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 Skip Navigation LinksHome > Archives > 2006 > Monthly Newsletter
Chewin' the News from 30 Day Gourmet
Kitchen Fun with Carol
Bonus Recipes
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 from Nanci
Cookin' at the Keyboard with Shelley
Valentine Treats
Software Suggestions
Closing Comments from Shelley

Kitchen Fun with Carol



Happy New Year, everyone! It's hard to believe that another year has gone by so quickly. Where does all the time go? It sure gives you a dose of perspective on your life and where it is headed. I'm not normally one to set New Year's resolutions but the older I get the more important it seems set goals for where you are headed. This year I have decided to set some long-term goals for myself. In the past I've learned that goals need to be something that is very important in your life. I've also learned that changes in habits can take a while to take hold and you have to be patient (patience is something I'm always working on!). Here are some of the areas that I am going to work on this year:

Driving: Over Christmas break we took my twin boys to get their temporary driving licenses, otherwise known as their learner's permit. So you can imagine what I will be doing once the snow and ice disappear! I'll be teaching my two boys to drive and taking them to driver's education classes. What an exciting time!

Exercise: It's easy to exercise in the warm months but the winter is hard for me. Maggie, our family dog, practically begs to be taken on a walk every night once it warms up. She will go and stare at her leash hanging up on the peg in the laundry room and cries. It is so pathetic that you can't help but take her out for a walk. The winter is a different story. She is almost 14 and likes the snow but her bones do not appreciate the cold. I certainly understand her feelings! My bones don't appreciate it either. My goal is to find an enjoyable physical activity for the winter months.

Mind: Last summer I joined a book club called the Page Turners. We meet on a monthly basis and talk about a book that we have read. My goal is to follow through and read the assigned book so that I can actively participate in the discussions. It's all a matter of prioritizing my schedule. Here's some of the books I will be reading this year: Captivating by John & Stacy Eldredge, Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston, In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks, and Deadline by Randy Alcorn.

Last month I mentioned that I was going to focus on comfort foods in this month's newsletter. I don't know if you've noticed but a lot of comfort foods are full of carbohydrates and fat. This will not work with a goal of eating healthier in the New Year. There is one food that I think qualifies as a comfort food on a cold winter's night. How about a hot bowl of soup, a hearty salad and some fresh baked bread? When planning my winter menu I always include a soup and salad night. It's one of my favorite dinners of the week.

This issue of Chewin' the News brings you two great soup recipes. Read more about them in the Bonus Recipes Section.

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Bonus Recipes



Italian Meatball Soup

This soup is one of my family's favorite soups. One of our local grocery stores will occasionally have precooked meatballs for seventy-five cents a pound. You cannot make homemade meat balls for that price! And it makes this recipe even easier to make. The broth is rich and thick and full of vegetables. Give it a try!

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

Potato and Ham Soup

My mom and Dad have a large vegetable garden and they gave us a whole box of extra potatoes. I created this recipe to use up some of the potatoes so they would not go to waste. I'm also going to try some Twice Baked Potatoes. There are some great ideas on the Cook's Corner and Shelley's recipe from the October 2005 Chewin' the News newsletter. We also love Loaded Baked Potato Soup for lunches.

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!



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Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner



Our winner this month is Kim from Surprise, AZ. Read how 30 Day Gourmet has helped make her life simpler and gave her more free time with her family.

 

Kim says:  

"I have loved freezer cooking for many years, almost fifteen- which is almost as old as my oldest son. I also have an 11 year old daughter, an 18 month old daughter, and a 4 month old son...quite a handful of children at times...I never could get up enough courage to do a one month session until this past September, and then I actually did 33 meals! What a sense of accomplishment! And the recipes were so easy to adjust to my famished family! The food was delicious, fresh, and best of all- homemade. I shopped and cooked for three full days, and was exhausted by the end of the third day, but I have been a happy camper for the past month and a half knowing I have ready made meals and free evenings with my husband and children. Thank you for making life simple- I cant wait to get back into the kitchen before the holidays so that I can be fully prepared for company this year!"

We are glad you got up the courage to try a one month cooking session. It can be a challenge but it is well worth the effort. 

 

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 soup recipes! There is nothing like a steaming hot bowl of soup on a cold winter's night. Add a tossed salad and warm, fresh bread and you have a wonderful, homey meal. That's the best in comfort food!

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!

Best wishes to you and your family this New Year!


          Carol



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Freezer Cooking News from Nanci



Happy New Year everyone!

