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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This time of year

Sorry, its been a while since we last posted. No excuses really- we've been around, not particularly busy- just not posting!

So its 25 days until Christmas... a time of the year that I have never particularly enjoyed to be honest.
I have found it stressful, expensive and overall way too commercial. Around October, shops and malls start their advertising, lulling you into their stores to buy crap that you, and your loved ones, probably don't need.

So how do we make this time of year a more focussed, less commercial and ultimately more enjoyable time?

Well, I'm not entirely sure. But I do have some ideas.

Christmas means lots of things to different people. For us, its the celebration of the birth of Christ. Not the most important celebration of the year, but important nevertheless.
For us, it shouldn't be about the presents, the tree, the food. Not saying those things aren't great- though we don't really do a tree. (does a Kauri count? probably. It'll be the first time in years we will have decorated something).
So here are my ideas:

Less presents. Less crap. If you're buying presents, think about what they are, where they come from and whether they will actually be used/loved/needed. Try making something? Many people we know do baking for christmas- which can be good especially if its freezable.
In our family, we have started drawing a name out of a hat which means we only buy/make for one couple. So you still get presents, just less- but probably more awesome/personalised ones.
On a side note, those packaged christmas cookies are terrible. Does anyone actually like them? Cookie time cookies are yum and palm oil free.

If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. If the thought of putting up a tree gives you the cold sweats, perhaps reconsider why you do it. If it's important to your family, then maybe do it as a family, or delegate it to someone who wants to do it.

Food. Christmas food can be whatever you want it to be. We are lucky in NZ having Christmas over summer so we are more comfortable with the idea of a BBQ on Christmas day. Don't feel pressured into doing the big roast if you really don't want to. My family did an eggs benedict brunch last year and plan to do it again this year. It helps that my sister in law is a great cook and did a fantastic job, but you can do whatever works.

What helps you stay grounded at Christmas? Do you disagree with anything we've said? Please share your thoughts/arguements etc!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Wasteful kiwis still biffing costly fruit and veggies"

... is the title of THIS article posted on the website this morning.

In a nutshell, we (kiwis) are still buying more than we need, cooking more than we need and throwing out the rest.

Food prices have increased, petrol prices have increased, general living costs have increased but we are still throwing away thousands of dollars of food a week.

I know for me personally, if something is on special it is very hard for me not to buy it- and in the past this meant that food has gone to waste- in the bins and in the compost. Since we have been doing meal plans (for dinners mainly) our food waste has been greatly reduced as we are only buying and consuming what we need.

So, how do we reduce the amount of food we waste?

Meal planning
If you know what you are going to eat, you wont buy unnecessary food items and therefore you hopefully wont waste them. Meal planning doesn't have to be set in stone- we often interchange what we have planned with another day, but we try to stick to a weekly plan as much as possibly.

Buy what you need
Don't go out and buy all of those cheap-as-chips specials and deals if you aren't going to consume them or use them (ie preserves, frozen meals etc) in time.

Eat or use your leftovers
So often, we don't really feel like eating the same as what we ate last night for the 2nd day in a row... If you know this will be the case, perhaps put some aside as a frozen meal (if possible) or give it away. Nanna popped over for a visit recently and we had lots of leftover casserole from the night before- she was very happy to take some home for her tea.

Store well
If you do decide to buy 20kg of potatoes because they were $1 at the local market, make sure you store them well where they wont go off fast. Same goes with any perishables. If you need to refrigerate something, make sure you remember its there! Many a time I have gone to the fridge and found something oozing at the bottom because I had completely forgotten about those <insert perishable>, even though I really wanted to eat them.

Do you have any more ideas for how you personally reduce the food wastage in your household? Please share them below- we'd love to hear from you!