Simple Freezer Cooking for the Freezer Cooking Failure

I’m going to come right out and say it – I’m a horrible freezer cooker. I did finally figure out a form of freezer cooking that still allows me to save time in the kitchen, money by buying in bulk, and my sanity with no more messes in the fridge! My simple freezer cooking method has greatly reduced my meal prep time by allowing me to get key elements of recipes done in advance without any stress.

By Meg Bateman, Contributing Writer

I’m going to come right out and say it – I’m a horrible freezer cooker.

I’ve tried many many times to put together several full meals and freeze them, but they honestly never got much further from being aspirational. Well, I was successful getting full meals into the freezer a few times – but then got discouraged when a few bags would get the tiniest of holes and leak all over the place in my meat drawer.

However – I did finally figure out a form of freezer cooking that still allows me to save time in the kitchen, money by buying in bulk, and my sanity with no more messes in the fridge! My simple freezer cooking method has greatly reduced my meal prep time by allowing me to get key elements of recipes done in advance without any stress.

Here’s how it happened. I’m slightly obsessed with Julie & Julia, the movie based on the book about a woman who cooks through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year. Julie talked about reading a collection of letters between Julia and her pen pal – so I just had to read that book too! In one of the letters, Julia shares what is probably the first ever modern-day freezer cooking trick…

Freezing mirepoix!

What’s mirepoix? It’s basically the base of soups and sauces we all use – but probably don’t realize it’s a “thing” – onions, celery, and carrots! As soon as I read that, I started to make triple the amount needed for a batch of soup, and freezing the other two portions for later.

What?? That’s right – I NEVER load up my cart at Costco and spend an entire day just chopping, cooking, and freezing – yet at least half of our meals have some sort of “freezer cooking” component to them. We still buy in bulk – but not enough to last an entire month – just enough for me to be able to cook or put up before the food goes bad.

The Basic Method

  • Prepare your favorite meal or side dish.
  • Make extra of whatever components will freeze well.
  • Freeze.

It goes so far beyond mirepoix – no need to buy three Costco bags of cauliflower with the aspiration that you’ll process it all into cauliflower rice and freeze. Just buy a little extra, and when you’re making enough for a meal – toss in the extra and freeze it for later.

Here are some ideas:

  • Bone broth
  • Kitchen scraps for bone broth – celery ends, onion skins
  • Veggies for stews and soups
  • Fillings for things like stuffed bell peppers, meatloaf
  • Browned vermicelli for pilaf (I learned this trick in high school from a close Armenian family!)
  • Mashed potatoes or cauliflower
  • Quiche or frittata filling (really! you can freeze eggs and all the bits – or just freeze the ingredients without the eggs)
  • Any veggies that go into a slow cooker or pressure cooker meal
  • Leftovers of soups and stews for future meals

By freezing extras as I go about our usual cooking, I’m constantly replenishing the freezer without spending much extra time cooking. I can go about my usual soup-making ritual and put up bone broth for other recipes, mirepoix for more soup, veggies for a second batch of soup, and leftover blocks of soup and stews for lunches.

Examples from this week

This week I’ve made several things that use components I can freeze for future meals. Our freezer was pretty bare, so most of this was from scratch.

  • Albondigas Soup – mirepoix, veggies, and meatballs can all be made and frozen for future batches. I cook the mirepoix and meatballs for freezing, but leave the veggies (like zucchini) raw.
  • Meatloaf – since we’re grain-free, I use celery, onion, and bell pepper diced finely for the filling – so I double the veggies and freeze the extra for a second meal.
  • Mashed Cauliflower – I make double and freeze in a mini-loaf pan for later.
  • Slow Roasted Chickens – I made two chickens and froze half the meat for other meals.
  • Bone Broth – I used frozen kitchen scraps (onion skins and celery ends) to make this with the roasted chicken carcasses, and then froze the broth into cubes and mini-loaves for other meals.
  • Creamy Leek Soup – I made double and froze the leftovers into mini-loaves for future no-cook meals.
  • Cauliflower “Rice Pilaf” – I had the “rice” mixed with diced onion ready in the freezer from a previous batch. I just roasted it in the oven with 2 tablespoons of chicken fat I had frozen from a previous batch of bone broth made from roasted chickens.
  • Breakfast Sausage Meatloaf – I flash-freeze the cooked slices to pan-fry on the mornings I want this for breakfast. It’s MUCH easier than making patties!

Helpful tools

There are a few things that help keep my sanity when it comes to doing this freezer cooking to reduce meal prep method – silicone baking trays and large ice cube trays!

I started with 2×2 cubes for bone broth and mirepoix, and branched out to mini-loaf trays for soups and other liquids. I prefer to freeze things in these trays then move them to freezer bags because there’s less chance for the Ziploc bags to get a small knick and leak, and it’s easier to grab only what I need instead of thawing a big bag only to use a third of it. Plus, they’re easier to organize in the freezer!

Just as important as those silicone trays – the humble baking sheet is another favorite! I use baking sheets to flash freeze things like slices of breakfast sausage meatloaf or anything I don’t want to clump together in a bag. Once the items are flash frozen, I just dump them into a freezer bag and they’re good to go in the freezer!

