Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sugar Pop Earrings: A JewelMint Review

I placed my first order with JewelMint recently and I thought I'd share a little review of my experience for those who have been curious about trying JewelMint.  For those who haven't heard of JewelMint, it's a monthly jewelry subscription service.  For $29.99 each month you're presented with a personalized showroom of jewelry to choose from.  With JewelMint you do have the option to skip purchasing on a given month by logging into your account between the 1st and 5th to select the skip option and avoid being charged for the month.  If you do not choose to skip the month, you'll be charged $29.99 and a credit will be applied to your account that can be used toward any item on the JewelMint website.

I have heard so many raves about JewelMint from countless YouTubers over the past year and a half.  I've been curious about checking out the service for a while and had even signed up on the site to view the selection, but hadn't made a purchase until now for a few reasons.

First of all, as someone who has made jewelry for nearly seven years, I am very particular about the style and construction of the jewelry I'm willing to purchase.  Many times I won't buy a piece of jewelry because I can make something similar myself for less money that will be of better construction and higher quality.  For this reason, I am fairly skeptical about purchasing jewelry online from mass retailers without first being able to gauge the quality with my own eyes.

The other main reason had yet to place an order with JewelMint is that the jewelry offered on their website usually isn't my personal taste.  I tend to prefer very classic, retro jewelry as well as modern, feminine pieces.  I find the bulk of the styles offered from JewelMint simply don't suit me.  Even while taking the initial style profile on the site (which helps determine which pieces will be in your showroom each month), none of the questions really had answers that suited me.

I was recently browsing JewelMint again after one of my favorite YouTubers shared a JewelMint piece she had ordered with a 60% code.  It was then that I happened upon the Sugar Pop Earrings and was tempted to make a purchase.  After finding a 60% code to use on my order (bringing the price for the earrings down to $11.99 with free shipping), I decided to place an order.

I placed my order last Wednesday, received a phone call confirming my order on Thursday, and my earrings arrived on Tuesday.  I was fairly impressed with the quick delivery time; however, because I receive no shipping confirmation (on my account, via email, or by phone call), I actually had no idea they had even shipped yet.

From having seen numerous reviews of JewelMint online, I had high expectations for their packaging and I wasn't disappointed.  Each piece arrives in a mint green JewelMint box with a description of the piece displayed inside.  The Super Pop Earrings were described with, "Embrace la dolce vita with this runway inspired design.  Sweet as candy, our 10K gold-plated pair, measuring 2 1/4", boasts a dramatic combination of transparent and opaque jewels, in hues of lemon yellow, peridot, pink hyacinth, and tangerine tango."

 Inside their box, which was firmly padded to protect them, my earrings were placed in a beautiful black velvet bag.

The earrings themselves were just as vibrant and sparkling as I imagined they would be from the photo and description provided on the website.  Having paid $11.99 for the earrings, I am pleased with the experience of my purchase and the quality of the product I received.

To be honest, being as particular as I am with jewelry, I probably would not pay $29.99 for these earrings.  I would be hesitant pay $29.99 for anything I find on the JewelMint website in the future.  I think that the packaging of the jewelry above and beyond exceeds the quality of the jewelry itself.  I certainly do not think these earrings are cheap or flimsy.  They seem fairly well made and they are certainly unique and eye catching.  The "10K gold-plated" metal components of the earrings seem hefty without being cumbersome in weight.  The "transparent and opaque jewels," on the other hand, do seem a little more inexpensive and costume-y then I'd prefer.  The quality of these earrings reminds me of costume jewelry you might inherit from a grandmother or find at a flea market.  While I adore the look of costume jewelry, I certainly wouldn't readily pay $29.99 for a piece of that quality.

While I wouldn't personally pay full price for a JewelMint piece, there are thousands of women who do and are incredibly pleased with the quality.  I'm just extremely nitpicky because of the fact that I make jewelry.  I would definitely recommend everyone give JewelMint a try if they find a piece that they love.  There always seems to be fantastic discount codes available online to save 50% or more off your first JewelMint purchase, so I would suggest doing a little Google search before you place an order.

Don't forget to enter the Easy Canvas Prints giveaway for a chance to win a custom 8x10" canvas print!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Easy Canvas Prints

I was recently contacted by Easy Canvas Prints with the opportunity to review one of their 8x10" canvases.  When presented with the option to turn one of my photos into a canvas print, I immediately knew which photo I'd use.  The photos I took of my Chocolate Malt Cupcakes are probably my favorite of the food photos I've taken to date.  I've wanted to have some of my food photos printed for a while but have never gotten around to it, so I was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to turn my cupcakes into a canvas!

