Tag Archives: planning for success

My January Use-It-Up Project–Update on Jan. 10

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I’m still on a mission to use up things that need to be used up, instead of buying more.  These dried bananas have been in the cupboard since 2014.  They were still great.  I put them out for the kids to try at 4H and then showed them how to make more.

I used some quinoa that expired last summer–finished up the package.  I made a salad with it, using the leftover dressing Patsy tried out for me the other day.  I also used some feta that had been languishing in the fridge for a couple of months in that salad.

I used some crusts of gluten-free bread to make croutons.  I will probably grind them into crumbs for cooking.

I used some millet flour, sorghum flour, and cornmeal and had the 4H to make some gluten-free waffles.  This was in addition to the batch I made earlier in the week when I was testing the recipe.  I also finished up a very old package of flax meal from the fridge.  I was able to remove another package from the freezer and start using it.  It had been in there for at least 3 years.

My carrot-coconut bread turned out terrible.  It was dry, crumbly, and fell to pieces before we could eat it.  We ate a bit of it by squishing up a bunch of crumbs between our fingers and stuffing that ball of crumbs into our mouths.  We finally decided that sometimes you win–sometimes you lose–and we gave up and fed it to the pigs.  At least those ingredients went to some good use.

I pulled some lemon bread out of the freezer and served it.

I also got out a bunch of fish, tried out a recipe for some fish nuggets and had the 4H make it.  It was swai fish, which was very inexpensive, and ended up working well for the recipe.  I’m not familiar with this fish, but got the entire 2 lb bag for only $5 a while back, which is a pretty good price for fish.  It also used some corn flake crumbs I crushed up several months ago and have stored in a jar in the pantry.  It included home-made tartar sauce, which used some of the pickles from 2014.  They were a dill pickle, but had a little sugar in them, which we ended up not liking as well as our tried and true recipe, but they worked well in this sauce.

I took some bread and butter pickles from 2012 to a birthday party today, and they were devoured.  Home-canned foods last for much longer than 1 year, but I always use the oldest first, as they are nicer when they are fresher.

 

Menu Plan for January 10, 2016

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This week has started with a bang! It’s going to be a busy one.  I decided I’d better jump in and get some menus planned right away to make it flow more smoothly.

Today we spent the entire day going to church and at my sister’s house, having a family birthday party with Rob (my husband), Alissa and Jake (niece and nephew).  Rob and Alissa have celebrated together for the last 15 years, without missing a year.  He has been dragged to Chuckie Cheese, an arcade, and many other memorable places by this little girl  he adores.  Even though she just turned 15, it was very touching when she started asking around to make sure she still got her birthday party with Uncle Rob.  One year, my sister got them a Beauty and the Beast cake.  One end had Beauty (for Alissa) and the other end had the Beast (for Rob).

8 years ago, little brother unexpectedly showed up at the group birthday party.  Our niece’s birth mom had given birth to a little baby boy, and he needed a place to live.  So, surprise!  I still remember the looks of surprise and amazement as my sister and her husband came rushing into Chuckie Cheese and plunked Jake in the middle of the table in his carseat they had hastily purchased and introduced him to the family.  So, there were now 3 birthdays to celebrate in January.

Today, we opted to celebrate at their house.  We kept the same menu that we had before we postponed the party from last week, due to icy roads.  It was a very nice day.

Here’s what we plan to eat:IMG_1695

Sunday:  Sub sandwiches, French dip, soups, veggie tray, chips, and cake  I brought gluten-free buns, and a platter of things like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.

Monday:  Roast in crock pot, potatoes, carrots

Tuesday:  Pizza (make double–lots of pepperoni sent home with us today.) green beans, salad

Wednesday:  French dip (with leftover dip from today and leftover meat from Monday), other sandwiches if not enough, cooked cauliflower or broccoli

Thursday:  Leftover pizza from Tuesday after dance class

Friday:  Soup in crock pot

Saturday:  Foster Parents’ Night Out.  They will give Patsy dinner and Rob and I get to go on a date for 3 hours.  Ja’Ana will be gone for the weekend on a retreat, and Lovana can use leftovers.  Rob and I will eat out and have a date.  I can’t wait!

