Saturday, February 20, 2016

Weekend Thoughts on Food and Meal Planning
(Click here for other posts in this series.)

I'm shifting into a new way of menu planning.  Until recently, I planned ahead in two-week blocks, plugging meals onto my calendar according to what was on the schedule.  Was I going to be gone all afternoon?  That day needed a quick meal or a slow cooker meal.  Did I anticipate a quiet day at home?  Maybe I could plan to make bread to go with dinner.  A simple check of the calendar each morning told me whether I needed to take ground beef or chicken out of the freezer.

Since Macie's birth, even that simple system seems too complicated.  I can't predict my days far in advance so I'm settling on a meal list.  I still grocery shop every two weeks so before I leave for the store, I compile a a list of ten or twelve meals and buy the ingredients for those meals.  A few days ahead, I might plot out a plan, or I may not choose what to cook until the morning of.  Either way, I know something will work for my day and I know I have all the ingredients. 

I like to cook mostly from scratch, but some days "convenience" foods are saving my life.  I prefer to have variety in our menu, but eating a few family favorites is better than not eating at all.  I'm settling on the idea that perfect isn't attainable but good enough is alright

Here a few links I've read or used lately:

Overnight Steel Cut Oats  I'm a nursing mom and my appetite is crazy in the morning.  This method ensures a hearty, filling, and healthy breakfast with very little work.  (My favorite toppings are sliced bananas or a spoonful of natural peanut butter with a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips for sweetener.)

Seven Ways to Use Frozen Meatballs  I love the idea of pizza grilled cheese-- especially if I can incorporate veggies and still enjoy the melty goodness of warm cheese. 

57 Things You Can Do To Be A Better Cook Right Now From mixing bowls to toasting spices to softening butter to setting off the smoke alarm (??!), this list has ideas to get your brain whirring and your mouth watering.

Granola Energy Balls   I've shared this link multiple times in the past.  These were my go-to snack before a morning run while I was pregnant.  Right now I'm finding these handy to keep on hand for when I'm nursing in the middle of the night.

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