How to Stock Your Freezer With Minimal Effort

How to Stock Your Freezer With Minimal Effort - Chic and Domestic
How to Stock Your Freezer With Minimal Effort – Chic and Domestic

I’ve been getting to know and love this extra freezer space in our new home! If you caught my last post “Ways to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps” you’ll know that I’ve been trying to cut down on food waste in our house, and using the freezer has been a big part of that.

Stocking your freezer doesn’t have to just be freezer meals or processed foods. You can easily stock your freezer with useful and tasty things that taste 10 times better than something you grabbed from the freezer isle. Much healthier too!

Check out my Pinterest page “Freezer Meal Fabulous” for freezer meal inspiration here!

Buy In Bulk
Of course it’s easier to quickly stock your freezer when you’re buying things in bulk. The only difference between buying the smaller sizes that you normally buy and buying in bulk is the storage space needed. Buying in bulk makes it so much easier for me to plan ahead and not have the excuse of not having ready to make food already on hand on those busy nights.

Portion Meats
I like to separate all of our meat after we buy it in bulk. It makes it so much easier to just grab a freezer bag that is already portioned and ready to go versus having to thaw out an entire pack of chicken that I don’t need. It also cuts down on thawing time, and adds to your soon to be fully stocked freezer.

Portion Freezable Leftovers
Something that takes very minimal effort at all is freezing your leftovers. If you’re someone who isn’t a fan of leftovers the following day, just freeze them. I’ve done this with soups, chili, and even extra meat from tacos or pasta. It actually tastes just as good weeks later if you freeze it correctly. Plus, I know exactly what went into it and it’s better than using something processed.

Be sure to check out my post “How to Store Freezer Meals Like a BOSS” HERE!

Freeze Fruits and Veggies
Did you get lucky and catch a good sale on fresh fruits and vegetables? I use to try to keep my buying to a minimum with fresh fruits and vegetables, no matter how good deal was. In my mind that’s always the first thing to go bad in our house, why would I buy a bunch of fruits and vegetables and only make it through half of them? Not anymore! If I catch a great deal I’m buying it all. You can always portion out fruits and veggies for smoothies or smoothie bowls, or freeze vegetables to have as a side for dinner another day in the future. You can even go so far as turning simple vegetables into freezer meals, or even putting them together for stock.

Freeze the Unconventional
So many things can actually last just fine in your freezer. It’s not just for ice cream and oven pizzas. You can freeze bread, cheese, and even rice! Crazy right? Things that you wouldn’t normally think to freeze and keep on hand.

Be sure to subscribe and can look out for more unconventional freezer hacks!

Freeze Herbs in Olive Oil
I’m always so sad when it’s time to throw away my not so fresh herbs. It always felt like no matter how quickly I tried to use them up that they would always go bad, and at the time I didn’t have the option of growing my own little herb garden. Now I’m starting to freeze my herbs in olive oil and freezing them for later meals. It makes it easier to toss one or two into a dish and adding something extra to my meal.

What about you, have you tried any of these things to stock your own freezer?

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Ways to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps

How to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps- Chic and Domestic
How to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps- Chic and Domestic

Food waste is a serious issue in many areas of the world. Not only is it a serious issue because wasted food is wasted money, but let’s just be real, there are too many people in the world going without. One of the changes I wanted to make this year was really trying to cut down on the amount of food being wasted in our house. This might be easier said than done because you know, kids, buttt I’ve been trying my hardest in other ways to do my part.

We talk so much about saving money on groceries, and the importance of meal planning and meal prepping here on the blog all the time, but what if an easy way to give your pockets a break is sitting right in front of you? Here are some things that I’ve been doing, trying, and want to try in the future to really focus on this goal this year, and of course save myself a bit of money.

1. Store food correctly
This is complete trial and error for me, I won’t lie to you guys. There is an actual method to storing your food and getting it to last longer, but I have yet to master that method completely. I will say that I’ve invested in some pretty great storage containers, and I’ve been storing my herbs differently and it’s been going good so far but I still have a lot to learn. Research some of the proper storage techniques for some of your own frequently used fruits and veggies.

