Prepping For Little Bear – Freezer Meals –

Wednesday was my freezer meal day. I knew I was going to be absolutely exhausted after making all of the recipes, and I was, but it was one of those things I really wanted/needed to get done. I spent a few hours last month coming up with a list of the recipes I wanted to make and then the accompanying grocery list. It almost felt “too easy” once I had put everything together! I think planning out freezer meals is one of those things that once you sit down to actually do it, it’s relatively easy to put together. However, it is quite daunting even thinking about doing it!

So, what I want to do is explain my process, the tools I used, and then why I picked the recipes I did.

** I will say, as a side note, that I did do some freezer meals before Little Monkey was born. I realize now that I didn’t prepare very well for those freezer meals, nor did I plan out the recipes well either. In all honesty, we ended up throwing out 70% of the meals I made because they either a. didn’t freeze well and tasted weird when we reheated/cooked them and b. I didn’t know I/we had any food intolerance and most of those recipes included ingredients that didn’t sit well with us. **

Okay, pulling from my previous experiences with freezer meals, I set out looking for recipes that I knew would freeze well. Here’s what I mean about that; any recipe that includes products like a dough or flour aren’t typically going to freeze well. Unless you have enough moisture/liquid in the recipe, you will be stuck with a really dried out meal by the time you reheat it or cook it. Some of the things that will freeze well are soups, chilis, burritos (oddly enough), and SOME casseroles. Again, it really depends on how much liquid you can put in or the recipe calls for. Another food item that I’ve noticed freezes really poorly is rice. Which is why I removed a chicken, broccoli, and rice dish from my list because every single freezer meal I have ever eaten that consisted of a base of rice was horribly dried out and tasteless. (I do have one recipe that has cooked rice, but I felt like there was enough moisture/liquid in the recipe to compensate for the dryness of the rice. I also have two recipes with GF noodles, so I’m kind of going against my own advice…we’ll see how it reheats though!)

As usual, I turned to trusty ol’ Pinterest for my recipes. I researched specifically “Gluten Free Freezer Meals” as well as quick and easy freezer meals. I ended up on one of my favorite mom blogs called Diary of a Fit Mommy. I have a lot of posts from her saved on various boards on my Pinterest and I like her style of writing. When I stumbled upon her freezer meals post, I found that almost all of the recipes were simple, easy to put together, AND the most important thing, would freeze well. [Here’s the link to that post] I have one recipe I’m not sure where I found, I didn’t save the link, but the rest of my recipes came from that blog post. The ones that weren’t specifically GF, I modified to work for our dietary restrictions.

As a pregnant mama and with a rambunctious toddler at home, I looked around at our local stores and found that I could get a pretty decent deal having Walmart deliver the groceries instead of shopping for them myself. Also, I found that Walmart’s prices were not only cheaper than the local grocery store, but the choices of Gluten Free products far outweighed the local store too. I am not sure if Walmart Grocery is something available every where, but if it is, I highly recommend it for busy moms who don’t feel like traipsing around the grocery store with squirming kids.

Now, without further adieu, here’s my list of recipes and grocery list.


Cheesy Taco Bake –


  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oz lean ground beef
  • Green pepper,chopped
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 T Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Thyme
  • 2 tsp cuminhow we budgeted for the groceries and then 
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with EVOO, set aside.
  2. Boil brown rice in water on stovetop. Set aside
  3. In a 12” pan, spray with EVOO or cooking spray, add onion & garlic & sauté over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add ground beef, breaking it up as it browns. Cook for about 5 minutes & add peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add lime juice and seasonings. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Remove from heat – add rice, tomato sauce, & 1/4 cup of cheese to the skillet and stir to mix well.
  7. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar, cover, and freeze.
  8. To cook while frozen, cover with foil & bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Remove foil & bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted & edges are bubbling. Remove from oven & let cool for 10 minutes.

