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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:13 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
Any ideas for food for someone with not a lot of freezer space and no microwave? I am good at reheating stuff in the oven, but my British freezer is so tiny it's kind of sad. ;p


What about dry mixes for soup or sauces? You could mix bags of dry ingredients for cheesy sauces, tempeh helper with pasta (just add the tempeh when you eat it). I don't know if you can dehydrate, but you could easily make just-add-water soups that way. Or even just bags of beans and spices with instructions like "add 1 can tomatoes, 1 can water, simmer ___min." Trail mix. Pancake/biscuit mix.


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:13 am 
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On the topic of making "mixes": This site has some good ideas http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com (not a vegan site but a lot of the recipes are). Maybe Vegan Food Gifts would also have some good nonperishable ideas? I don't have the book myself, though.

I found that it was handy to keep some mixes of things around like taco kits and jambalaya mix. I don't know what kind of things are available in Scotland, but it probably isn't *that* hard to make your own. With the Zatarain's jambalaya mix (as far as I know it's vegan, though I am not always super careful about checking every additive so please verify before trusting me, everyone) you can add veggies and veg sausage/tempeh/beans/seitan and bring it from side dish to one pot meal. I make it in the rice cooker and that's even easier.


I think of tamales as being the perfect reheatable, freezable food (plus they're delicious) and wish I'd known about this place when I gave birth and didn't have time to make homemade ones: http://www.santafetamales.com their roasted veg tamales are delicious and vegan and come to $2-3 each depending on how many you order. We just got a bunch for my husband's work party.

For those of you who want to make your own at home Viva Vegan has delicious recipes, but I think I already mentioned that. (note to self: try to have local tamale party)


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:13 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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littlebird wrote:
've been doing a lot of "in advance" cooking. like, generally keeping the fridge stocked with roasted veggies, a batch or two of curry, lots of spreads and so on, stuff that keeps for a few days, but that i'm not freezing. so we've been eating through the food, but i've been replacing it as we go. i'll probably ramp it up this week as well (my freezer is really pretty small, and already full), since i'm pretty sure i'll have a baby before it gets a chance to go bad. i'm mostly trying not to buy a lot of produce unless i have plans to turn it into food the next day, as i'm the only one in the house who's likely to go through the trouble of peeling root vegetables or prepping eggplants, you know?

I've still got months to go, but this is a really good idea towards the end, because, you're right, nobody else is going to prep or cook any food in my house and then after I pop, I will have a few days of decent food. I think I am also going to reorganise my freezer and try to get a drawer (we have a half-sized drawer, a medium-sized drawer, and a quick-freeze drawer, none of which are particularly large) devoted to frozen meals. I feel like frozen meals are something I should start now, since I am already SO tired, it would be really helpful for me to have pre-made meals right now! ;p

And mittenmacher and annak -- dry mixes are a great idea. I could make dry mixes of my happy valley biscuits (http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/happy-valley-biscuits.html) and maybe some crock-pot dry mixes (lentils, brown rice, spices...). I miss those pre-made bean & rice mixes, they're good!

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:31 pm 
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I'm shopping for a new [old] freezer at the moment so I can kick the cooking up a notch! We currently have two fridge/freezers, the one in the kitchen is way small, and a slightly larger one in the garage, but both freezers are already almost always close to capacity. Looking to sell both and buy a second hand standalone fridge for the kitchen and an upright freezer for the garage...

My husband is a builder and eats enormous amounts daily/does not cook, so I need to have a big stash of lunch-sized containers for him as well as some dinners for both of us... I'm definitely going to need to buy some bigger containers, too...


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:40 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Has anybody tried freezing polenta? I was thinking of making some in a (bread) loaf tin, slicing it, and freezing it. I know my cornbread has frozen just fine and polenta is kind of like my cornbread - (levener and oil) + extra liquid. (Even though they end up with a totally different texture.)

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:45 am 
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I did once. When I defrosted it, I got a dry sponge in a pond of water.


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:38 am 
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rhelune wrote:
I did once. When I defrosted it, I got a dry sponge in a pond of water.

Hmmmm, That's too bad. Maybe it would work better frozen in some sauce. I'll have to experiment.

