She is also 44 years older than I, which is why this personal metamorphosis is a bit shocking.
But there really is a lot of wisdom to be learned from our elders, isn’t there? Not just life experiences, or world perspective, but also how our grandparents organize their days.
And, how our grandparents have a weekly menu.
You know what I am talking about — if it is Monday, it must be meatloaf for dinner, Tuesday chicken, Wednesday Italian, etc., etc. Bor-ing. Who wants to eat meatloaf every.single.Monday. for the rest of your life? How could that even be satisfying? Can’t you just insert endless jokes into this scenario?
Ha. Not so funny anymore. I have a weekly dinner menu. And lunch menu. And even breakfast menu.
And I l.o.v.e. our weekly menu. Seriously. It has changed my food world.
The kids complain less. We waste less. I spend less. We eat out less. I go to the market less. We are bored less. And, I don’t stress about what to cook.
I started the weekly menu because I was tired of the kids complaining about meals – “sandwiches again?” “This is gross!” “We never eat what I like!” and the ever nagging question of, “what’s for dinner?” Does that happen at your house?
I have never been a short order cook, but the kids were welcome to make a pb&j if the meal offerings were not to their liking. But, golly, sometimes I’d make a meal, and only my husband and I would be eating it! That is not cool.
So, I made a list of the kids’ favorite meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts — and then laid out a schedule. Plenty of variety, favorite foods featured, everyone knows what is coming, and, violá! No more complaining!
Okay, maybe just greatly reduced complaining.
I planned the meals with an eye towards using left-overs, too. For example, Wednesday is roasted meat night, and so Thursday is soup night — see how I did that? Thursday’s soup stock is made from Wednesday night’s carcass. And Friday night is Chinese food because I need to use up all the old veggie bits to make room for the fresh produce pick-up on Saturday morning (you can hide ANY vegetable in a fried rice!). Pretty nifty, huh? Less food waste.
I go marketing every 2 weeks, and, armed with a menu, I know exactly what to buy. Not so tempting to buy extras anymore, and we spend less.
The triple whammy of my desire to nourish my family with healthy victuals, plus the no-think menu, plus a kitchen full of food, practically eliminates any allure of eating out. Why eat fat-laden, sodium rich, mass produced food-like stuff when my fridge is bursting with deliciousness?
And, contrary to what one might think, we have no food ruts. The rotating variety of meals keeps everything fresh. Who’d a thunk grandma’s boring routine was anything but?
Now, I can just look at the menu in the AM, and know what to pull out of the freezer for dinner. Ah…it is almost a Calgon moment when I don’t have to expend any brain cells over what to cook for dinner.
Curious about our meal plans? I’ll share ours, but don’t just copy it — create your own weekly meal plan around your own favorites, and find inspiration on Fit Meals Mondays!
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Easy chicken soup
- chicken carcass, with attached meat, skin and congealed juices
- 2 onions
- 6-10 cloves of fresh garlic
- 5-6 stalks of celery
- 4-5 large, whole carrots
- any other veggies that you desire (bell pepper, zucchini, green beans, tomato, corn, kale, spinach, etc.)
- Celtic sea salt
- black pepper
- dried za’atar, or oregano
- 2-3 bay leaves
- additional seasonings, to taste
- pasta OR brown rice OR lentils OR potatoes, if desired
Strain out chicken carcass, set aside to cool. Add to the stock all hardy vegetables, chopped (ie, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, potatoes, etc.) Add seasonings to taste. Add pasta OR brown rice OR lentils, if desired. Simmer for at least an hour.
When carcass is cooled, pick off meat, and add to the soup. Throw away bones and skin.
After an hour, taste soup and adjust seasonings. Add delicate veggies (spinach, kale, any veggies you want to stay crisp and retain their colors).
Photo by Weslie and Chelsey Totten
Grandma’s kitchen tin from: http://www.grandmasuniquegiftshop.com/product_info.php?cPath=1331560&products_id=17042394
family meal image from: http://blog.americanfeast.com/2007/04/
weekly menu by L. Rivas
chicken soup image from: http://dreadfullysimple.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/chicken-soup-for-the-minnesota-snow/