Early Check In

Hi, Everyone –
These days are zooming by, and our next meal swap is already next Monday, December 10th! There are 11 families participating in the swap this month, so please prep 11 and bring 10 to the swap, leaving one at home for your family to enjoy.

Chrystine contacted us recently about a family in her church who would be thankful for the gift of meals… This summer a woman from their church was in a serious car accident, and ended up in a coma for 2 months. Traginically, she died in October, leaving behind her husband and two young kids, ages 2 1/2 and 9 months. The husband has now returned to work, so help with meals would be one way to offer support during this heartbreaking time. Chrystine suggested that because the kids are so small, even sending a 1/2 portion of an entree might be helpful. If it’s the right thing for you this month, please bring along an extra meal for this family. Chrystine will collect any meals for them at next week’s swap and deliver them.

While I’m thinking of it, I also wanted to make a quick note about MSG… the family who had an MSG allergy is no longer part of the meal swap, so the need to be “MSG-free” is no longer as urgent. However, I’m guessing we all agree that in general MSG isn’t the greatest for us, so when we have a choice, let’s continue to chose ingredients that don’t include MSG.

Please submit your recipes to the blog by this Friday evening so that Sara has ample time to compile our master document. It’s super helpful to have these in on time, so thanks in advance for your help with that!

I think that’s it for now… happy meal prepping, and I look forward to seeing many of you next Monday at 8 pm at my house!



Time for Recipes!

The November swap is next Monday already, so please submit your recipe to the blog by tomorrow (Friday) evening.  Very big and heartfelt thanks to Sara for her capable and cheerful compilation of all of our recipes each month into the master document!

There are 10 families swapping this month, so please prep 10 and bring 9 to the swap, unless you’re gifting a meal to Sylvia and her family, in which case you’ll prep 11 and bring 10 to the swap.  Sylvia is a 7 year old little girl presently receiving treatment for a brain tumor.

A friendly reminder to please choose good quality freezer bags and double bag anything that will be spending time in the freezer.  Thanks for all of the work that’s gone into (or will go this weekend!) the November meals, and I look forward to seeing many of you next Monday evening at 8 PM at my house!


October Recipes Needed!

Hi, everyone –

Here is your friendly reminder to please submit your recipe to the blog by tomorrow (Friday) evening.  Sara has an especially busy weekend and really needs all recipes submitted by Friday evening in order to get the master recipe list created before we meet for the swap on Monday.   Thanks in advance for your help with that!

We have 11 swappers this month,  so prep 11 and bring 10 to the swap,  unless you are gifting a meal to the friends of Emily who she told us about at the last swap, in which case you’d prep 12 and bring 11 to the swap.  Any meals gifted – whether one you’ve prepped this month or still have in your freezer from a prior month – would be greatly appreciated. Also be thinking of anyone you know who we might want to do meals for in the coming months….

That’s all for now!  See you next Monday at 8 pm at my house!



Pre-Swap Recipe Reminder

Hi there!

Here is your friendly reminder to please submit your recipe to the blog by this Friday evening so that Sara can compile our master PDF recipe document.  Thanks for your timeliness in getting those in!

This month there will be 9 swappers, so please plan to prep 9 and bring 8 to the swap with you.  We are gifting meals this month to Maria’s cousin and her family – Maria’s cousin is battling breast cancer and would be grateful for the gift of any meals we’d like to send.  If this is right for you this month, you’ll prep 10 and bring 9 with you to the swap.

A couple of other things to highlight – we talked at last month’s swap about trying to make some shifts away from carb-y sides (i.e. noodles and rice, in particular) to more vegetable-y sides.  This, of course, is when it’s reasonable – for example, it makes sense to send noodles with a Beef Stroganoff entrée!  So when there is option and it seems like a natural substitution, we’d like to move more toward veggies and away from carbs.

We also wanted to review the recommended serving amounts for meats.  In that there are several families in the swap who regularly feed 6 with each entrée, it’s important that portion sizes be adequate to feed 6.  As a rule of thumb, if the entrée is primarily just meat, for both chicken and pork, 3 pounds of meat should be included.  For beef, because the price is generally higher, aim for 2 pounds.  If the recipe includes other components that are costly, the amounts of meat will decrease.  When making burgers, please prepare 8.