Check out my pinterest board for kitchen hacks here!

2. Keep your refrigerator clutter free
I like to keep things clutter free in general but I hate for my refrigerator to ever get cluttered. It makes it easy for things to get lost and go unused. It also causes you to rebuy things that you already have on hand. Often times it ends up being things that are unopened, barely used, or still within their life expectancy. Clutter is a huge culprit when it comes to food waste.

Be sure to subscribe and look out for some very useful home organization tips!

3. Understand your expiration dates
So many people are misinformed when it comes to the difference between an expiration date and a sell by date. Don’t be so quick to toss things that still have some life to them.

4. Save your leftovers
Sounds pretty simple right? No matter how big or small the amount of food, try saving your leftovers instead of tossing them in the trash. You can use leftover meat or veggies in a new meal, or carry it for lunch the following day.

5. Pack your lunch
Pack your lunch in the first place! Instead of grabbing something to eat during your lunch hour and again, possibly stretching your pockets, pack your lunch. This will help you to use up leftovers from dinner, and also use up groceries that would otherwise go bad before you’re able to get to them.

6. Use your peels
Instead of tossing your fruit and vegetable peels, use them. Fruit infused water is the new thing. You can use things like cucumber, lemon, and orange peels to add to your water. Both useful and visually appealing. I’ve personally used peels for home fragrances and cleaning and I don’t think I’ll ever toss them again. Another great way to utilize your peels? Just eat them. Eat them, use them for zest, or compost all together.

7. Use your foods for DIY
Don’t look at me crazy just yet, but a really cool way to use up things like ripe fruits or veggies is to use them for a DIY natural beauty alternative. Foods like avocados, lemons, cucumbers, and even mayonnaise can be great in hair and skin masks. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and prevents more food waste.

8. Utilize your freezer
Freezer meals are obviously a huge thing. Who doesn’t love the convenience of just grabbing, defrosting, and reheating? There are so many ways to utilize your freezer, and so many things that spring right back to life after some time in the freezer. Let’s go back to #4 for a second. Not everyone enjoys leftovers and eating the same thing more than once in a week. Instead, why not freeze things for a later date? Store it correctly and it will not only mean you’ve avoided wasting food, but you’ve also made dinner for a busy day in the future.

Check out my post “How To Store Freezer Meals Like a BOSS” here!

9. Make your own stock
I save veggie scraps like nobody’s business! Have you ever made homemade chicken or veggie stock? Let me tell you, it’s nothing like that stuff that you grab off of the shelf at the grocery store. Not only is it a great way to use things that you would otherwise throw away, but it also has the benefit of knowing exactly what’s in your stock. Plus it tastes better too.

10. Get creative in the kitchen
One of the greatest things you can do is to get creative in the kitchen. Just think of #7 on our list! Toss something extra into a salad, soup, or any other dish you can think of and try something new. Put together some new combinations, and most of all, have fun with it.

What are some ways that you guys cut down on food waste? Are these some things that you plan to utilize in the future? Let me know in the comments. 

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How to Meal Plan for the Month

How to Meal Plan For The Month - Chic and Domestic
How to Meal Plan For The Month – Chic and Domestic

I’ve been wanting to try something new with my current meal planning strategy. I can’t say it enough what an important role that meal planning has played in keeping my family’s grocery budget under control! If you happened to catch my post “How I Meal Plan for My Family of 5” you’ll know all about my meal planning process.

I currently meal plan on a weekly basis. This is just what has worked for me for the longest time. We use to be in a much smaller space so it was never necessary to over crowd my cabinets and refrigerator with food. Quite frankly, I always felt like doing a monthly meal plan versus a weekly meal plan meant also making the change to do all of my grocery shopping all at once. Something ya girl just wasn’t ready to do! So I just stayed clear of that.

I have since come to my senses and decided to try it out with the new month coming up. Things have been really busy around the house with so much change going, and just to cut down on the time I’m spending meal planning, cooking, and meal prepping, I’m going to plan things out for a full month, and see how it goes. I want to start to buy more in bulk to keep things on hand, and hopefully be able to prep and freeze more things with the added space that we have now.

