My Favorite Time & Money Saving Tool

Originally published Saturday, 25 August 2012.

Well, this post is coming to you a little late!

I've been scrambling to get all ready for everything comin' down the pike this Fall. How 'bout you? Is your Fall full already too?

I've got new Bible Study groups, a women's discipleship intensive (oh! I am so excited about that one!), writing, a girls' band (such sweet hearts in that gals group - love them!), a girls' book group to wrap up for this summer, prayer requests to pray over, an at-home-photog business to keep up with, oh and yes a home and hubby to love and nourish first and foremost.

Life has lots of facets to it - and one part of it never seems to stop while I catch up with the rest of it! Life just keeps going, needing, running!

One of my favorite sanity helps has been once a month cooking. As I laid out my plans for the next couple of weeks, I realized I needed to revive this organization strategy pronto! Since our cross-country move I just hadn't bothered, but with the demands of this next season pressing in, it's time!

Below is an old blog post I wrote on the subject.

This week's summer give-away won't be a drawing - it's just a free for all :) Anyone who is in church ministry can write in and get one free copy of any of the following materials. We know your life is full and we'd like to send a little blessing your way!

1. Waiting for God to Fill the Cradle: One Month Devotional for Couples
2. My Reflection in His Eyes: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You (7 week women's Bible study)
3. Walking with Jesus 101: One Hundred and One Days of Devotionals to Strengthen Your Walk With God

Just write in with your mailing address, church name and let us know how we can pray for your church this coming Fall. The Lord's blessings on all of you and your families!

May your Autumn be fruitful and filled with His love, joy and peace!

OAMC Post: I recently had a number of gals quite a bit more seasoned in the areas of house and home than me ask what once-a-month-cooking is. I was surprised they hadn't heard about it. So I thought I would leave a post about my most favorite time and money saving system. Usually I find ways to save time or money, but not both. So this one has been a real treasure for me! 

Now, for starters, I am not a naturally organized person. So don't think you need to be for this to work ;) Once a month cooking is just what it sounds like. But each person can decide how fully cooked they want each meal. For instance, I might throw raw chicken in a freezer bag with the ingredients for the sauce I will saute it in later, but its not cooked, just prepared. I plan for two chicken dinners a week, one casserole made with chicken or a dish made with ground turkey, one soup or stew, and one fish or beef meal. Usually we have one dinner a week with our Bible study group and another either out on a date or with family. I save money because there is virtually no waste. Before I started using the OAMC (Once-a-month-cooking) system, a package of chicken might go bad in the fridge because our busy schedule interrupted cooking. Or my veggies might spoil. Freezing keeps it from spoiling! I even bake a batch of scones, put the extras in the freezer and can pull them out, warm them and have a nice tea ready in a jiffy for the unexpected guest. And yes, they turn out tasting great even after being frozen.  Now those unscheduled times are much more fun for me because I am more ready- no guarantees the house is spotless or anything! But there will be treats! You can make anything you'd buy frozen at Costco yourself at a fraction of the cost. I've made and frozen everything from egg rolls to enchiladas, lasagna, soup, chicken nuggets, bread, cookie dough and apple sauce. Do a quick read on the Internet about freezing veggies - made a few mistakes with those the first time around. They're not as great as fresh, but better than canned. And as far as I've studied up, freezing the veggies does not harm their nutritional value - like canning can (no pun intended!).  OAMC requires one heavy day of shopping and one heavy day of cooking. Sometimes I spread out the cooking parts over the course of a couple evenings though, so figure out what works best for you. I buy my chickens whole and cut up the parts myself - saves a little money since I try to buy organic. Then I use the bones and few of the meaty parts to make broth. After I make broth, I make the sauces for the chicken dishes and soup. Lastly, I assemble the casseroles. I have use disposable aluminum pans for those (but am switching to using glass ones with plastic lids); topped with wax paper and then foil. Freezer bags hold the rest of the dishes. I love it! And when the unexpected either takes us away for dinner or brings others to our home, I am ready! Bon Appetit!

follow Motl Ministries on facebook or twitter!

Looking for more encouragement in your walk with God?

Check out Walking with Jesus 101: One Hundred and One Days of Devotionals to Strengthen your Walk with God

Most of us have wished for a Cinderella moment when we could step into a new pair of shoes and in the blink of an eye have our lives transformed. Or, perhaps like Dorothy, we wish we could close our eyes, click our heels and find ourselves instantly transported away from the adventure we accidentally got dropped into. While it might not come from new shoes or heel clicking, God knows our need for a changed life and fresh start! Discover the life transformation that happens when you say "Yes" to God and step into His fullness. Walking with Jesus 101 is a collection of devotionals journeying through the Scriptures that point our feet to God's pathway for living. What walk of obedience, leap of faith or stand of endurance might God be calling you to? He has good things stored up for His children who eagerly seek His highway for living!