The Best Crockpot Easter Dinner Meal Plan Round Up





The Best Crock Easter RecipeRound Up
I have a little confession – I love to cook. I love good food but, if I can find an easier way to spend less time in the kitchen I am soooo there! And, I may have a slight obsession with my crockpot.

This year we will be changing things up a bit for Easter dinner. We are having friends over for a brunch and Easter egg hunt in the morning {thinking I will be making an egg bake breakfast casserole and my caramel french toast bake.}

But, what about dinner?

I was racking my brain trying to figure out how I could entertain in the morning and still pull off a somewhat traditional Easter dinner for my family and then, it hit me – my trusty old crockpot. Yep, I am pretty much over the moon excited we are going to have the best crockpot dinner ever and guess what, it’s going to be cooking while I hang out with our friends and family. Everybody wins!

{Oh, and if you only have one crockpot I highly recommend getting a second as it’s worth it’s weight in gold. We have 3 different sizes and I love them all!}

So, here’s the scoop for;

The Best Ever Easter Dinner Crockpot Meal Plan





The Best Crockpot Easter Dinner Meal Plan Round Up-maple-brown-sugar-ham-crockpot-green beans- corn dip- homemade apple sauce- home cooking goodness with less time in the kitchen

I am excited to try Life in the Loft House‘s Crock Pot Maple Brown Sugar Ham recipe – we are big maple syrup fans so this just sounds divine. A brown sugar rub, with a maple syrup and pineapple glaze cooked on low while I play with the kids – yep, I think I can do this.

Moms with Crock pots shared an awesome looking green bean casserole recipe – we will not being using bouillon cubes as most are not gluten free. But, we will sub them out with Better than Bouillon. *We will not be adding our bacon until the end as soggy bacon bits get me every time {gah}.

If you have never made crockpot brown sugar carrots you are missing out – they are so easy!

 

The Best Crockpot Easter Dinner Meal Plan Round Up




LifeCurrents Crockpot Corn Dip  looks like the perfect side dish or maybe even pre-dinner appetizer. Surely, I know my children can not be the only ones that insist on eating the entire hour before we sit down to a meal, right?!? Frozen corn, cream cheese, cheese, a zip of jalapeño, and spices slow cooked and served with organic corn chips should hold the littles over.

No Easter Dinner would be complete with out some homestead applesauce  and I’m thinking these easy au gratin potatoes inspired by Chelsea’s Messy Apron should do the trick…

Easy-Slow-Cooker-Potatoes-Au-Gratin-a-perfect-Easter-side-dish-save-room-in-the-oven-with-this-easy-dish-Plus-a-secret-tip-to-get-the-potatoes-crispy

And, if there is room for dessert after all that food I am thinking a scoop of ice cream from the local dairy farm should do the trick.

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I love organization and if there is one thing I can say going from a family of three to six in 7 short years- it certainly stretches your skills a bit. One place my organization skills have repeatedly been tested- is in the kitchen.

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Here’s the thing- I don’t have tons of time to spend in the kitchen cooking up elaborate meals. I bet you don’t either. I don’t have a money tree growing in my back yard-therefore, I need to budget, save where I can, and plan accordingly in order to make the best use of my time. 
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Grocery Shopping Once a Month; 4 Things We Do NOT Do; and The 13 Things We DO




How My Family of 6 Grocery Shops Once a Month and You Can Too! How to Save Money and Time
Your probably wondering how a wife and mom of four young kids only shops at the grocery store once a month- seriously, who really likes going there weekly? There are several different things that we have become accustom to over the years in our home-things that have become our “newish” norm for shopping-none of which involve my going to a physical store and some are well, just flat out unconventional and I’m o.k with that.

How We Grocery Shop Once a Month and You Can Too

(in no particular order)

The 4 Things We Do Not do-

We do not coupon– I know my sister is dying as she reads this (she is a huge coupon lover). She already knows we do not coupon but here is the reason why-it takes time. Time I straight up do not have and even with all the handy coupon web-sights available today it still takes a lot. I know, I used to do it. Not only that, my family can’t eat 98% of what is being offered or we don’t use the products. I am not anti-coupon I love a good deal just as much as the next guy or gal-but, the time I was putting in hardly was worth the pay out. If I coupon it is to get free items to donate or an email caught my eye that is such a good deal I simply cannot pass it up. I advise shopping according to your needs- don’t shop just because it nearly free.

We rarely shop  at the local grocery store- I may have stepped foot in the local grocery store twice in the past 6 months-and, honestly it was probably for something my husband asked me to grab last minute. We have a Trader Joe’s not far from us and that is where I typically do our once a month grocery shopping (if we had a Whole Foods) closer to us that would be my first choice.

We do not buy tons of processed food – Honestly, I can’t even bring myself to do it. The more I educate myself the more the thought alone makes my stomach hurt. Yes, I will buy fruit snacks, chips, and an occasional box of cookies but I keep just enough on hand for emergency “snack-and-go” trips that I may not have planned accordingly for.