NOTE: I added more cheese and seasonings to this recipe before I put it in the freezer. I made sure to taste as I went because there is nothing worse than a bland casserole! Feel free to adapt or change the seasonings as you like. I used a rather large pan (ordered the wrong size) but this is an easy recipe to split between two 9×9 disposable casserole containers and will feed at least three people per container.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta


  • 1 (16oz) box of bowtie pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • ½ tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed
  • 1 cup of chicken, cooked and cubed (I used three and a half chicken breasts, cooked in the oven)


  1. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Stir in the dried basil. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it will become a smooth creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Over medium heat, add the milk and whisk quickly and constantly until it becomes into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes. Serve over hot, cooked noodles. I put my chicken on top, or you can mix it in. You actually don’t even need chicken you don’t want it!
  3. When making them into freezer meals – put the noodles and sauce into two 9×9 foil tins. Wait until it cools down a little, place foil on top, and stick in the freezer.
  4. To cook when frozen: Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through
  5. To cook when frozen but then thawed: Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

NOTE: I found the sauce created a lot more than I thought it would, so I split it between two pans. Combined with the chicken, noodles, and sauce, I don’t think I ever would have been able to fit the entire dish into one pan! I also put mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top of the dishes as well to melt when it’s time to cook them up.

Freezer Mac & Cheese


  • 1 to 2 boxes elbow pasta
  • 3/4 a stick of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • Stir together, then add:
  • 16 oz mozzerella cheese
  • 16 oz cheddar cheese
  • Add some salt and pepper to taste and stir well.


  • Cook elbow macaroni noodles as directed, drain and rinse and return to pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pot and stir well until cheese is melted.
  • Spray a foil pan {these are so much cheaper if you buy them in bulk} with cooking spray and dump the pasta mixture in. You can freeze it at this point if you want to deliver it frozen.
  • Bake at 350 for 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes {if this is frozen it will probably need to cook longer}

NOTE: I used 2 boxes of elbow pasta and probably about 2/3s the amount of cheese the recipe called for. I have already defrosted/cooked one of the pans of this recipe and it actually cooked up well, the noodles weren’t too dry, and Little Monkey actually ate it, which is a big plus.

Pepperjack Chicken Taquitos


  • 8oz. cream cheese
  • 3 c. chicken, cooked & shredded
  • 1.5 c. shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1 6oz. can green chilies or 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 20 small tortillas
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. cumin


  1. Melt cream cheese in a bowl. Mix in the spices, lime juice, chilies (or salsa), chicken, and cheese.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. of mixture to each tortillas and roll.
  3. To freeze, place on wax paper on a cookie cheet and stick in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from cookie sheet and place in a ziplocked gallon bag.
  5. When ready to cook, bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

NOTE: okay, so I tried something that didn’t work with this recipe. I put almost all the ingredients in the crockpot to let the chicken cook down so I could shred it. It worked well for the chicken, but there was so much juice from the chicken that I lost the rest of the cream cheese and such. I then followed the recipe otherwise after that and mixed a new set of ingredients together to make the taquitos. I used small corn tortillas and when I tried rolling the taquitos with the tortillas warmed, I found that they didn’t crack, and when I cooked a few up in the oven, I was pleasantly surprised to find them quite tasty and not at all soggy or bland from the corn tortillas!

(SLOW COOKER) Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed.
  2. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.
  3. Serve over rice

NOTE: I used whole ground mustard instead of Dijon mustard…well, I used up the rest of the Dijon mustard I had in the fridge (about 1/4 cup) and then the rest was the whole ground mustard.

Chunky Beef Chili


  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups onion
  • 1 packet chili seasoning mix


  1. Brown beef on stovetop and mix in remaining ingredients.
  2. Place in freezer bag to freeze.
  3. To cook, thaw and place in crockpot on low for 4-6 hours.
  4. Serve with sour cream, chips, and cheese to melt on top

NOTE: I modified this recipe as well. I added a second cup of water as well as some of my homemade taco seasoning as I found the finished product was still too bland. I will probably need to add a bunch more salt and seasoning when I cook the meal up at a later time. I also split the chili up into two gallon freezer bags so that’s two plus meals right there. I also added a can of black beans as well.

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs


  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 c. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 2/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ginger slices
  • 1 can pineapple chunks
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly


  1. Add contents to freezer bag and place in freezer. Make sure to get rid of any extra air in the bag.
  2. To cook, thaw and dump contents in crockpot and cook for 4-6 hours on low.

NOTE: This is the recipe I made the most modifications too. The original recipe did not call for the last three ingredients. I added the can of pineapple tidbits, sliced red onions, and chopped green peppers. Also, when the chicken has been cooked fully in the crockpot, I recommend removing the chicken and adding 1 tablespoon of cornstarch/water to the sauce left and letting that thicker to serve over the chicken and rice.

