When I first moved to the USA, I was living with a girl who dabbled in “freezer cooking”. Growing up in a family of 6 where meals were almost always prepared about an hour before they were eaten, leftovers were non-existent, and the level of planning (in highschool/college) was usually my mum calling us from work to say, “take my credit card, go to the butcher and get some meat (and get it cooked before we get home!),” — this concept of freezer cooking and meal planning was totally foreign to me. But coming home after a busy day and knowing I could just take something from the freezer, stick it in the oven, and BAM dinner was ready, now THIS was a revelation!
Once I got married, I tried to be consistent with meal planning, and I was pretty good at it for a while. But after a few months I’d forget to do my planning, and then a few months later I’d get back on the wagon… on, off, on, off — the cycle continued!
After I had my first baby, my coworkers pooled together money for a month of freezer meals from a nearby DIY meal store. I was able to go there, use their kitchen and recipes to create a whole freezer full of meals! I have done this a couple of times since, but it gets expensive and I knew there had to be a better way!
A better way to meal planning
Enter Once A Month Meals. I think I found OAMM during a search for a better way to freezer meal plan. I signed up for one of their free mini-menus (I chose a mini menu with 5 Instant Pot friendly meals, but OAMM have lots of different menus you can choose from – slow cooker, oven, diabetes friendly, keto, whole30, budget, paleo, diet, vegetarian, etc!!!) and I was so impressed – everything is done for you! In one file with 5 different recipes was a single complete grocery list, instructions that have you prep everything in a logical, efficient sequence (e.g., 2 recipes call for ground beef so you prep all the ground beef together), and labels for your meals (with day-of instructions). All you do is spend one afternoon (or morning) a month getting all your dinners prepped, and you’re set for the WHOLE month!
And almost everyone in our family loved all the meals!!! (I say almost because pleasing the 7 year old is impossible).
Of course, I have tried to just work out my own menus, build my grocery lists, ensure everything is in season before I go to the stores…. and it takes HOURS before I have even started actually cutting up food!
Why should I meal plan?
So then why? Why am I sharing about meal planning on what is predominately a sewing blog?
Because at 3pm, I want to be downstairs in my basement SEWING. I don’t want to be upstairs in my kitchen working out what I’ll be making for dinner and then spending the next 1-2 hours getting a meal made. I also don’t want to spend my evenings pouring over recipes and working out what I need to buy at the grocery store. Again, I WANT TO BE SEWING!
And another reason? I love to be able to take meals to families in need (I coordinate the meal train for our church – taking meals to new moms, families a with death, illness, etc). When I have done the work of creating a freezer full of meals, I can just grab one of those and deliver it. DONE!
We’ll be heading to Australia next month and I’ll be sharing my parents’ house with 2 of my sisters, their husbands and their kids for almost 3 weeks. We are TOTALLY meal planning that trip!!!
Let’s do this!
Are you struggling with finding balance between getting good meals on your table and still having time for your hobbies? I HEAR YOU! Let me know if you’ll be joining me on this meal planning journey in 2019! #newyearnewyou!
(Membership to Once A Month Meals is currently closed, but re-opens on April 1! Join the waitlist NOW so you don’t forget when April comes around!)