Make One Freeze One Challenge! Starts Monday 4/24!

**Affiliate links are included in this post.**

 

Have you discovered the amazingness of freezer cooking yet?

We were incredibly blessed to get to review MyFreezEasy.com in the fall.  And it has been a beloved family favorite and menu plan ever since!

Now, you have the opportunity…

to try out MyFreezEasy.com absolutely free, with their latest Make One Freeze One Challenge!

 

What is MyFreezEasy.com?

MyFreezEasy.com is this wonderful plan for freezer cooking.  Freezer cooking is the best way I’ve ever found to have delicious, healthy meals waiting in the freezer every day of the week.  All you do is set aside an afternoon and collect your recipes (mine are from MyFreezEasy.com‘s monthly meal plans) and ingredients.  Then, you assemble the ingredients for each meal and place them in freezer zipper bags.  Then, pop them in the freezer.  All you have to do from that point on is to pull them out in the morning or afternoon, place them in the crockpot or oven, and dinner is done!

I love MyFreezEasy.com for so many reasons, like….

  • the meals are delicious
  • they’re organized on the website according to meal type (beef, gluten-free, clean eats, chicken, and more)
  • they make it easy–indeed, possible–for me to serve healthy meals to my family
  • all the preparation is completed by me over the weekend
  • I don’t have to try and figure out at dinner time what I’m going to cook for my family

 

 

 

 

What is the Make One, Freeze One Challenge?

It’s your chance, courtesy of MyFreezEasy.com, to try out their freezer meals absolutely free of charge!  Just click on Make One Freeze One Challenge and enter your email address.  Then, you’ll be able to choose from three different summer meal plans:

  • Skillet & Grilled Meals
  • Slow Cooker Summer Meals
  • Summer Clean Eats

Each of these has 5 different meals in it.  You’ll be able to download the meal plan of your choice.  Then all you have to do is to assemble the ingredients and prepare them!  The Make One Freeze One Challenge is set up so that you prepare two of each meal; one to eat immediately and one to put in the freezer for later.

How I plan to use the Make One, Freeze One Challenge

I’m still trying to decide which of the three meals I’d like to make and freeze.  They’re all so delectable-sounding.  How would you like New Mexico Chicken Lettuce Wraps?  Or Grilled Honey Mustard Pork Chops?  Or maybe Grilled Citrus Salmon Packs?  There are 12 more amazing recipes to choose from, divided into the three meal plan categories.

Why would you want to try this out?

Are you someone who’s exhausted at the thought of cooking dinner after a busy day?  Or someone who’s interested in trying out freezer cooking?  What about someone who’s looking for new meals?  Or, are you a mom who just needs a little help in cooking for your family?

Whatever the reason, I wholeheartedly recommend MyFreezEasy.com to you.  It has been such a blessing to us…not only for me, but for my family as well.  And with the Make One Freeze One Challenge, you can try it out absolutely free!

Give it a try.

Just click on Make One Freeze One Challenge, select your meal plan, and jump in.  I really think you will love it!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure: 

n accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

Art, Coloring, and Cursive? My Review of THE ART OF CURSIVELOGIC

Readers of the finchnwren blog might remember that we’ve reviewed CursiveLogic’s quality curriculum before.  Designed for both children and adult learners (even those who’ve never written in cursive before), their handwriting lessons are logical, understandable, and easy to follow for both instructors and learners alike.  Now, CursiveLogic has an incredible new product that I’m very excited to tell you about: The Art of CursiveLogic.  CursiveLogic sent me a free sample of this gorgeous new book to review.  And yes, it’s as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the cover!

 

Cursive Logic’s unique method…

is something that is designed to help students understand the way cursive works, and to be able to reproduce cursive letters successfully, based on these precepts:

  1. Grouping letters together by shape:  Instead of teaching each letter alone, CursiveLogic teaches about groups of letters which are shaped in similar ways
  2. Teaching a group’s letters in “strings”:  Students learn to connect letters together right away as they work on the letters in a group
  3. Using color to “code” letter strings:  Students are helped to remember the letters in a grouping because they’re all in the same color
  4. Mnemonic phrases to teach letter groupings:  Students learn rhymes for each string so that they can remember how to form the letters
  5. Students are encouraged because even by the end of the first lesson, they can write real words by using the CursiveLogic process

(You can read about our experiences with CursiveLogic in my review at this link.)

