Dresses from Shabby Apple

The necessities.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One of my favorite things to do is eat. There I said it. It is now out there. And anything with sugar and I am all over it. Literally. But as much as I enjoy a great cooked meal, I struggle at making menus for our family. I have found that if I have meals planned, we eat "real" meals (as opposed to the frozen, fake kind!) that are so much healthier for us. I go through stages where I try out different ways to stay on top of it. I did freezer meals for a while which worked great when I had a whole Saturday to devote to cooking. I have also compiled a huge list of meal ideas over the last few years to pick and choose from on a whim. I have tried making menus for a month at a time or a week at a time. They all work for a while but then the end of my menu comes and I am no longer motivated to keep going. Where does all of this motivation go? I am hoping I pass it along to one of you because sometimes I feel like it is flying out of here faster than I can catch it! I hope someone is making good use of it!

So I decided to take the big long list of menu ideas I have and my cookbooks and just hash it all out. I came up with an eight week long menu. I figure after 8 weeks, any of the meals could pretty much be repeated because eating something every 8 weeks or so is definitely doable! I picked super easy meals like pancakes, grilled cheese, etc paired with some more complex (or time consuming) meals. That way if I knew ahead of time that the week was going to be busy, I could just plan the easier meals on a day I didn't have as much time. Or if we have plans to go out or not be at home, I will just skip one of the meals for that week. It is such an easy going meal plan that I am bound and determined to make it work. And since I like to incorporate new ideas too, I have a few weeks where I have planned in a new recipe. This will give me the opportunity to try something new and either add it to the menu or throw that recipe away...why keep it if no one likes it right?!

For now, I just have the meal plans written out on two notepad sheets of paper. I plan on "cutesifying" them and also creating a shopping list with every ingredient needed for the week. I am going to put them in sheet protectors and then use erasable markers to go through the list before going to the store and get rid of all of the things I already have on hand. Won't I be Mrs. Organization!! No worries, you haven't seen my pantry lately, have you??!

We are only a couple weeks into this thing, and I am LOvInG it already! What do you do to make a meal plan? Anyone interested in seeing mine? I can post it if anyone wants to see it and/or get some new recipes. So give me your ideas...I am definitely interested in how you make dinners at your house work for you.

Oh yeah, and on the menu for next week:
Cheesy Potato Soup (tastes like its from a restaurant...I can say this because it isn't my recipe), Crepes, Cobb Salad, Grilled Cheese and Fries, Hawaiian Haystacks, Quesadillas, Spaghetti and Ciabatta Garlic Bread

Is your mouth watering yet?? Mine is! I should never write about food when I am hungry. I think I am going to go get something to eat now....

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{Oh, and Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to The Thrifty Home for featuring my Burlap Wreath!! I am always so thrilled to see that other people like my ideas! ;) You can see the feature here.}


Alice January 27, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

This is such a cute site! Good job! I'll have to give some of these crafts a try, they all look great. I bet your house is so cute!

Laura Dunaway January 27, 2010 at 4:14 PM  

I want to see your menu ideas. Please post. :)

The creative housewife January 27, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

I would love to see your menu! :) I don't have a meal plan going on right now! I have tried several different things but I get bored with it! Today I made 2 pans of Mexican lasagna and 2 pans of tuna casserole! So I spent the morning and made 4 meals pretty much! that's how it's been lately. when I know exactly what the week is going to be like I will make a weekly menu! but normally I just plan out a couple days at a time right now.. Love your idea though! I have gone through the pantry and everything in my kitchen and made a list of meals I could make with what was in the house before.. that works great! BUT takes alot of time and hahah ya time who has that anymore..

Well Hope your plan goes well Hope to get to see it!
-The Creative housewife!

Sarah January 27, 2010 at 8:23 PM  

I do a month long meal plan (not every month is the exact same, but as I find recipes online or in a book I put them in Word and now have a recipe folder I get ideas from) and it makes me so much less stressed. I've realized that a meal plan is something I must have in my life because without it I spend my afternoon super stressed out trying to figure what to cook for dinner--espec now that I've been really trying to cook more healthy. I'd love to see how you make it all cute! I just keep mine saved on my computer-boring!

mommy2luke2008 January 28, 2010 at 10:14 AM  

I would love to see your menu!!! I have been meal planning a week at a time now for only two weeks. I'm doing Weight Watchers and I think it helps to have all my meals planned and points counted ahead of time. I would to sit down and make out two months worth of meals and just rotate. That would be so easy!!

Josh and Juli January 28, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

I do the same thing, Stace! Not as cute or organized as you, I'm sure, but I have a long list that I keep on the inside of my pantry so I don't have to freak out when it's time to plan menus. I'd like to make it even more fun, though...I can't wait to see what you do with yours. They all sound yummy, by the way!

Kristin January 29, 2010 at 9:50 PM  

I'd love to see your ideas...you've been pretty busy lately. I haven't been here in a while...dang cute stuff!!!

nateandcole February 9, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

Like you, I've tried menu plans, freezer meals, etc, and I always quit after a while, but I like the variety. I guess it works for us to mix it up. My latest, that I like is the menu planning two months at a time, and I go shopping every 2-3 weeks. I try to pair like things in the same week so I can use up the sour cream carton. My daily categories are something like this: chicken, beef, salad, beans, new recipe, food storage, leftovers. Food storage nights are often new recipes, but sometimes they overlap with a bean meal. It's so helpful for me to have it all mapped out, but I'm all about using other peoples ideas too. Your recipes sound good--I'd love to see your meal plans too.

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