Whew what a night ! How ironic that I post about power outages and then we have one. Thankfully it was only for a short time. Storms have been brutal this year. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been caught in their way.
I am sure like many homes your kitchen is the most lived in space in your whole house, I know ours is. We have a schoolroom, but you could call it our school space instead. There are desks in there as well as lots of shelving for books and games(thanks Papa), then there’s the chalkboard but it is the kitchen we always seem to come back to. I am beginning to wonder if we should have painted some walls in our kitchen with chalkboard paint(like that of another very well-known, inspirational blogger :)).
Could the reason possibly be because that is the place I always seem to be ? Lets see when I am not cooking, I am eating, then there is the dishes (Oh lots and lots of dishes), and we are exceptionally blessed to have our washer and dryer in there as well.
Having a pantry off our bedroom isn’t my ideal place for one but when dealing with a small house it will have to do (We will be adding a new shelf each week).First though I want to be completely honest about what comes home with us from the store. We are not fanatics. Yes the majority of our meals are baked from scratch but I would be lying if frozen pizzas and chips never made their way home with us. I mean sometimes there are days you don’t want to have anything to do with a stove, but I thought I would share a few tips that have helped us on our way to accomplish this goal.
My first (and best kept)secret is food.com This is where I look when I want to find a recipe to replace my old processed one. For example I wanted taco seasoning without msg so food.com is where I go, but they have much more than food recipes. Try looking up laundry soap and deodorant.
Wait, what exactly do you mean by processed, I make most of our meals at home ? Yeah I did too but most of my recipes called for things like cream of mushroom soup or onion soup mix. To cook from scratch means to use “real” foods and to me those items are not real food. A real food should only have 1 ingredient, itself. So I had to find a replacement for all my recipes that did not use real foods.
This may seem overwhelming at first but just experiment with 1 at a time. Once you have a few recipes under your belt you begin to see a pattern, like using garlic, onions, or fresh mushrooms are big substitutes for these items.
Okay I found new recipes to replace my old ones what’s next? Stocking up real foods. After all my goal is to shop at the grocery store once a month. So how does one do this without breaking the bank? By adding a few extra items to your cart at a time, especially when they are on sale. This way I am shopping from my pantry first, when I run out of an item I replace the pantry item when we go to the store.
Our family pretty much shops for the same items eliminating the need to go down each and every isle. I have organized all my new recipes according to season with 2 weeks worth for each one. For example during spring we are still eating lots of root vegetables, jarred items (from fall) like applesauce, bread and jam. The weather is still cool so roasts, soups, and stews are still apart of our menu. Breakfast this morning was potato cakes and eggs.
But I do not have any time, or I need quick meals! I SO hear ya. The crock pot is my best friend, after my husband that is ;).
Here are tips that have helped me save time in the kitchen. First double up recipes such as soups and beans. These are easy items to jar and freeze. I always make 1 pound of pinto beans when making re-fried beans (in the crock pot) and store the rest in the freezer. This way the next time I make tacos I just need to pull the already cooked beans out of the freezer and mash. The same goes for tortillas( they are great for quick pizzas ),pancakes, and waffles. Once this becomes habit try doing it with meatballs, meatloaf, and lasagna, the ideas are endless. Before you know it you have quick homemade frozen dinners.
I hope some of these tips this week have been helpful. I plan on sharing more goals of how our “city” family is trying to become more self- sufficient in the future, like how not to support sweatshops and our ideas of getting around having “farm animals” in our backyard.
Wishing everyone a great, safe weekend!