Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Food Foray: The Plan

New month, new project.

Can you tell how bored I am; how badly I need to use my brain to develop and carry out a project while school is on pause?  It's really annoying.  I thought I'd be able to just sit around, relax, watch  movies, and put laundry away, but I don't have the attention span for either lately - well, except yesterday, and it was awesome.  My mind is in need of projects for which I can plan, make lists, execute, and see results.

The January Junk Jettison was a success because I could see a quantifiable number of things (496) that were being expelled from the house.  Tangible results - not just 'purging' with no purpose other than to empty up space in a cabinet and not being able to see real results. Also, even though I collected most of the items at the beginning of the month to satisfy my daily number requirement, I'm still getting rid of things - tonight's chore will be going through blankets, sheets, and pillows we don't use.
 This is an exaggeration, but we sure do have a lot of blankets we don't use...

Now it's February and I need a new project.  Preferably one I can turn into an alliteration to maintain consistency among projects - haha.  Everyone who knows us knows we eat out.  A lot.  Too much.  We don't buy too many groceries, but we still end up throwing away expired food once a month or so.  It's really bad.  But not bad enough that we'll stop eating out and actually eat the groceries we buy.  Sad.

I've tried doing the meal planning thing, only buying groceries you need for meals for the week, and writing them down to stick to it.  Sounds like it would work for me, but we'll do it for a week and just never print a new sheet or make a new list and the idea goes out the window.  It definitely works, but for some reason I can't keep it up.  So we're going to try something new for this month.

Bonnie sent me an email the other day containing a link to an article to help with my last few days of the January Junk Jettison: 18 Things You Can Get Rid of Today.  Number 6 has to do with food, and includes getting rid of expired and outdated items and being creative with meals to avoid wasting groceries and money - here's that section:

Cupboards full of food you're not sure you're going to use? Some solutions:
•Check the expiration dates on everything in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. If it's about to expire, put it on the menu for that week, says professional organizer Bohn.
•Motherboard Mom Dawn Schnake gives her sons what they call "muffin pan snacks" to get rid of those almost-empty bags of cereal, crackers, and chips. She fills each of the 12 muffin cups with a different snack and throws in some veggies, cut-up fruit, and cheese cubes. "The boys think they've sat down to a feast," she says—and she gets her pantry cleaned out.
•If you know you're never going to use an item—and it's still good—give it to your local food pantry.
•Have an "Eat Out of the Pantry or Freezer" week, says Marla Cilley, flylady.net. You'll be surprised at how creative you can get with your menu planning when you're only using the ingredients on hand. She also suggests this as a way to inspire creativity and frugality: "When you throw away food, imagine you're throwing dollar bills in the trash can!"

I've heard of people doing the freezer/pantry clean-out when they're moving to avoid transporting food and worrying about things going bad in the process.  So we're going to try it during the week this month.  We'll still need to stock fresh fruits and veggies, but I'm sure we have enough meat and sides to last us the month.  

Disclaimer:  Weekends are free, so we can still eat out then - it's just not realistic for me to say no eating out for a month because I know we'll fail at that, especially since we're going out of town This weekend and I'll be in Fred with my girls on Sunday for a birthday lunch.  Also, there's no way I'm coming home to eat a sandwich if I'm out running errands, nor will I take one with me to eat in the car.  Snack, yes.  Meal, no.

Wish us luck!  Stay tuned for before pictures of the freezers (kitchen and garage) and pantry for a starting point.

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