Friday, December 10, 2010

KP's Completely Arbitrary but Possibly Life Changing Project

We are 22 days into the month of December and I am 22 days into my project. What's the project? I don't have a catchy name so we'll call it "KP's Completely Arbitrary Project." (Can you think of a better name? Leave a comment.) It's a little bit like Sharon Astyk's Anyway Project and a little bit like Andrew Wilder's October: Unprocessed. Basically, I'm fixing DBF's and my health by changing how and what we eat. My kitchen is where I find my center in, what I perceive to be, the chaos of my life. Change happens slowly for me; I am like the river slowly eroding the rock...and meandering. I have no illusions of completely changing DBF's eating habits, he won't suddenly start liking salads, but I intend to improve upon the quality of the food that he consumes.

Twitter followers will notice that I've been doing a lot of baking this month. Well, it's December and I need to make gifts. I'm also trying to use up all my mixes because that's phase one of the project, "use up the prepared/pre-packaged foods." Thus far, I have used all the cake mixes and I'm down to my last packs of brownies and muffins. The challenge is using the big box of pancake mix that I bought right before Thanksgiving; in hindsight, I should have purchased a box from a store other than Costco. We also have a good collection of canned soup but I can always take those to the food bank. Cleaning out the freezer will be difficult because we're down to the store bought frozen entrees that I don't like, ie. orange chicken with too much peel. I don't want to throw out food and I can't donate frozen meals so these items might end up in other people's freezers.

Some Guidelines
  1. Eating out should be avoided. That being said, I will not turn down a free meal but all unplanned free meals must have a planned meal as a back-up (ie. I cannot go to work without a packed lunch because they're having training in my office and I might be able to snag something). In an effort to be sociable, I can have one planned meal out once a week. Starbucks can happen two times a month.
  2. Every effort should be made to make meals from scratch. I will eventually find something that I can't make myself or the equipment/materials to make the ingredient is cost prohibitive on a home scale. Balsamic vinegar comes to mind.
  3. Comparisons of commercially produced products to the homemade equivalent will be documented. I really enjoyed doing the pumpkin pie test.
  4. Food must be prepared for travel lasting less than two days. This is actually an extension of guideline #1 but I log a good number of frequent flier miles and I don't like ending lists on #4.
  5. DBF is exempt from guideline #1 if he's spending his own money but I will offer to pack him breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday.
Phase 1 (Using Up the Open Mixes) will extend through the end of January since I keep finding more processed food as I clean the pantry.

Phase 2 will involve baking, lots of baking. I make an OK white bread and quick breads but I need to work on replacing the hamburger and hot dog rolls that I purchase from the store.

Phase 3 is getting into serious canning. I'll be making sauerkraut between Christmas and New Years but the major canning goals for 2011 are: apple sauce, tomato sauce, strawberry preserves, bread and butter pickles, corn (creamed and regular), and green beans. This will replace the majority of the canned goods that I purchase.

I'm still trying to figure this out so things will change. What are your food plans?

Warm Wishes!

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