New Year To-Do’s
This year, rather than implement resolutions I know won’t keep as long a glass of champagne on New Years Eve (going to the gym anyone?), I have started a list of to-do’s. They are totally within my reach, providing more satisfaction than running on a treadmill. A lot on this list is practical and not so much based on cooking, but more about food, the kitchen and preparedness. Which, at the end of the day, makes cooking so much more rewarding. Some items are flexible in that the idea may grow, extend and lead on to other things. Being interested in and learning about food is, like the subject itself, an organic process. I’m looking forward to watching them develop and grow.
Use The Whole Chicken
I’m not sure I really want to know what becomes of the drumsticks once we’ve bought up the skinless breasts and thighs in their conveniently packaged trays. And if I’m really serious about making my own stock then this is a no-brainer. Then I think about all those great casseroles I could be making with Marylands and I won’t have to specially order skin on breast with the wingtip for dinner parties any more. There’s a great video tutorial on how to cut up a whole chicken here.
Use Old-School Cleaning Methods
This has been in the back of my mind for years. Giving up commercial household cleaners has been like giving up cigarettes, ‘Just one more bottle of toilet cleaner then I promise no more’, only to find myself turning into the aisle at the supermarket again and again. The best part about this to-do is that it’s done. I bought a spray bottle, a litre bottle of white vinegar, a box of baking soda and a couple of lemons. I already had the eucalyptus oil in the first aid kit. My kitchen is gleaming. Truly, it is that easy. Here’s the post that convinced me to finally get to it.
Be More Considered When Planting
Last year we ticked off a to-do by building a couple of raised beds for growing herbs and vegetables. Growing our own food (albeit a small percentage of our total intake) has been a fulfilling experience but our enthusiasm has got the better of us on more than one occasion. We keep planting lots of the same plants at the same time. Currently we have two cherry tomatoes and seven standard tomatoes squished into one plot and now there’s a glut of tomatoes. This is great when it comes to making sauce, but next time I would prefer to grow heirloom varieties for a bit more personality and space out the plantings so we can get to know each variety as they fruit. This year I’ll be taking advantage of the great organic seedling stall at our local growers market that lets you pick and mix individual seedlings rather than by the tray. I also want to plant some fruit trees on the grassy knoll behind the garage. Lemon. Or apple. Maybe both.
Keep My Pantry In Order
I have been putting this off for months waiting to win Lotto so I can build my dream walk-in pantry with rows of glass jars on shelf after shelf. Until that happens I really need to get some order in there. Between half-used packets of flours, sugars, legumes and grains, some in canisters, some (mostly) not, and all the spices, cans and gifted food items from the Christmas before last, taking stock of what’s in there will help with the next to-do. That wide shelf? I really don’t know what’s going on there.
Make (Better) Shopping Lists
I always leave writing a shopping list until the last minute, scribbling away on a scrap of paper before I fly out the door to the supermarket. There’s always something missed. Plus, it doesn’t help that shops have ‘buy 3 for $X’ deals, meaning I buy more than I really need and end up forgetting I have two cans of tuna already sitting in the pantry when I come home with another three. Do you see those four yellow and red cans on the lower shelf – that’s tuna. There’s a larger can up the back too. Shopping drone no more!
Remember The Bags
This is one task I have been so lax about I really wish they would ban plastic bags completely so I am forced to bring my own. Remember the school book ‘Don’t Forget the Bacon!” – that’s me. Too busy remembering everything I’ve forgotten to write down that bringing my own reusable shopping bags always escapes me. I have now invented a shopping list that has a big ‘Don’t Forget The Bags!’ written on it.
Enter The Show Competition
I have until mid-March to perfect a couple of CWA recipes if I have any chance in the Newcastle Regional Show Cookery & Jam Competition. Right now I am thinking plain scones and maybe a jam or pickle. I’m going to try to convince my husband to enter the Special Men’s Section just to keep the spirit of competition closer to home. I think he has a good chance with banana cake. I am excited and nervous about this one.
Make My Own (Insert Item Here)
Stock, bread, pasta, ice cream, sausages, cheese, yoghurt, preserved lemons, brioche. This list never stops, but if I can tick off half a dozen I will be very happy. It goes back to better planning. But it can also goes further than that. Whatever I choose to make from scratch I’d really like it to be a regular occurrence so I can hone new skills and get a lot more creative.
Do you have any food or kitchen to-do’s? I’d love to hear about them.Share this on: