Not quite Meal planning

So I haven’t meal planned for several weeks now.  There have been lots of reasons why, from the simple I can’t be bothered to not having the time and energy.  I also have lacked the motivation.  I’ve been struggling a little to cope since one of my twin boys broke his leg, so I made my life simpler by cancelling things, postponing others and not putting pressure on myself to do everything.  What I can tell you about this break from planning is that we have not starved, we actually haven’t completely blown the budget but we have been buying more than we should.  While this is ok once in a while it is not a long term solution.

Thankfully my prior meal planning and bulk cooking has more than paid off, allowing me to have this ‘time off,’ while still having meals available for hubby to take to work every night, and even a few things for me.  Our freezer was literally that full a couple of months ago that we plugged back in our mini bar freezer (so we essentially had three freezers full of stuff!).  It has meant that my husband has had loads to choose from, the boys have had a range of lunches, dinners and snacks (I make mini quiches, scrolls, as well as muffins in bulk and freeze them all) and I haven’t really had to worry about it.  I’ve probably had pasta Bolognese what feels like a week straight (in reality it was like 3 nights in a row and then every second night for a few more days) but it was easy, filling and satisfying.  I’ve also had a bit of take away, toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner and who knows what else!

So now that we’ve been on holiday and I’m feeling better I have to really get back to planning, cooking and restocking!  The boys have almost nothing left so they are definitely my first priority, hubby still has quite a lot left, and I’m in desperate need of more Bolognese sauce.  I have been using a lot from my pantry, but there is still quite a few odds and ends left and I still have a lot of meat (we did do a meat shop a couple of weeks ago) so I’m hoping to get through the next week without a trip to the supermarket.  I stocked up on bread and milk Thursday night so really there is no reason to go (it doesn’t mean I wont).  So although this week I don’t have an actual meal plan as I have no idea what I will make for myself, I do have a plan on the other bits and pieces I plan to make, which is as follows.

* Muffins – a savoury version or two, I’m thinking a corn one (tinned), a pumpkin one (still got some pumpkins we were given) and if I can find the time also a tomato one (tinned)

* Muffins – sweet version, probably an apple one (lots of tins of apple still) and maybe banana (got some going brown)

* Quiches – mini version for the boys (we have stacks of eggs and I will just add in whatever else I can find)

* Savoury scrolls – I’ve got a little salad that is looking sad which is perfect for these and I’ll add a little ham

Hopefully that will clear a little more space in my cupboard, so that when I head back to SPC in the next few weeks and come back with another car load full I will have a space to put it all!  And it will refill the boys very bare looking space in the freezer, as well as fulfilling my need to do some baking.  In another week or two I may get back into the swing of meal planning, but personally I am in no rush and might instead look at changing my strict planning to a more relaxed version of bulk cooking.

I also managed to make a pumpkin and ham frittata yesterday, which is pictured below.  Don’t ask me how it tastes (I don’t like pumpkin or eggs! lol), I’m waiting on hubby to have some for lunch for the verdict.

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Baking and organising

So as I previously mentioned I have done a few cake decorating classes lately and really enjoyed it.  So at home I have been practising my skills the last few days and think I am really starting to get the hang of it.  Now I just need a special occasion to put all my skills to the test, luckily there are a few birthdays in my family coming up so there may be a few cakes and cupcakes to come!  I won’t be telling anyone as I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, but if I get the time I might bake a couple of treats.

When I was baking cupcakes the other day I got so frustrated at my supplies simply because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and I didn’t have it organised enough.  So I set about to reorganise my decorating supplies and I think it come out quite well.  Geez I love my label maker!!

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Organisation can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.  I like to use plastic containers and label them and I do the same for storing my bulk meals in the freezer.  There are a lot of containers in my house (I may have a problem) but I always seem to be running out!!

Now I can see clearly where everything is and my husband will know where to put things back!!  It also helps as it makes it so much easier to know what we have got.  My pantry has ALOT in it.  And I have been trying to use up odds and ends here and there but I can honestly say that I really don’t feel like I am making a dent when I look at my pantry, but I do see the difference in my grocery bill as it means we only have to buy meat and vegetables to make a meal which is great!

So when I was in my baking mode the other day I decided to try and use up the rice flakes that have been sitting in their for 12 months.  I originally bought them as I was told they were a great alternative to rice for babies because they have a different texture.  My boys hated them and they have sat unused since.  I googled and tried to find a recipe my family would eat to use them up.  And I admit it was difficult but I did eventually find one and made a slice for hubby.  It turned out pretty well but the problem was that it used 2 tablespoons of condensed milk and what was I going to do with the rest of the tin?  So I decided to make a Muesli Slice and not waste the condensed milk (I hate wasting food!).  I’ll share my recipe with you soon!