I also alternate between using baking sheets and plastic cutting boards for giving a sturdy bottom to those silicone baking trays. The 2×2 cubes hold their own – but larger ones, like the mini-loaves or 9×9, need something stable under them to move to the freezer from the counter.

My one indulgence for this method of freezer cooking has been my FoodSaver – my husband Jeff got it for me for Christmas, because I’ve wanted one for years to preserve meats from his hunting trips. The bags are thicker and hold up better than freezer Ziplocs, so they’re less likely to burst and leak all over your fridge.

I use 2×4 labels to clearly mark what’s in what bag, how much, and when I put it up in the freezer. So far my favorite use for it has been to vacuum seal soup and stew leftovers – the 11” bags fit a frozen 9×9 block of stew perfectly!

Go forth and freeze!

I hope this freezer cooking to reduce meal prep method helps my fellow freezer cooking failures save time in the kitchen. It’s important to remember what works for one woman, doesn’t work for all. Figure out what “system” works best for you – and embrace it! Otherwise you’re just wasting time trying to make someone else’s method work for you.

I’m going to come right out and say it – I’m a horrible freezer cooker. I did finally figure out a form of freezer cooking that still allows me to save time in the kitchen, money by buying in bulk, and my sanity with no more messes in the fridge! My simple freezer cooking method has greatly reduced my meal prep time by allowing me to get key elements of recipes done in advance without any stress.

When you use freezer cooking to reduce meal prep, what are the secrets to your success?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

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This week’s top deals:

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25% Off now through Valentine’s Day Melt Massage for Couples.  Check out Ann’s blog post about her experience with this course and how it has blessed her marriage.

 

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A6Check out Bulk Herb Store’s February Savings!

 

A3As Low as $10.54  ($2.64/pack) Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Pasta Flour, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4) is on sale for $11.09.  Save 5% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

A1List Price $39.99 On Sale $27.99  Crock-Pot SCCPVL600-R Cook’ N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Red  FREE shipping with qualifying order.

A2List Price $17.99 On Sale $12.19  Norpro Stainless Steel Scoop, 56MM (4 Tablespoon).  FREE shipping with qualifying order.
A5List Price $39.99 On Sale $28.46  LEGO DUPLO Super Heroes 10599 Batman Adventure Building Kit  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order. A9Just $19.95  MatchaDNA Organic Powdered Matcha Green Tea, 10 Ounce.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

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FREE Bath Bomb with $35 order of MadeOn products.  While supplies last!

A11List Price $230.95  On Sale $114.76 + FREE shipping. Instant Pot IP-DUO50 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker with Stainless Steel Cooking Pot and Exterior, 5Qt/900W, Latest 3rd Generation TechnologyA12List Price $49.95  On Sale $9.95 Art Naturals Konjac Facial Sponge Set – 2 Pack (Charcoal Black & Natural White)100% Natural Great for Sensitive, Oily & Acne Prone Skin -Best Beauty Facial Scrub for gentle deep cleaning & exfoliation.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

Tropical Traditions:

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Buy 1 Get 1 FREE (Quarts) Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil at Tropical Traditions

Now, through Thursday, February 11th only, you can purchase 1 quart of certified organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions at the suggested retail price for $40.00 and get a second quart for FREE! That’s an $80.00 retail value for only $40.00, and $19.00 OFF of the normal sale price for two jars!

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50% OFF Coconut Oil for Hair at Tropical Traditions

Now, while supplies nearing best used by date of 2/30/16 last, you can purchase a 16 ounce jar for 50% off the retail price. That’s a $12.50 retail value for only $6.25 and a $1.74 savings over the normal sale price.

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50% OFF Benefect Botanical Hand Sanitizer at Tropical Traditions
Now, through Thursday, February 11th only, you can purchase the 4oz Benefect Hand Sanitizer Pump for 50% off the retail price. That’s an $8.99 retail value for only $4.49 and a $2.00 savings over the normal sale price!

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30% OFF Black Cumin Seed Oil at Tropical Traditions

Now, through Sunday, February 14th only, you can purchase our Black Cumin Seed Oil at 30% off the retail price. That’s a $58.00 retail value for only $40.60, and a $4.39 savings over the normal sale price!

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30% OFF Virgin Coconut Oil Teeth Cleaners at Tropical Traditions

Now, through Sunday, February 14th only, you can buy any of our organic Virgin Coconut Oil Teeth Cleaners for 30% OFF of the retail price. That’s a $7.95 retail value for only $5.50 and a $1.00 savings over the normal sale price!

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice so please double check the price before purchasing)

A13Quilting: Absolute Beginners Guide to Quilting With Speed, Creativity and Mastery (Quilting Mastery, Quilting 101) Kindle Edition A14Paisley Designs Coloring Book: 50+ Paisley Patterns Featuring Henna Inspired Flowers, Mehndi Designs, and Mandalas (Adult Coloring Book) Kindle Edition A15Chemical-Free Cleaning: The Best 100 DIY Recipes for Natural Home Cleaning Kindle Edition 

This week’s best coupons:

 

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Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

10 Last-Minute Date Night Ideas

Looking for a way to show him love this Valentine’s Day? Here are 10 last-minute date night ideas that even the most procrastinating among us can accomplish!

