Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Planning

Today marks the third week I’ve actually sat down and planned what meals we are going to eat during the week. Some of you are shaking your heads and murmuring, “Helloooo! This is only your third week???” While others are thinking, “Why bother?” So this post is for the rest of you who think I might be on to something.

After poring over Pinterest for clever ways to spur my interest in planning ahead and pinning several possibilities onto my Good Ideas board, not to mention procrastinating (my favorite!), I finally came across one that is simple enough that it might actually work long term. At first I was enamored by those with the cute magnets and creative cutouts but wondered where I would store the extra bits in an already full kitchen, because it must be in the kitchen or it will not get used. Then there was the type that is semi-permanently attached to the fridge via various tapes and sticky letters, but this wasn’t realistic because my fridge sides are surrounded and I refuse to put anything on the front of my brand new fridge (our last was so cluttered with pictures that it drove me nuts). Not to mention that both types offer little flexibility when new recipes surface which happens frequently, unless you want to get all your craft stuff out again, make the mess, etc., or make something quick and dirty that doesn’t match. I need them to match.

Just the other day I ran across The Lovely Cupboard blog. On the tour of her 1940s cottage is a photo of a clipboard whose board has been simply decorated and on it is a piece of paper marked “menu” with a two-week block-style calendar in which to write your meals, under which is space for shopping lists. There is also a little box beneath to hold pens so there is always one at hand. I chose to attach my pen to the side of the bulletin board with Velcro instead. Simple. Adaptable. Brilliant.

The ultimate goal of this menu planner is to help me to think about what's for dinner more than fifteen minutes before we should be eating it. The Captain will tell you that I don't think about food until I'm starving and have to eat right now. He is one who thinks about tomorrow night's dinner. I can't usually be bothered with something that trivial when I have more pressing things to worry about like getting The Boy bathed and in bed so I can collapse and watch The Big Bang Theory or something equally stimulating. However, since I've implemented the menu planner, I've noticed several things: I go to the market less often, I make better use of leftovers, I know what's in the fridge, I'm saving money, I don't have to think of something on the fly to make for dinner because it's already written down, and, most importantly, I can easily answer the question, "What's for dinner, Honey/Mom?" but I don't have to because they know where to look. 

See? This blog is keeping me accountable and helping me get organized. Next post I'll give you the recipe one of our favorite dinners.


  1. I love the idea!! We used to be very good about meal planning but now that I never know how many of us will be home at one time it's a lot harder to plan.

    1. That would be a difficult position. At this point in our family's life, The Boy is still young and at home so I have control over how many and who to plan for. He does throw a wrench in the works every once in a while when I have exactly enough for the two or three of us and he wants to invite the neighbor kids down... I hate saying no but that's part of being a mom. Thanks for reading and commenting!