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  1. Mary P says

    This is really helpful! It’s easy to beat yourself up when menu planning, and you feel guilty if you don’t follow the plan exactly. Life happens!

  2. Molly S. says

    I agree! Good to know that if you get back off track, you can still plow through and not break the bank and/or waste ingredients. I don’t meal plan because sometimes our days become absolutely bananas and I just can’t meausre up to this structure I’ve built around myself. It’s like the meal plan becomes a strict teacher or a disappointed parent, staring back at me from its post on the fridge with its finger wagging in my face. (Hmmm I sense some spiritual application here with the law, perhaps). Anyway, glad for the example of grace!!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Tiffany says

      Lol – I used to think the meal plan was this “must do” staring at me, but now I approach it more like a guide. It’s there to follow, but it’s ok to get off track too and the guide will lead me back. :)

  3. Amanda W says

    I’m a new follower, but I love seeing how you improvise and use your leftovers in different ways. Great post!

  4. nicole says

    This was great to read. I would love to see more in the future on re-purposing food. I know it probably seems so basic but for some reason if I have leftovers I can never think of what to do with them other than use them as they were originally intended. You seem to do such a great job at re-purposing. For example, I made a frittata the other day and the next day the leftovers all kind of fell apart and so I ended up putting them in a tortilla and it was like a breakfast burrito. That has to be one of the first times I’ve ever done something like that and I felt so proud of myself. But really I just can’t think of what else to do with leftovers. It’s never been a big deal because my husband will always eat leftovers. Now I have boys that don’t like leftovers or eating the same thing over and over so if I could take leftovers and make them look new I’m hoping that would help. Also, I’d love to see more on frugal side dishes-how to take simple ingredients and make them tasty! Thanks for all your work!

    • Tiffany says

      Congrats on the burrito Nicole! I think repurposing comes from reading LOTS of recipes where I didn’t have what was needed and I didn’t feel like spending more money, lol. I’m working on putting something together along these lines for you guys, so definitely stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, I think these posts might become regular! :)

  5. Di says

    Love how I’m not the only one who’s plans for meals don’t always go to plan.Agree its a good
    guide to help get back on track:) i find having fall back easy meals a good help.Anything soup or fritters tends to be the choice of late.

  6. Katherine says

    I read this and thought “Wow, she changed a lot.” Followed immediately by “I bet mine changes even more than that!” I like this post. We usually end up skipping some of our planned lunches in favor of extra leftovers (I plan some for leftovers but a lot of times there ends up being an extra portion of a few things beyond that).

    • Tiffany says

      LOL – I had the same thought too! And then I realized that life happens, you know? The meal plan is an amazing too, but it’s not a sharpie written on stone. :) Our lunches are much like yours too, and every now and then there’s so much that it turns into a dinner!

  7. Laura says

    Love this post! Thank you for sharing! I’d love even more details on what happened to the ingredients purchased for some of the skipped meals. Or did you not end up even buying some of them since you knew you has leftovers? Anyway, I’d love to read more of these!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Laura! I buy roughly 75% of our ingredients at the start of the month, so they’re usually still on hand. If we don’t make the exact meal I bought them for, I usually find something else to make them with in the next meal plan. None of our shopping includes “one time” ingredients that can rarely be used for something else, so it’s normally not too difficult to find a way to eat them. :) On the remaining 25%, that’s usually fresh produce, and I’ll hold off on buying those until I know for sure we’ll need them.

  8. Whitney says

    I find this very helpful! It’s nice to see real life examples of ways to improvise when you run out of things, or forgot to get something from the store.

  9. Nicole says

    I liked reading this! I was wondering how you stick to a meal plan so well…now I see you keep it flexible too. :) That’s the approach I took a while ago…I have a list on the fridge of possible meals (ones we have all the ingredients for, or only need one item). Then we can choose based on time, appetites etc. Oh and your marinara sauce and baked ziti is amazing!!!! We’re having it tonight (I made two a while ago and froze one). Love your blog! Thanks for keeping it REAL! (The food, menus, budget, and the expectations!)

    • Tiffany says

      You’re most welcome Nicole, and thank you for your encouragement! :) I’m so glad you’re enjoying the ziti! I still can’t believe the kids gobble up all those veggies without complaining, lol.

  10. Heather says

    Yeah! There is hope for the menu planning challenged. Mine never ends up the same as what I write down. Usually it is my husband calling to make a change. Still it is nice to know that I have food for the meals I plan just in case. Thanks for the peek in to the real eating. Tonight it is breakfast for dinner.

  11. Carol says

    This is helpful. Never been much at meal planning. This was encouraging though. Maybe I’ll venture a try.

  12. Liz says

    You’ve inspired me this year so much, I have become a faithful meal planner and have started to shop every other week. What a difference! Not only are we saving about 25% on our grocery bill but we are definitely using all the “crumbs”. I feel much better all around and now have an extra couple hours each month not spent shopping. What I’ve learned so far is to have a roster of stand by recipes (too expensive and wasteful to constantly be trying new recipes) and to be flexible. While there is a rhyme and reason as to the order I prepare certain meals (for instance, I need to prepare the crock pot chicken meal prior to chicken quesadilla night) it’s not set in stone. Thank you!!!!

    • Tiffany says

      You are SO welcome Liz! I am tickled pink that you’ve made success on your meal planning and grocery budget – CONGRATULATIONS!

  13. Tricia says

    Love to see what worked and what didn’t and why. Actually quite helpful in planning at my house. Thanks for all you do.

  14. Debbie says

    Let me join in the big Thank You that everyone else has posted. Since January, I have started writing down on my menu what my family really eats under the actual dinner listed. Sometimes it just doesn’t work to have the meal you planned on. As for left overs, my husband usually takes them with him as lunch the next day, or I freeze whatever is left. Again, thanks for this feature that you’re trying. It’s encouraging!

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