It is a new year and everyone is ready for a big change. Here on the farm we are making a new committment. We are changing things slightly, but mostly we are just taking it to the next level of what we are already doing. The year 2021 has us reflecting on our blessings. We are going to try and function with less, do without, live off the food the farm produces, eat local for what we do not grow and reduce our plastic waste. It may sounds like a crazy commitment, but it all goes hand in hand. If we are working so hard on the farm, we should eat what we are working to grow. If I am really eating what I am growing, I do not have room for from the store processed foods. When I stop buying from the store processed foods, I am reducing my plastic use. If we do need something, we will try to find it used or buy Made in the USA products. If I am a part of a farming community, I should support the farmers around me and buy from them and not far away. As I produce more on the farm, I decrease my carbon footprint. The difficult part for me is going to be the processed foods and giving up Chick-Fil-A. I have added a loop hole for my addictions and my children. We are eating foods that are as local as possible. UTZ potato chip company farms and produces their product locally. My daughter agreed to do this year experiment as long as she could still have potato chips. I am getting coffee that is not grown locally, but grown sustainably and roasted locally. Cheese, even though we produce it on the farm, I have not mastered cheddar. We will be buying cheese from a local farm that makes amazing cheddar. Still reducing our carbon footprint and eating local. We will have to buy some raw ingredients that we do not grow, like baking soda, flour, etc. Also, I still will be buying some of our grain products, like some pasta, bread, crackers and rice. I am not able to grow those things. We will try to get that as local as possible as well, the foods we can not get local with come from Imperfect Foods, which is still reducing our carbon footprint. So there you have it. Welcome 2021! I also wanted to clarify, we are not starting with an empty house. Our cellar is full, our pantry is full and we have full freezers. Most of the food is food we have grown and stored. We have dressers full of clothes, my kids rooms are full of toys and books. I am not depriving my kids of joy and forcing them to walk around naked! We have already been blessed with so much stuff! We want to stop buying more and truly use what we have already. So before we started this, I freaked out and wanted to buy a couple things, just in case! I admit, I did buy some cheese curls that I am hiding for emergency emotional snacking in the future. The other thing I freaked out about and wanted to buy was pens. Pens. If I ever wondered if I was truly a writer at heart. Pens. I want you to know I did not panic buy pens. There are thousands probably already in the house. I will just clean out drawers, finding the ones I already have instead of buying more. Cleaning out, using what we have, and not giving in to the fast “click” of Amazon. That is my goal. Part of eating what we have is menu planning. With it being winter and the garden is not producing, we are eating off what we have already stored. This allows me to make my menu for months at a time. I wrote another blog on how I do that here. This is what is in the rotation for this week. Menu planning, and a little prep work can cut down on the need to run out for dinner. I made a big batch of sloppy joes for lunches through the week, when that runs out I will make a pot of soup. Today, I will make banana muffins and oatmeal bars for breakfast throughout the week. This is our menu for the week. Sunday: Pizza and leftovers Monday: Ham, broccoli and rice. Tuesday is always tacos. Wednesday: Salmon, pad thai noodles, carrots. Thursday: Chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans. Friday: Breakfast for dinner Saturday: Meatball subs with homemade rolls.