I have considered a monthly meal plan for some time. Maybe for a year or longer, but for some reason the idea was (depending on the day) either utterly and completely daunting or far too boring (thinking of menus that are literally identical every month of the year) to actually go forward and complete one. Instead I kept up my routine of planning carefully for a week at a time for two, sometimes even (gasp!) three weeks. Then I’d drop the ball or, perhaps, have no desire to make or eat what a few days before had sounded at least palatable. It would be 5 o’clock and I’d panic. “It’s nearly time for dinner! What should I make? Hmm, if I go ahead with the plan, we might be eating by 7 p.m. That’s too late. Hmmm. What can I make quickly? Chihuahuas? (the Howen name for nachos) Nope. We had those at lunch yesterday. Hmm. I could make mac and cheese–again. The kids always love it. Oh, man! We only have a little milk. Okay. Well, smoothies and popcorn it is.” Which all in all is not a bad summertime meal. Quite lovely after walking home from the pool on a warm evening actually. But once a week and I was beginning to wear out it’s welcome.
Then I became a faithful reader of my friend Linda’s blog, Apron Strings and Other Things. She’s currently sharing thoughts and ideas from a lovely book by Edith Schaeffer and this post was on many people’s favorite subject (mine included), food. She stated that the author disliked getting stuck in rut with meals and this was always my exact argument with a monthly meal plan. But then Linda countered it with this fabulous and true statement, “I find having some routine simplifies life and reduces the stress of meal planning and preparation.” And then this, “We’ve had Mexican Monday, Pizza on Fridays, Crock Pot Sunday around here for years. My children find it comforting.” Yes! She’s a genius! We could have similar staples on various days, but with my recipe box of unusual size, my favorite cookbooks, not to mention all of the recipes I have from Pinterest. (Which, by the way is only the tip of the iceberg. It got so ginormous that I am in the process of breaking it down to categories of food.) So I did some more research on planning meals by the month and through it all have come up with a complete meal plan for July (and the last week of June, mind you.) And I think I’ve prepared the resources well enough that I will be able to conquer August with a bit more ease. In a few days I will come back with my method, which is nothing new, but I want to be sure to credit those who deserve credit.