My January Use-It-Up Project

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The first week of January is a good time to reflect on what goals and projects I want to accomplish in the new year.  I didn’t want to decide what I wanted to do for a whole year.  Life around here is always changing, so any plans I make now for months into the future would probably be changed anyway.  A bout of winter weather kept me home for a couple of extra days after the holidays and I was able to decide what I wanted to do as my January project.

I decided that I wanted to use up as many odds and ends as I could, especially from my food storage.  It really bothers me to store foods and then have them go bad because I didn’t use them.  It really, really bothers me to think that foods I’ve preserved might go bad, since it is a lot of work to can, dry and freeze food.

So, I set myself a challenge to use at least 31 food items up that are odd, getting older, unusual, etc., an average of 1 per day. I am especially  looking for things that might go bad if not used promptly.  I don’t anticipate working on this project on days that I work, instead, I’ll double up on my days off.  I expect to actually use far more items than that.

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I started by going out to the garage, where the bulk of my food storage is.  I grabbed a gluten-free flour mixture Ja’Ana had mixed up for a recipe last summer.  I also grabbed quite a few other gluten-free flours that needed to be used. I grabbed some dried cherries that had been there for a long time.  Patsy and I made sweet cherry biscuits yesterday.  Today,  Ja’Ana decided to make a cake with the remains of her flour mix.  I mixed up some waffles and froze them for easy breakfasts.  I also am trying a carrot bread recipe I found.

So, for January so far, I’ve used:

some dried cherries,  sorghum flour I was given quite a while ago, millet flour, oatmeal, carrots from our garden that have been in the fridge since September, the rest of the flour mix Ja’Ana made months ago, some jam I canned several years ago, emptied 2 mustard containers from the fridge, and a bottle of Diet Coke that has been in the garage for WAY over a year.  That’s already 10 items and it’s only the 5th!  (I only listed things that had been there a long time)

How about you?  Are you putting any of the grocery money you’ve previously spent to good use in January?  I plan to put any extra money I save by doing this project away for future purchases to restock.

 

 

Menu Plan for the Week of Jan. 2, 2015

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Rob was able to capture these ice crystals this morning when he went out on hours and hours of errands with the kids (Bless that man!).  I stayed home to clean, do laundry, and otherwise organize things after a busy holiday season followed by a few days away at the coast.  One thing I wanted to do is make a menu plan.  Ready or not, our busy life starts again tomorrow!  We both do better if we are not staring at one another saying “what do you want to eat” while the children demand food.

Our breakfasts are usually yogurt, cereal, toast, and often, leftovers.  Each person gets what they want.

Our lunches are usually leftovers, salads, packed lunches, or sandwiches.

So, I’ve just written down 1 meal per day.

Saturday:  Lasagna, green beans, salad  (The lasagna was frozen in the camper and now gets to be used up at home.)

Sunday:  Big birthday lunch at my sister’s house after church.  We are celebrating 3 birthdays.  There will be sub sandwiches, soups, and dessert.  My share is a large platter of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, etc. and gluten free buns.  I made those today. 

Monday:  Chili in the crockpot (I work a lot that day)

Tuesday:  Pork on bbq–Rob’s choice of cooking

Wednesday:  Turkey soup in the crock pot (Work again, sure glad Santa listened and got me that new crock pot–the other one would constantly short itself out while I was gone!)

Thursday:  Leftovers (girls have dance and we aren’t home until 6:30-so food quickly heated up in the microwave is best or a crock pot meal)

Friday:  Tacos

I pull vegetables from the canning cupboards or freezer daily to go with these meals.  Right now, I have frozen broccoli, cauliflower, squash, green beans and a few pea pods to choose from.  I have home-canned carrots and beans.  One of Rob’s errands was to get large bags of lettuce from Cash and Carry so we will have enough for the condiment tray for tomorrow and salads all week. He also got us huge bottles of salad dressing there, for a much cheaper price than the regular store.  He also went to Costco for a few things, and finished up at Fred Meyers.  I had him pick up tomatoes, too, but am not sure where he got the best price, as he isn’t home yet.  I have home-canned pickles, and home-grown onions from our garden last summer.  We will make gluten-free muffins, cornbread, or other gf bread products on occasion when we have time, for breakfasts and to go with dinners.  Often, though, we have a main item, salad and a vegetable, or 2 vegetables for a meal and forget the bread product entirely.

