We spent a good portion of this morning doing our big shop.
I try my best to plan ahead (to a certain extent) so that I can go and do one monster sized shop once every couple of months and then I just buy fresh in between those times. Usually my big shop starts off furthest away at the Asian supermarket for all my dried stuff and some ready made sauces, then to the scoop market for flours, yeast, dried fruit and nuts and then closer to home for the outdoor market where I'll get fish, eggs, and whatever fresh fruit and veg I need for the week or so ahead, then I tend to finish off at the butchers on the way home. It's a long haul but I enjoy it and more importantly Chloe enjoys it much more than a trip to the supermarket.
Sometimes we'll even have a treat and head over to Spice the Deli in Bangor for cheese and cured meats, not today though I'll maybe do that some day through the week by myself because the girls in the shop will let Chloe taste absolutely everything behind the counter and then I'm the one who has to deal with a four year old on porky overload.
I thought I'd be really organised this time around and try to sit down and plan out my meals a whole month in advance. I can manage a week easily, but let me tell you, a whole month is a completely different ball game. My admiration goes out to the people who can successfully plan a month ahead because I failed miserably.
Its the repetition! I mustn't notice it when I plan a week at a time and Robert and Chloe say they don't notice it either, but it really became apparent in trying to do a month that I'm stuck in a cooking rut. Then of course when I was making the list I tried arguing with myself and trying to include a lot more different meals which isn't necessary because my family have their favourites and there really isn't much point in trying to fix something that isn't broken, but I just couldn't help myself.
So the monthly plan was scrapped. In truth I couldn't even manage to get together the bare bones of a monthly plan.
I bought a few different things today that I don't often buy to force me to think of a few new meals around here so hopefully that will help. I have pork belly in the fridge and a big bowl of beans soaking so I'm going to do slow cooked baked beans tomorrow in the crockpot, I'll brown the pork belly really well and add it to the baked beans and just let it cook down and melt into the sauce for a richer, meatier dish for the winter. I should get about 8 portions out of that crockpot and I'll freeze them. Plus I bought a few other different cuts of meat and a pumpkin with plans to make two batches of soup, one pumpkin and coriander and the other pumpkin, ham and red lentil which should be a fair bit thicker.
I'm trying to cut down on the amount of waste around here. I've done pretty well with leftovers and just cooking a lot less so that food doesn't end up as leftovers, but there's still some wastage and I don't like it.
The main problem is lunches. I'll use whatever is handy for Chloe and I each day, but the problem is with Robert's lunch. The poor bloke is bored to tears with sandwiches regardless of the filling and he'll only eat salads and pasta salads during the Summer so that means that he's been having a craving for something else during the day, buying it for his lunch and the lunchbox arrives back home again still fully packed.
My imagination has deserted me here. He's stuck in that he is on the road all day and so he doesn't often have the option of heating something and I just haven't been able to find a food flask that grade anything higher than pathetic. They're just not up to the job of keeping food hot, or even anything close to remotely warm. I've tried all the tricks, filling them with boiling water first and heating the food so that it is actually still bubbling away as I pour it into the flask but still come lunchtime its cold again.
I'm at a dead loss here. Does anyone have any suggestions of what to pop in the hubbo's lunchbox to keep a smile on his face or even a suggestion of a good food flask.
I'm stumped friends, help a girl out.