8 Things I’ve Learned From Breaking Up With Meal Planning

Image Source: Walt Stoneburner   Meal planning and I have had an extensive love/hate relationship.  I loved the benefit and rewards that meal planning brought to my life, but hated the effort and attention that meal planning demanded.  We have a long and complicated history of being on again & off again. But like all relationships, you always learn something. Here are 8 things I’ve learned from breaking up with meal planning:   1.     I spend a lot of money on last minute take out.  Dinner time rolls around and the question of “What’s for dinner?” spurs on a conversation that ends with me ordering take out for my husband to pick up.  Team work at its finest. 😉 2.    I often go hungry.  Sometimes I actually forget to eat because I don’t have anything planned.  And then I get over hungry and the result is lesson #3. 3.    I have the potential to be a very anxious and “hangry” person.  Familiar with that word? That’s when you are hungry AND angry.  It’s not a pretty combination.  Angry about being hungry. Angry at the world.  Enough said. 4.    I have the ability to get totally and completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of making food for my family. Without a plan, I can walk in and out of the kitchen several times a day until I just collapse from emotional and mental exhaustion. 5.    Food stored safely in the confines of the fridge has the mysterious ability to disappear and only reappear when its at the point of no return.  Money (& yummy potential) down the...
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

My husband is pretty in tune with his taste preferences. He knows, and makes known, 2 bites in when he likes a meal. I can tell a meal isn’t a favorite when he eats more than two bites and doesn’t say anything. This recipe creation, inspired from a friend’s facebook post about hot dogs (I’ll get to that later), was deemed “freakishly good” after his first bite. 🙂 His enthusiasm has me sharing this meal with you. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Most of my meal creations are born out of a whim and what I have on hand in the kitchen. I used to spend hours pouring over recipes and then make them in meticulous fashion so they would hopefully turn out ok. You see, I started out not knowing how to cook and being pretty timid in the kitchen. Nowadays I just go with the flow. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. And I can live with the ups and downs of experimenting in the kitchen. It’s part of the whole experience and journey. I have learned that relying on some basic kitchen skills as a guide can help you have more ups than downs. To create this meal, I relied on knowing how to make a mornay sauce. (Thank you Wikipedia for putting a name to this sauce for me. Mornay is the beginning of the fancy cooking terms coming your way via this post, so brace yourself. But translation- it’s simply a cheese sauce). A mornay (aka. cheese sauce) starts with a roux. A roux is simply butter and flour. I melted a chunk of grass...
Why I’m Not Buying Lettuce From The Store Anymore

Why I’m Not Buying Lettuce From The Store Anymore

Eww. Do you see that nasty mushy lettuce? That is gross. Now to be fair, it didn’t look like that when I bought it. No, the store didn’t stock it looking that way. BUT, I’ve found that if it’s not used in 2-3 days after buying from the store, it turns into this sad brown mush. I’m all for meal planning and using perishable produce quickly so that it stays fresh and isn’t wasted, but these bags of lettuce seem to get pushed aside and easily forgotten about. But when I buy this– Fresh from a farm stand or farmer’s market, I am immediately inspired to use its beautifully crisp leaves in a delicious salad. Shopping local inspires me. Shopping local prevents wastefulness in my home. Shopping local is delicious. Check out localharvest.org to find a source for produce grown near you. I promise making the switch from store bought lettuce to farm fresh greens will be totally worth it! Do you find yourself throwing out produce because you’re not sure what to do with it? Or just feel uninspired by it and it goes bad before you can use it? Share in the comments and I’ll write a post to help you use it to make something delicious!   Spread the...
Leftover Creations

Leftover Creations

Have you seen the pin about transforming your leftovers? This is a game changer and I have to tell you about it! Kris over at Attainable-Sustainable shares the secret to transforming your leftovers. Are you ready for it? Here it is: “If the leftovers are dry, add liquid. If the leftovers are wet, add dry ingredients.” Pure genius. And so simple, right?  This little tip has made a HUGE impact on my kitchen. I don’t like the old household rule of “cleaning your plate”… I prefer our family care for our bodies by stopping when full. Does that mean all of what’s leftover gets thrown out?  No way! What doesn’t get eaten is put in the fridge or freezer to eat later. At least, that’s the plan… But, one can only eat the same thing so many times before it’s no longer enjoyable. So the plan aside, REALITY is that same leftover food ends up getting nudged around in the fridge until it’s no longer safe to consume and does get tossed. I used to get so upset about this waste. I hate tossing food- food that my hubby’s paycheck purchased, food that I took time to plan on our menu, and then labored in the kitchen to make. I dreaded cleaning out the fridge at the end of the week, knowing I’d inevitably find SOMETHING in there that needed thrown out. Thankfully, Kris’ tip for transforming leftovers came to the rescue!  By adding liquid to dry leftovers or dry ingredients to the wet ones, the leftovers are totally transformed into something new and fresh!  That little addition ups the flavor and brings life back into what...