Now, CursiveLogic has taken these methods and incorporated them into a combination cursive writing program AND a gorgeous art coloring book!

For anyone who’s loving the current wave of coloring books for adults…

and would also like to practice or learn cursive, The Art of CursiveLogic is a truly beautiful and effective purchase!  (You can preorder this book via the link in the previous sentence; orders are expected to be shipped in May 2017.)

Adults or teens who need to practice their cursive, or really who’ve never actually learned cursive, will love this book.  CursiveLogic employs its effective teaching process (listed above) to enable students to practice and learn cursive quickly and logically.  The Art of CursiveLogic has the additional bonus of providing not only coloring pages (that are real works of art themselves), but coloring pages which incorporate cursive letters in them as part of the decoration.  It’s pretty astonishing!  You can see in the picture above a segment of the page I colored.  It’s from a decorative artsy page featuring a quote from Vincent Van Gogh.  (You can also tell that he’s being featured on this page because of the swirly nature of the drawing, CursiveLogic’s take on “Starry Night.”)  You can see that, tucked in among and actually becoming part of the art itself, CursiveLogic’s cursive letters are everywhere.

How I used The Art of Cursive Logic

I know that I can always work on improving my handwriting.  But really…as an adult/wife/mom/homeschooler/art teacher/reviewer, where I am going to find the time to work on my cursive?  Probably nowhere.

But.

When I received the sample of The Art of CursiveLogic, I absolutely fell in love.  No, I may not have time to sit down and purposely work on my handwriting.  In my leisure moments, that’s probably not what I’m going to choose to do.  But sitting down with my colored pencils and other art supplies, to create art using an astonishingly beautiful coloring book that will also help my handwriting?  That’s a definite yes!

As I mentioned before, we’ve done a few reviews for CursiveLogic.  I have the highest respect for the company and the work they do, and the way their curriculum really does work with students of all ages.  So when CursiveLogic offered to send me a sample of The Art of CursiveLogic, I was happy to try it out for them and share what we thought with our readers.  I knew to expect excellence.  But I didn’t expect to get truly blown away by incredible art coloring pages that I, myself, could use and delight in!

The sample book that CursiveLogic sent me has their time-tested instructional pages for the cursive alphabet.  But it also has 4 coloring pages that are designed around a particular quote plus a bonus one on the back inside cover that’s design-only.  (Obviously, the complete book will have many more than that!)  The coloring pages are fairly intricate (meaning that you won’t complete it in one sitting, perhaps) but all use cursive lettering as part of the art.  Both the art and the quotes are uplifting.  I always came away happy and encouraged after working on a page!

I’ve only used my colored pencils in The Art of CursiveLogic, and they worked well.  The paper is high-quality and accepts color quite richly.  You might be able to use oil pastels as well.

 

Where can you find The Art of CursiveLogic?

Simply click through this link The Art of CursiveLogic to find the preorder page.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I have loved this so much that when someone asked what I’d like for a gift for International Women’s Day, I told them that I wanted The Art of CursiveLogic!  So I’ll also be receiving the complete copy of this fabulous coloring book when it’s sent out this May!

I’m so excited.  In the meantime, I’ll just be working on finishing the other coloring pages in my sample book!

I’m happy to recommend The Art of CursiveLogic to you.  (Clearly!)  If you’re:

  • an adult who loves to color and would like to practice cursive writing at the same time;
  • or if you’re a teen who needs handwriting practice;
  • or an adult or second-language learner who’s learning English cursive for the first time;
  • or you just love to color amazing art;

…then you’ll want to check out CursiveLogic‘s The Art of CursiveLogic!

 

 

You can download a free coloring page here…

by clicking on this Share The Art of CursiveLogic link and sharing on Facebook.  Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to download the bird coloring page to print and color.

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

 

Win a gift bag of lovely greeting cards from Paper Doll Greetings! (Ends 12/14)

My amazing and creative friend Julie is the artist behind Paper Doll Greetings, and just in time for Christmas, she has provided a collection of beautiful handmade cards and a mini-journal for one special reader to win!

julie-giveaway-banner

What is Paper Doll Greetings?