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:29 pm 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
Any ideas for food for someone with not a lot of freezer space and no microwave? I am good at reheating stuff in the oven, but my British freezer is so tiny it's kind of sad. ;p


Little late at answering this, but if you're willing to make the investment, you could get a pressure canner and can soups and things to put in your pantry. I have one of the fancier ones and am still a novice, but there are some not-too-pricey ones that do smaller batches that might work for you. It can double as a pressure cooker, which is also great to have around to speed up healthy meals. It'd be bigger than your average pressure cooker, and some people object to the storage space or find it too cumbersome, but I have no problems. It sits on top of my microwave, and when I want to pressure cook something (as opposed to using it for canning), I use a smaller bowl inside the larger cooker and it works great. Part of my pre-baby cooking plan involves canning some pot-pie starter filling (I'll need to add thickener after it comes out of the jars) and then freezing some crusts or uncooked biscuits to go on top. I'll also do some soups this way to free up freezer space for things that can't be canned. Or at least, that's the plan. We'll see how industrious I actually am as I get closer to my due date.

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:31 pm 
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I'm so impressed by people who make a ton of food beforehand! My husband just made lots of pasta with massive quantities of veggies and nooch.

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:00 pm 
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oh, I forgot about this thread! We got a 380 litre freezer, and I filled it up!

This was the transferred contents of our existing freezers:
Image

After 2.5 weeks of cooking/baking like a madwoman:
Image

Contents include 3 or 4 cakes, cut into pieces enough for my husband to have a slice every day for lunch at work, many cookies, 3 quadruple batches of chickpea cutlets, double batches of 3 or 4 other types of seitan, lots of pressure cooked beans, some pesto, about 30 individually wrapped oat/fruit/nut muffins for me when I get hungry/don't have time or hands free to make food, ~3 weeks worth of lunches for my husband, and ~3 weeks worth of meals for us which *should* be enough for one dinner each and leftovers enough for a lunch for the husband...

and so far [four weeks post partum] I've only used one dinner as I've had/made time to cook most days, but have used a fair bit of the seitan, and the husband has been into the baking also.


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:05 pm 
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That is amazing! And you're cooking with all of that? I'm jealous of that stash and I don't have a newborn.


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:07 pm 
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Wow! That's incredible!

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:47 pm 
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That's so awesome! I'm really inspired to do some extra cooking so I can have a lovely (but smaller!) freezer like yours!

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:06 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Miz Mac wrote:
TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
Any ideas for food for someone with not a lot of freezer space and no microwave? I am good at reheating stuff in the oven, but my British freezer is so tiny it's kind of sad. ;p


Little late at answering this, but if you're willing to make the investment, you could get a pressure canner and can soups and things to put in your pantry. I have one of the fancier ones and am still a novice, but there are some not-too-pricey ones that do smaller batches that might work for you. It can double as a pressure cooker, which is also great to have around to speed up healthy meals. It'd be bigger than your average pressure cooker, and some people object to the storage space or find it too cumbersome, but I have no problems. It sits on top of my microwave, and when I want to pressure cook something (as opposed to using it for canning), I use a smaller bowl inside the larger cooker and it works great. Part of my pre-baby cooking plan involves canning some pot-pie starter filling (I'll need to add thickener after it comes out of the jars) and then freezing some crusts or uncooked biscuits to go on top. I'll also do some soups this way to free up freezer space for things that can't be canned. Or at least, that's the plan. We'll see how industrious I actually am as I get closer to my due date.

That's a great idea -- we have plenty of non-freezer space and my aunt bought me the Blue Ball Book of Canning and I was thinking of getting a pressure cooker (I know I couldn't do as many jars at a time, but they're cheaper (or seem to be) and that's a better sell to my husband (we never buy anything without okaying it with the other first and my husband's a bit more frugal than I am)) for that anyway, as none of my pots are deep enough for the submerge-and-boil method of canning (I might be able to do one or two jars at a time in my deepest pot...it's not that I don't have a big pot, it's just that my really big pot is more the wide-and-shallow-type). I bought a bunch of jars and lids ages ago because I meant to make a ton of pasta sauce and jar it -- I can't stand store-bought pasta sauce, it's way too sweet for my taste and my husband prefers my homemade sauce anyway -- so it's not like I'm not otherwise prepared for canning! :D

One thing that really stinks about the UK is that canning is not very big here and two-piece lids are seriously £1 each (and if they're cheaper, please someone point me in the right direction so I can get a set of those jars & lots of lids). I can get regular lids with the pop-tops (like the kinds you get on jars in grocery stores) on-line, though, for a not *too* unreasonable price. My aunt (lives in Ohio, has a farm, cans, etc.) was HORRIFIED when I told her how people here on freecycle are always asking for old jars and lids for canning (my MIL did a bit of canning and never replaced hers, either) because she never reuses lids. My aunt even made me promise not to use those clip-top jars because she swears the seal is nowhere near as good.

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:33 pm 
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You can reuse the jars, just not the lid part with the sticky stuff. Anyway you can just order the round lid insert (not the screwing part) for replacement? That's the only part you can't properly sterilize and reuse I think.


