2020 Kitchen Resolutions: Fall Check-In

September 29, 2020

I feel a little bit like every time I go to write this quarterly post, I’m shocked by how quickly it has approached. The last three months have been good here, with the warmth of summer and all the fresh fruits and vegetables. For my kitchen resolutions, that means plenty to discuss and celebrate. Let’s check in!

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Catch Up on My 2020 Goals

It’s been a wild ride, and things have definitely shifted slightly since I first decided on these goals back in January. Here’s the rest of the updates, so you have the whole story!

2020 Kitchen ResolutionsSpring Check-InSummer Check-In

Cut Down On Waste: Food And Disposables

When we last left off, I was struggling to balance between new cleanliness norms and my ability to cut down on single use plastics. Although I can’t control how stores and restaurants are packing their foods, I can make some changes to what I can control (the main theme of 2020, really).

When we go apple picking, we now carry reusable bags, instead of relying on the single-use plastic bags supplied by the orchard. Once we get home, I can sort the apples into reusable bins in the fridge, and easily label them. That way we have our  bags for the next weekend of apple picking.

As far as food waste, I have been doing a fairly good job of keeping up with our spreadsheet of produce. I track when we bought each item, and how long it’s estimated to be good for. Although we aren’t perfect, and have had to toss a few items, it’s not because it was forgotten in the back of the fridge!

We also decided to put our meal kit subscriptions on hold during farm share season. It was too much pressure to figure out how to use the local produce, and know we needed to cook three nights a week besides that. Now I can focus only on farm fresh meals.

In the next three months: I am going to continue what I’ve been doing, since it seems to be working well. At the end of November, we’ll transition back to meal kits, like Green Chef, since that’s when our farm share ends. I will keep looking for little places in the day-to-day where we can make sustainable replacements.

Try Making Something Totally New Each Season

I’m starting to think this goal is a bit too easy for me! Maybe next year I can up the ante to two or three new things each season. In the summer, it’s especially natural to keep up with trying something new because we are getting a constant influx of fresh, local produce.

Over the past three months, I definitely tried some new ideas. For the first time, I made a no-bake cheesecake. I always experimented with adding fresh fruit into cookies: blueberries and cherries. I tried baked oatmeal, and enjoyed it a lot, and I also bought myself a new tart pan to play around with traditional and creative tart recipes.

If I have to pick one new thing to count toward this goal, it would be making homemade tomato sauce from scratch! This has always been intimidating to me, but it turned out to be really easy. We’ve now made three batches, and each one has been incredibly delicious, especially the one we made into vodka sauce. I’m excited to continue experimenting with seasonings.

In the next three months: I have some time off work coming up for holidays, which are always a fun time to make something new. Thanksgiving and Christmas treats are a favorite of mine, since I can try to build off traditions with new twists.

Keep Eating Local, Even In The Off Season

We have done a good job over the summer of continuing to support local food-related businesses, including breweries and some wonderful restaurants. We have even been able to introduce many of our friends to a nearby favorite. At this point, we are probably ordering takeout every one to two weeks, but we haven’t visited any establishments for dining in.

At the end of June, we began receiving our weekly farm share. We’ve been supplementing that with a local farm stand that has proven to be an amazing source for berries and corn. You-pick farms have become our go-to weekend activity, which is a great way to continue supporting.

As for our canned food collection from last year, we don’t eat much of that in the summer, but we have had some pickles and jam. This year, we have gone a little bit lighter on the canning since we still have some left. I did make some fresh dill pickles, though, of course!

In the next three months: As I mentioned earlier, our farm share ends in late November, but some of the late season produce lasts for a long time. Squash, onions, apples and potatoes are items we can store and eat through the end of the year. We will also continue getting take-out from our favorite places, and share the suggestions with holiday visitors.

Take Advantage Of Hosting Opportunities

The summer was the perfect opportunity for some outdoor hosting! We made good use of our patio, having friends come over for socially distanced drinks nearly every weekend that the weather cooperated. I think we may have seen people more often than if we’d had a normal year.

The construction crew has broken ground on our new sun room, but there have been some delays. Originally, we thought we’d have the room ready for the late summer, but the factory that makes the parts was operating at low capacity, pushing us into the fall. There has been a little progress, but I am anxious, and just want it to be done.

But while the construction takes its sweet time, I have been busy on the sun room. I mentioned the IKEA tables we ordered in June, and those arrived! Plus, we decided on a teal modular outdoor couch for a lounge area. I’m so excited to decorate and reveal, but for now here’s some inspiration.

In the next three months: It will keep getting colder throughout the fall, which will limit our outside hosting chances. However, we will be having a small, safe gathering for Thanksgiving, and I’m hoping the sun room construction is complete and the weather cooperates for that.

How are your 2020 goals for your kitchen going? Now is a great time to evaluate and plan for the last quarter of the year!

We’re in the homestretch of what has been a roller coaster of a year now. But I am happy with my progress on these goals, considering the circumstances. Have you checked in with your kitchen goals recently? It’s time to think about those last few ideas for baking, organizing, and hosting. Let me know how it’s going!

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18 thoughts on “2020 Kitchen Resolutions: Fall Check-In

  1. I love this! We joined a CSA a few years ago, and it has transformed how I cook and how my family eats. There is something so satisfying about eating seasonally and supporting local farmers. Can’t wait to see pics of your sunroom!

  2. Excited to see what you end up making during the holiday seasons! A low waste/no waste kitchen effort is always a good one, applaud that,

  3. I like your ideas. Some I have never thought of before like creating something new but making it a goal. I think I want to make something new once each week. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Wow, you sure put a lot of effort and thought into everything you bring into your kitchen! I really admire that. Where we live, some laws have changed and single use plastic bags have been banned which is great, but our supermarkets are now using recycled plastic bags. Of course we love supporting recycling, but it still feels wrong to use the plastic bags at all. We re-use them at home for other purposes, but they still eventually rip/tear and end up in the bin, so it feels wrong to use them at all. We have reusable ones in the car, but we never remember to bring them into the store and it’s SO frustrating! I hope the stores here eventually get rid of all plastic bags completely and take away the choice altogether honestly. There was a huge fuss when they took away the other bags (as you have to pay for the recycled ones), but if we don’t have the choice, then we’ll all learn to remember our reusable ones, and the planet will be better off!

  5. This is great! I love how organized you are, especially with the spreadsheets and such on your produce waste. Your socially distanced outdoor hosting sounds awesome. We don’t have much outdoor space but one of my close friends does so he’s been hosting something similar with about 5 of us outside (we are getting together on Saturday for an Oktoberfest gathering!). It’s going to be hard when it’s too cold to be outside, though we are actually talking about investing in an outdoor heater or two – or at least spending a little time around the fire pit. I’m also looking forward to seeing what you come up with for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

  6. I love that you’re doing a farm share! That has always appealed to me, but I really have no clue how to get started. I recently began getting boxes from a local produce delivery service that provides produce that isn’t necessarily “perfect” enough for stores to carry – like giant carrots or red peppers with dents, that sort of thing. It’s been a great way to support my local produce providers and have some yummy veggies to play with!

  7. I love that you want to cut down on waste and food disposables. we have been semi compositing a bit in our vast yard/wooded space it think it has become more of a possum and raccoon feeding ground.

  8. Eat local … that is an excellent aspiration. Right now, while we are unable to return to Australia we are in a lovely village in Cyprus. There is a local restaurant that sells the olive oil that comes right from their trees. Absolutely delicious. Now to try and find more local produce. …

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