Easy Canvas Prints allows you to put "Your Photos on Canvas!" and turn your favorite memories into works of art:

 Turn your photos to canvas with Easy Canvas Prints™. Our photos on canvas are great for decorating your home or office, and perfect as photo gifts! With our easy to use canvas prints designer, you can turn your very own image into a stunning work of art on canvas! Our canvas prints are printed and stretched in-house by our canvas professionals, and come ready to hang or display with a classic semi-gloss finish. Just choose your canvas size and wrap thickness, upload your pictures or art, and choose your border for a personalized canvas print of your own. We can't wait for you to see the quality of our canvas pictures!

Working with Easy Canvas Prints to create my canvas was a really easy, straight forward process.  You begin by selecting your preferred canvas size and the thickness of your canvas.  They have several standard sizes available as well as a custom size option.  Additionally, a standard canvas thickness of .75" is available as well as the option to upgrade to a thicker wrap or a framed canvas.

Next you upload the photo you'd like to use for your canvas.  It is important to use a high resolution photograph for the best quality.  Easy Canvas Prints has a user-friendly indicator which shows you if the quality of your photograph is sufficient for the best results.

Lastly you'll choose your display option (either a standard wall hanger or a canvas stand to display your photograph on a table).  You'll also decide how you'd like the border of your canvas to look.  I chose to have my image wrapped around the edge of my canvas.  I think this provides a really professional and finished look to the canvas.

 I was incredibly impressed with how quick and easy it was to create and customize my canvas.  I  placed my order and it was delivered within a week (a few days earlier than the estimated arrival time)!  It was very well packaged and reached me in perfect condition.

To be fair, this is the first time I have ever had one of my photographs printed as a canvas, so I don't have another experience to gauge this quality of my Easy Canvas Prints product by.  However, that said, I am incredibly pleased with the quality of my canvas print!  I really was surprised to see all the minute details of my original photo captured on the canvas.  The texture of the canvas itself really adds so much character to the image!  The above photo is a detailed picture I captured of my canvas print.  Just look at that detail.  Honestly, I'm truly impressed.

I couldn't be more pleased with my experience working with Easy Canvas Prints!  I will definitely utilize their services again in the future when I seek to have more photographs printed on canvas.

A huge thank you to Easy Canvas Prints, owned by, for offering me the opportunity to review their product!

Now for the Giveaway!

Easy Canvas Prints has graciously offered to give an 8x10" canvas print to one of my readers!

• To enter the giveaway, you must "Like" Easy Canvas Prints on their Facebook page and leave a comment on this post saying you have done so (please include your Facebook name).
• Due to shipping costs, the giveaway winner must be a U.S. resident (excluding Hawaii and Alaska).
• Giveaway will be open until 11:59 EDT on July 3rd.  The winner will be announced on July 4th.

For extra entries:
Follow Easy Canvas Prints on Twitter and leave a comment on this post saying you have done so (please include your @ Twitter name).
• Follow my blog via Feedburner and/or Google Friend Connect (links to do so are on the left sidebar) and leave a comment on this post saying you have done so.
• "Like" That Winsome Girl on Facebook and leave a comment on this post saying you have done so (please include your Facebook name).
• Follow That Winsome Girl on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post saying you have done so (please include your Pinterest name).

Good luck!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

These Chicken Enchiladas have become a staple in our house.  I love them and my picky hubby adores them and requests them often.  They are fairly quick and easy to prepare, which is something I require of most dinners I make.  The filling for these Chicken Enchiladas is simply a batch of Shredded Tex-Mex Crock Pot Chicken and little freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese.  I top mine with a can of Old El Paso mild enchilada sauce and more shredded Monterey Jack cheese.  The shredded chicken requires minimum prep, then cooks all day in the crock pot.  Once the chicken is cooked and tender, you shred it with a fork, add in a little of the juices to keep it moist, and it's ready to be turned into enchiladas, tacos, or anything you wish.

