Meal Planning / Meal Prep,  Mom-Life Tips & Tricks

A Typical Freeze-Dried Week

For many people, the idea of eating broccoli out of a can is a bit disconcerting. When the term “freeze-dried food” is presented, it conjures up all sorts of ideas of survival or space food, not something designed for every-day eating. Even when people realize how healthy Thrive products are, there is still that lingering question: “can food that looks this funny possibly taste good?” And further still, “how do I even begin to start using it?” This post is my attempt to answer those, and other questions, by giving you a glimpse into my kitchen on a typical week. So, pull up a chair, grab some freeze-dried fruit and a handful of coconut bites to snack on, and let’s get started!

Sunday

Breakfast is usually a bit of a scramble on Sunday mornings as we attempt to get two adults and two little people sufficiently fed and out the door to make it on time to church. If you were to look into our kitchen, you would likely see us eating oatmeal or cold cereal with Thrive berries on top. Diaper bag snacks are key to a successful Sunday at church, so you would also see me packing up some of our toddler-fuel staples: Cheerios with Thrive coconut bites and assorted Thrive berries, Thrive peas and sweet corn with goldfish crackers, or any/all of the Thrive Snackies pouches. They truly are delicious..if given a choice between a cookie or a Spinach Fruit Crisp, my toddler will almost always choose the spinach!

Because everything is freeze-dried, there’s no worry about anything dribbling out and making a mess in the diaper bag. The bags have a zipper top, so they are extremely convenient for snacking on fruits and veggies while out and about. No bib or spoons required, just a quick baby wipe for everyone’s hands (because these are so good you will definitely be snacking on them too!) and you are good to go.

Monday

We eat a lot of eggs at my house. Monday is often a good, hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and fruit. Depending on my mood, I might toss in some sliced ham and Thrive mushrooms, or perhaps Thrive green and red bell peppers, tomatoes and Thrive sausage crumbles. There are endless options and combinations just waiting in my pantry for me. And of course, no scrambled eggs are complete without some cheese and Thrive green onions on top. I used to be the absolute worst with green onions…I would optimistically buy several bunches, and then a week later I would sadly deposit many into my compost pail. I can now proudly say I have not thrown out any green onions in over a year, thanks to Thrive!

By the time dinner time rolls around on a Monday, my toddler can be getting a little grumpy. That magical hour between 4:30-5:30pm can be so challenging…my little people are getting tired or bored and hungry, Daddy isn’t home yet from work, Mommy is desperately trying to get dinner cooked, and there has been many a toddler flop of despair during that time period. (When my toddler just can’t handle things any more, she literally just flops on the floor in despair!) Cutting down on prep time in making dinner is such a blessing! I do far less peeling and chopping than I used to – in any of my favourite recipes, I just swap out fresh veggies for Thrive veggies, substituting cup for cup. In record time, dinner is on the table. Crisis averted!

Tuesday

No week is complete without at least one good scone for breakfast. My go-to scone recipe has become much more versatile since Thrive revolutionized my kitchen habits. Originally, I would put currants in my scones. Now sometimes I do Thrive raspberries. Other weeks I go for Thrive blueberries or Thrive blackberries and lemon rind. If I’m feeling particularly liberal, I’ll use Thrive mangoes or Thrive apricots with white chocolate. Whatever way I make them, they are delicious! And with Thrive fruits (which I just throw in to my batter straight from the can, no reconstitution needed), I don’t have to mess around with adjusting the consistency of the batter to account for juicy, runny fresh fruit. Now, all this rhapsodizing would be a little cruel if I didn’t provide this wonderful recipe, so go ahead and check it out under “Anything Scones” on my recipes page!

