Thursday, March 4, 2010

Menu Planning Revisted

I am frustrated right now....with myself. I feel like the household (and life) spun a little too out of control for my liking. My personality is "I want it ALL fixed right now." but realistically I know that can't happen. One step and a time. I am going to pick one area this week to concentrate on. And the winner is: Menu Planning.

Have you ever heard the saying "if something isn't broken then don't fix it". Yeah, well during the summer I had a really good system in place. Then for some odd reason I tried changing things up.....always looking for bigger and better I guess. Instead of "Bigger and Better" meal time and grocery shopping has become "Expensive and Unorganized".

I honestly have no idea right now how much we are spending on food. Trips here, there and everywhere add up...and fast.

So I need some Goals:
1. Inventory. I need to take an inventory of what I already have in the pantry, fridge and freezer. Certain foods I do like to have a stockpile of, but other things (like olives or green chili peppers) I only need a couple in the pantry at once. Buying duplicates of items I don't need is just wasting money that could be used towards other things I need or want.

2. Menu Plan. Once I have a list, I can start building meals and snack around what I have on hand. Have you ever had all the ingredients for a meal except one thing? I find with my staples I am able to make most meals minus one or two things. Also, if I am buying an ingredient that I know I am not going to use all of it for one recipe and it will go bad if not used within a certain amount of time, I will try to incorporate it into something else. A good example of this is sour cream. I have a coffee cake recipe that calls for it. It doesn't take the whole container though. Letting in go bad in the fridge is kissing money goodbye. So instead, I would plan on making fajitas within a few days of the coffee cake so I can use the leftover sour cream on the side as a dip.

3. Food/Drink Breakdown. I would like to break down how much we spend on Food/Drinks separate from hygiene, cleaning and baby products. It could be a little challenging since I do buy the majority of my food at Walmart and Target. But again, I guess the easy solution to that is to separate my order and check out twice.

4. White Board. During the fall I used a large white board to write down daily the menu plan for the day. It helped to let everyone know the plan for the day. I also included who the helper was and what--if any--meal they were to prepare.

5. Weight Watchers. I am doing Weight Watchers. I started back in January. I was doing great until Nicholas got sick. Once that happened counting and measuring was the least of my concerns. I NEED to start back tomorrow. I went to a meeting tonight so I feel all pumped up and ready to start. With this comes tracking and measuring what I am eating.

So this is a starting point. A very doable starting point.

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