Monday, August 12, 2013

Chickens and Recipe Organization

It's been a while since I posted about our chickens.  Rosie, Ginger, and Judy are growing, growing, growing.  They eat almost constantly, and when they're not eating, they are enjoying daily dust baths in the sand and perching on their roost.  We live in the city and have fairly close neighbors, so even though we would love to allow the girls to free range, it isn't that easy where we are.  Not to mention, we have a large hawk that lives in a tree across the street and would probably love nothing more than a nice chicken dinner.  

So, we have a PVC chicken tractor that we use each day so that the girls have access to grass, weeds, and bugs but in a protected manner.  They love the tractor, and anytime they hear the lock on the backdoor unlatch, they get excited thinking they are headed for time in the grass.  

Their favorite green is clover, and my husband roams around the yard each day trying to locate some to feed them when they are in the run and coop.  It is really quite cute.  We have nicknamed one Piggy as she will eat most anything you give her and will even jump in the air to get it if need be.  


They also really enjoy fresh, cold watermelon as well as many other fruits and vegetables, and mealworms get them very excited.  Unfortunately, we are still waiting on the first egg.  I have read that Buff Orpingtons tend to lay later than some other breeds, but that doesn't make me less impatient. 

On another note, I spent the last day or so organizing my recipes (both the ones we already know we enjoy and the ones we want to try).  I always have the most difficult time once summer ends and I start working again to get dinner on the table each week.  It tends to take me too long to plan weekly menus and grocery lists and often leads to dinner out rather than us saving money and eating healthier meals at home.  

So, before heading into another school year, I organized and reorganized some of my meal planning resources.  Hopefully, it will make life easier.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

First, I retyped my list of tried and true menu options.  This list has been inside my cabinet for quite some time now, but it became cluttered and messy as I added to it over the years (using a pen).  I retyped it, and now I have a list of main dishes, sides, and salads that we know we like.  When I am planning a week's menu or grocery list, all I have to do is look on these sheets to find things I know will work.  The list is organized by poultry, beef, pork, meatless, sides, and salads and is posted on the inside of one set of cabinet doors.  I tend to grocery shop for the basics in a supermarket every two to three weeks and get veggies and fruits from the farmers market weekly which also saves me a lot of time.

I had a lot of recipe cards, printed recipes, and recipes ripped from magazines that needed help.  So, I went through them, discarded what no longer interested us, and organized the remaining recipes in plastic sheets in a binder according to salads, main dishes, sides, etc.  My goal is to use the binder as well as a list of recipes I am interested in the next time we want to try something new.  Most of the recipes on the typed list (which I stored inside the binder cover) are from Pioneer Woman, other blogs, or Pinterest. 


In addition, I decided to assign a different food type to each night of the week to make it even easier to plan.  So, my schedule is as follows.  Hopefully, it will be easy to stick with.  It is working so far.  

Monday- meatless
Tuesday- meat and veg
Wednesday- soup and/or sandwich
Thursday- pizza or pasta
Friday- wild card

Most of the time, we eat out one meal on Saturday and have leftovers to eat on as well throughout the weekend, so I am not assigning anything to those days.  Also, the schedule is just a guideline and veggies and sides obviously have to be added to it each day.  One nice thing about the rotation is it lends itself (most days) to meals that can be made with very little or even no meat at all which saves us time, money, and calories.    

I now feel much more organized and will hopefully be more motivated to cook each and every night of the week even when I don't necessarily feel like it.  Now, if only we could get an egg!

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