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Archive for January, 2012

Sad bunny turned happy

Oh sad, sad bunny I had such hopes for you

Your sweet soft colors and your face a pale green hue

And as my sewing machine did stitch,

I thought how your life would be rich.

 

Then off the the line, your face appeared

Not looking so happy, not even endeared.

I tucked you away, oh what a mistake I have made

until you met Simone, the sadness did fade.

Your face lit up

as she squeezed so tight

Not minding at all

if she took a little bite

Oh HAPPY little bunny

I will never doubt again.

For surely my machine and I

Have brought together two forever best friends.

Too many times I criticize my own work. Thank you Simone for helping me see that beauty is in the eye of the beholder 🙂

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Allow me to set the scene for you:

Katie is typing a quick Facebook status about feeling accomplished this week: “I’ve got my meal plan for next week done. Just need to buy a couple of things and we’re good!!!!”

Katie’s friends”I don’t know how you do it.”

Really? It’s not terribly hard. I don’t say that in a demeaning way, to make anyone feel bad. I say it with all honesty to encourage everyone to give it a try. Anyone from a college student living with roommates to the mom with 7 kids, can meal plan and have one less thing to worry about because you aren’t scrambling to figure out what to do at 3pm on a busy Monday night

Anyone who knows me, knows that on some things, I procrastinate. One look at my office at work, you know I let things stack up before I get so tired of it all and I am in a mad organizing tirade. (I am getting very close to that tirade right  Operation New Years organization is right around the corner. ) I am TELLING YOU, you can do it. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Here is how to start, and please realize this is what works for me. Feel free to change, adjust and implement whatever you need to to make this work best for your schedule;

Do this at your own pace! Some people jump head first into meal planning. They are able to do it religiously week after week, month after month. Some people need to work up to that point. It is OK if you are not transformed into Susie Homemaker immediately upon making the decision that you are going to start meal planning.

Use every resource you have! This is a no-brainer, right? Use cookbooks that you have at home. Pull out your tried and true favorite recipes but also, utilize other sources. The Internet is FULL of fabulous recipes from Allrecipes.com, to The Pioneer Woman, A Year of slow cooking, and Pinterest!!! The possibilities are endless. My personal tips though read reviews. I have found some great recipes on Allrecipes but before I make the dish, I read as many reviews as I can to find out how people have changed up the recipe from the original. Sometimes the results are fantastic.

Take stock of your refigerator, freezer and pantry BEFORE you start planning. Myhusband and I like to stock up our freezer with meats as they go on sale. We also like to hit our local store during triple coupon week for staples like broth, marinades, soy sauce, rice etc. Things we frequently use and that I know are there BEFORE I even think about looking up recipes. Alot of times, for me it helps in determining where I look,and cuts down time spent actually planning.

Write out your week. Whether you use your computer to plan, or use a pre-made template, or you just take a sheet of paper and write it out, think of what yur family has to do that week before you choose to homemade lasagna. I like to have at least one day for leftovers. Generally, I plan meals M-F with one leftover day and the weekend open to either eat out, or “repurpose” my leftovers. 🙂 Below is an example of this coming weeks meal plan for my family:

Meal plan Jan 16-20

Monday-

Obligations-  Dr appt 2:30pm

Asian style meatballs and rice

Stir fry veggies(Bok choy?)

Tuesday-

Obligations- Derek, meeting 7pm

HT “meal deal:

Chicken tenders

Veggies

rolls

Wednesday

Obligations: Katie-work

Mon/Tues leftovers

Thursday

Obligations-none

Mini skillet meat loaves

Twice baked sweet potatoes

Salad

http://www.mytastyjourney.com/2010/01/mini-meatloaves-and-twice-baked-sweet.html

Friday

Obligations- Derek work(day) Katie work(night)

Pork tenderloin and veggies(crock pot) http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Amazing-Pork-Tenderloin-in-the-Slow-Cooker/Detail.aspx

Make a shopping list After I plan, I jot down a shopping list of things I do not have on hand that I will need for my recipes. Makes going to the store alot easier than going in and meal planning in the aisles(I’ve been guilty of that MANY times.) If you coupon, check those binders to see what you can get on sale. Our local store, Harris Teeter, often times offers a meal deal where you get a full meal for $6.99 or so(depending on what they re offering. In the mel plan above (see Tuesday,) they offered Chicken tenders frozen veggies, rolls and a 2 liter of coke for $6.99.  Nice!

Set specific days for planning and shopping.I like to try an do my meal planning on Thursday and shop Sunday(morning or evening after work.) Thursday makes me feel like I still have enough time left in the week to make any changes that I need and to look at sales.

and finally

Put your meal plan somewhere, where you will see it all week. Otherwise you may forget all about it.

Don’t forget to take the meat out to defrost!!!!

I know what you are saying, “Katie, honestly, this is common sense.” Yes, it really is, but if you discipline yourself (set that reminder on your iphone to meal plan, if you must), you will be feeling accomplished every week and alot less stressed when you realize you don’t have to scramble at the last minute trying to think, “What are we going to have for dinner tonight?”

Good luck and happy planning.

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