Boy this has been a long month! There was far too much month at the end of the money. Since deciding to be stricter with our finances this year (out of necessity, mainly) I have faced a shocking reality. Yes, things do cost more, and no, I don't remember it happening. Just woke up one morning and thought to myself "Self, how on earth can two old people motor through so many dollars at Costco, and still need to stop off at a couple of other stores on the way home?" Of course, being me, the answers flew fast and furious. I am such a brilliant conversationalist when I am alone!
We both love good, nutritious healthy food. And since hubby couldn't eat for so many months, it is just not in my heart to deny him anything at the grocery store. So, when we have tomato soup, it is made with real tomatoes with a bit of cream (try it once, and you will never go back) and we both decided that we absolutely NEED strawberries out of season. And we do not like too many convenience foods, which are actually cheaper to eat, when feeding only two. It would be so easy to just zap something and put it on a plate, rather than make everything from scratch. But truth be told? What else do we have to do that is more important than stoking these old fires?
There is also a lot that is bought and not used. Enter the kids to the rescue. They passed on a fabulous vacuum bag sealer that Pete won at a tournament. This gadget is working out incredibly well for us! We scooped up lots of bags when they were on sale at Costco, so now we are definitely "loaded for bear" - or any other protein! We can buy big packages of meat at Costco and seal them up to last for many months...no more frost bitten food! And more importantly? No freezer taste.
I have come to the realization that I am just not fond of pork, other than the odd ham steak, piece of bacon or a pineapple glazed chop once in a blue moon. Hamburger? I could eat every day of the week, but because it isn't one of the leanest things in the world, we eat it very rarely. Fish and chicken are our mainstays out of preference and ease of cooking. Those two things didn't take well to time in the freezer. And since it is part of my prairie heritage to want a good supply of food on hand (a real necessity in case Pa can't get through the blizzard to the barn to hitch up the team to go to town woops! that was Little House on the Prairie)
As we grow older, I see the wisdom in shopping the European way...just what you need for a day or two at most, to take advantage of the freshest produce and the best prices! And of course, I do need a supply of gluten free bakery products as the "pusher" is on the other side of town and is a nightmare to drive to, hence the mini freezer in the laundry room. As usual, I am going two opposite directions at once! Simplifying is my goal, but reality dictates a fair supply of food to be kept in house. And of course, that very "Sheldon" part of me needs to have a plan in even the smallest area of life, let alone the most important feeding department! I may not stick to a menu plan to the last detail, but it has to be there! So, this month, my intentions are to shop more frequently, buy less, and to continue to buy meat and staples in bulk. In reality, it does makes life easier to have the complication of having a pantry.
In the last couple of weeks, I have not stuck to my menu plan at all. I have not felt well, so standing in the kitchen to cook was one of the things that I eliminated without guilt. I know have a fair bit of frozen food to plan around for next month...so the task of planning the menu will be shorter and sweeter!
We are leaving for points west on Friday, and the frig is getting nice and bare. While we are away, I will plan a menu for the remaining weeks of the month, and post it then. I am also compiling a list of favourites to draw from when my mind is a complete blank on menu planning day. As it stands, there are about five or six things that I love to eat when I am left to my own devices, and although they may not be more traditional supper items, they satisfy me, and cater to my lazy side. Strawberries and cottage cheese anyone?