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Week 1 of the latest installment to the series Someone Else’s Shoes.  This experience is Money v. Time. On Monday, I posted our spending for April 23 to April 29. Today I have a super long post for the time part. 

I tried to be detailed so you could see exactly what I did with my time but if you don’t care for the details, just look for the big bold red numbers in each section and the really big one at the near the very end to tally up for the week.

Monday, April 23

This was a ‘big food day’.  On Sunday our Azure Standard order came in which meant I had a few things to work with. Plus I needed to prepare bread and snacks for the week. I often do my big baking/cooking on Sunday’s but with the Azure order arriving that took my time instead (our pick up is a 4 hour round trip plus time to unload the truck and then distribute to other participants when we get back to town– it takes some time!).

55 minutes in the morning:

Put on bread, crackers, muffins to soak and take care of remaining starter (I had fed it up before going to bed the night before). I also set aside about 2 cups of starter to use for dinner.  Also put to soak peanuts, almonds and cashews.

Made breakfast (reheated coconut flour pancakes from Sunday) and washed up the dishes.

15 minutes at noon time:

Warmed up leftovers for lunch, took meats out of the freezer for tomorrow, put cream to sour.

Around 5 minutes a few hours later:

Drained cashews that had been soaking and put in warm oven to dry.

Just under 2 hours late afternoon:

This was the marathon! I had to bake all the sourdough items I’d put to soak in the morning. First, rolled, cut and baked crackers. Then finished mixing and put in tins muffins. Then I started on that night’s dinner by cutting and sauteing an onion and mixing up sourdough starter. The remaining sourdough starter that had been set aside became Impossible Brownies.  And then I decided I needed to make cookies also! I would not usually make both brownies and cookies but I blame Starlene for it.  Earlier in the day she had posted a cookie recipe that looked delicious. So… I decided we could use cookies for lunches this week.  After everything else was baked I put the bread in to bake (Note: I had to take my cashews out for a bit while all this was going on).  The final thing to do was make a salad and dressing for dinner.

I tried something new with my marathon cooking time. I washed up my dishes as I went. Not something I usually do. My father-in-law  always runs hot soapy water before starting any of his cooking chores and his kitchen always looks so good. Mine usually looks like a bomb went off in it! Washing as I went really worked out well.

Kiki had dishes. During the week there is a 30 minute time limit on evening dishes. Anything not done during that time gets left for me (the deal with this is the dish person really has to be working on the dishes during this time…messing around is not a good thing.)

Before bed:

I took maybe 5 minutes to work on my water kefir. I didn’t start a new batch, just flavored the batch that was ready.  We’ll have ‘Grape Soda’ ready in the morning. I also decided to put half of the muffins and half of the brownies into the freezer for ‘later’.

What we ate:

Breakfast: Leftover coconut flour pancakes with peanut butter and strawberry fruit spread

Creamy Garbanzo Beans With Spinach Over Rice

Lunch: Leftover garbanzo beans and spinach in cream with rice

Afternoon snack: fresh fruit

Dinner: Impossible sourdough tuna pie, green salad with homemade dressing.

Dessert: choice of brownie or cookie

230 minutes or 3 hours and 50 minutes.  Yep, that’s quite a bit of time.  It’s like a part time job.

Tuesday April 24

First thing I drained the nuts that had been soaking since yesterday and put them in the dehydrator this took maybe 5 minutes. Not all of the nuts would fit in my little dehydrator so the others were left in a colander to sprout until the first batch finished.   I also checked on the nuts in the oven and took them out. Grape soda was transferred to the fridge.

Venison Jerky in Terriyaki Marinade

30 minutes in the morning to make an easy breakfast (more leftover pancakes), do the dishes, put a roast in the crock pot, put millet to soak and put meat to marinate for jerky.

Lunch was salmon salad and crackers- maybe 15 minutes to mix the salad up and wash up the dishes.

Mid afternoon I put the jerky in the oven to dehydrate, mixed up a salad dressing for dinner and make Christopher a snack. 10 minutes.

I was gone at dinner time for a meeting. Kiki was left instructions to turn on the rice cooker (which held the millet) and make a salad. She also did up the dishes after dinner.  30 minutes for the dishes but she didn’t know how long it took to make the salad.  My best guess would be 5 minutes or so for a plain green salad.  After dinner she also put beef soup bones in the crock pot for me. This maybe took an additional 5 minutes to plop the bones in the pot and add water.

What we ate:

Breakfast: Leftover coconut flour pancakes with peanut butter and strawberry fruit spread

Lunch: salmon salad

Afternoon snack: fruit with sour cream

Dinner: Roast beef, millet and green salad with homemade dressing

 80 minutes or 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Wednesday April 25

Breakfast of eggs and toast- 15 minutes

Morning dishes only took about 10 minutes.

