Welcome to GOODEness Gracious

We're cooking up all kinds of GOODe things with a side of life! Come on in and check out our recipes, freezer cooking, super mommy secrets and common sense commentary on the GOODe life.


Come chill with me, baby, as we cook up a month's worth of family meals in just one day. So come on into my kitchen. We'll give you all the freezer cooking tips, tricks and recipes.

Goode and Gooseberry Patch Project

Join me as I cook my way through Gooseberry Patch's Cookbook--Mom's Favorite Recipes a la the Julie/Julia project.

Super Mommy Secrets

The world is full of Super Moms just like you that make the world go round. From play rooms to board rooms, check out how my Super Mommy friends make it all happen.

It's a GOODe Life

Life is made up of moments. The funny. The ordinary. The frustrating. Join us as we share a few of ours while we live the GOODe life in the hills of Indiana.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Freezer Cooking Tips from the FREEZE-o-RAMA Mama

As I am gearing up for my FREEZE-o-RAMA this week, I thought I'd share some freezer or OAMC (once a month cooking) tips from the FREEZE-o-RAMA Mama ;)

First time/Scared to freeze?
  • If you aren't sure that you want to chill, baby--don't freeze for a month your first time. Instead, do a trial run by making a double batch of your dinner dish each night for one week. Eat one batch for dinner and freeze the other batch for later in the month.
  • Freeze with a girlfriend for added confidence and lots of fun!
  • Nervous about when to freeze and what to freeze? Get a freezer cookbook to help you freeze with confidence.

Storage Tips/Limited Freezer Space?
  • Opt for freezing "steps" of recipes such as seasoned ground beef, chopped onions, chopped peppers in small freezer bags to save on time and freezer space.
  • Freeze individual portions for quick work lunch prep in the mornings.
  • Freeze multiple soups in individual portions for a "pick your own soup" family dinner night.
  • Prepare freezer bags of marinades for last minute grill treats and extra flavorful meats.
  • Picky eaters don't like left-overs? Freeze large casseroles in multiple smaller portions that fit easily into your freezer and are ate in one meal sitting.
  • Love side dish potluck casseroles but the recipes are too big for a single family? Divvy them up for meal size portions.
  • My freezer is my favorite appliance hands down. Small deep freezers are relatively inexpensive ($125-$150). Given all the money you'll save from OAMC, you should be able to pay for it within the first few months!
Planning and Shopping Overwhelming You?
  • When planning for a freezer cooking day, create two lists. 1) Recipes you would like to make organized by meat category. 2) Ingredients only list with hash marks of quantities for quick shopping.
  • Check larger size containers for better deals when cooking in mass quantity. If your recipe only calls for 10 oz, but you have another recipe that calls for 10 oz of the same ingredient, purchasing a 20 oz can may save you money and space.
  • Purchase meats while on sale or at Aldis/other discount stores for additional savings. 
  • Want to change up your menu a bit and save on meat at the same time? Purchase a whole turkey and substitute turkey for chicken dishes one month.
Day Before Prep?
  • Chop veggies and prep garlic the night before and pop in the fridge for a quick start the next day.
  • Have cooking utensils and freezing supplies set out and ready.
  • Set up a work station with additional tables (if possible) to make plenty of room for your work day.
Day of Game Plan? 
  • Start with a clean kitchen and end with a clean kitchen.
  • Cook meals within the same meat groups at the same time. I typically start the day with beef and end with poultry.
  • Prepare a soup as your first meal to feed folks for lunch and freeze leftovers in individual portions for lunches. 
  • Cool foods completely before placing into your freezer.
  • Cover foods with press and seal (removing all air), cover with foil and don't forget to label.
  • Be careful stacking unfrozen food in the freezer or dishes/baggies may stick together.
  • Place multiple packages of frozen chopped veggies, marinades, cooked meats in large baggies according to contents for quick identification and organization.
Thawing Got You Confused?
  • Raw meats should be thawed in water baths until ready to cook.
  • Frozen casseroles (with cooked meats) can be thawed on the counter until thawed but still cool. 
  • All casseroles can be thawed in the fridge if that is your preference.
  • Some casseroles may have longer baking times after the freezing process. Use foil to cover cheeses or other toppings to prevent unwanted browning.
Well that is it for tonight. I am sure there are many more tips to be added... but this is a GOODe start ;)


Monday, August 30, 2010

GOODe Grief: Scrambling for some perspective

SOAPBOX Warning…

So, most of you know that I grew up on a farm and that up until recently I worked in agriculture before starting my own freelance business. You may also know that I still work very closely with a lot of folks in agriculture as a freelance communicator.

