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Monday, November 8, 2010

Groundhog Day

Do you ever feel like you're living in the movie "Groundhog Day," the one with Bill Murray who just keeps reliving the same thing over and over again?

I sat down with my healthy, packed lunch (yay me!) to do a little lunchtime blogging. The subject at hand is food: boredom with it and lack of it. As I began to formulate the post in my brain, it started sounding familiar. So I did a little searching on my own blog and found this:

How much is my time worth?

Yes. That's what I wanted to say. Except that great 3-week dinner menu I created is gone because I foolishly wrote it on paper and didn't save it electronically anywhere. I had forgotten about the weekly dinner "formula," which would come in super handy right now because it calls for 2-3 meatless nights -- perfect for Annie's continuing vegetarianism.

Oh, and I'm thinking maybe I'll make my own hot chocolate mix. I bought hot chocolate in the little packets at the store last week and they were gone in a matter of a few days. Again, been there, blogged that.

I'm thinking I should make some of my own other things, too. Things the kids (and the grown ups) can snack on. I try to keep apples and bananas in the house. Carrots are another staple. But foods like granola bars and graham crackers, yogurt and pretzels seem to have a shelf-life of about 30 minutes once they cross the threshold of the front door.

Each person has his or her favorites, so there's not one person to blame. Charlie will plow through the fruits and veggies (and almost everything else that's not nailed down). Annie downs the yogurt and the pretzels. Robbie is the milk and cereal man. He would eat cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios, usually) for every meal, guzzling almost a gallon of milk a day, if I let him. And Mike likes to dig into the lunchmeat and bread. Of course, I'm not without guilt. Apples, graham crackers and peanut butter, and tortilla chips and salsa are my go-to snacks.

But the point is, we seem to go through groceries so quickly that what I'm going to is the store or the pizza delivery menu. Too often.

Getting back to the pre-planned menu is one solution. I think that once-a-month cooking might be another one. But what about those snacks? Are there healthy and economical snacks you keep on hand? Do you buy them or make them? Do you lock them up or just give your family the evil eye when the pantry door's been opened one too many times? Help a mom out so we're not both reliving this post in another six months.

12 comments:

Shelley said...

Aldi has pretzels, graham crackers, fruit, peanut butter, tortilla chips and more and it is SO MUCH CHEAPER.

Not elegant. Not even all that convenient since you have to bag your own groceries. But boyoboy is it cheaper. And actually GOOD, too.

Nate's Mom said...

Amy, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, probably because I could have written it. I probably have if I researched my blog, lol. Nate is my milk and cereal boy. I think he and your Robbie are alike in so many ways. Jacob is my fruits and vegie guy, and yogurt. They will all devour yogurt, if I buy the right kind. I too struggle with planning (well not as much planning, as actually preparing) healthy full meals.

As I sit here at my desk at work, I want to snack. There is a box of donuts by the coffee pot. I haven't even looked in it (yet). In the break there is a bowl of fruit (not a common offering). There is always snack stuff around here, usually not healthy. What can I keep at my desk and snack on all day that will not glue itself to my backside. I fear M&M's are not going to be on the list.

Sheri in CA

Shauna said...

This is one thing I worry about with having a son. Doug eats everything, and by the second or third day post-grocery-shopping, everything is gone again. I fear having a son will just mean the food goes twice as fast.

I keep muffins in the freezer. And cookie dough and banana bread. It's easier to hide if it's frozen, and then when I decide we're ready to bring out another snack, it's already there and ready to go.

I also do homemade pretzels, and they freeze well too. But those are MY weakness. :)

We have fruit, yogurt, nuts and veggies with dip for snacks as well. I like granola, but Doug doesn't eat it, so we don't really have it very often.

Really, I just don't keep things in the fridge. We have TONS of fruits and veggies, and I tell Doug (and myself) that if I'm really HUNGRY, and not just in the mood of snacking, I can help myself to any of the pre-cut veggies, or grab and apple or orange. It's not as much fun as having a nice homemade pretzel dipped in hot cheese, though.

Unknown Mami said...

I wish I had some advice in this area, but I have to say I am totally uninspired. I can not come up with anything to eat lately. It's terrible. Most of the food planning ends up being done by my husband. I really need to find some inspiration.

Amy said...

@Shelley -- I'll give Aldi another try.

@Sheri -- I don't know how you keep all those boys fed! If they like yogurt, check out Shelley's blog (http://insomnimom.blogspot.com) for her homemade crockpot yogurt recipe. Seems like too much work to me, but you might like it.

@Shauna -- Homemade pretzel recipe, please!

@Mami -- Go to http://nesthome.blogspot.com A lot of times, I steal meal ideas from Sharon. Also, click on Shelley's link above. She does menu plan Monday a lot, too.

Shauna said...

This is the recipe I use:
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/buttery-soft-pretzels/Detail.aspx

I usually double the recipe and get about 2 dozen pretzels. I freeze them after baking and they are super easy to heat up and enjoy! When I'm feeling extra adventurous, I brush them in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, or mix cinnamon right in to the dough. Otherwise, I like these dipped in mustard or hot melted fake-cheese. :)

Sharon said...

Ah, I still have to say, when Meijer has their Buy 10, get 11th item free sale (mix & match), it's cheaper than even Aldi. I have been testing this for about 2 months now.
Make sure to sign up for mperks and check meijermealbox.com, combining w/ mfr coupons. Most of the time it's still cheaper than Aldi!
(I bought BIG boxes of brand name cereal for $1.75 box after sales & coupons, including Honey Nut Cheerios!).

Lately mine have been snack crazy, too, and it's driving my bonkers.
I like ti have some things they can just go & grab. Fresh fruit, cereal bars, yogurt, bags made up of goldfish, etc. It doesn't last long, and I do hide food to space it out. I think a lot their snacking is boredom.
I HAVE said "be hungry for an hour, until we eat dinner", too. I feel your pain on this one. It can be exhausting!

Molly said...

I go for high maintenance snacks. Grapefruit, oatmeal, celery(not cut yet), crunchy snacks like pita chips or carrots. They take longer to prepare and eat therefor the hubby, myself, or my four yr old have to decide whether snacking is worth the trouble.

Great post!

kimybeee said...

amy i think the rationing/hiding is the way to go. maybe make some prefilled container/bag for each kid and tell them it has to last x amount of time before it is refilled.

we never have many homecooked meals here and we don't buy groceries very often. we just order something and run to town and pick it up. that is why we look like weeble people! we have beef and 2 hogs in the freezer and sometimes our daughter gets inspired to actually cook. we bought her a george foreman grill last year for christmas and she loves it and it makes it more convenient for her to cook with. with all the activities and a husband that usually works 7pm to 7am, it is just hard to plan. on the other hand, by not having many snacks in the house, we are less likely to sit around eating them till they are all gone, which happens everytime!

Nate's Mom said...

Amy, I love my crockpot, but I am not likely to make my own yogurt, lol. I do like the convenience of throwing things in it in the morning and having dinner ready when I get home.

Feeding 4 boys is not easy. They will eat you out of house and home, if you let them. That is why I do not keep snack food around much. Cheese and tortillas is the go to snack around here. Make your own quesodilla with whatever is in the fridge (left over chicken, etc.)

Sheri

B said...

AS far as snacks go I stock up every few weeks on all the family faves. I try to snag them on sale when I can.

I've been really intrigued by the once a month cooking and I've downloaded some menus. However, I'm a bit intimidated by it all and haven't jumped in yet! I may start with a weekly menu first and see how that goes.

Joanne said...

hi Amy'''

just an old friend that misses your spin on the BL.. if you have time drop back by..
we all miss you

Jo