Jewels: Santa has elves, and you could have the Personal Chef Approach (PCA™) to help save your sanity through the holidays and all year round! Don’t just take my word for the PCA™’s incredible value and virtues, my very first premium member and frequent guest blogger, Lane Buckman shares how it has made her life and dinners deliciously manageable.

Your very own secret Santa’s helper

Lane: As I type, I have chicken simmering in homemade stock, veggies prepped for two different soups, and a couple of meats marinating, waiting their turn on my tiny, four-eyed stove. My recipe sheets are in separate windows on my laptop, waiting for me to alt+tab through as I get my cooking done for next week.

Lane with her lively 1st grader, “Thor”

I don’t know about you, but with a full-time job, about 10 hours of freelance work every week, a 1st grader who is always ready to play and hungry, and a hard-working husband who looks forward to coming home and staying home every weeknight, the Personal Chef Approach (PCA™) was a life saver for me! During the busy holiday season, it’s been even better.

If you’ve read any of my older blogs for Julie Anne, you know that when I started using her PCA ™, I was notorious for setting the kitchen on fire. It never even occurred to me that you could use a stove setting other than nuclear to cook your food, and my family got used to everything being served blackened. In the past year, though, my ability to cook and my confidence have grown exponentially.  I love being able to set the table and watch food disappear, getting thumbs-up from my family.  The holidays have put all my learning to the test.

A visit with Santa for Tatjana Rhodes

Right around Thanksgiving, I started a new job, going back to my personal field of dreams in a new position that has required training at a location pretty far from our home.  The new hours, plus the commute have taken about 45-minutes out of my already short evenings.  Add in the time needed for Christmas shopping, visits to Santa, holiday decorating, family and friend get-togethers (that require me to bring a covered dish!) and every other last minute thing, and it’s easy for dinner to take a back seat.  And by back seat I mean, it’s easy for dinner to end up in the backseat of the pizza delivery guy’s car.  It’s busy, y’all!

So, I have been thankful for the weekly menus that my Premium Membership to provides, as well as the special menus like the Party Accomplished mini eBbook and the Casseroles Menu that I have employed for my covered dish duties.  Meal planning with the PCA™ as Julie Anne arranges it means a variety of dishes full of flavor that even a newbie can manage.  And it means even with the insanity of my schedule, I’m putting healthy, thoughtful meals on my family’s plates at least five nights a week.

A PCA™ filled fridge

What I like best about the PCA™ is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I have good food ready for my family, and the time it gives back to me to enjoy those people I love. I grew up fantasizing about family breakfasts and hearty roast dinners at a huge table.  My adult reality has been cereal bars on the run and a townhouse that is so small, the dinner table is in storage. We use the coffee table in the living room for the roast-hating family’s meals. Not exactly a Christmas Card.  But even if I’ve just made it home from work with only 2.5 hours until Thor’s bedtime, we can still enjoy hot, healthy, gourmet meals around our tiny table in about fifteen minutes.  And that means we’re all happy.  You don’t get better holidays than that.

If you haven’t already joined, give yourself that gift this year.  Or, share the gift of time with a friend.  Honestly, of all my 2011 purchases, my Premium Membership and woolly-inside boots were the best.

Got taste? Now you can give it too!

Jewels:  Want to give a unique gift? Need a last minute stocking stuffer? Now through December 24th you can purchase Premium Membership Gift Certificates for 1 month, 3 months, or 1 year increments at 10% off for family and friends with any $25.00 minimum purchase. You can also enter to win a free month-long Premium Membership to my site, just by going to The Outside Lane and leaving a comment.

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