At lunch time I put the lunch together (5 minutes?) then spent 20 minutes putting nuts and jerky away (all were done), put in another tray of nuts to dry, put beans in the crockpot, started a fresh batch of kombucha, took the beef bone out (I removed the meat from the bone to save for meals) of the crock pot and put that broth into a jar, then started another batch of broth.

Dinner was super simple. We had green salad again (with oil and vinegar), the beans had been cooking in the crock pot all day and only needed seasoning. Last night’s millet was reheated. This took a whopping 10 minutes to have dinner ready to eat.

Dishes took 3 times as long. 🙂 30 minutes for evening dishes.

What we ate:

Breakfast: Eggs and toast

Lunch: meat, cheese and bread (some people may call this a sandwich but since my son takes his apart it really is not)

Afternoon snack: crackers with clabber cheese

Dinner: Beans, salad and reheated millet

 90 minutes or 1 and half hours.

Thursday April 26

This is my town day.  Breakfast was muffins (made the other day) and milk. This took really zero time (really, how much time does it take to grab a muffin and pour a glass of milk?).

When I returned from errands, I put a half gallon of milk to clabber and started a half gallon of milk kefir in less than 5 minutes

Christopher and I had lunch of meat that had been left from the soup bone (see yesterday), cheese and pickled carrot sticks– it maybe took me 5 minutes to cut the meat and the cheese and pull the carrots out of the brine.

Mid afternoon I drained corn that I had started soaking last week in lime water. Then sent that through the food processor in batches. After cleaning up the food processor I made a batch of mayonnaise.  Then started a batch of water kefir. This took 35 minutes including time needed to go retrieve a fresh egg for the mayo and washing a few dishes.

Preparations for dinner took 25 minutes and baking 35 minutes (I’m not counting the baking time since I wasn’t ‘in the kitchen’ for it– I was out looking at my new baby chicks and ducks for part of that time).

30 minutes for dishes.

What we ate:

Breakfast: Muffins and milk

Lunch: meat, cheese and pickled carrots

Afternoon snack: brownie and milk

Dinner: Tamale pie, carrot sticks, fresh spinach and lots of ‘toppers’.

100 minutes or 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Friday April 27

Other than our super easy breakfast and heating up lunch I didn’t spend any time in the kitchen until late afternoon.  Breakfast took maybe 5 minutes and lunch about 2 minutes to put the food in a dish, stick it in the oven and then go back 30 minutes later and pull out of the oven. Oh and maybe another 15 seconds to pull the sour cream out of the fridge to put on the top.  Let’s say less than 8 minutes so far.

From 5 to 5:30 I put together the chili out of the rest of the leftover roast beef and pinto beans, checked on the milk kefir (not done) and the water kefir (done), flavored the water kefir and made a salmon salad to take along with us tomorrow while on errands. I also mixed up sourdough cornbread using the soaked and ground corn and my sourdough starter. The chili simmered until dinner time. I put the rest of the beans and the cornmeal in containers and put in the freezer for future use.

At 7 I put the cornbread in the pan and into bake. This cornbread was an experiment. After Thursday nights wonderful tamale pie I figured the cornbread would turn out very good. WRONG. It was so bad that we ended up it to the chickens. I don’t think anyone even ate on piece of it. And it is entirely possible that the chickens buried it instead of eating it.  It was that bad.  5 minutes maybe to put the slop cornbread in a buttered pan.

Kiki had dishes– 30 minutes


What we ate:

Breakfast: toast with peanut butter and a cup of broth

Lunch: last night’s leftovers

Afternoon snack: peanuts, raisins and jerky

Dinner: Chili with toppers, sourdough cornbread–that no one actually ate.

73 minutes or 1 hour and 13 minutes

Saturday April 28

Breakfast was an easy hot cereal made out of leftover millet. I used this recipe and substituted millet for rice. It turned out quite good.  That took about 10 minutes. I also changed the milk kefir that was now done. I put a quart of the completed kefir in cloth to strain for kefir cheese. 1 quart went to the fridge and I started a new quart. 7 minutes.

Lulu did the morning dishes in 6 minutes (she must wash fast!).

We were gone mid day (the reason I had made salmon salad yesterday) so nothing else was done in the kitchen until time for dinner. I had planned on leftover chili from last night for dinner but there was not enough. I had picked up sushi ingredients for tomorrow so decided to make that tonight instead.  Sushi prep and rolling took 46 minutes. Lulu had kitchen clean up 35 minutes.

Took the sourdough starter out of the fridge and fed it up. 5 minutes.

What we ate:

Breakfast: Butterscotch Millet

Lunch: Sandwiches (even though I made food yesterday to take along on errands, I went off and left it at home. We got sandwiches out which ended up being a mistake– Joe was sick that night and the next day possibly from his sandwich).

Afternoon snack: Apples with peanut butter

Dinner: Sushi

Evening Snack: Popcorn

109 minutes or 1 hour and 49 minutes

Sunday April 29

First thing I fed up the starter again to make sure we had enough for today’s needs. We’ll be home today so the bulk baking will get done. 5 minutes.

