Menu Planning Challenges

After my joyous return to home and bathing in its lovely comfort, I wrote up a few things that needed to be done.  I tend to put off menu planning because it's a challenge for me.  Now that I'm doing the 30 Day Vegan workshop offered by Heather at Beauty that Moves, I'm motivated to meet what I consider stumbling blocks.

First and foremost I am the only one doing the vegan challenge.  My husband loves new dishes but also love to eat meat a few times a week.  For quite some time I've cooked separate dishes for that reason.  The other reason is because of my lactose intolerance.  Our son is home only one more week and he has many meals that are his favorites that I want to cook for him and alas, many are not vegan either.  So you see my dilemma!

Yesterday I sat down and wrote out some meals that I know could be flexible for everyone.  Here's what I came up with:

-burgers and fries
-chili with cornbread or bread
-lentil soup (yum!!)
-Black beans and rice

-lots of salads for lunch or side dishes

I could easily add a meat to many of those dishes and make the family smile.  Do you know what else made me smile this week? I found the best farmer's indoor market with FRESH produce.  I've been meaning to pop in since December and yesterday morning I did.  Not only was it fresh but it was remarkably cheaper than the big grocery stores.  I am thrilled to save some money and I have green beans that look like they were just picked :)

How do you menu plan?


  1. sadly, not at all......I just can't decide on Monday what I want to eat on Thursday!!!! As a result.....I keep lots of 'staples' in both the cupboard and freezer---ready for what that day's whim brings (and it usually brings a trip to the grocery!!!).....ahhh, to be as organized as you are!!! I'm quite envious!

  2. I remember when we were children depending which day of the week it was I would know what was for supper. Mum had a set menu that only changed with the seasons. I love to be able to decide on the spur of the moment depending what's in the store cupboard/fridge. That would be perfect if I was just cooking for me and maybe Hannah. But like you Karen when cooking for a family I find it does make for less stress if I have do have a meal plan. It's so hard to accommodate different tastes and fads.

    Sounds like you have a good plan cos you can substitute the burgers for vegetable or quinoa ones. The lentil soup and black beans and rice sound scrumptious. New potatoes are in season now and asparagus too and they end up in lots of salads and soups. I doubt I'll plan for next week but I know I should.

    Good news about the farmers market, especially being cheaper than the store. Enjoy all your lovely fresh produce and have a fun weekend.

  3. Plan? What's that? I do love a good farmers market and they are typically cheaper. Yea for that! Have a lovely weekend!

  4. I do plan - my grocery list is drawn up from my menu plan. If I didn't do this I know that I would completely blow my housekeeping budget!

    I usually sit down once a month with a month-to-view calendar that I print off of Microsoft Outlook. I fill in some weekly favorites, eg: Friday is usually burger or homemade pizza night, Sunday is a roast. I then fill in easy meals or crock-pot meals for those busy days. Once that's done I fill in the blanks with some family favorites and one or two new recipes to try. I stick my menu plan up in the kitchen so everyone can see what we are having and I don't get asked a million times a day whats for dinner!

    I shop weekly but it's great to have the whole month planned out so I don't have to fuss over it each week. All I have to do is draw up my weekly shopping list from my menu. Saves me oodles of time and money too :o) Of course there is still flexibility within this plan, I sometimes swap over meals within the week if something crops up that requires a quick meal etc... but at least I have all the ingredients I need for each meal.

    Happy weekending Karen :o)

  5. I do a quick little plan of our dinner meals and then make a little list from there. Breakfasts, lunch and snacks tend to be the same each week so that makes things easy.

    And then some weeks, there is no plan, and we just go with the flow. We all eat the same things here so it makes it a little easier to go with the flow.

    Happy weekend!

  6. I'm a terrible menu planner, especially of late. Which is a problem. Now that we have the kids with us all week, meals are taking a new turn but I have not quite figured that out. Kaleb is now a 'venegetarian' and doesn't eat anything thing that is 'meat or chicken', which I'm fine with but there are so few things he will eat. It's a challenge, for sure.

    Your menu looks great ~ I would like to eat at your house every day next week :)

    How are you finding the challenge this time around?

  7. Karen, I used to be much better when the kids were at home. Now, I fly by the seat of my pants... literally, whatever looks good in the store for the most part. And, if I don't feel like cooking... the two of us head out the door (which we would be MUCH better off if I'd get back focused on planning our menu). I applaud your endeavor. blessings ~ tanna

  8. I hate menu planning, Karen. But I do it. Lately it's been very slaphazard, jotting a few meal ideas, trying to remember to buy all the stuff I need at the store (only to realize I didn't get everything, or enough of some things... hence the three ingredient cookies today!), and then totally ignoring the list and eating what sounds good. It's not working. Haha! Your menu looks lovely! Share some of your recipes with us, will you!?

  9. I should. But I don't. Which leads to many a night standing in the kitchen looking aimlessly into the cupboards wondering what can I create that as "this" in it?

  10. I go with what's fresh first. I've been getting a lot of ideas from magazines lately. The soccer/baseball/scout schedule weighs heavily in, as I need to do things in the crock pot or ahead of time. In fact a limited schedule forces me to plan better! I also have to do the dance of making sure there is something new for the young picky eaters to try, and something familiar, to keep the peace!

  11. Awesome! I am so happy you found a farmer's market. We try to go every week. I am so impressed with you cooking separate meals! I imagine that makes it harder, but I know your family appreciates it. We don't eat much meat (maybe once every two weeks), mostly because I don't like to cook it! I will be curious to hear your thoughts after the 30 days is over. A lot of people say they feel great on a vegan diet, so I hope the same is true for you!


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