Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fun, Clumsy Day and Kitchen Staples

Hello and happy Wednesday! Posts have become a bit sporadic around here, and I'm not really sure why. I guess we're soaking up our summer days as the sun sets a little earlier and we can sort of see fall approaching. It actually cooled down quite a bit yesterday, and today has felt downright pleasant. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; I'm sure we have more than enough hot days coming our way.

Anyway, the week has really chugged along, and I love weeks like that! Nothing big to report, just more plans than usual, which feels nice after so many long, hot, and sometimes boring summer days. Today we headed to Manhattan Beach to meet up with our My Gym friends and then went to My Gym itself. I'm beginning to LOVE Wednesday mornings! We walked along the pier and then grabbed a bagel before heading to class, the boys got to run and splash in puddles (Marshall actually decided to sit IN a puddle, of course), and my friend and I got to chat.

Future best friends?

Stacking fun!

Annnnnd someone's tired.

By the time we finished My Gym and made it home, I was exhausted, so I pepped myself up with some iced tea before continuing on with the day.

Although my day has been riddled with silly clumsy mistakes. I opened my water bottle in the car and spilled everywhere (probably 8-10 ounces). And then later...

And at dinner...

Amazing, as always.

Once Terry came home, he took Marshall to the library and captured the sweetest moment: 

Marshall chose a book, sat down in a chair at a table, "read" the book, and put the book back on the shelf, all by himself! Who is this tiny human?

Our meal plan this week has been a lovely one, especially the fried rice and pulled pork. Tonight we used up the last of the pulled pork for some simple sandwiches (with caramelized onions and pepper jack cheese), along with a mix-n-match of greens to clear out the fridge of all these random bags of lettuce.

Fried rice earlier this week

Speaking of which, I noticed today that we rarely have extra food (without plans to use it soon) around (to my dismay, when Marshall was sound asleep and I had virtually no lunch options--I wound up eating yogurt, peanut butter, and banana). I read blogs all the time where the writer might mention something like, "We didn't have any dinner plans, so I scrounged around and made a big salad with tons of vegetables and leftover cooked chicken." How do you just happen to have a bunch of random vegetables--not to mention chicken--hanging out in the fridge with no plan for them? Or, "I got hungry in the afternoon, so I pulled out some forgotten snacks from the pantry." Forgotten snacks? Is this a thing? Do people actually buy food and then forget that they bought it? Because I'm over here trying to resist eating all the food on the first day I bought it.

Seriously, though, I do actually believe it saves us a lot of money (and headache) to meal plan and then only shop for what we need for the next few days or week or so. Living in small apartments for so long has not really allowed me to buy a ton of extras, because I have no space to store it! But it also helps ensure that we're only buying (for the most part) what we know we'll eat, and then we don't have to throw it away. It's great a lot of the time, but then those days come along where I wish I had a box of crackers to accompany some cheese for an afternoon snack.

So anyway our usual routine is to keep our "staples" stocked; we always have:
- milk
- yogurt
- peanut butter (crunchy for me, creamy for Marshall, Terry likes both) or, if I'm feeling crazy, almond butter
- maple syrup (we like the Kirkland Organic Maple Syrup)
- eggs
- nuts, although we haven't really been eating a ton of nuts lately--I got SO sick of them when I was pregnant!
- raisins
- oats
- some sort of bread (we like making our own now!) or tortillas or pita bread
- cheese--usually pepper jack and something else, like sharp cheddar
- fruit
- vegetables, but these vary from week to week based on meal plans
- in the freezer: frozen berries, frozen chopped spinach, and frozen peas, plus chicken stock
- around the kitchen: whole wheat flour, vanilla, baking powder and soda, spices and dried herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and a few condiments, like mustard
- some sort of dessert, which varies every few days

And then weekly or whenever I need to I grab what's needed for that week's meal plan, plus whatever staples need replenishing. It's sort of bare bones, but right now it works for us and prevents us from having too much food going to waste. I'd say our biggest waste is when we have really small portions of leftovers (we usually package them up but then ignore them because they aren't really a full meal), or when we have, say, half a lemon leftover from some recipe. Most of the time I have good intentions--"Oh, I'll just use that tomorrow to make lemon water or something!"--but it rarely gets used. I do much better when I have set plans for how I'll use ALL the food, so if a recipe only calls for half an onion I like to make sure I'll use the other half in the following day's recipe.

How do you avoid food waste? Any suggestions?

Do you prefer to keep your kitchen fully stocked with lots of options, or more bare bones and shop as needed?


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