Although don't get me wrong - it's not deep stuff on a Monday night... in fact, it is more about the 'real' food (as in the tangible stuff we eat), than thought-provoking words.
I have been regularly back into menu-planning again, but haven't bothered to post them here. I was rather blogged-out and was wondering if I was going to even keep this little space alive. But I am getting inspired again now, so at least at the moment things will remain as they are... although I do need to desperately spend some time on the blog and update it! Eeeek; the little baby on the top of my header is now almost 3.5 years old, and my 'big' girl is at school! WAY past time for an update. I am also in two minds about where I want to take it - might need a whole fresh start! Thoughts swirling around and around in my head at the moment... whatever decision I make, everything requires time and commitment, neither of which I have much left of now I am working full-time.
But whatever happens, decisions need to be made; as the blog is almost dead these days! However, I do know my Mum and my lovely Aunt both read it, and miss it when I don't get around to writing often; so thank you lovely ladies!
I am trying to find a system that works best for us with the menu-planning; not only does my husband do most of the cooking now (as long as I do the planning), we also have to work around numerous allergies and very tight budgets. So it makes life a little interesting; another challenging dilemma for me is now differently hubby and I work the budget and also grocery shop. My method was one big shop at the beginning of each fortnight, and then hopefully save enough to do a top up or two throughout the fortnight of fresh fruit / veggies, bread, milk and whatever else ran out. Inevitably I ALWAYS overspent the budget, no matter how hard I tried - food is a sticking point and a rather weak link for me! Hubby tends to do lots of little shops through the fortnight, however this for me makes it feel like the pantry is always empty - as there is always something that has run out; drives me insane! But he always keeps within the budget, and inevitably there are regular little treats (today I came home to be told by very excited little children that Daddy had bought ice cream (dairy-free Lite Licks I might add) and chocolate chippies) hmmmmmm; we never had that kind of treat when I was in charge, especially at $7 for a litre! The kids think it is fantastic... but I am still struggling a bit over the changes!
Anyway - I have downloaded a menu-plan from Kidspot here in New Zealand, the article I have linked up here has a number of other templates, as well as the one I have used above. And the idea is that I keep a copy of the menu-plan, and the recipes that go with it; and start to file them away in here:
A gorgeous Recipe Organiser I got for my birthday a few years ago... I love it, but have never managed to start filling it out. I am not yet sure if the lay-out will work for us, I might need to start my own binder, or rearrange this one (it is so pretty, it would be a shame to not use it). The only problem is, of course, is that it is made in America and thus the inside binder rings don't fit with our hole punches; gah!!!!! Might have to see if work has a hole-punch the same size, and punch holes for my recipes there! So frustrating, and one of the things that has put me off using it in the past; I don't want to write up all my recipes, I'd rather print them out and then just add them to a binder under the correct categories!
Because of all our, ahhhh - challenges, when it comes to cooking, I want a folder full of inspiration that is safe. Currently no book caters for EVERYTHING; it might be gluten and dairy free, it might even be gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, BUT it will always use loads of dried fruit and honey - two things hubby can't eat a lot of due to his fructose mal-absorption, along with garlic, onion and numerous other fresh fruit and veggies. You would think fresh fruit and veggies and other whole foods would be safe and extremely good for you... not so for those with fructose mal-absorption; but more on that another day.
So with all these challenges in mind, and taking into account the tight budget and my lack of organisational skills (or should I say my lack of motivation); I am thinking on starting a blog that covers these issues within New Zealand. There are literally hundreds of blogs in America that deal with allergies, home-making, organisation, budgets etc, I know - because I follow lots of them, and keep finding new ones! I am like a kid in a lolly shop - more, more, more! But so often the content just isn't suitable for us over here in New Zealand, or for us with food allergies... and there is very little over here in New Zealand that cover all these categories in one space.
But - obstacles are, as mentioned above - my lack of skill and lack of organisation, my lack of motivation to continue tasks once I start, my lack of time and commitment, my lack of inspiration and my current lack of resources!
However, despite all of the above - this is my passion, this is a driving force in what I do, this is how I want to help people, and where I want my focus to be later on, when I no longer have to work full-time. But I can start this now, I can take steps towards these dreams... this blog is a small stepping stone, if I can commit to just doing one post a week initially and then slowly build up my resources - maybe my dream can start to take root, and grow a little. I also want to teach people budgeting skills and basic cooking; emphasis on cheap but nutritious meals (not necessarily allergy focused initially). I can do these things, I know - because I have spoken to our Pastors, and they are more than happy for me to use our church as a base to take classes on either budgeting or cooking. I can do budgeting courses through CAP New Zealand and through Family Budgeting (NZ), there is also Sorted and other places within New Zealand that can probably help me as well. There are a lot of little steps I can be taking, to see this dream blossom and grow in the future... everything starts with a single step.
Stay tuned to see what mine will be... one day; when time and commitment collide!
Where our menu-plan sits...
One day, when we can afford to build our own place, and I get to design my dream kitchen - there will be a blackboard set up specifically for me to share the weekly menu plans with the whole family, and there will be a chore board, and an activity planner, and a scullery where I can hide all my appliances and bulk buying, and... and... and...
Ahhhhh yes; one day... when money and dreams collide!