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 : )