If you happened on this post via search (hello!)–you may want to check out 2012′s meal plan which includes a rotating menu for the year to make 365 days of homecooking happen. The post includes my own menu plan as well as templates for you to download. Happy meal planning!
As part of my 2010 goals I mentioned offhandedly that we need to eat better this year, and since we’re paying off debt budget friendly dining in will only help us reach that goal faster. Instead of saying we’d cut back on eating out (which we do about once a week), I decided to be my usual over the top self and commit to cooking every meal at home for the next 365 days.
For some people that is a normal thing, but it hasn’t been status quo in our lives ever. Even when we made very little money we still managed to eat out every once in awhile.
I’m writing about my challenge so that other people will join in, and we can keep each other motivated. You can start at any time this year, and you can most certainly have your own guidelines, but the idea is to eat healthy homecooked meals as often as possible.
My Rules (please feel free to make up your own)
- We will eat at homecooked meals for every meal. Cereal for breakfast still counts though!
- I will start each week with a menu plan, and groceries purchased. At the end of each week I’ll share our menu plan, any photos I have of meals, and recipes I used or tried. Why after the week is over? Because some nights one of the kids will be sick, or my husband will work late, or something will make plans change.
- I’ll be 100% honest. If I feed everyone PB&J (or everyone’s variation of PB&J) then I will tell you. If I try to cook something and it flops, I’ll share that too.
- I will be using organic ingredients where it counts, and cooking with whole foods as much as possible.
- We will not eat out, but I have several exceptions I’m making:
- Celebrations: For special days (our anniversary, birthdays) there is the option of eating out. Last night my husband and I ate dinner out in place of getting gifts for one another. The kids still ate at home. On the kid’s birthdays they can choose to eat out, but it would mean no birthday party.
- Work Events: If either my husband or I travel this year, or make a decision to eat out for an event, social gathering, etc. we will do so with our allowances.
- Allowances: The kids can use their allowances to get a meal or snack if they choose. For instance my 7 year old likes to buy lunch on occasion, so she can spend her allowance on school lunch if she chooses.
- Free Meals: If someone offers to buy one, both, or all of us dinner then we will likely accept. For instance, if we get a gift card, or coupons for free meals we will use them.
365 days of homecooking is about more than just meal plans, recipes, and healthy living. It’s about saving money, being frugal, and spending more quality time with my family.
I admit I’m borrowing a little from Julie Powell (of Julie and Julia fame) with the 365 days thing. Though cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook would likely mean a lot of PB&J for the kids.
I also plan to try one new recipe each week, so if you have a recipe you want to share, leave me a comment, or send me an email via my contact page.
I’ll be posting a weekly update here that will include our menu plan, any photos I take, recipes, and more. I will post updates on Sundays, but if it becomes a popular feature I may post more frequently.
We had a short week this 1st week of the challenge, but here is what I cooked for dinner (breakfast wasn’t cooked-toast and cereal, and lunches were sandwiches, yogurt,fruit, and/or leftovers):
1/1/10: Sesame chicken, jasmine rice, and a fruit salad with cantaloupe and kiwi. (ketchup on the side since 3 of the kids eat most stuff with ketchup)
1/2/10: Hamburgers and hot dogs, homemade fries, salad. (not really health food, but whole grain buns, salad, and our own fries are better than eating out)
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