Grocery List



1 bag frozen chicken thighs
1 large package of fresh chicken breasts (the package was roughly 4.75 lbs)
4 chubs ground beef
1 large bag cheddar
2 bags mozzarella
1 bag pepper jack
2 bag parmesan cheese
4 8oz packages cream cheese (came in two packs)


1 bag jasmine rice (I didn’t end up needing this bag of rice as I already had rice in my pantry, but it is nice to have as I now won’t have to buy rice for awhile!)
1 box rotini pasta (Walmart was out of this pasta, so I picked up a box of GF penne pasta)
2 boxes elbow pasta
20 corn tortillas


1 packet chili seasoning (Walmart carries GF non-GMO chili seasoning packets)
1 bottle maple syrup
1 bottle whole ground mustard
1 8oz jar sun dried tomatoes


1 bunch of cilantro
2 green peppers
1 can green chilis
1 bag of red onions


5 disposable foil pans

Already have – 1 can pinto beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can tomato sauce, 2 cans tomato paste, 2 onions, spices

Alright, I changed up my grocery list several times, so my original list is a little outdated. I forgot to add the pineapple chunks to the walmart order, so I had to run to the grocery store to get those before I started my cooking. Beyond that, everything else that isn’t on the list are ingredients I already had in my pantry. I’d say that with taking my time to keep on top of dishes and make sure I did each recipe correctly, it took me about 5 hours to put together all of the recipes. Now if you had multiple people helping, possibly a slightly bigger kitchen, and probably more energy, that time could be cut in half. However, that length of time included taking a break for lunch, playing with Little Monkey every so often, and washing dishes between recipes so I didn’t use ALL of my pots and pans and that meant that by the end of the cooking, my kitchen wasn’t a total mess!

So that’s basically how I made 7 recipes, have 12+ meals in the freezer, and did all of that for roughly $100. Feel free to ask questions or let me know your tricks for doing freezer meals!


1 1/2 Months Left

The reality of us becoming a four person family is starting to feel so much more real as I now have a tentative date for our little bear’s arrival. We’re only waiting on the neurosurgeon who wants to be the one to do his back closure surgery. But for now, the date of his arrival is February 27th. And that date is 45 days away. Roughly 6 1/2 weeks. And I know that time is going to FLY by.

I have another growth scan this past Tuesday, as well as a delivery planning meeting, and a tour of the recovery suites as well as the NICU. Even though I feel the shadow of what’s coming quietly waiting and peering over my shoulder, I am grateful that it is obvious how much Children’s knows what they’re doing. It felt simple and straight forward. Of course when the day arrives and he is actually here, things could get rather crazy depending on how he is doing. But, beyond the things that we can’t control, the things we can are solid, comforting, and I feel safe putting myself into the specialists’ hands.

Little bear is continuing to hold steady. I’m just shy of 32 weeks, and while this is when a baby’s brain starts major development, his brain is holding is steady. The measurements of the fluid in his brain are the exact same as they were a month ago, and the doctors continue to be quite pleased with how he’s doing. It’s always a little nerve-wracking going in for the ultrasounds now. Just that worry of are they going to find anything else wrong? Will things have changed really drastically? Little bear is keeping up his previous habits of constant movement, and that makes me breathe a little easier. Even though his movements are changing, thanks to seriously running out of room in there, he still moves the same amount. He is still constantly shifting, responding to our/my touch, voices, and noises around me. We got to see his feet in 3D on Tuesday. Oh my goodness, his little feet and little toes are so adorable and the pictures makes it seem like you can just reach out and stroke the sole of his foot.

While touring the NICU I felt like I had a better image in my mind of how staying there is going to look. The recovery suites where I’ll be admitted are on the same floor as the NICU, and I will easily have access between the two clinics. It is a little dizzying to realize that I’ll be admitted and will be staying at that hospital in just a few short weeks. Last night, with the full moon, and most of yesterday during the day, I was kept awake all night with painful contractions and serious pelvic pressure. Nothing was ever close enough or possibly I wasn’t awake enough to time or feel overly concerned. But. Still. There is one more full moon between now and the end of February, and I am going to make for darn sure that my hospital bag is packed and on standby by that next full moon!

It was also strangely reassuring to see how parents had really made those NICU rooms their own. Bringing in their own blankets, bags, comforts from home. I got permission to bring the humidifier/diffuser I recently acquired, and I’m looking forward to making our spaces at the hospital a little bit more cozy. We still don’t know how long little bear will be in the NICU. That’s something we simply won’t know until he’s here and we can see how he’s doing with eating and recovering from his surgery. We do know however that I will most likely be admitted for 5 days. So that’s one thing we can count on.

