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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Save Time AND Money? Yes please!

Yesterday, Patricia asked me about how I use my Food Saver  (affiliate link) and I thought "hmm, I do rave about it a lot but I don't know if I've shown how it works and what we use it for!"  So thanks for a post idea!  I heard a lot of people say they either have one and don't use it or would never use it.  Well, I'm here to show you why it's a dang good investment and can save you hundreds o' bucks depending on your habits but more importantly how it can save you TIME!

Here's my black beauty. (affiliate link) 

Now if you get a starter kit, you might get some pre-cut bags but rolls are the way to go because you can customize the size to the amount of stuff you want to freeze.

Inside they have instructions telling you how to make a bag from the roll and how to seal it.

First, you pull the bottom of the roll to the foam, click the lid closed and push seal.

Voila...sealed bottom!

Then decide how big of a bag you'll need then slide the cutter across.  There is a basic model  (affiliate link) that doesn't have the cutter but believe me when I tell you to get the model with one.  Much easier.  Then you're set to roll!

I've got that $12 turkey I cooked up that needs to hang out in the freezer.

Fill the bag either halfway or by weight.  I do by weight so our portion size is already determined and future me doesn't have to bother.  Yay for pre-planning!  

To vacuum seal, line up the top of the bag with the catch drain thingy because if you have any moisture in something that isn't already frozen, then even if you push the "moist" setting, you can still get some moisture sucked out.  Then you pop it out and wash it off so it doesn't gunk up your machine.

Hit the Vac/Seal button and watch the fun begin!

Boom!  Sealed from the nasty air and this here bird...6 months if you wrap it and do the freezer bag thing but 2-3 YEARS in a Food Saver.  Before you scoff...yes, I've had year old turkey and it was as delicious as the day I made it!  (It's never made it to 2 years but I know a few people who wouldn't touch stuff in their freezer for 2-3 years so maybe I'll see if they'll let me throw a bag in there!)

Then I label mine with a Sharpie.

I label what it is, how much it weighs so I know our portions with one look so I can enter it when meal planning and what day it was frozen.

That $12 turkey got us 5 meals...that's $1.20 per person.  When was the last time you paid $1.20 for a serving of turkey at a restaurant?  Ask your grandma because that's about how far back you're going to have to go.

So what else do I use it for?  We're only two people but sometimes I want lasagna but I don't want it all week.  Food Save it!

Same when I batch cook.  I can make my homemade baked beans and then freeze them.  So how do I do that without squishing both of them all to hell?

For the lasagna, I separate the pieces onto a silicone mat  (affiliate link) lined cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and freeze it overnight.  The next morning...Food Save them in bags of two so I can pull them out when I'm feeling lazy!

For the baked beans, I portion them into servings I know will fit into our calories, freeze them in the bowl overnight and the next morning run a little hot water to loosen it from the bowl and freeze them in the bags.  No squishing!

The Mr absolutely loves it because when we go back to his hometown once or twice a year, he gets a pizza from his favorite pizza place and even frosted cream sticks from his favorite pastry shop!   That's can freeze cream filled donuts in it!!

Just apply the same principle by freezing them overnight and the next morning, vacuum those babies and the Mr will attest that the donuts taste as fresh as the day he got them!  The only thing is the icing might be a little crinkled looking but nothing a knife spread session won't fix.  We'll usually put a sheet of wax paper over the top to protect the frosting (doesn't look like he did with this batch) then if he decides he wants them on a high cal day, he'll pull out a 2 pack, cut the package open and pull them out to thaw and an hour later they're ready.

We also do it when we road trip.  There's a donut shop coming back from Toronto that has amazing chocolate donuts so we just freeze them and then stick them way in the back so we're not tempted when grabbing the quinoa.

If you've followed for any length of time, you know we basically Food Saved our trip to Virginia last year and because of it barely gained any weight.

We had everything from chili and cornbread to chocolate chip pancakes to banana bread to meatloaf to a full turkey dinner completely frozen and Food Saved  (affiliate link) (a verb you will use once you use it frequently).  Then we put it all in a cooler we brought with us!  It helped tremendously so we knew what we were eating and still not feeling like we were missing out since the town we were staying in had limited dining options.  So I can't rave about this thing enough.  My first one lasted 10 years...TEN.

I just replaced it right before our trip to Vermont for Christmas.  We used it to have every single thing we enjoy every year...

From Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner to frozen cookie dough for Snickerdoodles after sledding and cut outs for Santa!  Yes, that means you can FREEZE your cookie dough in October and not have to pull your hair out in December whipping up 3-10 different batches of dough in one exhausting weekend!

Finally, it is also used to make sure my grandma and her husband get healthy meals on occasion and not just fast food.  A few meals are prepared, frozen and kept in the freezer.  Just a reminder to pull it into the fridge the night before and they're able to microwave it and enjoy a home cooked meal without having to cook it themselves.  So this can be a real God send for people who are caregivers that want to make sure there are always good, healthy meals available for the people they love!

