Foodie Friday: Freezer Meal Workshop

Image result for freezer lasagna

Do you ever find yourself with not much time to cook dinner? You are not alone. Many people struggle with finding the time to cook dinner on a regular basis. A good way to deal with this problem is freezer meals! If you’ve got one free day and basic organizational skills, you could cook up quite  a few dishes to freeze for later. Then you can thaw them and warm them up on days when you are too busy to cook!

I am hosting and teaching a freezer meal workshop on July 7th from noon to 5:00 pm. The cost of this workshop is $40 and each participant will leave with five different recipes prepared and ready to freeze AND the confidence to prepare freezer meals at home! My intern, Mary is putting together a “Freezer Meals Cookbook” for each student to take home also. The five recipes we are making in our workshop are World’s Best Lasagna, Chicken Pot Pie,  Soup (TBD), Breakfast Sandwiches, and a Fruit Crisp. I am so excited about this workshop! I need at least 5 paid registrations or I will have to cancel. If you’re in the Chandler area and interested in this fun educational opportunity, please call us at 405-258-0560. Pre-registration is required by July 5th. (we are closed on July 4th for Independence Day).

Etiquette

Image result for etiquette

Have you ever found yourself in a social setting where you weren’t really sure how to behave? Maybe at a fancy dinner or a professional meeting? Do you ever wish there had been a class to take as a kid, where you would have learned some skills to help you know how to behave in any situation? I had that as a teenager. An extension educator from Murray County (Oklahoma) offered etiquette workshops at our 4-H state meeting when I was a young teen and then the educator in my home county offered a more in depth version when I was an older teen. I took three different etiquette workshops and it really helped me in college and as a young adult to feel confident in new social situations.

As a member of the Rose State College President’s Leadership Class, I had regular meetings with the president of the college and holiday dinners with the Board of Regents. While I wasn’t sure I could hold an interesting conversation with them, I was confident I could share a meal and not embarrass myself! I credit every bit of that confidence to the etiquette workshop that I had the opportunities to attend as a teenager.

I am offering a similar workshop this summer in Chandler for teens! We are going to do an all-day etiquette workshop on July 14 (9-5) and teach kids the skills they will need to feel confident when they have their new social engagements. This confidence can and will spill over into other areas in their lives. And maybe, just maybe they will start behaving better at your home dinner table!

The cost of the workshop is $17 per student to cover the supplies/food. This workshop includes a 4 course dinner.

Foodie Friday: Pork Verde Tacos

Pork Verde Tacos cooked in the crock pot and served with a drizzle of amazing jalapeño sauce. You will love the flavor in these pork tacos and love how easy they are to make! AD

This week, I made the pork verde tacos that were on my menu plan. They were absolutely delicious! This is a slow-cooker recipe, so I started my morning by preparing the verde sauce in my blender, browning the pork roast, and putting everything into my slow cooker. When I popped the lid on I thought to myself “that is going to be so good, it already smells good.” Then I thought “I still cannot believe there are people out there claiming they can’t cook! This was so easy!” And boy were they delicious! If you are not a fan of spicy foods, just leave out the jalapeno pepper and you’ll love these tacos! If you like your food really spicy, change out the jalapeno for a serano or add more jalapenos.

I will admit, I also made my second third attempt at making homemade flour tortillas. Somehow, these were worse than the first two attempts! I really, really need someone to teach me how to do this. I can make a great pie dough and I make an excellent custard but I am lost when it comes to tortillas!

Seriously, try these tacos. Like yesterday. Happy eating!

Caregiving

A couple walking, one with the arm around the other

Chances are you have a close friend or relative who is currently caring for an aging loved one. Maybe you are doing this yourself. For these caregivers, life can be challenging. Many people caring for aging loved ones are not trained or well-equipped to handle what has been thrown at them, and this can lead to stress, injury or illness.

What does that mean for you? If someone close to you is caring for a loved one, offer them support. You may not know exactly what you can do, but you could ask. Your friend/relative may tell you exactly what they need, and that would be ideal. Then you could help fill that need. They might not want to tell you what they need. If they don’t, there are still some things you can do:

  • Offer to bring dinner a few times a month- don’t take no for an answer. Having this one task checked off a to-do list can really be a big relief to someone who is feeling overwhelmed with their caregiving responsibilities.
  • Offer to take some of the responsibility for the day so the caregiver can relax, get a haircut, or do other personal errands. This may mean offering to sit with the loved one who is receiving care, go grocery shopping, drive kids to their activities… It could be anything the caregiver “has to do” that you could do for them for the day.
  • Help the caregiver to set up a “care team.” A care team made up of friends and acquaintances will help the caregiver focus on the spiritual connection with his or her loved one without being distracted by what needs to be done. If multiple people help with small tasks, such as fixing dinner or providing transportation to religious services, no one person is left shouldering a major responsibility.
  • Just be there and listen when your friend needs to talk.

There are many ways we can help support our friends and family who are caring for loved ones. While it would be ideal if they would ask for help, it is a difficult thing to ask. You should offer specific help. Just making a blanket offer of “let me know if there’s anything I can do,” may not seem sincere or may be easily forgotten. However, saying “I am bringing you dinner tonight,” or “Make me a grocery list. I am going shopping for you this weekend,”  may be more readily accepted.

Make a committed effort to support those around you who are caring for older adults or special needs adult “children.” It could make a big difference to them! For more information on caregiving, visit AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center. 

QuickTip Tuesday: Keep a Schedule

Keep a schedule throughout the summer break. Having a routine this summer can help your kids and you fight the boredom and trouble wars. When kids know what to expect they, behave better!

If you’re at a loss for building a summer schedule for your kids, a quick search on Pinterest should have you swimming in ideas in no time!

Foodie Friday: June Menu

When I was growing up, my parents refused to turn on the air conditioning before June. I remember whining about the heat… a lot. Now that I am the one responsible for the electric bill, I don’t want to turn on the a/c either! It is May 26th and my air conditioning has not been on yet. BUT the forecast says it is going to be in the 90’s this weekend so I will probably break down and turn it on.

I love grilling in the summer and I hate turning on the oven. I am really looking forward to this menu. We are still having Salad Monday and Big Dinner Sunday. I am doing re-make day and Taco Tuesday together, remaking the Sunday dinner into tacos on Tuesday.

When I was putting together my June 2017 Menu Pinterest Board, I noticed that on the third week I have planned 3 pasta dishes. I will most likely be rearranging some of those meals so we won’t be carb-loading for no reason. Please feel free to print this menu and use it! Use some correction tape to cover up any meals your family wouldn’t enjoy and fill it in with something you would enjoy. Re-arrange the days! Make it work for you!

June 2017 Menu

June 2017 Menu