Friday, January 21, 2011

Avoiding the Frozen Waste

Since I've started actually cooking for my family, I've also started accumulating leftovers. I store them with the best of intentions (as I was raised not to waste food) and even deliberately cook extra just to freeze for later. The problem is, I lose track of things in the fridge and freezer; they get shoved to the back or stacked on top of until...well, they're unusable. Ugh. Who knew leftovers could look like that? [shudder]

When I was at Dollar Tree a few months ago, I saw these photo pockets and purchased a couple. I didn't have a particular use in mind, but there were several ideas floating around in my head — posting Scriptures to memorize, putting up my personal affirmations, menu planning, maybe even photos! LOL

Then I thought, why not use them to keep track of the stuff I put in the fridge and freezer so I can USE it before it spoils? I created a simple Word document, printed it onto blank 4x6 index cards and popped those into the photo pockets (which, I was pleased to note, completely contained the cards instead of leaving the edge poking out). Here's the PDF, if you want it!

Now whenever I put something "odd" in cold storage, I write on the outside of the pocket with some overhead transparency markers I found in my marker stash. (I intended to use dry erase but the tips were too fat and they wiped off too easily. The wet-erase transparency markers are very fine and won't come off if I brush up against the fridge.) In addition to the name of the item, I also put the amount being stored. That makes it easy to see if I have enough for a particular recipe or enough to make a meal.

The only problem now is that I need to buy a bunch more of those magnetic photo pockets! They're pretty darn useful.