Monday, July 6, 2009

Home Audit {Food}

I am a little behind on the Biggest Kitchen Table Home Audit over at Down to Earth. The first topic is food. Go and read Rhonda's post here.

This is a list from the post at Down to Earth. They are bolded with my answers and thoughts below each one in itallics. I have deleted the questions that I feel did not apply to my family.

Things to think about:

Menu planning - this works for some families and not others.
I find meal planning to be essential for my family. When we forget to meal plan I end up buying things we have and spending way over our grocery budget for the month. We start out meal plan at the end of the month by taking a freezer, fridge, and pantry inventory. Ideally this is the time I also clean these things out but sometimes the cleaning part just does not happen. Once I know what we have I meal plan from our stores first. Then I make a list of what we need. There are main staples we buy each month and I check if we have those items in the inventory lists. At the begginning our meal plan looks something like 4 chicken meals, 5 beef dinners, 4 beef lunches, 3 hanburger meals, 2 pasta, etc. Then we make a meal plan of actual dinners for the week. Each week we plan the actual dinners. This way I can take into account things such as what is growing in the garden and the weather. I do not want to plan to make soup and fresh bread on a day that is 90 plus degrees. :) We do one large monthly shopping trip at Costco and then weekly smaller trips for dairy items and produce/fruit.

If you're growing food, how do you intend to use your excess?

I enjoy canning as much as I can. We also freeze excess. This year I am going to try dehydrating some things.

Have you minimised food waste?

This is an area we need to work on. Seems something is always going bad in the back of the fridge. My goal is to clean the fridge out every two to three days and have a leftover lunch with the kids. We have done this sporadically in the past and they always love it. Add some fresh vegis or cut fruit to the leftovers and we have a fast and easy lunch that helps us waste less.

Skills - learn to preserve/can, blanch and freeze, bake, sprout, ferment, fruit cordials.

I currently know how to can and preserve. We do blanch and freeze things. Love baking. I know almost nothing about sprouting and fermenting so this is an area I can look into. I made my first fruit cordial the other day and am very excited to see how it turns out.

Make a space in your cupboard to store recycled bottles and jars.

I love using recycled jars and bottles. Most of our spices are bought in bulk and we use recycled jars to store them. I think it looks neat in the spice rack. The kids even use them as glasses.

Do I have enough good cooked from scratch recipes to cover a two week meal rotation?
Do I have a good selection of quick and easy fast meal recipes?

Combining these two questions. A project that I have been working on in the last few months is a K Family Cookbook. I photocopied all of our favorite recipes and am in the process of making one master cookbook. I was able to clear so much space in my cupboard when I cleared out all the cookbooks. I will post photos of the cookbook when it is finished. Probably in the next month or two. We have A LOT of recipes we use.

If you're composting, do you have a covered container for your kitchen scraps?

I do have a container for compost. With the changes we are going through (see previous spewing of sorts post) I may need to get rid of the composter. I will keep it for now as I am sure I can sell or give it away easily when needed.

Do you need to make food covers for bread, ginger beer, sourdough, yoghurt?
Do you have enough dishcloths and tea towels/dish towels?

This is actually something on my to do list. As well as more cloth napkins ours are getting ratty.

Do you have enough large glass or plastic storage containers?

Last month I found one of the local grocery stores sell their food safe buckets from the bakery for only $1. I went and got at least 10 of them and picked some up for some friends too. I have 5 gallon, 2 gallon, and 3 gallon ones. Currently I use them in the pantry to store flour, sugar, salt, whole wheat flour, and several in the garage for animal feed. I was planning on buying a large garbage can for the chicken feed to keep out mice. I figured that one bag of feed will fill two buckets. As the garbage cans were about $20 the $2 for buckets seemed a much better deal to me.

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