Monday, January 5, 2015

Getting It Together

It turns out, we all like to eat.  And pretty much, we all have busy lives.  Here's some things that I do so that meals are better and easier at the same time:

When I browse magazines, and I see a recipe that looks like it would be good, I tear it out right then, or take a picture of it to save for later.  If I don't do it right then, I'll more than likely forget where I found it.  I keep them in a notebook (which my sister-in-law, Annie, calls "the vault"):

"The Vault"  -- where I keep recipe and decorating ideas as I find them in magazines
or on my computer within a documents folder I've named "Idea Book":

When I see a recipe online, or take a photo of a recipe, I store it here

And I've got a couple of favorite cookbooks that are also "go - to's" for inspiration.

Once a week, I'll sit down with a notebook, jot out the week and include any nights out that we'll be having, or guests that are coming.  With The Vault, my computer and the cookbooks at hand, I'll create a menu for the week.  Though this seems like extra work, it saves me from coming around to 4:00 and thinking "what on earth are we going to eat tonight?".  I include menus that may have similar ingredients with different end flavor profiles.  This reduces the overall shopping list, makes the groceries less expensive, and the meals much more interesting.  With the recipes at my side, I create my shopping list. Here's last week's:

My menu this week and the shopping list for it

There are three stores I do my shopping at:  Costco (a big warehouse store that has large quantity items) for my meat, coffee, yogurt.  I've got pretty small cupboard space in this little 1 bedroom condo, so I can't buy too much there.  Then I go to a local grocery store, KTA, where as a matter of fact, they also sell Pig Blood (see previous post).  But they also have locally grown fruits and veggies and all the other basic groceries.  Then my last stop is "the market" set up under tarps and run by Filipinos who drive 2 hours to Kona every morning with fresh papaya, pineapple, avocados, tomatoes, herbs as well as other tropical fruits for really great prices.


 I also keep a stock of things in my little freezer to have on hand.  For example, if I have extra chicken stock, or tomato puree, or a sauce I've made, I'll pour it into ice cube trays which will give me small manageable portions for another time.  If they were frozen in bulk, it would take longer to thaw, and might leave just a big ice block after being used a few times.  Here's some of what I've got in my freezer:

Leftover sauces and juices, frozen in ice cube trays for later ease of use
So all these little bits of taking extra time to do actually add up to being huge time and money savers for me, and helps keep the dining interesting and delicious.  Hope it will be helpful for you too!

Share your "getting it together" cooking styles in the Comments section, OK?

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