Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I Need To Spend More Time In The Kitchen. And, Make An Apron.

In 2016, I published a few blog columns about how we drastically reduced our monthly expenses. You can read about that here and here. We've made a few adjustments since, but the foundation of each area is the same. We're still utilizing what we already have, taking advantage of sales and online coupons, embracing DIY projects, etc. 
In both blog columns, I wrote about our monthly food expense. When we moved into our home in 2012, and in the couple of years to follow, we were spending quite a bit on takeout. During the process of eliminating takeout 2-3 times per week and gravitating towards homemade, we eventually got to the point of saving about 50% on our food bill per week.

Since publishing those blog columns, we've stayed on track for the most part. We indulge in takeout once or twice a month. The only exception is when our kitchen was out of commission during Our Big Bodacious Painting Project. 


I noticed as of late, I've been slacking in a few areas.  

1. I've been relying on premade items too much. These include, but are not limited to, spaghetti and pizza sauce, salsas, Lisa's work snacks, salad dressings, and breakfast foods.

2. I haven't made homemade bread since the last week of April. We've been buying store bought bread, bagels, rolls for sandwiches and burgers, pizza crust, and garlic breadsticks and knots. 

3. I'm cooking too much food. I've always had the tendency to cook enough food for a small army. At one point, we were throwing away leftovers left and right. I hate throwing away food. I got to the point where I was making enough for us to have for dinner and to make Lisa's lunches for the next day or two. Now, I have fallen off track with certain dishes. 

4. I haven't converted to our Summer fare yet. During the warm weather months, we fire up the grill several times a week. One of my favorite things to do is grill a lot of extra marinated boneless chicken breasts. In the few days to follow, I'll use it to make healthy grilled chicken salads, quesadillas, grilled chicken wraps, or my cold oriental chicken pasta salad. These meals are quick and easy to make and I'm able to incorporate the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables. 

What all of that translates to is that I need to get back on track. 

The first half of this year has been crazy, busy. Between finishing up the last of the 6-week projects for a client in February, upstairs renovations, getting really sick, planning and hosting a graduation party, Our Big Bodacious Painting Project, and tackling about a half dozen odds and ends, my time in the kitchen has been slacking. 

As of now, 3 things on our "7 Things We Still Need To Tackle Over The Next Couple Of Weeks" are done. Almost 4.

Now that it's the first week of June, I need to get out of the mode I've been in since the first of the year. 

The worst of Our Big Bodacious Painting Project is done. We just need to paint the half-wall paneling in the DIY Dog Mom Project Room and our tiny bathroom. 

After over a year of working on various 6-week projects for a client, I'm done.

Spring Cleaning is done. 

The big and lengthy renovations upstairs are done for now.

The only big event we have coming up is Lisa's 50th Backyard Birthday Bash in August. 

I have a DIY Dog Mom Project Room so I can better utilize my time and get more stuff done at once.

I have more time to spend in the kitchen and I can do more because our kitchen table is no longer being used as a DIY Dog Mom Project workstation.

I need to make that transition and shift my daily routine around a bit. Hone up on my time management skills and multi-tasking skills. 

It's not an easy thing to do.

Just recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who recently graduated from college. She's almost 40. For the past 2 years, she's worked full-time and taken a couple of classes per semester.  Her mode was working during the day, doing homework when she got home in the evening, writing papers on the weekends, and having very little time for anything else. 

Now that she's graduated, there's an abundance of time for her to the things she's been putting off or wanting to focus on like meal prep, home organization, leisure hikes on the weekends, small home improvement projects, etc.

It's a struggle to shift from one mode to another.

I'm there.

My goal over the next couple of weeks is to spend the time I need to in the kitchen and plan better meals throughout the week. 

And, I need to make an apron because mine retired a couple of years ago.

I've got this. 

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