Friday, January 1, 2010
I love lists.
This year I've started two ongoing LISTS. One is a compilation of things I want to do, big and small. I keep adding to it and drawing a line through the things I've accomplished. It's already got 44 things or activities on it. Some of them, even though I've "accomplished" them will continue to need to be done again and again, like making meatballs and bread. I'm conflicted as to whether to draw a line through those things after they are done or just leave them on list because in a day, a week or a month, I'll be doing them again. Oh, the curse of the Type A personality.
The other list is a little price book to carry around. I'm cursed with the Rice Frugality Gene and the thrill of a good deal. Now, I'm also and occasionally impulsive shopper so this is a bit of problem, but trying to find the best deal (especially on organic food) is part of my mission this year so I've started using my receipts and taking my little black price book to the grocery store to write down prices of the things I buy regularly and where I buy them so I can figure out the best shopping strategy. I've already discovered that SOMETIMES organic is NOT the most expensive choice and is in fact very comparable.
Of course I can't forget what the proprietor of Madewell Meats in Mt. Vernon told me one day when I visited his store. "You'll pay more now in money or later in your health" I'm pretty sure he's right. You can always make more money, but you can't always restore your health as easily.
I also made a "list" of all the meals, snacks and recipes we like to eat regularly so I can use it for better meal planning. Bryon doesn't want to be limited to my list though, so I'll throw in some curve balls and new recipes from time to time. He likes to cook too and already has a new soup prepped in the fridge for us to try. Some new recipes like the Zuppa Toscana are keepers, others like the Easy Veggie soup Grace helped me make that had a cup of orange juice in it... not so much.
The soup above was the Easy Veggie Soup. It was sort of yuck actually. Grace claimed to LOVE it (mostly because she cooked it) then wouldn't finish her bowl or eat it another day. It was sort of weird. The chickens enjoyed it though.
Now this... was swell...
Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana
Makes: 6-8 servings
* 1 lb ground Italian sausage
* 1½ tsp crushed red peppers (I left this out)
* 1 large diced white onion (left this out too)
* 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
* 2 tsp garlic puree
* 10 cups water
* 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
* 1 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 and 1/2)
* 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
* ¼ of a bunch of kale
1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!
As for our meal planning list, I actually came up with quite a few things we like to eat regularly:
* roast, potatoes and carrots
* spaghetti and meatballs
* baked ziti
* balsamic pork chops and broiled peaches
* weight watchers mini meat loaves
* salmon bake
* shells and milk with cornbread
* mushroom chicken & rice
* potato soup and cornbread
* chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes
* soupy potpie stuff
* homemade pizzas
* salsa chicken
* breakfast for dinner
* shepherd's pie
* spaghetti carbonara
* tilapia and pasta with stewed tomatoes
sides and desserts
* mac and cheese
* cream cheese mexicorn
* mashed potatoes
* zucchini muffins
* peachy stuff
* artisan bread rolls
Things to try:
* more soups
* more fish dishes
So what's on my ongoing To Do List? Things big and small and every time something new pops into my head I just add it on.
Here's what I have so far:
* consider buying a bread machine
* consider buying a rice cooker? do I need it?
* bike the Willard trail
* buy the Root Cellar book and make some sort of root cellar
* organize the pantry
* organize the freezer
* organize the garage fridge
* make sure the cabin fridge is turned off
* clean out and empty all the plastic containers from my cabinet
* clean my desk drawer
* clean out my dresser drawers
* mix up the natural cleaners
* make homemade cocoa mix
* plan a January scrap night at church
* have another trivia party here
* invite the Butler's over
* invite the Craig's over
* invite the Hicks' over
* plan our meals
* refill Mom and Dad's digital photo frames
* do the Shamrock Shuffle
* come up with something to do as a family for a One Year Challenge
* call the Nature Girls Coop
* make more meatballs
* search for eco-friendly lids and flats for canning
* build a greenhouse
* build cold frames
* wash our pillows in hot water at the laundry mat
* find green power strips
* test our well water
* fill water bottles and place in out toilet tanks
* install the window screen upstairs
* install the screen door upstairs
* fix the kitchen faucet
* combine the compost piles
* get mulch from Springfield
* can tomatoes
* can peaches
* make zucchini relish
* visit the Rockin H Ranch in Norwood
* go to Baker Seed plant sale
* raise more pigs
* borrow Liz's Gene Logsdon book on grains
* grow wheat
* buy a grinding mill
* get new bees
This of course doesn't include my ongoing list for WORK. I keep a separate notebook for work and keep that list going too.
On my Blackberry and in my Outlook Notes, I also keep a list of books I want to read, online passwords, websites I want to visit, book club books for the past five years,my ever changing grocery list, this year's resolutions, blog ideas, who get's school photos and what sizes, garden ideas for 2010 of things I want to plant, good ideas in general, things to Google, music or artists I want to check out on Napster, random thoughts, things to buy, writing ideas for the perfect book, my coop order and basically anything else that pops into my mind.
Those are a LOT of lists.
It's just good to have a plan :)