meal planning

Free Meal Planning Worksheet

by Sally on September 23, 2014

Meal planning is a gift that keeps on giving. Spending 5-10 minutes on it at the beginning of the week means no more 5:30 “what’s-for-dinner??” angst.

A crucial step in meal planning is food shopping. I make my week’s dinner menus and grocery list at the same time. That way, I can avoid last minute trips to the store where I run in for garlic and come out with $150 worth of other stuff. And completely forget the garlic.

I’m old-school with my meal planning and still prefer paper to apps. I used this template from 100 Days of Food for a while, but found myself making separate columns for multiple stores and scribbling my meal plan at the bottom. So I asked my husband to make a sheet that fit the way I do meal planning.

I typically shop at two stores for groceries (usually ALDI plus my neighborhood grocery store or natural foods market). I also like having the week’s dinners right on my grocery list so I can be sure I’ve got everything I need, including sides.

To view or print a copy of my free meal planning worksheet, click HERE.

What kinds of tools do YOU use for meal planning and grocery shopping?

Meal Planning Worksheet from Real Mom Nutrition


Why I Love My Old-School Recipe Book

by Sally on July 23, 2014

Why I Love My Old-School Recipe Book by Real Mom Nutrition

Did you have a scrapbook as a child? I did. In the pages of mine are ticket stubs to U2 and Depeche Mode concerts, photos from church camp, and dried corsages from high school homecoming dances. I don’t know if kids today keep scrapbooks (at least the paper kind) but I’m so thankful for mine. It’s like a roadmap through my childhood.

I feel a similar way about my recipe book.

I can certainly appreciate the clean efficiency of Pinterest. With Pinterest, there is nothing cluttering up your counter, no bits of paper sticking out at random angles, no drips of oil smearing the handwriting. But I’ll take my old-school recipe book over my Pinterest boards any day of the week. Because my recipe book tells a story of my life.

Why I Love My Old-School Recipe Book by Real Mom Nutrition

There are the recipes I remember making with my mom when I was a little girl: Thumbprint Cookies for Christmas, Texas Sheet Cake with cooked chocolate frosting, No-Bake Cookies with heaps of old-fashioned oats.

The recipe for my grandmother’s pierogies, which I still hold out hope of mastering someday.

The recipe for spaghetti sauce I cut from a magazine when my boyfriend and I moved in together and were learning to cook.

The recipes for Parsley Pasta, Tortilla Soup, and Better Than Sex Cake given to me by friends and relatives at my bridal shower when that boyfriend became my husband.

The recipe for Chicken Pot Pie that a dear friend’s mother brought us when we were nervous new parents. And the recipe for Chocolate Chip Pie a neighbor delivered when we had our second child–when a pie full of eggs, butter, and chocolate was just the comfort we needed in the throes of colic.

In this book, I see my mother’s precise penmanship and a sorority sister’s cool, loopy cursive. I see myself sitting at friends’ kitchen tables in Jacksonville, Denver, and Alexandria, jotting down recipes for Peanut Sauce or Icebox Oatmeal Cookies or some other wonderful food they’d just fed me. I see pages dusted with flour and smudged with birthday cake batter. I see recipes I’ll pass on to my kids when they go off into the world.

And that’s way beyond Pinterest. That’s priceless.


{Giveaway} A Freezer Meal Cooking Program to Help You Reclaim the Dinner Hour

April 10, 2014

Ever feel a 5pm wave of angst when you realize you have no idea what’s for dinner? I do. It’s a lousy feeling. Batch cooking and freezing is one of the best ways to replace that wave of angst with a wave of relief. Having a set of freezer-friendly recipes and expert instructions helps an […]

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From-Scratch Cooking Confession: I Can’t Keep Up!

March 3, 2014

I believe that a diet based around whole foods is the way to go. I believe we should know what’s in our food, that we should strive to eat food that isn’t laden with preservatives and artificial flavors. Over the years, my suspicion about ingredients like artificial colors has grown, and I’ve become increasingly annoyed with […]

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Make-Ahead Green Smoothie Packets

December 6, 2013

I’ve seen these make-ahead smoothie kits all over Pinterest. But I wasn’t convinced until my friend Kelly recently texted me to report that yes, freezing fresh spinach totally works. Kelly and I, who share a love of green smoothies, often bemoaned the fact that the small box of spinach was never enough–but the jumbo one […]

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One Of The Best Things You Can Do On A Sunday

September 3, 2013

If you read my last post, you may be thinking that by “one of the best thing you can do” I mean “go to yoga class” or “ignore the mountains of laundry and snuggle with your kids” (read “A Back-To-School Pledge To Myself“). And yes, do those. And go to religious services. Or watch football. […]

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Pantry Challenge: Week #2 Meal Plan

November 5, 2012

The good news is that I stuck to my meal plan pretty closely last week (read: Pantry Challenge: Week #1 Shopping Trip & Meal Plan). The bad news is that we had two last-minute events that busted my budget. One was an out-of-town trip that involved pizza delivery. Another was hosting a night time Nerf […]

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Pantry Challenge: Week #1 Shopping Trip & Meal Plan

October 28, 2012

It’s the first day of the Autumn Pantry Challenge! Today, I made trips to Aldi and my neighborhood supermarket and spent only $32 on groceries for the week (my weekly budget is $50 or less). Week One Meal Plan Sunday: Beef Barley Soup, Homemade Oatmeal Yogurt Rolls, Salads Monday: Leftovers Tuesday: Cod from freezer, Whole […]

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The Pantry Challenge Postmortem

March 3, 2011

5 Lessons Learned: 1. It is not humanly possible for me to feed my family for $25 a week unless I resort to cooking ramen noodles and off-brand macaroni and cheese for dinner. With my Pantry Challenge budget, I could barely keep us in milk and produce. $50 a week would’ve been more doable–and still […]

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Pantry Challenge: Week Four Update

March 2, 2011

The Pantry Challenge is over, and not a moment too soon. While toasting a heel of bread this morning for breakfast (after discovering there was no cereal left) my husband turned to me and said in a rather unfriendly way, “It’s March 2nd. I’m done with this Pantry Challenge.” Alrighty. Message received. It hasn’t been […]

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