Head on over HERE to order your Magic Meal Plan Tin with 12 weeks of slow cooker meals (in stock now and shipping soon!) Or get your Crocktober PDF menu plans with 12 weeks of meals HERE. Either way you'll be included in the private PPP Supper Club Facebook Group, and will be inspired to get dinner done each day!
We've just finished up our final week of our annual Crocktober Cooking Challenge ~ and, goodness, I just love Crock-tober so very much!
If you didn't join us, you don't even know what you missed.
The meals have been just fantastic, and the community inside our private Facebook is just the sweetest spot.
Now that we've finished Crocktober though, I can finally take a breath and share the rest of the story here too.
Here on Passionate Penny Pincher, I've been sharing crockpot meals for a whopping ten years.
Not because I love to cook.
Or because I'm even a good cook.
But because my crock has guaranteed so many meals in our home on nights we would otherwise have eaten out with money we often just didn't have.
When our kids were little, I knew that if I planned to make dinner at 5PM (aka the bewitching hour at our house), something would throw things off track. Instead of dinner at home we'd end up eating cereal for dinner (or driving through Chick-Fil-A and shelling out $30 that just wasn't in our budget.)
My little crockpot saved me, because it forced me to plan dinner first thing in the morning, when my brain was still functioning with at least a little speed. (I've always been a morning person, so by using my crockpot bright and early I saved time, money, and dinner).
So for the last ten years, almost every single time I've tested or made a crockpot recipe, I've shared it here on PPP in some form or fashion. A few years ago we started “Crocktober”, and thousands of families joined in along the way.
This year though I decided to do something different.
As a blogger and a mom, I've shared oodles of awesome menu planning options (both paid for and free), but constantly felt like online menu plans required way too much work.
Using a menu plan that was done for me (even a free menu plan!) saved me time, but ultimately felt like more effort than it needed to be.
Even if someone else made the menu plan, I had to open a browser to access it, print the menu plans or download them on my phone, organize them if they were printed, or hunt them down on my phone while trying to make dinner.
Almost without fail as I was looking up a recipe online, I'd get a phone call or text while trying to make dinner, and I'd have to re-pull up that recipe 82 times exactly during each meal.
It just never felt easy.
Then I had this idea.
While walking through Barnes & Noble last February, I saw a pretty recipe tin. It dawned on me that if someone could just create a tin with everything I needed right in it to make dinner (the grocery list, the menu plan, all the things), and just tell me what to make every day, it would quite possibly change my life.
What if I didn't have to print the menu plan, download an app, or hunt a recipe down on my phone, but instead just had a pretty recipe card including a menu plan and grocery list delivered to my house (just as easily as Amazon delivers my toilet paper?) 🙂
Well because I'm super lucky (or, super crazy . . . ), I decided we could make just such a thing in time for Crocktober.
Here's where the honest part comes in.
I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING.
OR HOW HARD IT WOULD BE.
It took hours and hours and hours and hours and hours to figure out how to design the cards.
To come up with a dry-eraseable list that worked.
To choose a format that we loved.
To pick the right weight for the recipe card.
To design a tin (we had a tin mold made and shipped to us from our factory in China – the first one was awful but the second was better. I had no idea that was even part of the process!)
We had to put together the menu plan perfectly. Make sure with oodles of sets of eyeballs were on it so that there weren't any typos. And make sure each card was formatted exactly the way it needed to be.
(Because it was being printed it had to be perfect – with a PDF or recipe online making a change is simple, but once something is printed 10,000 times you can't have an error ~ you're just stuck)!
That wasn't even the beginning though.
Once the tins landed here (on the first of many semi trucks in my driveway), someone had to unstack the pallets. (Um, that would be me ~ the pallets arrived a day early and I was the only one here to unpack).
Someone had to figure out how to ship the tins. We had to decide the best way to store the pallets, how to get them in and out of our house, and how to unpack and then re-pack all the things.
(Never doing anything like this before I just wasn't sure how big a project this would be, if these would even sell, and if we really wanted a storage facility outside of our home. I truly love working from home and we have a huge empty basement. So . . . we thought it would just be easy.)
After all that (whew!) I had to actually SELL THE RECIPE TINS. I thought they might be a no-brainer purchase (I mean really, solving the problem of dinner, delivered to your door?) and for the most part they have sold far beyond my expectations. I'd planned honestly on selling about 1/3 of the stock we had initially, then storing them to promote a few times a year during special challenge months (like Crocktober – and I have another idea for a challenge in the Spring too!)
Oh. AND THEN WE HAD TO ACTUALLY REALLY SHIP THE TINS. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF TINS.
Which meant boxing, labeling, walking up and down the steps with thousands of tins and becoming BFFs with our local UPS team (they've really been amazing!) along the way.
Remember though . . . I'm just a regular mom, probably a lot like you over here on this side of the screen.
I hopped into this mess of blogging ten years ago, not knowing anything about marketing, advertising, the internet, and, heaven knows, not one single thing about shipping.
Want to hear the whole truth?
This has been a lot.
(READ: A LOTTTTTTT.)
And maybe not my favorite Crock-tober because I've felt a wee bit overwhelmed every day.
I've gotten oodles of emails and private messages and Facebook posts from hundreds of women sharing how this little idea I had has totally changed dinner in their home.
I've seen so many folks say they've never really cooked before, but now are buying real food, saving money for their family, and eating yummy meals as a family because of this little magic tin.
And that has been one of the most rewarding things I've done online in the last ten years.
In ten years of blogging and only giving people digital content online, being able to design, create, and ship something that was once just up in my head and actually send it out to you in the mail has felt pretty crazy amazing.
