As I posted last week HERE, my theme for 2011 is being consistent. Eileen said it much better than I did in her comment. I agree that I'm not seeking perfection in 2011, I'm just trying to be consistent in the areas that I need to improve.
One of the items on my to do list is to organize my recipes in such a way that I only keep the ones that I will truly use or those that have sentimental value. This will help me to plan menus, make grocery lists and to finally be able to find the recipes I need when I need them.
I hope to do better at menu planning in 2011! The way I look at it, you can come up with some kind of menu plan ahead of time, or you will pay for it later. This doesn't mean that I have to stick to a rigid menu plan for each day, but that I need to have some kind of plan in place.
There are lots of methods for menu planning. Some of you don't think you make a menu plan, but you really do. It could be as simple as figuring out what you are having for supper the night before or that morning. It DOES NOT mean that you walk in the door from work and have no idea what you are cooking, which is what happens to me often.
For me, I think if I make a list of possible meals for a given week and have my pantry stocked with items I know I can use, that I can stay ahead of the menu planning task. Or if you love to be really organized, you can make a detailed menu for each day of the week or even for a whole month.
My menu planning recipe binder is an on going project and will evolve over time, based on how I like any new recipes and that kind of thing. I plan to add the recipes for every thing I cook, even if its something simple that I cook from memory. This could come in handy if I am coming home late from work or am sick, to help my hubby or other family member get supper on the table. Here's how its going so far. Its not perfect, but is a work in progress.
I had already thrown out a big stack of internet recipes and so I started out with some recipes that I really wanted to keep
I am using an old binder we had on hand that is perfectly serviceable, but not pretty. On another day, maybe I'll make this thing pretty!. But remember, we aren't seeking perfection, just consistency, so the important thing was that I stuck to my plan. Pretty can come later. :o)
I used some index dividers I already had in a previous attempt at organizing my recipes.
I also used some lists that I had typed up some time in the past.
Here is a list of side dishes and a list of some possible menus. I need to make changes and add things to them, but they are fine for now.
This one is a list of main dishes. Again I need to make changes.
This is a list of grocery items, which is one of the best homemaking tools you can ever have. I have to thank my hubby for this one! At one time he did all of the grocery shopping for our home, but I was in charge of making the grocery list. He requested that I make the list in the order that our grocery store was set up and so this list evolved. I added every single item to the list that we would ever need, but the important part was to put the items down in the order you come to them in your grocery store.
This is helpful in 2 ways. First, when you need to make a grocery list, you can scan this list as a reminder of what you might be out of. This is easier than going through your pantry or trying to make the list from memory.
Secondly, when you make the list it will be in the order of your store and so when you get to the store, you just pick up each item as you come to it. This is easier than studying your grocery list on each isle of the store trying to make sure you got everything. I always end up backtracking the store 2 or 3 times, if I don't make the list in the order of the store.
It may seem like a small thing, but it really helps to make grocery shopping easier. Of course if you shop at more than one store, your list wouldn't exactly fit all stores. My list is based on the store we frequent the most.
This is a menu planning sheet that is available from the Family Homestead each month. I often print it out and use it as a guide. As you can see, I wasn't too consistent with it in December!
These are examples of some of the recipes in my book, so far. I have made notes on some and some were handwritten by loved ones. A few have food spatters on them. For me, that gives the book character.
Also in the front of the binder is a pocket that is convenient for holding a shopping list pad. So now when I get ready to make a grocery list, or plan menus, there will be paper available for that.
I hope some of these ideas will be helpful to you. I will keep tweaking the lists and recipes and hopefully this Menu Planning Recipe Binder will help me to be consistent in 2011!
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