UPDATE

Welcome! I posted my final post in October 2010 for the sole reason that for those who need it, it is the post I most want them to see. It was, for us, an answered prayer. I wish you the best of luck in your journey with food allergies, eczema, and/or asthma. I have since founded ChasingMotherhood. CONTACT: stopandenjoy@gmail.com XO

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MENU PLANNING - THE KEY INGREDIENT!

For me, meal planning makes all the difference for sanity in the kitchen. And when paired with crowd-pleasing recipes like those found in Sophie Safe Cooking by Emily Hendrix, it makes for a winning combination! (See my very first post for a detailed review of this gem!) Cooking with allergies made me feel overwhelmingly limited in my options, but I created a simple 3 step process which has been a tremendous help in turning wishful thinking into wonderfully satisfying home cooked family dinners. I choose to keep our kitchen allergy free and my goal is to make one dinner for the whole family five nights a week (two nights for leftovers or spontaneity). I hope you find these three forms (found here) as helpful as I do. Form 1 is for "Brainstorming" - I find that by writing down the breakfast, lunch, snacks and treats that are already staples in my rotation, combined with new ones I am eager to try, I can better visualize the depth and breadth of my mealtime possibilities. Refer to this each week for a motivation boost when you sit down to plan. Under wish list keep track of any allergy free meals you are hoping to find (i.e. spaghetti and meatballs) so when you have a free moment you can do a quick search or try to convert an old recipe with allergy friendly ingredients. Form 2 is the "Planner" - representing five dinners for the week (print extra to use for breakfast and lunch). As you peruse your recipes of choice, jot down the ingredients needed to make the meal. Take stock of your fridge and pantry, crossing out what you don't need, and write the remaining items in the last column for marketing. Form 3 is the "Market List" - transfer the items you need to purchase to make your meals, and add all the other products needed for the week. Save a few weeks worth of Market Lists and create your own master list! Hopefully with some planning shopping will be a breeze, dinner a joy, and lots of yummy meals in between! Don't forget to keep a clippings folder of all those great recipes you find in the newspaper, magazines, or on-line. When you settle in for a fresh week of menu planning it's always nice to have some inspiration on hand! As always, I'd love to hear your helpful mealtime tips at ourducksinarow@gmail.com. Happy planning!

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