Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An instance where being somewhat of a packrat has its merits

I have fought long and hard to rid myself of my pack-rat-like tendencies.  Once upon a time I was that kid (who are we kidding, I was that adult too) who could not rid myself of anything I deemed to have any semblance of sentimental value.  It meant I kept things like those cheap glass vases that flowers are purchased in, out of fashion jeans I hoped to fit in one day, and holey-pillow cases that had embroidery on them done by my great-grandmother. (I actually still have a couple of those, I can't throw them away, but I haven't figured out just the right way to reuse them yet.)  I have worked SO hard at improving this aspect of my personality in fact, that I've taken a few items to Goodwill that in retrospect I really wish I hadn't...but I did, so I'm proud of myself. 


However, it seems that this tendency has sneaked into an unexpected avenue.  My FREEZER!

In an effort to be better prepared for home-cooked meals during the week I started doing freezer meals.  You know, those simple, ready to heat and eat, inexpensive, healthy items you can find all over the internet? (my favorite source is Chef Tess because I know I can rely on family friendly flavors and budget friendly ingredients).

Well, as I sat down to make my monthly grocery order (we buy groceries from The Treasure Box, a discount food vendor which goes along way towards creating wiggle room in our family budget) I recalled that my freezer seemed kind of full to me, so I figured I better go inventory it before making a new order.

Yikes! I'm like a squirrel in an oak forest 2 weeks before a deep freeze! After inventorying the freezer I not only realized that I didn't need to buy anything other than fresh fruit and veggies, milk, and cheese for the next two weeks, but that I actually had 23 (yes, 3 WEEKS + worth) pre-prepared meals ready to go for my family.

Needless to say I didn't order any food boxes this month.  But I did sit down immediately and write two weeks worth of dinner menus.  No excuses, we're eating at home this month, and I won't even cause my supply of freezer meals to dwindle into non-existence because I've mixed it up between freshly prepared meals and freezer meals based on the activity schedule.  

The best part is we'll only spend about 20% of our usual grocery budget on groceries for the house this month, which means that when we take our trip at the end of the month we can feel free (both financially and health wise) to just go and enjoy ourselves and eat whatever meals out we need to eat.  

If you're finding yourself too overwhelmed with your family's busy schedule, may I highly recommend spending a little extra time over the next couple of weeks to increase your supply of dinners on hand?  The easiest way to quickly and almost effortlessly get started is to make double quantities of your family's favorite meals over the next couple of weeks.  Serve one portion, freeze the other for a later use.  Good luck! You won't believe how guilt-free you feel when you sit down after an extremely busy day with a home-cooked meal on the table instead of McDonald's wrappers.  And guess what?  If it hasn't been that busy of a day but you could really use some free-time to go swim with the kids, or take a nap, this is a great way to make that time available.

5 comments:

Kristina P. said...

This is actually a great idea and something I need to do. We eat out waaay too much. (Said the girl who is eating a Cafe Rio salad.

Jillene said...

How about you just come to my house and stock up my freezer with pre-prepared meals?! That way you can be a pack rat at home and while you are away. (0;

But honestly--I make a 2 week menu and we stick to it everyday. It helps out so much!! I know what to shop for and the kids know what we are eating everyday for 2 weeks.

CaJoh said...

Why do I tend to forget things like this.

Since I usually get paid once a month, I usually spend a ton on groceries. My biggest problem is that I also buy perishables like vegetables that go to waste. Perhaps if I pre-make some of the vegetables and freeze them I won't have to worry.

rachel said...

What a great idea! I do the weekly menu thing, but didn't even think about freezing an extra portion.

I had an idea about your great grandma's pillowcases. You could cut out the embroidered parts and frame them. Then you would have a series of "art" from your grandma you could hang in a series in a bedroom or hallway or something.

Mina said...

That's even better than finding a $20 in your jacket pocket from last season!