Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year Begins. 2011

Wow, 2011. That is such a foreign concept although I know it is a reality. I am going to date myself here, I graduated in 1980. Had my oldest daughter in 1982. I remember her kindergarten graduation when the teacher introduced us to the class of 2000, my mind was thinking how far off that sounded. Now she is married, mom to two boys, a teacher and had her ten year reunion this past summer. Now it is 2011 and in one way it still sounds like some futuristic movie that I am watching. In another way, it sounds so normal.

Tonight, I made the traditional, for our family, meal. Ham, black eyed peas, potatoes. It started out as a meal for 11, then went to 10, then went to 8, down to 6, ended up as four. I went from worrying the ham wasn't big enough to suddenly going through ideas on how to get rid of a lot of extra ham. Not a problem I assure you, I am up for the challenge. My new organized self has planned on putting meal size portions in to bags and sealing them up and putting them in the freezer. Have already printed off a couple of great sounding recipes for ham. I did the same thing with the turkey, except I used Ziploc bags and have decided to re-bag them using the vacuum sealer to cut down on freezer burn. Am also going to buy a permanent pen for writing on the bags what it is and the date. Also, along with my resolve to change the way we eat, I did cook a bit differently. I made potatoes au gratin (which according to the cooking shows like Top Chef, I have been pronouncing wrong my entire life) from scratch. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but after almost 30 years of marriage this is the first time I haven't bought a box and cooked the little dried up potatoes in the microwave (oven years ago, but I go with the flow of the times). I am sure it was not the most healthy, with the cheese, butter, and milk, but I know that it was fat free cheese and 2% milk and no additives. I had quite a bit left over, but it was already in the oven when I found out the number for dinner had gone down to four. I did put it in a plastic container and threw it in the freezer. Now I have a side dish for future use. Maybe I will turn it in to cheddar potato soup?

For a little note of interest about my menu planning efforts. I am determined to plan the meals. This has been a very daunting task for me if not completely overwhelming. I sat down and gave it several serious moments of contemplation on just how to actual start the process. Paper and pen in hand, I numbered the page one to five. Week ends are just weird around here, so I figure 5 days of meals, one day to clean out left overs, the last day for what ever happens. That is a week. Using the 5 system, skipping a line between each group, I then jotted down the numbers for four sets of 5, which would be four weeks. I started writing out the meals I make that I know are liked. OH MY GOSH, suddenly I have not only the four weeks I started out with, but an extra week as well for a list of 5 weeks worth of meals. Now, tomorrow I will sit down and work on spreading them out a bit so I don't end up with 4 days in a row of chicken. I also want to throw in some recipes that I have not made before in an effort to try out some new flavors or foods. Maybe even try a new technique once in a while.

As for accomplishments for today, all the Christmas decorations are now gone from sight. I am sure glad that is done. Monday will go over and do the same for my mom. I also got the fridge all cleaned out today as well. Trash pick up is on Monday so want to get as much out as possible even though our dumpster is full.

We came home on Friday to find that our jerk neighbors had thrown a big bag of their trash in our dumpster because theirs was full. Of course it was full they are constantly having parties (until all hours of the morning) and there is at least 12 people living there on a regular basis, another 5 or 6 come in and out so much they might as well live there. My normally sweet natured hubby was so perturbed that he pulled the bag out and threw it in there yard. After a few minutes to calm down, he felt guilty for his actions and went to retrieve the bag and deposit by their trash dumpster which was literally overflowing. It had already been picked up by someone in the house. I told him not to sink to their level, lead by example, and of course he agreed. We were punished in the end though with the very rude awakening to the sound of fireworks sounding off close to our bedroom. He felt they were doing this on purpose, I explained calmly that they weren't because they didn't care enough to even have a seconds worth of thought as to how we would feel about being woke from a sound sleep but such a deafening sound, not to mention the cackler that laughs like chicken hen or the idiot man that likes to drop the f-bomb loudly and often. The one thing I truly do not understand about our neighbors and these parties that start up at like eleven at night is how they can do that to those little children living there. During warm weather, it would be midnight and we could hear the laughter, splashing, and every bounce on that diving board. We won't even get started on what a Foosball table sounds like at one in the morning with 4 to 6 drunk idiots playing it on the back patio which happens to be directly across from our bedroom.

Tomorrow's agenda:
Write out a week's worth of meals and make sure I have the ingredients on hand.
Clean out he freezer and cabinets so I actually know what I have on hand.
Wash towels.

Well, here's to starting the year off on a positive not. You have to live with what you have so make what you have priceless. Thank you for dropping in.

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