Are you a Meal Planner?

I've been looking at Omiyage - a beautiful webshop based in Canada selling Japanese craft supplies, paper and stationery. The owners and I are friends from OhMy which is nice since we have the Japan connection.

On the Omiyage blog a few weeks ago was a cool idea for using washi sticky tape. Make a colourful grid on a whiteboard and then write in the daily {meal} plan. The one pictured on their blog has very elaborate magnetic meal picture cards but it would probably take me longer to make the cards than the meals themselves. I still like it though. And you could use it for any kind of planning you need to do.

I have a very busy new schedule starting from tomorrow which will involve me being out in the evenings around dinner time. I haven't gotten so far as meal planning yet but today I have made a couple of things to freeze. Casseroles and soups are easy to make ahead and freeze. I've also made two cakes which I'll need next week.

Some cakes freeze well. Banana cake for instance. The trick is not to decorate it (I mean frosting or icing), just freeze it plain. It should also be wrapped carefully in two layers of wax or greaseproof paper then put in an airtight ziploc bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. This stops it getting freezer burn. Defrost on the bench top about two to three hours before you need it then decorate as usual.

I also freeze bread loaves when I can get them from Costco or a nice bakery. I wrap them tightly in two layers of aluminum foil. To defrost, place in the oven on 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Your loaf will be lovely and warm inside like fresh-baked bread.

I have meat thawing in the fridge and will cook up something in the crockpot tomorrow. I'm not sure if it's beef or pork so I'm undecided on the recipe.

Do you have any great time-saving tips for busy mums?


  1. I meal plan for the week. I don't freeze anything...its not my thing...but just knowing what we'll all be eating for dinner makes my entire day/week so much less stressful!

  2. I have a great crock pot recipe for chicken on my blog today! You might want to try it!
    Have a great week!

  3. Thanks for the link! It's actually my sister's menu plan board - she was looking for a way to get her picky little eaters involved in choosing (and hopefully eating) the weekly meals. Thus the picture magnets!

    I am a passionate menu planner - I find life so much simpler when I know exactly what we're eating over the course of the week and make my grocery list to match the meals. I find we end up wasting less food since there are less impulse buys. And none of the "what should I make for dinner" stress! By planning out the week we keep track of what we're eating - trying to have a beef, a pork , a chicken, a fish, a pasta / noodle dish and a meatless meal each week - oh, and Leftover Night (my favourite!)

  4. You have a Cosco in Japan? Thanks for all these tips! I usually completely forget about frozen foods then have to throw them out, but you're right freezing the right foods makes sense...

  5. I have just started meal planning - mainly because of trying to save pennies this year while I am home on parental leave! My favourite meals are ones that stretch to 2 nights, so I can freeze half, or have leftovers on a night I know I will be busy.
    I am also baking more, and have been experimenting with bread - this week I made a big batch of brown bread rolls, then cut them (as if to fill them) and froze most of them in a big freezer bag. That way, JP and Eleanor can have fresh wholemeal bread for packed lunches even on days I don't bake. Also made a big bunch of mini banana choc-chip muffins, and those are also in the freezer. I pop a couple of frozen ones in E's lunchbox in the morning, and by morning tea time they are ready for her to eat!!

  6. I like to plan meals and feel much better when I do. I'm going through a planning stage at the moment. I agree that there is less waste and less stress and I end up cooking much more variety and generally healthier options.

    I'm quite a list keeper. I often use a daily planner that is just a print out for each day. I add things specific to that day to try and keep myself on track. It's from Sunny Mummy. It helps me get a lot more done. I did decide today though that I needed a list free day and the boys and I went for a fun morning out and about and did whatever I felt like for the rest of the day - balance is the key!

  7. These are such great stories and tips. Thank you! I'm totally into the crock pot when I can get myself organised, Jenny. I love making bread when I have time, Cathy.
    Meal Planning is a perfect choice for me since I order my groceries from home I really have no excuse ...
    Lou, I have lists coming out of my ears too!!


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