Wednesday

Dinner on Wednesday used to really stress me out. We host a Bible study in our home each Wednesday evening at 7:00, and our kitchen/dining area is completely open to the living room. Hence, if my kitchen is trashed from dinner, everyone coming over for the study will spend the evening looking right at it! But no need to worry, Thrive to the rescue yet again! Enter a fantastic product line called “Simple Plate”. Everything you need for a satisfying, healthy dinner in one little spoil-proof box. Each meal comes with a simple, step-by-step recipe card, complete with photos. All the ingredients (except a few easy items like olive oil and such, depending on the recipe) are in little pouches, numbered to correspond to the recipe card. Most meals can be whipped up in under 30 minutes with next to no dirty dishes other than a pot and a spoon. Although I could make my own meal from scratch for less cost than a Simple Plate dinner, for me on nights where I’m all out of leftovers and running behind, or when I’m simply worn out from the day and don’t feel like investing a lot of energy into planning and cooking dinner, the convenience is more than worth the price. And, to be brutally honest, were it not for Simple Plate I would probably resort to ordering takeout several times a month, resulting in a much bigger hit to my monthly grocery budget, a lot less nutrition, and a lot more empty, salt-filled calories! Now, instead of doing that, I stock up whenever Thrive has a sale (which they do often!), and have a pantry full of healthy, quick meal options for those crazy evenings!

Thursday

It’s truly amazing, when you stop to think about it, how many recipes call for onions. At least in my home, onions are in almost every dinner! It used to be a bad scene around dinner time…picture me in my kitchen, standing at a cutting board chopping an onion with a large and menacing chef’s knife, tears streaming down my face. Now I know, there are tricks for that sort of thing. Believe me, I know! “Cut your onion under running water” they said…I kept on crying! “Put a capful of vinegar on your cutting board” they said…my tears would not abate! And then the nose…I would have to stop chopping, blow my nose, wash my hands, and repeat the cycle several times in order to get through one innocent white onion. I got so desperate, I even tried wearing my swim goggles while chopping! (Besides making me look ridiculous, it didn’t help!) But now, thanks to Thrive, my husband no longer has to come home to a wife with mascara stains all down her face. Thrive offers both finely-chopped onions and larger slices, so you are covered regardless of what recipe you are making. Really, I can’t say enough good things about Thrive freeze-dried onions. If they were a person, I would give them a hug.

Friday

Friday night is date-night at our house, and what better way to start it off than homemade pizza! Yet again, the options are practically limitless thanks to Thrive (am I sounding a touch repetitive yet???) My husband discriminates against cooked fruit, so I get my homemade Hawaiian pizza all to myself (minus the astonishingly large amount my toddler eats when it comes to pizza night!). I never used to love Hawaiian pizza, those canned pineapple chunks on top were so sweet and squishy and a little strange. With Thrive pineapple on top though, look out! It’s probably better for our marriage that my husband prefers his pepperoni. Not just any plain old pepperoni pizza though, oh no! Pepperoni pizza on a homemade crust loaded with freeze-dried basil and parsley, with homemade tomato and herb sauce, and mushrooms that didn’t sit all week in the fridge turning to rubber. If my husband is feeling particularly carnivorous, I’ll even add some Thrive sausage crumbles on top, to balance out the veggie-ness of Thrive green peppers. Feeling hungry yet? I’ve added my tried-and-true pizza recipe as well, so head on over to the Recipes tab and check it out!

Saturday

Weekends in our home are usually filled with family activities and hosting friends and family for meals. Whether it’s Saturday brunch, or a casual dinner with friends, Thrive is pretty well guaranteed to make it into the meal somewhere. For a while it was even a running joke between me and my husband…I would cook something and make him guess what was fresh and what was freeze-dried. My husband has a reasonably refined palate, but he was usually wrong! That’s the beauty of Thrive, unless someone knows you spent ten more minutes playing with your kids instead of chopping onions and peppers, they would have no idea you cook with freeze-dried foods. Don’t take my word for it though, try for yourself and see! You won’t regret it!

Another week drawing to a close, and I didn’t even have to go grocery shopping. With two little people under three, less is more when it comes to venturing out to get groceries (although my toddler does truly love “shoppin’ …glow-shies!”). Check out this video to see what I mean! There are definitely staple items I go to the store for, but the frequency of my visits has been greatly reduced. That leaves more time during the week to do other things with my kiddos. Things like “shoppin’… books!” (a.k.a. going to the library), or “shoppin’… money!” (a.k.a. going to the bank). We also love to go on adventures! Keep an eye out for my next post about one of those…

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