Food, food glorious food.

I think Its about time I adressed Menu planning again.
Menu planning is a bit like drinking water, I know I should do it and I know the benefits it brings when I do it ... but sometimes ... I just don't do it.

Friends and regular readers know that I was without an oven recently for just over a month. This threw everything food and kitchen related into disarray and actually put me in quite a dark mood for quite a few days there. To say I had dropped the ball with Menu planning would be , well, polite.
In my darkest no oven week we ate out one night $40.00 (Ouch!) and ...cringe ... bought a supermarket chicken another night.
It has been quite a while since either of these things happened here.

When I last wrote about Menu Planning I was still a bit at odds with the process , since then I had reached a kind of peace with it, taking that first step was still sometimes put out a few days past ideal, but I was basically doing my fortnightly plan and then a few extra days of easy meals.
I changed my method.
I still write it all up for each day of the fortnight but basically started to serve anything from within the range that suited me then crossing it off the plan, I still looked at it with a measure of balance as I wanted the really easy quick things to be available for those times I worked all day and obviously didn't want to end up having pasta for the last three nights of the fortnight either.

Getting a working oven did not immediately kick start my Menu planning fire either. I only planned one week, one week forward from last weekend. What was it that made me move ?

Well as I started to slip back into my regular routine and kitchen habit perusing the freezer, crisper and cupboards before making my shopping lists.
I realised a few things.
I did not have to buy chicken as I had a stockpile of breasts in the freezer.
I had bacon bones and lamb shanks that soon the weather will be too warm to enjoy properly.
I lost some strawberries, celery, parsnip, zucchini and a piece of pumpkin to the compost, too far past their 'best before' dates.

Then as I filed away the monthly receipts I sighed again that the supermarket shopping had been going up in $ lately then ... thats when ... the light bulb went off. An average of $25.00 a week at the supermarket more than when I was meal planning!!
I was making a shopping list without a plan and so filling the cupboards with 'stuff'. Yes come to think of it my pantry is a little more congested than usual.

So not only were we loosing that extra supermarket spend, but building up excess in the freezer and throwing $ away into the compost bin.

Well its not all bad news as the compost goes back to the garden to help produce more good food, but it turns out just a well with the peelings and leftovers ... a bit less expensive to feed it with ; )
The excess in the freezer can be worked into the next weeks plans and used up, meaning less to spend in coming weeks.
The cupboard stock of perishables will whittle down too.
Ultimately I would have preferred that money reducing the interest on our mortgage last month, but in the end all is not lost and theres a lesson in it for me.

If you made it out to the end of this post good work. For me writing about my losses and struggles helps me learn from them, If I'm having a hard time with Menu planning I can just come to my blog and search my Meal plan tags and read about why I should do it and it really does renew my strength : )


  1. Completely understand! I too know I should and the house runs much smoother when I do, but sometimes it's just on more thing on the 'to do' list.
    When I do, I plan 7 days, with a major 'stock up' shop once a month. I plan right down to how many pieces of fruit, snacks and what baking when. Therefore I can plan the week around that. And I always make sure in my 'stock up' shop I have those can't be bothered meals covered, like beans on toast, scrambled eggs eg. Think I might even blog about it. I like seeing how other families deal with things like this, and you can never have enough ideas! Thanks Tammy xox

  2. Seems like you are getting back on track after not having a stove for a month. Composts are great to have. Lists are good to make. Checking the inventory in your cupboards is good. Have a nice day. Dogwood

  3. Great post Tammy. It is so easy to fall off the wagon with this, but as long as we use our experience as a lesson then there's no harm done. We humans are curious creatures :) why, when we know something works well, don't we just continue doing it? I guess we're not robots and life throws up plenty of "speed bumps" for us to navigate. You've inspired me to take a look at my meal planning and tighten it up a bit. Thanks. Have a great day. Anita. xxx

  4. I too do the menu. I do do 2 weeks at a time. I use the plan to save money firstly, cut down on shopping time (the less you go to the supermarket, the less the impulse buys!)and I am not one to get to 3pm and say "what are we going to have for tea? and look in the fridge blankly. I need to know days ahead and sometimes pre cut vegies and things the day before - to keep 1 step ahead. I could babble on about this for ages - I wish everyone could see the benifits of menu plans. I see people wasting hard earned cash too often. Great post and if you get to the bottom of my comment WELL DONE! Thanks Tammy

  5. I fell off the menu planning wagon and was only thinking last night I really should get back on. It definitely saves money.

  6. Thanks for the inspiration Tammy. I have a hard time planning more than a day in advance but I know when I do how much easier it makes life in terms of preparing, shopping, utilising everything in the fridge and saving money. I must get off the computer and start making some lists.

  7. It's so much easier when you plan menus for the week or in advance. I try and do it weekly and it makes life so much better for me and then all I have to do is make it and not have to think about what shall I cook tonight, I don't like that part. I agree with ZippyZippy saves so much time at the shops too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, I can relate.:)

  8. Tammy what happens when you get home and you just dont feel like fish or lasagna. I should try a meal plan as THINKING what to cook is the hardest part of all, not the actual cooking and i can definately see where it could save me money.
    (how ironic-the word verification is STORE)

  9. Oh, it's my number one love-hate relationship too. I am always so grumpy when I have done the shopping sans meal plan - the waste, the thrown togetherness - AARGH!


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