Meal Planning Thoughts

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Since the last time I typed up a meal plan, I’ve found I cannot have dairy in any form or in any part. It causes massive mood disturbance.
So, I’m fully Paleo now. I’m slowly finding homes for my milk kefir grains (I am suggesting a love offering to go towards my RES certification), as I now make coconut kefir instead and the family gobbles it up quite happily (linked at Second Breakfast, above).
I don’t eat cheese, but I did find Daiya substitute that I eat rarely, when I get a pregnancy craving for cheese. Interestingly, Melody, who had always snubbed most cheese, but especially my beloved cheddar, *adores* Daiya “cheddar.” Eventually I’ll start looking for and making a Daiya-like recipe for home, but… this pregnancy has me a little slower in the kitchen.

Speaking of being slower to get in the kitchen, we’ve swapped over to once-a-week cooking, as trying to cook daily was tiresome this far along, and I’d resort to almond butter bananas with chicken chunks and some veggies for many dinners… not exactly well-rounded when it was sometimes 3 nights a week! ;P OAWC has been a true blessing in our home!

I am entering in the meal plan Thursday nights. We go shopping Friday afternoon and if I have time after our learning schedule, driving to the farm to get the rest of the family raw milk, and shopping, I cut up veggies when I get home. Saturday, I cook while I have Melody doing school, and Daryl washes dishes as I go and runs errands for me. The cook time is around 5-6 hours when I have breakfasts and lunches to make (which usually make 2-3 weeks worth) as well as the dinners for a week. It’s less when it’s just dinners. This is actually about 2-3 hours shorter than what I was spending altogether when cooking each day.

As usual, I use MealBoard to keep myself on track. I just love it! It was well worth the $4 I spent on it over 5 years ago. And the app developer has always been extremely fast at contacting me the few tines I’ve had issues or questions. He regularly adds new sites to the super fast “Import Recipes” section, and the list now includes several Paleo sites!

Another something cool about cooking all at once, is that I am easily stocking away meals in my freezer for post-partum time. Considering that I’ll have had 3 babies in a span of just under 4 years, I’m going to laminate this, use beeswax crayon to stay a bit, and keep it on the front of my deep freezer, adding more as I go. πŸ™‚ Then I can use it again if/when we have another baby. πŸ™‚

Tip 1: This isn’t really meal planning, but I’ve started to look at the receipts after cooking, for surveys. It takes a few minutes and has given us gas points, free sandwiches, and the opportunity to win a lot of money at places we shop anyway, that we didn’t have when I wasn’t filling out the quick surveys. I usually do this at the end of cooking, but sometimes do it while I’m waiting on something else or really wanting a break.

Tip 2: I make sure to take movement breaks while cooking!

Tip 3: Actual cooking-related! I keep a gallon Ziploc near my cutting board, and as I have carrot, onion, garlic, celery, or apple scraps, I chuck them in the bag. I do limit how many apple chunks are thrown in, though. I rarely need to use whole veggies for making stock anymore. πŸ™‚ I do the sane thing in a separate bag for chicken scraps, but it stays in the freezer.

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