We continue to use a general rule of thumb that each entrée should cost around $10 to prepare.  There will be some months that it might be a little more, depending on your category or the recipe you’ve selected, but know and trust that the other swap members will also have months where they will spend a bit more than the budgeted $10.  If your entrée is coming in at less than $10, consider either adding more protein, or supplementing with a side or two.

Fall is also a good time to put out a reminder that all entrée components that go in the freezer should be double-bagged in good quality freezer bags.  Using good quality freezer bags is important in maintaining food integrity and safety. For any entrée components that just need to be refrigerated, double bagging is not as important.  When using disposable aluminum pans, please also use a matching fitted top, or be sure to use several layers of aluminum foil so that the entrée stays well protected and free from punctures while in the freezer.  Numbering each of the components of the meal (not items in the Ziploc bags, but each Ziploc bag and any accompanying free-standing items) is also so helpful in ensuring that all parts of the meal can be located when it’s time to prepare it.

Thanks for sticking with this lengthy post, and for your work in planning and preparing such tasty meals!  Please let either Sara or me know if you have any particular questions… happy prepping to those of you (like me!) who have yet to do that, and we’ll see many of you next Monday at 8 pm at my house!


I Forgot!

I completely forgot to send out the reminder to submit your recipes to the blog!  I’m either exemplifying what summer is supposed to be, or packing lots into these fleeting summer days… or maybe a combo of both!  Either way, if you haven’t yet submitted your recipe to the blog, please do so ASAP on Saturday to give Sara time to pull the master recipe document together.  Thanks!

Plan to prep 11 entrees and bring 10 to the swap, keeping one at home for your family.  While the swap is nicely full at 11 for our August/October/December months, the September/November swap number is low (8, I think). We’d love to see that up around 10 swappers, so if you know of anyone who would be interested and a good fit, now is the perfect time to reach out and check with them. We’d also be willing to use subs during those months, so that’s an option too.  Thanks for giving some thought to this to help keep our numbers strong!

I look forward to seeing many of you this Monday at 8 pm at my house for our August swap.  Happy weekend!


Time for Recipes!

Hi, Everyone!

I hope you had a festive and relaxing 4th of July!  Just a quick reminder to please submit your recipe to the blog by Friday evening so that Sara has ample time over the weekend to create the master recipe document for the July recipes.  A big shout out to Sara, by the way, for her cheerful and capable help with preparing that each month – it is really appreciated!

We have 9 families swapping this month,  so please prep 9 and bring 8 to the swap with you.  Looking ahead to the fall, do you have friends who might be interested in being part of the meal swap?  If so, now would be a great time to mention it to them, as we’d like to have our numbers be around 10 swappers each month as we head back into the school year.  Thanks for your help with that!

Enjoy the upcoming weekend, and I’ll see many of you next Monday evening at 8 PM at my house!

Recipes, Please!

Hi,  All –

Please take a couple minutes before Friday evening to submit your recipe to the blog!  There are 10 swappers in June, so if you (like me) haven’t done your prep yet, you’ll prep 10 and bring 9 to the swap.

Lisa contacted me yesterday about a last minute opportunity to gift meals… A family of 6 that she knows has a 5 month old daughter who started having many seizures last Wednesday… They found a spot on the baby’s brain that they think is causing them…but it’s in a place they can’t get to.  The family just was able to take her home yesterday and will have to do lots of care at home for her.  If it works for you to bring an extra meal this month, either one you prepped for this month or another one from a previous month, the family would definitely be appreciative!

In terms of summer numbers, it looks like we’ll be at 7 swappers for July and 10 for August. If you know of anyone who’d like to hop in for July to bring our numbers up, let me know, but we have decided to still run the swap in July, even with lower numbers.

Hope this finds you all well and enjoying these amazingly beautiful early summer days!  I look forward to seeing many of you next Monday evening at 8 p.m at my house!