told me she really didn’t have time to spend making food to put in the freezer. But I was rather insistent and after all was said and done, she and her husband were delighted to have a freezer full of meals to pop in the oven after a long day working/attending class. We’re planning another session soon. Another convert to freezer cooking!

Thanks for your help.           Shirley J.



Thanks a lot Nanci. I love you guys. I can't believe how much the quality of my life improves when I stay on top of my cooking. Your web site is awesome and the constant stream of recopies from the newsletters is great.            Margaret P.


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Consultant News



Please welcome our new consultants:

 

Laura King from Alamogordo , New Mexico

Bonny McClary from Fishers, Indiana



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Closing Comments



See you next month! Happy cooking!

         Nanci


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Cookin' at the Keyboard with Shelley



An Unexpected Place, at an Unexpected Pace

A dear friend of mine has five kids - three biological children, ages 12 to 20, and two young foster brothers waiting to be adopted. Her husband owns his own business and works long hours from time to time. They recently purchased a larger, older home in order to make room for the two (very active) little boys, and are in the midst of remodeling. They home school, with the two teenagers taking classes at the local community college. As a family ministry, they have been planning a youth conference sponsored by our church. My friend has been dealing with a season of life that is rolling by at an unexpected pace.

 

Life was busy enough, she thought...and then the water heater broke and flooded the garage. Then the baby fell and, several hours later, had minor surgery on his eye. Then a car accident, that could have been fatal, put the oldest daughter in ICU for a few days. Sitting by a hospital bed, waiting for the MRI results, my friend found herself in an unexpected place.

 

Friends and family rallied around them, caring for children, providing meals, grocery shopping, cleaning house, doing laundry. When I offered a day of my time doing anything she needed, she requested some meals for her freezer. There wasn't much time to plan, so we didn't do anything elaborate. My daughter and I cubed 10 pounds of raw chicken, chopped 15 pounds of cooked chicken, and browned 25 pounds of  ground beef and a little Italian sausage.

 

It's been two weeks since I spent the day at her house. Yesterday she told me on the phone that the youth conference was a success, her daughter is healing beyond the doctor's expectations, and they're hoping to be moved in the next six weeks. And with relief in her voice, she thanked me for the taco meat that she pulled from her freezer for dinner that night.

 

We can't always foresee or control the place where the road of life will take us. And sometimes the pace at which we travel is even out of our control. But there are things (like freezer meals) that we can do to fill in the pot holes and smooth out the speed bumps along the way, whether it's your road or someone else's.

(I didn't think of this until I was driving home from our cooking day. While I was labeling and dating the freezer bags, I wished I would have used the Sharpie to pen a few words of cheer on each of the packages. What a surprise it would have been each time she went to her freezer!)



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Recipe Section



No-Cook Lasagna

With the ground beef and Italian sausage already fried, it's easy to make up this "Lasagna Package" for the freezer. Now you can have lasagna at your fingertips without having to layer all the ingredients before freezing. I left all the ingredients and the recipe with my friend (see above) after our cooking day. She can have a fresh, homemade pan of lasagna in the oven in 10 minutes!

(I don't have a picture this month, but most lasagnas look alike, don't they?)

 

Click here to view/print/import this recipe!



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Software Suggestions



Dissecting Recipes

The biology book that my oldest daughters will be studying next year tells me that they'll be dissecting a crayfish, perch, and frog. The very thing I dreaded in high school is back again, this time it's likely to happen in my kitchen! Yuck. Although dissecting biology specimens is not exactly my idea of fun, I love to to dissect recipes. Sounds strange, I know, but read on to learn how it works.

 

When freezing meals I have several goals in mind. Primarily, I want to save time, save money, conserve freezer space, serve delicious food, and make it painless to put a meal on the table. All five of these goals can be accomplished by cooking only part of a recipe. Let's use the "No-Cook Lasagna" as an example.

 

After chopping the onion, I fry the ground beef and Italian sausage. Then I grate the mozzarella cheese and hunt for the parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. You might want to print the recipe for reference, but I end up with a freezer bag of fried meat, a bag of grated cheese, and a bag of powdered seasonings/spices.

 

Time is saved because I prepare multiple quantities of the recipe while the time-consuming tasks of chopping onion, frying meat, hunting for seasonings, and washing the pans and utensils need to be done only once. Money is saved because the spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese, and lasagna noodles aren't purchased until I serve the meal, or until they're on sale at the store. Freezer space is conserved because I'm storing only the meat and cheese, not the fully layered casserole. My homemade lasagna is delicious because I've cooked the portion of the recipe that, in my opinion, freezes the best. Finally, it's easy to put the meal on the table; all the time-consuming tasks are done!

 

Believe it or not, it gets even better. Advantage Cooking actually keeps track of a "dissected" recipe. For any ingredient in a recipe, set the "use on" field to indicate whether this particular ingredient is a "cooking day" or "serving day" item. Serving day ingredients are marked with an asterisk* on the printed recipe. I like to use the Move Ingredient buttons to position the "cooking day" ingredients at the top of the recipe and the "serving day" ingredients below.

 

In addition, three options are available for the Grocery Report. For any group of recipes selected, the grocery list can include:

  1. all ingredients,

  2. "cooking day" ingredients only, or

  3. "serving day" ingredients only.

 

Advantage Cooking is a great tool when it comes to dissecting recipes, unfortunately I haven't thought of a way for it to take my place when it comes to dissecting frogs. If I do, I'll let you know.

 

  Download a trial version of the software! It's free!



