Stress Organizing Food Areas
It has come to almost the end of our meat. We bought a whole cow last summer, and it is dwindling. It makes me sad. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to buy stuff in the market. It is so much healthier to know what your cow has been eating before you feed it to your children. Anyway, back to the topic of me stress organizing food areas.
When I had three kids, I would buy in bulk. I would always have two flats of different vegetables, canned goods, seasoning, etc. Now that I have more than the average amount of children AND my children are enormous…life is different. If I had space, time, energy, and money, I would still be stockpiling. Alas, I don’t have any of those things.
Pandemic Changes Things
Now that the pandemic is rampant, things are limited. The things that are limited to buy could be toilet paper, cleaner, or food. The pandemic does make you take stock in what you have and becoming a bit more inventive. Also, less likely to waste food or throw things out.
I had these thoughts after the ice storm as well. We did make some changes in some areas. Now is the time to make changes in other areas too. Luckily for me, I was raised by frugal parents and grandparents. I’m not afraid to try something. Making bread, cakes, muffins, rolls from scratch is normal. Alfredo sauce can be made and not bought. Spaghetti sauce, seasoning combinations. It is all trial and error. My next goal is to learn to make my pasta. My mother in law did that, and she gave me a pasta maker to use. Now is the time to use it!
In Cleaning Out and Organizing
Refrigerator, everything has a place. I can easily see what is what. Fresh veggies, I can make side dishes. Fresh spinach, I can put in anything. It takes on the flavor profile of what you are cooking.
I had a MASSIVE influx of baby carrots. There was some I had bought, and then the school brought food for the week. There are a lot of cherry tomatoes, fresh broccoli, celery, and carrots. The broccoli, I stockpiled till I had a decent amount. Last night, I made a Chinese stir-fry with round steak (from our cow) the broccoli and even used the cherry tomatoes. Big Daddy is not fond of those, at all. If you chop them up smaller and saute them, he didn’t even notice.
Sadly, the celery, I can’t get anyone to eat. Not even with peanut butter on it. We did not waste the celery. A couple of kids tried to eat them, but we had so much that it was almost like torture for our kids. We fed those to our chickens, which in turn, gives us eggs. Does that count?
As for the Carrots
We all eat them in salads. Also, the kids like to eat them by themselves with a bit of ranch. I will snack on them. A couple of days ago, I made some carrot cake muffins. I could have made a cake or a loaf of bread. Yet, muffins freeze well. The kids have been eating them for breakfast. It is a super simple recipe that I have used for years. I will try and remember to post it by Monday. That used up a ton of carrots. I may make more and freeze it.
For my freezer, I have the one that pulls out from my fridge, a big chest freezer, and then our old refrigerator we use out in the garage. In the kitchen freezer, I utilize the two big bins. I put ice packs, Berbere, Tumeric, Yeast, or sweets. In one side bin, I put meat for supper. For instance, when I buy sausage, shrimp, fish, etc. On the other side, I have all the kids frozen lunch items.
In the freezer in the garage (the refrigerator one), we keep extra bread, french bread, buns, or things that I bake. My big chest freezer is where we have our beef. Then the little rack has odds and ends. For instance, we have two other packs of round steak, stew meat, steaks, etc. The base of the freezer has our patties and ground beef.
In recyclable bags, that is in there is where I organize all the other things. When things fall to the bottom, the food ends up freezer burnt and wasted. One bag has all our frozen veggies. Then, in another bag, we keep our bulk chicken that I have broken up into baggies. There is one bag that has some odds and ends. My son in law has a few things stored up. I think the last one has ground meat that I have cooked and refrozen for another meal. We also have a little shelf area that has freezer meals on it.
My pantry has five shelves. On the top shelf, I have broken it up into two different baskets and some clear canisters. I think I got them from Dollar Tree. One basket has junk food/sweets/things my son in law buys and hides here. Another basket has all my leftover flour, sugar, almond flour, teff flour, and such. Then, in the canisters, I have open bags of flour, sugar, etc.
The next shelf has my suppers organized. When I make out my grocery list, I see what I have on hand. From there, I work my suppers around that. So, on that shelf (for the next ten days or so), I have my suppers planned out. For instance, I am making Brunzi Baseball Casserole, green bean casserole, and corn. I have all the ingredients for that in one area. Then there is pizza where I put all the ingredients for that, etc. Doing this helps me use up what I have and not overbuy.
On the next shelf, I keep a container with packet mixes (when I buy premade packets), our bread box, and our extra canned stuff for me to use for the next round of meals. That way, I will always know what I need to use up and incorporate every week.
The Rest of the Pantry
The third shelf is all things for the kids and paper products. They know that if it is on their shelf, it is free for all to eat. There is always a variety of breakfast, lunch, and protein items. The fifth shelf has some appliances, sauces, condiments, and oils.
I Hope This Helps
Hopefully, this helps you get some ideas on how you can utilize the areas of food storage. More importantly, to not overbuy. Just buy what you need. If you want to stockpile, that is great. Buy one thing for now, if you are a smaller family, and one for later. For our family, I buy three now and three for later.
Be creative with your menu and be open to adding things before they sour. If you don’t have chickens, use the leftover food and compost it for your yard! Also, if canned foods you KNOW you are not going to eat, donate them to a local food pantry!
Have fun! Please, be safe, wash your hands, wear a mask. It’s a germy jungle out there!