26 November 2013
I know meal planning is something that a lot of people my age struggle with (I get a lot of emails about it), so I thought I’d share the system we use. It is, like most things, contained in our Simplified Planner, and it’s pretty simple!
On Saturday mornings, John and I sit down and plan out our meals for the week (Sunday to Saturday). Since our default is to make dinner at home, we first look at the calendar and figure out whether there are any days we know we’ll be dining out (maybe dinner at a friend’s house, or a day where we’re running around and don’t have time to cook). We also check to see whether we’re expecting guests any night. Once those are marked on the planning doc, we start filling in meals for the other nights. We pull ideas from Pinterest (meal boards here + here), from our collection of cook books, and from our accumulated meal plans (we have them going back to when we moved to NC, more than four years ago!!). We do tend to have seasonal favorites that show up often — including, as you can see below, BLTs when tomatoes are summer delicious :)
As we put together a week of menus, we also take into account the weather. (Is it going to be hot or cold? Might make a difference in the kinds of meals we want to prepare.) One other really important consideration for us is the leftover situation. John and I both take leftovers to work for lunch every single day, so we need to have a balance of meals that create leftovers and are easy to pack and reheat… and meals that do not (so we don’t end up with too much food).
Once we have our meals planned, they go on the meal planning doc. (Feel free to download your own copy here!) Sometimes I’ll jot down a page number or website next to the meal so we can find it again easily. Then, we put together a shopping list. We generally shop at two places every week: Whole Foods and a Walmart Neighborhood Market (basically a Walmart with only groceries and a very small home and pharmacy section). If our schedule allows, we go to one store on Saturday, and one on Sunday, which makes it seem pretty manageable. I split our list by the stores: below, Walmart is on the left, and Whole Foods is on the right. We generally shop at Whole Foods for most vegetables and fruit, dairy, and WF brands/brands that aren’t available elsewhere. Don’t mind the shorthand :)
We generally don’t decide in advance which meal we’ll have on which day — we kind of play it by ear, taking into account the leftover situation and which ingredients spoil the fastest. Thankfully, John does the cooking in our house, so once the meal planning is done, my job is complete! (Until the dishes call my name…)
I know everyone’s situation is very different, so I would love to hear: Do you plan your meals out for the week? How many nights do you eat in vs. out? Does your significant other play a big role, or not? I hope this was helpful!!
16 October 2013
The other day, I brought chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese leftovers to lunch for work (because I am a grown-up). To help legitimize myself, I will say that the mac was Annie’s (add plain yogurt!), and the nuggets were homemade, and baked. Whenever anyone hears about these nuggets, they always want the recipe, so I thought I’d post it for y’all to enjoy! You can find it here. I’d recommend following it exactly, except that we bake the panko for about half the time she recommends. They’re delicious, and it’s so nice to know (if you’re going to eat chicken nuggets anyway, as obviously I am), exactly what’s going into them!
Speaking of lunch, I would love to hear: What do you bring every day? And when did you start making your own lunch? My sisters and I still feel disadvantaged because our parents made us pack our own lunches starting in second grade (which means I ate a granola bar and a cup of apple sauce for about eleven years, and was very jealous of my friends’ brown bags).
Now, John and I eat leftovers from the night before almost every day for lunch. We cook dinner six nights out of seven, and actually plan our meal schedule for the week based on which recipes make leftovers or are easily packed and which do not! (More about meal planning soon, if you’re interested.)
How about y’all?
14 June 2013
Last year I posted nine of my favorite recipes found on Pinterest, with the goal of sharing a few tried and true winners amongst friends. As I said then, pretty photos can be deceiving, and it’s often hard to tell if the caption “AMAZING RECIPE!!!” was added by my friend, whose taste I trust, or a pinner she re-pinned from six steps out, who might have terrible taste. In case you’ve seen any of the photos below floating around your Pinterest lately and wondered if they were any good, I’m here to vouch for them!
You can find the recipes for all nine of these tasty treats on this aptly-named Pinterest board (the recipes I haven’t tried yet go on this board).
If you have any go-to recipes you found on Pinterest (or anywhere, really!), I’d love for you to share the link! Anyone else tried any of these?
19 October 2012
Happy Friday, friends! John and I are going on a very autumnal adventure this weekend, so I wanted to leave you with my favorite fall recipe. It is a very, very simple one (and I’ve actually shared it before, but it’s worth repeating!). Here’s my rendition of the easiest ever pumpkin chocolate chip muffins:
1) Take a Betty Crocker muffin mix and dump it in a bowl.
2) Add 4 tablespoons pumpkin puree (like Libby’s), a 1/2 cup water with 4 tablespoons removed, and a few healthy shakes of cinnamon. Stir together.
3) Bake for 16 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
P.S. Wedding china in action!
15 October 2012
Let me start by saying that I don’t like caramel apples. (I draw the line at sweets that are sticky… so no caramel, toffee, taffy, tootsie rolls, or cow tails for me. Yuck.) However, I find caramel apples very aesthetically pleasing, and they couldn’t be more perfect for the season we’re in right now. So today, five of my favorites – at least from the outside!
Top to bottom: classic caramel apples with twigs by Allyson Baker Design | caramel apples with sea salt from Martha Stewart Living | candied lady apples from Martha Stewart Weddings | Eery cinnamon candied apples by Matt Bites | caramel apple sundae from MSL
How about you? Caramel apples: yea or nay?