Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Freezer ~ Day 11

I went grocery shopping the other day, and like i usually do, I bought a big bulk package of ground turkey, to divide up into meal sizes. I cooked it up and portioned it tonight and decided enough was enough I needed to finally organize my freezers. I will try to blog this but my fingers are awfully cold!

My kitchen freezer wasn't really that bad. Because I am good at Tetris. It was packed to the brim. The chest freezer was maybe 1/4 full. Because I am good at piling stuff on top of it.

I will remain good at Tetris, thanks to my PS2, not my freezer.
I will probably always put stuff on top my chest freezer. I'm human.

Let me tell you a story about the top of a lovely chest freezer.

Once upon a time, it was covered in stuff and pantry foods. Then I needed inside, so I moved the stuff off, and put the pantry foods in a laundry basket while I got inside, the laundry basket went back on top. Then I needed to return the laundry basket to the laundry room. So everything went back on top the lovely freezer. Then I created my temporary pantry and the food was relocated. Then I was organizing the craft room and needed a surface. So it held my "OUT" box (donations and stuff that doesn't belong to me) and my "HOUSE" box (stuff that belongs at my in-law's house). Then one lovely day, I decided to finally do day 11 of the freezer challenge and had to get inside again.
The End.

Chest freezer BEFORE:
No need for organization, because it was so bare. I organized it anyway:
Meats went into baskets, one for chicken, one for pork and turkey. Another basket for veggies. Misc stuff on the edges.
Now I could add to it, since my fridge freezer was so full BEFORE:
I pulled everything out, sorting onto the kitchen counter:

I put a lot of it back, except duplicates of items, rarely used items, and less convenient food items.

The top drawer holds fruit and vegetables, and a few of the 12 cans of juice: In the front of the freezer is a great little tray, used to be full of juice concentrate, now holds items that don't want to be buried: yes those are hot sauce packets, I read somewhere, a blog probably (let me know if that was yours I'll credit you) to freeze ketchup packets as tiny ice packs for kitchen burns or little boo boos. I'm pretty clumsy and will likely need a tiny ice pack at some point in the future.

Also in the tray, a bigger ice pack, margarine, frozen waffles, (both homemade and Eggo), and shredded cheese (we bought a hugemungous bag when we bought our wedding food, and didn't want the leftovers to go bad, so we froze it in smaller packages), we add it to chili, or casseroles. Freezing cheese does kinda mess with the texture, but really not too bad, especially when mixed with other foods.

Next, ice cream and Popsicles were divided off:

Only one of those are my husbands. I must be pregnant.

The left of the bottom drawer now holds dinner food: We eat a lot of convenience-y foods, the bag dinners are actually not too bad for you, have bunches of veggies and lean meats, they are easy to cook, just add a little water in a skillet for like 13 minutes. The TV dinners are eaten much less often, we bought them when I had barely any appetite and was feeling sick often, easy for either of us to eat when the other wasn't hungry, or not home. Or when we were feeling very lazy.

The cheese tub is leftovers from tonight's dinner, Hamburger Helper stroganoff, we ate about 2/3s (and big salads) and froze the rest for another easy dinner. We used to be bad at portions and would have eaten the entire thing in one sitting, even with a side veggie. We are working at paying closer attention to portions, not just for health reasons, but for budget. The Hamburger Helper was on sale and I had a coupon so was $0.80 + 1 can of mushrooms, 1/2 lb of ground turkey (bought in bulk) and 3 cups of milk. About $2 for 3 dinner portions, and it was soooo yummy.

The rest of the food was organized into the black plastic bins I already had, (had bunches of them from my old apartment, they lived on top my cabinets to add storage to that small kitchen) and added to the chest freezer.

I divided the veggies into 2 baskets: Everyday veggies on the left and party veggies on the right. I only use frozen spinach in spinach dip, and like the cheese, that is a bunch of chopped onions leftover from the wedding. We throw a lot of parties with chili, hot dogs and nachos, we just put about half a bag of onions out in a bowl each time. Much cheaper than buying a small thing of chopped onions each time (like we used to). Much more convenient than chopping a fresh onion each time. There is also half a can of diced chilies frozen in a baggie, from when I make a small batch of artichoke dip.

Both baskets were stacked in the chest freezer: The rest of the juice cans, some Italian sausage rolls and leftover hot dogs went in the basket that came with the freezer:
A few misc items were put on the bottom, between the baskets. Including our bride and groom wedding cake topper cupcakes. We cut the top tier of our "wedding cake"... we are saving these for our 1 year anniversary instead:

I really think these baskets will help utilize the freezer. It was so bare before because I knew if I didn't use baskets or something, I would never see whatever items were on the bottom. Now, I don't need to worry. Which is great because before Ellie is born, we are stocking up on food more, so we always have something. Also, our income might be cut drastically in the near future, and we want to get in the habit of eating at home more and shopping smarter.

I am really glad to have gotten this done, and thanks to this blogging, my fingers are finally warmed up!

Im linking to Freezer, Day 11 ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons Organizing Challenge

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