These enchiladas can be assembled and out of the oven in 30 minutes, so they're great for a busy week night.  You can certainly make changes to these enchiladas to suit your preferences.  I highly suggest starting out with the Shredded Tex-Mex Crock Pot Chicken as it's delicious and makes a lovely base for enchiladas.  Feel free to make a homemade enchilada sauce or use your favorite store bought sauce to top your enchiladas.  Use Monterey Jack cheese, Cheddar Jack, Pepper Jack, whatever your heart desires.  We usually enjoy ours plain, but a little dollop of sour cream or guacamole certainly wouldn't hurt.

The ingredients for the Shredded Tex-Mex Crock Pot Chicken are fairly basic.  You'll begin by sautéing an onion, spices, and garlic in a medium sauce pan, then deglazing the pan with a little chicken stock.  (I forgot to take a photo of this step.)

Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them to the bottom of your crock pot.

Top them with fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Then pour the onion mixture on top.  Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours.

After a few hours, your chicken will be nice and tender.  Shred your chicken and add in some of the juices from the crock pot to moisten the meat.

Once your chicken is shredded, you are ready to assemble your enchiladas.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.  (I used a slightly smaller Corningware dish for the purpose of these photos.)

Warm 8 small flour tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until pliable.  Fill the center of each tortilla with a generous about of shredded chicken and a sprinkle of cheese.  Roll up tightly and place seam side down in your prepared dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Because I used a slightly smaller casserole dish, I was only able to fit six enchiladas.  You'll have enough shredded chicken to generously fill eight enchiladas, and they should fit perfectly in a 9x13 dish.

Top your enchiladas with the sauce of your choice, followed by the rest of the cheese.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is bubbling.

Let your enchiladas cool for a minute or two, then dig in!

Shredded Tex-Mex Crock Pot Chicken
via Good Life Eats

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup (packed) cilantro leaves, chopped
2 limes
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I omit the jalapeno)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika and garlic and sauté two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Turn off and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to crock pot. Squeeze the lime on top, add the cilantro, jalapeno (if using), and pour the onion and garlic mixture over top.

Cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until cooked through (different crock-pots cook at varying heats) and tender. Remove chicken breasts from the crock pot, shred and place in a bowl. Scoop out the onions and add to the chicken. Depending on the amount of juices produced, you may want to add some or all of the juice back to the shredded chicken.

Chicken Enchiladas
serves 4

1 batch Shredded Tex-Mex Crock Pot Chicken
8 small flour tortillas (or corn tortillas, if that is your preference)
8 oz. shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, or other)
10 oz. can enchilada sauce (or equal amount homemade sauce)
cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Warm your tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until pliable.  Fill each tortillas with a generous amount of shredded chicken (maybe about half a cup, I just eyeball it), then top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese (again, just eyeball it).  Roll up the enchilada tightly and place seam side down in the prepared dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas until all the chicken has been used.  Top enchiladas with your sauce of choice, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until enchiladas are warmed through and cheese is bubbling.  Let cool for a minute, then enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nail of the Day: OPI Just Spotted the Lizard

 natural light, two coats

Over the past year and a half I've become a nail polish junkie.  What was a small collection of ~10 polishes I had collected since high school has grown to probably nearly 100 polishes.  I have a nice little collection of Julep polishes now thanks to their Maven subscription program.  I take advantage of drugstore sales and have tons of Revlon polishes I got for $0.99.  Then there's a healthy mix of Essie (probably my favorite nail polish brand), China Glaze, Zoya, and Butter London (who has the best formula, in my opinion).  Despite having a large collection, I actually did not own an OPI polish until recently when I purchased two polishes from the new The Amazing Spider-Man Collection.

The two polishes from the collection that I purchased were Just Spotted the Lizard (seen above) and Number One Nemesis.  Both shades are dupes for popular Chanel polishes (Peridot and Graphite, respectively) which released with the Illusion d'Ombres Collection from Fall 2011.  I had lusted after the Chanel polishes last fall, but at $26 a polish, I wasn't willing to splurge.  When I saw the new OPI collection and started hearing whispers about the dupes, I had to check it out myself.  At $8 each, the OPI dupes are a much more affordable option!

To be honest, Peridot/Just Spotted the Lizard is a shade that I find very unique and visually interesting, but I don't find it to be particularly flattering on the nails.  It is truly stunning though, and nearly impossible to photograph as it has such a dimensionality that you really have to see in person.  Sometimes it's a deep teal, sometimes it's green, sometimes it's gold.  I think this will be a shade I probably reach for a lot in the fall.