It's so easy to get caught up in our kids and businesses that we don't take the time to really care for us. Looking for a way to show him love this Valentine's Day? Here are 10 last-minute date night ideas that even the most procrastinating among us can accomplish!

By Ann Timm

I’ve shared my goals for 2016 and how I need to take better care of myself and stop neglecting my personal health and needs. I learned after a particularly trying year, that the better I take care of myself, the better I am able to take care of my family. And when you suddenly double the size of your family to eight, that becomes obvious very quickly!

It’s the same with our marriage. It’s so easy to get caught up in our kids and businesses that we don’t take the time to really care for us.

The first couple of years were probably the same for you as they were for my husband and I. We were all goo-goo eyed for each other and deliberately made time to get away frequently. But routine and the busyness of life with kids got in the way and we slowly forgot to make it a priority.

Last year when we read The 5 Love Languages together we decided to be intentional about loving each other all the time. Valentine’s Day serves as a great reminder to be intentional about your love for each other. If you’ve gotten out of the habit, use this season of love to boost your romance and get intentional about each other all year.

Learn each other’s love languages. Make time for alone time. Be intentional about loving each other.

It doesn’t matter if we go somewhere fancy or even if we stay home when we have the house to ourselves. The point is we make the most of our time and focus on each other.

Here are 10 of our Favorite Date Night Ideas that are easy to do at the last minute:

1. Bundle up and go for a walk together.

It may be cold, but the fresh air is exhilarating. Hold his hand like you are teenagers or hold on tight to his arm and let him guide you on a trail or even through your neighborhood. Take pictures and if there’s snow on the ground have a snowball fight! We often walk together for exercise, but sometimes a stroll is a romantic change of pace.

2. Have a picnic!

Take some finger foods to a park or even throw a blanket down on your living room floor. When we were in Atlanta recently we both had a long day, so instead of dressing up and going out to dinner we got comfortable and ordered in. There was no dining room table so we just spread everything out on blankets. We spent more time enjoying each other than if we had taken the time to go out somewhere. And the best part was… it was just us!

3. Cook a meal together.

He won’t admit it, but my hubby really likes to cook and can be very creative. Try letting him take charge with a new recipe. It could really spice things up!

4. Fix him a five-course meal at home.

Surprise him with the kids out of the house, set the table with real dishes and your fancy napkins, and impress him with your culinary skills. Or even just surprise him with his favorites. Either way he is sure to appreciate the time and thought you spent preparing it.

5. Take a romantic drive to a nearby lake to watch the sun set, then gaze at the stars and at each other!

The only requirement is the two of you and a vehicle to get there!

6. Just do dessert at your favorite restaurant and linger over coffee and good conversation.

Talk about hobbies and what the future will look like when the kids are all grown up and moved out. Avoid making the conversation about them. This is hard for us, because it seems most of our conversations are about the kids, but when we are intentional we get a lively conversation going or a real heart to heart.

7. Go dancing or take a dance class and learn some new steps.

Our very first date we spent hours on the dance floor. Neither of us are that good, but we know the basic moves of swing dancing and had a blast laughing at ourselves. It’s fun and good for you!

8. Find a live band and grab a corner table for two.

If you both like music this is for you.

9. Go ice skating if you don’t have two left feet.

If you do, I’m sure he’ll catch you ;) An outdoor skating rink is totally romantic if you have one near you. We were working in New York City a few years ago and went to the rink in Central Park. It’s a lovely stroll to get there too!

10. Give each other a massage.

Who wouldn’t want to be pampered with a massage?! No need for a $300 couples massage at a spa. All you need is a little oil and a willing partner! This one is new for us as neither of us gave good massages until we went through the Melt massage course. If you need help with your massage techniques, you’ll love this video tutorial! And how awesome is it that there’s a 25% off sale through Valentine’s Day? :)

Whatever you choose to do, just be intentional to keep the focus on each other! You’ll be glad you did!

What are your favorite last-minute date night ideas?

It's so easy to get caught up in our kids and businesses that we don't take the time to really care for us. Looking for a way to show him love this Valentine's Day? Here are 10 last-minute date night ideas that even the most procrastinating among us can accomplish!

*Affiliate Disclosure – I love these products, both The 5 Love Languages and Melt Massage so much that I have been wanting to share them with you for some time. One I have become an affiliate of and the other I have not (yet), but they have both made such an incredible difference in our marriage that I have been wanting to share and what better time than now? Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or roll your eyes at all of the fuss, there is no better time than the present to say “I love you” and start being intentional about it! Happy lovemaking! ;)

Weekend Links

Friendship isn't a big thing, it's a million little things. Quote image from keeperofthehome.org @koth

February got off to a crazy start for me! I’m headed home after a week of traveling for work, but got to spend it in great company with one of my best friends and several new ones. I enjoyed reading these articles during my downtime, and can’t wait to try some of these recipes when I’m back in my routine at home. I hope you enjoy them too!

