When the kind, sweet people at AM Northwest asked if they could film a cooking segment in my kitchen, my first thought was, “Oh no, now I really am going to have to clean out that pantry.” There’s not much you can’t find in my pantry. I like to keep my kitchen well-stocked with staples. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes not. But regardless of which way you look at it, that tiny little closet was much in need of an overhaul. I could even see the eyes widen of one of my dearest friends when I told her of this opportunity and then, she glanced at my pantry. She, a former, professional organizer, kindly gave me some helpful tips. “Okay, you’re going to need to pull everything out of there. Wipe it all down. And then, only put back in what you’re actually going to use.” I was grateful for her advice.
But, in true Carrie Minns procrastination fashion, the day before an actual, TV camera would set forth in my kitchen…I decided to clean the fridge first. “This won’t take long. I’ll get to the pantry in a little bit.” Armed with a soapy scrubber and a sharp knife for chipping off “who knows what” on the side door, I went to work making the fridge shine.
Pleased with my work there, I headed toward the pantry but then, found myself drawn to the drawers of school paperwork that had not been sorted through in at least 2 years. My thinking was that, “I must clean out these drawers because what if I need to move items from the pantry into these drawers? What would I do then? There would be no room.”
The sun was on her downward arc, my littlest one was following my every movement, people would be clamoring for dinner soon and I was starting to lose steam. I stood at the door of the pantry and stared. I half-heartedly took down some items from one shelf. Spruced them up. Put them back. Managed to do that same process with one more shelf. Swept the floor and then, decided, “Good enough.” I turned and headed to the kitchen table where the 5-year old was waiting to challenge me in yet another titillating game of Candy Land.
A few weeks ago, my friend Fran asked me what I thought when I saw myself on the TV. “Do you find little things that you want to change? Are you overly critical of yourself?” And I told her honestly, “The older I get, the easier I am on myself.” Somewhere along the way I realized that I’m just doing my best. Not perfectly by any means, but just like everyone else, I’m going about life the best way I know how. Years ago, I would have stayed up until 2 in the morning to clean out that pantry but now, I’ve realized that I do what I can. The pantry will always be there, but the 5-year old waiting to “whoop” me in Candy Land, won’t.
If a video screen does not appear above this line, click here to be taken directly to the site.
And hey, check out that fridge, lookin’ good…
To further expound on the TV segment, I do try my best to meal plan every week. I look at the schedule ahead and see how much time I have to cook on any given night. I consider what is in-season. Then, I write down some idea for dinner Monday-Thursday and Sunday, whether scribbled on a post-it note or put down officially in my planner. Friday is our family pizza night (and my night off.) Saturday, I’m never sure what will end up happening or whether I’ll find something at the farmer’s market that morning so I usually leave it up in the air. Sundays are our true “Family Dinner” night. I always plan to make something a little more special and the kids rotate having to partner with me to make that meal. I get to have some company and they get to learn some cooking skills. Then, it’s back to cleaning out the fridge, for “Soup on Monday.”
Here’s a link to an actual recipe that mimics the soup I made on the segment: Rainy Day Vegetable Soup
And, if you want to look further into meal planning, here are two websites dedicated to meal planning.
My friend, Jane Maynard, plans weekly at: This Week For Dinner
And my friend, Tricia Callahan, plans monthly at: Once a Month Mom
One last thing, if you’d like an incredibly beautiful reminder of all the bounty that this season has to offer for meal planning, check out this desk top calendar which currently graces the screen of my computer:
November Calendar by Shanna Murray and Jen Causey
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2010