Monday, May 6, 2013

Menu Planning

So why don't we look a little closer at menu planning. So often what we plan is what's easy. Is this what you truly desire? To truly have the food you love, there does need to be planning. Set aside some time today to sit down and think this out. Do it every week. Just last week, I didn't. I thought... well, I am just going to buy something premade today... $30 later, my heart sunk. It was the beginning of the month and I'd blown it... $30 on a meal that was far less satisfying than normal. When my love said he felt a little ill shortly after, that was it for me. When I choose not to prepare a meal, I AM poisoning my family a little at a time. It is proven. It is all over the internet. The chemicals in our foods that are packaged are poisons. The food isn't as good and I didn't enjoy serving something I didn't make honestly.

I know it's a big step at first but truly try. Like anything in life, it is only truly hard initially. For some reason when you first begin something, it is painfully hard. I got a new bike this week. The first day, I didn't care how pretty it was... it was too hard. I got off and walked often. My lungs felt like fire. My rear was sore. I was stiff. I did not enjoy it. The second ride, same thing. Thoughts of posting it on ebay were frequent. But I got on again. A little easier... but my lungs burned still. I was winded. Now... I'm riding leisurely thinking how could I have every thought I didn't want this. Once you get past that initial struggle, it gets easier. EACH TIME, if consistent, it get's easier. Don't expect perfect right away. Expect better than the last time.. and a little better... sometimes a tiny bit worse perhaps but then a little easier etc etc... you will gradually get there. Remember that you love your loved ones. Remember that their health is in your hands. Watch inspirational ideas on food cooking demos like the food network. Get on an email list for recipes. Try something new and exciting each week like a fancy dessert. Enjoy the delight on your families faces... Watch the difference in your budget and you will never want to go back. I promise.

So.. you're sitting down to plan. What first?

1. What's in your cupboards? For me this week, I have some leftover pasta in the fridge, some fresh green onions, lemons, peppers, onions, cream, chocolate, potatoes, cheeses etc.
Watching chopped makes this part easier. Every time I watch that show, I imagine what I'd make. It gets fun to look at your list and think what you could make. Ideas that came to mind for me? lemon bars, twice baked potatoes with green onions, cheese and cream inside etc onion rings, Loaded potato pancakes with a spicy pepper sauce. Have fun with this part. Take an inventory of everything you have TO use. With perishibles, highlight them so that they stand out on your list and make sure you do use them.
2. Coupons. This part works best IF you have a master list. One day when you have all the time in the world, go to your grocery store with a notepad. Aisle by aisle begin listing the items you normally buy and their typical price. This makes coupon clipping so much easier. As you look through your coupons look at your master list... if its not a deal...don't clip the coupon. My store venture took me approx 2 hours all together. I didn't mind. You can break it up and do an aisle at a time or review your receipts as you purchase. Just get your master list made. Know what you usually spend or you will spend far longer than 2 hours trying to plan how much your menu will cost and clipping unecessary coupons.

3. Plan your diet in. You will hate yourself if you don't. There are some great sites out there where you can type in 400 calorie meals and literally find a vast variety using you google search engine. Think of it like a homemade lean cuisine. Doing this, you can eat 400 calories each meal and lose weight.... just an idea.. and much cheaper and healthier than a meal service too! :)

4. plan in the foods you normally end up buying out. If you tend to always go to the gas station and grab a cookie... Well, make that cookie. have it at home. Secret to keep from eating too many? make the dough... then only cook one at a time. Keep the rest of the doughin the fridge for the next day etc. Then they are always fresh :) You can do this with cake batter too if you get adorable little baking dishes and how fun if a girl friend stops by to be able to throw the cake batter in a little baking dish and give her a little personal chocolate cake etc.. it's fun, you always have desserts for company and it should eliminate those unecessary gas station trips for goodies.

5. Wake up early enough for prep. Set aside time each morning to do prep... to make those cookies. Make any sack lunches, make sure you have food to nibble on for each day without eating out.

6. Get your food groups in. Make sure each day is giving you the fruits (2-4), veggies(3-5 i prefer many here), proteins (2-3), grains (6-11), dairy (2-4) in. If you don't give your body these nutrients, you will end up sick, tired, dry skinned, weak.. you name it. These are the nutrients your body MUST have to function well. If you try to skip any, it's exactly like trying to drive your car on anything but gasoline... it will break down and so will you. Don't do that to yourself and don't do this to your kids. It's not food that's bad... it's the chemicals in processed foods. You will never get fat eating too many fruits and vegetables and there are SO many fun ways to serve them. Fruits, always taste good with a little sweetener.. honey, splenda, chocolate, sugar, etc etc.. vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg etc.. make fruit delicious, salads with cottage cheese and whip cream, pudding, gelatin etc. chop them, puree them, have fun with them. I LOVE fruit. If you must, have juice always available - just make sure it's juice.. some bottles only have 5% juice anymore. Make sure it says 100% juice. With veggies - think sauteed, fried, boiled, baked, mixed into things, chopped. Add cheeses, garlic, salts, spices, throw the icky ones into a blender with sweet fruits and you won't even taste it. Breads are fun baked with veggies inside or on top. Salads can be very fun when layered. Get creative. Have fun. It doesn't ever have to be yucky.. but you NEED to get them in.

7. Plan how you will use your leftovers. IF you are making steak Monday night, make barbeque steak sandwiches the next day at lunch. Plan out everything. Use your leftovers. Make you money and ingredients last. You will find if you do this right that you really do only have to shop once a week. Make your dessert and bread sunday. Start with large meat at the beginning of the week and plan left over meals creatively. Find a system that works for you.
8. Have a recipe card file that is well organized by ingredient etc. The internet is convenient but I'm so old fashioned on this. You can clip recipes from magazines, write down those you see on the food network on recipe cards, get recipes from potlucks, make permanent note of those you loved from online. They are so worth it to have. Keep your recipes. Make your life easier. Enjoy your card file. :)

I will be posting some little graphs for you to use soon. I am working on them now. Along with index cards and full pages of check lists for weekly plan sheet etc. I will let you know when I have these available to buy. :)

Much love Always!!!


P.S. In honor of mothers day on my other site   I have a special this week. Buy $200 Get $100 absolutely free!!! Plus an extra gift for mothers too!!!


  1. Thanks for the tips. I'm liking the idea of maybe cooking all the meat on Monday and using the leftovers throughout the week. My concerns would be the meat going dry and going bad while stored in the fridge. Any ideas on this?

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  3. I am so sorry for such a dreadfully long delay in responding. I have away for such a long time. If you want to make a large meat and eat that meat all week. I would divide it into freezer bags for each meal and put all but the next days in the freezer. Then the following day pull out the next days to defrost and use newly defrosted etc. you can also portion out the raw meet into little baggies and pull down a bit at a time. I used to make 13x9 pans of large meals and then baggie up the leftovers into portions that would be used in one day and keep them in the freezer for nights I just didn't feel like cooking and I had an amazing home cooked meal. You can prep your salad for the week as well. Wash and cut the lettuce into one tupperware, boil and slice eggs into another tupperware. Grate your cheese into another tupperware, onions chopped into another etc.. Then you always have a lovely salad ready to go with your portioned freezer meal :)


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