Why I didn’t start chronicling my adventure when I started, I’ll never know. But it was probably a good thing because it’s been rough enough without having to write about my failures and frustrations. Plus, the holidays… we ate out entirely way too much. It’s neither here nor there at this point. Today I start blogging about our eating adventures! But first, lets get into the background. That’s always a good place to start, the background. Like, what makes a person tick. If you ever find yourself in a socially awkward situation, ask the person about their background. People like to talk about themselves, and unless they’re super shy they’ll start talking up a storm! Here it is (and I’m sure so many of you can relate!): Every night at 5 o’clock I’d suddenly go into a panic “what are we having for dinner?”. Then I’d scrounge around in the freezer, fridge and pantry looking for something to throw together. It was usually boring, but relatively tasty & it filled our stomachs. One day I saw on 100 Days of Real Food a post about an online menu planner, Plan To Eat. I have a friend that uses the Six O’clock Scramble (a menu planner with recipes included). It seemed like a good idea, but I hadn’t made the time to check into it, but when I saw this one, I figured I’d just look into it. I browsed around, saw that there was a 30 day free trial & was intrigued. There are some recipes included, but what was so intriguing to me was I finally had a place to put all of those amazing looking recipes I see on Pinterest, in blogs, Facebook posts or magazines that I always think “oh that looks good, I’ll try it some day” and of course, never do. I FINALLY FOUND A PLACE TO FILE THOSE RECIPES AWAY! I was sold, sold I tell you! And so our adventure began. Admittedly, I invested a lot of hours initially in Plan To Eat. There is a button to add to your Favorites Bar, so when you are online and find a recipe you like, you click it and the recipe uploads in a pop up box, you click “Save to Recipe Book” and that’s it. Unfortunately, recipes on blogs don’t always upload successfully, but it’s nothing a little cut and paste can’t fix. I went to my Pinterest page and saved all of those recipes. Then I grabbed my magazines and looked the recipes up online and saved all of those recipes too. Then as recipes showed up on Facebook posts, on Pinterest and as magazines came in the mail, I saved those too. Another great thing is that if you have friends on Plan To Eat, you can use their recipes in your menu, so you can easily share recipes! Once I invested all of that time, it has gotten much easier time wise. I will either sit down and plan out our menu for an entire month, or if I don’t have enough spare time, I’ll do it by the week. Now I had a ton of recipes and was ready to get started with my menu planning! In order to make things easier on me, I themed days of the week (and have altered some of those themes as the months have come and gone). We have Meatless Mondays, “Taco” Tuesdays (Mexican recipes), Italian Wednesdays, Fish Thursdays, Easy Fridays, Miscellaneous Saturdays and Soup Sundays. I started out with breakfast, lunch AND dinner recipes, but after about a month of that I simplified it and switched to dinners only. Sometimes I’ll have a breakfast recipe for Saturday mornings, but my husband started working Saturdays so I stopped making delicious breakfasts. Boooo! Once I was ready to go shopping, all I had to do was pull up the website on my iPhone (but I wish they had an app…) and voila! there’s my shopping list! I admit, I do miss the paper list somewhat, but I’m adjusting (especially because we are paper hoarders). And there’s no reason you couldn’t write the prepared shopping list on paper. I’ve thought about doing that. You can organize the store categories according to your local grocery store, which makes it so much easier! Oh, AND if you shop at multiple stores, you can sort your groceries by stores. I only shop at two stores. Trader Joe’s is limited so whatever I don’t find there, I get at Whole Foods. Anyway, I started out making all of these amazing recipes and after three months, realized I hadn’t repeated one recipe! My goal was (& is) to find enough fabulous recipes to fill a month and then the recipes will get easier and we won’t have a boring meal again! Not that we’ve had a boring meal in 4 months, but I’m ready for the easier part. My husband complains that we’ve had some great things and he’s never gotten to eat them again. I tell him “in due time, in due time”! Not all the recipes have been great. Either I screwed them up, or they just didn’t taste good to us. I have about 7 recipes that I’d make again and have made a couple of them again recently. But now that the holidays are over, I’m back on my mission to find 31 amazing recipes! Oh, another benefit of this fabulous idea is it saves us money! We rarely eat out when my menu is full and when we do I, no joke, am disappointed because I had some fabulous recipe all planned out that I was excited to try! By the way, I’m not sure how I’ll incorporate pictures since I’m not always a great photographer and don’t have a great camera, but I’ll do my best (thanks Instagram!) and as time goes on, hopefully I’ll get better. And so my new blog begins!