Ok, now that your kitchen is straightened up and you have used up the extra food that you had too much of, let's take a look at the rest of the food that we have. We buy the freshest produce possible, right? And then we bring it home and hope that it gets eaten before it spoils in the back of the fridge or at the bottom of the fruit bowl. So I have some good tricks to keep food the freshest possible so that we can enjoy it when it is at it's peak of freshness and nutritional value.
I read once (and was shocked at how well it worked!) about keeping berries fresh for up to one week after bringing them home from the store. Wash them in the sink in one part vinegar and ten parts water. The vinegar slows the mold growth greatly. One way to keep your kiddos eating well and also out of your hair while you're preparing dinner is to keep fruit out and available to them whenever they want it.
Don't think of it as spoiling their dinner; think of it as their appetizer. Or keep carrots, celery, snap peas or radishes washed and ready in the fridge where they can reach it and close to the hummus or even light ranch. (Forgo the fat free. Anything labeled ‘fat free’ is full of chemicals.)
Around here we have 'Must Go' night. This must go, that must go. That is what is for dinner, or maybe even a lazy Saturday lunch. We pull all of the leftovers out from several days and put them on the counter. We have to eat everything that's out before we can dig into anything else we may want to eat more. Remember the Greatest Generation's bumper sticker motto: Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without. It’s a good mantra for our lives, kitchens included.
When you put leftovers in the freezer, label, label! When the label falls off and the food is a mystery? Thaw it anyway. If it's still good, have it for dinner! You have to thaw it anyway before you throw it away, if you want to keep the container. No sense of having a freezer full of mystery foods. It could be that great batch of green chili you made for the Super bowl, you never know!
Pull everything out of your pantry too. Is it too crowded? Can you see the back wall? Cereal is a common culprit if your pantry is overcrowded. Try having just ONE cereal in your house at a time! And skip the sugary ones; cake would be more nutritional. And it tastes better too! Apparently you’re supposed to keep your vitamins in here too, and not the bathroom! So make room!
All of these ideas are to make your lives easier. Easier on the kitchen, the storage space, our motivation to eat what we already have and easier on the pocket book. Once everything is cleaner and less full, you can fill it back up with some great, healthy alternatives and even a few cartons of really good ice cream! Now that’s worth filling up your fridge or freezer with!