Reads I loved this week:

Like a Diamond @ (in)courage

3 Reasons You’re Not JUST a Mom @ The Marathon Mom

In Defense of Self Care: What It Is and Why It Matters @ The Glorious Table

The dumb mistake I made because I was afraid of the wrong people. @ Jon Acuff

A List of Prayers to Borrow When You Can’t Find the Words @ Chatting at the Sky

When All You Really Want is for Your Child to be Normal @ The Humbled Homemaker

What’s a pulse? And Why You Should Be Eating More of Them @ The Nourished Kitchen

How Getting ANGRY is Helping Curb My Temper @ the Better Mom

Recipes I can’t wait to try:

Homemade Vegetable Soup Base @ Food in Jars

Classic Meatloaf @ Nourishing Joy

How to Make a Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaner That Really Works! @ The Greenbacks Gal

How is February shaping up for you? Better than January so far?

The BEST Homemaking Advice

Sometimes the best advice seems almost too simple, right? Here's some of the best – but simple – advice for homemaking! Being a keeper of the home isn't easy, but this advice will get you through the hard times to the good times.

By Elsie Callender, Contributing Writer

One of the best pieces of homemaking advice I’ve ever encountered was written in calligraphy and framed above our kitchen doorway. I read it every day of my life from the time I could read until it was packed away before our move to Costa Rica when I was a teenager. The words were simply this: “Doe the next thing.”

And they didn’t make a lick of sense to me.

“Doe?” A deer? A female deer?

“Do,” my mom explained. “Do the next thing. It’s an old spelling.”

Do the next thing. Well, that still didn’t make much sense to me! Don’t we always do the next thing? What else would we do besides the next thing?

Now that I’m all grown up, I get it.

We don’t always do the next thing, even when it’s staring us in the face.

Sometimes we don’t do anything at all.

Sometimes grown-up homemakers like me get so overwhelmed that we over-complicate everything and end up feeling like the only thing we can do next is cry.

There are days when dirty dishes are toppling off my limited counter space, when Little Dude has half a dozen immediate needs, when the dark side of adulthood (i.e. bills and taxes) makes me want to bury my head in a book and only come out for my birthday.

Those are the “this is harder than it should be” days; the days when homemaking gets complicated and I need a simple response.

Do the next thing.

Remembering that little quote can make all the difference between feeling overwhelmed verses feeling purposeful.

It reminds me to keep on keeping on, to be a woman of action, faithfully doing what needs to be done, even if it’s a mundane task I don’t particularly relish.

Clean dishes

Image from pixabay.com

Want to try it? Here’s how you can apply this mantra in your homemaking:

1. Identify what needs to be done

Whether you’re mapping out the week ahead or just trying to get through the next hour of a rough morning, take stock of what needs to happen. This might include housecleaning, meal prep, children’s activities, work deadlines, anything. If you’re one of those list-lovers, like I am, you can write out your to-dos!

2. Prioritize

This is where I (and I suspect many other women) get sidetracked. I can have 10 million “to dos” whirling in my head at once, and all of the options make me dizzy. It’s vital to assess what the next thing is. It’s not always the easiest thing or the most pleasant thing that needs to be done next. Here are some ways I’ve learned to prioritize in my homemaking, even when I’m in a busy season.

3. Take action

Time to “do!” You’ve accepted the fact that you need to pay that phone bill today, so sit down at your computer and do it. Or you know the house won’t clean itself and company is imminent. Raid your cleaning arsenal and get busy!

Cleaning the floor

Image from pixabay.com

4. Follow through

Sometimes I don’t finish what I start, even if I began with the best intentions. Don’t trail off on what needs to be done around your home. You’ll waste time and have to summon your motivation all over again.

I have no idea where that original framed quote has gotten to, but I know it’s in my mind for good. When a little disaster strikes, I call it to mind. When I’m feeling depressed and my responsibilities are weighing heavy, I repeat it in my head.

And at the end of another day? I revel when the “next thing” is to snuggle into the couch with a book and a cup of tea.

Sometimes the best advice seems almost too simple, right? Here's some of the best – but simple – advice for homemaking! Being a keeper of the home isn't easy, but this advice will get you through the hard times to the good times.

What is the best homemaking advice you’ve received?

*Note from Ann: I can so relate! What a great quote to carry with you through life. It reminds me of something my mother used to say, “If you pick it up, don’t put it down until you put it where it goes”!! How many times do I handle the same item over and over in a single day? And I’m totally guilty of not finishing what I’ve started and wasting precious time. There is a reason I’m one of this list-lovers:) Thank you Elsie for remembering and sharing the wisdom that your mom shared with you as a child. 

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

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This week’s top deals:

Diffusing MamasDiffusing Mama’s is having a sale on select items now through February 14th.  

