Meet the Meal Planner – Hijacked by Twins

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Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

Hi I’m Kirsty and I blog at hijackedbytwins.com. I am a stay at home mum with three children, 9 year old son and 2 year old twins. After my family my big love and passion is cooking and baking. I love creating new recipes and bakes. I regularly share a variety of recipes from cakes to bread, from main meals to desserts and plenty of stories about our lives.

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Lets get down to business. I’d like to know you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

I have been meal planning for 9 months now. I started to meal plan as a way to budget better on our food shopping. Plus I was fed up of it getting to tea time and not really knowing what to cook. Having a meal plan has saved us money and saved me the tea time stress of wondering what to feed everyone.

It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

The first thing I do is look at what I have got in the fridge and list the items that need using in date order. This enables me to see what needs to be used first and I can plan accordingly.

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

We have our regular family favourites that I try to include. But I have recently signed up for a weekly meat subscription. Each week I get a different selection of high quality meat, I have found that this has challenged me to cook meats that I wouldn’t usually buy and has given us more of a variety.

What cookbooks do you use the most? Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I have shelves full of cook books so it is really hard to say which I use the most. I tend not to stick to recipes too much as I like to change ingredients according to our own tastes. I do love Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver for ideas for leftovers. I also use BBC Good Food magazine and online site a lot.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

I do try to stick to my meal plan as much as possible however we all know how life can sometimes take over. However I do find it easier when I have stuck to my meal plan.

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

I have found that the amount of food that gets wasted has dramatically reduced. This is down to better planning and knowing use by dates on fresh produce. I have also found that it has saved us money on our weekly shop. Before I did a meal plan I would often find that I had ingredients missing and would do mid week shops which quickly mounted up!

Any top tips for meal planning?

Always check your use by dates of fresh produce and plan around what needs using first. Also make it enjoyable, try new dishes and challenge yourself. I believe that food should be enjoyable from the preparation to cooking and of course to eating.

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

If I had to pick one gadget or utensil it would have to be my scales. I bake a lot so it is important that the quantities are correct. I also love my Kenwood Prospero as it has so many gadgets that make life a little easier.

Thanks to Kirsty for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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Meet the Meal Planner – Mental Parentals

meet the meal planner logo

Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

Hi! I’m Steph, a 27 year old Mother of a beautiful 3 year old boy, O, and wife to A.  I love food, music, singing and dancing as well as spending time with my amazing family.  I also work full time, love and care for my family and run a house that is  quite clearly too big for us.  I blog over at http://www.mentalparentals.com where I discuss parenting and lifestyle topics and share my life experiences, family moments to make memories and, of course, my meal plans!

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Steph & her lovely family!

Lets get down to business. I’d like to know you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

I’ve been meal planning since O was around 5 months old.  Before pregnancy, I could pretty much eat what I liked and maintain my figure as I did *a lot* of dancing.  I fell pregnant and was so scared that my prancing and jumping about would harm the baby in some way, so took it easy from day one.  I gained weight during pregnancy as I used it as an excuse to eat out more, gorge on chocolate and takeaways…  I see now that this was a silly thing to do!  It just makes life after-birth harder!  Anyway, 5 months after O’s birth, I decided it was time to attempt to get out of the maternity clothes and back to my old self.  I followed a well-known weight management plan and started meal planning to save on pennies – Maternity Leave doesn’t pay well!

It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

I look through my diary to find out what our plans are.  Am I planning for 7 days of meals for 2 adults and a child?  More often than not, my husband (A) works away or goes out for dinner with colleagues.  I then have a quick look in the fridge and freezer to see what we already have and plan to use those first if possible.

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

I have a list of go-to quick recipes that are ideal for making after a day at work.  I try to dish up healthy, nutritious meals for my family; although there are days where O doesn’t, or won’t, entertain what we have planned.  I do try to get creative and mix it up a bit, using cook book recipes as a base and using my tastes to create something else.

What cookbooks do you use the most?  Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I really enjoy Hairy BIker’s recipes as they’re fairly easy to follow and make.  I also buy recipe magazines for more seasonal recipes.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

We do go off-plan sometimes – I don’t have the willpower I once had!  Now I’m back to working full-time, we do have a little extra money to go for a takeaway or a bar meal.  We do try to stick to the plan though, it helps with maintaining our monthly budget and aids our plight of content with our physical appearance and health.

