Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meal Planning Version 2.0

One of my most viewed posts was my write up about our "Big and Small" Meal Planning.  I'm proud to say that "Big and Small" is still going strong.  We continue to plan for only 3 full meals at home each week, with the remaining 4 being taken up by leftovers, small and simple meals, dinning with relatives, etc.

This has helped us control our spending and our food waste, but I still think we can do better particularly with it being the summer growing season.

After examining our habits and where the most waste comes into play I noticed the one big trend - spoiling fresh veggies.  My once a week grocery shopping was leaving too many items for too long in the fridge or on the counter-tops and since, during winter and spring, a lot of our fresh produce is not exactly fresh the shelf life once it reaches my home is limited.  Though in winter and early spring our access to fresh, local foods is limited I'm trying to increase our intake of fresh foods when ever available - leaving the freezer to tide us over during the cold months.

***Side Note:  Do you know it took me two months last year to figure out why the asparagus I bought from a farm stand a few miles away lasted a couple weeks and the store bought only lasted a few days?  Two words: Traveling Distance***

So as much as I enjoy my once weekly grocery trips I'm afraid it's time to give up that habit for a while.

The new plan of attack is to grocery shop twice a week during the summer, planning for about 3 - 4 days worth of meals.  This will equal one to two of my "Big Meals" per trip.  Wednesdays and Saturdays are the local Farmers Market and I believe Thursday is my CSA pick up day so the plan is to do shopping every Wednesday/Thursday and Sunday/Monday with the former being dedicated to fresh fruits and veggies and the later geared toward grocery store purchases.

Other goals for the summer are:
  • Less in the fridge and Less in the freezer:  Planning and preparation is all good, but I've found the more that's in those two areas the more goes to waste.  I will be rededicating myself to keeping a less cluttered ice box.  (Also fewer items could mean a slight lower power usage).
  • Cutting the crap:  The pictures I've finally seen of our trip to the zoo have shown me that it's time to shape up a few of my habits - I'm too young to be looking so squishy (and pasty, but that's another issue) and will be rededicating my attempts to cut down on the unhealthy sodas and snacks.  (And hopefully starting a Pilates class in the next few weeks).  On a completely unrelated topic I will be burning a certain blue and white stripe shirt.
  • Make More:  A sort list of items that I wish to learn to make are salsas, hummus, some simple (sweet - real sugar, honey and fruit I'm thinking) snacks that I can use to battle my Double Stuffed Oreo addiction cravings occasional, harmless snack and a better repertoire of flavored sun teas and lemonades.
Some new discoveries in my kitchen:
  • With the right sauce it's really hard to mess up stir-fry.  I've been practicing a basic stir-fry in preparation  for our CSA starting up.
  • Pizza is not just for pepperoni.  Okay, I admit it, I've never been too adventurous in my pizzas, but once I started making them at home (not completely hand made as I usually buy crusts) I found a new adventure in veggies on pizza.  Current favorites is our patented "Pepper-onion-i" pizza, red peppers, onions and pepperoni and a bacon, green onion and garlic scape concoction.
Onward and upward!


  1. I'll be interested in hearing how your twice a week shopping works out! I always have a hard time with produce because I go to the grocery store on Monday but we make a point to eat vegetarian on Friday - but by the time Friday rolls around, either the veggies are starting to spoil or I didn't buy them at the beginning of the week and I have to make another trip.

    I want to start hitting the farmer's markets but haven't gotten around to it quite yet. Oh wait, I think I'm confused - so you're going to the grocery store once a week and the farmer's market/CSA pickup the other time? Or multiple places? I think my only fear with shopping multiple times per week (wherever it is) is that I would end up spending more money because there's double temptation to buy whatever food looks good that day!

    1. I think you've got it right, 2 shopping days- one day grocery store (for bulk items, dairy, etc.), one day market/csa (fruits, veg, some meats). Luckily the market is a little more pricey and doesn't lend itself to a lot of hasty purchases and I've managed to wean myself away from the W-mart so the inclination for non-food impulse purchases is limited (thank goodness!) at the grocery store. Plus I purposefully shop at one of the, slightly, more expensive grocery stores (Iowa-owned and operated) so the same thing goes there. I'm hoping I might end up saving money because I won't have to repurchase for spoiled produce at the end of the week only to start all over again!

      I think the goal will be to figure out my normal spending and set a limit for both places and see if I can challenge myself in that area!


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