Alright. It’s been two weeks. Do you have all your recipes?
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have them all yet. Just give yourself another week and dedicate some time to it. I’ve got mine pretty much done, but I think I’ll likely end up tweaking some of the numbers as the year(s) go on. But THAT’S OKAY! That’s one of the beauties of this process– it grows with you! Don’t be afraid to start because you feel like your recipes or numbers are not exactly right or perfect. You can change things as you go. Just START with SOMETHING!
Okay, so that being said… we’re moving into the organization phase of our plan. (Woohoo!) Getting organized is one of my favorite parts of food storage. I love organization! Sometimes I start a new hobby just so that I can organize things! (Yes, I’m checking into therapy next week.) Part of my organization freakishness is that I love making lists and seeing everything laid out in front of me. For me it helps to eliminate confusion (or reduce it anyway). So, for this process, I have been working on making 4 lists. Each list kind of builds of the previous one and takes us to the next step of information we’re looking for. You may look at the lists and think some are unnecessary, or could be done in your head… and definitely feel free to do so if that’s better for you! But again, for me, I like to see it all laid out in front of me so I can easily reference different bits of information. I’m not done with all of the lists yet, but I created at least the structure of each one in order to give you a visual of what we’re doing. So here we go…
List #1: The Food Storage Menu List
This has each meal from our collected recipes listed, including how many times per month we will make it (I switched to doing all of my meals in a monthly format… it worked better for me that way. Sorry if that confuses anyone!!), and then how many times per year we will make it. (I actually did these lists in Excel so I could set the program to automatically do the math for me. If you’re good in Excel, I would definitely recommend using it to save some time. :))
Here’s the full .pdf of this list if it will help anyone (since I’m only using the first pages of these lists as an example): Food Storage Menu List
List #2: The Recipe : Ingredient List
This one is a doozy! It’s where I’m stuck trapped still working right now. 😀 This has each recipe broken down into its ingredients, with the amount of each ingredient needed per meal, and then the amount needed per year.
So you’re essentially writing all your recipes out (minus the directions), and once you have the amount per meal written down, you take that number and multiply it by the number of times you’re making that meal in a year (this number comes from List #1). And you do this for each ingredient in the recipe. (Hopefully the example will help clear up those question marks I see over your head. :))
So if we look at pancakes, I’ve got all my ingredients listed along with how much of each ingredient I need for one meal. Then from List #1, I know that I make pancakes 96 times in a year. So I will multiply the amount of each ingredient needed for one meal by 96 in order to get how much of each ingredient I need for a whole year of pancakes. Make sense?
Okay moving on.
List #3: The Master Inventory List
This list is our ‘Grand Finale’ list. The main reason for the other lists is so that we can get the information on this list. On this list we’re combining all ‘same’ ingredients from List #2 in order to get our grand total amount needed of a specific ingredient/item and then we’ll list them alphabetically for easy reference. So, for example, I have sugar used in several recipes, and on this list I want to know how much sugar I need total for the year in order to cover ALL of my recipes that use it. For each ingredient/item, we’ll also list each recipe it is used in. Then, you’ll also see on the list that twice a year, we can do a total inventory of all our food storage items to make sure we’re fully stocked or to see how much we still need to buy. Ideally, once you take an item from your food storage, you should immediately write it down on your shopping list so that it can be restocked. But I know I occasionally forget to do that (or dear Hubby, bless his heart, frequently forgets as well), so this bi-annual “check up” will help me find anything that has slipped through the cracks and get me back on track.
Also, one tip about this list, when you’re combining the amounts for a certain ingredient, they may often be in different measurement forms (i.e. teaspoon vs. tablespoon vs. cups). Make sure you convert them into matching forms to be able to add them together. (I may take some time to explain this further next week.)
(And like I said, I’m still working on List #2, so this list is not complete and was just a quick draft I put together to use as an example.)
List #4: Monthly Meal Tracker
This list is designed to help us rotate through our food storage fairly accurately. It’s a list of each meal on List #1 (I just copied and pasted from one list to the other… for heaven’s sake do not type these all out again if you can help it! :)) with how many times each month we’re ‘scheduled’ to make that meal. Then there’s a spot to make a tally mark in the appropriate month for each time we make the meal. I don’t necessarily plan to follow my scheduled numbers spot on and make everything the exact number of times I’m supposed to (i.e. I’m sure I’ll eat soup more in the winter and less in the summer… same with oatmeal), but by using this list I can see if I’m really falling behind on any certain meal and need to start making it more. This list will also help me determine if I need to eventually tweak my numbers. For example, I have pancakes down for 8 times a month. But let’s say that after several months or a year, I find that I’m consistently making pancakes 10 times a month. Well, then I can bump that number up and reduce the number on a meal I’m not eating as often. And then I can adjust my other list numbers as well to reflect the new change and gradually adjust my food storage items. So you’ll really get a more accurate idea of what your family eats, and how often, as you keep a tally on this list.
You could also use this list as a basis for your shopping list, but I’ll explain that more when we get to that phase. 🙂
So anyway, there you have it! My organization of ‘The Plan’. …or at least the beginning of it. There will be more lists to come (seriously… I have list issues). Once this part has sunk in and that brain numbing dizziness has worn off we will then tackle how to go about actually collecting all this food. 😀 That will probably be in about another two weeks (I think it will take me that long to recover). So until then, good luck on these lists and don’t burn yourself out! Just do a little at a time and work on it when you can. I did a lot of this written out by hand initially so that I could work on it while I was watching the kiddos outside or something. And then I’ve just been transferring to the computer. Anyway, obviously do what works for you. But again, good luck. 😀