I was going to call this minimalist eating, but with a middle schooler and high schooler, we do anything but eat minimally! Last night I made a pot of black bean soup for them and a friend, expecting leftovers to last the week -- I didn't have enough leftovers for today!
Simple eating is having quality food available in the kitchen ready to feed my growing family when I need it. Simple eating is NOT running to the store because I realize I am out of an ingredient half way through dinner prep. Simple eating is not driving for pizza because I'm too tired to come up with an idea for dinner (and the pizza guy gets lost on the way to our house). Simple eating can be ready in the crock pot, waiting for my family to come home from an outing (reducing the temptation to eat out on the way home), but more often it should be about the ordinary days.
In order to improve my schedule and reduce shopping trips, I am making weekly menu plans. I have done this in the past, and they have not worked for me. We ended up not being in the mood for what was planned (soup on a hot night). Too often food would get wasted because I planned something, we didn't eat it the night it was planned, and the food went to the back of the fridge to die.
So far I'm pretty happy with my plan for last week, and the coming week. I didn't make everything I had planned for last week because my avocados didn't ripen in time, so they got pushed to this week's menu. We have dance class Wednesday night, so we have tea before class to get in some family time.
Sunday, January 1st: Black eye peas, kale and cornbread
Monday: Dinner loaf, mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli
Tuesday: Pasta with avocado pesto
Wednesday: Afternoon tea, with sandwiches, stuffed mushrooms, scones
Thursday: Spaghetti with red sauce (by request)
Friday: 10 Spice Vegetable Soup
Saturday: Birthday party, so I'm not cooking
Sunday: Farmer pie
Dinner loaf and Farmer pie are vegetarian adaptations for meatloaf and shepherd's pie. Dinner loaf makes yummy sandwiches the next day (if I double the recipe!) and shepherd's pie is marvelous for using up any leftovers lurking, including the leftover mashed potatoes and gravy from the dinner loaf.
I'm hopeful to test out this week's plan. We have dance class two days this week, so we're easing back into some of the challenges of going back to real life. The following week will be the real test, with school starting up again. Hopefully this plan will work, because I really want to simplify my home time!