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#1 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm currently compiling some recipes and ideas for freezer food that we can eat post-partum.  I know exactly what I'll be making for the toddler.  I make her big batches of homemade food every week anyway and so all I need to do is triple or quadruple the batches and put the extras in the deep freezer. I'm ready to start adding to the freezer, like, today!  However, I'm not sure if it's too early or not.  I'm due in 6 weeks.  How long will things like meatballs and sweet potato pancakes keep in a deep freezer? 

 

When do you plan to start feeding your freezer?  Or have you already?!

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#2 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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I'm due end May/early June, and I am planning on starting cooking next weekend, making batches of different types of food.  I am also starting to stockpile jarred/canned/dried goods that can be turned into meals and snacks in a jiffy.  However, I know not all foods freeze equally well, so I'm sticking to a few basics, and asking others to bring a few meals/come over and cook during the first few weeks.  I will also make a "basics" grocery list of fresh stuff that I can hand off to anyone.

 

Some ideas:

Frozen:

frozen muffins; brownies; soups; chilis; casseroles; fish/chicken sticks; fries; hashbrowns; bacon; frozen fruits and yogurt cubes for easy smoothies; hot dogs; burgers; bread/wraps/pizza crusts; meats; some frozen pre-made meals

 

Dry:

rice; quinoa; pasta; lentils; buckwheat; nuts; fruit; seeds; healthy junk food; crackers; protein powder

 

Canned:

pasta sauce; curry mix; canned veggies for slow cooker recipes 

 

 Good luck!


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#3 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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I have been feeding the freezer!  Well....technically my mother has been.  She no longer has a family at home to cook for so she ends up freezing lots of food and has been packaging it up for us.  Meatballs can be precooked and frozen for months.  We always have meatballs in the freezer:)

 

Salsibury steak is one of our stash right now. Gravy packet is rubberbanded to the container with written instructions for whomever is reheating it to make rice or potatoes or noodles with it.  I like making a bunch of pre-cooked pizzas and sticking them in the freezer too.  We will have some 'bread wraps' (meat and veggies and a bit of gravy wrapped like a calzone almost), apple pie filling, lasagna, layered enchilada bake, premade burgers ready for the grill.  I am planning to make several loaves of bread and freeze those too.  

 

I think I will have at least 3 batches of sweet dough ready to go that I can pull out of the freezer to make up cinnamon rolls or bagels.  Rice and beans freeze well too.  I plan to have a couple shepherds pies too.  

 

Can you tell that casseroles are popular in my family.  But they freeze well and anyone can reheat them!


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#4 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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I'm not due until mid-June so I'm not starting on the food stockpiling yet. However, when I do get to that point I'll be mostly cooking the things that involve meat so I don't have to stand over a stove in the middle of a Texas summer.

 

Some ideas:

- Spagetti sauce w/ ground beef

- Taco meat, seasoned (ground beef)

- Hamburger patties, cooked on the grill en mass and frozen

- Chicken marinated in teriyaki sauce, or other marinades & frozen

 

 

For any of these it's pretty easy to boil up some noodles or rice to go with them. We usually have a large container of jasmine rice in the fridge that is already cooked since we eat it a lot. The taco meat just needs beans out of a can with tortillas and veggies.

 

For snacks we have tons of carrots and sugar snap peas in the fridge, stuff for sandwiches, peanut butter crackers, and other fruits. Breakfast is usually cold cereal or oatmeal, although I may hard boil a bunch of eggs to have them handy for whomever wants them.

 

I'm wondering about freezing crepes. My kids LOVE them and they'll make them on their own, but the mess they leave behind is terrible. I'm wondering if it would be easier to quadruple (or more) the recipe, make a ton of them, and then freeze them in packs of 6 or so. I think I may make a big batch of homemade applesauce as well and freeze some of that it different batches for the kids to put on the crepes.