With that being said, you probably also have heard about these egg recalls out of Iowa.

I normally wouldn’t be writing about such matters here, but today I was caught by how big this thing has gotten by a simple trip to my little town’s grocery store. I found this sign posted on all of the doors and it got me thinking… a lot.

I first heard about the recall while packing to take my family down to Daytona. My mom called warning me that the news was going nuts and she wanted me to go “check my eggs” because she didn’t want anyone getting sick on our trip like the last time… oh lordy did the last time ever stink…just sayin’

So I went into google mode and tried my best to cut through the rhetoric to find out the information I needed to know to make sure my eggs were safe. It took me a while, but finally I freeze framed a “sky is falling” “news” story to find the carton #s that were effected.

A week later, I see this sign at my grocery store… which got me digging for more information—so I skipped the media and emailed a friend in the egg industry.

Did you know that less than 1 % of the egg supply was affected?

Dude… those weren’t the headlines I was bombarded with when trying to find out if my eggs were affected. 

Pssst… my friend shared this site with me for anyone still concerned.

How refreshing… the information I need to be safe, without all the scary headlines.

A local ag commentator said it well.

The frequency of food recalls in recent years is often used to claim our food is not as safe as it used to be. When, in reality, this is a sign that our food safety system is working better than ever. The incidence of many foodborne illnesses continues to decline according to the CDC‘s FoodNet surveillance network which was established in 1996," says Gary Truitt of Hoosier Ag Today.

All of this hysteria reminds me of that old Ellen Degeneres bit about the local news. (Pardon the quality of the video/audio.)

You should really watch it. It is really funny and would be even funnier if it wasn’t so true.

All of this food talk these days… from factory farms to pesticides to peanut butter, beef, spinach and now egg recalls has my mommy gal pals and I standing with our shopping carts in tow confused, frustrated and worried… did I mention confused?

We turn to the news and can’t even find the information amidst all the hype. Media continues to create this hysteria as they scramble in a losing battle to drive viewership and readership…controversy sells after all.

I am a skeptic by nature, so I having a hard time these days swallowing that all our food is bad, killing us and all at the hands of evil empires… I tend to believe the media reports what sells and controversy sells. I’m not saying the food system is perfect.  I just don’t feel like I ever get a full story.

Meanwhile, food packaging goes into an all out marketing tug-of-war selling us hormone free, antibiotic free, organic promises…creating an impression of safety at a literal and figurative expense.

Then enters the self-proclaimed food gurus, authors and film makers that are trying to sell books, dvds, fear, guilt and morality all tied in a pretty bow. Their food righteousness looks nice from afar, yet none of them can really tell us how we can affordably feed our families safe, nutritious food… within our budgets and our communities—and on our own terms, not theirs.

For what it is worth, below is my soapbox full of common sense commentary on the food issues of today:

·        People who sell you on “how bad your food is” are likely making money off of the alternative or their “expertise”… just sayin’
·        I grew up on a farm and I gots to tell ya--that work ethic doesn’t exist in very many places in the U.S.  We’re all gonna starve if some folks get their way… just sayin’ 
·        Truth be told, this big bad industry full of factory family farms is actually full of your neighbors and the dude setting in pew next to you at church and you may not even know it…just sayin’
·        Anyone with money can produce a film and call it a documentary.  People who write books and sell videos need those products to sell. A book on “hey look at how wonderful and progressive our food system is” doesn’t quite have the same excitement to it as “danger, danger you must buy my book/video to find out what food is going to kill you”

Truth be told, I am tired of being scared of my cupboards and frightened of my fridge.

Truitt calls for a little perspective and I totally agree.

Here is my perspective of the day:  More than 1 in 10 people are going hungry in Indiana. 

