Hot on the heels of yesterdays post, these are my Meals for the Week (or More). As I clean out my food areas, I do some “spring cleaning.” This is where I make my spice mixes, if I am running low. I make “cream of” soup mixes (mushroom, chicken, etc). Also, I make packet mixes. This can be Lipton Onion Soup Mix, Spaghetti, Chili, Taco, Fajita, Stir-fry, Ranch, or Italian mix. I store all of these either in baggies or small mason jar.
More Upon More
Combining condiment jars is always fun (enter sarcasm) because my kids cannot seem to see an already open thing of ketchup. So irritating. I fill up the cereal canister, the snack cracker canister (we occasionally have mice so I try to keep things in airtight areas). When I do this, I also make my grocery list. This method just works for me.
I cook 5 nights a week, most weeks. Sundays, I do not cook and Thursdays my husband makes me pizza. The rest of the time is me cooking. Occasionally, my husband and son in law will grill, make steaks, or chicken strips. Let me tell you, I do not complain. So for the next week or so, this is what I have already on hand when checking my food areas.
Thursday (writing this on the 21st): Pizza
Friday: Hamburgers/hotdogs/fries (it is treatment day for Hunter, so I don’t cook)
Saturday: My son in law is making his chicken strips and we will probably have leftover vegetables and mashed potatoes
Sunday: I don’t cook
Monday: The men are grilling out.
Tuesday: Brunzi Baseball Casserole, corn, green bean Casserole
Wednesday: Chicken Alfredo Soup and Minestrone
Friday: Baked Spaghetti and french bread
Saturday: Tenderloin, mac and cheese, Italian potatoes, and Lima beans
Sunday: I don’t cook
Monday: Parmesan Crusted Round Steak, baked potatoes, green beans, corn
Tuesday: Martha’s Tacos and probably Shiro Wot
Wednesday: Baked Penne with spinach, bread, and salad
Friday: Freezer meal, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, green beans
Saturday: White Chicken Chili and Chicken Noodle Soup
I will need very few things to complete these meals, so in reality, I’m saving money by not going to the grocery store! This makes me so happy because that “extra” money can be spent stockpiling on something or house repairs…which we need many.
I challenge you to cook with what you have! Limit your grocery budget to $100 or less per week. Save the leftover money and then either put it in the bank, use it to had to a debt to help reduce that bill, or do repairs. You can do it!
It has come to, almost the end, of our meat. We bought a whole cow last summer and it is dwindling down. 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 fed before you feed it to your children. Anyway, back to the topic of me Stress Organizing Food Areas.
When I had 3 kids, I would buy in bulk. I would always have 2 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 any of those things.
Pandemic Changes Things
Now that the pandemic is rampant, things are limited. Whether that is toilet paper, cleaner, or food. It really 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 own pasta. My mother in law did that and she gave me a contraption. Now is the time to use it!
In Cleaning Out and Organizing
Refrigerator, everything has a place. I can easily see what is what. Our fresh veggies, I can make a side dish out of. Fresh spinach, I can put in anything. It really 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. Lots of cherry tomatoes, fresh broccoli, celery, and carrots. The broccoli, I stockpiled till I had a good amount. Last night, I made Chinese stir-fry with a couple of packs of round steak (from our cow), the broccoli, and I 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 them. A couple of kids tried to eat them but we had so much that it was almost like torture for them. We fed those to our chickens, which in turn, gives us eggs. Does that count?
As for the Carrots
We all eat them on salads. Also, the kids like to eat them by themselves with a bit of ranch. I will snack on them. Still…we had so many. A couple of days ago, I made some carrot cake muffins. I could have made a cake or a loaf of bread but muffins freeze well and 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 and I still have a bunch more. 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. The kitchen freezer, I utilize the 2 big bins and then the pull out drawer that has the ice maker. Up there, I put ice packs, Berbere, Tumeric, Yeast, or sweets. In one side bin, I put meat for super. 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 the 2 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. I don’t like it when things fall to the bottom because they end up freezer burnt and wasted. 1 bag has all our frozen veggies, another has our bulk chicken that I have broken up into baggies. There is 1 bag that has some odds and ends. My son in law has a few bags stored up in there. I think the last bag has 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 5 shelves. The top shelf, I have broken up in 2 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 always look to see what I have on hand and work my suppers around that. So, on that shelf (for the next 10 days or so), I have my suppers planned out and put together on that shelf. 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. This helps me use up what I have and not overbuy.
