I haven't made any resolutions this year. I generally can't be bothered with them: changes don't need to happen in January to be worthwhile. There does seem to be a bit of extra energy in the air at the moment though. Maybe it was having those extra couple of days off work with nothing particular to do? I'm inclined to think that part of it is related to taking down the Christmas decorations. The house looks so clean and empty by comparison that you really want to keep it that way! Whatever the cause, things that have been put off for a long time are gradually being tackled and it feels really good.
The main thing I'm attempting this month is Project Mother Hubbard, aka superduper strict menu planning and shopping. The freezer (which badly needs defrosting) was positively groaning with food by the end of December and the cupboards were equally full. Other than fresh fruit & veg, bread and cat food, I was fairly sure I didn't need to buy anything this month.
I sat down in front of the freezer with my handy menu planner/shopping list thingy and got drafting. I'm not going to pretend it's an entirely glamorous way of doing things and I won't be winning Masterchef any time soon with my meal choices (well that freezer needs emptying and the fishfingers won't eat themselves!) but it's making life a lot easier and a hell of a lot cheaper. The rules are strict: no buying anything that isn't on the shopping list, and things are only going on the shopping list if they're definitely required as part of the weekly menu. Buy it when I definitely need it, not on the offchance I may need it.
It's working: the last weekly food shop cost a whopping £23 and most of that was expensive Whiskas for the fussy cat.
Might have run out of ideas for Friday...
Using things up is enormously satisfying. The sight of an empty freezer shelf is causing me almost as much glee as succesfully ticking a completed meal off the menu. My cooking creativity is on the up too. Half a packet of frozen puff pastry took 15 minutes to turn it into sugar, choc chip and ginger swirls (messy looking cos I'm a fool and made them a bit wrong, but damn tasty!) and teeny tiny palmiers (entirely more successful):
In a spirit of random energy, I even had a go at making granola for the first time. If you haven't come across A Girl Called Jack yet, her website is amazing for delicious, low-cost recipes. I took her peanut butter and honey granola recipe, used chocolate peanut butter for an extra cocoa-y hit and sprinkled in some sultanas. It's incredibly easy to make and tastes gorgeous!
I imagine that once the freezer is emptied then the bills may start to go back up slightly but if I can keep up the menu planning side of things throughout the year, I'll be more than happy. It's fun!