In my past life I not only had a large refrigerator in the kitchen, and a second smaller one, along with a 10 cubic foot deep freeze. This was practical and realistic for that time in our lives.
When we moved overseas we quickly adjusted to the fact that the refrigerator we now had would have easily fit inside the one we had in Canada, with room left over. A bit of a quandary at first, however, as the Europeans are known for we too shopped for consumables nearly daily.
In Australia, we acquired a fridge that was similar to our North American style, and learned quickly that by living a mere 500 metres from the grocery store it was a little much. Our shopping habits were a blend of both North American and European style.
With our return to Canada, we have had more opportunity for hosting people, therefore at times we would have benefited from having additional storage. And for that I am grateful. However, I have learned in the last six months that more is not necessarily practical or realistic for this time in our lives.
Eager to hit the large warehouse grocers, I found our eyes were bigger than our consumption habits. A number of fresh “bulk” items had to be discarded. I found that having a freezer full of an assortment of meats and veg is not nearly as inspiring as it is convenient, and we’ve been drawn in by the advertising of buy 4 and save promotions to be an easy sale.
Especially during the holiday season. I bought quantities of things that normally I would not have. Suddenly having 14 boxes of crackers, 6 bags of potato chips, and various and other sundry “treats”, became a necessity!
I understand and practise the concept of shopping the outside aisles of any grocery store, where the fresh items can be found. I nip into the middle ones as needed and consciously skip aisles, because I know browsing can lead to buying.
A couple weeks ago I declared that we would be eating our way through our frozen goods and now after the binge buying for the holiday season I’m including our dry goods as well!
The Fridge Door
This is home to the condiments, jams, jellies, dressings and spreads. Amongst our collection are bottles and jars used once, thought it would be good, and containers that make me ask where did this come from and why.
Doing an inventory of such food items can be:
Motivating you to recipe search ways to incorporate one or both of the unique grainy mustards on hand, into a dish.
Reminding you of a dish you created that you had forgotten about therefore changing the status to used twice.
I discarded a horseradish that on the label claimed “hot”, however was anything but hot. Each time I reached for it, I frowned, so I emptied the contents and recycled the jar. Having it reside in my fridge did nothing but take away space for things that make me smile.
Have you ever stood there looking for something and all of the contents just blurred together. By wiping jams and jellies of the bits that have accumulated, cleaning the shelves then changing the order in which they appear helps to stimulate and refocus what we see when we are looking for something.
The Inner Sanctum
Just as the fridge door, presentation plays a big part on the shelves and drawers. Out of sight is out of mind.
There are the daily consumables on the shelves: juice, milk, cream, butter, eggs, cheese etc. Because their rotation is frequent there is little fear they will expire before their time.
However its the tubs of yogurts, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese that once opened the countdown clock begins and if they get bumped to the back of the fridge there is even less hope.
This is where I invest time in organization and presentation. Just like the grocers, I lean towards having them label out and eye level so when someone is peering inside they are easily spotted and may very well inspire someone to use in their creation.
Produce can be a challenge, when more than one in the household shops, and recently we had more carrots than we could conceivably consume.
Spinach, carrots, apples, celery either get blended or juiced. I have been using a silicone muffin tray to freeze the juiced goodness for smoothies. This has been a clever way to extend the usefulness of produces, especially when greens start to wither.
Again this goes back to buying the quantity of fresh that exceeds our consumption. Being mindful that consuming good food can be rhythmic and because you ate the large bag of spinach two weeks in a row, it bears keeping in mind that consumption fluctuates.
How long do bananas last in the freezer waiting to be made into muffins or a loaf? Banana loaf is a popular item in my household, however, when the frozen bananas start to make me feel guilty for not having made them into a baked goodie I let them go.
There is more than one way to use up an overripe banana than tossing it into the freezer to live for eternity. I have chosen to buy less rather than more, rather than having the excess be banished to the freezer.
This past summer when at a warehouse store I decided I would buy a selection of frozen treats. Turns out only 25% of the pack was popular and in the freezer remains the other 75%, 4 months later.
I do not consciously like to discard food, however, the reality is that no one is going to eat them. With it being winter the odds are even smaller, and the odds get even worse thinking it will be another 4 months until frozen treats will be attractive.
Therefore, I let them go.
Until further notice in my household I will not be replenishing: crackers, cereal, potato chips and other snacks. I’ve already made peace with the fact that I’ve overbought and that despite my best efforts some of what I bought will go stale.
Now that the holiday season is coming to a close, the buy four specials or the bogo offers will drop in popularity until the next “celebrate by serving potato chips” occasion comes around.
As a rule I do not succumb to such offers, however it bears repeating…
Saying “No” once at the grocery store means not having to repeatedly say No when you are at home.
~Sherry Trentini, Creating Space
They suggest not to grocery shop when you are hungry, I would also add not to grocery shop when you are not present.
Being tired or distracted may lead to you accumulating things in your trolley that do not serve you or your household in a nurturing way.
I know I have allowed the dazzle of the “good deal”, to influence my purchasing, and I know I have paid the price twofold. Hence having to consciously declutter my food storage.
