my kitchen

DIY Cali Blend Freezer Packs

9:41 am

by Jennifer Freeman

cali blend freezer packs

DIY Cali Blend Freezer Packs

Make your own freezer packs of California Blend Vegetables.  It is super easy (or I wouldn’t be sharing it or doing it  myself!)  March is a perfect time of year to be getting deals on broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.  If you are lucky enough to have Bountiful Baskets Co-op to order fantastic produce from, watch for the Cali-blend fresh packs for a great savings.

You do not have to use a Vacuum Pack Sealer (see deals), but it will make your packs last longer.

Cali-Blend Freezer Packs


  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
Gather Tools:
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • 3 bowls for your prepared veggies
  • Pot of boiling water
  • Bowl of cold water and ice
  • Colander and slotted spoon or scoop
  • Cookie sheet or large plate
  • Food Saver System or Freezer style Ziploc bags and a straw


  1. Fill your pot with water, about 1/2 full.  Prep your veggies while bringing pot of water to a boil.
  2. Peel your carrots and slice about a 1/4 inch or so.  Crinkle cut if you prefer.   Set carrots in a bowl.
  3. Cut your cauliflower and broccoli into pieces. I use up the stems too. Just peel the hard skin/layer off and slice the soft white middles like you would the carrots.
  4. Once your water is boiling add a combination of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.  What ever the amount you want in  your individual freezer packs.
  5. Blanch your veggies by boiling for 4 minutes. This will preserve them for freezing. Broccoli will turn a bright pretty green and carrots will become vibrant and sink.
  6. DO NOT OVER COOK YOUR VEGETABLES! They will become too soft and mushy. Keep boiling process to just 4 minutes.
  7. Scoop out your veggies and plunge them in the bowl of ice water for 4 minutes.   This  stops the cooking process and keeps the veggies fresh & crisp.
  8. Remove from the water and pat your veggies with a towel.  Remove as much water as you can before putting your veggies up for the freezer so they don’t ice up while freezing.
  9. Lay dried veggies a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  10. After frozen, it’s time to pack them for the freezer.  Use the Food Saver System or fill your Ziploc freezer bags and zip it up with the straw sticking out and suck out as much of the air as you can then finish zipping it shut. The less air in the bags means less of a chance for freezer burn and water crystals to build up on your veggies.
  11. Label the bags with Cali-blend and the date.  Use them throughout the year!




potato salad


Perked-up Potato Salad

Try something new and refreshing for 4th of July!  You can keep the basic ingredients for your traditional potato salad, but why not try a new dressing or substitute a few ingredients?
  • Mix half the amount of mayonnaise with sour cream or plain yogurt.
  • Use more colorful red potatoes with the skin on and substitute sliced green onions for regular.
  • Spice it up with a Southwestern kick. Mince fresh jalapeno and combine with cumin seeds, fresh lime zest and juice.
  • Add a Mediterranean twist using crumbled feta cheese, black olives, and fresh dill and mint. Use an olive oil and white-wine vinegar dressing.

How do you make you potato salad super?   Do share your tips and recipe ideas in the comments below!!


Tip From My Kitchen~Freeze Milk

9:59 am

by Jennifer Freeman

Milk getting close to expiration?   Freeze it in ice cube trays.  Then pop milk cubes in a ziplock bag.   Use for cooking or adding to milkshakes.   This has saved me many times when I need milk for cooking & didn’t realize I was out!  The average cube is 1 ½ Tablespoons


Red Hot Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe

8:30 pm

by Jennifer Freeman

Canned Applesauce

Cinnamon Applesauce

I ordered a case of apples from Bountiful Baskets.   My plan was to make and can homemade applesauce.  I canned 7 quarts, and then I remembered I had a theater box of Red Hot cinnamon candies in the cabinet I found on sale for $.79 a few weeks back.   You see, Mr. Cameraman has a love for Red Hots.   I decided to try making applesauce and adding the box of cinnamon candy to it — The verdict delicious!  What little kid doesn’t want pink applesauce?  (or Big Kid a.k.a. Mr. Cameraman)

Applesauce Red Hots

The applesauce is a snap.  Peel, core and cut apples into large chunks.   I filled an 8 quart pot 1/2 full of apples, added 1 cup apple juice and 1 box Cinnamon Candy (5.5 ounce) and cooked for about 30 minutes or until the apples were easily mashed using a potato masher.  That’s it!!

Red hot Applesauce

Normally, when I buy apples by the case I wait until they are at a super discounted price, these particular apples were still $1 a pound.  That makes each quart of applesauce about $2 each.  Way higher than I like, but we were out of homemade applesauce so I took the apples that were offered.  Next time I make applesauce, I will wait until the apples are priced better.  I like to keep my applesauce quarts priced at  $.50-$.75 each.  My kids don’t like store-bought applesauce because I have always made it at home.

Hot Tip:  After Valentine’s Day buy up boxes of cheap cinnamon Red Hots candies or the packages of heart shaped cinnamon candies.  This will keep your Cinnamon Applesauce price way down. 

What do you think?  Will you try it?

Cinnamon Applesauce


The simpliest way to fill a ziplock bag is to place it inside a glass measuring cup and fold the bag over the edges. Fill it up and zip it with no mess.  This works beautifully when filling bags with liquids.


How to Double Ready-to-Spread Frosting

6:53 am

by Jennifer Freeman

betty crocker frosting


How To Double Ready To Spread Frosting

This super easy tip will double your savings!!  I love to save money any which way I can and this is how I stretch my bucks on frosting.  To double how far your frosting will go, use my tried and true trick.  Put frosting in a bowl and beat it for 1 minute.  By beating it for a minute this adds air and makes the frosting extra fluffy and creamy. It spreads further and tastes so much better!

If you want more dense, just add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar before beating it and that will do the trick.