Breakfast this morning was pretty much a solo affair. I made Christopher toast and peanut butter. Everyone else had either that or leftover sushi.  I didn’t keep track of how long that took but I can’t imagine anyone spent more than 5 minutes getting their food.

Late morning I ground flour which took half an hour (rye, hard wheat and soft wheat). Then Lulu divided out the starter putting aside the needed amount for bread, some for pancakes and the rest back in the fridge to save.  It was Lulu’s turn to make bread. I decided this week to make 4 loaves instead of 2 in hopes of skipping bread making next week. However, I only have 2 loaf pans so I’m not quite sure how this will work out.  Making bread only takes about 15 minutes hands on time (to mix and knead) but alot of setting and soaking time.  Lulu put 2 loaves in the the pans and left 2 loaves worth in the bowl.  The plan is to bake the 2 loaves this evening, put the next two loaves in the pans and allow to rise overnight and bake those in the morning.  Bread 15 minutes plus another 5 to divide up the starter. 20 minutes plus 30 minutes to grind flour= 50 minutes

Lunch was sourdough pancakes which take no time to mix up but about 20 minutes to cook.

Mid afternoon: I made Ginger Snaps for lunches and Apple Scones for today’s snack and tomorrows breakfast.  The scones were an experiment made out of almond flour. Turned out great. I also changed strained the milk kefir and put the grains to be during this time.  Hands on time was about 25 minutes (scones and cookies). The scones took alot longer to cook than I had anticipated but that was okay. I sat with Joe and watched a movie while they baked.

Dinner: While the plan had been to make 4 loaves of bread, that changed.  Lulu asked for pizza for dinner so 2 loves of bread became 2 pizza crusts by kneeding in a little olive oil and adding powdered garlic.  Hands on time for making pizza and salad plus dressing= 35 minutes.  Put the bread in to bake along with the pizza.

What we ate:

Breakfast: Peanut butter toast and fruit, leftover sushi

Lunch: Sourdough pancakes and apple slices

Afternoon snack:  Apple Scones

Dinner: Pizza on bread dough crusts. One with cheese and black olives and the other was a specialty requested by Lulu. She had seen a picture on the internet of a pizza topped with alfredo pasta. It sounded crazy to me but that is what we made. It was delicious! I’ll be sharing the details soon.  We also had a green salad with homemade dressing.

Kitchen clean up took 37 minutes.

172 minutes or 2 hours  52 minutes

Total for the Week: 854 minutes or 14 hours and 14 minutes (average is just over 2 hours per day)


Final Thoughts

First, I have to confess that keeping track of my kitchen time was MUCH harder than I expected. It is so easy just to go in and start doing. I’m glad I had the notepad in a prominent spot to remind me. 

One important item to note in the totals for this week– I did my big baking on Monday for the week and again on Sunday for the next week. The way the tracking and my schedule worked out shows two bulk baking days in this accounting so it is not really accurate.  That means (in theory) that next week should be lighter.  Also, on the Monday baking day I made ALOT of things. I never make two desserts. I did put half of the muffins and half of the brownies in the freezer to pull out later (maybe this week).

You may also notice that I like to cook items that can be used as Stretchy Meals. I think this really helps my time when I have the main components of a dish ready.  I also often put pre made foods (like beans) in the freezer for future use. This is great for a quick chili thawing the beans just enough to release from the container (I usually thaw in a cold water bath for a couple of minutes).  This week was a little off. I usually spend a little more time preparing foods on Friday to have for the weekend.  I had a huge workday on Friday this week so was happy that we did still have several things available to take out and heat up. My goal is actually to take Saturday off from actual cooking. I didn’t quite make that goal this week.

I did see many areas that I could streamline just because I was thinking about it so much this week. I definitely am going to purchase 2 more loaf pans and start making 4 loaves of bread at one time. We’ll leave 2 out and put 2 in the freezer. Then I’ll only have to bake bread every other week. Woot-Woot!  I really liked the big baking day when I did the dishes as I went along. That worked quite well and I should do that more often.

For the purpose of this experience I am only keeping track of kitchen time. Time needed to prepare meals and clean up. Realistically, I should also be tracking time to care for our chickens and duck plus time spent in the garden but in order to keep it simple those are not part of the scope of this experience.  For those wondering, we spent around 30 minutes each day on chicken chores (provided there is nothing usual) and we are only in the very early planting stages of our garden so that probably only takes about an hour a week– maximum.  Both the chicken and gardening time will increase in the summer months.

I could certainly save some time in the kitchen by purchasing more items ready made.  If I had good sources for a few things I may consider doing that but then I’d probably have issues with the other half of this experience… Money.  There are many things I can make for less myself than to purchase ready made.  Money v. Time

How does my kitchen time compare with yours? What time saving tips can you offer?

See all posts in the series Money v. Time

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