A lot of little details and things still need to be worked out, but seriously folks, things are coming together and it’s a little crazy that this all happening so soon! No after the holidays slump over here!

This next week is when I will be putting together the freezer meals, so I’ll make sure to document that and then share what I decided to do as far as recipes! I feel like I have a good mix of comfort food and “healthy” food. And all of them are gluten free too. I tried out one of the recipes (slightly modifying it from a crockpot recipe to oven) last night for dinner and it was a big hit!

The days are counting down and while it can feel like time is dragging every so often, it really is flying by. Little bear will be here before we know it and then the controlled chaos starts!

How I’m Preparing Practically/Physically for My C-Section


Having my hopes for birth sidetracked has made me flounder, looking for that solid ground to stand on. I know I can’t be the only mama who’s faced this floating in limbo feeling! So because of that I want to use this post to talk about some of the things that I am slowly putting together in a practical effort to prepare for the c-section and following chaos.

I know there is very little that I can do to physically/practically prepare for a c-section. While I don’t have any qualms with knowing I’m going to have a scheduled major surgery, I do feel the need to keep my hands busy. I am nervous about being separated from my little bear immediately upon delivery and not getting to be with him for who knows how long when he is taken to the NICU. But, that’s a post for another time!

I’m going to break this post down into two different sections; practical and physical.

Practical – 

The practical is possibly the easiest to talk about. Included in this is packing a hospital/NICU bag, planning freezer meals, researching what one will need specifically for a c-section recovery, finding out about the hospital’s protocols for c-section mamas, and so on.

Let’s talk about packing that hospital bag first! I am planning on having my bag packed by 34ish weeks. Even though I will have an actual date for my c-section, knowing my body AND that we’ll be in the middle of Colorado winter (lots of rising pressure, which increases my braxton hicks, and I had started dilating a good bit by the time I was 36 weeks with Little Monkey), I want my bag packed as early as I can get it done. As labor is not an option for me anymore, I want to be able to just go if anything happens before the scheduled date.

A hospital bag list is something that Pinterest is an amazing resource for. I have found several specific pins for c-section recovery hospital bags and from those pins this is the list that I’ve put together. (it is subject to change as I start packing and decide what I really want to have with me or could do without)

C-Section/NICU stay Hospital Bag

  • pineapple juice
  • coconut water
  • GF muffins/snacks
  • Motrin
  • GasX strips
  • Cough medicine
  • cough/throat drops
  • colace
  • Vitamins – probiotics, cal/mag, prenatal
  • ice packs
  • kotex maxi pads
  • low rise underwear
  • regular pillow
  • body pillow
  • Nursing pillow
  • comfy blanket
  • towel
  • robe
  • Sweatshirts
  • 3 night gowns
  • 3-5 nursing bras (pack different kinds)
  • Nursing tank tops – all of them
  • 2 tops to wear over tanks
  • Navel and Blanqi Postpartum leggings
  • yoga pants
  • fuzzy socks
  • slippers
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, styling products, bar soap, puff, shaving cream, razor, loofah, face wipes, coconut oil, toothbrush/paste…)
  • Makeup bag
  • Hairdryer/straightener
  • Kindle
  • portable keyboard for taking notes on kindle
  • Charging block
  • Chargers for Iphone
  • Extension cord
  • insurance cards
  • hospital paperwork (both insurance and paperwork need their own folder)

Now my list above combines some of the things I will also need for the NICU stay as well. I will list my NICU Survival List down below as well. Some of these items, like ice packs, Motrin, and the toiletries are the things that are the eh maybe I won’t need them, I’ll decide last minute items. But, they are things I do want to make sure I have, whether the hospital provides them or not. As I’ve had the benefit (I suppose) of having gone through one birth already, I do remember what worked and didn’t work last time. Even though this time will be different, it helps that I am not starting from scratch.

Alright, so here are a few of the pins I pulled ideas from for the hospital bag list.

One of the things that I have found helpful is to take advantage of the knowledge from mamas I know who have had c-sections. If you have resources like that, use them!! They’re going to be the ones who can tell you specifically what helped them or didn’t help with c-section recovery. The same goes for if you will be needing to stay with baby while they’re in the NICU. Use your resources!

Now with my NICU Survival List, I have mostly relied on Pinterest for this list. I do know a few mamas who have had babies in the NICU, so I will be running this list by them as we get close to DD (Delivery Day) to make sure I’m not missing anything.

