Trying to eat plant-based, non-processed, real FOOD and being organized pretty much go hand in hand. It’s near impossible to make good food choices without a bit of prep work behind the scenes and some thinking ahead. Beautiful salads don’t magically appear I’m afraid. I sure wish they did. So, with all this in mind, I finally had some spare time today to create a meal plan template that I can use for each week. It’s been a bit of a process….
I went from winging it every week (which means- a higher grocery bill, with more wasted food, and more nights of me wondering, “what should I make for dinner”???), to this:To this!Isn’t it pretty?? I’m such a nerd for organization. I’m already seeing ways I need to alter it though. I know I won’t sit down and highlight different colors for each different grocery store every week, so I need to separate the lists out as I write: one list for Nature’s Green Grocer in Peterborough (If I were rich I would just buy everything there, but for now I just stick to their bulk items and beautiful produce and fish), Trader Joe’s (so far away from my house but you just can’t beat their prices for organic stuff!) and good ole Market Basket (close to home but an utterly depressing shopping experience lol).
I chose to start my week on a Wednesday you may notice, because that is the night I am able to do my grocery shopping. However, this is the tricky part for me since I shop at 3 different places… there’s no way I’ll go to Trader Joes and Natures in the same day. Some weeks I may have to alter the day of the week I start on is all. It will be tough, but I am determined to get into a good food rhythm for healthy (mostly) plant-based meals! Of course, this time of year is also excellent with the garden providing so much for us! The goal is to be totally garden-dependent in the summer for produce (someday!)
Here is a link to a PDF version of the Meal Planner I made up so you can print it out for yourself as well! I hope it comes in handy. I designed it so it can be folded in half like so: I hope this meal planner is useful for you! Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions or helpful methods: I’m all ears! 🙂
It’s December 5th and the snow is falling softly this morning. It is really, really cold. Winter is upon us. It’s time for cozy fireside reading, tea sipping, and fuzzy blankets. I truly love this time of year. But before I dive headlong into winter, I wanted to post some shots that encapsulated my autumn season in New England. I’m happy to report that most of the items on my fall fun to-do list were completed! I Still didn’t climb Mount Monadnock though… I will have to add that to my spring fun to-do list 🙂
A lot of my favorite foliage shots were taken Columbus Day weekend, when the leaves are usually at their peak in New Hampshire. These lovely trees were found on the Monadnock Art Tour, which happens the second weekend of October each year. If you’ve never done the tour, which is self guided through the little villages around Mount Monadnock, put it on your calendar for next year! The foliage alone makes it worth the drive, never mind the open art studios you get to peak into.Gourds, apple orchards, and milkweed. Doesn’t get much more autumn-y than that! We picked apples this year at McCleod orchards in Milford, NH this year on a wonderfully overcast day, a bit gloomy feeling, yet still with warm undercurrents on the breeze. The apples were smaller this year, because of a frost in the spring, but we were able to get enough to make a big batch of crockpot apple butter, apple sauce, and an apple pie – yum! Apple baking day (more like weekend) is always a treat.
I also made it to a corn maze! And we found one that stayed open after dark! Making it all the more creepy-fun. We went to the 14 acre one at Elwood Orchards in Londonderry, NH. It took us over an hour to get out of, but we made it! Another item on my fall fun to-do list was to plant bulbs, and plant I did! Daffodils, Narcissus, Crocus, Tulip, and tons of garlic! It will be exciting to see what comes up this spring after the bulbs’ long winter sleep under the soil and snow.Autumn, so brilliant and so fleeting. I like how you have to act on your autumn-y impulses (corn maze! pumpkin spice! knitting!) quickly before the season is gone. It’s the time of year that really reminds us to pause and take in the beauty that is all around. Or to gather with friends and family over a pot of soup. Or to stay in and read. To light some candles and settle in.
Farewell, autumn. You were lovely.
It could be because my husband and I lived in a warm climate during this past winter making this my 8th straight month of warm weather, or it could be because we have had the hottest, driest summer on record, or it could be just because I love the changing seasons; but I am really excited for fall. The foliage is already starting to change, and though people are saying we won’t have the same brilliant color display we had last autumn, fall in New England is still such a special time of year.
As I was contemplating the delightful change of season the other day it occurred to me that I ought to make an “Autumn Fun” to-do list. Because doesn’t Autumn just seem like the most fleeting season? Hopefully a to-do list will allow me to make the most of fall before it slips right by me. So without further ado, here is my…
Autumn Fun To-Do List:
- Go apple picking! That also entails the subsequent Apple related cooking and baking. This year I hope to make a lot of apple butter and apple sauce, and have someone show me (again) how to can it safely so I can enjoy those treats year round.
- A corn maze would be fun. I know there is a huge maze in Sterling, Massachusetts. I also did a really fun one in Lee, New Hampshire many years ago. There is a small one at Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard in Greenville, New Hampshire that is also a lot of fun. I’m not sure why wandering around lost for an hour in a field is so enjoyable, but alas it is. Especially at night when it is creepy.
- Enjoy a pumpkin spice latte. Preferably on a rainy day so I can take a walk after, admiring the colors while wearing wellies and using an umbrella. Yes I know this is rather specific, and with the current weather trend we may never get rain again. However, now that it is on the list, it is more likely to happen. That is just how it goes with to-do lists. Even if the rain doesn’t come (which I sincerely hope it does and not just for reason of providing an atmospheric setting to enjoy a fall beverage), I will still get the pumpkin latte. One cannot resist the fall flavors.
- Go to a fair or festival. At least one. I’m very bummed to be missing the Common Ground Fair in Maine this weekend (for the third year in a row! something always comes up!) but I am hoping to get to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. You can be sure I will post about it if I get there.
- Take a hike, or maybe a few hikes. The crisp fall air is perfect for a hike, and the foliage just adds to the already stunning views. I especially would like to climb Mount Monadnock. My one and only hiking experience with this beloved mountain was not a positive one. I was separated from my group and spent an hour wandering down, not sure if I was on a trail or not, fearing I was lost for good, envisioning headlines declaring my death by bear attack or exposure. Yes, yes, I survived, and perhaps I am being a tad dramatic. Anyways, I would like to give the mountain another go.
- Plant bulbs. It never fails that the fall goes by, winter passes, and the spring flowers start emerging. And there I am kicking myself again that I forgot to plant bulbs in the fall. That’s not going to happen again! This spring, I will have daffodils and tulips coming up, I assure you. I also must remember to plant garlic, lots of it! I want braids and braids of it come spring time.
So, there you have it. This is what I hope to be doing in my time off this autumn. What is on your autumn fun to-do list?