Monday, January 11, 2016

Menu Planning

My New Year's resolution was to streamline some of my Mommy tasks. I'm starting with Menu Planning. Because if you want to save money on your groceries, I've decided this is where it is at. Not couponing, not Club memberships, just good old time consuming meal planning. But you know I have a hack for that...

Before we start in on the menu planning, I have to apologize. I've been really crappy about posting over the last twelve months. Sorry about that. There have been quite a few things going on, but in an effort not to bore anyone, here are my excuses in bullet form:
  • Blogging isn't as much fun solo. Daisy had a new (beautiful!) baby boy and increased (dream job!) responsibilities at work and decided this just isn't for her anymore. She still has the password and can post whenever she pleases, but it's not likely to happen much.
  • I was overwhelmed/depressed/angry. We bought a fixer house that I don't much like. That's a whole story, but it's been a rough 16 months, and I didn't want to be as relentlessly negative in writing as I have been in my head.
  • We were hacked/mirrored. All of a sudden one day, our entire blog was copied to a South East Asian version of Pinterest without our permission or consent. All the baby pictures. All of them. It felt like the final blow. 
So I stepped away. And it was probably the right thing to do. I would love to continue writing about the crazy things my kids say and do, but the are becoming recognizable humans whose classmates may one day google and mock. We had always discussed that the blog would change at that point, it's just hard to believe that we were here. Then suddenly the boy's pictures were in Asia with no recourse, and the day had come. 

I've given it a lot of thought, and going forward I'm going to concentrate on survival. Which means I'll be sharing more about what makes my life as Mommy easier, and less about the specific challenges the boys come up with to stump me. You'll still hear about them, but they will be more or less in the back seat, so we can crank up the best of the 90's and talk about other stuff.

So...Menu Planning. Ugh. This is one activity I cannot avoid, yet find rather annoying. Really the Hubster is never more annoying to me than when he wants to talk menu over a breakfast I haven't eaten yet. (I can't talk now, I'm shoveling food in my mouth at an alarming rate so that I can finish a meal before the next demand/crisis/interruption.) I use to keep the menu on a little pocket calendar with the pipe dream that once I filled it, I could re-use it...given I could still find the recipes. I lost the calendar in the move. I should not be able to loose my blog so easily.

Lets start with a menu planning template shall we? There are a million and one of these out there, but nothing that did what I wanted-make it so I don't have to think. So I made my own. There are many menu planning services out there, but we have so many dietary needs that I'm not sure they make sense for us. Also, we like to eat the same sorts of things over and over, because-toddlers. I also wanted something that I could type once reuse over and over.

Click here to download the PDF
(For now this is a pdf only. Google Docs keeps messing with the formatting when I upload the live file.)

My template combines a routine menu rotation that varies by season (Winter is: Sat-Roast, Sun-Soup, Mon-Leftovers, Tues-Crockpot, Wed-Skillet, Thurs-Crockpot, Fri-Pizza), a grocery list, and directions for prep and day of cooking. The idea is that if I make 3-6 weekly plans for each season, I can just keep reusing the weekly plan instead of being beholden to dates on a calendar. I can also make prep days easier buy prepping say, double of weeks 1 and 2 on one day, then double of weeks 3 and 4 a few weeks later. So in two prep days, I can make 2 months worth of food, without doing 30 different things on each day.

Next time I will come back to you with the plan for Winter Week 1.


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