What a luxury these new food dilemmas are for the modern mom…just sayin’


It's a GOODe Life: Monday Minute

I saw this on my friend Sara's blog and decided to play along...

Monday Minute

Who was your high school Sweet Heart?

No high school sweetheart, but met my college sweetheart within days of going to college and married the GOODe Ole Boy :) at the end of my sophomore year.

What is your favorite vegetable to eat?

I love so many! Let's see, probably fresh sweet corn or cooked cabbage.

Do you plan on dressing up for Halloween, if yes, what do you have in mind?

Not sure. Last year I was a Facebook Page and GOODe Ole Boy (and Miss Add) were ballerinas.

Are you a reality show junkie? If so, what is your guilty pleasure?

Yep... *HANGING MY HEAD IN SHAME* I am a Real Housewives of NJ train wreck watcher. I heart Survivor, Next Food Network Star and Project Runway.

What year did you graduate high school?

96... I am officially old, aren't I?

Chillin' with the FREEZE-O-RAMA Mama: Why I Chill, Baby

In my quest to tidy up GOODEness Gracious and make it easier to find things, I am going to work on getting FREEZE-O-RAMA tips, tricks and recipes all in one place. Much like I did my recipes the other day.

Coming off a season of canning and preserving the summer's harvest, I am ready to kick FREEZE-O-RAMA back into drive this week to reap its delicious (and housework) rewards! I totally heart OAMC or Once A Month Cooking. 

(Psst... Side note: If you want some fabulous canning tips, check out my pals Ott, A and Jen... canning extraordinaries)

So, I thought I'd start off by posting tonight about why I freeze... or chill baby and why YOU can too ;)

  • It isn't as scary as people think it is...promise.
  • Truth be told, it is super easy... WAY easier than cooking ever night (but not as easy as chicken nuggets and easy mac... just sayin ;) )
  • I love having a variety wholesome meal choices at my fingertips.
  • I love having those meals with half of the work--including doing dishes ONCE a month!
  • I try new recipes far more often when I plan a FREEZE-O-RAMA and therefore find all kinds of new family favorites!
  • Did I mention I only do dishes/cooking clean-up once a month?!?
  • You can do as little or as much as you want... and you can freeze portions anyway you want... Family size, 1/2 portions, individual portions. I have tons of recipes I used to shy away from because they were more "potluck" style and I didn't want to have a 9x13 pan of a side dish. Now, we can have our "cake" and eat it in multiple portions too ;)
  • You can make your non-freezer meals easier to make by freezing chopped veggies, marinades or seasoned ground beef and shaving minutes to hours off of prep time.
  • It gives my family a taste of mama even if I am away on business.
  • I save TONS on groceries by buying my meat in bulk from Aldis and planning my recipes and ingredients around what is on sale or already in my pantry.
  • I spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family during dinner time.

So do you chill, baby? If so, why? If not... what is holding you back?

Next up... FREEZE-O-RAMA tips and tricks... and a MUCH requested tour of the GOODe Family Freezer ;)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's a GOODe Life: Sweet Moments

I have had a lot of sweet moments lately... 

Between our little get-a-way  to Daytona Beach-- full of precious moments

To the everyday...

Full of its own joys...

To diving into local fall activities...

And gobbling up their yummy fruits :)

One apple at a time...

Yep... life has been pretty sweet lately ;)

So, to celebrate all this sweetness, check out a sweet giveaway...



At the request of some of my readers, I have organized my recipes on a recipe page :)

You can find our GOODe Recipes link under the blog header and also along the right side of the page.

When you get there... it will look a little something like this...

Come on in and check out some GOODe GOODeNess!

Indexed Recipe Cards Coming Soon...


Friday, August 27, 2010

It's a GOODe Life: GOODe Ole Boy

Heaven help us all...


GOODe Grief: Spam

Can someone tell me why there is spam?

Advertising... not the meat.

I guess you could tell me about the meat too... because it really doesn't appeal to me, but I hear it is popular in some cultures...

Anyhoo... back to my current annoyance.

Perhaps I am naive, but one would think that spam would only exist if it worked... as if flooding my inbox, blog comments and facebook friend requests... produced some sort of result for these spammers.