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#5 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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Last time we made 4 pans of lasagna and were so glad we did it!  We made the sauce and preassembled the whole thing but then did not bake it, just covered with foil and put in the freezer.  We basically took out one pan each time we had a new guest (first my best friend, then my parents, then DH's parents), defrosted it in the fridge and then baked it, and that plus garlic bread and salad provided dinners for 3 nights.  We're planning to do the same thing this time; I think we made them at about 36 weeks.  I would love to make more stuff ahead but we buy meat in bulk from a local farm and shop at Costco so our freezers are already super full. 


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#6 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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I really really want to start my freezer meals, but 1) I'm not due til the end of June, so 2.5 months seems a little long, and 2) we have a tiny, TINY freezer, so if I fill it up now with food to eat pp, we won't have any room for food we might want to eat in the interim.  But that hasn't stopped me from making a list of meals I plan to make! 

 

chicken pot pies

shephard's pies

enchiladas

giant batch of tomato sauce in quart-size freezer bags (one bag = one meal)

meatballs, possibly

pizza

lentils (I mix them with taco seasoning instead of beef)

lasagna

sauces for curries and frozen cubed chicken (dh can put them together)

 

I've also been looking for some good soup recipes that DH and I both want to eat.  So far all we can agree on is Mulligatawny, but last time I made it I was in the kitchen FOREVER, so I'm not looking forward to a repeat. 

 

Max'sMama, I really love the idea of freezing dough!  I suppose it's possible that I might want to eat something fresh in between the long line of reheats and leftovers.  :)  Cinnamon rolls sound delicious right now, too.  Looking at my list makes me think I should make some pies or cookie dough or something so we can have sweet treats every once in a while.  We'll see how that goes - dinner is probably more important than dessert.

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#7 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These are great ideas!

 

My hang up is that I never know if I should cook it first and then freeze....or assemble it and freeze it raw.  And then I also never know how to cook it if it's frozen.  (And we never think ahead enough to thaw.  Or we're in the mood for it and then days later once it's thaw, it doesn't sound good).

 

Like, for lasagna, for instance...you just put it in the freezer uncooked?  And just top with foil?  It doesn't get freezer burned?  I guess I assumed it would have to be air tight.

 

Someone earlier mentioned to "pre-cook".  I make my daughter big batches of meatballs, but I assemble them and freeze them raw.  (I pull out about 6 and bake them).  But, should I be pre-cooking them?  Does raw meat not keep as long in the freezer?

 

Sorry if these are dumb questions.  shy.gif

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#8 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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For my lasagna, I put it together, top it in foil, then either go nuts with cling film or stick it in a big freezer bag (it's just 2 of us, so I don't make a big 9x13 dish).  As for baking, I usually drop the temp 25 degrees so the top doesn't burn and bake it longer (depending on the size of the dish, sometimes a LOT longer).  You could always look at the directions on a store-bought frozen lasagna to get an idea for cooking times and temps.  :)  In general, cooking frozen casseroles is super-easy.  I wouldn't put a frozen glass dish into a pre-heated oven, though - I did that once and it cracked from the temperature change, so I started putting the casseroles into the oven when it's cold.

 

Raw meat will keep for up to a year, so I don't think not pre-cooking your meatballs is bad, as long as they're packaged well and consistently frozen solid (not thawed and refrozen a bunch of times).  For things that are going to be baked, I'd say freezing raw would be easier than pre-cooking and then freezing.  It's going to take *forever* to reheat either way, so this way you only do it once!  Chicken, too, is probably better frozen raw, but I just say that based on my experience in college with microwave dinners - frozen chicken was always AWFUL.  For mix&match stuff like batches of ground beef or hamburger patties, though, the convenience is from having them cooked so all you have to do is nuke 'em for 30 seconds and voila, a meal.

 

Sorry if this is really spazzy, I'm feeling a little oogy and it's hard for me to think in a straight line right now. 

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#9 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikie23 View Post

Chicken, too, is probably better frozen raw, but I just say that based on my experience in college with microwave dinners - frozen chicken was always AWFUL.  For mix&match stuff like batches of ground beef or hamburger patties, though, the convenience is from having them cooked so all you have to do is nuke 'em for 30 seconds and voila, a meal.


