Saturday, September 11, 2010

Menu Binder

My friend Sarah, quite awhile ago now, made up a menu binder . . . or I believe in her case, this is part of her homemaking binder. I thought it was a good idea, but I’ve tried many organizational binder things over the years, and my mind/family/home just don’t work that way, I guess.

The big girls both get together every other Thursday and make a menu plan/shopping list, then The Patriarch usually does the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings, bless him. I will often join the big girls in a sort of menu party, but it does get to be something of a drag.

So when another mama that I know, Val, posted on adapting Sarah’s menu plan, I perked up. Val’s adaptation was something I could further adapt to my purposes . . . or morph the two approaches.

I used the Firefox extension “grocery list generator” which rocks. The big girls and I sat down and listed out all of the dinners we make/like in our rotation, plus one Saturday each that says “New Recipe Trial – Nigel”, “New Recipe Trial – Sophia”, and “New Recipe Trial – Clara”, which keeps things livened up and helps them to add new recipes to their skill set. Plus that only works out to once every two months, so not too bad. We ended up with an 8 week rotation.

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Work in progress – used Val’s good idea of stickies so that they could be moved around for variety.

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Typed up, laminated to stay clean, and inserted into front of binder. Back cover has the remaining 3 weeks. 

I typed each recipe into the Firefox grocery generator, from which I could easily generate a shopping list, arranged the way we actually shop, for each 2-week cycle. I laminated that, too:

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This way, the day before shopping, the list-maker can grab out that list and make a list by checking what we do and don’t have. When I typed up the recipes, I typed them up even for recipes that we make without recipes . . . things like spaghetti where we all have our sauce recipe memorized. This has two functions: it puts the ingredients into the list generator, and also, now that the younger ones are cooking more, they can cook from these very basic recipes. A person can print from the generator, but that does include the shopping list for each recipe, so I took the time to cut and paste to “Word” so that it was just each recipe. Slid this into page protectors, and into tabs for the two-week rotations.

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This is what recipes look like in the Firefox generator:

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One cool thing about this extension is that you can import recipes directly from some common websites – some of them work better than others, though. I imported one we use from allrecipes successfully.

No more racking our collective brain every other Thursday! We are also planning to do this with lunches and breakfasts, but I still have to catch up with typing dinner recipes in and printing them all out. This is all for the “regular” eaters in our family. We still generate separate menus for the little girls with their special dietary restrictions, Sophia has gone gluten-free, and The Patriarch cooks himself Jamaican food. Whew. But this helps the crazy!  

1 comment:

caulistats said...

Wow, this will be such an awesome tool for you once you get it done. I've been thinking that again the last several weeks, that it would be really nice to have menu plans. It would be so simple, too; all I would have to do is print a few calendars and just write down what we're eating, and voila! we would have some schedules. Then I could tweak later. But no, even that is too much work (insert eyeroll).