Thursday, January 5, 2017

Back in the Game

Ever since we moved back from California, I've granted myself a break from meal planning. The time off was good, but I'm ready to get back to it. It's just so much more relaxing to come home from work with a plan for that night, even if it's something easy, like grilled cheese and steamed green beans.

A friend of mine recently recommended a book entitled Simplicity Parenting. Specifically, she liked the suggestion to make meal planning easier by giving each day of the week a theme. For example, Monday is soup day, Tuesday is chicken day, etc. Before I could get this book from the library, I picked up a book with a similar title: Minimalist Parenting. I've really enjoyed the tone and tips in this book, although I should be reading with a notebook in hand, otherwise the best tips offered will be lost after passing through my brain as an idea to implement. So...all this to say, I'm about to read the chapter on meal planning and want to take some notes for me (and you) here.

Okay, done with that chapter. Shoot. I don't have any notes. Well, here is my plan, definitely inspired by the chapter and also by my friend who originally suggested the other book:
  • On Sundays or Mondays, I will come up with 5 or 6 meals and a grocery list for the upcoming week, leaving room for leftovers and eating out
  • On Monday evenings, after the kids go to bed, either I or Nate will go grocery shopping
  • I will involve Nate, Louisa and Cora. Nate can suggest as many meals each week as he wants, as long as they don't all involve bacon, ground beef or excessive amounts of cheese. Louisa and Cora can alternate weeks (My predictions: Cora will choose pesto pasta, Lou will pick egg bake or spaghetti & meatballs. Peter? Well, he would pick a lot of his favorite foods, but they wouldn't exactly create a meal, so we'll hold off on asking for his suggestions just yet)
  • I will glean inspiration from websites like food52.com and seriouseats.com, but also feel okay about a whole week without any new or interesting recipes
  • I will post the recipes on our refrigerator once again, because it's always good to write with a real pen on real paper, with all the typing and texting I do these days
  • At some point during the week, I will post our meal plan on this blog again, which will give me accountability and the chance to share our ideas with you!
Minimalist Parenting recommends The SIX O'CLOCK Scramble and Relish, two websites you can subscribe to for weekly meal plans, but I think I enjoy looking at recipes and building grocery lists enough to NOT outsource this part of the process. Do you use a specific website or app to help with meal planning? If so, I'd love to hear about it, because I have plenty of clients who ask for recommendations.

You can see our current tear-off pad below. It seems that this one is no longer available, but the original style still is. Once our kitchen is decked out in more grey and white, I might have to switch over to this color scheme.


When I was editing these photos to upload, I noticed how nicely they displayed Nate's latest invention. We'll call it the don't-let-the-fridge-handle-break-the-window invention. Can you spot it and figure out why it was necessary?


Sometime in November, Nate came home from work one day and explained that he was given $100 to engineer something that would make his life better. For a few months prior, he'd been trying to get a little rubber knob to stick to the top of our refrigerator handle, without much success. Who but a product-design engineer would think to unscrew the cap to the handle and design an extension with a rubber knob on it? Now instead of hitting the glass of the window, it hits the frame (technically called the check rail). How cool that his bike company job encourages it's engineers to innovate outside of work? Thanks Trek! Thanks Nate! Fewer broken windows = more time for cooking delicious meals for our family. Okay, that's a stretch, but I had to tie it all together.

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