Many apologies for not writing you since October. Life swooped in and took over! Once I cast our Christmas musical it seemed like I was living at school until final exams. The play went really well. It was a WWII era show with radio studio excerpts. Great fun! My holiday was also "complicated" by some elective surgery that I had on December 15th. Male readers can skip to the next paragraph:) Ladies - I had breast reduction surgery. Woo hoo! My insurance paid (20 years of headache history) and my recovery has been good.

So now we're back to school and ready to begin a new semester. Our high school is doing a J-term this year so I have been teaching 2 three hour long classes each day called "Curl Up With a Good Book". It's been wonderful! We've been drinking lots of hot chocolate and eating our fair share of mini marshmallows.

With all of this reading and sipping, I've found that I am not as hungry at lunchtime and I have been craving soup most days. I'm anxious to try the ones that Carol printed last week. Here are a few more to try. Both can be done in the slow cooker. I recommend borrowing an extra slow cooker and doing 4 recipes at once. Eat one on cooking day and freeze the other three.

Brat Stew

This recipe came from an online newsletter that I get from allrecipes.com. My husband loves bratwurst but we tend to only eat them in the summer when the grill isn't covered with snow. This was a great wintertime treat for him. Definitely a keeper!

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

Allrecipes is home to over 400 crock pot recipes. Click here to visit their complete collection.
 

French Onion Soup


I love ordering this at restaurants but had never tried making it myself. Wow - it's easy! The hardest part is slicing the onions. Click here to read all kinds of crazy ideas (from wearing swimming goggles to keeping your tongue out the whole time) for dealing with the tears. Serve with a slice of homemade bread or the $1 per loaf French bread from Walmart. Yummy!

 

Click here to view/print this recipe!

 

Most soup recipes freeze great. Check out the ones on our website.

 

There are also soup recipes in our cookbooks:




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Company and Website News



30 Day Gourmet had a great holiday season. The word seems to be getting out about how great freezer cooking can be. Don't forget birthdays and "just because" gifts too. Valentine's Day is coming up! If you'd rather have an apron than a box of chocolates (I know - that's a tough one) just tell your hubby about our website.

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



Thanks! I have ordered this for my daughter who is a teacher in Indy. She just discovered 30 day gourmet this summer and loves it! She made up enough meals to last them until fall break then cooked again so she should be good till Christmas!   Anne


I have been very impressed with your cookbook. It's so easy and comprehensive. I purchased a different freezer cookbook before yours, and it was clear as mud. I decided to give yours a try after looking at your website. Yours reinforces the notion that I can actually make freezer cooking work. Thanks for providing such good advice and practical knowledge.          Kathleen


I saw you at the Indiana Home School convention several years ago and bought your cooking manual. I would try out different recipes in it to see what ones my family liked and finally about a year ago I went all the way and freezer cooked 2 months worth of recipes at a time. WOW! We were hooked. What a wonderful feeling to know supper is taken care of. I am going to try to add lunches to our stash this year.


The extra recipes that we get in the newsletters are also a great hit. I have been dubbed Queen of Desserts with the Oreo Truffle recipe. :)  Robin from Marion, Indiana



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Consultant News



We have several new consultants who have joined us recently. Please welcome:

Alice Bender from Accident, Maryland
Sandra Robinson from Pompeys Pillar, Montana
Nancy Clark from Algona, Iowa
Michelle Freer from Wendell, North Carolina
Jacqueline Dotson from Mitchellville, Maryland
Susan Baldwin from Nashville, Tennessee
Karin Barry from Cape Coral, Florida Check out Karin's website here.
Sheri Devan from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana Check out Sheri's website here.


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Closing Comments from Nanci



Enjoy the rest of January! Fill those freezers! You'll be so glad that you did. I did a mini cooking day for just a few hours last week when I was putting soups in the freezer and ended up with 13 meals - wow!


        Nanci



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Cookin' at the Keyboard with Shelley



Big Rocks

So, how are the resolutions coming? Being a "goal-setting" kind of girl, New Year's Resolutions are right up my alley. Unfortunately, by the end of January, my resolve is running low. But the following illustration helps me regain my focus.

 

"An expert in time management was addressing a class of business students. To illustrate his point, he pulled out a one gallon, wide mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table. He then proceeded to fill it with fist-sized rocks. When no more rocks would fit into the jar, he asked the class, 'Is the jar full?' The class, somewhat uncertain, nodded their heads 'Yes.'