I wrote this information on the whiteboard for all to see.  My children thrive on routine and order.  We can change the menu, though, with a swipe of the eraser, if need be.

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Menu Plan–Week of Nov. 29-Dec.5, 2015

IMG_4698This week is going to  be another busy one around here!  All of our weeks are busy, but this one has some things to do that are unusual and interesting.   On Monday, our 18 turkeys are going to be butchered.  We had 1 left from the last time we butchered that we used on Thanksgiving, so we were ok with waiting until after the big holiday for our appointment.  Rob and Ja’Ana will drive 1-1/2 hours to the butchering company we use, after her guitar lesson in the morning, and get that done.  We have freezers to rearrange this afternoon to make sure they will all fit in.  Several of these turkeys are gifts for people for Christmas, so he will deliver some tomorrow after they are processed so we have less to fit into our freezers.  We are talking about a LOT of turkey. We are borrowing a grinder, and will spend quite a bit of time Tuesday grinding turkey burger from the breasts and thighs, and making  broth, if we can possibly find enough energy.

I work Monday and Wednesday this week.  Ja’Ana has her homeschool to do.  I need to work with her quite a bit on Tuesday and Thursday on that. I set her up for independent work on the days I’m teaching piano, and then do more math explanations, etc. on the days when I’m not.  Patsy goes to school Monday-Thursday, as usual, and we have some appointments on Friday, as we often do.  Then, there is youth group, dance classes, and an extra choir practice for the girls as well, plus that fact that Lovana works 30 minutes from home and doesn’t drive, so some days we can combine trips, but often drive 2 extra hours a day to take her to and from work. To top it off, I have quite a few projects in the works that I need to make progress on for Christmas.

So, this week’s meals need to be quick, use lots of freezer ingredients to make space for turkeys, or cook in the slow cooker so the food is ready in a hurry each evening.  Although eggs are a choice each morning, everyone doesn’t always choose to eat them.  I actually let them choose leftovers, if they prefer.  I also have cereal; most of us don’t enjoy it, but it is a choice, if desired.

Sunday:  Fried potatoes, eggs, turkey bacon l.o. from 4H

Dinner with extended family after church

Leftovers from Thanksgiving

Monday:   eggs, muffins from freezer, canned fruit

Pack lunches:  salad or sandwiches topped with l.o. ham, cheese, turkey, etc., carrot sticks, etc.

Ham and beans in the crockpot from Thanksgiving ham bone

salad or green beans

Tuesday:  eggs, fried ham

leftover ham and beans (pack Patsy’s lunch)

roast beef in crock pot, carrots, potatoes, salad

Wednesday:  eggs, pumpkin muffins, fruit

Salad or sandwiches (pack lunch for Patsy)

leftovers

Thursday: eggs, oatmeal, toast or more pumpkin muffins

leftover soup (pack lunch for Patsy)

(dance night–home at 6:30):Turkey-rice soup in crock pot

Friday:  yogurt, cereal, egg (if desired)

leftovers, salad or sandwiches

pizza (make 2 so we have leftovers)

Saturday:  choice of eggs, cereal, toast or muffins

leftovers (pizza, roast, soups, ham and beans)

leftovers (more of the above, or make French dip with roast)

If there are not enough leftovers for Saturday, I might make a vegetable-beef soup with the rest of the roast.  I will also grind the leftover roast beef in the food processor, mix with mayonnaise and relish, and make sandwiches from it, so I’ll see how the week goes and what’s left by Saturday.  We have quite a few hot dogs I can pull out in case we are burning another pile next weekend and want to roast them.

I cook vegetables each night, sometimes 2 different ones.  I will pull from home-canned green beans, home frozen cauliflower, broccoli or corn, carrots from the garden (in fridge)and salad ingredients (boughten), which I have.  We still have a few tomatoes ripening in the garage from the green ones I picked a month ago, but they are mostly gone.

To make:  pumpkin muffins, using squash I cooked the day before Thanksgiving.

To buy:  If milk or butter comes on sale, I will buy that.  Otherwise, I have enough of everything for the week.