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

I like to be organised.  I like to know what I’m cooking when I get home from work, so that I’m not staring into the fridge for 10 minutes with no inspiration whatsoever.  Meal planning is great to save money – buying in bulk and planning meals to use similar ingredients is one way this can be beneficial.

Any top tips for meal planning?

Get a good bank of recipes that you’re happy with.  Make a list of the things you need to take with you to the supermarket or to use when shopping online.  Only plan meals that you like to cook and eat – if you don’t enjoy a recipe, you won’t make it!

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

My husband bought a cast iron recipe book stand as a Christmas gift for me a couple of years ago.  It’s utterly beautiful and I wouldn’t be without it!

Thanks to Steph for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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Meet the Meal Planner – Life According to Mrs Shilts

meet the meal planner logo

Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

Hello, I’m Emma and I blog over at Life According to MrsShilts. I’m a busy working Mama and live in the West Midlands with my husband, our two year old Son and our West Highland Terrier.

My blog is a family lifestyle blog covering all aspects of our family life. You can read about our favourite days out, camping holidays, diet friendly recipes, product reviews and my weight loss journey on the Slimming World diet.

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Lets get down to business. I’d like to know you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

Back in 2008, my health took an unexpected turn for the worse and it scared me. I was in the honeymoon phase of my relationship with my husband frequently eating out at restaurants enjoying takeaways if we couldn’t be bothered to cook after work. I was also diagnosed with an under-active thyroid and polycystic ovaries which contributed to a poor diet so I had to do something before I ate myself into an early grave.

I started attending a weight loss class and started my weight loss journey to get myself into better shape. Meal planning was one of the tools that helped me lose over 5 stone and subsequently contributed to me being able to conceive our much loved toddler.

It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

Every Sunday morning, both my hubby and I have a look at what evening commitments we have coming up throughout the week and have a look in the cupboards and freezer to see what we could use up. We plan meals around these commitments and the ingredients that we can use up, for example, on a Monday my hubby plays darts for our local pub so only spends a couple of hours in the house after work before going out so we need to prepare, cook and eat a meal quickly on a Monday. I also plan my meals to help me with my Slimming World diet. If we have the ingredients in the fridge, I am much more likely to use them up instead of seeing them go to waste.

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

I use a lot of SW friendly recipes for our meals and my hubby who isn’t dieting will happily eat them. There are some family favourites that we have every couple of weeks but we do like to mix it up and try some new recipes when we can. Instagram and Pinterest is brilliant for meal planning inspiration and ideas.

What cookbooks do you use the most? Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I use Slimming World friendly recipes as they’re low in fat and allow me to stay on plan. I use a lot of the recipe books and then make up my own adding in extra ingredients to bulk out the meals.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

We try to plan at least six meals for the week ahead and know roughly when we are going to eat them. We often do change the meals around depending on what we fancy or if we have forgotten to get the meat out the freezer!

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

Meal planning has saved us lots of money. We must have spent a small fortune back in the day when we didn’t meal plan. I love seeing a fridge full of healthy foods knowing that we will use it all up throughout the week. Our food waste has reduced massively too.

Any top tips for meal planning?

Write it down. If you write your meal plan down and share it with the family on a calendar or memo board, you’re more likely to stick to it.

Check the meal plan the night before and get out any frozen meat you need in advance. Once it’s defrosted you can’t refreeze it so you won’t want to waste it.

Always check the fridge, freezer and cupboards before you meal plan. Use up the stocks you already in. Saves money and uses up food that could go out of date.

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

I love my hand blender, perfect for soups and sauces. An easy tool to use that gives quick results.

 

Thanks to Emma for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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Meet the Meal Planner – The WW Foodie

meet the meal planner logo

Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

I write under the secret squirrel name of Seren and have been blogging at The WW Foodie for a few years now. WW stands for Weight Watchers, by the way! My blog is kind of a diet / food blog hybrid. I started writing it partly because I wanted to prove it was possible to lose weight and enjoy your food at the same time and partly because I wanted somewhere to keep track of recipes, special meals out, that sort of thing. It’s a bit of a hotch potch, but I love it!

Lets get down to business. I’d like to know how long you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

I’ve been meal planning for ages now – I started because when you’re following any sort of diet plan it is really helpful to know what you’re going to eat so you can manage your points (or syns or calories). I soon realised that it saved money as well by reducing waste and random impulse purchases!

