>Meal Planning (aka. the dirty dirty devil)
>Why I don’t do it:
I HATE IT! I HATE IT! I HATE IT!
Ok, no really, I don’t. I just think I do. I have no good reason not to meal plan. I see the success of so many people. I’m a rational person, and I can see that starting to meal plan now will help so much when my little one is not so little anymore. I also see the merit in helping my husband. He gets off work 2 hours before me. He feeds the little man before I get home. I know that having a plan in place (or even pre-cooked) would help him imensly! OO! What if I cook when I get home, and make enough for 3 people (even though the smallest one is in bed). Then the leftovers for that will be his dinner with Daddy the next day! Perfect! So why don’t I meal plan? I don’t know…
Today I’m reading over on Ask Anna Moseley. When I say I’m reading somewhere, let me explain what that means. It means that someone, somewhere linked to her. Within her blog she linked to other posts she had done. At the bottome of those blog posts were links with pretty pictures that piqued my interest. I can spend hours on a new blog just link-hopping!
The page I ended on is about meal planning. *sigh* Why does everyone do this? One thing that has separated this post from the 9 bajillion other posts I have read on meal planning, is that she seems to think like me. She’s got a list (L-O-V-E) with paragraphs explaining each thing (L-O-V-E)! Oh! And she doesn’t plan meals for specific days! Ok, maybe that’s the true reason I’m singing her praises. One of my anti-meal-plan go-tos is that I don’t know today (Wednesday) what I want to have next Thursday. Sure, I’ll be home. But how do I know I’ll want mexican vs italian? or what about Chinese? Or maybe I just want a good ol’ fashioned meat loaf!
Anyway, Anna breaks things down into 8 easy steps!
1) Get your recipes accessible. This is a hard one for me. I have TONS of cook books… but I don’t actually cook out of them. I also have tons of meals I’ve made just playing around… but I don’t remember how I made them. Then I have family/friend recipes… but I can’t find them. Oh! And I have an entire drawer in my kitchen dedicated to all of this crap!
I’ve never given this a lot of thought, but it makes absolutely zero sense! Why do I have an unorganized junk drawer of recipes I never use, when I could have a much simpler, usable system. So here’s my thoughts. I want to make recipe rings. You know, the little open/close rings from the office supply store? Well I want to put my recipes on index cards and punch them. Then keep them on the ring. That will free up SOOOOOOO much space in my drawer! Ack!
I think I’ll do one for cooking and one for baking. If you know me at all, you know I bake A LOT. And I’d like to keep those separate.
Also, if I keep with this meal planning thing, I can remove the recipe cards for the meals I’m planning, then just put them back when I’m done with them. If I don’t meal plan, it’ll still be convenient to have them there!
2) Get a meal calendar. Ok, as I said above, this is usually where you’ll lose me. I don’t know what I want to eat next week. I don’t know what I want to eat tomorrow. In fact, if I have a snack this evening, I don’t know what I’m going to want for that either! So how am I supposed to use a calendar? I know I know! But stay with me please… we’ll get there!
3) Use a shopping list. Check! well sorta… See, I used to be GREAT about using a shopping list… but then I started couponing. Then I stopped using a shopping list and started using the couponing list. The problem is that, sometimes I need something that’s not 50% or more off! In which case, I don’t have it written down.
This shouldn’t be hard for me though. I think the answer is to go back to having 2 shopping lists. The first one being my meal-plan/keep stocked at all times list. The second being my couponing list. If I keep a running list of everything I WANT in my house, it’s easy to just cross off what I don’t have to buy that particular day. Then I can add bonus things I need for specific recipes as well.
4) Count out the meals you need for that pay period. This is pretty easy for me. My dear husband and I work at the same place so we get paid on the same day. Every other Friday is payday in our house! Woo hoo!
So there are always 14 days of meals. It breaks down to (for each pay period) 14 dinners (for 3), 18 breakfasts (for 1) at work, 2 breakfasts (for 1) at home, 4 breakfasts (for 3) at home, 18 lunches (for 1) at work, 2 lunches (for 1) at home, and 2 lunches (for 3) at home. If you’re doing the math, you’ll know I’m missing 2 lunches… those are SUnday at we go out to eat with the in-laws.
5) Go through the recipes and pull the number you need.
6) Make your shopping list.
7) Write the recipes on the calender. WHAT?! WAIT! BUT YOU SAID… I know I know! But here I’m going to quote directly from Ms. Anna herself.
See! I told you I love her!
8) Keep it all together. Basically, once you’ve gotten all organized, don’t keep it all over the house. Keep it close together where you can easily access it all.