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Crock Pot Meals

Prepping crock pot meals has become a big interest on Pinterest lately. With school and work and sleep I don’t have much time left for cooking so I thought I would give it a try. I collected recipes from various sites and started shopping. I found 10 recipes that sounded super tasty (not surprisingly 9 of them were chicken) and spent about 2 weeks grocery shopping. I ended up with all the necessary ingredients for under $100.

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I went home and got to work cutting up all the veggies and meat. Once that was done I labeled the zip lock baggies and started filling them. I used the carrots from my garden so preparing them took a little extra time but overall it only took about 5 hours from beginning to end. My 10 recipes resulted in 15 crock pot meals. It’ll be interesting to see how many servings I can get out of each bag. The hubs won’t be eating much of it do it’ll be just me eating all this. I predict that it’ll last at least a month. All for under $100. I’ll post recipes as I cook the meals.

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I have just placed my first order with Zaycon Foods. Zaycon Foods is a bulk food wholesaler. They have contracts with farms and the meat is produced with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients! The meat is shipped directly from the farms to the distribution site in your local area.

Iowa is currently in the ordering process and this time around we are getting boneless, skinless chicken for $1.69 a pound. It’s hard to find it at that price in the grocery store and who knows if the chicken is hormone free! I wish we were getting other meat items in this shipping but we go though more chicken than other meat so thank God for the chicken opportunity. The chicken is sold in 40lbs packages so it’s a great way to stock up your deep freeze! if you are interested in buying but don’t have the space try to find a few families to go in on the deal with you and split the chicken up.

They deliver all over the USA so feel free to register (no purchasing obligation) and you’ll get an email when they are coming to your state. If you do live in Iowa the order deadline is October 4th (15 days away) but they do sell out so order now if you are interested!

Garden harvest

Well fall has arrived in the Midwest. I’m not ready for the cool weather but I am ready to be done hauling water to my garden. I gathered more than 300 tomatoes, 16 ears of corn and several cucumbers. I have a few more squash to harvest and I just pulled up my carrots just the other day.

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For a first time gardener I think I did ok. Soon I’ll have to decide if it was worth the time and energy. I think if I did some canning it would be.

Holy moly! I’ve been meaning to write a new post but my early evening naps have been getting in the way.

This week I picked my 100th tomato and there are plenty more to ripen!

I also decided my corn was ready to go.

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My 16 plants produced 17 ears. I may get one or two more but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t.

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My acorn squash has also decided to start producing produce!!

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I can’t wait to eat all these goodies. I was so gleeful while I was shucking my corn. It makes a farm girl proud to produce sweet corn in the “city”.

As a first time gardener I think I’ve done very well, especially considering the drought we’ve had. I would love to do it on a bigger scale to the point where I’m canning and freezing home grown organic food for winter months. Perhaps some day. For now I’ll stick with my experimentation of small scale gardening.

I spent six days away from my precious garden this week but luckily I had some great friends who watered my plants while I was away. When I returned I had produce ready to be picked!

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Here’s hoping I’ll be able to harvest more throughout August. I’ve got several tomato plant heavy with produce so I’ll have some to share.

It feels just as good to come home from vacation as it was to leave for vacation. This year was the first year since our honeymoon (2008) that the hubs and I took a vacation – just the two of us. We hopped on a plane on a Friday afternoon and headed to Los Angeles. We rented a car and I did the driving in this very large city – eek!

We had rented a room of an old apartment building off VRBO.com. It was a perfect studio with a kitchen – no oven but we did have a full fridge, microwave and stove top. We were able to make meals and store snacks which helped to cut costs.

We didn’t have many plans made other than our arrival and departure so it we made plans on the fly. Our first day there we relaxed (mostly because I was still terrified of driving in the city). Our place was right on the Venice beach boardwalk. We spent the morning checking out all the vendors and muscle beach (where Arnold got his body building start). The afternoon was dedicated to Santa Monica pier and beach which was a two mile walk from our front door.

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Day two included a trip to the Port of Los Angeles with a tour of the USS Iowa.

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We then visited my college roommate and her fiancé for lunch, a trip to Laguna beach and Disney Downtown.

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My favorite part had to be the Lego store in Disney Downtown.

Day three was another great adventure, this time to downtown Los Angeles. I had to see the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall. It’s an architecture wonder.

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We also visited the La Brea Tar Pits – an oil field that trapped many animals after the last ice age. Today they are still digging up fossils. Next door is the LACMA, while we didn’t go inside the art museum, we did check out the Levitated Mass exhibit outside.

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Day four was spend lounging on Venice beach in the morning.

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And a trip to Hollywood boulevard and the Griffith Observatory.

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This was our first time in California and it was a shock that it was 20 degrees cooler there than it is in Iowa but then again Iowa has had a weird summer temperature wise. Soon it will be time to head back to work but for now there is a pile of laundry with my name on it!

I was a little worried that my sweet corn was never gunna make it but magically in a 4 day period it grew significantly taller, tassled and a few silks have showed up!! Here’s hoping a few kernels will show up on the ears!

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I think my “bell” peppers may be chili peppers. I added some to a recipe and boy are they hot!

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