Thinking Ahead {2012} :: Food

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we're less than a month away from a new year. Yes indeed, 2012 will be upon us before we know it, and as I was doing some food shopping for Thanksgiving last month, I realized that it was time to take stock and do a little thinking ahead. There are some great sales this time of year and I have done my best to hoard create a stash for the leaner months.

We are beyond blessed with an overflowing pantry, fridge, and freezer at the moment. I took advantage of several pre-Thanksgiving sales on things like canned green beans, Campbell's cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups, and $0.79/lb. no-additive chickens (yes, plural). I was thrilled to know that I could stock up because I had room in my upright freezer and I was already thinking about all of the meals that I could make out of the goodies that were piling up in the cart.

Once it was all unloaded and I was staring at my stuffed upright, I realized that we were going to be due for another Life as MOM-inspired eat from the pantry challenge. I also recognized that December was probably not going to be the month to attempt such a thing as I might find some more good deals with all the holiday sales. However, come January 1st, things are going to quiet down and I know I'm going to be up for a no shopping challenge. What about you?

In fact, my shopping habits are already changing as I once again work within the constraints of the South Beach Diet (Peter is just finishing up Phase 1), and I need to make sure that we are loaded with easy-to-grab protein for snacks and lunches. Instead of stockpiling on low-carb noodles (I still have plenty, and they are a no-go until Phase 2 anyway), I've focused on getting cans of tuna (in water), fresh veggies (including Brussels Sprouts - yes, yes I did), and plenty of low-fat cheese, eggs, and turkey bacon. I've found several soup recipes in my favorite soup cookbook that are easily adapted to fit within the bounds of the South Beach, so making sure that my pantry is well supplied with canned beans of all varieties is another important point on my shopping plan.


In looking ahead to 2012, I've come up with five food-related goals for the new year:

1) Eating from the pantry/freezer (i.e. don't just hoard, USE!)
2) Learning how to cook dried beans (I have them, I just need to try cooking them again)
3) Cutting back on fast dinners out by giving myself a plethora of "fast" dinner options at home
4) Supporting a healthy eating lifestyle, not just for Peter, but for myself
5) Splurging on higher quality ingredients (especially if it means eating out less overall)

What about you? Any thoughts about changing your eating or grocery shopping habits in the new year? Any life-changing tips for easy bean cooking? I'm stirring around some other goals and dreams for 2012, but I'll write more about those in a later post, so stay tuned!


  1. I cook all my beans in the crockpot...there is nothing easier! I soak them overnight with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar, then cook them on low 6-10 hours (depending on the type of bean). I always intend to freeze them for later use, but with this crew, there are rarley leftovers.

    My kids love beans...and we love Brussel Sprouts too! :)

  2. My husband actually fussed at me before Thanksgiving that I don't buy Brussel Sprouts often enough. How strange is that? But I have to admit I do love them. :)

    We are in serious need of a pantry purging also...really I need to figure out what to do with a whole bunch of plums I have frozen, besides turning them into desserts!

  3. Beans! Soak them overnight, and then the easiest way is to cook them in the pressure cooker (if you have one!) I have never tried them in the crockpot like Jamie suggested, but that is a great idea, too! Some of my favorite bean recipes are in the More with Less cookbook if you have it... highly recommend! Also homemade refried beans are yummy!

    I'm glad you are able to take advantage of sales now and then eat out of the pantry later... what a blessing! We also mostly eat out of our pantry but our stocking-up is not done on sale, unfortunately! :-)

  4. Soaking beans is the best way... but if you're in a pinch, you can rinse them, boil them for five minutes, then turn off the eye and let them soak for about an hour, rinse them and add new water, and then simmer them for about an hour... I do that with pinto beans, and throw a little pork in with them, and they are always good.... Split peas are another good option, because they don't require soaking.... Brussels Sprouts - I can't even go there.... ick. :o)

  5. Jamie - that sounds like a great idea! I can't wait to try it, so thanks for sharing how you do it. I'm all over EASY!!

    Tiffany - I have no idea what to tell you to do with the plums. Have you made jam??

    Sarah & Beth - thanks for the bean tips! :-)


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