AA1List Price $18.57  On Sale $8.67  ($2.89/box)  Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Nursing Tea, 16 Teabags/Box (Pack of 3).  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.A1List Price $120.00  On Sale $72.06 + FREE shipping  Cuisinart CI630-20BG Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 3-Quart Round Covered Casserole, Provencal Blue

A2As Low As $19.84-$22.17  Gerber Organic 2nd Food Pouches, Fruit and Veggie Variety Pack 1, 3.5oz, 18 count is on sale for $24.57.  Save 15% when you clip the coupon (you must be logged in).  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order. A3As Low As $7.85-$8.78  ($2.62-$2.93/tube) Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste, Silly Strawberry, 4.2-Ounce, 3 Piece is on sale for $9.24.  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

A4As Low As $13.59-$15.29  Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 54 Ounce is on sale for $15.99.  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.
A6As Low As $10.82-$11.39  Method Smarty Dish Dishwasher Plus Tablets, Lemon Mint, 45 Count is on sale for $11.39.  Save 5% with Subscribe and Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

A7List Price $49.95  On Sale $14.45  Dead Sea Mud Mask of face & body 8.8 oz – The most effective 100% natural facial treatment to minimize pores, reduce wrinkles, decrease acne and Improve skin Complexion.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

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Refurbished for only $87.50 + FREE shipping (List Price $179.99) SINGER Factory Serviced 5400 Fashion Mate 60-Stitch Electronic Sewing Machine with 4 Buttonhole Styles and Variable Needle Positions
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AA5List Price $13.39  On Sale $8.47  Ball Jar Crystal Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands, Quilted, 4-Ounce, Set of 12.  

Tropical Traditions:

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50% Off Coconut Oil for Hair at Tropical Traditions

Now, while supplies nearing best used by date of 2/30/16 last, you can purchase a 16 ounce jar for 50% off the retail price. That’s a $12.50 retail value for only $6.25 and a $1.74 savings over the normal sale price.

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40% Off Virgin Coconut Oil Moisturizing Creams at Tropical Traditions

Now, through Thursday, February 4th only, you can buy any variety of our Moisturizing Cream at 40% OFF the retail price. For our Lavender Moisturizing Cream for example, that’s a $20.49 retail value for only $12.29 and a $2.20 savings over the normal sale price! Choose from the following varieties: Unscented, Baby Silk, Lavender, Peppermint, Citrus, Arnica (for muscle massages), Coconut, and Vanilla.

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40% off Virgin Coconut Oil Moisturizing Lotions at Tropical Traditions

Now, through Sunday, February 7th only, you can purchase an eight ounce bottle of any of our moisturizing lotions for 40% off the retail price. For our Lavender Moisturizing Lotion, that’s a $22.49 retail value for only $13.49 and a $2.50 savings over the normal sale price!

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60% Off Virgin Coconut Oil Book at Tropical Traditions

Now, through Sunday, February 7th only, you can purchase a copy at 60% OFF of the retail price. That’s a $25.00 retail value for only $9.99 and $5.00 off the regular sale price!

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice so please double check the price before purchasing)

AAA3Crockpot: 25 Best Crock Pot Recipes For Better Healthy Meals (Slow Cooker,meals,Crockpot,Crockpot Recipes)  

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1:

AA6Juicing Bible – 365 Days of Healthy Juices (Fruit Infused Water, Ice Tea, Smoothies, Juicing, Weight Loss, Juicing Book, Juicing for Health, Juicing Detox, Juicing for Beginners) Kindle Edition

AA7Paper Crafts: 51 Card & Invitation Crafts For Birthdays, Weddings, Showers, Parties, & Much More! (2nd Edition) Kindle Edition

AAA1Superfoods: What are Superfoods? The Whole Truth About the Dietary Revolution of Superfoods Kindle Edition

This week’s best coupons:

Feb-2-picmonkey

Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

How I Connect with My Husband Through Love Language & Creme Brûlée

Connecting with your husband can be quite the challenge, especially if you’re speaking different love languages. Here’s some insight to help you.

Connecting with your husband can be quite the challenge, especially if you're speaking different love languages. Here's how I've learned to connect with my husband using both of our love languages, and my recipe for Creme Brûlée!

By Ann Timm

Do you know your husband’s love language? What’s your love language?

Perhaps the best gift of love is speaking the language of your loved one. My husband and I speak completely different languages. No, he’s not speaking Klingon! Yes, lol we both speak English, but I’m talking about a more intimate language.

For me to feel loved, I need physical touch: I need my husband to hug me and hold my hand, to rub my back or just cuddle. That’s how I most feel that he loves me. It affirms to me that we are a fit, that things are great between us, that love the verb is well in place.

However, NONE of those things say to my husband that I love him. He needs words of affirmation and acts of service to know that he is loved. He needs to hear that I appreciate him and for me to tell him in words that I see all he’s doing for our family. And like most men, homemade food goes a long way too! See the dessert recipe that I made for my love at the end. ;)

It’s taken time for each of us to learn and understand what the other needs, but it’s been a priority in our marriage to be intentional at love.

If you don’t know what your significant other’s love language is or if you’re not sure how to ‘speak’ their language, I would encourage you to read The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. It might be the best Valentine’s Day gift you could ever give and it will keep on giving year after year.

(And yes, this is the book that inspired us in our Christmas gift-giving adventures in the last few years!)

Some people actually speak the love language of gifts. I have a son whose love language is gifts and it’s not about the cost. It can even be handmade, but the act of gift-giving, to him, is the ultimate act of love. If this is your mans love language or if you are just wanting to gift him a valentine here are some manly gifts to consider in this Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.

We have found that it’s so easy to get caught up in our kids and businesses that we don’t take the time to connect and really care for us.

The first couple of years were probably the same for you as they were for my husband and I. We were all goo-goo eyed for each other and deliberately made time to get away frequently. But routine and the busyness of life with kids got in the way and we slowly forgot. We’re still lovey dovey on a daily basis (and all too frequently if you ask the kids!), but we always seem to be with the kids.

