Monday, January 2, 2012

New Ideas for a New Year, and Menu Monday

Hello second day of 2012!  I am not a fan of making resolutions.  I have never made one that I have stuck with for more than 15 minutes.  So this year, I decided to come up with a list of new ideas that I want to try out instead.  No pressure if they don't work out, they were just ideas, right?  It really is funny how we can use semantics to fool ourselves.  One of my "ideas" is consistently using a weekly meal plan.  I have been doing a meal plan for the past few months.  I haven't succeeded every week, but more weeks than not, I have been able to plan.  It just makes it so much easier to go into the week knowing what you are in store for.  I spend less at the grocery store, and on gas because I am not running to the grocery store twelve times during the week.  I can plan for the days that the girls have activities in the evenings, and we don't end up ordering pizza, or, gasp.....picking up Micky D's.  I also know which nights are going to be the biggest arguments about food.  I have two pretty picky eaters and have not opened up an al la carte kitchen, so we all eat the same thing.  I can schedule these not so favorite meals on nights that I know won't be crazy, so Hubby and I can get ready for the complaint onslaught.

I am not the most organized of people out there, but I have learned how to make my life easier with a meal plan.  I just found these meal planning sheets on Pinterest (an entire post by itself) yesterday.

As you can see, I have already used this one.  I am kind of an old fashioned gal in that I HAVE to write things down.  I feel like it makes me remember things better (haha!).  My husband has been trying to get me to switch to the new fangled E-lectronic way of making a list, but I much prefer to write things down. I'm old like that!  Any way, there are tons of meal plan sheets out there.  This on I like because it has the shopping list attached.  Plus the shopping list is separated by food types.  Oh, and I am obsessed with the circus type font, and the colors:))  But that's me.  I found them here: .  She has lots of great ideas on her site.   If you decide to use this particular planner, please leave her a comment telling her how cool her stuff is:))

I am a cookbook junkie!  There, I've said it.  I love to read cookbooks like they are novels.  In fact, my hubby thinks it's hilarious to make fun.  However, since the advent of the internet, I have found that I go to my fav books less and less, especially if I don't plan.  One of my goals when I am planning my weekly menu is to use at least one recipe from an actual cookbook.  A printed one.  That way I use them and get to find new favorite recipes.

My final tip for menu planning is to advertise your menu to your family.  This is for accountability.  As much fun as it is to argue on Monday about what we are having for dinner on Thursday, I have found that if I don't put it in writing out there to the public (aka- my fam)  I tend to try to deviate from the system.  I'm like that though- not so much a rule follower.  Others may not have this problem.  I also have only one child that can read, so that reduces the whining about dinners that no one likes.  I may revisit in a few years.  Here is my menu board:

This is such an easy DIY.  All you need is a frame, some scrapbook paper, a way to prop it up (or hang it on your wall), and a dry erase marker.  There, you're done.  And as everyone knows, once it's written, it's rule.  No changes.  HA!  

I have learned not to plan more than four meals for the week.  I do have a husband and kids that will eat leftovers, though.  This leaves room in my schedule for flexibility.  I don't like to be too boxed in.  Makes me feel claustrophobic.  As you can see-hopefully, my menu currently has Christmas paper in it.  In about thirty seconds, I can change that out.  Which reminds me.......

Those are my pointers.  Would love to hear any other comments, advice, tips.  Here is my menu, in you need some inspiration:

Monday: Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Bake with Egg Noodles

Tuesday: Meatloaf with Blackberry BBQ Sauce, Absurdly Addictive Asparagus (these are both from the newest member of my cookbook collection: Food52)

Wednesday:  Roast Beef Sandwiches (made with leftover pot roast from Sunday).  Tater Tots (still so much fun).

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Strip Steaks with Balsamic Cream Sauce, Ranch Roasted Potatoes, Tangy Green Beans

Saturday: MOPS Retreat at my house.  Sorry Family:))

As I build this blog, I am planning to add lots of recipes.  Some are new and some are go to's for me.  I will link to the ones that I have, but if anything looks good and I haven't linked it to anything, shout out.  I will send you the recipe.

Have a great Monday!

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