Do you make New Year resolutions? I sort of do. Well, I do, but they are usually just sort of slight changes to my behaviour rather than fully blown resolutions.
I’ve made some this year. They are written down on a full page of a lovely notebook. They are also on a word document, and there is a shortcut direct to it on my desktop. The notebook may be referred to again, but the list there won’t necessarily be updated, while the word document will be updated as I make progress. I’m already changing my language around the resolutions, see: I will ‘make progress’ instead of ‘crossing them off when I achieve them’. You see, most of my resolutions are things I want to do better at, rather than completely new directions. Even my weight loss goal is building on the stone and a half that I lost last year.
But anyway, one thing I am trying to do is decrease my reliance on my local supermarket. I’m not even going to mention its name, but I have got into the habit of going there pretty much every weekend, and spending between £50 and £100. This is soul destroying – the shopping experience isn’t much fun; I always buy more things than I intend to and which I don’t actually NEED, or not now at any rate; I’m not supporting my local economy; we have a good local farm shop. There are so many reasons I should change my shopping habits.
Towards the end of last year I started sporadically menu planning. For years I have day by day thought about what I’ll cook. At the weekend I will have bought a variety of fresh ingredients, which I instinctively know will work together and will make tasty, nutritious meals, but I haven’t actually planned what will go with what or precisely what meals they will make. So sometimes there were things leftover, sometimes they went off before they were used and were thrown out. Yes, I am feeding that shame-making mountain of food waste in the West.
But I found that if I planned the evening meals for the week over the weekend, then I was more likely to use all the food I had, before buying any more. And it was much easier getting home and knowing exactly what you were cooking as soon as you got in the door.
So, one of my Not-Exactly-Resolutions is to plan menus each week. And follow them. This will not only reduce waste, it will also probably save me money and time.
We have hens and get 2 or 3 eggs a day and i make our own bread. Breakfast for me is usually either toast or cold frittata (eaten on the train). The Captain generally has porridge in the office. I haven’t included lunches in the menu plan – most lunches will be leftovers, or soup, or bread and cheese or ham. Most days I don’t need lunch as I meet friends in a cafe in town.
Anyway, this is what I have bought this week:
Cheddar, chicken breasts, sausages, black pudding, bacon, mince, ham hock, haggis, apple pie
Seville oranges, beetroot, cream, milk, red cabbage, potatoes, biscuits (already eaten), plums, pears, bananas, onions, carrots
Parma ham, sliced ham, wine
Things I need to use up
A few mushrooms, those expensive silly mini peppers, brussels sprouts
And the meals, day by day:
Saturday: chilli con carne. Make EXTRAS: creme brulee
Sunday: chicken wrapped in parma ham, potatoes, brussels sprouts. Apple pie. Make EXTRAS: marmalade, lentil soup, winter slaw
Monday: Chicken stir fry
Tuesday: I’m out for the evening. The Captain will probably have what is known as a Kraft Dinner (cheesy pasta!)
Wednesday: Black pudding and poached egg on toast with winter slaw
Thursday: Toad in the hole and carrots
Friday: Haggis, carrots and tatties as it’s Burn’s Night, probably joined by some pear upside down cake, or pears with chocolate sauce
There. That has made me happy. Food for a week. And not much left over.