I don’t expect the change from weekly to monthly to be too different. It’s essentially just doing what I’ve been doing but on a larger scale. No pressure.

Inventory
I always start off looking through my kitchen with things that I currently have. Out with the old and in with the new. If there is anything that I need to use before it goes bad, like fresh produce or bread I’ll make sure to add that to my first week of meals. Even having an abundance of nonperishable items like beans or diced tomatoes can be inspiration for a meal throughout the month like chili or a soup. Always start with what you already have. This will help to cut down on food waste, and also save you money in the long run.

Be sure to subscribe and look out for my post on how to cut down your food waste. In the mean time, check out 20 Ways to Save on Your Groceries

Recipes and Meal Collection
Start collecting a list of things that your family already enjoys eating on a regular basis. Most of us don’t realize it but we’re creatures of habit and more than likely have at least a handful of meals on a monthly basis. This is also where you can plan to finally try that meal that you’ve been wanting to try, or maybe you’ve gotten a new cookbook that you need to open up. Add some of those items to your list. I like to keep a running list so it’s easier to just choose a few items and go from there.

Check out my Pinterest page for some tasty meal inspiration here!

Check Your Schedule
Before you’re able to really plan out which meal goes where on your monthly plan, you first have to check your family schedule. Maybe your kids have extracurricular activities certain days out of the week, or you have days that are normally just busier than others. It would probably make sense for you to plan a quick and easy meal that day, or leftovers from a day or two before. You can even plan to eat out or order in.

Plan Your Meals
The best way to really benefit from meal planning is to plan your meals around corresponding ingredients. If you’re having chili one day during the week, maybe it makes sense for you to have nachos a day or two later with the leftovers. This also puts you in a position to possibly have things like cheese, green onion, or sour cream on hand, depending on how you top your chili. Something like this could also work by using a protein that you’ve cooked one day and using it for salads, soups, or sandwiches the following day. The possibilities are endless when you’re mixing and matching your foods up for each week.

How do you guys meal plan? Are you a weekly or monthly planner? Let me know in the comments.

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Becoming a Homeowner at 25

Becoming a Homeowner at 25 - Chic and Domestic
Becoming a Homeowner at 25 – Chic and Domestic

*Disclaimer: This post contains referral links. I may be compensated for your clicks!*

I’m so excited to finally get around to writing this post! If you’ve been with me so far on this journey then you know that we were finally able to close on our house, just in time for Christmas.
It’s been an amazing but scary feeling to become a homeowner, but it feels great to know that we set out to achieve such a large goal, and now we can say that it’s something we can officially cross off of our list.

I always knew that I wanted to become a homeowner. More importantly, I knew that I wanted to become a homeowner sooner rather than later. After crunching the numbers and seeing just how much we were spending on rent in a year’s time, it just made more sense for us to do what we needed to do to purchase our own piece real estate. I really wanted to go from just having a place we called home, to actual home buying.

CHECK OUT “7 SIMPLE STEPS TO PURCHASE YOUR FAMILY HOME” HERE!

For me personally, I have goals to own multiple rental properties in the future, so purchasing our cozy little townhome was not only a great move for our family, but also for my future plans to turn it into an asset.

We collectively worked on our credit, because obviously credit is key if you plan to have a mortgage on your home. I have to be honest, it wasn’t like our starting point for our credit was in bad shape, but it still took some time to really get it to where we wanted it to be. In fact, my husband was basically starting at zero. Not a literal zero credit score, but he was essentially starting from the bottom with no current credit history.

It took about a year to establish a positive credit history for him, which wasn’t too hard with the help of things like secured credit cards, and self lender. His credit was around 730 by the time we finally had it pulled for our mortgage loan, which was great considering his starting point was roughly 550 with no credit history.

CHECK OUT “HOW TO BUILD AND BOOST YOUR CREDIT” HERE!

We also started to put aside a savings that was specifically for buying our home. There are a lot of expected and unexpected expenses that come with purchasing a home. A lot. You won’t always have exact number goals to save for with these expenses since a lot of things are based on the cost of your actual purchase, your location, what companies you’re using, and how your deal is negotiated. We started by saving a $1000 emergency fund, and growing a separate savings from there for purchasing our home.