And for that… gosh, what a fun gift you've given me.
As of last week, we've shipped the rest of the tins to a 3rd party company (they're called 3PLs for 3rd Party Logistics – who knew?!) to manage shipping.
As much as I wanted to keep things small, they just kind of grew beyond what our family and oodles of great friends here could do.
But along the way, we've had neighbor kids making boxes, our own kids packing boxes, college kids moving boxes, family wrapping boxes, newly-found and old friends coming over to help, and even PPP team members flying or driving here to help me dig myself out of this craziness I kind of created.
And my sweet husband. BLESS THAT MAN. He has packed and labeled and shipped what feels like 92 million boxes himself. (y'all. don't misunderstand, we have NOT sold 92 million tins. If that was the case I'd have skipped off to the beach for the rest of my life and you could just come pick up your box here.) 🙂
So. That's the behind the scenes truth of this story.
It's been a super fulfilling adventure, but also a pretty hard journey some of the way.
When you look at folks on the internet and think they're seeing crazy easy success, know that the work that's gone on behind the scenes is ridiculous.
It doesn't come easy ~ there's a hefty price for getting there, even on the days the work is so very worth it.
I feel so incredibly fortunate to have an amazing team of women who work on PPP supporting me, and even more blessed to have you cheering me on all the way.
So if you bought a tin or one of our slow cooker menu plans, thank you.
Thanks for trusting me with your money ~ I don't take that lightly and am overwhelmingly thankful for you.
If I can tackle this . . . well then, you can go ahead and tackle dinner today. 🙂
And maybe take on some crazy-big-dream project too.
Thank you for joining me for Crock-tober-ember.
If you'd like a recipe tin after hearing all the craziness, that awesome 3PL will be shipping those right out to you today (we do still have some stock left but not tons. I don't think they'll last through Black Friday, and definitely not through the end of the year.)
We are working on a new set of cards to fill the tin, but I don't know what we'll do as far as future tins go (there are some kinks I'd like to see fixed before we order more.)
So there you have it.
The whole (LONG ~ WOWZA!) truth.
If you read all this, I'm sure thankful for you. 🙂
Go dream up something big today too.
But first. Pull out your crock. Get dinner started. And then all the rest of the things will magically fall into place too.
Cheering for you!
P.S. Here's one of a million sweet comments about the tin that just made my day today “Laurie – Thank YOU for creating this wonderful meal plan and community. I just told my husband that Crocktober has been the best money I have ever spent. Seriously! I like to cook but my biggest struggle is meal planning. The past month has been so stress free in that regard-I get to cook fabulous (and bonus….easy!!) meals that the family loves without any of the work to figure out what’s for dinner. This has been an absolute blessing!” ~Kristy, Private PPP Supper Club Facebook Group
Go HERE to snag your recipe tin, and enjoy dinner in your home today too.
(ALL THE INFO):
If grocery shopping and menu planning feel overwhelming to right now, you need to join us today too.
Here's all you need to do:
- Go HERE to download our menu plans and grocery lists (you can also order the recipe tin delivered to your door ~ it's on backorder but should ship in November, and includes links to all the PDF versions of the recipes and grocery lists, you'll just get a tin too when they're available including your dry-erasable grocery list!)
- As soon as you sign up, I'll send you an email with a link to the menu plans for you to use at home, as well as an invitation to our private Facebook Group where we're all making dinner every single day together.
- Buy your groceries this weekend using the easy grocery list included in the menu plans
- Make five yummy meals that will five every single weekday this month ~ you will have plenty for leftovers, and your family will love each one!
Note: the challenge is for four weeks, but the menu plans are for a whopping TWELVE WEEKS OF MEALS ~ just $1.24 per week!
(And, remember you can always watch the replays on Facebook later in the day as well if you miss me in the morning, and we'll also post all of the Crocktober videos updated right over HERE on Youtube too. )
Here's the full list of what we've made this month (just four of the twelve weeks or recipes included in the menu plan and tin):
- Monday 10/14/19 – slow cooker chicken parmesan
- Tuesday 10/15/19 – slow cooker tortellini soup
- Wednesday 10/16/19 – slow cooker chicken enchiladas
- Thursday 10/17/19 – slow cooker barbecue ribs
- Friday 10/18/19 – slow cooker breakfast casserole
- Monday 10/21/19 – slow cooker ravioli lasagna
- Tuesday 10/22/19 – slow cooker chicken pot pie
- Wednesday 10/23/19 – slow cooker ham & cheese melts
- Thursday 10/24/19 – slow cooker white chicken chili
- Friday 10/25/19 – slow cooker chicken nachos
- Monday 10/28/19 – slow cooker french dip sliders
- Tuesday 10/29/19 – slow cooker buffalo chicken lettuce wraps
- Wednesday 10/30/19 – slow cooker vegetable beef & barley stew
- Thursday 10/31/19 – slow cooker chicken cordon bleu
- Friday 10/01/19 – slow cooker meat lovers chili
WEEK FOUR STARTING 11/4/19 (we'll just call it Crock-ember)
- Monday 11/4/19 – slow cooker taco lasagna
- Tuesday 11/5/19 – slow cooker balsamic glazed pork loin
- Wednesday 11/6/19 – slow cooker cashew chicken
- Thursday 11/7/19 – slow cooker open faced sirloin sandwiches
- Friday 11/8/19 – slow cooker buffalo chicken chili
Go HERE to download your menu plans, and leave a comment if you have any questions at all. I'm so excited for you to get started and know your family will love this!
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