Does it really work??? Seriously?

With all the computer security risks, not to mention the lack of any kind of marketing appeal...who on God's green earth is clicking those dag-gone things?

I really love Blogger's new spam filter, but it seems as though my spam has increased since it launched... even though their lengthy comments full of garbage aren't getting published.

Who is paying these people to do this and why?

Somebody educate me... give me a link or something...

How on earth is spam profitable?

And, how do we work together to make it unprofitable so that it will go away.

It's a GOODe Life: Fallin' for Apples

Miss Add is fallin' for apples... literally...

Please notice Dad's first concern... "Please tell me you got that..."

Yep I got it.

On the way home Add explains to me where she got the apple...

Can you tell I am enjoying my new toy? 

We purchased a Flip HD Video Camera with our You Tube Contest winnings!

I already heart it.


I can already tell... there is gonna be a whole lot more video going on around here... just sayin'

Electronic buyers tip... ALWAYS check the store's online site prices while at the store. This puppy was on sale in the store for $30 off... yet online it was on sale for $52 off.

A GOODe store will match their online price... just sayin' 


Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's a GOODe Life: Sand

Sometimes you are just running down the beach of life... 

Kickin' your ball around ...

When something stops you in your tracks...

Something so small... yet cannot be ignored.

Just eats at you ...

Leaves a bad taste in your mouth even...

Suddenly the ball doesn't even matter anymore...

You just gotta stop and take care of things...

This has been a message from my little life coach... What "sand" is eating at you?

New Friend Fridays


Belated Wordless Wednesday: Guess What We’ve Been Up To…

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's a GOODe Life: Randomly Yours

  • I am preparing for some changes to GOODe Ole GOODEness Gracious in the future. I am hoping to add a recipe box that finally organizes all the recipes I have shared here. I may make a few other changes... Anything you would like to see?
  • I am in a reading mood... just ask Amazon... Currently, I am fascinated by The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott. Whatcha readin'?
  • I read somewhere that the difference between where you are now and where you will be in 5 years is the books you read and the people you surround yourself with... Anyone know where that saying came from? I'd love to know... I really think it is so true.
  • I am not doing to hot on my Diet Coke reduction... and truth be told-- I'm not caring so much, even though I know I hypothetically want to care...just sayin'
  • Change is constant, futile to fight, yet difficult to fully embrace 100 percent all of the time...just sayin'
  • I think I am addicted to Fruity Pebbles...
  • I am ready for sweatshirt weather, apple pickin' and corn mazin'
  • September is gonna be one busy month for this mama... Lots of new fun work projects :)
  • I really like Traminette Wine... I am not a huge wine drinker (beyond soft red), so I was a little surprised at how much I like it...
  • Technology boggles my mind.... I grew up in the age of the microwave, CD players and "car" phones... it really makes me wonder what the world will be like when Miss Add is 30 errr-ish.
  • Ringing phones FREAK Miss Add out... guess she isn't a fan of the disruption.
  • I just found out Michael Tait (formerly of the greatest band ever- dcTalk) is now with Newsboys... where have I been??? Oh and I am SOOO a Newsboys fan now ;)


Sunday, August 22, 2010

GOODe GOODeNESS: Bam Bam knew a GOODe thing when he saw it

Dude... my gal pal Leah over at Beyer Beware shared something heavenly the other day that I just HAD to try... Fruity Pebbles treats...

You start with 1/2 stick of butter

And melt it in the microwave.

Then you take a bag of mini marshmallows

Coat them with the butter.

Microwave 45 seconds... stir and repeat.

I cannot believe I have:

1. Never used the microwave for marshmallow treats... hello... where have I been?!?
2. Never made fruity pebbles treats... dude- I heart me some Fruity Pebbles.

Anyhoo... back to the treats...

Add a box of fruity deliciousness... and stir. Then put in a 9 x13 pan....

And *try* to wait for them to cool...


Psst... The recipe is on the box :)

Two things about the box though:
1. Mine don't look like that picture...lol
2. That serving size is ridiculous... just sayin'

The treats are still amazingly GOODe though ;)

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