The formula on this polish is great: two coats and it's completely opaque.  As is the nature of pearly/metallic polishes, you do have to be mindful when applying this polish so as to minimize streaks.  Overall, I definitely recommend Just Spotted the Lizard.  I think this has been a very popular shade.  When I picked mine up from ULTA the display for the collection was full of all the shades except this one--there was only two bottles left.  If you're interested in the shade, especially if you were eying Chanel's Peridot last fall but couldn't bring yourself to splurge, I definitely suggest you pick it up soon!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hanging Out

Thought I'd drop in an say "Happy Monday" and share a little picture I snapped of Lucy while she was napping in the silliest position ever.  Her cage is in my office, to the right of my computer, and it brings me so much joy to get to look over at her throughout the day and watch all the cute and funny things she does.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A New Addition

I turned 25 at the beginning of the month and for my birthday my darling hubby surprised me with the option of getting a hedgehog or another pet of my choosing.  At that point I had two hermit crabs, Ziggy and Lady Stardust, who I introduced here, but had been off and on curious about adding a more interactive pet to the family.

 I'm mildly (okay, maybe extremely) obsessed with two-toed sloths and find hedgehogs absolutely adorable.  It wasn't until my hubby suggested a chinchilla on my birthday that I really even knew what they were.  Of course I had heard of chinchillas, but I had never seen one in person or really given them much thought.  I had no idea they were such popular pets.  After visiting with a chinchilla at a local pet store, doing lengthy online research, and watching countless YouTube videos, I had pretty much decided a chinchilla was the right choice for me. 

Hubby found a listing online from someone local who was looking to find a new home for her chinchilla.  Last Sunday we meet with a teenage girl and her father and we decided to bring this adorable chinchilla, Lucy, home with us.  Originally we were going to purchase a chinchilla from a pet store, but they seemed so nervous and skittish and we figured finding a chinchilla from a breeder or current owner would be a better option.  Lucy had a sweet and playful character and she seemed like a good fit for us.  Lucy's previous owner had kept her in a smallish cage and I knew immediately that I wanted to give her an environment that would allow her to jump and play and live comfortably.  That same day we bought Lucy this huge cage (3' x 2' x 5') and she seems to love it!

She spends most of her time relaxing in her Timothy hay house and on this granite slab that stays nice and cool (chinchillas prefer temps between 60-70 degrees).

She makes quite a show when she's running and jumping around her cage, going from one level to the next and having all sorts of fun while doing it.

Lucy is crazy about her Timothy hay house.  She relaxes in it, sits on top, enjoys it as a snack, and uses it as a trampoline as she hops from one level of her cage to the next.

At this moment it was the perfect little spot to enjoy some lunch.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Lucy, dear readers.  You'll likely be seeing lots of her in the future as I'm rather smitten.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 2012 Birchbox

I received my June Birchbox yesterday and I thought I'd share what I received and my thoughts on this month's box.

As I shared in my May Glossybox post, I've been a Birchbox subscriber for over a year now.  For $10/month I receive a box filled with 4-6 deluxe size beauty and lifestyle samples from well-known and emerging brands.

Most months my Birchbox arrives in a hot pink protective box surrounding a kraft colored box embossed with the Birchbox logo.  I would rate the Birchbox packing fairly high, but it certainly doesn't have the same flare and heft as the Glossybox packaging.

Each month's Birchbox has a different theme.  The theme of the June box was Jet Set, a box "devoted to products that will indulge your inner jetsetter."

This month I received the following samples:

Comodynes - Self-Tanning Intensive ($14.99/Pack of 8)
Who needs the sun when you can get a safe, buildable, and natural-looking tan with these bestselling European towelettes?

Sample size: 2 towelettes
Sample value: $3.75

Masqueology - Pore Minimizing Mask ($24/Pack of 3)
This targeted sheet mask shrinks visible pores while amping up your skin's moisture levels.  Use it daily and--if you're brave--during your next flight.

Sample size: 1 mask
Sample value: $8

Stila - One Step Bronze ($36/1 oz)
Fake an island glow with this three-in-one bronzer, primer, and serum.  It also keeps your skin's oil production in check.

Sample size: 1 oz
Sample value: $36

theBalm Cosmetics - Stainiac in Beauty Queen ($17/.3 oz)
We're crazy about this two-in-one lip and cheek stain: the sheer gel formula delivers a subtle, long-wearing flush.

