Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Food Project

I have spent the last two weeks making up my menu for March.

(green = meatless; blue = pork or beef; orange = chicken; teal = seafood = only on sale!)

It's all part of the effort to spend less money wherever we can-- shaving down the food budget to as little as possible. It was a challenge, too.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I did research and found all sorts of new recipes. I consulted as many Mark Bittman tomes as my husband would cart home from the library for me and Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way. (I credit Ely with teaching me to cook!) I looked things up in google and I started buying bags of beans, then soaking, cooking and freezing them. I found out legumes, peas and lentils are also called pulses and that they are grown right here and in the province next door--yet the grocery store labels say they come all the way from China. Why? I've discovered how ruddy cheap cabbage is and I'm trying to cook with it more often, but not too often.

I decided, as a way of ritualizing our new way of eating, to clean out my so-called pantry.

So-called because it is really a shelving unit in my basement with a long and noble family history: it used to hold record albums in my parent's living room when I was fourteen. That should also explain its colour blocked colour scheme.

So, I washed all the cubies: it was really dusty. I removed two binders. They were full of magzine pages, carefully and patiently removed from years of Canadian Living Magazine and put into page protectors. I've never looked at them since I did that. It's overwhelming to think about them now.

I rearranged everything: but I didn't label the cubbies, though I thought about it. Things are changing. I'm not sure labels would be that useful.

Linking to The William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries. Thanks for stopping by-- I look forward to reading about your projects.


onshore said...

I often eat vegeterian food in the canteen in work and I like it. I mainly do it for environment reasons, but I also think it's better for my stomack.
Well done on the shelves. I am always so amazed you spend so much time on the menu plan. I think that is good, and that you can really plan your money that way.

Carrie said...

Good job - and I'm loving that food menu! We've managed to go meatless at least one night a week and it has been a change for us, but since we suppliment with beans, we haven't really noticed and it's been easier on the budget. :-) YAY!

Amy said...

Wow! A month's worth of menu planning . . . I stand in awe. I'd be doing good to do a week.

Jules said...

A month of meals, already planned! I won't show this post to my husband because he's been saying we should do this forever! I agree, but since in practice it's me who will actually be doing it, I've been resistant. It seems so overwhelming!

You've inspired me.

Allison said...

I, like you, am trying to live on a lot tighter of a budget. On that note, I've been cooking at home a lot more, and trying to plan ahead as much as possible. I am super impressed that you've planned the whole month! Your post has inspired me to get better about planning, so thank you! PS: Your "pantry" looks amazing! :)

alice almighty said...

I want to know more about the soaking and freezing of beans! I always cook them in a crock pot, but it takes all day....I am intrigued!

Melissa@Home Baked said...

It's so nice to know exactly what's in your pantry and where to find it! Makes planning all those meals so much easier. Great work!

Courtney said...

I can only plan one week at a time, so one month is impressive! But what a load off your mind for the rest of the month. Love your honestly about labeling, too. I often find it wise to hold off on labels. It takes a while for a new system to settle. Great work!

Anonymous said...

*sigh* Organizing food is so much fun! I love discovering what I have stowed away in old cottage cheese containers. I notice you froze beans in glass. I have always been too nervous to freeze glass but it would be nice to have clear containers to see through!
-Leilani the Clyde Woman

May said...

The shelves look neat as a pin!
When the economy got so bad I took a look at dried beans for the very first time. I find it very old-world-cool to go through the whole soaking and long cooking process. Makes me feel connected to my grandma some how. I will never return to canned.

Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

I really have to get back into meal planning. I just don't have the time to think about what to cook every day. I used to do it for two weeks at a time -- but we have so much stuff in our freezer at this point that I really need to start doing some clean out meals!

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