To make it even more challenging, we are a blended family so my hubby and I are both on second marriages. We understand what it feels like to have had relationships that failed and appreciate what we now have with each other. Making time and connecting is important.

Last year when we read The 5 Love Languages together, we decided to be intentional about loving each other all the time. Valentine’s Day serves as a great reminder to be intentional about your love for each other. If you’ve gotten out of the habit, use this season of love to boost your romance and get intentional about each other all year.

Learn each other’s love languages. Make time for alone time. Be intentional about loving each other.

I love dating my husband. He’s quite a gentleman, plus he’s smart, funny, and always up for trying something new. It’s not often that it’s just the two of us: we have to make it happen. So on those lucky nights, I get dressed up a little fancy. I’ll put on a dress and the heels I never get to wear and attempt to do something with my hair other than my usual ponytail.

It doesn’t matter if we go somewhere fancy or even if we stay home when we have the house to ourselves. The point is we make the most of our time.

The best gifts are the ones that keep on giving.

One of the best, most intentional activities we have ever done towards being intimate and showing each other love has been through massage.

My love language is physical touch and I love to hold hands and cuddle. When we first married, my husband showed me love through words of affirmation and acts of service, his love languages.

These were wonderful, but they weren’t exactly filling my love tank. On the flip side, my husband wasn’t quite sure what to make of my constant hand-holding and cuddling! And I wasn’t filling his love tank with what he needed!

Massage has been the best of both worlds for us. It fills both the physical touch and acts of service tanks and promotes lots of good conversation! Plus, there are so many health benefits and we feel amazing after a wonderful massage.

Feel like you couldn’t give a good massage? That was me!

Before Melt, my husband wasn’t quite sure where to start and he would use a bit too much of his muscle for my comfort. And my hands would hurt after just five minutes, but now I am married to quite a skillful masseuse and I know the proper technique to giving a lengthy massage that makes him melt! Pair these skills with the wonderful intimacy of your marriage and the experience is sure to be one you won’t forget!

Note: Melt is having a special 25% off sale that ends on Valentine’s Day…you don’t want to miss it!

When we were first introduced to the Melt video series I was sure it was going to be something sketchy that might be embarrassing and uncomfortable to watch. I was genuinely surprised and pleased to find that it was far from that. The videos are very classy and tastefully done in a way that allows you to be comfortable and teachable so that you can learn how to give the most amazing massages right in your own home.

We felt a little silly at first, but that just added to the fun! Now that we have practiced a few times we are able to fully relax under each others hands and enjoy the benefits of the learned techniques and the intimacy it has brought.  There are some amazing benefits to speaking each others love languages!!

Check out Instagram or your email from me today for a picture of our massage space that my very intentional husband created for his love. And, because I can’t resist sharing, here’s a favorite recipe that I made for my hubby, it’s sure to light up your night together.

Tip: Let him melt the sugar :)

It’s a dessert with benefits and made with love. Go ahead and print it out: it’s easy and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand!

Connecting with your husband can be quite the challenge, especially if you're speaking different love languages. Here's how I've learned to connect with my husband using both of our love languages, and my recipe for Creme Brûlée!

5 from 1 reviews
"Set the Night On Fire" Creme Brûlée (For Two)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs (yolks only) (farm fresh is packed with benefits, if you have access)
  • 1 cup of cream (raw for benefits of good bacteria and digestive enzymes!)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (packs a ton of antioxidants) (I’m super lucky to have a local sugar bush)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • sugar for topping (my favorite comes from the same sugar bush, maple sugar!)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Strain custard mixture through a fine mesh sieve (see above if you don't have a sieve).
  3. Pour custard into ramekins.
  4. Set ramekins in a glass baking dish and add water to baking dish until water comes halfway up the ramekins sides.
  5. Bake 1 hour or until custard is set.
  6. Remove from glass baking dish and cool to touch.
  7. Place ramekins in fridge to chill minimum 2 hours. I recommend making a day ahead.
  8. minutes before serving, add sugar to top and let your man caramelize with culinary torch (or long handled lighter). ;)
  9. Let sit 5 minutes.
  10. ENJOY!

If you think you might make this recipe make sure you have on hand:
-a fine mesh sieve or if not you could try coffee filters in a strainer (that’s what I did!) or cheesecloth or you can get a set of three from Amazon for less than ten bucks.
– a culinary torch or you can get a whole creme brûlée set (including the ramekins! if you want to be really fancy and impress your man. I just used a long-handled lighter that I already had, it took longer, but it worked!

Connecting with your husband can be quite the challenge, especially if you're speaking different love languages. Here's how I've learned to connect with my husband using both of our love languages, and my recipe for Creme Brûlée!

How do you connect with your husband? Have any tips or ideas to share?

*Affiliate Disclosure – I love these products, both The 5 Love Languages and Melt Massage so much that I have been wanting to share them with you for some time. One I have become an affiliate of and the other I have not (yet), but they have both made such an incredible difference in our marriage that I have been wanting to share and what better time than now? Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or roll your eyes at all of the fuss, there is no better time than the present to say “I love you” and start being intentional about it! Happy lovemaking! ;)

Weekend Links

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss quote image by @koth keeperofthehome.org

It’s our last Saturday of January, I feel like 2016 is flying by way too fast already! Thank goodness we have an extra day in February this year. Here’s some of the things I absolutely loved this week – if you want even more, make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Pinterest. I’m constantly posting things on those pages!

