Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Plan Update

As I mentioned in previous posts this week, I wound up with a whole lot of extra food I didn't expect to happen. I feel really badly that my friend was ill and as such, didn't eat. I prefer it when people who're in my house (staying or just visiting for a bit) get to eat well, and of the types of foods they prefer. That didn't happen this time, and as a result I feel like I inadvertently cheated on my budget plan. It obviously wasn't intentional (although believe me I am not sad about having chips and crackers!), but I feel like I need to do something to compensate for it. So what I ended up deciding was to eliminate my access to the pantry overflow room (which I will now start calling the Aladdin's Cave, since I like that term so much more than overflow room).

The way all my food storage is structured is that in the kitchen I have 2 large shelves that comprise my pantry. One shelf pretty much contains all that I might need for baking, home canned canned foods and some dried fruits and veggies. Plus a few other random items there isn't space for elsewhere. The other shelf holds all the daily use stuff, like rice (many kinds), pasta (many shapes), grains, junk food, soups, canned meats and other goods and so on. You know; the normal stuff you use a lot. On my counter there are rows of jars that hold beans and a couple jars with pasta. There's one cabinet that's full of spices and another cabinet that has extra vinegars, my massive "mother" jar of homemade vanilla extract, some extra oils and the like. Plus some chips for making cookies (butterscotch, chocolate, mint) and whatever 4 pound bag of sugar I'm currently working my way through. Aladdin's Cave contains approximately 100 pounds of pasta, surplus grains (other than rice), at least (but possibly more) 30 pounds of surplus beans (including many types not on the shelves currently), extra spices, marshmallows, 30-ish pounds of tea, dried seaweed, most of the dried mushrooms (and the largest variety; there are about 10 pounds of miscellaneous types of dried mushrooms in there, which would hydrate to roughly 80 pounds of mushrooms), 20+ pounds of sugar, extra baking supplies, etc. I don't actually have it all itemised, so I can't tell you everything that's in there. What I can tell you is that it's probably a year's worth of food for 2 people.

By eliminating my access to that room (I can only go in there if I need a container, canning jars or to get the dog more food), I feel like I've been adequately "punished" for my accidental cheating. There's enough food in the kitchen that I can't imagine that I could go though all the beans and grains without needing to start dieting, but if I do, I feel like it's appropriate that I should have to buy it. Also, I feel like it's appropriate that I made this rule without restocking things the kitchen was out of (so, that means no more pasta salad unless I plan on buying more ditalini, which I don't, and only one more tuna casserole without having to buy more egg noodles) thereby forcing me to start this modification to the rules with only what's in the kitchen. And interestingly, I hadn't actually restocked the kitchen or used anything in Aladdin's Cave up to this point, so not being able to restock first does actually affect me more than one might think. To me, this balances out what happened with the guest food. Naturally, I immediately started being a little sad about the things I was now missing that I'd really like to have, but tough cookies for me. I was out of regular sugar (there's over a gallon of vanilla sugar in the kitchen, but that's not ideal for all baking needs - and it is especially important that I have regular sugar since I'm praying some nice Scottish tablet might reduce the homework load a little), so it was the first thing to go on my list for what needed to be purchased this week.

In terms of the freezer status, I've been pretty good about working through some of the frozen veggies. I'm trying to remember to incorporate them in each meal, which is not only good for me but helps further my summer goals. I think I have only another week (two if I'm conservative with them) before I'm out and will need to start buying those again (particularly since I just lost a massive number of dried veggies). I added a little meat to the freezer, and though I am craving ham like nobody's business, I don't see how I could justify the massive cost of even a small amount of ham. Especially with all the meat I still have. I don't actually think I can justify buying ANY more meat for the rest of the summer (even though I want to). I do still have a good number of flours in the freezer of various types, and I'd like to try to remember that when I'm in the kitchen and start using some of them. I see some Brazilian cheese breads in my future. They're kind of a pain to make, but oh so worth it and an excellent use for at least one of the two bags of tapioca starch that's in there. Maybe if I motivate myself to make some rye bread, I will be able to justify buying meat that doesn't go in the freezer. In terms of fruit in the freezer, I am basically making no progress. I believe what I need to do is make some scones (which uses some of the lemon rinds and cranberries, not to mention being delicious) and maybe make a fruit pie. And if I don't get around to making a fruit pie, I might just thaw some of that fruit out and eat it plain. It's pretty good that way too. I've used over half the cheese and probably about half the nuts as well. I'm down to about 2 pounds of butter, which is not good so I'll need to start reserving a little of my food budget for that when I get down to 1 pound remaining.

