Monday, August 6, 2007

A walk down memory lane... from the freezer?

Don't tell my 'shut-off-the-lights!' husband or the 'save-the-planet' police, but sometimes on hot muggy days I find good excuses to stand in front of the freezer for just a moment longer than is really necessary. (Oh c'mon, you do it too, don't you?) On this particular August day, it is not so hot as it is just plain sticky, so I decided to clean out the freezer.

Standing in the midst of the blissfully cold air billowing around me, I organized all the bread products on one side, all the frozen vegetables and cold packs together and got to the very back corners to check the dates on frozen meals from days gone past. It was a walk down memory lane.

In June 2006, we made key lime pie from scratch. I can't remember the occasion, but I remember the process. Do you know how many of those tiny @#$%& key limes it takes to get a 1/2 cup of juice? My hands were tired from squeezing the limes, so Mike took over. (Note to self... use regular limes next time.) Me and the kids moved on to smashing graham crackers in a big ziploc bag with the rolling pin. It was fun! We ended up having a little too much fun, and therefore too many graham cracker crumbs, which I found in the freezer today. (And tossed.)
  • Key Lime Pie Recipe (Note: if your key lime pie recipe calls for anything with a "Kraft" label, it is not really key lime pie!! I'll let ya get away with a ready made crust, but it's not quite as good.)
Now this one is embarrassing. In 2004 (gulp), I was in the midst of a big health goal to lose 50 lbs by my birthday in August -- and I did! During that time, I made a lot of healthy, hearty soups with plenty of veggies and beans. Today, I found an old container of soup in the freezer dated 3/24/04. Um ... yeah, so tossed that one too.
  • Good Healthy Soup (I vary my own recipe depending on ingredients on hand, but this version is very similar to the way I make it.)
More recently, in February of this year, I was feeling a little dragged down health-wise and wanted to kick start my healthy habits again. I opted to eat a vegetarian diet for one month. I had been a vegetarian for years in my 20s, so it wasn't new to me. So, while most of my diet was fresh veggies, beans, and other good stuff, I also had a few convenience foods such as Boca burgers and veggie crumbles. Some of those are still left in the freezer. They're still good, right?

I've realized over the years as a 'household manager' that even though it makes sense to stock up on frozen vegetables and meat when it goes on sale at Polly's or Meijer, fairly often we throw away the unused freezer-burnt items months or years later. My family seems to eat healthiest and most frugally when we buy about 6 days of groceries at a time, use that 7th day as an excuse for ordering pizza, and then go shopping again. Less waste, more options.

Now, with a nicely organized freezer, I vow to not let it get that way again. From now on, I will make sure that the freezer doesn't get overpacked with food and will only keep frozen foods for the appropriate life of the item and.... oh... nevermind! If I do that, then I won't have an excuse to stand in front of the cold freezer on a muggy August day.

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