The Big Cookup Step 3 – Battle Plan!!

I’ll admit it. Here we go, I’ve raised my hand.

I tend to wing it.

*GASP* I know!! I know!! When it comes to doing a big cookup, I usually prepare well enough, but the actual cooking, I just wing it. I cook whichever meal first, and I chop up veggies here and there. I use several pots and pans, and then I have to wait while something finishes cooking, or I have to wash something that is dirty… Ok I’m just not very organised!

So, I jumped onto the Group page for Budgeting, Food, stockpiling And Savings Ideas Australia and asked…

If you do Big Cookups/bulk cooking, what’s your battle plan?
How do you organise all the foods you’re going to cook?
Do you plan to use a variety of cooking equipment at once? Or cook things separately? Do you buy everything on the day or do you get some stuff prepped a few days before?

I didn’t have to wait long to get responses (great thing about this group? If you have a question, someone out there usually has a few good answer within a few minutes or so. They are so great).

I was also inspired by the range of plans and preparing different people do. I guess the adage of ‘more than one way to skin a cat’ is true in cooking as well. (On a side note, WHO is skinning cats? Where did this ridiculous saying come from?!)

Some suggestions were:

  • If you have more than one slow cooker, have both going at the same time
  • Prep the night before so you’re not trying to do it all at once
  • Buy supplies a day or so before, it can be too tiring to shop and cook on the same day
  • If you can, start slow cookers the night before. You can get a jump start on the cooking!
  • Use as few cooking items as possible (less to clean up)
  • If you are going to cook the vegetables, you might not need a separate chopping board
  • By the fresh ingredients the day before
  • Utilise online shopping
  • Chop, slice and dice everything before the big cooking day

 

Some people were divided. For example:

  • Clean as you go
  • Use everything and clean at the end

There you have it, great advice from people who’ve cooked this way before.

 

 

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The Big Cookup Step 2 – What to Make?

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Over the past 3 days, I’ve been asking the group what they would cook/make/prepare for Breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Here are some of the responses..

Breakfasts

There were some great ideas that came out of the group. Quiches and Bacon & Egg muffins seems to be a staple idea for a few people. Here’s the ideas breakdown.

  • Mini Quiches
  • Savoury muffins, warmed with butter
  • English Muffins
  • Bacon and Egg muffins (pro tip from a group member ‘wrap with paper towel’)
  • Muffin variations (sausages and other ingredients)
  • French Toast
  • baked beans/spaghetti
  • hash browns
  • poached eggs (pro tip from group member ‘make in bulk, place in iced water and kept in fridge’)
  • Breakfast casserole (‘line a dish with hash browns, then egg mixture with any ingredients you like, top with cheese. Can cook and freeze for later’)
  • Chia Pudding with Frozen Berries

Oh sooo many good ideas and I discovered it’s possible to freeze a whole bunch of these things! I’d never thought of freezing French Toast… but apparently it’s completely freezable.

Lunches

Whether your eating at home or taking lunch with you, the following list from the group members will surely help with ideas!

  • Butter Chicken (recipe posted here)
  • spaghetti bolognaise
  • Irish stew
  • toasted sandwiches
  • Burritos (pro tip from a group member – ‘once defrosted, a sandwich press will crisp up the outside or the oven’)
  • Hot chicken and mayo rolls
  • Macaroni & cheese
  • poor mans curry (add recipe)
  • Roast with Gravy and Vegies
  • Quiche
  • Stirfry meals
  • apricot chicken
  • Nachos

Dinners

  • Chilli Con Carne
  • Curried sausages
  • apricot chicken
  • risotto
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise
  • Pasta Bake
  • Lasanga
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Satay Chicken

And a special mention to two ladies in the group who are VERY experienced in the bulk cooking department, Rachael and Beth!

I’m in awe of them both and I’m quite keen to reach there level of organisation, but I’m not there yet!

 

So, there you go, heaps of ideas from people who’ve cooked this way.
Which ones will you cook?

 

The Big Cookup Step 1 – What’s Your Goal?

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Whether this is your first Big Cookup, or you’re a seasoned Cookie, preparing usually starts off with the same question.

“What’s your goal?”

A Big Cookup goal is usually derived from your situation. Since everyone’s situation is unique, your goal will be different to mine or anyone else. Here are some examples of how someone’s situation might inform their goal setting…

Situation
You and your partner both work full time jobs and have 4+ kids. After work everyone is too tired to cook.
Goal
Your goal might be to do a big cookup so no one needs to cook during the week.

Situation
It’s just you at home and you’ve only got a little bit of freezer space
Goal
Your goal might be to make a couple of half-prepped meals. By making small portions of the main, you only add rice/pasta/veggies etc. at the time of cooking.

Situation
You’re a blended family. Sometimes you have 8 people in the home, sometimes 3. Often the teenagers bring friends home which adds to your numbers and sometimes they go over to their friends houses. Knowing how many you need to cook for is hectic!
Goal
Your goal might be to Cookup foods and store in different sizes.

My Situation
I hate cooking. I’m not a great cook. There is only myself and my husband. We work from home but Husband often has to go out to sites and other random meetings that could take him away all day so we need ‘at home’ lunches and lunches to go in a thermos. I don’t want to cook dinner every night.
My Goal
To make 10 different meals that will freeze well. At least 5 of them should be suitable for thermos lunches.

 

So, what’s your situation? What are you trying to achieve? What will be your Big Cookup goal?

 

The Big Cookup – 1st to 3rd December

The Budgeting, Food, Stockpiling and Savings Ideas Australia’s Facebook group Big Cookup is happening from the 1st till the 3rd of December.

In the lead up to the Big Cookup, I’ve got some Big Cookup readiness posts and discussion topics for everyone to share their ideas and maybe help each other plan if needed.

If you happen to be reading this and you’re not yet a member of the Facebook group, please go pop on over and join! All the action and discussion will be happening over THERE! So go! Head on over!

The Big Cookup – What is it?
It’s an opportunity to encourage every member of the group to cook something to have some extra food on hand!

How many meals do I have to cook?
As many or as few as you like.
You don’t even have to cook and you can still be a part of the fun.

  • Some people may want to cook lots of dishes (I’m aiming for 10, but this is my personal challenge as I’ve cooked quite a few Big Cookups before!).
  • Some people may only do 3 or 4 meals
  • Others may only cook one dish and put the leftovers or extras away

There is no hard and fast rule on ‘how much’ to cook. You are unique, your cooking needs are not the same as anyone else’s, your storage capacity is different, so you get to decide what works for you!

I really don’t have much space in my fridge/freezer, will I be left out of the Big Cookup?
No way! The Big Cookup is about more than just ‘cooking lots of food’. It’s about sharing ideas, recipes, tips and tricks. If you’ve already got a freezer full of foods, share your tips. If you’re tight on space, share your tips on how you manage with limited space.

Where do I have to go?
Nowhere (unless you want to). You can participate in the event from the comfort of your own home.

What will the discussions be about?
Check out the dates and titles below!
BigCookup2017

Now, I know there are some Big Cookers in this group! I’m hoping they will pop into the Facebook page and share what they do and how they do it.

Have any questions? Feel free to ask!

Remember, this even it supposed to be fun and supportive of everyone. Whether the conversations are occurring here or on the Facebook Group, the groups rules still apply.

RULES (of the Facebook Group)

  1. RESPECT each other
  2. No rude or crude comments
  3. Don’t harass other members
  4. Feel free to post and introduce yourself to others
  5. No drama or troll posts
  6. Don’t PM or all other member’s without asking politely first. This includes sending waves/pokes
  7. Comments may be turned off if answered or go off subject.
  8. No pushing books on people
  9. Post a meal please add recipes with the meal thank you

We will remove without warning. If you have any problems please PM an admin

 

My Earlier Cookup

So back in October, I did a BIIIG cookup.

After posting about it on the facebook group Budgeting, Food, Stockpiling and Savings Ideas Australia, the members were interested and I said I would post about the cookup. So here is the general/basic details.

First let me say this. I HATE COOKING! There is no way in the world that I am going to cook each night. Nope. Nuh uh. Forgetaboutit! Without the big cookups, we would end up at macdonalds, or getting pizza/kfc/hungryjacks/sushi/servo food (ewww). It’s a good thing there is just my husband and I!

Cooking for me is boring, makes a HUGE mess and then the food is gone. What a waste of time!

So, when the mood strikes me and I actually feel like I want to cook, I go all out.

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So, the above food (plus about $10 of stuff from my cupboard, like rice) came to $160.91 from Woolworths. I wasn’t specifically planning for cost cutting, I was just planning what I knew would freeze well enough that we would eat it once it was reheated.

It all took about 7 hours BUT that was because I cooked everything one thing at a time. I wanted to get photo’s… so that REALLY slowed me down.

IMG_0055In the end, I had about 64 individual meals. (a few MAY be missing from the photo’s. We got hungry over the cooking time and just HAD to eat some… quality control purposes of course.)

