When I started working several years ago, I found myself frantic by Wednesday–unsure what I could pull out of the fridge that was healthy and good that my kids would still eat. The fridge became an abyss of leftovers that no one wanted to touch. I will straight out admit that we did chicken nuggets and frozen fries at least two or three times a week. (We still have one family member who really has not given up this habit–baby steps, I tell myself)
This was pre Pinterest times so I headed to Google. I began to read blogs in earnest, desperate for some sort of order in our chaotic life. (Thank heavens this crisis came before competitive sports entered our lives!)
I landed on a few things that I’ve stuck with all these years later. Super simple steps but if you do them, I guarantee you’ll have a stress free week. However I am not responsible for making your family eat the meals. I also thought you might enjoy seeing what I do each week. Even though I no longer work outside the home, I find my time just as busy with errands and tasks.
Week Changer #1: On Friday, I sit down with a pen, paper, my phone and the house calendar. AND…I make a weekly menu. I took a picture of our menu for this coming week. I write down what’s happening at night and who is headed where. I love pinning and have found that I tend to hit the same blogs over and over.
Below are a few of my new favorite food blogs. (These are mostly gluten-free and vegan) With all kinds of food preferences and allergies in this house, I’ve had to be creative with food options. I will print out the recipe and as I make changes (because who ever has ALL the ingredients for a recipe in their pantry/fridge?) I will add them in for next time. I also find my family is really great at letting me know there should be a next time!
Week Changer #2: Make a grocery list based on the meals I’ve planned. I always have staples that I buy each week (blog post about this coming soon). Once I have the list, I head to my online apps — Sprouts and King Soopers. So many stores have incredible digital coupons. (Did you know that each Friday King Soopers actually gives away something for FREE? I’ve scored all kinds of fund things including a new favorite chocolate bar.)
I get the Sunday paper and clip those coupons as well. I have found that most stores will price match. Having it all on my phone makes everything accessible and handy.
Week Changer #3: Prep all food when I get home from the store. I have bowls of berries and kale soaking in water (with 1 Tbls white vinegar). I chop my green beans and bag my cut peppers. Everything is accessible and prepped. I have invested in Pyrex–glass containers are so much better for longer term food storage.
I go to Costco about once/month. I have favorites there as well (another blog post….) I never buy shredded cheese (they coat cheese with all kinds of wrong including gluten filled crap) so I pull out my handy-dandy 1980’s food processor and shred up the entire 5 lbs. (Freeze in quart packets). I do the same for chicken breasts, berries, sauces and other goodies.
Week Changer #4: Each morning I look at the night’s meal, prep anything I can that morning. Some recipes are simply a warm up that night. Other times I load the slow cooker and head on my way.
This might seem like a very labor intensive plan. It’s actually not at all. I find I spend about 10 minutes writing out schedule/menu (which also helps me realize what the week has ahead of us!) Grocery shopping WITH A LIST is actually a very fast process–you don’t get sidetracked with extras as well as staying on budget. Food prep is actually fun. I put on Netflix on the iPad, clean and chop and one show later, everything is in the fridge.
I’m working on blogging my food. If you want to see recipes and some of the meals I make (and my kids actually eat!), see me on Instagram @Melodie111
Today I’ll leave you with a new favorite recipe. It’s from OhSheGlows. Blueberry Banana Muffins (gluten-free, vegan, low sugar) Cute cupcake wrappers from my sister, Mindy. I love how they make the muffins look so springy!
Click here for the recipe. (I did make a few changes as I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand. I used Pamela’s Gluten Free flour mix instead of spelt flour. I used an extra banana and omitted the coconut sugar. I also used sweetened almond milk.) Tobin had two for breakfast this morning so I count these as winners!