20 Meal Plan – A Must Have

Source: June 15, 2016 by

We are excited to share with you our 20 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals in 4 Hours meal plan.  This plan will allow you to have dinner planned for almost three weeks or more depending on your family size and if they like to eat leftovers! I love to save time in the kitchen so I can enjoy more moments with my boys. I also like to be prepared and know what I am serving for dinner so I am not spending time looking around for what I am going to make. When I freezer cook I save both time and money.

This was my fifth time prepping freezer meals for my family. I will say that the first time took a long time but I am now getting a rhythm down and get through it in no time. If you think 4 hours is a lot of time you have to consider that you are going to have 20 meals ready at the end of the 4 hour time!  If you are new to preparing freezer meals or don’t have the 4 hours to invest you may want to start with this plan —>How to make 8 Freezer Meals in 2 Hours.  We love it too!

 

First of all invest in a good quality slow cooker.  Our favorite is this programmable cook and carry 6qt oval slow cooker. To start you will want to go through your kitchen and pantry and make a list of what ingredients you will need to get at the store and what you already have on hand. I had all of the spices in my stockpile. I spent the majority of money on buying freezer bags, fresh produce and fresh meat/poultry, which I only spent $157.00 at my local Kroger store. A great way to save money is to purchase your meat in bulk from ZayconFresh.  I LOVE their chicken! When you are ready to prepare the meals you will want to set everything out on the counter that you will need.

 

Next, you will want to label all your ziploc bags with cooking times and if you need to add anything to the recipe when you place it in or out of the slow cooker. The next step was to cook any meat that needed to be cooked for a recipe (ground beef for several meals) or you can do like I did and I cooked the beef the night before and covered and placed in the fridge over night. I did this first so that the meat could cool before putting in the bag. Next I got to chopping, slicing  and dicing the veggies and fruit. I put them in bowls to keep together to make it easier when I needed to measure them out into bags.

 

At this point I started with my meals that contained whole chicken breasts that did not need to be cubed. I filled the bags with the chicken and added ingredients. Placed the bags in the freezer.

Now I started on my meals that needed cubed chicken. After they were filled they went in the freezer. Next I worked on my beef meals. After completing these I finished with my veggie freezer meals. Once all the meals were in the freezer I put dishes in the dishwasher and hand washed the rest. I put all the spices away and took a big deep breath, I was super excited to know that my family had meals for the next three weeks and I would not have to stress about it. One of the best parts is when I went to the store I spent less than $50 dollars on what I needed, however I did not buy most spices, broths or canned vegetables and fruits because it was in my stockpile. You may also want to consider investing in a food saver if you decide to freezer cook on a long term basis.  It extends the life of your frozen food by up to two years according to the manufacturer.

 

 

Is Contentment Important Today?

Contentment is a commodity not fully tapped into because I believe it’s misunderstood. You may think it means to just sit back with your cat and purr and believe all is well and I don’t need to do anything but relax. To the contrary, contentment is letting go of the things you can’t control and no longer holding tightly onto things in life. Being a very busy wife, business manager, and full time student pursuing my dual Master’s degree, I am content with my life.

I have a wonderful and sweet husband who is my best friend and we celebrate 11 1/2 fun years together. Before I met him, I told God I was ok if He didn’t send anyone to me right now because I was busy doing what I loved. But later in life I would like to have companionship and that he would be Jesus with skin on. The next day I met Larry on eharmony.com. Did you see what happened there? I let go of a very strong desire I had had early on in life. I became content in my life because I was fulfilled with doing things that I loved doing.

Knowing your purpose in life is key to becoming content. Many times I prayed to God, “why am I here on Earth?” “What is my purpose here?” I was brutally honest with Him because I wanted answers. I didn’t want to exist in life, that’s boring and idleness can get you into trouble. I knew God had a purpose for my life and all I had to do was to submit my life to Him. He said I could make my plans but He would order my steps. When I stopped making it all about “me” and trusting Him then I learned contentment. Then, I stopped striving and being so driven. This is not religious talk, it’s relationship with God who loves me and gave His own life for me and for you. What’s your purpose, better yet, what is your relationship with God?

 

 

 

The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Alzheimer’s Test: Could You Pass It?

By Sharon Tanenbaum | Medically reviewed by Ed Zimney Characters from the hit show are testing patient memory as part of an Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial — but should you worry if the questions trip you up?

What did you do for Thanksgiving last year? Where did you go on your honeymoon? Starting at 100, count backward by seven. Remember the following three-word sequence: truck, cabin, spoon.

These are among the series of questions Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey are asking of Alzheimer’s disease patients to determine whether they’re qualified for entry into a clinical trial on this season’s Grey’s Anatomy.