Roughly $2.51 per individual meal

49 of the meals are roughly 24 dinners (my husband and I eating one each). Those are the ones in the plastic containers.

8 individual serves of the shep. pie (for lunches)

7 days worth of lunches for my hubby to take to work in his thermos. After a few days I’ll pack it and freeze (and I ran out of containers so I couldn’t pack and freeze it yet).

Total Cooking time = 7 hours
49 individual meals
8 individual serves
7 lunches for thermos

What I cooked
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Chicken Satay

 

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Chicken Fajita’s

IMG_0055 Stew/casserole (or at least my attempt at it, I’d never made this before)

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Carbonara

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Stroganoff Sheppard’s Pie

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Chilli Con Carne

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Mince Pasta Bake

Now… I KNOW we all want recipe’s… but there simply isn’t enough SPACE on one post to provide the recipe’s, but I will make sure that I get some of these onto the facebook group over the next week.

AND TOMORROW I’ll post the details for the Facebook Groups Big Cookup event, so stay tuned for that.

 

The Big Cookup of 2017

 

I recently shared these two pictures from my Big Cookup back in October (7th of October), with a facebook group Budgeting, Food, Stockpiling and Savings Ideas Australia

 

The response was overwhelming. The top 5 comment themes were:

  1. Wow that’s impressive (someone even called me an inspiration… I’m all ablush over here guys!!!)
  2. What did you make
  3. How much did it cost
  4. How many days/weeks of food is there
  5. Expressing a desire to do the same thing

Since people were interested, I really wanted to answer all the questions and I did promise to get a post out to them tonight.

The problem? When I tried to write a post it just got longer… and looonnger and loooooooooonnnnger… so a single post isn’t going to work.

So here is my plan. If you stick around for a few days, you’ll get to read all about my Big Cookup and then, over the next few weeks, I thought we could all organise to do a huge cookup together!

Now, I know that Friday, Saturday, Sunday (1st, 2nd and 3rd of December), is only just over 2 weeks away but I think those are the perfect dates for The Big Cookup. If we leave it too much later, all your food in the fridge/freezer may still be in the way at Christmas time (and I know I need a lot of space for all the delicious Christmas foods).

So, what’s my plan?

Well, tomorrow (15th) I’ll post about the Big Cookup that I did. Just some general information like what meals I made, how many were made and how much it all cost. That will cover #2, #3 and #4.
On Thursday 16th I’ll officially open The Big Cookup event on the facebook group and we can do #5

(Not much I can do about #1!)

After that, there will be a daily ‘step’ or ‘topic’ to explore and discuss together each day while we all prepare for a big cookup!

So stay tuned!!! More details to come!

Contacting Fertility Clinics – My IVF Clinic, North Lakes

Continuing on with my efforts to find a suitable service that would endeavor to support patients who have needs specific to mental health support, I gave My IVF Clinic at North Lakes a call.


My IVF Clinic, North Lakes – 3/7 Endeavor Blvd, North Lakes, QLD, 4509

Friday 6th of October

Phone Call

I didn’t get the names. I’m so terrible with names. I need to work at recording peoples names!

I first asked the receptionist where the egg pick up (EPU) procedure was done. I think it is important to know whether this procedure is in-house or in a separate facility. It could meant eh difference between their theatre procedures and a different hospitals procedures.

My IVF uses a private day-surgery facility located just next door for the EPU. They do the transfer in the clinic.

Then I moved onto the big question, can I have a partner for EPU. Apparently it is the ‘hospitals policy’ that no partners are allowed.

Time to call the hospital

Not being one to let things go, I thought I’d call the hospital and follow up on this ‘hospital policy’. I rang the North Lakes Hospital. The receptionist couldn’t help ( Gale or Gail? I don’t know, but she was so LOVELY! I guess her name was worth remembering), she did organize for the manager to call me back.

When I spoke to the Manager there (again I don’t have her name! I’ll get better I promise), the manager said it is up to the doctor performing the procedure. She said that they HAVE had additional people/partners in theatres before. Interesting. I couldn’t really find out what procedures they were, if they were IVF procedures or other things… but it apparently has been done.

Back to My IVF Clinic

Naturally, my next step was to call My IVF Clinic back. I’ve left a message for the manager there to call me back. I also noted in the message that the Manager at the North Lakes hospital said it’s doctors discretion.

No one called my back on Friday, so I’ll give them a few days and call again next week. Might have to ask to book an appointment to discuss… now… if I could just book (willing to pay!) an appointment with the actual doctor… I might get somewhere.