Friday, January 24, 2014

REDISCOVERING MEAL PREP

Last year, we found out about the twins and normal life ceased to exist.  I did not plan for meals.  It was like food happened to us, and I am still not exactly sure what we ate from about March 25 to late December of this year.  The meal calendar that lives on our refrigerator was stuck on the week that  the life storm of twins came through - much like the calendar at the glass factory when a storm wiped it out.  People graciously brought us meals for several months, and I know we've had a lot of CFA, but other than that, it has been pretty patch work.

So, at the beginning of this month, I decided it was time to reclaim dinner time.  I am capable of making meal plans, and it is so helpful when I actually do it.  I don't run into the constant problem of 4 p.m. reoccurring every day, like it so often does, and me not having any clue what we will eat for dinner that evening.  And, it seems like the people at my house expect to eat dinner every single night.  So high maintenance.

I looked back in my Evernote from last January.  Side note: do you use Evernote?  If not, then you should.  It's like a magical note keeper/life organizer/list maker app that you can use on your phone and computer.  I especially like to use it when I am party planning to keep track of everything, and it has proven its worth in the meal planning biz as well.

This is what it looks like when pulled up online.

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I plan for three weeks at a time, and I have figured out that actually cooking 3 meals in a week is what works for us.  We usually eat out for one dinner a week, and eat at CFA for another one, and the other nights we can do leftovers or breakfast for dinner or pull out a freezer meal.  I like a lot of variety, so I went back to Pinterest and looked at the fun recipes that I have pinned, and I put those links into the Evernote, so I can pull them up from my phone while cooking.  This works well for me, and I love it.  It has felt really good to have a plan again, and we are certainly eating much better than we were.

Some of the things we've had in the last three weeks that I rediscovered a love for and would highly recommend are:
Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Caramelized Pears
Spinach Tortillini Soup
Panera's Stove Top Mac N Cheese
Tiramisu Toffee Dessert

In other food related news, I bought a food dehydrator.  Here was my reasoning.  Yogurt Melts are expensive, even the off brand.  I thought to myself, there has to be a way to make these cheaper, and with four kids eating them, I need to.  After researching at-home-freeze-drying, which is not a thing, I discovered that you can dehydrate yogurt.  I don't think my first attempt is going to be successful.  I forgot to look up instructions until after I had already put the yogurt on the paper.  All sites recommended lightly greasing the paper beforehand.  So, then I sprayed Pam onto the yogurt drops in a desperate attempt to save them.  They are drying right now, but I don't think it's going to work out.  However, there is great hope for the future, and since the dehydrator cost me $30 on Amazon, if I make enough Yogurt Melts to fill 10 bags worth, I will regain my investment.

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I would like to figure out how to dehydrate other stuff too, but I haven't gotten that far.  I also didn't account for the bulk of the thing, and I am not sure where it will be stored when not in use.  These are serious first world problems.

Well - if you were needing some inspiration to start meal planning, I hope this helped!  And, if you were going to start making your own yogurt melts with a dehydrator, I hope you have been warned against randomly spraying Pam over yogurt.  It does not look appealing.

2 comments:

Ryan and Carly Grace said...

I would love to know how making your own yogurt melts work out! They are so expensive!

Kristin Murdock said...

I vote for fruit roll ups, followed by jerky!!!!