The Evans Four

blogging about our life as a family

Freezer Cooking (Rice, Bean, and Cheese Burritos) March 1, 2013

I’ve been reading Money Saving Mom for a while now, and she does regular posts about freezer cooking (preparing food ahead of time and putting it into the freezer to save time later). I finally got around to tackling some freezer cooking. So far we have made freezer burritos and pizza hot pockets from scratch! Today I’ll post about the burritos and save the hot pockets for another day.

Here’s the recipe I used. I adapted it a bit to fit what I already had. First I warmed up a can of refried beans on the stove. I had some leftover chicken and so I shredded it up into the beans, then added rice (I made a double batch of rice just so I’d have some for the freezer burritos). I spooned some homemade salsa into the mixture too (SUPER easy and delicious recipe can be found here).

Burrito filling

I spread my filling onto a tortilla added some shredded cheese, then rolled it up into a burrito.

Freezer Burrito

I rolled each burrito in a bit of plastic wrap, then foil, then added them to a ziplock freezer bag (writing the contents and date).

IMG_0463I made some with no salsa (because I forgot about it!) and so I had two bags. It made 8 burritos.

IMG_0464

Aaron and I both really liked them. To heat them up we just unwrapped them (saving the plastic and foil by putting it back in the bag), then wrapped them with a paper towel, and tossed them in the microwave. I did mine for a minute, then flipped it and cooked for another minute. My husband eats everything way hotter than I do, so he did 3 minutes. We just made another batch of these and put them in the freezer today. They’re great for lunch or when you’re hungry for something more substantial than a snack, but don’t feel like cooking.

Advertisements
 

Happy Easter April 24, 2011

Filed under: babies,family,holidays,money,work — aarontori @ 4:58 AM

Hello Everyone!

As usual, we are long overdue for an update. I’ll give you a rundown of things.

Work:

Things are good. We have 4 girls ranging from K-5th grade. We are still enjoying what we do here on “the Hill”. We’ve been here for 8 months now. Two of the girls have been here since we started and the other two came in February. At the beginning of February we had 6 girls, but then two of them left, and we were back to four by the end of February. I feel that we’re really beginning to form a good bond with the girls. I am especially close to the youngest, but I suppose that is to be expected. Looking back we can see how each of the girls has made gains over the course of the school year. Even the two that just came in February are not the same as when they first got here. There are still daily challenges with each of them. They’re all at different places and even though they take a step back every now and then, the overall trend is one of progress. They all went home for the weekend, as we all had Good Friday off. I need to make it a point to let each of them know that we see their progress and are proud of them. An illustration: the K-2 students had a big Easter egg hunt on Thursday at school. They brought home a couple of cascarones (confetti eggs). The kindergartener gave me one and I broke it over her head. She of course had confetti all stuck in her hair and it was all over the floor. We laughed about it and then, without me saying a word, she turns around, goes and gets a broom from the cupboard, and starts sweeping it up. One of the moms was here picking up her girls and her jaw about hit the floor, she was so impressed.  I helped her to finish cleaning it up and gave her lots of praise for that. I also made sure to let Aaron know about it in front of her so that he could tell her how impressed he was too. We have just five weeks left of school, which is hard to believe. We get 3 1/2 weeks off at the beginning of summer break and then 2 more in July. They’re going to be having a summer enrichment program that will have 3 sessions. I will be teaching a session in the third session about college prep finance. I’ll teach the basics of personal finance the first week and then the second week I’ll be teaching about financial aid and explaining the process of finding and applying for scholarships/grants/loans and a few other college-related money issues. I’m excited about it.

Money update:

Things have slowed a bit on the debt payoff front. We’re still chipping away, just at a slower pace than we first thought. It sure was nice not to have the car payment this month though! We put some of that toward the medical bills and the rest in savings. I still feel good about where we are and where we’re headed. Every now and then opportunities arise for us to make a little extra money. Aaron has taken male students to their Dr/eye/dentist appointments a few times and I’ve subbed for the school nurse a few hours on a couple of occasions. The summer course that I teach will also be extra income. It isn’t a whole lot of extra money, but it goes toward our debts and every little bit helps. I have also been working hard at the budget. I still have yet to get it just right, but I think my plan for May is good. We’re going back to the envelope system. It really is just way too easy to swipe the debit card and blow the budget for one area. I’ve also been clipping coupons and using a few great websites to help save money and score great deals on groceries and household items. My favorites are Money Saving Mom and Mint. On MSM, she does coupon matchups for great deals on groceries, has lots of ideas for frugal living, and it’s free! I’ve seen a couple of sites that charge to do the coupon matchup and even checked them out, but they didn’t have the stores that I needed/were too expensive to justify. Mint is a money management site (also free). I like it because I can see my cash flow. I have been able to track all of my expenses, see my debt to income ratio, and set goals. Although, now that we’re going back to the cash envelope system this won’t be as useful for us. It helped me a lot to see where our money was going in order to create a budget.

