I hate the end of the month, those last few days waiting for the paycheck to deposit. At the end of each month, I repent of all my spending sins. Looking back over the month’s expenditures, I can tell there were a couple unusual expenses that bumped my spending up, but the biggest offender other than the unusual back to school, still paying off summer electric bills is food.
This is a big surprise to me as I am not much of a foodie or cook.
But I guess that’s the problem.
I want to be a foodie. Well, I want to feed my child well. So I go into grocery stores and buy tons of fresh produce that mostly goes bad before we get to eat it. I also rarely have a plan so I just buy stuff as I see it, and then go home and try to google meals that I can make with the ingredients that I randomly have. And then food goes bad. When I don’t have time to actually cook, we eat out, and also buy random crap at W*lgreens instead of going to the grocery store because nobody in their right mind wants to go to the grocery store after work/after-school pickup.
So, yeah, I suck. I’m like one of those stories in the so-called women’s magazines about the horribly disorganized housewife, and we all read about her in the dentists office and judge her.
I judge her.
I judge me.
And my suckage is really wasteful. And expensive. If I expect to put anything under the tree, let alone travel to California for Christmas, I have got to get it together.
So, two principles that I’m adopting:
a) quit pretending that you’re going to serve leftovers within a reasonable time. Just freeze leftovers straightaway and eat them next week. I can’t tell you how many science projects are in my fridge because I was just sure I was going to take the leftovers to work. I’m never in the mood for last night’s dinner again right away. I’ve already managed to do this with Tuesday night’s taco cupcakes. How cool am I?
b) quit pretending that you’re going to cook vegetables. you don’t cook vegetables. You just THINK you’re going to do it and then never do. Buying them, other than frozen for inside recipes is a waste of time. (Don’t worry–my child eats plenty of veggies–raw with a dip, while dinner is cooking, plus salad bar at lunch.)
c) make a menu plan before shopping.
Today, we went to a local farmer’s markety type place. I really like this places. It’s the home of all the “pick your own” stuff in the area, but they also sell cheeses, fresh bread and an amazing assortment of pre-made meals, all refrigerated or frozen. The stuff is made on the premises in relatively small quantities. It’s really good quality stuff, and always heats up really well. Before Selam came home, I used to shop there all the time, loading up my freezer with pot pies and homemade raviolis and what not. Since then, due to mother guilt, I’ve felt like I needed to cook the food myself.
Today, I kicked the mother guilt and bought 3 meals there: marinated cod, pumpkin ravioli, chicken sausage, and chicken cheese quesadillas. I also got their whole-wheat pancake mix. So that’s the basics for 5 meals. I have taco cupcakes in the freezer, which makes six, and red beans and rice –a staple in our house–would make 7. So that gets me through to next Wednesday night. Thursday is Selam’s birthday and I promised her pizza. Friday and Saturday night we’ll be at camp, and then we’ll grocery shop on the way home. I have plenty of fruit, yogurt and cereal for breakfast, cold veggies for dinner, and rice, bread and quinoa for carbs. I’m feeling pretty good about this. yay, me! I know it’s not the most super nutritious run of meals, but it will do. She gets great food for lunch at her school (organic, whole grain, it’s quite impressive.)
I have an incredibly busy week coming up. I agreed to grade ordination exams, and am expected to shoe-horn in 18 hours of service around my existing job and family duties–including a birthday and a trip to camp. Having the dinner planned out will at least make sure we don’t starve–and hopefully will save some money, too.
Am I the only parent who does meals so half-baked? Is there hope for me? Are you judging me for my frozen meals?