When I do the marinades on the chicken I stick the chicken and the marinade in a gallon freezer bag, squeeze all the air out and stick it back in the freezer. It marinates the meat while it's freezing and then all I have to do is pull a bag of chicken out, toss it in the fridge to thaw and bake it. Half the time I don't even bother thawing it first, I'll just stick it in the oven and bake it from frozen.

 

A really easy thing to make that you could make and freeze, or just make, is chicken taco meat. I take 4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts and put them in my crockpot. I add 3/4 cup to 1 cup of water and a packet of that taco seasoning you can get at the store. If I'm starting it in the morning I cook it on low, if it's afternoon I cook it on high. The meat is super tender and juicy and it falls apart. And it's plenty for the 4 of us (2 adults, 2 children) with some leftovers. This meat is also fantastic used as chicken enchiladas.

 


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#10 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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I really like the idea of the marinating frozen chicken.  Forget pp, I should do that all the time!  One of the biggest issues I have with cooking is it's just me and DH, so I either make little things or we eat the same leftovers for a week.  This would be a good way to mix it up AND I could prep a bunch at once to save time!  Awesome.  :)

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#11 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikie23 View Post

 

Sorry if this is really spazzy, I'm feeling a little oogy and it's hard for me to think in a straight line right now. 



No, not at all.  Very helpful, thanks!

 

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#12 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dot-to-Dot View Post

Someone earlier mentioned to "pre-cook".  I make my daughter big batches of meatballs, but I assemble them and freeze them raw.  (I pull out about 6 and bake them).  But, should I be pre-cooking them?  Does raw meat not keep as long in the freezer?



It's fine as long as the meat hasn't been frozen before. Ie. you can't defrost ground meat, form it into balls/mix it with stuff, and then refreeze.

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#13 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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Good ideas! I need to get onto this, I guess. I froze heaps of meals last time, but not enough variety - we got really sick of beef stew. Actually, I don't think I've liked it since. :p

 

Unfortunately DH and Flatmate will probably still be on the Atkins diet when I give birth, so freezing bread and lasagna and things will probably be out. (Well, I'll do some bread for me and DD, but it won't help much meals-wise.) I plan to freeze a lot of soup - we're stockpiling chicken stock. Not sure what else we'll make.

 

I also planned to buy a bunch of pre-made meals (still cheaper than takeout!), but again, with the Atkins thing, I'm not sure what. I can't do frozen pies or ravioli like I planned. Hmm. Drat.


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#14 of 24 Old 04-14-2011, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's fine as long as the meat hasn't been frozen before. Ie. you can't defrost ground meat, form it into balls/mix it with stuff, and then refreeze.



Uh-oh...why not?  That IS what I've been doing.  We bought a large amount of meat and it's in our deep freezer.  I thaw it and make meatballs (about 50) and of course dd wouldn't be able to eat 50 in one week, so I freeze the meatballs and take out only 6 or 7 at a time to bake for her dinner.  Eek!

 

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It's fine as long as the meat hasn't been frozen before. Ie. you can't defrost ground meat, form it into balls/mix it with stuff, and then refreeze.


Really? I've never heard that before. I know you're not supposed to refreeze breast milk, but it's not exactly the same as hamburger meat. I would think that you could thaw & refreeze after making it into meatballs as long as it was all done within a day or two.

 

 

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Uh-oh...why not?  That IS what I've been doing.  We bought a large amount of meat and it's in our deep freezer.  I thaw it and make meatballs (about 50) and of course dd wouldn't be able to eat 50 in one week, so I freeze the meatballs and take out only 6 or 7 at a time to bake for her dinner.  Eek!

Honestly, I think you're fine. If you're really concerned, just cook all the meatballs at once and then put them back in the freezer after they're cooked. The bonus to that is that you only have to heat them for dinner instead of cooking them all the way through so it takes less time.
 

 


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#16 of 24 Old 04-14-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Really? I've never heard that before. I know you're not supposed to refreeze breast milk, but it's not exactly the same as hamburger meat.