It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

My other half and I have actually started meal planning on a monthly basis (yes, we’re that sad!) We have a spreadsheet and we start by noting any days that we are likely to be out. We have a certain element of routine – Sunday is often a roast, Monday is fish, Tuesday is roast leftovers, Thursday is nearly always fresh soup. Then we take account of what is in the freezer and, importantly, what we fancy eating to fill in the rest of the days.

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

Certain meals pop up fairly regularly but I do try and get plenty of variety into the plan – I’m always coming across new things to cook and I think I would get pretty bored eating the same things week in, week out.

What cookbooks do you use the most? Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I have a slight cookbook obsession and own far more than is good for me! Ottolenghi’s books are a favourite in this house. We also subscribe to Good Food and Delicious magazines which are always a good source of new ideas. The Good Food website is excellent, particularly for people watching their weight as all the recipes have full nutritional info, and I also have loads of recipes bookmarked from the BBC site and the UK Food Channel website. Not to mention all the amazing blogs out there! For cookbook junkies like myself I’d definitely recommend “Eat Your Books” which is an online resource that indexes lots of books and allows you to search through your virtual bookshelf by ingredient or dish.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

We go off-plan quite frequently – but dishes that we “bump” often make their way onto later meal plans.

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

Yes to all of the above – not to mention it means that when I get home from work I don’t have to think too hard about what I am cooking that evening. I suspect that if I didn’t plan I would end up making pasta pesto fairly frequently (which is no bad thing but might get a little boring!)

Any top tips for meal planning?

It’s great to get other members of the household involved – my husband loves helping out with the meal planning and it means that we are both invested in what we’re eating.

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

I was given a bright pink Kitchen Aid as a wedding present which is my absolute pride and joy – it’s beautiful and makes baking so much easier. Other than that, a good set of knives are essential for anyone who cooks a lot, they really make an incredible difference to food prep.

 

Thanks to Seren for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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Meet the Meal Planner: Mama Owl

meet the meal planner logo

Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

Hello! I’m Julie and I blog at MamaOwl.co.uk. I’m a married mum to five and I like to share our story through my blog with posts about daily life, parenting, travel and days out, school, recipes, book reviews, autism, and much more besides.

Lets get down to business. I’d like to know how long you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

I started in around May 2011, in a bid to save money as well as organise our home life a bit better. With five kids it can be chaotic at the best of times, so knowing what I am making for dinner at the end of a busy day just takes out that unnecessary faff of digging through cupboards deciding on what to have. It also saves us money (and reduces waste) because I’m only buying what I need and plan to use.

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It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

First, I have a wander around the kitchen, making a note of what I already have in the cupboards, fridges, and freezer. Then I set myself up at the computer with my notepad (and a cuppa), open a new post on my blog ready to write my meal plan, and then open up the supermarket website in another tab & get my delivery slot booked.

I look back at what we had the week before so it doesn’t get too ‘samey’ and also consult the family before I make any concrete decisions, and then I’ll look through the supermarket special offers (making use of BOGOFs & multibuys where I can) before I start to plan. I also have to take into account what activities we’re doing on what day – for example, choosing something I can make in the slow cooker on after-school club/swimming/Tae Kwon-do day to save my sanity!

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

I look at what offers are on at the supermarket and then I consult my favourite cookbooks and recipes on my blog to see what I can make with it. We do have our family favourites and go-to meals for busy nights but occasionally we give something new a try.

What cookbooks do you use the most?  Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I really love my Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, it’s a fantastic resource – I call it my kitchen bible! Loads of good ideas and recipes. The BBC Good Food website is another favourite of mine, and supermarket websites are pretty good for ideas these days, too.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

Some nights we end up not really fancying whatever it is that is planned for that night, so we swap around to another night’s meal. Occasionally (rarely) we do just treat ourselves to a takeaway, but we will save the ingredients we didn’t end up using for the following week, so nothing is wasted.

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

All of the above! Reducing waste, saving money, saving time, helping keep me organised, less stress – I honestly don’t know how I managed before I started meal planning. I’d be lost without it.

Any top tips for meal planning? 

Use supermarket offers to your advantage where you can and meal plan around them, and always look in your stores before you shop so you know what you already have waiting to be used!

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

My slow cooker! That thing is worth its weight in gold!

Thanks to Julie for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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