Sample size: 0.04 oz
Sample value: $2.67

tili - Bags ($8.49/Pack of 12)
Breeze through airport security with these too-cute plastic bags.  They're perfectly sized for storing all your travel essentials (and beauty samples).

Sample size: 1 bag
Sample value: $0.71

John Varvatos - Star USA ($55/1.7 oz)
In honor of Father's Day, we've included this dapper cologne, a blend of ginger, juniper berries, and vetiver.  Pass it on to a lucky guy friend or family member.

Sample size: 0.04
Sample value: $1.29

Total box value: $52.42

While I have to say the value of the samples I received this month was great, this month's box doesn't hold too much that I'll actually find use for.  Of the sample items I received, I'm definitely looking forward to using the Pore Minimizing Mask and I'm very excited to have the lip/cheek stain.  As a happily pale gal, I probably won't get any use out of the tanning towelettes or the bronzing product.  The extras this month (the bag and cologne sample) don't really excite me at all.

This month is a perfect example of my main complaint with Birchbox.  Each month they have 20+ different box varieties that they send out to customers and they vary so greatly not only in contents but often in value.  While Birchbox has an online beauty profile you fill out when you sign up, I really hold no faith that they actually take into consideration an individual's interests, needs, and preferences based on that profile.  While I certainly think my box this month was of fantastic value, only a few of the products I received actually suit me and my tastes.  That is the risk of beauty subscription services as a whole--they are often very hit or miss.

I'll be back again next month to share the contents of my July Birchbox (which will be a collaboration with Glamour Magazine) as well as a little update on what I thought of this month's products once I've given them a try.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beer Cheese Festival

This weekend I had the honor of being one of three judges for the Commercial Beer Cheese Contest at the 4th annual Beer Cheese Festival in downtown Winchester, Kentucky.  Last year I participated in the festival as an art & craft vendor.  Though I'm taking a break this year from selling my jewelry at art shows, I was thankful to still get to take part in this unique festival!

Judging for both the Commercial and Amateur Beer Cheese Contests took place early Saturday afternoon.  As a judge for the commercial category, I had the task of blind judging 14 entries based on taste and texture.

Before sampling even my first cheese, I took note of the remarkable variation in color and consistency from one cheese to the next.

After sampling each cheese at least twice, judging them on taste and texture, and leaving any appropriate feedback for the contestants, I had narrowed the lot down to my three favorite cheeses.  For me, what makes an outstanding beer cheese is one that manages to pack a lot of well-balanced flavor while still maintaining a smooth, creamy texture.  From sampling the entries on nothing but a spoon so as to get the full experience, I noticed that around half the cheeses had what I found to be an unpleasant grainy texture, likely caused by the use of powdered spices.  A couple had unpleasantly overpowering flavors (too much mustard or too heavy on the beer).  There were several that I found quite delicious though; the one that really stood out to me ended up being the winner overall among myself and the other judges.  Larry Mac's beer cheese had a bright, but not overpowering flavor and a smooth texture with what I found to be a pleasant subtle crunch from finely minced onion.

After I finished judging, the hubby and I walked through the large festival.  The Beer Cheese Festival not only offers the option to visitors of tasting each and every beer cheese entry, but there are also a large number of art & craft vendors to enjoy.

Walking through the festival, you'll notice a few live musicians performing.  There is also a section of Kentucky Proud vendors & demonstrators as well as your usual festival food vendors scattered throughout the downtown streets.

Downtown Winchester is full of charm with numerous adorable shops and restaurants, and makes a darling backdrop to a unique event.  If you're a fan of beer cheese, or simply enjoy checking out local festivals, I highly recommend you make a note on your calendar to visit the Beer Cheese Festival when it rolls around again next June!

For more information on the festival, visit the official website, and to see who the top three winners of the Commercial and Amateur Beer Cheese Contests were, visit their Facebook page.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Freezer Cooking My Way

As much as I enjoy a hot, home cooked meal, most nights I honestly don't feel like spending more than 20 minutes actively preparing dinner.  Lately I've learned that keeping a few staples on hand in the freezer and pantry really aid me in getting dinner served without any hassle.  I keep a stock of steaks (nothing fancy, folks), various types of fish (salmon, tilapia, and cod we buy for cheap at Sam's Club), and veggies in the freezer, and quick starchy sides in the pantry.  When I stay stocked I can throw together a quick and satisfying dinner with little to no time spent in the kitchen.  I've also gained a repertoire of entrees and sides that we adore that I can make in bulk, freeze, and quickly prepare straight from the freezer.  Keeping myself stocked in this way has made planning and preparing weeknight meals a breeze, and I've noticed the huge added benefit that my weekly grocery bills have been cut in half!

