home again...and a bit of meal planning

we're home!!!
i'm pretty sure that the only thing better than going on vacation is getting home from vacation!

we covered eight states in ten days--beginning and ending in illinois, of course, and traveling through iowa, nebraska, south dakota, wyoming, montana, minnesota, and wisconsin. 
we traveled almost 2,700 miles...and i think we stopped for nearly that many potty breaks.

coming home after vacation always feels a bit like New Years to me.
i'm all filled up with ideas and bright hopes and plans and dreams and mental to-do lists.
and even though it's now the middle of september, it very much feels to me like it's the beginning of a new month and i'm full of fresh goals for the coming days.

i sat down today and wrote out a meal plan for the coming week.
though, in the interest of full disclosure, i should probably specify that it's more of a plan for the coming week's dinners...as breakfast and lunch around here are rather simple affairs.
still, planning out the week's evening meals is such an easy task that adds an entirely new level of intention to my days.  i'm able to shop for groceries based on a specific list of needs, rather than haphazardly throwing common ingredients into my cart, sure that they'll magically meld together somehow once dinnertime arrives. 
it's such a simple step that makes life around here flow so much more smoothly--if i just do it.
i love the loosey-goosey meals of summer, the foundations being all of our fresh produce; but now that our {far too short} growing season is winding down, meal planning is such a valuable tool for me to implement to avoid the late-afternoon stress of "what are we going to eat tonight?"

my meal plans are very not "set in stone"...
i choose 5-8 dinners, buying ingredients for those, knowing that a few of them may trickle over into the beginning of the following week.
i love having options...hence the reason that i don't assign certain dinners to certain days, for the most part.
if a day dawns bright and sunny, i want the freedom of grilling...
conversely, if clouds loom and rain threatens, a slow-cooker meal or hearty soup will be on the menu. 

this week's fare...
the kale soup and paleo sausage skillet use almost identical ingredients, so it'll all depend on what i'm in the mood for that day.
the apple bbq pulled pork is for dinner tonight--i wanted to be sure to have a crock-pot meal for today...
{can anyone say "monday?!?!?"}

several of the recipes are screen shots that i took of meals my IG friends have shared {i save those photos in a separate album in my phone's camera roll}.  many of the others were found online.  i'll share the recipes and links...but only once i know if they're tasty or not☺

i'm also going to get back into the routine of regular exercise.  
my days start somewhat early with the arrival of a baby boy that i care for during the week {his parents are school teachers}.  i've already texted his mom, asking her to bring his stroller with him tomorrow.
popping in an exercise video isn't really feasible on these days, but a nice long walk pushing the stroller is better than nothing...plus the added benefit of quiet time outside is just what i need to decompress.

the meal planning and exercise are my two main goals for the remainder of this month.
in addition, i have some important business paperwork that needs to be buttoned up, along with one or two household projects {finally painting these oatmeal walls white!} and a few small craft ideas.

do you have any tried and true tricks for meal planning? 
 i'd especially love to hear about your favorite websites for recipes.
i let all my cooking magazine subscriptions expire because i just don't ever get around to reading them...but i enjoy finding recipes online.  please share your favorite sources...especially if they're blogs!

1 comment:

  1. I shop monthly and plan carefully for each meal. I too leave when what is served on kind of a lotto basis, depends on the weather, the time available and who is joining us for the tasty meal! All Recipes has helped greatly to vary the choices and aroma.


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