 

From under the table the man pulled out a bucket of gravel and poured it into the jar. He shook it into the open spaces between the big rocks and asked once more, 'Is the jar full?' Hesitantly, one young man responded, 'Probably not.'

Again reaching under the table, the man brought out a bucket of sand. As he dumped it into the jar, everyone watched the sand trickle into the empty spaces. Once more he asked the question, 'Is the jar full?' Noticing the pattern, the class responded together, 'No!'

 

Grabbing a pitcher of water, the expert poured the water into the jar until it was filled to the brim. Looking at the class with a smile on his face, he asked, 'What is the point of my illustration?' After some thought, one student offered, 'The point is: No matter how full your schedule is, you can always fit more things into it, if you really try!' Smiling, the teacher replied, 'No. The point is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all.'"

 

Like the Mason jar, every day will be filled with things of relative importance: rocks, gravel, sand, and water. So dust off those resolutions that have been covered up by a month's worth of activities and distractions. Take a moment to contemplate the list, and then pick the most important one. See your goal as a big rock in your "Mason-jar day" and drop it in...before it's too late. Remember: "If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."



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Valentine Treats



My husband and I put two coupons in the Valentine cards to our daughters. One is good for "A Date with Mom", and the second can be redeemed for "A Date with Dad". The dates aren't expensive; with five daughters, that equates to ten separate outings in the next month! I usually go to Starbuck's for a long talk over hot chocolate. Last year, I was buying cards and printing coupons the night before Valentine's Day. This year, the cards and coupons have been classified as Big Rocks for next week. If you're planning ahead for Valentine's Day, here's a couple of recipes to put in the freezer so you're ready for the big event.

 

Frozen Candy Bars

These bars have a butterscotch flavor that adds a twist to the traditional candy bar taste. Make them, freeze them, and serve them chilled. Yum!

 

Click here to view/print/import this recipe!

 

 

Banana Coconut Loaf

I made this bread at Christmas, but it works for Valentine's as well. The cherries, coconut, and almond flavor are a unique combination. Delicious!

 

Click here to view/print/import this recipe!



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Software Suggestions



Before You Shop

The Advantage Cooking software is such a great tool! When it comes to planning a cooking day, I hardly have to think anymore. It takes only minutes to create a new "Cooking Day" and select the recipes I want to prepare. With one click of the mouse, the Grocery Report is printed and I'm on my way to the store. Before grabbing my keys, there are three things that I always remember to do:

 

  1. Print a Container Report. While the Grocery Report is a list of the food items needed to cook, the Container Report is a list of the storage items needed to freeze. Containers can be a variety of things, such as freezer bags, rigid containers, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or cupcake liners. If I come home without enough of these important items, I either have to improvise, or make another trip to the store (both of which can be frustrating and time consuming!)

  2. Detour through the kitchen. I'm always anxious to get in the car, but a few minutes spent here saves me money at the checkout. I do a quick inventory of the cupboards and pantry, eliminating the items on the Grocery Report (and Container Report) that are already in the kitchen. No need to come home with double and have to store it until next time.

  3. Consider the staples. I can't count the number of times I've finished a cooking session, only to discover that we're out of butter, or milk, or flour, or something! I was just at the store and I'm not in the mood to go back. I've tried two different methods to avoid this event, and they both work equally well. First, manually write in the staples your family can't live without. The second option is to create a recipe called "Household Staples" and add it to the Cooking Day. My recipe contains things like butter, milk, flour, bread, peanut butter, lettuce, bananas, and apples.

 

By using the software, I find myself conquering the aisles at the grocery store before it's necessary to look at the recipes I'm cooking. Adding a few practical steps, in the right order, gives me an even greater "Advantage!"

 

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



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Closing Comments from Shelley



I received this email last month from another 30 Day Gourmet cook:

"Hey Shelley! I wanted to tell you your last News helped me out! I was putting my Thanksgiving shopping list together, and realized I only had one of my recipes in the software. I'm not sure how that happened, but I was in a hurry, and moaned about how long it would take me to put all the recipes in there. Then I remembered what you said about adding it quick and pulled up the News to see what you said to do. So, I added my recipe name and the ingredients and I was good to go in a short time. Once again, Shelley to the rescue with another great idea!!"

Read the "Fast and Furious" software tip!

 

Until we talk again next month, make those Big Rocks a priority before the opportunity disappears! You'll be glad you did.

 

         Shelley



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Chewin' the News is an exclusive publication of 30 Day Gourmet, Inc.
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