Meal Plan in Action

I woke up at my parent’s house to this awesomeness…

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a handwritten note from my mom. She woke up before 5 am this morning to get ready for work and still prepared a pot of coffee for the family. I didn’t care as much about the coffee, but I did love the note. She used to write us notes all the time growing up, and I miss them.

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Mom got some samples of the new Starbucks Blonde coffee, so we had that with breakfast.

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Sis woke up in the mood for cooking. She made us waffles using the waffle iron she got for Christmas two year ago.

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She found a special recipe online for extra-fluffy waffles. The trick is whipping egg whites and then folding them into the rest of the waffle batter. From the looks of the waffles, I think she’s onto something.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve had from-scratch waffles. Actually, I don’t think I’ve had them since the last time Sis made them.

I asked my dad to tell me about his early life again over breakfast. He’s told us the stories hundreds of times over the years, but they never get old. I guess part of the reason is because I never really knew my grandparents, and they’ve all passed, so I like to get to know them through my parent’s stories. And every time dad tells a story, I learn another gem of information. For example, recently, I learned that my grandmother’s favorite color was light turquoise (like TCL-blue!) and that she studied fashion design at the Moore College of Art & Design. She even designed and sewed her own clothing. I wish she was around still so we could have sewing sessions together and talk fashion.

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My sister decide to make lunch for us, too.

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She made ginger-soy chicken with rice and one of her specialities…

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Miso soup {with onions and potatoes}.

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It was all delicious, and I ended up eating too much. But, I did save room for dessert.

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My sister {who actually hates most vegetables} has recently fallen in love with winter squash. She made us roasted acorn squash with maple syrup and butter for dessert.

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I know it sounds a little odd, but it was actually good and made for a great dessert. I told her she could save any leftovers to make a squash oatmeal for breakfast like this one I made awhile ago. Sounds weird, tastes great!

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As for all that menu planning talk from yesterday…interestingly enough, hubby suggested we work on a meal plan on our car ride home. I don’t think he actually read yesterday’s blog post, but maybe he did. Either way, I agreed it was a good idea, so we worked on a draft on our way home.

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I don’t love it, but it’s a start. I’ve realized that sometimes I don’t menu plan because I don’t think I’ll do a good enough job…so, I just do nothing at all. But, I suppose a so-so menu plan is better than none at all, right? Plus, perhaps menu planning is like most things – it gets better with practice? I like to think so.

What are your menu/meal planning tips? I loved the one Jackie left the other day saying to use categories or themes. My family (mom, dad, sis) actually likes to do that when they menu plan, and it definitely seems like a great idea. And reader Dione suggested having lazy/easy dinners and freezing batches of food. Hubby and I were actually just talking today about how we used to eat easier meals back in the day and that we should start doing so again. And I’m a big believer in freezing food – especially soup! Any other ideas, guys? Share your meal planning tips in a comment.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love eating winter squash for dessert! One of my favorites is to slice sweet potatoes, bake them, then top them with a little butter, cinnamon and maple syrup. It’s so comforting!

    I don’t really meal plan these days but one thing I used to do is always leave a day off, as there would invariably be bits and pieces that still needed to be used up that I didn’t want to waste. Eating easier meals is a great thing though, I totally agree! Takes so much pressure off, can be really, really good and then you still feel like you get some free time in the evening.

  2. says

    I meal plan according to store sale ads, especially when a meal is veg-heavy. Usually in season veggies are on sale so that’s a no brainer way to make sure you’re eating in season. I also save tons of recipes online and in binders, clipped from magazines or passed along from family/friends…. then when I am making my grocery list, I flip through and see what sounds good. I also ask my husband if there’s anything that sounds good to him for the week. Works for me!

  3. says

    I always try to mix up our proteins for dinner, and try to find crock pot friendly meals 2-3 times a week. Having a set schedule prevents us from getting lazy and eating out and we always have the necessary ingredients on hand to complete the meal.

  4. says

    One thing that is key for me is having dinners that can be transformed (or repacked) and used again as lunches the next day. Lunches are my downfall. I am really proud of myself for making it this far in January without having to buy lunch in the cafeteria! I meal plan sort of like you (just sort of scratched on paper), but I also factor in what is on special at the grocery store– or what I have coupons for. That helps me to be more economical about it. Sometimes I meal plan IN the store. I see what is on sale and meal plan as I am shopping. This requires that you know what you have in the pantry at home, though!

  5. says

    I’m pretty good at making a meal plan, but I do best when I actually write it out. I’m trying to use a note app on my phone/computers to get organized and I’m going to meal plan / make grocery lists on there – I’m hoping I can even get my hubs to contribute :)
    I usually look in my freezer and pantry and flip through the flyers a bit before making a plan. We tend to stock up on chicken and ground beef every couple months (I freeze it in portions) and I always keep dried beans and rice on hand. I find that all this makes it pretty simple to compile a list and make a meal plan.

  6. Karen says

    My hubby and I make a different batch of soup every 2 weeks that way we have a few soups that are in the freezer at all times. Once a week its Soup and Cheezer *aka Grilled Cheese) night in our house. Then we each get a night to make what we want – if we have a certain craving etc. Then the 4th night it’s a new recipe (based on grocery flyers and sales) and then Friday’s its pizza night that we make from scratch!!

  7. Beth says

    I’m a big “I’m gonna do that someday” girl, too. I did figure out an easy menu plan method, though. When I had just had my first baby and we were all alone in Richmond, Virginia after my hubby’s transfer, I had all afternoon during naptime to organize our meager life. We were young and had nothing! One winter day I got out my recipe file and picked out 30 or so meals that were my perennial faves. I got a blank calendar, filled in the blocks for a month, and taped it to the inside cover of my recipe binder. I knew a four week cycle would leave enough time between meals that it wouldn’t get dull. Later, I made another calendar for summer, since we eat different meals seasonally. I’ve edited over the years, but I still check that list when I draw a blank!

  8. Lynne says

    First of all – I have that Pampered Chef set of dishes!

    Secondly – our menus are totally driven by what is on sale and what I have coupons for. If chicken is on sale that week, we have chicken. I save recipes I find, and put them into categories – beef, pork, chicken, etc…… when a particular meat is on sale, I pull up all the recipes and see which ones I already have all the non-meat ingredients for, or see which ones need ingredients (other than the meat) that I have coupons for. It takes a bit of time, but it has helped our budget so much!

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