But if you’re sitting on the couch five minutes later struggling to remember the word “cabin,” should you worry about your own brain health? And just how accurate is such a test at gauging Alzheimer’s disease risk? Everyday Health asked leading memory experts for answers.

What the Grey’s Memory Tests Means

Although the test used on the TV show is not identified by name, some of the questions, like the three-word memory sequence and counting back directive, are included in the Folstein Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), a 30-point questionnaire introduced in 1975.

“It’s the most commonly used cognitive evaluation for memory loss,” says Cynthia Green, PhD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “It’s a screening test, so it doesn’t delve deeply into someone’s mental functioning across different areas of intellectual performance.” (Other types of MMSE questions include drawing certain pictures and performing a three-step command, such as “take a piece of paper, fold it in half, and place it on the floor.”)

Keep in mind that the questions used by Derek and Meredith in their fictional version of the test are just a sampling of the total number of questions that would be used in a real test. Otherwise the limited number of answers wouldn’t tell clinicians much. The questions portrayed on TV are such a small snippet that the results are not that significant for the average person, says Dr. Green. And the question of whether a patient can remember where she spent her honeymoon isn’t likely to be on a real test: “That’s more of a remote memory, which is usually retained until later stages of the disease,” Green notes.

Senior Moments vs. Real Red Flags

So why can’t you remember the above word sequence or where you parked the car at the supermarket? You probably just weren’t paying attention, or you were multitasking or just plain distracted. Such everyday “senior moments” aren’t enough to raise a red flag for dementia, says Green.

 “Everybody forgets things once in a while. It’s important to forget, otherwise think how awfully full your brain would be. You wouldn’t be able to sleep at night,” says Laurel Coleman, MD, a geriatric physician in Augusta, Maine, and national board member of the Alzheimer’s Association.

What is concerning, according to Green: “When a change in memory lasts for four to six months, impairs your ability to function independently at work or at home, and if your family and friends notice a change in your abilities or behavior.” If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms of possible dementia, you should talk to your doctor and get evaluated.

Even then, keep in mind that memory loss doesn’t automatically mean you have Alzheimer’s, which counts language problems, disorientation, and face-recognition issues among its other symptoms. “Memory loss can be a symptom of at least 75 different medical conditions,” says Green, including a vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid disorders, emotional distress, depression, and side effects from medication.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for about 70 percent of cases in people age 71 and older. But it strikes only five percent of people between 65 and 74. The younger you are, the more likely a memory-related issue is something other than Alzheimer’s.

“We worry so much about memory loss because it’s something we’re afraid of,” says Green. “But since there are so many different things that can cause it and many of those conditions are reversible, it’s important to seek evaluation, and to do it sooner rather than later.”

The Role of Memory Tests in Real-Life Alzheimer’s Studies

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is challenging, since the only way to definitively determine the presence of disease is by looking at brain cells after someone has died. Instead, doctors evaluate the likelihood of Alzheimer’s with a variety of tests that also seek to rule out other possible causes of dementia.

These can include a thorough medical history, complete physical examination, lab tests of blood, urine, and sometimes spinal fluid, and brain scans, in addition to cognitive testing. Doctors at specialized Alzheimer’s treatment centers can diagnose the disease with 90 percent accuracy, according to the National Institute on Aging. Read more about how Alzheimer’s is diagnosed here.

During the cognitive tests, clinicians check on a wide range of brain functions — assessing not just memory— but a patient’s calculation ability, attention, insight, judgment, and how they prioritize things, says Dr. Coleman. “We examine a variety of things because people think in so many different ways.”

Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease

The fictional Grey’s Anatomy clinical trial highlights the importance of real-life research: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there currently are more than 100 Alzheimer’s clinical trials that need 50,000 volunteers — with and without the disease — to participate. Such trials are studying new ways to detect, treat, and prevent Alzheimer’s and related types of dementia.

Although researchers can’t offer regular mental state exams by Dr. McDreamy, if you or a loved one is coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, consider finding a study that may be right for you through the Alzheimer’s Association Trial Match program or on ClinicalTrials.gov. Research shows that people involved in studies tend to do somewhat better than people at a similar stage of Alzheimer’s who are not enrolled in trials, the association says.

Best Exercise to Burn Fat

The best exercise to burn fat is to take your hands and place them palms first against the side of the table and push back. It’s all about portion size and burning more calories than  you consume. Keep moving your body, eat less sugar, and live in moderation. Stretching and foam rolling are 2 of the most important exercises you can do. Strength training is great for regulating blood sugar, weight loss, bone strengthening and balance. Yoga is great for balance, stretching and overall well being. It’s a choice. Be healthy and make healthier choices. Exercise is a must have whether you like it or not. It’s necessary for living well. Best to you on your journey to great health.