Control freaking and meal planning

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to organization. More specifically, the organization of my schedule or how I spend my time. The presenting problem here is that I am CONSTANTLY in a hurry and feeling overwhelmed by all that I have on my daily list. I have experimented with creating a daily schedule with time alloted for each of my daily/weekly tasks. I have considered getting up before the sun to add more hours to my day. I have even tried planning my meals for an entire month at a time (ala Simple Mom). These all felt like they might be useful tools or ways to get on top of things, but all of them add more weight to my "to do" list.

Earlier this month I started working on my New Year's goals and plans. I also began taking a five-week online class on "dreaming big" (Mondo Beyondo). I have been spending some time journaling and making lists. Pondering what I would really like to invite into my life and how to make room for those things. Sometime around the end of last week, the hum of "hurry, hurry, hurry" stopped. I began to notice that many of the things that I am hurrying to do are things that would go unnoticed (by me or anyone else) if I completely flaked on them. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Because I'm afraid of getting behind the tidal wave of life, I have been burning a ton of energy trying to get ahead of things that either don't need to be done or can wait for awhile. The moment that I realized what was happening, I closed my laptop and went off to do something useless and and reading a magazine or watching TV.

So here's the deal, I am still working on drawing all of this out of my psyche and sorting out what I really want to spend my time on. In the meantime, some things still need to get done, right? Like, I don't know, cooking and eating? That's a good one to keep on the list. Related to cooking and eating, I have gotten a few requests for meal plans. Because I'm not in full-on control freak mode right now, I'm planning my meals but only a few days in advance. Because I know lots of people out there struggle with this same thing, I'll share three things: my current "process", my meal plan for a few days (I only plan for dinners), and a resource for those who find meal planning to be (and I quote a friend here), "the bane of their existence".

My current meal planning "process"
  1. Dig around in the pantry and fridge to come up with a list of what I have on hand. This works best if I do it the same day that I receive my CSA box so I know what fruits and veggies I have to work with.
  2. Create a list of as many meals as I can that can be made with what we already have.
  3. If the list has fewer than three or four meal ideas, I add a couple more simple dinners or recipes and then pick up the required ingredients at the grocery store.
I sometimes make double batches of freezable meals (e.g. lasagna, enchiladas, etc.) so that I have an easy meal waiting for a busy night. I also freeze extra sauce or other ingredients that can be repurposed for another meal.

My meal plan for a few days (dinners only):

Monday: Butternut squash soup (add white beans before pureeing and serve over quinoa for extra protein and iron)
Tuesday: Vegetarian tacos (pinto beans, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, avocado/guacamole)
Wednesday: Soy cheese pizza with steamed broccoli
Thursday: Sunshine veggie burgers with baked sweet potato "fries"

A resource for meal planning
A good friend of mine owns a meal planning company. She offers a few different plans that are as affordable as $14.95 for an entire year. No matter where you live or what your budget, she can help!

What's next today? I might start a load of laundry...or maybe I'll just kick my feet up and have a cookie.

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