Family:

We’re doing good. My mom has moved in with us. Times are hard but I’m glad that we’re able to be here to help out. She is getting to enjoy time with her granddaughter and Elizabeth is getting lots of quality grandma time, which is really great for both of them. It’s also nice because we have someone who can watch her when we both have our hands full with work or want to step out for a little bit. We’re praying that she gets into the CNA training program that she applied to. If so, the local nursing home in Glen Rose has already told her she has a job when she finishes at the end of May. We should know about the course this coming week. After that it will just be a matter of figuring out the transportation since we only have one car and it’s a standard, which Mom can’t drive.

Elizabeth is 7 months old already. It’s hard to believe how quickly time is flying. She knows the sign for milk, finally has some hair up top, has two teeth on the bottom, is sort of crawling (more like a half army crawl, half belly flop and usually backward), is pulling up on us, and just this week started calling Aaron “da da” and I’m “ma ma”. She’s been babbling “da da” for quite some time, but only saying “ma” when she was mad. This week I guess it clicked that they actually mean us. I think it’s going to be a while before she can get a “grandma” out though 🙂

Things are good here at Casa de Evans. We are blessed. Hope you have/had a wonderful Easter. I will definitely be taking some pictures of Elizabeth in her Easter dress after service.

-Tori

Check out the following post for lots of pictures

 

Chipping Away March 3, 2011

Filed under: celebration,money,plans — aarontori @ 1:04 AM

This year we are so very blessed to be working in a position that actually pays and provides housing. Not that it pays a whole lot, but it sure is nice. Last year we received a small stipend each month through AmeriCorps and then after our year of service we received an education award which we used to pay off one student loan each.

Now that we have Elizabeth we actually got a decent sized refund after doing our taxes. We have had it for a couple of weeks and have been debating about what we should do with it. Last night we sat down, crunched some numbers, did some dreaming and scheming, and decided to go ahead and pay off our car. I’ve been trying to take Dave Ramsey’s approach to our finances and according to the way he advises, we should have paid off our smallest debt first and then roll those payments into making larger payments on the next larger debt  and so on (the debt snowball). We decided that not having a car payment anymore would feel really good and would allow us $200 more each month that we could use to pay down the smaller debts even faster. So today I tried to pay off the car through the online payment feature, but because it was more than $2,000 the system couldn’t process it. I instead had to call and they told me that we had to pay by check/money order or western union. I got out my checkbook and wrote a check for just under $3,700 and put it in the mail. Man, did it feel good.

Our list of debts we’re working on:

Car Loan

3 credit cards

Medical bills from Elizabeth’s birth

-we’ll be using the rest of our refund to pay half of the remaining balance

Student Loans

-the top priority is my private loan since it’s got the highest interest rate

-I consolidated my federal loans at the lowest interest rate and with income based repayment (which is

much easier to handle each month)

-Aaron has one remaining loan, but he paid most of it off with the AmeriCorps award so his next payment due date

is in 2013, so while it’s on our list to make payments, it’s the lowest priority

It feels SO good to be on track again financially. Right before we graduated from college we were doing so well, but then life happened and Aaron found out that he needed an additional course to graduate and it took all of our savings (which we were going to use to get us through our year of volunteer service), plus some. Then of course we decided to have a baby, which slowed down our financial progress again. I really hope that we’ll be able to get the credit cards, medical bills, and private loan paid off by the end of the year.

Next I’ll post some pictures of Elizabeth, because that’s probably the real reason why you’re here 🙂

-Tori

 

Coming Soon… March 2, 2011

Filed under: money — aarontori @ 2:32 PM

A real, honest-to-goodness blog post. I promise!

This one’s for Kathy: we paid off our car today 😀

 

 
%d bloggers like this: