I cannot believe it is that time of year again for the “write 31 days” challenge. In years past I’ve written about “white space” ” cast iron cooking” “spending zero” “present over perfect” and last year landed on the 31 Days of Feeding My Family series. This year I’m jumping back on the topic, simply due to popular demand. It gets the most feedback when I share here on Inspiration Clothesline, and over on my Instagram account. So why not give the readers (and listeners) what they want. Plus I find it incredibly motivating and encouraging as well.
So today we are starting with “where to begin.” Last year I shared with you about doing a month-long meal plan and even a year-long meal plan. This year I’m in a stage where I am taking it one week at a time so I’m going to share with you that simple strategy as a place to start.
First I look in my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator and take a quick inventory of what is almost bad, needs to be used, and what I have a lot of on hand. That then leads me to the dining room table with a few favorite cookbooks on hand. Right now I’m using Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines, 29 Minutes to Dinner Volume 3 by Pampered Chef, Happily Homemade by Rachel Schultz, The New Southern Cookbook by Pam Wattenbarger and Brittany Wattenbarger that I am reviewing. I don’t have loads of time for this step, but it is my favorite and does make or break the week.
I am looking for recipes that will used up the things I found “outstanding” in my inventory, recipes that we will all like, ones that give us a variety of types of foods, are easy (or easy enough) and fit with the schedule that week. As I select a recipe I write it down as dinner for a specific day of the week I foresee it working best (schedule wise), also realizing that it may not sound good that day and I may select something else. Another example of when I stray from my [loose] plan, this week we got a last minute invite to go to a friend’s house for dinner, so Monday I didn’t cook “Sunshine Soup,” and instead offered to bring something to my friends house (offering what I had on hand that might work with what she was planning to cook.)
Sunday: BLT pizza from Happily Homemade (10 minute pizza crust from Pinterest)
Monday: Sunshine Soup (from Kid Chef Junior, I’m adding ground sausage as a topping)
Tuesday: Chicken Casserole from The New Southern Cookbook
Wednesday: Stew (Either from Happily Homemade for apple cider stew, or The New Southern Cookbook for a traditional one)
Thursday: Spaghetti Squash (and rice noodle) Pad Thai from Happily Homemade
Friday: Shepherd’s Pie (new recipe, Magnolia Cookbook)
Saturday: Japanese Curry
As I select recipes I write down the ingredients and I’ll either go get them on Sunday or Monday while doing a grocery shop, or I just add them right to my grocery cart on an app so I can do free pickup or delivery. This has made my life so much simpler. Not only using a grocery app that either shops and I just pick up or delivers too, but also doing it as part of this step of my week. It saves me time! And money since I’m not just perusing in the grocery store adding random extras.
My week is flexible but I take into account our community dinner one night of the week, outings or meetings we may have and also nights of the week either I am gone and want to have the meal prepped before I leave for commitments or if Ben will be cooking. I also often ask him to weigh in on weekly options or at least say “Hey would you like option 1, 2, or 3, for dinner tonight.” This keeps us using what we have on hand, from eating out and still gives us choices.
Head on over to my Instagram page to see more insights and also submit your questions that you’d like to see me address in the series. I already have a couple I will for sure be writing about so stay tuned.
– What is your monthly food budget?
– What time is dinner on the table, what time do you start? What are you kids doing during prep?
– What do the kids do while you’re cooking? How do you manage arguing?
– And let’s talk about school lunches. I didn’t even know this was a thing until this year!
Be sure to submit your ideas over there.