It’s my friend Julie’s Etsy shop, where she sells her handmade, beautifully created cards, journals, and mixed media art!  Each card and journal is handcrafted from the most beautiful papers, ribbons, and ephemera.  They make incredible gifts for your loved ones—or ways you can bless yourself!

 

julie-giveaway-pic-1What’s in this giveaway?

Beautiful cards and a mini-journal, all handmade (and some, hand-painted!) by Julie herself.  One winner will receive:

  • A blue mini-journal, beautifully inscribed with Psalm 20:4
  • A “note of support card,” decorated with satin ribbon and roses
  • A “journey” card, illustrated with Judges 18:6
  • A beautiful floral birthday card, with gold lettering and a green satin ribbon
  • A lovely blank card with die-cut and ribbon decoration

Just enter here!

This giveaway closes on December 14 at 11:59P.  Just follow the pink link to the giveaway form below to enter.  One winner will be selected and notified at the close of the giveaway.  Best wishes!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Best Freezer Meals Plan Ever! finchnwren’s Review of MyFreezEasy

How thrilled I was to be selected to review MyFreezEasy for the Homeschool Review Crew!  My family received MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership  to use and review.  I only have three words to say about this:  love, love, love!

myfreezeasy

MyFreezEasy is…..

…hands down the best freezer meal resource I’ve run across.  What is a freezer meal, you ask?  A freezer meal is a recipe that you’ve made ahead of time, placed in ziplocs or foil pans, and popped in the freezer.  Ideally, you prepare several at a time.  Then throughout the week, when both meal creativity and energy might be at a low point, you have all the ingredients for a delicious and healthy meal ready to go.  You can either cook it in the evening or put it in the crockpot in the morning.  Either way, you have something healthy and delicious to feed your family, but all you have to do is provide heat of some sort!

myfreezeasy-1Erin Chase at MyFreezEasy has created an incredible array of delicious, healthy freezer meal plans.  Via subscription, you can access these meal plans, which come in all these different varieties for different taste buds and preferences.  With the Basic Plan, you have these meal types available:

  • Traditional
  • Gluten-Free
  • Slow Cooker
  • Clean Eats
  • and the 20 Meals Plan, which has a variety of protein and meal categories

With the Premium Membership, subscribers have access to the first five plan types, plus the ability to customize their family dinners by adding or subtracting meals.  Each month, subscribers get brand-new meals for that month, which also correspond nicely to the seasons the months fall in.

Erin’s meal plans contain the recipes themselves, shopping lists (by recipe, category, or store section), assembly instructions, and actual cooking instructions.  Each of these enables home cooks to prepare amazing meals and save money,  time and energy!

 

myfreezeasy-2Here’s how we used our membership:

With the Premium Annual Membership, we had access to *every*single*recipe* on the MyFreezEasy website.  (For the current month, that is; menus are rotated, so you’ll want to save each month’s to a file on your own computer so that you can access your faves again.)  So to begin, I saved a number of menus for September to our PC: the Clean Eats Plan, the All Chicken Meals Plan and the All Ground Beef Meals Plan.  I selected the following 5 meals to prepare for my first week, and printed copies of them so that I had ready access:

  • Paleo Minestrone Soup
  • Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes
  • Chicken Fajita Bake
  • Peach & Balsamic Chicken Skillet
  • Frito Pie filling
  • I also threw in soft taco filling

On a Saturday afternoon (which is prime meal prep time for me), I laid out the 5 printed recipes around my kitchen.  Next, I got out 5 large bowls or pans.  I then got out 6 (remember, the extra taco filling) ziploc freezer bags, wrote the names of the recipes on them in Sharpie (Erin Chase also provides printable labels you can tape onto the bags), and opened them and placed them in the bowls.  (This gives me a stable way to fill them and keep the ingredients from spilling out of the bags as I prepare.)