CHECK OUT “HOW TO SAVE A $1000 EMERGENCY FUND” HERE!

Be on the lookout for more posts on what to look for during the process of home buying. Subscribe!

This entire dream meant everything to us. Neither of us have family around us that actually own their own home. No parents, no grandparents, none of our family members are homeowners. We really wanted to buy a house for our kids before the year was over. That was the end goal. I can’t even begin to explain the overwhelming feeling of finally bringing them home and showing them around their new rooms and really seeing the excitement on their faces.

I know that many of my subscribers (Hopefully that includes you) are interested in one day achieving this goal for their own families, and I really want to continue to share my knowledge and experience so that no matter how young you are, or what obstacles you think are in your way, you too can purchase your family home, and really build the life that you dream of.

Be sure to subscribe for more of the “From Home to Home Buying” series! Don’t miss out on more keys to becoming a homeowner, and how to achieve financial success once you get there.

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How to Improve Your Health Without Breaking the Bank

How to Improve Your Health Without Breaking the Bank - Chic and Domestic
How to Improve Your Health Without Breaking the Bank – Chic and Domestic
Not only is everyone hyper focused on their finances in the New Year, but people are also checking for their health! Which they obviously should be of course. Just like your money, health is wealth.

One of my personal goals for the New Year was to really take the time to invest the time and dedication to my health. The more I started to mentally plan for what I wanted to try to do to reach that goal the more I realized just how much your fitness and your finances go hand in hand.

1. Buy Groceries
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen?” well, maybe you don’t necessarily want abs, but health essentially starts, in the kitchen. Really start to plan for your grocery trips, maybe even start to enjoy grocery shopping, grab healthier food options, and slowly improve your game plan every trip. Not only will your body thank you, but your wallet will definitely appreciate the decline of your overactive swiping in your favorite local drive through line or restaurant.

2. … Actually Cook What You Bought
Hmm, yes I’m talking to you. Mr. or Ms. “I go to the store to buy fruits and veggies and still manage to let them rot while I eat pizza and take out.” I see you. I’m sure we’ve all done it, or at least I know I have countless times (shame on me!). No more of that this year. When you do your grocery shopping, actually come home and cook the delicious food that you bought. Just a really easy step to ensure that you’re giving your body the right things, and also that you’re not wasting money.

Check out my post “Meal Planning 101. How I Meal Plan for my Family of 5” to learn some tips to meal plan for your own family!

3. Make Leftovers (Or Meal Prep)
While you’re cooking those delicious healthy food options, why not plan ahead and make a little bit extra. After all, it was probably hard enough to even make it to this step if this isn’t something you’re always use to doing. Why over complicate the process when you could just do some quick and easy, lazy meal prep? Making extra means that you’ll have food on hand, healthy food at that, and it cuts down the need for you to reach for something quick and unhealthy when you’re hungry.

Be sure to subscribe and look out for a few of my easy meal prep ideas coming soon!

4. Make a Plan When Splurging
I can’t expect you to never eat out. For some people, getting out and being social is a priority for them, and the worst thing you could do during a lifestyle change is to deprive yourself completely. Something small that you can do when you know that you’ll be going out is to make a plan. Look over the menu online and find something that won’t really throw you too far off of all of your healthy progress. It also helps when you’re cautious of your coins because you can plan your outing earlier or later to catch lunch or late night specials. I’ve even gone to grab something from my favorite fast food place to treat myself, and instead of spending a few extra dollars and a lot of extra calories on a whole meal, I opted for just the entrée and made some sort of salad or fresh veggies at home. Balance!

4.5 Always grab a To Go box!
When making plans to go out, try to plan to bring home a To Go box. It helps you eat a smaller portion, and it also means you get to enjoy your splurge the following day.

5. Drink your water!
Whether you’re at home, or out to eat, drinking water is going to be both the healthiest and financially feasible option for you. Your body will thank you for hydrating it with something fresh and sugar free, and you don’t have to worry about overspending on sugary drinks with empty calories. Water, Water, Water. You can never have too much of it.

Check out the Fit Mom Fab Facebook Community here for more support on your health and fitness journey.

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