Friday, August 28, 2009

Confessions of a (Reforming) Harried Woman…

Cooking Up Fun: Back to School Week Meal Planning

If you're anything like me, you are both relieved and distressed that school's back in session. You’re relieved because everything has it's time, and well- goshdarnit- it is just plain time for summer to be over. No more "Mom, I'm bored." No more coming home from work to a trashed house.

But, there is always a trade off. The free-floating anxiety that you’ve been experiencing because of the free-reigning chaos of your summer schedule is about to be replaced by that rigid torture device known as the “school year schedule.” Oh sure, it feels good to slip into it now- you’ve been needin’ a little structure- but just you wait…by October you’ll be feeling like it's hour nineteen and you’re in an 18-hour bra.

Trust me on this.

So, because I love you and feel for you and want you to enjoy life…we’re going to do a little project together. We’re going to do meal planning-yes that’s what I said- and you will love me for it.

Meal planning (and other forms of household hyper-organization) will save your life, and your sanity. It was my saving grace, and a tool I use to keep me moving forward, despite always having a lot on my plate.

Trust me on this.

Lookit, I was a single mom who worked two jobs (sometimes three) for eight years while my kids were small and I somehow managed to be an officer in the PTA and maintained a social life on top of that. And I didn’t lose my mind…(well not completely or for any substantial amount of time and without requiring hospitalization.) So when I tell you to trust me on this…trust me.

Meal planning 101:

Meal planning Rules to live by:

1) Know your schedule for the week.
2) Plan your menu for the week.
3) Cook some things ahead of time.
4) Re-appropriate leftovers.

Four Goals of Feeding Your Tribe:

1) What you serve should be nutritious.
2) What you serve should be delicious.
3) What you provide shouldn’t exceed your financial budget.
4) What you provide shouldn’t exceed your energy or time budgets.

Four Ideas for Economical (saving, time, money, and energy) Eating:

1) Shop Less Often. By planning carefully and stocking up you’ll find that you’ll save a lot of time, money, energy and gasoline.
2) Be Your Own Restaurant- try to eat at home (or send home-cooked meals with your tribe-members) as much as possible.
3) “Group” Your Cooking Sessions- for example, use an entire box of pancake mix and individually freeze what you don’t eat for a quick breakfast trick on busy school mornings.
4) Work From the Day Before- plan your meals in such a way that yesterday’s leftovers become today’s main fare.

More included.

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Thanks for commenting. I am honored that you have come over to spend a little time at the Nacreous Kingdom. Your comments will be posted after I get the pleasure of getting the first read. So tune back in soon...Peace!