 


Okay, I did a little research into this. It's okay to refreeze meat as long as it was thawed in the fridge (not in cold water or on the counter). I guess I've been being overly cautious - I was raised by a nurse and a biologist, total germophobes ;-)

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#17 of 24 Old 04-14-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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For meatballs, we precook them that way it's super duper fast to prepare something with them, ala spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs or the like.   For casseroles I make them as if I was making them fresh, so meat is often precooked and assembled in a dish, then I put it in the freezer instead of the oven.  I like to throw wax paper underneath the casserole so that when it's frozen I can pop the frozen dish out and zip lock it so that the dish is free to use for other days.  Sometimes I do just throw caution to the wind and buy the disposable aluminum casserole dishesjaw2.gif

 

I also remembered that we do some breakfast casseroles and quiche as well.  Quiche freezes unbelievably well, I do precook it a bit and then just finish it off the day I want it.

 

Chili too, though for a summer babe I would probably avoid it.  I forgot all about crockpot baggies.  I do that and freeze for camping and it would work for this too.  Basically I put together raw meals that I can cook in the crockpot.  Stuff like stuffed rosemary chicken, chicken or beef stew, stroganoff with rice, caribbean black bean soup, beef tips and rice.  Yummo stuff.  I actually received a .doc from a mom here on MDC years ago with pages upon pages of crockpot recipes that I still use for camping, I should totally use it for this too!

 

 

 


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For meatballs, we precook them that way it's super duper fast to prepare something with them, ala spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs or the like.   For casseroles I make them as if I was making them fresh, so meat is often precooked and assembled in a dish, then I put it in the freezer instead of the oven.  I like to throw wax paper underneath the casserole so that when it's frozen I can pop the frozen dish out and zip lock it so that the dish is free to use for other days.  Sometimes I do just throw caution to the wind and buy the disposable aluminum casserole dishesjaw2.gif

 

I also remembered that we do some breakfast casseroles and quiche as well.  Quiche freezes unbelievably well, I do precook it a bit and then just finish it off the day I want it.

 

Chili too, though for a summer babe I would probably avoid it.  I forgot all about crockpot baggies.  I do that and freeze for camping and it would work for this too.  Basically I put together raw meals that I can cook in the crockpot.  Stuff like stuffed rosemary chicken, chicken or beef stew, stroganoff with rice, caribbean black bean soup, beef tips and rice.  Yummo stuff.  I actually received a .doc from a mom here on MDC years ago with pages upon pages of crockpot recipes that I still use for camping, I should totally use it for this too!

 


I'm SO glad to hear that quiche freezes well! I love quiche and so does my family. We throw all kinds of stuff in there. I wanted to make several of them, but I was worried that they wouldn't freeze well. Yay!

 

I wonder if I have the same crockpot document that you do. I got it from a friend on another message board and it has 677 recipes, broken down by meat type (there are veggie ones also). I'll be making some of those up and getting it all ready so I can toss it all in the crockpot and go.

 


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#19 of 24 Old 04-14-2011, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 677 recipes, broken down by meat type



WOW!  Would it be difficult to share?  I'm so picky - I'm sure I could find a handful of recipes among 677!

 

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#20 of 24 Old 04-15-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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I have frozen batches of crepes before and it's not an issue, just be sure to slip a sheet of wax paper between each crepe :)

 

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I'm not due until mid-June so I'm not starting on the food stockpiling yet. However, when I do get to that point I'll be mostly cooking the things that involve meat so I don't have to stand over a stove in the middle of a Texas summer.

 

Some ideas:

- Spagetti sauce w/ ground beef

- Taco meat, seasoned (ground beef)

- Hamburger patties, cooked on the grill en mass and frozen

- Chicken marinated in teriyaki sauce, or other marinades & frozen

 

 

For any of these it's pretty easy to boil up some noodles or rice to go with them. We usually have a large container of jasmine rice in the fridge that is already cooked since we eat it a lot. The taco meat just needs beans out of a can with tortillas and veggies.

