We arrived back in Minneapolis last night and I have been nonstop sorting, organizing, laundering, working and shopping since we arrived. It’s amazing the amount of things that need to be done when you are away for 6 days!
I plan to make a more detailed post about our time at the cabin; however, I have not had an opportunity to unload the pictures from our camera to my computer. If you have not already, you should check out Allan’s blog for a few pics and an amazing, true story about catching a Muskie with his bare hands in Leech Lake.
One thing that I was very excited to work on and finish over the long weekend was our food plan for the month of July! As I delve deeper into the world of monthly food planning, I plan to make more detailed posts about what I learn, my process and how much money it is saving our family. But for now, here is how my first plan went down.
To start, I chose 7 different supper themes along with 7 different breakfast themes… one for each day of the week…
Monday – Smoothie
Tuesday – Egg + Grain + Fruit/Veggie
Wednesday – Egg + Grain + Fruit/Veggie
Thursday – Egg + Grain + Fruit/Veggie
Friday – Buckwheat Bake
Saturday – Special/Gourmet
Sunday – Quick and Easy
Monday – Meatless
Tuesday – Simple Suppers (soup, salad and/or sandwich)
Wednesday – Grill
Thursday – Pasta
Friday – Pizza Night + Dessert
Saturday – Grill or Out to Eat
Sunday – Special/Gourmet Meal
I then brainstormed four different clean meals (breakfast and supper) that fit into each of the aforementioned categories. For this exercise I used several of my favorite go-to cookbooks for inspiration, including Simply in Season, The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2, The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped and Clean Eating Magazine July 2011 issue.
Using these recipes I created my monthly meal plan. I simply plugged in meals to each day of the week keeping meals that use similar ingredients within the same week. For example, I have two recipes that use pesto, so I made a note to make at least a double batch of pesto so that I would have leftovers for the second meal.
From the monthly meal plan I created a master shopping list per store that I visit (Super Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Valley Natural Foods and the Farmer’s Market) that included all of the groceries that I needed to make the 28 breakfasts and 28 suppers along with snacks and lunches. My first list only included produce and dairy for the first two weeks. I created a separate list of produce + dairy for the third and fourth weeks. This bumper shopping trip will be to Super Target, as it has the lowest prices and is closest to my house.
On our way home last night we stopped at Whole Foods to pick up the items on my shopping list in addition to milk for Allan’s cereal. This morning, Matthew and I awoke early and were out of the house by 9 AM with our Trader Joe’s and Super Target lists in hand. We were home by 11:45 AM with the bulk of our grocery shopping for the month complete and $360 lighter. I can definitely see how this type of bulk shopping is going to save us a lot of money.
The groceries that we have left to pick up at Valley Natural Foods are mostly meat and bulk items that we stock on a monthly basis anyways, as I like to take advantage of our monthly member discount. I created the meal plan specifically so that I can hold off on making this trip until early next week.
And with that I will leave you with a picture from today’s afternoon walk.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions about monthly meal planning or the process that I took to arrive at our final plan.