Also – before you dive into these links, our friends at Diffusing Mama’s are having a 25% off sale on select essential oil diffusing lockets through 2/14. Several of us at KOTH have these lockets and wear them everyday! Not feeling the lockets? That’s not the only surprise I have this weekend – Plan to Eat is having a sweet giveaway just in time for Valentine’s Day! It’s full of goodies for the perfect date night in.

Reads I loved this week:

A Letter to Those Who Wait @ The Glorious Table

The One Thing Your Husband Really Wants From You {It’s Not What You Think!} @ Joy Forney

When You’re Facing Unembraceable Change @ (in)courage

Small Space Exercise Room Ideas @ The Greenbacks Gal

My break-up with busy @ the Art of Simple

7 Simple Practices for a Happier Body @ Shalom Mama

Rest – The Braved Form of Hospitality @ Grace Table

From Merely Surviving to Truly Living: A One-Step Plan @ Hands Free Mama

Moms, Are You Carrying More Than You Have To? @ the Better Mom

Recipes I drooled over this week:

Pan Seared Balsamic Chicken with Avocado Pesto Zoodles @ the Nourishing Home

Crock Pot Taco Meat @ the Prairie Homestead

Cinnamon Dandelion Tea with Milk & Honey @ the Nourishing Gourmet

Leek, Ham and Cheese Egg Bake @ Smitten Kitchen

What made you smile this week?

Classic Baked Oatmeal (with options for soaking, dairy free, and gluten free)

If oatmeal hasn't typically been your thing (or hasn't gone over well with your kids), give this baked oatmeal a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised! Every mom needs a few go-to breakfast recipes to pull out of her hat, and this baked oatmeal is definitely one that’s easy, filling, nourishing, and more with options for soaked oatmeal, dairy-free, and gluten-free.By Stephanie Langford, Contributing Writer

Every mom needs a few go-to breakfast recipes to pull out of her hat, and this baked oatmeal is definitely one of mine.

Truth is, I could happily eat breakfast for most meals of the day and not feel the least bit deprived. Fried eggs. Bacon. Yogurt with homemade granola. Pancakes. Eggs Benedict. Quiche. That said, regular oatmeal doesn’t do much for me (wholesome as it is), but this baked oatmeal is definitely a winner in my books.

If oatmeal hasn’t typically been your thing (or hasn’t gone over well with your kids), give this baked oatmeal a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised!

If oatmeal hasn't typically been your thing (or hasn't gone over well with your kids), give this baked oatmeal a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised! Every mom needs a few go-to breakfast recipes to pull out of her hat, and this baked oatmeal is definitely one that’s easy, filling, nourishing, and more with options for soaked oatmeal, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

There are three things I particularly like about this recipe:

  1. You can start it the night before (both for convenience and for reducing phytates in your oats).
  2. It can easily feed a hungry crew in the morning. With four perpetually hungry kids and two parents (one of whom is a ravenous nursing mom), we eat a fair bit of breakfast around here.
  3. It’s very easy to customize and add different flavors as desired. (I’ll share a few possibilities below.)

It’s also good to note that this is a soaked baked oatmeal recipe, although the soaking is optional and I’ll tell you how to make it both ways.

Oatmeal is particularly high in phytates, which impair digestion and can block mineral absorption, and it requires a soaking period of at least 12 hours but preferably closer to 24 hours for better digestion and assimilation. The best time to start this is the morning or afternoon before you intend to make it, but you can always start it when you’re cooking dinner or cleaning up, and that’s still much better than not soaking at all.

Not ready to do the soaking thing yet? I will say that it’s easier than you think, and if you can get in the habit of just starting things ahead of time, you’ll find that it really isn’t any extra work. That said, this tastes great without soaking and is still a wholesome, homemade breakfast option either way.

If oatmeal hasn't typically been your thing (or hasn't gone over well with your kids), give this baked oatmeal a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised! Every mom needs a few go-to breakfast recipes to pull out of her hat, and this baked oatmeal is definitely one that’s easy, filling, nourishing, and more with options for soaked oatmeal, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

5 from 1 reviews
Classic Baked Oatmeal
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup melted butter or coconut oil (If I'm running low on oil, I sometimes go as low as ¾ cup, though I wouldn't go any lower than that or it won't taste as good)
  • ¾ cups honey (you could also use 1-1/2 cups of rapadura or sucanat)
  • 2 cups cultured milk product (either buttermilk, kefir or yogurt watered down. I usually do this step ½ kefir and ½ water, which works well and saves money!)
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
Instructions
  1. The day before: In a large pan, like a 9 x 13 casserole dish, add the first four ingredients (oats, melted oil, melted honey or sugar, cultured milk). Mix well, so that everything is moist. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave it to sit on the counter until the next morning.
  2. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 F, and then add the last four ingredients (eggs, baking powder, salt, cinnamon). Sometimes it's a bit difficult to mix the oats if it's been chilly during the night. On really cold days I've had to pop the pan back into the oven for a minute while it's preheating, just to soften the butter or coconut oil enough to be able to stir it better.
  3. This is also the time that you could add any fun additions that your family would enjoy. One that we love is grated or diced apples and raisins (with extra cinnamon and some nutmeg). Fresh or frozen (thawed slightly) blueberries are delicious. Chopped nuts is always yummy and ups the protein of this dish (I’ve tried almonds, walnuts and pecans). Other dried fruits like cranberries, cherries or chopped apricots are also lovely. Another option is to add these extras on top, after it’s baked.
  4. When everything is well mixed, smooth it out a bit, and put it in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp on top.

