A Family Attempt at Kitchen Domination

With all of the stress surrounding us lately, Jimmy and I have been going through aspects of our lives and trying to figure out where we can simplify. We canceled our cable, got an antenna, and scam off my father's Netflix (I'm only slightly not proud of this... that's what parents are for ya?) in order to save an extra $100 a month in cable bills. I made Jimmy promise to take me to a restaurant if the Texans play Monday Night Football since we won't have ESPN. I intend to hold him to that promise (I miss football). We canceled our gym membership and got a weight bench and weights for a mini home gym. Jimmy runs outside. I believe God enabled our bodies to run only in order to escape predators, so I "power walk." We also decided to attempt our hand at meal prepping and making our lunches and dinners for the entire week on Sunday. All of these changes will help us save money and will also help simplify our lives. Oh, how Jimmy's financial blog authors would be so proud (I'm looking at you Mr. Money Mustache)! So, this is how our first go at meal prepping went...

I worked this past Friday and Saturday night and when I wasn't running my butt off, I did some online research on how to start this adventure. It was really important to me to cook healthy, low GI (glycemic index--low GI to help with the PCOS) meals. Meal prepping is kind of pointless if I'm shoving Big Mac's in Tupperware containers and calling it a night. One of the most helpful and most informative websites I found was Organize Yourself Skinny. A lady named Tammy owns this blog and it is amazing! She has pages beyond pages of recipes, helpful hints, free meal plans/exercise schedules, and information on freezer cooking. If you guys want to start meal planning or even just figure out a system to organize your grocery shopping, I highly suggest checking out this website.

I knew the first thing I needed to do was to come up with a menu of sorts. (Of note, Tammy suggests starting out small, only planning 1-2 meals for first timers and increasing weekly from there until you have planned an entire week--unfortunately, I am a stubborn, hard-headed women determined to plan a weeks' worth my first time out. Sorry, Tammy!) What were Jimmy and I going to eat for each meal? I decided to leave off breakfast because Jimmy and I eat quite differently for breakfast. For now, that meal we will figure out on our own. I thought it would be easiest for us if we made double of whatever we were having for dinner to have as leftovers for lunch the next day. For example, one meal we cooked was pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. We will be having that meal for Wednesday dinner and Thursday lunch. I thought for first timers, it would be easiest to plan out 7 dinners with leftovers rather than 7 dinners and 7 different lunches. It will be an experiment this week to see if that plan works or if we get sick of eating the same things. The downside to this plan is if a recipe doesn't work out then dinner is scratched as well as lunch for the next day. I'll let you guys know how it works out. I also added fruit and extra veggies to the grocery list for snacks for me. Once the menu was complete, I went back through and counted out how many of each bulk thing we needed (8 chicken breasts, 6 cups brown rice, etc.). This helped me out because I could go to the grocery store and make sure I bought enough of everything, but also didn't over-buy. I made out my list of grocery needs and went to Kroger after work on Sunday morning. I spent $149 at the grocery store for the week. According to my little accountant, if we continue doing this, we could save a lot of money! Jimmy and I have been pretty bad about eating out and buying groceries. We usually end up spending way too much money on food each month and inevitably I let things go bad in the fridge. It drives me nuts to throw out perfectly good food. Of course we will still have date nights every now and then, but presently my fridge contains only the food we need for the week and that is a good feeling!

I won't lie, the planning and cooking of everything was a little stressful. It's probably because I am a neurotic perfectionist, but whatever, I am who I am. It takes some time to plan out everything and make sure that you will have enough to eat, but not too much. Once we started cooking, some stress came with again, making sure you were cooking enough, but not too much. One of our meals came out a bit small on the portion size and one meal came out heavy on the portion size. One day we will be hungry, one day Jimmy will be asleep at his desk after lunch. Winning! It's a learning curve that I am sure will take time to master. All said and done, though, we finished all of the cooking after about 3.5 hours. Another plus side was Jimmy and I cooked together and had fun with it. We turned on some music and we made yummy meals to Taylor Swift (love her).

So, we will see how this week goes and see how our food turned out. I'll be sure to update how it all went. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of meal planning? Any tips for me and everyone else? I hope you all have a happy, fulfilled week!

Until next time,