We do not even look at the sales ads- I used to be tempted to look at what was on sale- and, this did take some time to get used to. Very similar to the “I do not coupon” category I was like a fish swimming in the lake – all it took was a little “bait“, hook-line, and sinker- if I saw a “good” deal I might be tempted to run out and buy that particular item-and maybe a few others-or even worse, I would go buy “items X, Y, and Z” that were on sale but now I still have nothing for dinner and instead I have 12 bottles of shampoo, 4 barbecue sauces, and 6 bags of Chex-mix (which again my kids can’t eat and it is terrible for you anyways). Not to mention that I just ran my poor kids all around town, messed with our school day (yes, we homeschool), and I have wasted gas running all over.

How to Grocery Shop Once a Month, Save Time, and Save Money - How my family of 6 makes it work and you can too!

13 Things We Do 





We do budget and forgo other things to eat healthy and enjoy the conveniences at our finger tips-
I will forgo just about anything to see that my family is eating a healthy minimally processed diet. We cut our kids hair, I have been known to skip a haircut or two, we mom2mom shop for the kids clothes, I have no problems picking up a shirt at a second hand shop for myself, and point blank without our health none of those others things really matter- after all when your sick do you really care about those super cute shoes you just bought?

We do shop at warehouse stores (Costco specifically)– The warehouse stores sometimes can get a bad wrap because of the quantities you have to buy and the ever so clever marketing throughout the store. Yes, it is tempting. Yes, it takes a bit of self control. Know what you are going in for- buy it and get the heck out of there. As for the quantities we are a family of 6 so that really is not a problem, but for smaller families buying in bulk and repackaging is a great money saver. For example you may not need that big 5 lb  bag of rice all at once but by dividing it up in smaller family sized portions and then storing it in tightly fit storage containers-it is the equivalent to 5 boxes of high sodium prepackaged/boxed rice and you did a majority of your shopping in one day.

We do order food online– I am not a big online shopper and I never in a million years thought I would shop for groceries-but, it is awesome! We basically buy the same brands of products week after week and since ideally (yes, I too fall off the wagon-don’t beat yourself up-just get back up and do it again) my meal plan is set-it is seriously as easy as looking at my meal plan and clicking a button. We mostly order from Vitacost and Amazon. <—- {thanks for using our affiliate links}

We do have a weekly produce delivery service-we order from Door 2 Door Organics almost weekly. Fresh produce to our door you can’t beat it. Now, I will add the amount that we go through verses what I get in a box does not always match up-so, if the budget is tight I will resort to frozen veggies for dinners and only order fruit-or, I will make a stop on my grocery day at an area produce store. I highly recommend looking for an area produce company that delivers- or at a minimum join a CSA (we have done that too)

We do order fresh meat from a near by farm-we are spoiled. I stumbled upon an area farm that delivers to your door. The meat can be fresh or frozen upon arrival. I can call them anytime and verify ingredients. The animals are humanely raised and grass-fed. The prices keep increasing but aren’t they everywhere? I can not emphasize enough how important this farm is to my family- it really is the second best thing to owning my own farm. If you don’t have an area farm that delivers- I would encourage you to call around to area farms and order (whole, half, and quarter animals-stored in the freezer you are set for the year) Yes, we have also done that. We ordered a 1/4 cow for years and even 1/4 pig.

We do shop at farmers markets- there really is nothing like going to a little stand to get your produce. I love it. Meeting the farmers and discussing their practices-it truly is a humbling experience–they are such hard workers. These stands are not always organic but they are certainly fresh and cost much less than your produce at the grocery store-not to mention the 100’s of miles your produce has just endured to get to your table when not purchased locally.

We do buy mostly gluten-free – I do not make separate meals. We do not all require a gluten-free diet but cooking separate meals is a lot of work. I no longer buy regular pasta, rarely buy potatoes, and our snacks are pretty limited too-as my ears can not endure the endless amount of whining that will occur from those children that can’t have “_______” food.

We do buy organic whenever possible- I know that there has been some controversy over the years as to whether organic is necessarily better- my personal opinion is; yes it is. We have done “experiments” on some of our produce at home over the years- food should not rot on the inside and look perfectly fine on the outside- the chemically laden produce has a finely coated outer shell giving it a “fresh” appearance. Now, I will add buying solely organic for a family of six is quite costly so I am selective – typically I will used the “dirty dozen” and the “clean 15” as my guide. If I can financially buy more in a given month then I will.

We do grow a garden- Growing a garden is not only friendly on the bank account but it is very rewarding. Plant a variety of foods- including those that freeze well; green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, kale, peppers, and tomatoes. Pick your produce at its optimal ripeness or blanch and freeze for later use. Check out my “totally diggingit” board on Pinterest

We do can – One of the things I was determined to learn how to do was can-and guess what? It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The initial investment of the jars, lids, and canning tools was a bit pricey but by the 2nd year canning the investment is well worth it. I especially like making my own jam. There is no guessing what ingredients might have been added to our food- I know where it came from and exactly how it was preserved. Check out my “because we can” board on Pinterest.

We do cook/bake in bulk and freeze- I wish I did this more- but, there are certain foods you will likely always find in our freezer. My typical stock up foods are; broths, sauces, muffins, cookies, meatballs, pancakes, and waffles.

We do plan – Whether it is weekly, monthly, or every six months…having a plan can save a lot of money and a lot of headaches! See why meal planning needs to only be done twice a year

We do have ample amount of freezer space -We have 3 fridge/freezer combinations, one full stand up freezer, and one pantry. We do not always store food in the outside fridge/freezer as it is used more for drinks- but, the others are all quite full.

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