NICU Survival Kit

  • Chapstick – LOTS of chapstick
  • Cough/throat drops
  • hand lotion
  • hand sanitizer
  • Easy to carry notebook
  • pens – at least 6
  • Kind bars
  • yogurt
  • bananas
  • granola
  • kettle chips
  • nursing pillow
  • breast pump
  • freemie attachment
  • labels and markers for making bottles
  • nursing pads
  • robe
  • water bottle
  • baby lotion (find organic lotion…maybe california baby?)
  • 1-2 special outfits for little bear – specifically with snaps
  • laundry bag
  • bottles (figure out what bottle would be best)
  • coconut oil
  • 2-3 changes of clothes
  • baby nail clippers
  • inexpensive camera for nurses to take pictures with?

Like I said, multiple things overlap with each list, so I will most likely combine them into two bags when I head to the hospital. I’m not sure how long I’ll be in my room before I’m discharged and I move over to the NICU rooms. That’ll depend on c-section recovery and such. Here are a few of the pins I pulled NICU list tips from.

Feel free to take a look around my Mama Advice and Prepping for Little Bear boards. I have a bunch of other pins that I have found helpful on there!

As packing a hospital/NICU bag is a very practical thing to do, that’s a huge thing I’m focusing on right now even though I feel like I’m in limbo still. However, a hospital bag is only part of the practical things I can do to keep my hands busy. Another suggestion is planning out freezer meals! I did a few before Little Monkey was born, but those meals kind of flopped and we never ended up using them. Because I know what DIDN’T work for us last time, I am being quite particular planning freezer meals this time around. A few big changes for us since last time is my diet is gluten free and there are a few other foods I can’t eat because of my IBS as well as my fibromyalgia. Thankfully, I have found several phenomenal lists [on Pinterest] for GF freezer meals! I will be combining several recipes from these lists and hope to start prepping those come January.

Even though that last pin are not specifically GF meals, the techniques and recipes are simple enough to adapt for a GF version.

When I have my delivery planning meeting (yes, apparently this is a thing at our Children’s), I will be bringing a list of questions about the c-section itself, a procedure I will be having done during the c-section, and then what their protocols are for mamas after the surgery is done. That meeting is where I’ll also find out about the things available to me while I am in the hospital as well as getting to tour the facilities (recovery rooms and the NICU). After that meeting I will go back over my hospital bag list and add or take away anything I know I won’t need.


Planning and preparing physically for a c-section is a little bit more involved and yet is almost nothing compared to planning practically! This is the area I have had the hardest time “coping” with. With a planned c-section you literally just show up and get prepped then go back for the surgery. A little bit more complicated than that, but that’s basically it! I don’t get increasingly nervous when I have knowledge of something like that happening beforehand. The idea and prospect of going in for the c-section is not what is making me feel overwhelmed or shaky. It’s the whole chaos of what’s going to happen after that makes me tear up, have nightmares about, and I already know I’m going to be a wreck when they take little bear to the NICU while I’m still on the table getting put back together.

However, I have put together a short list of the things I can do now to prep physically for the c-section. I am worried about my gut health/immune system AFTER the c-section, so I going to keep up with my kombucha tea, and in January, I will most likely start taking a probiotic as well to help keep my gut health strong. My body doesn’t usually have that much of an issue with antibiotics, but I don’t want to take chances, especially with what my body has been recovering from over the past year (unknown gluten intolerance discovered only a year ago, removal of gallbladder…).

I already have strong core muscles thanks to yoga and that being something I have been able to keep up with consistently. I am not really worried about how my abdominal muscles will recover post surgery, but I have added several core specific poses to my yoga routine. *it is important to note that core exercises while pregnant are not a good idea if you have diastasis recti (a separation in your ab muscles as your belly grows)* The core poses I have added are very gentle and are still yoga poses which means they’re done slowly, with care, and with attention to breathing. The article below is only one of two I found about preparing for a c-section.

After talking with a dear friend who’s had two c-sections this morning, I now have a game plan for the week before the c-section. But I’ll share that as we get closer to that date!

There really aren’t many things I can do to physically prepare besides the things I’ve listed above. The other things you/I can do between now and the c-section is just keep taking care of my body. I have to do yoga at least 1-3 times a week just to manage my fibromyalgia, but it is important to me to keep doing that as it is calming and gives me a way to manage stress and anxiety.