One of Those Days ... and Meal Planning!

meal planning1 Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you're backpedalling the entire day? Where, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you just feel like you're slowly losing your mind? And the overcast weather doesn't help matters any? That was yesterday for me. And... the funniest thing about it is, it was actually a really good day. We slept in (Donnie is on Spring Break so even though we have extra to do this week, we gave ourselves this treat), we ate good food, I babysat for the best kids, and got a lot of work done. But somehow... somehow it just didn't click. Donnie and I kept looking at each other and sighing, "Ohhhhhh this day is weird."

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But at 7:15 pm, we decided to take action. We bundled up, went on a walk, and walked and talked and dreamed for the next 45 minutes. And of course I snapped photos with my iPhone because I can't help myself. We finally got home (someone had to pee too badly to keep walking... :) ) and felt rejuvenated. We made big plans, we talked about the future... It was lovely.

The biggest tangible progress we made was finally figuring out a meal planning strategy we think we can stick to. We have decided that we are going to plan out four meals a week, and cook in bulk so that the leftovers serve as lunches and evening meals on the days that we don't have time to cook. (Which is kind of what we've always done, but not nearly so planned.) One night will be some sort of bean and rice taco/bowl/burrito, and another night will be pizza crust topped with some crazy combination of vegetables. A third night will be something in the crock pot, and the fourth meal we're planning will be a recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks. All in all, it's a set framework with lots of variety and flexibility so we can maintain it.

I got this fancy pad of paper (with magnets so it sticks on the fridge!) for a dollar at JoAnn's Fabrics. I had grand plans of making it perfectly neat and accurately filled out, but instead, this is what happened. I think it's perfect.

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And the brilliant result of this is that, after we got back from the grocery store around 10 pm tonight, Donnie knew exactly what to do to throw together our super quick fancied-up ramen noodles, and I knew that I could go ahead and prep for tomorrow's meal (roasted eggplant with a pomegranate glaze over bulgar wheat) -- so after he finished dicing up onions tonight, I diced the eggplant, fennel, and sweet potato. Tomorrow's meal is now going to be super easy, quick, and will involve relatively little clean up. I think we win!

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This is our first real attempt at meal planning, and I'm so excited. This go 'round is, I think mostly, inspired by my friend Sarah who had a great post recently on meal planning. If you meal plan, what is your best tip? I love learning about how other people organize their meals and their grocery shopping. (Does that make me a nerd? If so, I'm okay with it!)