Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Menu Planning

Have I already mentioned how much I love this time of year?! And something about the cooler weather, the warmth of the indoors, and the anticipation of holidays, calls me to focus on food preparation even more. This past weekend, I took a few hours to plan menus for the next three weeks, leading up to Thanksgiving Day, when we are anticipating that our whole family will be home! There will likely be 24 around our table!

I've been trying out something new for menu planning the past month or so. I rather accidentally stumbled across a blog post (click here) that explained about "Plan to Eat", a menu planning website. It offered a 30-day free trial, so I signed up to try it out.

Menu planning has always been fun for me, but also challenging to actually keep it up week-by-week. Especially in our "empty nest" years, when it is just the two of us here most days. And over the years I have gathered such a big collection of "family favorites" that the most time-consuming part of menu planning is actually choosing which recipe to use - there are so many choices. A few years ago, I set up a plan to use my recipes on a rotating basis. I still refer to this, but I don't always get to the final step in menu planning, of actually choosing which recipe (from this Three Month Menu Plan) to use on each particular day of the week.

A Great Menu Planning Tool

Plan to Eat may just be my answer. My 30-day trial period is nearing the end, and so this past weekend I signed up to use it for the next year. With a discount I received, it comes to only $2.60/month.

It works great - I import my recipes to "Plan to Eat" on my laptop with their easy import tool, directly from the source online (many of my recipes are from Taste of Home), and then also manually enter other recipes I have collected. (Some editing is necessary.) It even works with importing recipes from blog posts. (With some of them you need to do some additional copying and pasting, depending on the format of the recipe in the post.)

I then select the recipes I wish to use for my weekly menu plan, and print this plan out.  It also automatically creates a shopping list for these recipes. And the great part - I can view all of this on my iPhone - the daily/weekly/monthly menu plan, the actual recipes, and also the shopping list.

I've tried a number of different iPhone apps for menu planning in the past few months, and this plan surpasses them all by far for practicality and ease of use. Highly recommended by other bloggers that I trust, and created by a husband/wife team who are continually making additions and changes that will benefit the users.

Gratitude List - all the way to #1000!

And here, each Monday - continuing the Counting of 1000 Gifts in 2012. This week I jumped all the way from #907 ... to ... #1000! I also made the switch to use an app on my iPhone to record my gratitude list each day, and I love doing it this way. So handy to pick up my phone throughout the day, and quickly record something that warms my heart, a touch of joy during my day. Thanking God for His gifts, daily, helps me to keep my mind on Him, and draws me away from worry. And though my weekly gratitude list may not always be posted here each week, I continue with the listing, and the thanking.

Linking up with:
Menu Plan Monday
Multitudes on Monday
Inspire Me Monday
Better Mom Mondays
One Project at a Time
Heart and Home

1 comment:

  1. Thanksgiving meals for 24 people--what an exciting challenge! It would be very daunting to me, but the reward will no doubt be worth the effort. Thank you for the menu planning application suggestion. That does sound helpful, especially with the generation of a portable shopping list.

    Good for you for counting to 1000! Daily practice of gratitude draws me away from worry, too.

    Finally, I appreciate your notes in the sidebar on "Holiday Blogging." Thank you for listening day by day to let the Lord set your priorities. I'm visiting from the Monday Multitudes community today. Grace to you in whatever the Lord prioritizes for your week.