Next, I got out the canned goods and spices that would go in each bag.  I chopped any fresh veggies I’d be using (onion, carrots, zucchini, etc.) and got out any frozen fruits and veggies necessary.  I opened the cans so that they were ready to go, and pre-measured the spices into ramekins.  I browned 3 pounds of ground beef and drained the fat (that was the only protein I had to pre-cook).  Then—filling the bags!

Following the recipes’ assembly instructions, I dumped the veggies, the spices, and the proteins into the bags.  (Often, I’d leave out any extra liquids to be added at cooking time for two reasons: first, that takes up less freezer space overall; and second, it’s important to add room-temperature liquid to frozen crockpot meals to prevent shock or breakage to the crockery liner.)  Once I’d finished filling the bags, I sealed them, squeezed out any excess air, and put them in the freezer.  Ta-da!  A week’s worth of meals!  (It did take me a little over an hour to prep all of these; but I really think that much of that is due to the fact that all these recipes were new to me.)

 

myfreezeasy-3What about the recipes?

All I can say is—-delicious!!  The process itself is so easy to do and really does save time and money.  But all of that would mean nothing if the recipes themselves weren’t tasty.

But they were.

And not just tasty!  Delectable.  Filling.  Full of fiber, protein, veggies.  And most definitely tasting like they came out of a great home cook’s kitchen!

Our family’s favorites, so far, were varied.  The Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes.  (What an imaginative use of baby potatoes!)  And the Italian Sausage Skillet.  (My son’s absolute fave so far; it’s one we’re already repeating.)  The Peach & Balsamic Chicken Skillet (because what could be better than balsamic vinegar in a sauce?).  Also, the Chicken Fajita Bake.  Sadly, the minestrone and the Frito Pie filling had to be pitched before we could eat them, because I discovered that our favorite organic grocery store had sold us some bad ground beef.  (Fortunately, I was the only one who ate it…so that’s something!)

But let me tell you what’s on this week’s menu.  Slow Cooker Red Pepper Chicken.  Italian Sausage Skillet (again).  Chicken Fajita Bake (again).  Best Meat Loaf Ever.  Red and Green Chicken Enchilada Bake.  I can’t wait!

 

myfreezeasy-4And this is why I love MyFreezEasy!

After a full day of homeschool, piano, and/or coop classes, I am not as energetic as I was when I woke up at 6:00AM.  (Understatement.)  So coming up with dinner at 4 or 5PM?  Not my best hours, for sure!  So, to have a meal plan in which all I have to do is to select the meals, then print the recipes and add the ingredients to the grocery list (my awesome husband is our grocery shopper), then assemble the meals, so that all I have to do on a given day is put them in the crockpot or into the oven?  (Or maybe into a skillet on the stovetop.)  Most definitely a lifesaver!  Here are my top reasons why I love MyFreezEasy….and why I think you will too!

  • The meals are healthy! and delicious!
  • They are incredibly easy to prepare beforehand
  • They help keep our grocery bill low
  • They make my family happy
  • The variety is interesting and ever-changing
  • MyFreezEasy makes meal planning and prep easy and non-stressful
  • The meals can be customized for our own family’s needs

I really could go on and on.  But I think you get the idea!

 

myfreezeasy-5You can find MyFreezEasy here:

Visit MyFreezEasy.  Check out Erin Chase’s awesome MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership.  It is worth every penny…and then some!  You can also read about other Crew members’ experiences with MyFreezEasy.  And you can also learn more by stopping by  MyFreezEasy‘s social media links!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/freezeasy
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/freezeasy
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/5dollardinners/freezeasy

Enjoy! –Wren

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}Crew Disclaimer

Chopped Greek Salad!

Hello Fresh Chopped Greek Salad! Perfect for a summer day and so quick to put together!

greek salad box

 

Greek salad box openIngredients:

  • 2 Pitas
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1oz Black Olives
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1/4 oz Oregano
  • 4 oz Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 box Cannelini Beans
  • 1 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 c Feta Cheese
  • 4 t Olive Oil

Prep the ingredients: Wash and dry all produce.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Zest the lemon, then juice one half.

Mince or grate the garlic.

Greek salad chopped garlicCut the cucumber into ¾-inch cubes.

Falafel half moonsHalve, peel, and thinly slice half the onion.

Greek salad red onionHalve the olives and tomatoes.

