Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons Learned and New Rules

I am learning a lot about our family's eating habits and my daily processes in planning and preparing meals.

Lessons learned:
1. In our house, everyone has choices for breakfast and lunch
a. Every morning, I ask both children what they want for breakfast. They know the options already since they have lived with me for their whole lives. These options are: cheesy eggs, cheesy grits, oatmeal, cereal, and or toast and any combination of the above. Sometimes, they can have a muffin or a pop tart but we usually don’t have those in stock. I usually have cereal or oatmeal and my hubby goes for the same with two slices of toast (hence the three loaves of bread on the grocery list)
b. At around 11:30, I ask the same question about what they want for lunch. The list of lunch options isn’t much longer than the list of breakfast items because they just aren’t interested in having anything else. Today’s lunch was an exception (I will talk more about that in a minute). Usually, they have hotdog(s) or Ham with cheese cubes or slices, crackers, a grilled cheese sandwich, or chicken nuggets, with fruit of some sort, and a pickle. Sometimes the older of the two will want a fluffer nutter (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff) but usually not. Today, the older one wanted to be like Curious George and have a jelly sandwich so he had that and the little one had a half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich. They both had a pickle and some pretzel bits.

2. I don’t like cooking every day
a. I THOUGHT that I cooked every day. I was wrong. What I did was prepare 3 meals every day. It isn’t the same. Now that I have been working from a strict menu, I realize that some days I am less enthusiastic about tackling a recipe than other days. I also noticed that last Wednesday (spaghetti night) I could have gone for making something different. This is leading to a change in the rules of the project.

3. Some days I want something different that isn’t anywhere on the menu
a. Right now (shh, don’t tell anyone) I am making soup. If you were to have a gander at the menu, you will notice no mention of a second soup in this pay cycle. Well, I am also nursing a head cold right now and fettuccini with marinara sauce isn’t going to help me tonight. I had all of the stuff on hand for this soup: I used the stock from that delicious chicken last night and a soup mix that I got from a friend that had loads of dried beans in it called French Market Soup. I soaked those beans all day yesterday and threw it all into a crock pot this morning. Honestly, I feel better just knowing that soup will be waiting for me tonight. The desire to make something new from what I have on hand that may not have been part of the original plan is leading to another change to the project rules.

New Rules:
 Plan 8-10 different dinner menus without designating when they will be eaten and plan on a couple of dishes that can be made ahead
 Expect to use leftovers of the planned meals to make additional meals and to have a leftover night. This will obviously mean that I will have to do a little planning of when I make which items but I can handle that.
 Expect some of these recipes to change as taste and time commitment variables present themselves.
 Make a grocery list of items that I will need for the two weeks (including breakfast supplies, lunch items and general household needs) and add to this list throughout the two weeks the things that I use in the pantry so, in the future; I can recreate the week’s menu with the ready-made list.
 Post daily recipes or instructions to explain how the food made it from the fridge to the table.

My expectation is not that anyone else will be following along with me, shopping the same day as I do and making this food along with me but I wouldn't be surprised to hear if some of these recipes are tested out. If anyone is crazy enough to do a whole two week project that I have done, it would be best to do a set from the past so the shopping list is complete. Oh, and feel free to send me recipes! I will try it out and give you credit for passing it along!

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