By 8.30pm tonight it finally occurred to me that I’d spent pretty much the entire day upstairs and in the kitchen. Despite sounding a bit sad, it was actually a very productive day.
M sister and family stayed for the past couple of weeks, and as I’m universally known as being the worst cook in the family, I handed over control of the kitchen to our guests. I don’t get territorial about my kitchen.
Unfortunately handing over sovereignty of the kitchen to someone else, meant that everything was kind of all over the place. Space is a challenge at our place (too many people + small house + too much stuff) so it’s very easy for it to become chaotic. Add in the fact that I’m mostly disorganised about house stuff and it’s completely nuts. Turns out I have 10 bottles of pasta sauce! Well today the cupboards are now organised, the fridge is respectful and all the saucepans have their right lids.
One of my other achievements today was creating a Menu Plan for the next three weeks. I really struggle with the day-in-day-out of preparing meals – mostly because I’m just not focused on it and I don’t find it a priority. The problem is I can’t afford – financially or mentally – the cost of not having a plan anymore. Feeding six adults is bloody expensive stuff and when I’m doing it on the run I often make choices that work against me. So I’ve made a three week plan. I’ll be printing it out in the morning and making sure it’s there for the whole family to see (and hopefully stick to).
But I wasn’t in the kitchen the entire day. I managed to go shopping and get the bulk of the Menu Plan ingredients today. I’ve also bitten the budget bullet and gone to Aldi instead of Coles. I’ve not bothered with Aldi mostly because it’s a few suburbs away unlike Coles which is super close. But because I had time, ie. wasn’t rushing home hoping to have everything cooked in 15 minutes, I could do it. And yes, Aldi is a bit cheaper than Coles on a few of our essential items. The meat is much cheaper (yeah sorry we’re a family of carnivores) so I bought up enough for the next three weeks.
When I’m buying in bulk, I only ever head to Charlie’s for fruit and vegetables. Because the health brigade people go there, there are heaps of bags ready for juicing. We don’t juice, I just use them as normal. Today I bought a whole box of tomatoes, zucchini and bananas. I got Son1 to chop the zucchini into small stir fry pieces ready for the week. I also bought a 15kg bag of onions. I’m not 100% sure that was particularly sensible. We eat a lot of onion, but 15kg is a lot. Over the next few days I’ll get the kids to chop up as many as they can, and put them into zip-lock bags and throw them in the freezer. Anything we can’t eat, I’ll give to family.
I’m keen to check out the possibility of getting a whole cow. I was listening to Mel Kettle’s podcast interview with Shirley Harring from Hand Sourced and they made it sound like something quite affordable. I’m pretty sure I’d have to get a new freezer if I decide to do it.
Anyway, I’m hoping that we will stick to our meal plan at least for the next 7 days. I’m hoping that the little bit of organising I did today will free me up to get more work done over the next month.
I’ll let you know how we go.
Image: Close up image of a 15kg of onions. The bag is a plastic woven bag, you can see the onions through the holes in the bag. At the top of the image, the label on the bag says “ONION” in all capital letters, with the words “Product of Australia” and other packaging details.