{Happy} Sunday Menu Planner

I haven’t posted in a little while, so I figured I’d write about something that comes naturally: organizing!  Before you hit delete or stop reading, hear me out…This post just might save your life.

As most of you probably already know, or could have guessed, I’m a planner.  I excel at planning, making schedules, filling in calendars, etc. I kind of love it.  I blame it on my Virgo-ness, but I’m also Type A, so I would probably never use the adjective spontaneous when describing myself.

Since my commute is longer now (20 miles on I-25 in Denver), and I’m what you’d call a working mother, there’s no time for dilly-dallying when I get home. I have to know what I’m going to be cooking for my family and I need to be sure I have everything I need. Ella goes to bed at 8pm and if I’m not home until close to 6pm, I gots to bust a move!   Bed time is oh so precious to all of us!

So, how do I do it? Well, every Sunday I park my butt on my kitchen chair and peruse my favorite new meal planning app.  It’s called Big Oven. {I’m sure there are lots of other cool menu apps out there, but I like this one because it’s free, it’s for Droid, and the recipes are submitted by normal, working class folks who don’t keep saffron threads, preserved lemon, and vanilla beans in their cupboards, like Martha does.}

Back in the day, before my Samsung Tab 2, I used to do this the old fashioned way.  I’d make a list of stuff I wanted to cook for the week, and then make a corresponding grocery list.  Now, we have such amazing technology!  Big Oven serves these same 3 functions: recipes, menu planner, and grocery list.  So, you can choose one of their zillions of recipes, move it into your meal planning calendar, and then create a grocery list with the items required in the recipes. It’s pretty slick.  And you don’t have to use only their recipes in the menu planner if you don’t prefer.  You can type in your own stuff and then do it free-style.  As you move through the grocery store, you can cross items off your list.  As you go through the week, you can save the recipes you like into your Favorites category.

Grocery list function:

Screenshot_2013-02-17-16-28-35

Some weekends, I’m lazy and don’t make my menu planner and then I really regret it during the week.  Last week was one such week.  I think on Tuesday night we had leftovers.  We had frozen chicken nuggets with leftover mac n’ cheese w/tuna, leftover broccoli, couscous salad from Costco, maybe some sauerkraut, and 2 leftover meatballs. Derek was pissed (he didn’t say so, but I could see it in his eyes)!  So was I.  It was gross.

This is my plan for this week:

Screenshot_2013-03-03-08-48-24

So there’s the obvious benefit of being on top of your game every night. There’s also the benefit of saving money.  You do this in 2 ways.  First, you’re  shopping more strategically and usually save money when you buy just what you need instead of a bunch of random stuff.  Second, when you already have a plan for dinner, there is no need to stop off at some fast food place.  Fact:  this nation’s children are overweight.  We aren’t feeding them healthy food.  Fast food is  filled with salt and other artificial crap that is slowly killing us and giving us cancer.  Do the research–it’s true (and common sense).  So, there–that’s how I’m saving your life.  Sorry–it’s dramatic, but I had to somehow tie in my promise that I’d save your life if you read this article 🙂

Have a great week and happy menu planning!

xoxox ~Marisa

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