In the fridge, I still have piles of pickled foods. I'm good on makdous and pickles, and also on marinated artichokes, banana peppers, kraut, lemons, etc. I'm not truly confident I have enough of these to last, but I'll fit that into the budget too. Definitely no chips on those weeks! There are still those two mangoes in the fridge from the guest spending, so I decided to focus most of my grocery money this week on fruit so I could make a massive fruit salad to eat for breakfast every day.

So, that's the progress and changes to my challenge. In an incredibly non-summarized form.

And here's what I spent:

Salad mix - $1.69
Orange juice - $1.15 (oh how I miss fresh juice)
Feta cheese - $1.99 (on sale, woo!)
1 pound strawberries - $1.39
3/4 pound nectatines - $0.58
Sugar, 4-pound bag - $2.19
1/8 watermelon - $1.00

Total: $9.98

I barely, barely made it under $10!

4 comments:

  1. Couple thoughts-

    1- can I live in your kitchen?

    2- I bet you could use up a bunch of fruit in like fruit coffee cake or a crumble, or something

    3- have you tried putting a list of everything in the freezer *on* the freezer? that way you can see it without digging around.

    4- maybe pick 3 random items from the fridge/ freezer/ back of the cabinet and write them down to use each week? it ensures you're actually working your way through it.

    5- my mom didn't know you're supposed to keep whole wheat flour in the fridge/ freezer. She kinda freaked out when I told her it goes rancid pretty fast. She now has less space in her freezer.

    6- can I live in your kitchen?

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  2. Lol, lol, lol. Like, seriously in real life, not just internet lolz.

    1. Absolutely.
    2. I ate it all already. Okay, the dog and I ate all the fruit. Oh wait. You meant the frozen fruit and not the massive fruit salad, didn't you? I used some of it to make turnovers, but a coffee cake sounds like a really good idea. Sometimes I just eat it by itself once it's thawed, too.
    3. Did it. It's the only way I have any clue what's in there. Though as I use things up, it's so much easier to see what's going on in there now. There's even space on the meat shelf now. Like, where I can see some shelf!
    4. That's an excellent idea. I need to employ it! I discovered some dried lima beans today so they're on my list for this week (maybe with sausage; can't decide. I've been craving meat really badly the last few days so I must not be getting enough fat in my diet right now).
    5. Oh that's awesome. I keep pretty much all the flours except Wondra, All-Purpose, unbleached bread flour and cake flour in the freezer. I'd be really, really bummed if I had to cook with rancid flour. But all the flours are in the door of the freezer so there's plenty of shelf space for everything else.
    6. Definitely! Between the two of us, we'd be eating some really awesome food. (you could use the Cave too, even though I'm no longer allowed to)

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  3. I'm still having trouble believing that there's anything you shouldn't use vanilla sugar in... choco cake? yep, almond muffins, yup, tea, yes indeed...

    It was mean to make me LoL, too- roommates are now probably having nightmares about evil cackling/ hacking witches.

    The Cave too? ooooh. Sweet!

    Pretty sure, though, that between the two of us we'd actually be eating a lot of chips and chocolate, and cookies and stuff.

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  4. I believe it. The dog was looking at me like I was a crazy person.

    Mostly I just wouldn't want to use vanilla sugar when I was making candy, unless it was a candy that'd get vanilla anyway. I realised this morning while I was making my coffee that I actually have a gallon and most of a quart of vanilla sugar. It's really quite a lot and somewhat ridiculous.

    Oh, you're totally right about what we'd be eating. I forget sometimes we're both cursed with the same junk food affliction. On the upside, I have a massive stockpile of non-American chocolates that aren't in the Cave (thank god), and I'm open to making cookies whenever they're needed. So really we'd just need to buy the chips. :)

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