Thursday, November 13, 2008

Food Friday: Those who can't do, plan.

Actually posting on Friday this week- woo hoo!

Wednesday of this week, I was thinking about my Food Friday blog post (thank goodness for the weekly accountability- it sure does keep it on my mind). I was feeling pretty down, thinking that there was minimal progress last week, and it wasn't looking good for this week either.

Then a friend gave me a link- I checked it out, and it looked awesome! They have an excel spreadsheet you can download that will make the 3 months of food supply very simple! It is the sort of thing I would think that I really need, but there is no way I would have the time, energy, desire or know-how to do it myself. I went ahead and put in all my meals, and now I have a shopping list of things I need, and I will be able to buy things on sale, and gather things as I go, but in a deliberate and planned way, instead of the haphazard way I normally go about things.

You will have to check it out on their website, the link to go straight to the excel spreadsheet is here. Here is a simplified breakdown of how it works:

  1. Plan out your meals for 1 month. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
  2. Then make a master list of ingredients (ex: you use beans in 3 different recipes, but you would list it in the master list just once).
  3. After your ingredients list is made, you go back to your meal plans, and choose which ingredients are in each meal from a drop down menu created by your master list.
  4. Once that step is done, you return to your master ingredients list and put in how many servings are in the size you buy (ex: if you have 2 c. noodles listed as an ingredient, and you usually buy boxes that have 6 cups in them, you would put '3' as your servings/box. Or if you use 1 can of beans, you can list '1' as servings/can).
  5. Now- all done! You click on the tab at the bottom, and your shopping list shows up. It lists how many you need to buy, etc.
  6. It also has a place to list normal prices for each of the items, so that you can look for sales and stock up when things are cheap.

The process was a little tedious- it is pretty detailed. They have a video tutorial, which helped a lot, but I got bored and just wanted to jump into it! It took me about 6 hours to work through all of the above steps (except #6- I haven't done that one yet). But all of those 6 hours were while kids were awake, so I was jumping up every few minutes to do things with them.

I did 4 different breakfasts (to be repeated 7 times each through the month):

  • breakfast burrito
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • pancakes

7 different lunches (to be repeated 4 times each through the month):

  • peanut butter/honey
  • tuna and crackers
  • ckn noodles
  • roll up sandwich
  • mac and cheese
  • peanut butter/jelly
  • tomato soup

And 14 different dinners (to be repeated twice each through the month):

  • Lemon Chicken Pasta
  • Chili
  • Ground Beef Taco Bake
  • Chicken and Rice Bake
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Bean/Cheese Burritos
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Pizza
  • Quesadillas
  • Tuna noodle casserole
  • Manicotti
  • Mexican Noodle Bake
  • Haystacks

I decided at this point to use my freezer to store things like meat, cheese, some vegetables, and bread. Eventually I would like my 3 month storage to be all non-perishable, but I will be happy with this to get started.

There is also some further tweaking needed. When I printed out my shopping list, it said I needed 72 cans of chicken! I need to find some good vegetarian/bean recipes and swap them for some of the chicken options. Also, I didn't include any side dishes. Most of the recipes are casserole type meals, and I will have stuff on hand to make breads and rolls, but eventually I would like to add things for side dishes.

But this gives me a GREAT place to start! I can add these things into my meal planning (I'm thinking once every other month or once every third month to rotate the food), and I can start buying extra at the grocery store. I like the idea of buying extra, but I don't like the idea of random, disorganized stuff at home, so this works really well for me.

Have you done anything this week to further your supply? Is there a way to plan something, even if you can't buy something this week? Do you have a good recipe to share that would use canned or non-perishable items?


Mary Kate said...

Great progress! I haven't looked at how to do that spreadsheet but it makes me excited to get all my ingredients in there! I have been reading other posts from the same site....lots of good ideas are flowing through my head now!

Kristi said...

Thanks for the link. I think this might help me get a better handle on things. Though the spreadsheet seems a little overwhelming... I am going to watch the video- hopefully that will help. Even if I can get a couple of meals in.

I am looking around for some good non-perishable type recipes too (as well as less meat type recipes). I'll let you know what I find. But with non-perishable- are you storing vitamins too? Do you already have some? Does this help with no fresh fruits and veggies? I supposed canned is just as good as fresh?


Shanna said...

I think fresh is best, but canned is acceptable. And actually, I have read some things that say that frozen is actually *better* than fresh, because they can let it ripen longer, rather than picking it early to make it last longer, and that if they freeze it right away, it doesn't lose all the nutrients from the shipping.

Also, I am really not preparing for a 'survival' situation. I am looking to have a supply of food in my home for use in case of a short-term natural (or unnatural) disaster, or for use in times of financial crisis. I don't look at it as my only source of food or nutrition for 3 months. So, with that attitude, I wouldn't worry about buying vitamins, I would just tough it out for a few weeks or whatever until things got better.

Maybe this will change as I progress with this, but for now I am just trying to get some basics together.