Not a bad first week. The menu planning seems to be working. Last week was my first one in a while operating from a menu plan and it went almost perfectly (I say almost perfectly because there was a mishap with the pizza crust and the burritos). We did not go out to eat at all, not even for lunch at work. In fact, there was one night I forgot to pack my lunch and instead of just going to Wawa for a sandwich and a drink for lunch, I sucked it up and packed soup and snacks in the morning. I was quite proud of that.
This past week I also learned that making homemade pizza sauce is really not that difficult as long as you have a good recipe, having leftovers or a go-to meal like chili is extremely helpful in the event of missing ingredients for a planned meal, and that it takes a lot of willpower not to go to the grocery store when you have a craving for something. I also learned that a small step towards a goal is still a step, savings is still savings, and as long as food tastes good it doesn’t matter if Kraft or Clancy’s is on the label.
Week 1 also taught me that I need to be better prepared for failures, like the incident with the pizza crust (in a nutshell, the homemade pizza crust we attempted to make did not rise. At all. Our miscellaneous money covered the premade pizza crust that we purchased at the grocery store). I really do not have a good supply of go-to meals on hand, with the exception of leftovers and chili. A good supply of go-to meals, like frozen meatballs or a stew or even chicken nuggets would be helpful. I also learned that having a “cooking day” is helpful for decreasing stress during the week. On Monday, thanks to a sick child and her lengthy nap, I was able to prepare 2 kinds of soups, banana muffins, shepherd’s pie (including homemade mashed potatoes for the top) and an enchilada casserole. Having some of these things on hand meant that when I came home from work, I could just put food in the oven and work on some other things while the meal was cooking.
To recap, in Week 1 I learned that menu planning, go-to meals, advance preparation and leftovers are good. I learned that even 10% savings is still savings. I also learned that I have a long way to go before I really get the hang of this whole experiment.