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Closing Comments from Shelley



My husband and I attended a "Love and Respect" marriage conference at the beginning of the month with Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs. It was excellent. Go to www.loveandrespect.com to learn more.

 

We had snow on Valentine's morning. It was our first snow in two years. My oldest daughter said that only in Oregon City do we go out to play in a centimeter of snow. (We did have a little more than that...but not much more.) The girls had a great time walking around in the white powder and we even have a miniature snowman out on the deck. They have been protecting it from the sun for three days, but he's getting pretty skinny! (Too bad it doesn't work the same for me.)

 

God bless your family as we wind up another winter and look forward to spring!

 

         Shelley



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Notes from Tammy



Hi everybody!  Are you as ready for spring as I am?  We haven't had much snow this winter, but it's been very cold!  We had 3 or 4 days early in February that it got warm... up into the 60's, which is very unusual!  But just enough for me to decide I'm ready for spring!  Especially now that it's in the 20's again!    

 

In January, we had the chance to travel to Alabama to visit my aunt, uncle, cousins and their families for a few days.  My husband loves to hunt, and hasn't for quite a few years. He went deer hunting here in November, but didn't get anything.  He talked to my uncle in AL, who said their deer season runs through the end of January.  Rob wanted to go down to hunt.  I said I hadn't seen my cousins in 20 years, so there was NO WAY!! he was going without me!  So we packed up the kids and Grandma and headed for AL.  

 

We had a great visit!   My aunt is a great hostess, and a very good cook too.  Of course I had to swap some recipes with her!  I will be sharing a couple of those with you in the coming months, once I test their freeze-ability.  By the time I left, my aunt and cousins were talking about planning a cooking day.  I'm waiting to hear from them how that goes.  

 

Rob had a great time hunting!  It was very cold, but he came home with 5 deer in the cooler!  They butchered some of it while we were still in AL, and we packed the rest in the cooler for the trip home.  When we got home, Rob and his mom butchered the rest in my kitchen.  For a laugh at me and my germ paranoia, read my post from the boards.  It's funny now, but it wasn't then!

 

I usually do a "clean out the freezer/restock it" post on the boards in January, but I have so much venison in my freezers, I don't have room to stock it with anything else!!  I had to clean out stuff that had been in there for a while, and plan meals with other stuff to have room for the venison.  The freezer on top of my extra fridge is stuffed to capacity with venison, and at least 2 shelves in my upright freezer are full of venison too.  We have been enjoying steaks and jerky.  Rob made some sausage, and it's pretty good too.  Anybody have any favorite venison recipes?  Post them on the boards, under Beef, I guess.



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Bonus Recipes from Tammy



We made a trip to OH in mid-February.  My in-law's 50th Anniversary was the 18th.  Mom said if Dad was still alive we would have had a family dinner to celebrate, and she still wanted to do that.  So we got all the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids together for a pot-luck dinner.  It's been a while since we had everybody together, so we really had a great time.  

I made Lazy Day Lasagna and froze it a few days before we left.  I made it in a stoneware pan so it would hold the cold while we traveled, as well as the heat when I baked it.  I took it from the freezer straight to the back of the van right before we left.  So it started thawing on the 6 hour trip, then went in my friend's fridge overnite, till I baked it in the morning.  It was thawed in time, and baked up perfect!  Not a single bite left in the pan when dinner was over.  I managed to find room for a 9"x13" in my upright freezer, so I made one for us too!

We've been enjoying other hot winter-type meals... Taco Chili, Country Chicken Pot Pie, Ham and Bean Soup, BBQ Beef Loaves,  and Beefy Vegetable Soup My son asked me a few days ago when I was going to make Cheeseburger Quiche... I'll need to get that on the menu.  I've put the crock pot to use a few times making Italian Chicken, and Cincinnati-Style Chili too.  Something we make sure we do every time we get to Columbus is eat at Skyline Chili.  But when it's been a while, we "make do" with homemade.  I need to make some Loaded Baked Potato Soup and some Cheddar Broccoli Soup too... haven't had those in quite a while.  But I need some more room in my freezer before I can do that!



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Message Board Updates



The message boards continue to be a great resource!  And we've had a lot of new cooks join us!  Welcome!!

 

I've got a chicken roasting in the crock pot right now... it's dinner, and the leftovers will be chopped and divided into 2 cup portions in baggies for the freezer, ready to use in other recipes.  It smells so good!!!   

  

Do you have a wedding in your future?  One of our cooks is doing all the food and decorations in addition to her Mother of the Bride duties!  Check in here to see her plans, and wish her luck!

 

Here's a Thank You to everyone who posts on the boards from a new cook.

We've had quite a few new cooks join us by introducing themselves on our Meet Other 30 Day Gourmets thread.  Please join us there if you haven't already!

 

Check out the rest of the message boards when you get a chance… they are a great source of ideas, recipes, tips, and encouragement! If you have any questions about the message boards, please email me! You can reach me at tammy@30daygourmet.com.



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Final Thoughts



Well, that's it from me this month.  It's almost time for the kids to come home, and start the rounds of homework, evening routines and music practice.  Oh... a little bit of "business" before I close.. if you change your email address, you need to access your Yahoo account and change the information there, instead of emailing us your address change.  Our Newsletter is sent out using Yahoo, and they maintain your email addresses for us.  If you need help, see under the NOTE below on how to access your Yahoo account.

 

  Feel free to email me at tammy@30daygourmet.com with any questions, ideas, suggestions or problems. I enjoy hearing from you all!

 

              Tammy



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