Making choices that are contrary to our lifestyle, does not mean that we have completely let go of our Nurturing values.
We have the power of choice: choosing to continue in that fashion or not, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Yang Earth and Fire; Yin Wood, Metal and Water Observations.
This is in response to a reader’s quiz submission.
Earth is your
Yang Element, what you show on the outside.
Fire is the
compliment Yang Element, supporting your creation of Earth.
Internal Yin elements are Metal, Water and Wood.
indicates that you are practical, stable, grounded in the here and now. While the assessment total in relation to the
other elements may suggest that you may have and to take on too much
responsibility, feelings of getting stuck, not moving forward, rather a feeling
of being anchored or weighed down.
In the I
Ching; Earth is the Element associated with the Love & Relationship area of
Known as the
receptive; being able to take something in.
The receptive Earth.
Devotion; between love partners and within self.
In order to
balance out the dominance of Earth, I invite you to add Wood. Wood consumes Earth.
Wood is intuition,
knowledge, inspiration, active, awake & alert. It embodies openmindness, ability to trust,
ability to accept guidance, to take reasonable risks, to try new activities.
wood can keep us “small” or not branching out.
Family’s element is Wood. The I Ching
associates: arousing, thunder & shock.
The best reaction to shock is laughter; Despite being shocked by a
thunderclap life goes on. Shock is a
movement to transformation.
What can or
is stimulating transformation in your life?
can you plant and nurture in Health – Body, Mind, Spirit?
What can you
“unearth” about your relationships; to self and to others?
Is there a
new way at looking at your relationships?
What can you
cultivate in your life?
with Metal & Water
Metal is the
mental and intellectual. It is the element
of both strength and endurance; as well it can be made malleable.
excavated from Earth. To little metal
can be procrastination, avoidance, forgetting.
I invite you to consider releasing some of the Earth’s burden of
responsibilities to lighten the anchor.
What area of
your life are you holding on to things that others may help support you?
Water is the
source of life, it is the tapping into the soul, spirit, trusting in the flow
of life. This could be an invitation to “dive”
into something. To feel more fluid, to nourish growth.
An Affirmation for you…
Grief can arrive like the rolling in of black clouds before a storm.
Grief can make your brain feel stuffy like a full blown head cold.
Grief can make your physical body feel as if you are walking through mud.
Grief can contract your emotions so tight you feel like you are waiting for the bomb to blow.
Grief feeds on and morphs into the very monsters hiding in the closet or under the bed.
Grief sensitizes us to ourselves and others.
Grief is the great lecturer on the past;
Grief is the shoulda, coulda, woulda.
Grief is the judge and the jury;
and given permission grief can be the jailer.
Grief is the darkness.
Grief does to you anything it wants…if you allow it.
So what now…………….(Inhale Peace)
I choose Gratitude (Exhale Love)
I choose Lovingkindness.
The days leading up to the memorial date were not filled with Lovingkindness. Nope they sure were not.
I was channelling the power of anger and depression. The uninvited flashback moments of 4 years ago running through my mind. The details as crystal clear as if it were all happening in present moment. I could feel it in my body, I could smell it, I could taste it. I could hear the question, “Why?” being asked by myself and others. I was generating a vortex full of wrath and fury fueled with sadness and loss. I was feeling “without“.
Then, I would look at my daughters and the storm would pause, the turbulence would sigh with dismay at losing momentum.
The morning of the memorial day I woke up feeling lighter. Feeling partly cloudy rather than imminent storm. I asked the girls what happy story they were thinking of about their Dad. I saw their father in their faces. I invited private flashback moments of their births, of stories of our lives with him. And I began to feel gratitude. I was feeling “with“.
Not gratitude for him not being here, but gratitude for him giving us what we had with him in our lives. Reflection.
Over a comfort food breakfast we shared stories. Nurture
Looking around our ecosystem and feeling Blessed. Gratitude.
Choosing kindness over bitterness. Community.
Inhaling Peace and Exhaling Love. Love.
Went out for lunch and shared laughter and fellowship. Joy.
Reminded myself that I am supported. Spirit.
Allowed myself to let go. Flow
The mixing of Gratitude with Grief is like trying to blend oil and water.
Grief being the oil at the top not allowing the water (Gratitude or Peace) to mix in. You can shake the jar as long and hard as you want and in the end the oil will always float to the top.
We can not change the physical properties of oil and water, however what we can do is change our perspective. Perhaps the oil is the Gratitude and the water is the grief? Its possible, if we allow it.
Everyone has their own process in coping with and moving through grief. And as each year passes I’d love to say that it gets easier; however what I will say is that it gets different.
I consciously choose to be open to what is possible. Grief can rise to the top on any given day.
I’m not looking to close the door on grief for myself or my daughters, I am however always open to creatively approaching this memorial day or any other day that grief appears.
I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be here to hug my girls, to love my girls and send love to everyone who has lost.
Its safe and okay to be sad and miss our Dads,
Its safe and okay to love and miss our Dads,
All is well.