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Tag Archives: The Great Purge

Where have you been?

That’s what I’ve been hearing alot lately.

So, guess where I”ve been???  Working!

It’s true — after 12 years home with my kids, I’ve gone back to work.  And, I’ve been trying to ‘walk the walk’ not just ‘big talk’ about how to feed a family (at home not in the drive-thru) while working.  

The goal was to share this struggle, but honestly, I’ve been way too busy.

Now don’t start thinking that I’ve got it all figured out and that I’m currently not busy (it’s the holiday season, right) – but for some reason, I’m inspired to share today.  So, I’ll give a short synopsis on ‘Where I have been lately!”

I started a part-time job programming and doing data conversion and new customer training at a start-up software company called AppealTrack.  It’s founder is a long time friend of mine who I originally met while interning during college.  I’m not sure I would’ve applied for this job had I seen it as a random job opening — it would’ve seemed beyond my comfort zone in terms of work experience — but the training has been outstanding and the experience has been awesome.  I’m truly loving it!  And, more importantly, it’s extremely flexible — which has been exactly what the family needed as I transitioned back to work.

Honestly, the family nearly starved during my first three weeks working.  We don’t eat out – we just don’t.  So that wasn’t a fall back for us.  So, when mom doesn’t get to the grocery and she doesn’t meal plan — we all just wander around like crazy, hungry people and eat whatever we can throw together.  (These results did not get us Great Purge caliber dinners – to say the least).

But, now, after three months, I’m in a routine.  We do eat out once a week now, but I am in a regular meal planning and grocery shopping pattern.  It’s not what it used to be, but it’s working for now.

And, finally, a teaser….. As we all know, The Great Purge Vol 3 looms just around the corner.  So be assured that I’m not stock piling the pantry.  In fact, my prediction is that based on the past couple of months, this purge will last a much shorter time than previous years.  But, you never know — that pantry is the size of a closet, literally!

Here’s what I’ve learned:  I can still do this.  It takes more coordination, more energy and especially more help from the family (which they have stepped right up to give).  I hope you continue the journey with me!

 

 

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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Guest Blog Post

My brother’s mother-in-law shared with him that she and her husband were doing a version of “The Great Purge”.  Seeing as how they are ’empty-nesters’, I thought their viewpoint would be a fresh perspective on the exercies.  Thanks Colleen for sharing!

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We didn’t start purging for any particular reason…there wasn’t an epiphany or anything like that.  I have frozen leftovers for years but usually ended up throwing them away.

So, one day I looked in my freezer and saw all the extra stuff frozen and decided to take a chapter from the book of “Kristin School of Cooking.”  Tod told me how she goes through her freezer periodically and purges.
As a result, I am in the process of purging my freezer when I don’t want to go to the grocery store or just simply want to make room in the freezer.  My best advise to those who are new to freezing leftovers??…
Label your packages!  One might think that since freezer bags are clear, it is easy to identify the food item.  Not so…plus it’s good to date the package as well.
food-in-freezer-bag
Thank you for the idea…also makes me feel better that I’m not wasting food!
 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Madness Continues……..

Being that we have three kids – two of those kids being middle schoolers – the madness I refer to could be any number of things.

But in this instance, I’m talking about #TheGreatPurge.

I have made 20 original meals out of proteins and starches from the pantry and freezer.  Those dishes have stretched into way more than 20 meals; and although I didn’t officiallly keep track, I would guess that we have gotten 5-8 more meals out of them – totally nearly 30 meals of ‘leftovers’.

So, we are in the home stretch, but we aren’t done yet.

I still have a soup bone, tazzo ham, cube steak, a rump roast and frozen breaded shrimp to use.

I have begged for suggestions on my personal FaceBook page and Indy Call me Chef facebook page.  I’m feeling confident that I will be able to use all of these ingredients.

I have some tabouleh, penne pasta, frozen cheese tortellini and pumpkin ravioli, frozen green beans and it seems one other frozen veggie item also.

I’m guessing that I’m going to get at least 5 more dishes and probably 8 more meals out of the food.

If you are interested in a recap of what I’ve made, check out my Pinterest board.

I’d love to hear your feedback regarding this madness I’ve dubbed #TheGreatPurge.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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By the numbers – Past and Present

PAST

A few thoughts about last year’s numbers surrounding The Great Purge.

My first thought is – how in the world does our household of five compare to the ‘average’ household?             Do others keep track of expenses like this?  Is our spending reasonable?

I compared our spending to a chart published by the USDA that shows prices by person, by age based on a low-budget to liberal spending allowance.  According to this chart, we are living a moderate spending allowance on food.

