Well, hello! I'm back! One thing I can say about being jobless is that I have had time to catch up on photos and the blog. But first, in honor of the blog title, here is a list of a few things that have made my life easier in the last year.
1 ~ Kiinde feeding system
for working moms, this system is amazing for pumping and bottle-feeding! you pump right into the bag; then freeze, warm and feed (the bag goes into the plastic receptacle above) from the same bag as well. and the bag can be recycled so NO bottles (just nipples) to clean. i only had a few leak. it is more expensive than bottles but saved me so much time! and i started pumping multiple times a day in the bags (instead of new ones each time) so that helped save some money. i marked the amount of milk in each bag before i froze them so i would know when i pulled them out for daycare.
2 ~ blue pads
when we were leaving the hospital, we took some of these pads with us for diaper changes. mv would pee as soon as the diaper came off. when we ran out, i found more on amazon. they are about $20 for 150. it saved us a ton of laundry! and they are great for those really dirty diaper changes too that seem to take up the whole changing pad. now that she has stopped doing it as often, we use the boppee changing pad liners and just wash as needed.
3 ~ steam bags
i love these things! although we didn't have bottles, i used it for the nipples and pump parts. i would soak them in soapy water when i got home and then throw them in this bag for a minute or two in the microwave. open it up and they would dry as the steam evaporated. easy peasy.
1 ~ shredded chicken
i have blogged about this before but this is my favorite cooking trick ever. just bake chicken for one hour at 350. i buy the biggest package i can find, clean off the fat, sprinkle with S&P, drizzle with olive oil and cover with foil. once the chicken is done (and still hot!), throw it in your kitchenaid and turn on the lowest level until shredded to your desired consistency. i freeze in 2 cup portions in ziplocs and label. when i need chicken for a dish, i throw it in the microwave on defrost for a minute or two. because it is shredded, it doesn't get all weird in the microwave like whole pieces of meat would. i add to pasta, rice, casseroles, mexican, etc. i save so much money and time with this tip!
2 ~ french bread
i love fresh bread but we rarely eat it before it molds. so, i have started cutting it into family-size portions, wrapping them in foil and freezing in labeled, giant ziplocs until needed. they will defrost in an hour or two on the counter. or, if you're like me and don't even have that much time, you can place it next to (not on!) the gas flame on your range (still in foil) and rotate until thawed. i usually do this while cooking on that eye.
3 ~ buitoni pasta
this refrigerated pasta is such a time-saver. it is really good and lower in calories than you would think. i buy the family-size portions and repackage in smaller sizes for the freezer. i am sure costco has great options for this as well. you can cook from frozen and then throw in ready-made sauce. i love bertolli but hope to make and freeze my own soon. buitoni has a ton of great varieties and can be found in the cheese section at publix. once you cook and drain the pasta, put it back in the same pot and toss with parmesan so the sauce sticks. once the cheese melts, add the sauce and cook until hot. one-pot dinner!
We have finally invested in a spare fridge and freezer for our garage. i am so excited to be able to have a stockpile of food in the freezer. costco is going to be my new best friend. i have always tried to buy in bulk but lack of freezer space was an issue. one thing i do is buy whatever shredded cheese is on special at publix, buy one of each and freeze. we use a ton of mexican, cheddar, parm and mozzarella. again, i am sure costco has even better deals on this and i can repackage if necessary.
i will try to live up to the title of this blog and work on further lists. time-saver ideas are always appreciated, no? :)