Sunday, May 29, 2011

Catch up.

Thought I would do a little catching up with some of the things I have been posting about.

First off, I did clean out my smaller pantry.  This was done the week of May 16 as this past week, week of May 23, was pretty much taken up with caring for mom.  That really threw me off as far as housekeeping chores go.  But, am so thankful I was able to do it and she is back in her own home.
I can't believe how much junk was in this pantry before I cleaned it.  Sorry I don't have the before photo, but there was not one inch of empty space on any shelf.  And, that was before I did the canning.  I had to clean it out so I had some place to put the beans and catsup.  Still need to do a little vamping with the top shelf and the bottom (not shown in photo) as there are better places for some of those things.  Have a great empty space on my baking shelf.  That will help when I clean out the main pantry this coming week.

Now, to my menu planning. This is what I have been dealing with.

I can barely make room to write anything, much less do any sewing or crafting.  The desk I hate to confess is not in any better shape, but I did get a pretty good system worked out.

Now, I took an old file box that I had and designed a folder system that I divided in to categories that work for me.
As you can see, the front sections are for the most used.  My Menu Plans, in this section is a folder for each week.  When one week is completed, that folder becomes empty and moved to the back of the section.  There is a Try Soon section which is for recipes that I want to try out sooner rather than later because they either sound really great or feature some ingredient that I already have on hand.  May also be something that just sounds incredibly good.  Then there is a section for OAMC which is for all the recipes that I know are good for cooking ahead, or are going to be part of the same session.  For example, all the chicken dishes together, the beef dishes, and such.

Then each category is color coded.  Only that I changed colors to keep the beef and beverages all looking like the chicken and soups.  Like I said, this is what works for me and the way my weird little brain works.  However, some categories are divided and I kept the same color through out.  Beef is one, there is Beef and then Beef Casserole.  Same for Bread and Desserts, broken down by type.
Each category also has a file folder in it labeled Keepers.  Most of the recipes in all these categories are pulled from magazines or printed off from the internet.  I have since made an effort to try and add the web site addy for where to find that address so I can give credit or link to it if I post the recipe.  Since these are recipes that at some point sounded really good, pulled my interest in some way, once I try them if they are a success with the family then it goes in the Keepers folder.  It it wasn't a success, then I toss it making sure not to make it again.

Now, a little about how I make a menu plan.
I have blank calendar sheets that I made using Excel.  This is a copy of the older ones that I already had printed and didn't want to waste.  My week starts with Monday since I join in on I'm An Organizing Junkie's blog and post to her Menu Plan Monday section each Monday.  If you haven't looked at it, please do.  Over 300 members all post links to their weekly menu plans.  Great inspiration and ideas, huge variety as some are vegetarian, some are gluten free, healthier minded, and most are all budget minded, from all over the world.

Back to my system.  I take the blank calendar sheet and write out what I want to fix that week.  Also, an effort is made to make sure that I vary the protein (meat in this family) so no two days are the same type.  Then, if I know something is going to tie up my time that day (grocery shopping, taking mom on her errands) I plan on either a fast fix or slow cooker meal.
All of the recipes for that week are placed in order in the folder for a week.  Of course these are only the recipes that are written out.  A lot of times I fix meals that have no written recipe at all (meat loaf, chicken fried steak) or just open a can of vegetables that wouldn't need a recipe.  The next step is I take a few minutes to make a grocery list for the week, check off what I have on hand then list what I need to buy.  Some items are just not good bought way ahead, lettuce for salads is one of those.  Fresh mushrooms don't last well if you are buying groceries two weeks at a time, so those items I will make a run to the store for.

That being said, life does happen and things don't always go as planned.  On those days, I wing it.  Thankfully I have had a fairly well stocked pantry and freezer that allowed me to do this.  I am planning on changing that this next week or so, trying to make some casseroles that I can put in the freezer for just that purpose.  Then, when the plan goes awry, I just move that meal plan to another day.  No big deal.

I have to pick up my daughter and start some lunch, will be posting more through the week so drop by soon.  Thank you for visiting my little corner of the web.

1 comment:

  1. Those pix really help explain the process. Thanks for posting those. I've done a week (last week) and need to plan for this coming week now. I hope to join the Menu Monday group so tomorrow morning I'll have to get cracking!