what happened?

I swear it was only 9:30 when I last checked. And yet, the hours have slipped by… sneaky things that they are. The projects I hoped to get done, the early bed time I hoped to see, all for naught.

It’s not as though I sat around all evening twiddling my thumbs. I was actually quite productive. I sorted through canned goods in our pantry to pull expired items, searched through our fridge to determine what items needed to be cooked/tossed/frozen, prepping said items in baggies (freezing to cook next week), then powered through the pile of dishes in the sink (all the cooking and prep projects left the kitchen in a post hurricane state).

I’m trying to be better with the meal planning and reducing spoilage in our house. It’s a shame to have things go to waste when they could have easily been moved to the front of the cooking rotation or prepped and frozen for future use. We got an extra freezer for the garage about a year ago to help facilitate meal planning. We found ourselves constantly running out of freezer space in our pull out freezer (attached to our fridge) and there was no way we were storing any bulk items in there. Even storing leftovers in the freezer was a challenge. Things had to be tetrised in to make it work. The fact that our ice maker takes up a quarter of the freezer doesn’t help things. But, I love having an ice maker, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Back to the extra freezer thing… it’s been awesome. When I’m at the store, I can buy frozen items with confidence. Knowing there’s a place for them at home. Same thing with making extra food at dinner – I know we can always freeze leftovers. I just haven’t been great at planning.

A few nights ago, I decided to take inventory of everything we had in our extra freezer. From the beginning, I had things sorted based on food groups. Desserts and fruits on the top shelf, carbs and prepared foods on the next shelf, veggies on the next, and proteins on the bottom. The door holds things like extra butter, frozen herbs, ice packs and any overflow that couldn’t fit on the shelves. So, taking account of everything in the freezer actually wasn’t that daunting of a task. I had the brilliant idea that I could write our inventory out on the front of our white freezer with a dry erase marker. Pretty nifty idea, eh? It actually worked really well. Until C saw me “drawing” on the freezer, got some dry erase markers and decided to help. It still worked out ok – she took the bottom half of the freezer and I continued to record the contents of the freezer on the top half.

One thing I discovered while sorting through everything? There are certain items, like peas, that I buy way too much of. I think I was on a pea buying kick because C liked them, so each time I went to the store, I bought peas. Wanna guess how many bags of peas we had in our freezer? Six. Yes, six. That’s not even counting the bag we already had opened in our kitchen freezer. Time to start eating more peas, I guess.

It’s nice to know what’s in the freezer outside. Even better to have it available at a glance. Ben looked at me like I was a bit crazy when he saw my inventory documentation on the freezer door. I know, it’s a little extreme. But, really, dry erase is awesome for something like this, where inventory is changing daily and you want a quick and easy way to update. It’s easier than paper – just wipe off what you’ve taken out, or spend 30 seconds to write what you’ve added. It’s not as if I alphabetized it all… although that’s actually not a terrible idea.

I’m hoping to do better with meal planning. I’ll let you know when I do. :-)


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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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