Sep 23 2012

Meal Organization

As we have added children to our family, reevaluating and reorganizing my way of doing things around the home has become a must. I think I finally have gotten a meal/ grocery routine down that works for me and thought I would share it here in hopes it would help someone else too.

A couple years ago, I bought a locker marker board to put on my fridge. This board is dedicated to holding my running list of grocery items that are needed. When I use up a package, bottle, or carton of a regularly stocked kitchen (or household) item such as mac and cheese, ketchup, or butter, I write it down on the board. On grocery shopping day, that list is typed into my phone so I will have it with me at the store.

A simple magnet locker white board

I also just recently added another magnet marker board to my arsenal. This one lives on the chest freezer in my basement. I keep a dynamic inventory on the board so that I know what is in my freezer without needing to stick my head in there and claw around searching for that chicken breast I know that must be in there somewhere.

The marker is magnetic too!

Freezer list

The last weapon I use in my battle against meal planning chaos is an iPad app and desktop program called Paprika. It is wonderful for finding and storing recipes and using them in the kitchen as you cook. It also has a great meal planning calendar. After you add recipes to the menu, you can create a grocery list for a specific meal or for the week of meals. The grocery list is organized into categories for your shopping ease.

Putting everything together, I can take my grocery list, go down to the basement, “shop” in the freezer, then add remaining items to my phone list. I also add to dos to my calendar to take items out of the freezer for the next day’s meal. This last step of adding to do’s to the calendar has saved me many nights of “oops, I forgot to take that out of the freezer, now what will we eat?”

My grocery spending is down because I know what I have and what I need. My time is organized and preparing dinner is more enjoyable. I plan a week ahead so now it is a rare night that I don’t know what to make for dinner. My meal plan is flexible enough that if I don’t feel like the planned meal that night, I could probably switch to another meal from that week as a substitute.

This organization has brought peace to one part of my life. Now to work on another part! What works for you in kitchen/ meal management? What other home areas have you re-engineered so that your life is smoother?

Sep 16 2012

What’s for Dinner?

Smelling the roast cooking when we came home from church today reminded me of Sundays when I was young, and mom would have dinner cooking in the oven. She would start dinner before we left for church in the morning, and by the time we got home, the fragrance would fill the house and make everyone anxious for the mashed potatoes to be finished cooking because, of course, we were all STARVING!

Mom would have me mix the cornstarch slurry to make the gravy, she would get the vegetable ready, and dad would mash the potatoes.

I’m thankful that my mom showed her love to us by making meals from scratch and teaching me to do the same.

Pot Roast