Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meal planning perfection!

I like planning my meals week by week (wish I could organize by month like Jamielyn at I Heart Naptime but I get cravings that don't plan ahead that far) and grocery shopping accordingly. I can't handle going to the fridge in the evening and wondering if we have anything that actually GOES together to make a meal. It seriously stresses me out. This past week I've been clearing out (or trying to at least) all the randomness that has accumulated in the fridge and pantry in an attempt to save a little money. And I only spent $16 on groceries all week!!! This was milk, V8 (which the hubs drinks religiously each morning) and something else random...oh, I think Wheat Thins (which are a pantry staple here).

So this week I'm starting fresh. I used to do most of my grocery shopping at WalMart. I found it convenient because I could get all the other household stuff I needed in one trip and it was usually cheaper than the regular grocery store. But no more, my friends! I have been a strong supporter through the years but our love affair is OVER! I ain't mad at ya, Wally World, but you just don't have the stuff I need anymore. I find it hard to get the brands I want and if I have to go to more than one store to check every item off my list, you can bet I'm gonna do it somewhere more pleasant and less crowded that stocks basil (get BASIL Walmart! Don't you know its the bomb diggety and I can't grow it because of my black thumb?!?). Plus, we joined Costco and get all our meat there now (and toilet paper...yeah mom, I'm stocked up on TP and paper towels for your visit).

So I like to shop on Monday (no swim lesson, no playdates usually) and today I was planning out what we're having for the week. We live in close proximity to 3 different grocery stores so I just check the add for each of the three, see which one has the most stuff on sale that I'm interested in, and do my shopping at that store. I'd love to run willy nilly around to all three and get the best deals but lets face it, its a pain to get a non-standing (almost) one-year old out of the car and back in the car that many times.

While I was making my list, I remembered reading something from Brooke at Inchmark earlier this year about her grocery list prep. She said she planned for 4 meals a week, which is the same as me (we usually eat out twice and have leftovers once...or reverse that). So I hopped over to her site and lo and behold, I think I have found the PERFECT answer to my new shopping and meal planning!

You can print this grocery/meal template for yourself by checking out Brooke's post at Design Mom and plug in the names of your favorite stores.

I left "Grocery" because I choose 1 of 3 stores each week, added Target, where I get baby food, diapers, batteries, cleaning products, etc., left Costco, and added an "Other." I figure I can put stuff like craft store items in this column (Joann's, Michaels, etc) or even clothing that needs to be shopped for. Then, I can write in the meals at the bottom. A little like this:

I don't need a spot for breakfast and lunch because thats pretty standard here: yogurt with granola bar/fruit or cereal for breakfast and leftovers/sandwich/frozen meal whichever is on sale...this week its lean pockets) for lunch (if you like to plan for all 3 meals of the day go see how Ashli plans her meals and grocery list). I've got 6 pages clipped together so I can add to next week's list as things come up and use the clip to store coupons, too. Not a huge coupon user, but if some land in my lap or my mailbox (especially for baby crap stuff) then I will use them to save a little moolah. I'm keeping it in the kitchen hanging on the cabinet so its easily accessible for myself and The Hubs to add things to (we'll see if this happens).

I'll be following Brooke's tips and putting recipe info along with my meals in an effort to feel a little less crazy at supper. And, by the way, why is it that kids are always craziest at this time of day? Its like they know I have something to do that involves danger (in the form of hot stoves, ovens, and pans, and also in the form of deadly food poisoning if I get distracted and don't follow the recipe). I'm hoping to share my meal plan and recipes with you all each week either Sunday or Monday. I'm thinking Monday because lets face it, MealPlanMonday just works. We'll see how this goes. Wish me, and my Walmart-less ways, good luck!

This was supposed to go up yesterday. I'm having some Blogger trouble, notice that my pic looks grainy and is super small. What's that all about? It just started doing that. The pic is shot by my Canon Rebel xsi which is set on the second highest quality setting. Does it have something to do with iPhoto? Any help would be much appreciated.

Anyway, since I'm posting yesterday's post today... here's a sneak peek for tomorrow. I'm super proud of me!

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