Cleaning Out the Kitchen Challenge: Day the Last

So I’ve decided that yesterday’s post is the end of my journey with the Don’t Waste the Crumbs cleaning out the kitchen challenge. At the start, I told myself I’d finish before Samhain, because I wanted to be in a clear fresh place. It’s now Nov. 1 and I really feel that I am. Here’s what I won’t be getting to (in addition to the Bake Bread challenge that I skipped):

  • Try a New Fat – This is one that I will probably do. I periodically experiment with new foods and ghee and coconut oil are on my list of things to try when the money is available. But considering the several bottles of olive oil in the cabinet, I don’t see a new fat in the grocery stars anytime soon.
  • Make Something from Scratch – This isn’t a new phenomenon in our household. This month alone, I’ve made teriyaki sauce twice (once for chicken and once for pasta), meatloaf twice, and a number of smaller meals and sides.
  • Ditch High Fructose Corn Syrup – We stopped buying HFCS in October of last year.
  • Create a Back-Up Plan
  • Save Money
  • Make Yogurt – We don’t eat yogurt (I don’t like it, and it isn’t a favorite for everyone else), so like the Bake Bread challenge, I would have skipped this day anyway.
  • Address Medications – This is another area where I don’t trust Tiffany’s version of science. I agree that we should toss expired medications. Especially those packs of nebulizer refills that have been sitting there since T got pneumonia in 2011. We pulled one out and it looked like there was mold in it. Yuck. I started to get really worked up over this one and then realized the reason this bugged me was because we tend to be tough-it-out people. I like to let a fever under 102 run its course. And we don’t generally take things unless the symptoms have gotten so bad it’s interfering with the ability to work or go to school (in which case we’re likely staying home to sleep instead). So what I initially read as “modern medicine is bad, mkay?” wasn’t that.
  • Go Meatless – Our “breakfast nights” are often meatless. My meal plans are designed around 2lbs of hamburger, 1 lb of chicken and 1 lb of other meat for dinners, plus 1 lb or less of deli meat. I’m happy with that proportion and don’t see myself changing it anytime soon. I think the amount of meat we consume is a good amount considering a growing 5 year old and a wife who is trying to get pregnant.
  • So now we’re at the end: Don’t Give Up

There are a number of reasons I didn’t get through the challenge in the time I allotted for it. The biggest thing I got out of this challenge, though, was letting myself off the hook. Which is kind of the opposite of what this challenge was intended for. There were days when I was exhausted, and sick or caring for someone who was sick, but I still photographed a ton of stuff for the blog. And then it was suddenly time for work and by the time I got home from work at midnight, it obviously hadn’t happened. And it was then a question of “Do I stay up late alone to write this or do I spend time with my love and go to sleep so I’m rested for our child in the morning?” And the obvious answer here is: my family comes first. Before all else. They’re the reason I wanted to do this, after all.

Plus, I find enjoyment in writing. I don’t want to pressure myself to keep doing it so much that I stop enjoying it. So for better or worse, this is where I let myself off the hook.

I am really happy with what we’be gotten out of this food- and budget-wise. It had been a much-needed spotlight on an area I was discontent with but couldn’t pinpoint the problem. And getting to the root of things is the first step. I’m sure I’ll continue to check in about our progress.

This series

Oct. 4 – Clean out the fridge
Oct. 5-6 – Eat the old stuff
Oct. 7 – Create a grocery budget
Oct. 9 – Ditch hydrogenated oils
Oct. 10-12 – Clean out the Freezer
Oct. 13 – Eat a Simple Meal
Oct. 14 – Make money
Oct. 20 – Bake Bread  Plan meals for one week
Oct. 30 – Clean out the pantry and cupboards; Create a signature company dish; Use food twice
Oct. 31 – Budget check-in
Nov. 1 – All the rest


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