I hope that helps those of you who already have one and may not use it much or for those who have been on the fence about buying one.  It's perfect if you bulk shop at Costco or Sam's Club.  You can marinate steaks, then freeze them and having them ready to go.  You can pre-cook meals and freeze them to pull out the day before and have them ready to go for lunch and no rushing around in the morning.  If you're saying "I have no room to store it" well, I live in a shoebox so I really have nowhere to store it.  But it fits nicely on top of the fridge in a bin so it's always readily available.  You store that thing anywhere other than the kitchen then no, it won't likely get used because you won't want to schlep down to the basement to get it.  If I haven't convinced you yet, I likely won't.  It's okay, time and money aren't incentives for everyone!  ;-)

Do you have a Food Saver  (affiliate link) and if so, do you use it or does it collect dust?

(This post contains affiliate links.  Should you choose to buy through them, I may receive a small commission.  Thanks for helping keep the blog lights on!)

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  1. I absolutely love the food saver. I used to have to accept that I just cannot get my hometown pizza and donuts except when I'm actually there. Now I can have it anytime I really crave it and it really has saved us from having to go there more often. I love visiting there, don't get me wrong, but if I can scratch the itch of having my old faves without having to drive anywhere then it's awesome.

    I also love that just about anything we have extra of we can just freeze and we know it's not going to get freezer burn or go bad in a short time. I highly recommend that people get one of these. I consider it as much a necessity in the kitchen as the freezer itself! As a matter of fact, freezers should have built-in food savers!

    1. I really love that you're able to get your hometown favorites and enjoy them when you get the craving. Saves us gas money! LOL I'll have to consider getting a pizza from the other pizza place there I like but then we might end up needing another freezer! HA!

      Ooh, that's a good idea! How nice would that be??

  2. You convinced me! I've toyed with the idea for some time. I guess I needed a hand-held push :) I ordered via your link so, hopefully, you get a credit.

    P.S. I enjoy reading your blog. I found it through RunForCookies.

    1. YAY! I think you're going to love it! I know the idea of one more thing that needs to be stored doesn't appeal to some but I'm tellin' ya the amount of money saved and the amount of make ahead or batch cooking I can freeze is worth it. Thanks so much for buying through the link, that is so sweet.

      So glad you found me! Love Katie!!

    2. I finally used the FoodSaver yesterday. Love it! I'm hooked now :) Thanks again for the step-by-step - that's what motivated me to try it.

    3. YAY!!! You're very welcome and I know you're going to get so much benefit from it! Happy Food Saving! 😀

  3. I have one, but rarely use it. I use it in spurts, I'll use it and then not need it for a while and then forget I have it until something (like this blog) reminds me that it's in the cupboard. I don't batch cook and freeze as much, but next time I do, I need to remember the food saver. I have a whole lasagna in the freezer, but now I'm wishing I had portioned it out instead.

    Another cool thing that you can do with the rolls is make your own ice pack for your cooler. Measure out the length that will fit in your freezer, you can adjust the width too if you need to so it fits on the side or bottom, seal one end, fill 1/2-2/3 with water, seal the other end (without the vacuum seal), lay the bag flat on a cookie sheet, and freeze. You have a reusable solid chunk of ice that will last longer than cubes and custom fit to your cooler.

    1. Yeah I think we tend to have those relationships with things that aren't an everyday necessity but dang am I glad I have it when I do need it. Today I'm actually making some pancakes and French toast to freezer for Sunday brunches since they are the most time consuming and before I know it 20 minutes has passed. I love to pull them out the night before, heat for 30 seconds and done!

      That is an EXCELLENT tip with the ice and one I'll be using all summer I suspect! Thanks for that!

  4. I'm sold too. I've known for a long time this was the best option for us, now I need to step up and do something about it! I'm so tired of throwing away spoiled food! Thanks for the tutorial.

    1. You'll never have spoiled food again! (Well, as long as you save it in time! LOL) It'll save you so much money in that regard!

  5. I've been toying with buying one probably since I started reading your blog. I think you've been raving about it that long. I'm finally putting in a garden this year and I know I'm not going to can. How powerful is the suction? Do you think it would work on cake? I've been entertaining myself decorating cakes lately and find that it really helps to make the cake ahead and freeze it. But if the vacuum is too powerful it might squish things.

    1. Okay, I've had three experiences with cake and one was great, one was so so and the other it was dry but I suspect that last one was dry to begin with. My tip on that would be to let it cool completely and then wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap before freezing it and then Food Save it the next morning. I think it would go a long way in keeping the air in the cake if it can't suck it out of the cake. I hope that made sense. The suction is pretty powerful and it will suck some of the air out of the cake so I wouldn't make a Food Saved wedding cake. ;-)

  6. Replies
    1. You do!! With as much as I rave about it, they should give me one to give away to y'all!

  7. This was the perfect blog to show people how versatile the Food Saver is and how to use it. I do have one that my mom bought us and I love it. It truly takes away any freezer burn and it's quite easy to use. Just love it!


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