Sunday, August 03, 2008

Meal planning

I am a compulsive list maker. I often make the same lists two or three times in a twenty four hour period. The act of writing things down helps me remember more than referring to a list that I've made. When I'm in school, taking notes is more important than studying words on a page. And, like the majority of learners, I retain better from hearing rather than reading (especially if I'm writing down what I hear). But, I digress from my intended topic.

I have spent significant cycles this summer to cleaning and organizing my house. One area that has been sorely in need of such attention is our food storage areas. We are like squirrels, constantly accumulating things and stashing them away (not just food, but we DO excel at food accumulation and storage).

I decided to clean a cupboard this morning that had a sticky shelf, due to a syrup leak. Once I got started on that shelf, I realized how much stuff was in that particular cupboard. In our defense, the cupboard is one of those stupid corner cupboards where you really can't see what's in the back half of it. However, I have an idea how to improve that situation as well.

Seeing all the food on the counter after I cleaned out the cupboard reminded me of all the aging food in our freezer. So, I made a resolution to plan our meals for the week so that each meal would include at least one item from what was currently in our freezer or that problematic corner cupboard. I made a meal plan, and then I made the grocery list.

The grocery list only had two new main course items on it (hot dogs and ground turkey and macaroni - for a casserole I plan to make tomorrow while I'm working from home). The rest of our main courses would be from our stores. I figure we'll need to do this for about three weeks to turnover all the aging food from the freezer and cupboard.

We also have a large pantry at the top of our basement. This one gets turned over pretty well since we can see everything that's in it. I really LOVE this pantry. (Thank you, Goblin, for building it for me.)

I won't bore you with my meal plan for the week. It's not like they are supremely healthy or anything. It's oriented towards a different goal: getting our food storage under control.

Who knows, maybe our grocery bills will be a little smaller for a few weeks.


barbie2be said...

gosh, i hate that corner cabinet. i have all my dishes in that one. which is a problem since i only have one cabinet for food. i have to share my kitchen with 2 roommates who both fill the fridge, freezer and cupboards even though they never seem to cook. i finally went out and got myself a small chest freezer to put in our sunroom and a small bookcase to use as a pantry of sorts.

changejunkie said...

I am a food hoarder. My pantry is ridiculously over-stuffed. So is my stand-up freezer. Every holiday season, I give all my impulse purchase canned goods to the school food drive; and every April I toss out all the old, unused crap in the freezer.

I am trying to turn over a new leaf, though. I now plan menus for the week, and only buy what I need to make those dishes. I have cut my grocery bill by 25%, and we are eating better as an added benefit.

Julie said...

I've also had some trouble keeping track of my food, especially leftovers I've put in the freezer, so I've taken to writing everything down on a whiteboard. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it has made a big difference.

Summer said...

I'm not a food horder hense many times when I start cooking I have to send the husband to the store to get something I need. I will never learn to check first. Good thing the grocery store is close.

Kitten Herder said...

Julie - You hit the nail on the head. I've actually decided to put a whiteboard on the inside of the corner cabinet door, to remind me what I've put in there!