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:53 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
You can reuse the jars, just not the lid part with the sticky stuff. Anyway you can just order the round lid insert (not the screwing part) for replacement? That's the only part you can't properly sterilize and reuse I think.

I know, but...they just don't exist here, except at exorbitant prices that make it not worthwhile (at £1 a lid, I might as well just go out and buy the jam/sauce/soup myself). I think it's just because canning is not nearly as popular here. Even the 1-part regular screw on pop-up-lids here are £2-something for a dozen, which makes them kind of pricey. Maybe there is some secret canning site on-line I haven't found, but I don't think so.

Isn't it freaky that everybody just reuses their lids, though?!! People on freecycle have literally asked for old jam and pasta sauce jars and lids for home canning. My MIL literally had the same lids (2-part because I guess it was more common back then) and never replaced them at all ever. She offered them to me and when I asked if she knew where I could get the replacement inner bits, she didn't understand what I meant and explained that I should just boil them and use them again.

My aunt is surprised there aren't more cases of botulism and such.

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Well, to be fair, if you're pressurizing the can properly and there are no dents in the lid and you've sterilized all the equipment, the risk should still be incredibly low, even with recycled parts. I think the sticky strip is just an extra measure of caution. Didn't food manufacturers used to let you return jars and lids so they could sterilize and reuse them?


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:36 pm 
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Yeah -- I heard that as long as the pop-up thingie on the lid still goes down during boiling/pressurising that it should be fine, although my aunt said it's better to not take any risks. My MIL has had her jars sitting in the (damp, stinky) garage for years, though, so the idea of just boiling those lids seems icky. And lids can get stinky, too. I wouldn't want to use a garlicky pasta sauce lid with any kind of jam. ;D

I also think reusing lids for fermented foods like sauerkraut, where you don't want a good seal because of all the gas that gets released, is totally safe.

At this point, really, I'm just glad I've found pop-up lids at an okay price. I'll take what I can get. :D

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:34 pm 
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If you use wax (and it's still sold, I bought some when I intended to do canning because I didn't understand it wasn't necessary), do you need to throw the lids out at all?

Anyway, I'm totally burglarizing oncewerewesties house. Um, wait, did I say that out loud?


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:21 am 
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That freezer is gorgeous. Wow!

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 9:49 am 
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The good news is my freezer is has enough food so I won't have to cook much for the first week after I pop. The bad news is I'd make more, but my freezer is so small, there really isn't room. Still, I've got a brown rice and veggie casserole, two shepherd's pies, two lasagnes, two 1-person portions of mac & 'cheese', 2-1/2 dozen peanut butter cookies, 1/2 dozen peanut butter and coconut cookies, and 16 waffles. I also made some dry waffle mix (that has ground oats and seeds) so I'd just have to add soymilk and oil. Thinking of making some dry cornbread mix, too, and maybe some Happy Valley biscuit mix (southern-style biscuits with a little cornmeal), too.

I'm trying to think of what else I can make ahead of time, but I can't think of much. I could slow-cook some beans. I mi-i-ight be able to squeeze a wee bag of chickpeas or something into the freezer somewhere. And if I had chickpeas or kidney beans, I could make pasta salad or barley salad (like pasta salad, but with barley) and try to have a few days worth in the refrigerator to eat in the meantime. I was in labour with Raygold when I was this far along (39+2), but I don't feel like I'm about to pop or anything.

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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:08 am 
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I searched a bit for something like this without much success when I was pregnant:

http://www.veestro.com/vegan-cuts-meal-pack.html

It's a pack of freezer meals you order to heat up as needed. Anyone have experience with this company? I'm actually tempted to try it because it's so hard to cook during deployments without eating the same thing for days or not finding the time..


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:30 am 
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Just wanted to thank everyone in this thread for inspiring me. I've got a good start in my freezer and hope to fill it over the next coupla days. So far we've got:

Red lentil & root veggie dal (AFR)
2nd ave veggie korma (AFR)
eggplant lentil chilli mole (AFR)
tofu scramble burritos (VwoV)
individual mini upside down shepherd’s pies (AFR)
individual mini tofu quiches (fat free veg kitchen)
“larabars” – lemon & cherry
portioned quinoa
portioned beans
orange chocolate muffins (100 best veg baking)
choc chip cookie dough

Wish I did this for my twins! So nice to know that we'll be stocked with healthy stuff at least for a lil bit. We're so bad with picking up junky stuff when time crunched/stressed.


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 Post subject: Re: The baby is almost here! pre-made meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:31 pm 
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I'm currently 6 to 8 weeks from when I'll likely give birth. Is it too early to start filling the freezer?


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