Friday, March 16, 2012

Re-Amping Once-a-Month Again

When my older children were younger I had a regular routine. Farm chores, homeschool, supper, farm chores and their extra curriculum activities, like hockey, figure skating and 4H. Everyday had an agenda and it only changed with the season. Then came the now 4 year old and the older ones moving out, then my 2 year old, and both sets of parents aging with illness in the process. I got lost in the blender. The mayonnaise of the sandwich generation. Things just aren't that simple anymore, and I'm not any younger either.

It occurred to me that I was working over time in certain areas of my life and really not enjoying myself. I hit upon the answer when cleaning out the pantry last month. One of those DAAAA! moments! I found my old house journal and it all in plastic pages were years worth of my" Once a Month "cooking menus.

I pondered over this for quite a few days.Did I want to go through this again?

It meant having food on hand, preparing, organizing and cooking in large amounts, doubling recipes, and freezing it all.

At night I would ponder over my writings, and recipes. Then one night I went to our library on-line site and ordered the books I had used to help me get started with this whole project in the first place. Most of the books have come in and I have been reviewing them and have come to the ultimate conclusion that when I cooked Once a Month I always had supper ready in the freezer. There was always a selection if unexpected visitors came. There was never a panic moment when I got held up in the city, or the cows broke out the fencing, or problems lambing. Even a youngster can set the oven and pop supper in to warm up.

Yes I was heading into this project again.

For starters one needs to have a calendar. I print them off from.Organized Home but another good spot is Donna Young, (she also has smaller calenders as well for a pocket-book). I usually print off two. One for organizing and one to post on the fridge.

Then I go through my recipe books keeping in mind what I have in the house. I arrange that each week we have the same sort of meal one day of the week. The hustle here at this farm is Tuesday nights. This is soup night and homemade bread.Monday night Dearest plays two hockey games so we eat pasta on Mondays. Ofter I slow cook on Wednesdays because I am in the city that day.Our biggest meal ( turkey, roast beef, ham ) is Friday and the leftovers made into other dishes for later in the month.Variety is the key.

Good sites to look up of the subject of Once a Month cooking are listed here:
You can click on each title for the site:
And here are some great books to order in through your library to sit and ponder over.
Click on each title to get to the book site.)

This is the book I just finished reading. An excellent read for those wanting the most for their grocery dollar. It is practical and they are honest that they make mistakes and can laugh about it later.They also advocate Once-a-Month cooking. Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half. They have numerous You-tube videos as well to show how they shop. It starts here, and you can see others on the side panel of their You-tube.

I also just got this book called Family Feasts.and her blog Owlheaven, where they raise their ten children.She is so honest in her approach to grocery shopping and cooking I felt like we were friends.

My twist now to cooking Once-a-Month is my rather Vegga diet I put myself on. But I have found in general we are shopping less, eating more veggies because of me and less meat. My very favouite cooking site for recipes is Rachael Ray. She has a lot of Vegetarian recipes and ones I can mix up with or without meat. At present I have this book from the library. I have made four of her meals this week, all excellent.

My grocery bill this week was under $50., my monthly bill will be under $300. which includes dog food and cat food.

Once-a-Month does save month as well as time.


Jane and Chris said...

Great idea...I 'sort' of do this..not as disciplined, but as you say, there is always something there for when life throws a spanner in the works.
Jane x

Buttons said...

You are very wise my friend. Life does have a way of messing up schedules. Take it easy great informative post. Hug B

Gill - That British Woman said...

I need to do what you're doing, but like you something always comes up......


Keeper of the Past said...

Thanks for all the good resources. I know you are in the middle and so busy. I shall visit some of resources and read some of the books and I too might do the once a month cooking and freezing.
take care friend

Margo said...

interesting. I like how you analyzed your schedule and figured out how to make it more manageable.

Anna said...

What a wonderful post and such great information! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I often do cook a dish in large quantity and put some up in the freezer for when I am in a rush or something comes up, but not beyond that. I have heard of this cooking a month at a time and strongly considered it, but always get side-tracked (all the more reason I need to do it). I read an article once where several couples got together once a month, each chose a few dishes to cook and cooked them in huge quantity, divided them into family sized dishes, then swapped with each other and froze for the month, thus, a great variety with each one only cooking a few things. I will definitely make some time to check out some of your references. This sounds like just what Dave and I need as we head into a really hectic phase. Thanks for taking the time to share off of this! Oh, and do you cook any of your cat and dog foods? I am looking for ideas and recipes for that.

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