If oatmeal hasn't typically been your thing (or hasn't gone over well with your kids), give this baked oatmeal a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised! Every mom needs a few go-to breakfast recipes to pull out of her hat, and this baked oatmeal is definitely one that’s easy, filling, nourishing, and more with options for soaked oatmeal, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

We serve ours with fresh raw milk poured on top. It’s lightly sweet and just right.

Gluten free option

Oats don’t actually contain gluten, however they’re often processed or packaged in factories where they can be contaminated. To make this gluten free, simply buy rolled oats that are certified gluten free.

Dairy free option

Use a dairy alternative to replace the two cups of yogurt/buttermilk/kefir, like homemade almond milk or coconut milk. If you’re planning to soak it, add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your liquid of choice to help break down the phytates.

One last tip

I like to make this on Sunday mornings before church, because I can start it the night before, then get it finished up and into the oven before I hop in the shower. By the time I’m ready and the kids are all dressed, breakfast is ready to be served!

If oatmeal hasn't typically been your thing (or hasn't gone over well with your kids), give this baked oatmeal a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised! Every mom needs a few go-to breakfast recipes to pull out of her hat, and this baked oatmeal is definitely one that’s easy, filling, nourishing, and more with options for soaked oatmeal, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Looking for more breakfast ideas?

I happen to consider oatmeal a perfect winter breakfast, so here are a whole bunch of other ways to get your oats in (among other breakfast ideas):

What’s your favorite go-to breakfast?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

DIY All-Natural Lotion to Cure Dry Feet

Dry feet are no fun! When skin on your feet becomes dry, it often causes itchiness, cracking, and even bleeding. But, never fear, this luxurious lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all winter. The oils and butters in this DIY foot lotion are highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. It's designed for the feet, but can be used on dry, cracked elbows and knees.

By Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer

Dry feet are no fun!

When skin on your feet becomes dry, it often causes itchiness, cracking, and even bleeding.

But, never fear, this luxurious lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all winter.

The oils and butters in this DIY foot lotion are highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. It’s designed for the feet, but can be used on dry, cracked elbows and knees.

Nourishing Foot Lotion Recipe

This recipe is adapted from one found in Earthly Bodies, Heavenly Hair

Ingredients

1 tablespoon shea butter
1 tablespoon grated cocoa butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon beeswax pastilles
4 tablespoons avocado oil
30 drops lavender essential oil

Dry feet are no fun! When skin on your feet becomes dry, it often causes itchiness, cracking, and even bleeding. But, never fear, this luxurious lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all winter. The oils and butters in this DIY foot lotion are highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. It's designed for the feet, but can be used on dry, cracked elbows and knees.

Method:

Measure ingredients (except for essential oils) into a pint-sized canning jar.

Place jar in heavy pot and fill with water until the water comes up just past the ingredients in the jar.

Dry feet are no fun! When skin on your feet becomes dry, it often causes itchiness, cracking, and even bleeding. But, never fear, this luxurious lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all winter. The oils and butters in this DIY foot lotion are highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. It's designed for the feet, but can be used on dry, cracked elbows and knees.

Warm water, but keep below a boil. Continue to warm over low heat until ingredients are melted. You will need to stir occasionally.

Remove from heat. VERY carefully. You will need gloves or a hot pad as the jar will be hot. You will also need to be sure to place the hot jar on a sturdy surface away from children.

Dry feet are no fun! When skin on your feet becomes dry, it often causes itchiness, cracking, and even bleeding. But, never fear, this luxurious lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all winter. The oils and butters in this DIY foot lotion are highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. It's designed for the feet, but can be used on dry, cracked elbows and knees.

Stir the ingredients and let cool for a minute or two before adding the essential oil.

I use lavender essential oil because it is relaxing, but feel free to try other oils instead. Or you can reduce the amount of lavender and pair it with another oil, such as frankincense. Be sure to check on the safety and necessary dilution of any oil you plan to use.

Leave lotion to cool. It will harden as it cools.

To use:

Rub a small amount of the lotion into the dry areas of your feet. It’s especially effective when applied at night and let it penetrate your skin until morning.

Makes approximately 3/4 cup of lotion.

What do you do for dry and cracked skin? Do you have a favorite DIY lotion recipe to share?

Dry feet are no fun! When skin on your feet becomes dry, it often causes itchiness, cracking, and even bleeding. But, never fear, this luxurious lotion will keep your feet soft and supple all winter. The oils and butters in this DIY foot lotion are highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. It's designed for the feet, but can be used on dry, cracked elbows and knees.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!