 I recently ran out of a few of my freezer staples, so I planned a freezer cooking day to restock on my favorites and try out a couple new recipes as well.  My absolute favorite recipe to make in bulk and keep on hand in the freezer for quick dinners are Creamy Chicken Taquitos.  These taquitos have been in constant rotation in my house for well over a year, ever since I first made them shortly after Annie's Eats shared the recipe.

These taquitos are so near and dear to me that they made the menu of my 24th birthday last June when I made a full Mexican feast for 14 close friends.  They were definitely the crowd favorite among the dishes.  I've made these taquitos so many times now that I have the process down to a science.

I have ALWAYS doubled this recipe and until recently I would use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to keep things as quick and simple as possible.  After watching rotisserie chickens shrink in size but raise in price, I've started preparing my own rotisserie style chicken in the crock pot to shred and use in these taquitos.  I started with Busy Mommy's recipe for inspiration but I use seasonings that I think will compliment the taquitos: smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  I mostly just eyeball the amounts to taste.  Once the chicken is done cooking in the crock pot, it will be so fall apart tender that it will practically shred itself for the taquitos!

I find that using the entire chicken provides the perfect amount of meat for a double batch of taquitos.  I use Mission brand small flour tortillas, scoop 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla and I always end up with 20 taquitos (which is perfect as the Mission small flour tortillas come in a pack of 20).

When I make these, I work in an assembly line fashion 8 taquitos at a time.  I warm the tortillas in the microwave, scoop the filling, shape the filling in a tight log, then roll the tortillas and line them up on a wax paper line cookie sheet that fits perfectly in my freezer.  These freeze beautifully and can be baked frozen, straight from the freezer.  I like to serve them with a side of Authenic Mexican Rice and a little steamed corn.

Another favorite that I think everyone should keep on hand for a sudden sweet tooth or unexpected guest are chocolate chip cookies.  These Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies are my current favorite recipe and I love that the recipe yields such a large quantity, perfect for stocking one's freezer.  I make a full batch, portion the dough with a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop, and freeze the dough until solid.  Store the dough balls in freezer bags and you'll be able to bake a cookie or two to enjoy as a weeknight dessert, but you'll also have plenty on half if you need to feed a house full of guests on short notice.  Just bake these straight from the freezer, adding an extra minute or two to the baking time, if needed.

These Twice Baked Potatoes from The Pioneer Woman are one of the two new recipes I tried for this round of freezer cooking.  I figured these would be nice to have on hand for quick lunches or as a side for nights we grill steaks for dinner (a nice alternative to the instant mashed potatoes I typically make).  Besides, who doesn't love a twice baked potato filled with bacon and cheese?

I followed Ree's recipe fairly closely but I decided to use 16 smallish potatoes rather than 8 large potatoes to have a larger yield but to also make these a more modestly sized side.  I followed the ingredients in Ree's recipe, adding in additional quantities until the consistency of my potato mixture was just right.  I filled the potato halves up with the mixture, froze them solid, then wrapped them each individually in plastic wrap before placing them in freezer bags for storage.

Lastly I made these Mini Beef and Cheese Empanadas (on the left, bagged up for the freezer, in the photo above) from Tracey's Culinary Adventures but unfortunately was pretty over the whole all-day freezer cooking thing at that point so I didn't snap any in-process photos to share with you.  If you want to see what the assembly of these empanadas looks like, I suggest you check out Tracey's post.  I plan to serve a few of these as a dinner entree with our usual "Mexican" style sides (rice and/or corn).

All in all, a little over a day of work and my freezer will be stocked for several weeks.  I'd like to spend another day in the near future preparing a few other items that we enjoy that I know keep well in the freezer: garlic knots, sandwich bread, scones, biscuits, etc.  There are lots of variations on freezer cooking out there.  I tend to prefer to make items that are ultimately baked, preparing them to the point just before baking, then freezing them and baking them straight from the freezer as needed.  In my experience, these sorts of items keep the best and can be prepared from the freezer and taste just as delicious as if they were freshly made.

What are you favorite freezer-friendly recipes?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share Buttons