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 kids and paper products. They know that if it is on their shelf, it is free for all to eat, just not in excess. There is always a variety of breakfast stuff, lunch stuff, and protein snacks.
The fifth shelf has some appliances, a little basket with sauces and condiments, and oils. On the floor of the pantry houses, canned drinks, water, lunch boxes, and such. Everything has a place and most times all things are in their place.
I Hope This Helps
Hopefully this helps you get some ideas on how you can utilize the areas of your food storage. More importantly, to not overbuy. Just buy what you need. If you want to stockpile, that is great. Buy 1 thing for now, if you are a smaller family and 1 for later. For our family, I buy 3 now and 3 for later…when I stockpile.
Be creative with your menu and be open to adding things in that might be ready to go bad. 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 it to a local food pantry!
Have fun! Be safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. It’s a germy jungle out there!
Welp, the time has come…I am officially Coming out of Retirement. I have homeschooled for 20 years. Thankfully, I have graduated 4 of my 7 children. This past August, we decided to put the last 3 boys into public school. I’m not gonna lie, it has not been my cup of tea BUT I have enjoyed the break.
Here’s the Thing
I have a medically fragile child, so I’ve been traveling to and from hospitals and doctors for the last 3 years. Since 2015, I have been on hospital patrol with my Lady, my daddy, my son, and random other issues throughout those years. Sadly, my Lady went to hang out with Jesus and thankfully my daddy has recovered from his health issues, for the most part. Hunter, we still travel.
I’m tired. My brain and body were done trying to do all the things. I needed to let go of something so we thought we would give it a shot. Elementary school (Hunter, Kindergarten) hasn’t been that bad. There have been a couple of moments where people have needed to be educated on his condition. They were learning and I showed grace. The lunch lady, Ms. LoAnn, is a freaking ROCKSTAR. I’m good friends with the principal and have known her WAY before she started working there. His teachers are amazing. It’s been pretty good.
Then, There is Middle School
Now, that has been a little crappy with a side of sucking pond water. They all know who I am. We all try to play nice in the sandbox, but when someone craps in my corner, I get a little ill. The school nurse…AMAZING, though I knew her before and loved her, that has not changed. The guidance counselor and receptionist #love. The teachers have been very good, so I cannot complain there.
Yet, there is bullying and racism. There are issues with people who think they are “gods” because they can carry a badge and have “worked the streets”. Well, let me tell you something Superstar Sam, you do not know my son(s) or how I parent. Basically, we have told them to back the heck off or I’m gonna derail your train.
I Need to Stop
My blood pressure is rising. Lately, it has gone well but I have stood my ground. I am kind but I get my point across. Okay, I’m not always kind :/ Whatever. I stay in good contact with their teachers/coaches and I just gloss over the administration. With the COVID-19 virus rearing its ugly head, school is canceled.
Mandated “homeschooling” is now upon us. I picked up Hunter’s packet today and got the computers for the boys. We start tomorrow. Not gonna lie, I’m glad to have something for them to do. We don’t do electronics much. They do not own cellphones (you have to be 16 in this house and my boys are 15, 13, and 6). Also, we don’t have computers or tablets. They watch a movie a day…maybe that in a 30-minute show. We don’t really listen to music, ever. There are no ipods or whatever they are called.
They read books, play legos, go outside, ride bikes and scooters. We play cards and board games. All the things I did when I was a girl, only we are doing it at a time when it is not popular. I don’t really care, my kids aren’t going to lose brain cells by watching mindless crap and filling their minds with junk. Oh, and my kids can clean like beasts. I have taught them well. All of their future spouses will thank me 🙂
The Next Unforeseeable Future
Starting on the 18th, we will start school. I have to get back in a good routine with them and cancel all things going on for the next month. We may be out till the end of the school year, I simply don’t know. For now, I believe we have 3 weeks worth of work with an extra week of spring break. We are choosing to not get out, at all (insert crazy eyes). Big Daddy still works and so does Noah (though his school will finish out this semester online). I, however, will stay with the kids. Since Hunter has OMS, we cannot expose him to anything. It is literally detrimental to his health and/or life.
Pray for my sanity and that cases of coca-cola never runs out…like EVER.