 

For snacks we have tons of carrots and sugar snap peas in the fridge, stuff for sandwiches, peanut butter crackers, and other fruits. Breakfast is usually cold cereal or oatmeal, although I may hard boil a bunch of eggs to have them handy for whomever wants them.

 

I'm wondering about freezing crepes. My kids LOVE them and they'll make them on their own, but the mess they leave behind is terrible. I'm wondering if it would be easier to quadruple (or more) the recipe, make a ton of them, and then freeze them in packs of 6 or so. I think I may make a big batch of homemade applesauce as well and freeze some of that it different batches for the kids to put on the crepes.



 


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#21 of 24 Old 04-15-2011, 02:19 PM
 
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I think I'm mostly going to freeze soups and tomato/meat sauce for lasagna and spagetti.  I don't find it takes much to make lasagna once the sauce is made, so hopefully dh can handle that.  Summer is such an easy eating time of year (BBQ, salads and fresh fruits!) so I am not that worried about it.  I'm going to make sure we have our freezer and pantry really well stocked so I don't have to worry as much about groceries and I'm going to print out instructions for several easy meals for my dh and brother.

 

I might do breakfast burritos too because its easy to make a huge batch of those and freeze them for easy breakfasts.

 

I'm thinking of freezing stuff like muffin batter and portioned cookie dough so we have some easy to bake treats, but if I do it too soon we will just eat them now ;)


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#22 of 24 Old 04-15-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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I think that prebought frozen quiche is tasty, but I find that even fridging my homemade quiches make them get all watery. I would not freeze my own, especially not when I am risking a thawed + baked + frozen + thawed + rebaked crust.

 

Anyway, we're actually trying to eat through our freezers as much as we can. In a month we'll have the kitchen redone and I'd like to minimize potential spoilage by eating what we can. I'll work on freezer food afterwards. I do a lot of soups. We love soups year-round: split pea with ham and barley thaws reeeeally well. We love a mushroom stew with squash or tomatoes or barley, and sometimes they thaw fantastically, but sometimes they just feel like cooked veggies in water, if that makes sense. Moroccan tagine full of chicken, chickpeas, and squash thaws well, as does sausage soup with tomatoes and wild rice (or with ground turkey instead). I like lasagna, but we're not big casserole people.

 

Tip on freezing lasagna and casseroles that I learned from Super Baby Food...She calls it the "phantom container" method and it means you don't have to lose your pans in the freezer for months. Line your to-be-frozen baking pans with waxed paper or plastic wrap or something, as long as you leave some hanging over the edge of the pan. Make up your chow and freeze it overnight, uncovered (or covered some). Use the edges to lift out your block of frozen food, then wrap well in Saran Wrap, then foil. I believe this order (rather than foil + saran) is better for freezer burn. Plus, a Sharpie on foil writes really well for temp and cook times. Be sure to write down what pan you used! When you're ready to thaw it, unwrap block of food and plop back in its pan, then thaw in fridge or bake from frozen. 

 

By the way, the first time I tried this technique, I stuck the block of lasagna in my fridge overnight (yes, I had the forethought to prethaw this ONE time) and couldn't figure out why my shelf was covered in tomato-y water the next day. Turns out that was the phantom container block and DH had to help me flip the thawed block back into the pan over the sink. Next time I'll make a note on the foil!

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#23 of 24 Old 04-16-2011, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lithigin View Post

I think that prebought frozen quiche is tasty,


Heh heh, yeah, I'm pretty much a fan of anything "pre-bought".ROTFLMAO.gif

 

I'm so happy!  My dh took dd to her gymnastics class and I was finally able to make about 5 weeks worth of sweet potato pancakes (dd's favorite breakfast)!  Those suckers take forever since they are so dense.  It feels good to have her absolute favorite breakfast on hand for several weeks...I'm starting to think about all the different ways I can treat her as I'm worried about how her 1.5 yr old self will handle having a new little sister.
 

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#24 of 24 Old 04-18-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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Can someone come over and fill my freezer please? Oh, and I'll need a bigger freezer too.... Thanks :) 


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