mealtime bootcamp: caroline wins meal planning!

January 18th, 2013
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Happy Friday! I am SO delighted to present today’s guest post, by the lovely Caroline. She has been hard at work implementing my meal planning strategies and here’s what she has to say!

Hi everyone! As you may recall, I was really struggling with planning my family meals so I turned to expert, Sheri Silver, for help. Sheri was more than willing to get me moving in the right direction and shared with me some of her best tips and tricks; my very own Mealtime Bootcamp!

Part One of our Mealtime Bootcamp was a discussion between Sheri and myself about the (mostly organizational) challenges I was facing when planning family meals. Sheri asked me some great questions and I was able to specifically lay-out the areas of my planning (or lack of!) that needed the most attention.

In Part Two of our Mealtime Bootcamp, Sheri developed a plan of action for me. She made suggestions about how to plan our family meals, gave me practical tips to organize my grocery list and offered me suggestions about how to make the menu for the week more exciting. And (get this!) Sheri even shared with me some of her family’s favorite recipes! Squee!

How It Worked for Me:

Over the weekend, I used Sheri’s suggestion of making my menu for the week ahead. Sheri keeps her favorite recipes on a Word document and cuts and pastes onto a grocery list. I love fancy technology, but this method that Sheri uses (and it works!) worked well for me. I found this method to be something very accessible (I’m on my computer all the time), something practical and I didn’t have to learn any new skills to just cut and paste!

For recipe selection, I created a Pinboard on Pinterest to store my family favorite recipes and those I wanted to try in the future. After a week of cooking the meals we planned ahead, a funny thing happened to me. I realized that because I didn’t have to scramble looking for ingredients during mealtime, I actually enjoyed the busiest part of my day. I also noticed my attitude was contagious and everyone was enjoying themselves.

Here’s How I Got Organized: 

Step 1

Inspiration and Recipe Selection

I created a Pinboard on Pinterest to have a visual board (and link) to our family favorite recipes and those we’d like to try. I love Pinterest as a source of “inspiration” and I also frequently use online as my source for recipes, so this worked well for me. Since Sheri had previously posted about some of her family favorites (and suggested those to me) I was able to pin those recipes to my board as well!

image courtesy of Caroline Urdaneta

Step 2:

Creating a Meal Plan and Shopping List

Once I decided what meals I would be using for the week, I came up with a weekly menu using a blank Pages document (I have a Mac). I decided to store my favorite recipes on the document and change the menu each week at the top. I opened another document to create my list. Since I use my computer for almost everything (and I’m not as crazy about my smartphone for keeping myself organized) this method worked well for me. That being said, I did find myself texting a few items to my husband (from the list on my computer) when he was at the grocery store. Even so, this method was a HUGE improvement from before when I barely even had a list, and we’d just wing it!

image courtesy of Caroline Urdaneta

Step 3:

Shopping and Meal Preparation

Having a plan was such a stress reliever for me and having our shopping list already constructed was a huge time saver. Meal prep flowed much smoother, as you can imagine, and I was much more efficient in the kitchen because I wasn’t trying to figure out substitutions for ingredients I was missing. Yes people, it was that bad before!

And guess what, everyone? Our family favorite meal this week was Sheri’s recipe for “That Sauce”!

You guys, this recipe hit it out of the park!!

image courtesy of Caroline Urdaneta

Even our pickiest eater cleaned her plate and even asked for more! As for me? Well, let’s just say that I feel so much better being prepared and I also feel like a literal weight has been lifted now that I am on the right track!

Thank you so much for your help, Sheri! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us all next!

I couldn’t be happier with Caroline’s experience. Stay tuned for Part Two of  Mealtime Bootcamp, where we take on the challenge of timing! 

We’ve been enjoying all of your tips and suggestions; thanks so much for sharing!

6 Responses to “mealtime bootcamp: caroline wins meal planning!”

  • Hi, I have just started getting your emails a couple of weeks ago, but I have enjoyed all of them. I love to bake. Dinner around here goes like this… If I have planned ahead and have recipes then all goes well and we have wonderful dinners because then I love to cook dinner. But I NEED a recipe. Otherwise, I look in the refrig and see nothing. But my husband will come home and save the day and cook a wonderful meal out of “nothing”. So we make an awesome pair. Otherwise the kiddos would have starved a long time ago. :) The good thing about this is that the kids have grown up watching us both cook equally so they all know how to cook a little either way.
    I really wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to get out my recipes new & old, and start cooking more.

  • Thanks for the recipe. I wanted to tell you I was cooking last night from a new recipe when our guest (son’s girlfriend) said she didn’t like the main ingredient. What to do? I had not added that yet, so I started to improvise. It took some work. I thought I had it figured out when close to the end I thought it was going to be a disaster but everyone loved it. My husband said this ones a keeper. I kind of chuckled thinking good luck with that.

  • I am impressed with this beautiful post that Caroline put together! Sheri your ideas worked beautifully :)

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