We’re BUCKLING DOWN! At last, it’s time. There needs to be a budget and we need to play by the rules. Last year my husband lost his job unexpectedly. I guess no one ever really expects something like that, but we were fortunate in that we were semi-prepared with a modest savings and he found another job pretty darn soon. Unfortunately the new job didn’t pay as much. At the time, it was good opportunity and in this economy turning down a job feels a little absurd. It’s been over a year now, and we have failed to realign our spending with the new reality. Less money. Some things gotta go. No more CSA boxes, no more fancy coffee from Portland (xoxo Stumptown), no more stacks of cookbooks from Amazon (well, maybe just a few), no more gardener, definitely no housekeeper (although I never had one, I was seriously considering it), and no more eating out — thank god I run a meal planning service! Not to brag or anything, but I totally impress myself with how efficient food usage is around here when we actually follow the meal plans. Okay, that was totally bragging. My weakness is throwing extra recipe testing into the mix. I have a habit of spontaneously needing to make new things that are not well planned out, require extra trips to the store and are terribly fun. But those days are behind us. The next year, I’m on board with you! Although I’ll be taking the flex day for new recipe testing — I can’t help it. I need to keep bringing you the best! So, here’s to a year of saving for bigger things and enjoying what we already have. Upcycle, recycle, free-cycle. We’re gonna see how crazy we can get. Let’s start in the freezer.
I was beyond fortunate in that someone GAVE me a FoodSaver. For free. Awesome. Although, after some testing I think it might better serve an omnivore’s household — things like cheese, meat, and the like. But it does help in the freezing department. If you don’t have one, a Ziploc freezer bag does just fine, plus you can reseal it.
I like to buy avocados from Costco or just way too many when they’re on sale, so we’ll start there. Slice them, pit or no pit (doesn’t seem to make a difference). They all freeze the same. One little hint though, a quick brush of lime juice keeps them nice and green.
A few general tips on freezing food:
- Always make sure it’s cool, don’t try to freeze hot foods.
- Label and don’t forget the date! Most things keep 3-6 months
- It costs less to run a full freezer. Pack it in and if you don’t have enough to fill it up, freeze big bottles of water.
Other things you can freeze:
- Nuts and seeds: Buy in bulk and freeze what you won’t use within a few weeks.
- Bread: Sandwich bread, buns, breadcrumbs, baguettes. If you freeze baguettes, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees (depending on the size of your baguette.)
- Baked Goods: Muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies
- Fruit: Great for fruit that’s about to be too ripe. Freeze it for use in smoothies or muffins later.
- Soups: Make lunch size portions and pull out of the freezer the night before.
- Vegetables: chopped onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers; all perfect for making soups
- Wine: Use ice cube trays and drop it in your next recipes.
- Homemade Garden Burgers
- Cashew Cream: Just freeze in little tupperware 1/2 cup or 1 cup portions. A vegan staple you’ll be happy to have on hand!