My Kingdom for a Plan
I was thinking this week about how both Al and I tend to shop for food based on what looks interesting, what we're craving, what's in season, and what's on sale rather than on what meals we can make out of the items we buy or what their expiration dates are. Thus, we often end up with many things that must be eaten within the next 1-3 days—which means either (1) something (or more than one thing) goes bad or (2) we end up eating way more food than we intended (or should have). Sadly, most of the time it's both (1) and (2).
The idea of meal planning crossed my mind again tonight, when I was writing down what I planned to pack for the Beaner's camp lunch each day this week—AFTER we'd been to both Stew Leonard's and Trader Joe's. I knew before we went to TJs (and after I'd packed Monday's lunch) that we were short on protein and vegetables and too well-stocked with fruit and carb-y snacks, but it wasn't until I wrote down my ideas for the rest of the week that I realized I'd not only bought ham, turkey, baby carrots, and pea pods, but that I'd added to our overstock of fruit by buying grapes as well. (In my defense, Al talked me into buying the grapes because "he [the Beaner] likes grapes." Yes, yes he does—but I already have blueberries and strawberries and pineapple and cherries that must be eaten this week.)
With my garden exploding (the peppers bloomed before we left on vacation last Saturday, but the plants are now covered with fruit, some sizable, and we have tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, beets, and squash all starting to produce as well) and so many tempting fruits and vegetables at the markets these days, it's going to be hard not to have things spoiling left and right if I don't come up with a plan. I need to write down what I've got, what I can make from it, what needs to be used first, and THEN go shopping for any missing ingredients. (Although I suspect we could eat from what's in the house for at least a week without going shopping once; after that, we'd only need a few fruits, veggies, and dairy items to last another week.)
I can do this. I can have a plan. I can have a plan that will save us money, help us eat better (and less), and make the most of the coming garden bounty. I can! I will! I RESOLVE TO PLAN!