Considering that we eat out less than once a week for dinner and my husband works from home so we eat out for lunch one or two days a week only – and my kids pack their lunches to school — I’m going to call this chart unrealistic.  (but interested in your opinions!)

Based on last year’s numbers: we spend about $1225 a month of all food (groceries and eating out).  

By week, we spend about $280 per week.

I’m interested if there are other ‘numbers’ people out there who track their expenses to this detail.  Real peers who can share with me if what I’m spending is reasonable.

PRESENT

Since the start of the year, we have spent $143.82 on groceries and $131.55 eating out.

That’s from January 1st through January 9th.

But, during those 10 days, we have eaten the equivalent of 150 meals = 5 people x 3 meals per day x 10 days.

So $275.37 / 150 meals = $1.84 per person / per meal

NOT BAD!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Was your guess right?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I’m an 80/20 person.

Most of the time, getting 80% of the way through projects is acceptable and okay.  When you are sharing projects with an online blog, I’ve learned the hard way that 80% isn’t the best way to go.  

In other words, I’ve been having a hard time figuring out the answer to the last blog post question “how many meals did I fix during last year’s The Great Purge?”

Last year I logged this on my personal Facebook page and did an 80% job posting to a Pinterest board.  It looks like I documented a meal made with cube steak and two kinds of beans on February 19th.  Later that day, I referenced ‘the loaves and the fishes’ and stated that I had three more meals from leftovers.

So, my best guess is that I went 25 meals.  My recollection before looking back through details was that I made 32 meals.  But, I can’t document that.  So, we are going to go with 25 – a nice memorable number.

And, I made it to the last week in February before purchasing protein.

Image

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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By The Numbers

Running through my head, clouding my brain, the numbers…..

It’s part of what I do.  I guess it’s why I majored in accounting.

I just can’t get away from the numbers.  But, I know that not everyone gets them and/or cares about them.

But, for those of use who NEED them – I will be simultaneously sharing the numbers story behind The Great Purge.

us-money-bills

Starting with the big picture, I track expenses on a software program.  All debit and credit card purchases are categorized into spending areas.  So, if I bought a coffee or a beer with cash – there is no record.  But, I hardly carry cash because I like to know where my money goes.

I divide food expenses into two categories in our household:  Dining Out and Groceries.  Groceries includes all alcohol purchases from a store or growler fills (more on that in a later post).  It doesn’t include household items like cleaning supplies, personal hygiene and toilet paper.  Dining out is purely what it says.

Here are the numbers from the highest level over the past two years:

2011 – Total Food $14,579.13 for the year; $4,110.28 in dining out and $10,468.85 in groceries

2012 – Total Food $14,660.23 for the year; $4,457.07 in dining out and $10,203.16 in groceries

We’ll break those numbers down further in future posts.

Right now, two questions: 1) do you know what you spend and 2) should you care.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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So what’s the story?

Let’s be clear – we are NOT minimalists around here.  I mean – even if we’d want to be – it ain’t happening.  We live in the midwest, in a typical-size, newer, subdivision suburban home, with three children – we are not minimalists.

But, we don’t like alot of stuff.  And on top of that – my husband was in the military.  I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’.

So, Christmas tends to be hard around here.  We want gifts, we need things and we want things.  But, where does all the new stuff go, what do we give away that we no longer need, and what can we use up.

Last year, after Christmas, I thought that the easiest place to start ‘purging’ old stuff would be the food.  All kinds of leftover cookies and candy.  Leftovers from meals – a few pieces of lasagna, frozen turkey, homemade broth, etc.

I announced that we would be eating leftovers until they were gone. 

About a week later, I made a second announcement (mainly to the kids) that things were going to start getting very interesting around meal-time.  (Read this as kids begin to eat lots of PB&J and grilled cheese sandwiches).

I had decided I was going to use everything before I started purchasing new.  I would buy no proteins and no canned/dried goods until everything was gone.  

I started getting really creative and like the loaves and the fishes – it seemed there was no bottom to the freezer or back to the pantry.  Would it ever end?

And some point, we named this exercise ‘The Great Purge’.  I know – the name bothers some, but it’s stuck at this point. 

So, that’s the story.  And, guess what, we are at it again – The Great Purge, Volume 2 in 2013.

This year, I’m going to capture meals and share on Facebook and Pinterest.  I’m going to blog about it and I’m going to see who wants to join in, who can help me decide what to make, who can guess how long this can possibly go on, and how we all can learn from and share with each other. 

So, here goes!

The first step this year – (cheat on Facebook if you want) – how many meals was I able to prepare last year before buying protein or canned/dried foods?

I’ll share the answer in the next blog post.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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