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Getting Back in the Swing of Meal Planning (and My Two-Week Plan)

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Do you ever wonder what the writers on Keeper of the Home really eat? Wonder no longer. This is the first of many posts to come, where one writer each month will take a turn to share an actual two-week menu plan. Natalie, a busy wife and mom of 9 is the first to share, and I love her honesty. And I want her rice cooker. Read on…

I snickered when Stephanie asked us to write up a two week menu plan.  Ten years and five babies ago ago I was a menu-planner extraordinaire, and I could’ve written this post without feeling like such a hypocrite.

Today?  Well, let’s just say that I promptly took advantage of Stephanie’s current eBook sale (her three awesome books bundled together for 50% off [2]) in order to get a burst of inspiration.  And a good kick in the pants.

It worked!  I’ve been motivated to get back to eating healthier…and planning plays a large role in making that possible.  While I have consistently planned out our weekly dinner menus, I’ve completely let breakfast and lunch go to pot.  Breakfast has been cold cereal and toast, and lunch has been leftovers or sandwiches.  Can anybody say PB and J?

So now you see why the pants needed kicking.  I could just end it right there.  I mean, that’s what the name of this series is all about, right?  What we REALLY eat?  Ah…but the winds of change are blowing, and this old girl has made up a serious menu plan–all three meals— for the next two weeks.

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Crock Pot Roast and Roasted Root Vegetables

My Usual Menu Planning Method

We do have a few “set meals” that are the same every week.  On Sundays I don’t cook.  Joe makes breakfast…scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and OJ.  For lunch we grab pizza on the way home from church.  For dinner we clean out the fridge of leftovers from the week before and have a smorgasbord.  In the event that there are no leftovers, we eat tortilla chips and cheese…or popcorn and chocolate malts.  Or something else weird.

Saturday mornings I make one of four breakfasts: waffles, pancakes, crepes or french toast.  I usually heat up some frozen berries and jam for a berry topping…and whip up some heavy cream.  It makes for a special family breakfast before we begin our weekly house cleaning chores.

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Perfect and Easy Rice Cooker Oatmeal

An Alternative Adventure

So that is what I USUALLY do when things are “normal” around here.  But here’s something else I do once in a while, just for kicks.  You know…when things get boring, and you want to spice life up a bit.  And it just so happens that I did it about four hours ago…so it’s fresh in my memory, which tends to only go back about that far anyway.

I don’t take a grocery list with me.  (GASP!)  I know!  It’s like free falling! I grab my cart and make my way through the store looking for IDEAS, and then I throw the ideas in the cart.  We’re talking total serendipity.  Gets us out of our “rut” once in a while. 

When I get home, I write out the meals I can make with my “idea” food, and then fill in the blanks with regular menu items from my tried and true list.  Once I have all my meals planned out…I make a REAL grocery list of anything that is missing, and my husband will take the little kids out on Saturday morning for another grocery adventure while the older kids clean the house.

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Chicken Pot Pie

So without any further ado…here is my two week meal plan:

Week One

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

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Dutch Oven Pancake with Blueberries and Whipped Cream

Week Two

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday (I’m gone all day today…have a hair appointment and will be spending a few hours writing, so things need to be simple.)

Saturday

P.S. In case you are wondering about my rice cooker, with money I received for Christmas this past year, I bought a multi-purpose 10 cup Zojirushi with neuro fuzzy logic technology [10], a porridge setting for perfect hot cereals including steel cut oats, and a slow cooker setting.

This slow cooker works better than any crock pot I’ve owned…the only bad thing is that it isn’t as large as my HUGE crockpot…so I can’t use it for everything.  But it is perfect for  crock pot style chili and vegetable beef soup etc.

It’s also perfect for cooking big batches of beans and, you’ll never guess… rice (we love brown, organic, short grain “sticky” rice…good for you…and GOOD).  It will cook up ANY kind of rice to tender perfection.  Even brown, long grain rice.

It’s one of those big purchases that I will never regret since it aids me in feeding our large family healthy, delicious foods.

Do you have set meals that happen on certain days? And which kitchen tool would you find it hard to live without?