our basic meal planning.

i've had two close friends recently ask me how we do our meal planning for a week, especially the vegetarian perspective.
while this is in no way perfect nor fancy, it is what works for us these days.
i feel our meals consist of too much grain/rice/potato/pasta as their base and hope to up the veggie content daily/weekly.
sadly, we are not buying much organic produce at this time either, which is one reason we are so hopeful for spring's arrival and our garden growing like mad.
my planning is only done for dinner.
breakfast basics are always on hand and lunches for d are usually dinner leftovers he heats at work, while nicolai and i piece together toddler/mom lunches easily with items on hand at home.
i typically meal plan in an official capacity on wednesday mornings (the day i go shopping).
this may be the culmination of browsing a new library cookbook and jotting down ideas throughout my days (or d's), but in general, it all comes together on wednesday.
wednesday morning i read our main grocery store's ad (sprouts farmer's market) and jot down the deals i want to purchase on my grocery list.
i add to the grocery list, all ingredients i need from any recipes or meals we feel like having during the week (i always take d's input in this stage...perhaps i've gathered his ideas a bit before, as he is not actually home on a wednesday morning).
some weeks i plan by day (right list in photo).
other weeks i plan by the meal (left list in photo) and assign it to a day as the week progresses depending on my mood, appetite, or schedule...in fact even on a week i plan it by the day (right list in photo) i may move things around as the week progresses.
i find that having a list i can check off helps me remember all the meals i had hopes for and forces me to think about what to make earlier in the week for the sake of produce and it's freshness.
we have a weekly grocery budget of $60 (plus $5/week for the milk delivery...yes, we have a milkman) for our family of three...i know, i know...it shocks us, too...(in our "past life in napa" we could drop $100 on a wednesday date night meal without a second thought and likely repeat that the following week). 
this includes the occasional "extra", like dish soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
on a week we need toilet paper/paper towels/laundry detergent, i am unable to keep it within the $60 allotment and must get that money elsewhere in the budget.
i'll post again on this topic, maybe some weekly meals in detail and a post about our staples that we always keep on hand (buying when on sale).
okay, a and c...i hope this was helpful.
i should note we never feel deprived in our meals...we love to cook from scratch and find our meals far more satisfying than cheap take-out would be.

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