Greek salad black olives and tomatoesFinely chop the oregano leaves.

Drain and rinse the beans. 2 Cook the beans: Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cannellini beans and garlic and cook, tossing until the garlic is fragrant, for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Greek salad mixture

Toast the pitas: Cut the pita into thin strips.

 

Greek salad pita slicesPlace the strips onto a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes, until slightly crispy.

Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine the oregano, lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon balsamic and a large drizzle of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad: Toss the cucumber, feta, tomatoes, cannellini beans, olives, and red onion (to taste) into the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy: Serve the chopped Greek salad with the toasted pita

Greek salad photo

Enjoy—Finch!

Crispy Falafel Salad!!

A delicious dish perfect for these hot summer days…It transports you to the Mediterranean!

Falafel box

Ingredients:

  • 1 box organic chick peas
  • 2 T Hummus
  • 2T  Flour
  • 1 T Ras el Hanout (combo of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon,hot paprika).
  • 1/2 oz Parsley
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 c Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 c Panko
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1/2 c Feta
  • 2-3 T Olive Oil

Prep the ingredients and set aside in the order you will need them.

Wash and dry all produce, Peel and halve the cucumber lengthwise, scrape seeds out with t spoon, then slice into half moons (1/2-3/4″).

Falafel cucumbers

Falafel half moons

thinly slice half of the onion and then dice the other.

Zest the lemon then cut in half. Pick 1/2 of the parsley leaves off stems and set aside. Chop the remaining parsley sans stems. Mince the garlic and drain and rinse the chick peas in a strainer.

Falafel zest

Falafel parsley leaves

Falafel parsley

Pickle the red onion: in a small bowl,combine the sliced onion with the juice of half the lemon.

Greek yogurt dressing: combine 1/2 c Greek yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, add 1/2 the chopped parsley and up to half the minced garlic to taste. Season with S&P,

Falafel diced onons

Make the falafel mixture: in a medium bowl combine the chick peas and hummus, mashing together until smooth. Mix in the flour, ras el hanout, diced red onion, lemon zest, parsley and garlic. S&P to taste.

falafel chick and hummus

Cook the falafel fritters: add the panko to a bowl, form the falafel patties and roll into the panko (about 1 2/2 ” balls> Flatten each ball into a patty. heat 1/4 “olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the fritters to the oil mixture and cook on each side (3-4 minutes). Set aside on paper towels to drain, S&P to taste.

Dress the salad: toss the remaining parsley, cucumber ans pickled red onion, S&P.

falafel salad

Finish! Top the salad with the fritters, drizzle with Greek dressing and sprinkle Feta on top.

 

 

Falafel finalEnjoy,,,Finch!

Vegetable Minestrone!

Hello Fresh vegetable minestrone soup; healthy, delicious and 45 minutes to make! Typically, Minestrone has pasta in it, but this was just as good without (or you could add it in)!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium yellow onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 stalk of Celery
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 pkt Vegetable stock concentrate (available at Packitgourmet online)
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 box organic Cannelloni beans
  • 4 oz Kale
  • 1/4 oz Parsley
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese (or more)!
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • 4 cups of Water

The unopened box:
Minestrone boxMinestrone box open

First, prep all your vegetables:

Halve, peel and dice the onion. Peel the carrot and dice, wash and dice the celery and wash and dice the tomato. While your knife is out, mince the garlic and set aside. Rinse the cannellini beans in a strainer.

Minestrone veg chopped

Minestrone cannellini beans

Heat a few tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened.

Minestrone veg cooking

Add the minced garlic and tomato and cook for another 1-2 minutes; then add the vegetable stock concentrate, cannellini beans, 4 cups water and a large pinch of salt to the pot and bring to a boil.

Minestrone simmering

Reduce to a low simmer for about 30 minutes (the recipe said 10, but it wasn’t happening)!

Okay, my love affair with Kale is officially over, so I didn’t use it. If you want to here you go:

Remove the ribs and stems from the kale, thinly slice the leaves. Stir the kale into the soup and simmer until tender.

Minestrone finished

Place into bowls, top with cheese and garnish with Parsley!

This made a lot more than 2 servings, more like 4!

Enjoy…Finch!