Friday, July 26, 2013

New Beginnings, Again.

Here it is July 25th.
Do you know why today is great?
Because it is only 5 short months away from Christmas.
I love Christmas!
I love the music (I listen to Christmas music from October to January).
I love the decorations (I have 2 trees, 6 boxes of decorations, and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment).
I love the food (cranberries, chocolate, cinnamon, ham, mashed potatoes, cookies, soups, breads).
But mostly it is about family and tradition.
Last year I ended up going home to Connecticut for just three days for Christmas.
We did some traditions the same, made some new ones (like calling my sister-in-law in Australia),
and some have been left behind.
It was wonderful and as I think about Christmas this year I want to be sure to have the food traditions I love even though I won't be going home.
I know I cannot possibly make everything at once, nor do I want to.
I have to make a menu planner, that is the only way I will make the things I want.  <--- That thought made me realize that this is true about my day to day eating habits.
I love to make new and interesting things,
but I certainly don't make them as often as I would like because I don't plan for it!
So I am making a "5-months-til-Christmas" resolution.
I am recommitting to meal planning!
It is the only way I will put to use all the flagged pages in my stacks of cooking magazines.  

So, where to begin?
I asked myself the following questions:

1)  How far ahead do I want to plan/shop?
2)  Do I plan for every day?
3)  Where do I plan?
4)  What do I plan?

Then I figured out some answers.
Q1)  How far ahead do I want to plan/shop?
A1)  I am a planner.
I like to know what I am doing roughly two weeks in advance.  So, I figure if I plan my schedule two weeks in advance, I can schedule my menu two weeks in advance.  This schedule is also conducive to the every two week paycheck schedule.

Q2)  Do I plan for every day?
A2)  Yes and no.
Yes, I need to have a plan for every day.  No, that plan does not have to be a new recipe.  I can schedule days to eat out, order in, eat at a friend's house, or have leftovers, I can even schedule a day to "wing it". 

Q3)  Where do I plan?
A3)  I found this great editable PDF monthly meal planner online at  I really like it, but I hate to print off things I am only going to throw away.  I suppose I could make a binder of recipes with notes on them, but I figure I can do that fairly easily on my computer.  So I am trying out different methods, as long as they are computer friendly.

Q4)  What do I plan?
A4)  When I was home this past month I ate at a very balanced table. 
I have a father that is traditional "meat and potatoes with a side of vegetables" eater.  My mother is diabetic and likes to have lots of options on the table.  We always had a lean protein on the table, a carb, and at least 2 vegetable options.  I decided to try to follow that model; protein, carb, and vegetable.  Plus, I have a goal to plan lunches too.

A5)  I think the first step is to be kind to myself in not feeling like I am bound to the menu or a failure because I have strayed from it for a day.  I also have taken a screen shot of the menu and uploaded it to my phone to be in sight regularly.  That same picture is my desktop wallpaper.  

I am looking forward to trying this!!!!

The notes on days with no numbers are breakfast, lunch, and other cooking notes.
The letters in parentheses indicate where this recipe is coming from.
(P) - Pinterest  (BA) - Bon Appetit  (S) - Saveur

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