Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pondering The MEGA Stock-Up

I am still planning.  I tend to over-think these things, so it takes time.  Oh, sure...you're thinking to yourself, shoot no, she never over-thinks anything; if nothing else, she seriously under-thinks things.

Yeah, true enough.  It appears like that, I know. Honestly, though, I over-think and second guess (and triple guess and then some) constantly.  What appears to be under-thinking is really the third or fourth re-think on my end.  It's just one of those things that make me who I am I suppose.

Ok, planning the big shopping trip.  I'm talking a good $1000 or better here.  I'm talking oats, flour, sugars and assorted baking needs.  I'm talking a big trip to the butcher with a mile-long order for canning up for the pantry.  Bulk items for food, animal feeds and assorted sundry items.

Where to begin.  LOL...this isn't one of those 'over-thought' areas yet.  I have a list...of sorts...in a very loose understanding of the word list.  I have the base 30-day menu plan we sort of go by here.  It's not fancy.  It's plain meat and taters stuff.  It's always changing, I'm always adding new favorites and tweaking other recipes to suit our needs and tastes here, but all in all it's a simple list for a simple family.    Ok...for most, it will be a boring list.  We are a boring family when it comes to meal time.  We haven't turned to the Monday is Pasta...Tuesday is Beef...Wednesday is Meatless, etc. plan yet, but some days I'm so ready for that.  I get in a meal rut here and honestly, being able to say tonight it's chicken (in whatever form) would be so nice.

Here's how we handle menu planning.  Got a pencil and paper?  This is deep stuff here.  Ready? 
We have that list there, 30 (give or take) meals, and generally they have a side dish or two listed, maybe a potential dessert plan as well. 
In the pantry here we tend to keep the necessary items for those meals at least, in stock.
On most days, thinking ahead has not actually happened, and things haven't been thawed or such, but we still forge ahead and choose what sounds good that night and go for it.

So thought-intensive, isn't it?  I know.  For all my "gotta have routine, gotta have a schedule" talk here, I sink pretty low behind that when it comes to meal planning.  I just don't get excited with cooking.  I get excited with the planning, and even a little with the stocking the pantry part, but the actual cooking said meal on said day just seems a chore rather than a fun task.  Weird.  I actually *love* to be in the kitchen.  I like to bake, I like to put meals together, I like to cook.  I just don't like the mundane day to day dinner rut I get into.  LOL...no, that haphazard boring 30-day menu doesn't help either.

Now...pantry stocking.  Like I said, it will be a big one.  It will be a lengthy process -- certainly not a done in an afternoon thing.  First we have to pull the contents of the pantry and reorganize and inventory.  Then I have to go over the menu plan and adjust from there what we really want, add in any new meals I've gleaned here and there (several are listed at the kitchen blog, and I'll be adding more as we go through this).  After I do all of this, then I should be ready to hit the store.  I won't go without a plan set up first.  I don't have unlimited cash for this shopping trip, although I do have a great deal ready for it.  I have to have a plan and I have to be prepared.

The menu is the base of the whole plan, food-wise.  There are some sundry items that will be bought as well...toothpaste, shampoo, TP, dish soap, needs for making laundry soap, etc.  And there will be several bags of goat ration and dog feed set aside in the feed barrels in the barn, as well as paper towels and milk filters for barn use.  (I don't buy or use paper towels or paper napkins here at the house, but I do make up the goat wipes with paper towels.  Inside we stick to reusable/washable "paper" goods.  I don't see the point in buying paper towels when I have no shortage of washable fabric and toweling here.)  We don't have much around here that is 'disposable' in nature at all. Now I do buy plastic wrap, baggies and tin foil.  Well, not as much tin foil anymore, but I do buy the large commercial roll of plastic wrap at Sam's and it lasts well over a year.  Baggies are always used here...I freeze excess milk in them (I place x-amount of milk in a gallon freezer bag, set it in one of the older bread pans, then freeze.  This 'block' of milk then stacks nicely in the freezer).  I have alot of odds and ends of rubbermaid containers in various sizes for left-overs and the like.  LOL...though most don't have lids...why do the lids always seem to disappear?  Ugh...just like socks in the dryer I guess.

The largest part of my 'plan' is to have as close to a year's supply set up here as I can get.  I will most likely review the list later and find areas I could have done better once it's all said and done (that dreadful second-guessing of mine), but when I am prepared and actually make the trip, I will be settled with what I feel is the best use of that money at that time.  That's all I can do.

Grains (oats, flours)
sugars (mostly honey and molasses, then assorted other sugars)
baking needs (yeast, etc)
vegetables (will get the large #10 cans as well as the farm market finds to can up here, then prayerfully the garden this year)
meats (the tentative plan is 200# of ground, 300# stewing chunks, a couple dozen chickens, 3 turkeys...I'm still doing alot of work on this part because it will be the largest expense of the money)

No, on that menu, there isn't any 'breakfast' listed.  We are just as boring with breakfast here as anything.  Choices here include eggs...mostly scrambled, but sometimes omelet or fried, oatmeal, granola, or pancakes.  Of course, with that huge list of ideas from Mr Breakfast, that will probably evolve on the menu plan as well now.

Desserts, however, are listed.  We don't really make a lot of desserts or snacks around here.  We might do a batch of cookies every other month.  A cake is generally reserved for birthdays...LOL, of course, that means we are covered up in cakes from July through January!  Today, as a request from the Tethered Husband here, I'm making 2 apple pies and a chocolate pie.  The uncultured, sling-ridden man of the house here wants Jell-O brand cook and serve chocolate pudding.  ugh.  I think the homemade chocolate pudding tastes so much better....but, what do I know...I'm just the kitchen slave :::sigh:::

At any rate...I have a lot of planning ahead as the weekend draws in.  I hope to be on top of the list and ready to go next week.  Right now, I have 10# of sweet peppers in the dehydrator.  We sliced up red, yellow and orange bell peppers, and the last green ones I had bought several days ago (they looked so good!  best I've seen at the store in a long time...).  I still have another 10# or so here to do up, but the dehydrator is small...I'd give my eye-teeth for an Excalibur, but life moves on...I have what I have, a gift from years and years ago.  I will probably give oven drying a shot...

3 comments:

Blessedmom said...

I am in the same boat as you, my friend, we are gearing up for a very large order to Azure, as well as other stocking up. I am working on a new menu plan...."working on" is the operative word here. I like the idea of eating the same thing on the same day of the week for breakfast and lunch, and I also like the idea of a 3 month menu rotation based on the time of year, that way we are able to have more soups in the winter, salads in the summer,and utilize what is growing at that time of year. Makes sense, right? lol. Well, that's the plan anyways.

Sara

Greg and Donna said...

I have rubbermaid lids with no container at my house!Where do you go buy that much meat at one time and what are the prices like per pound? That sounds like a great idea!

Wonder if its really going to snow here in Miss. Be interesting if we get the 6-8 inches they are talking about.

4littleladybugs said...

You are an inspiration. :o)

This sounds like a huge project! I need to do something similar but have never gotten my act together...

Good luck,I know you will feel such a sense of accomplishment once the job is complete.

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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