I am a morning person. This is a source of distress for my husband, who is a night owl and despises morning people with a passion equal to the heat from a million white-hot suns. He’s just not one of those people who’s brain immediately snaps to attention once the eyelids roll up and it’s time to get out of bed.
A typical Sunday morning I am awake and mostly functional, with the possible exception of wearing street clothes, at 7 a.m. Mostly functional means I haven’t had a coffee yet, and I may need to brush my teeth. Most weekdays I’m up at 5:45 or 6. 7 a.m. is sleeping in for me on a weekend. My darling husband is still in bed, and it’s now 9:45 a.m. I expect he will be there for at least a half hour longer, until his bladder makes it impossible to pretend to be asleep or one of the cats decides that The Feeder needs to get up and do the FEEDING thing and steps on his belly to force the bladder issue. (Our three cats are not stupid. They know how to motivate us to do something they want us to do.)
Early in our marriage, before I learned to accept the differences between us and embrace this quiet time I have in the morning, I would get up and start making breakfast within an hour of getting up. Well, I’m hungry, why isn’t he? Oh, typical newlywed mistake! I would get up, start making pancakes or blueberry muffins, start the coffee and the bacon, and he’d come down, bleary eyed and tousle-haired, moaning “Baaaaaacon”, as if he were a Pork-Products Only Zombie. He’d snatch a few slices, and head upstairs and usually back to bed.
(He doesn’t drink coffee because he thinks it tastes like burnt twigs, so the aroma of coffee brewing only summons myself or our son down the stairs.)
So now I have learned to use this time on the weekends to do some writing, get some quiet chores done, and to enjoy a cup of coffee or two without the distraction of anyone other than Cassie, Monster or Peawee (our three cats, or owners, depending on your experience with cats) and occasionally our son when he’s visiting. Sometimes I use this time to plan the meals for the week, a practice I highly recommend if you are trying to stick to a new way of eating, a budget, or both.
Speaking of menu making, how many of you do that on a weekly basis? Do you plan out the whole week, or just the dinners?
It’s not a habit I was ever in on a regular basis, and I think this is part of the reason why I am so bad at budgeting. If I have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner on a regular basis, then we go out to eat more. We waste more food because it goes bad in the refrigerator. We spend more money to buy food to make because we didn’t plan enough in advance and we have no thawed meat for the evening meal, and thus our food in the freezer remains in the freezer and becomes freezer burned. Or we take food out to thaw, and forget it’s there, and it goes bad.
So, these all seem like excellent reasons to start a new habit – menu making for the week ahead.
Start small – plan three days at a time. Just plan your dinners. Take a quick look at what’s in your freezer that you haven’t been cooking because you forgot it was there, and if it’s still ok, use it.
Work up to planning dinners for the work week. Chances are pretty good you might have devolved to using a lot of convenience foods here. If you are able to do a large cook over the weekend, you can make your own “convenience” foods and just freeze them for later. (I was and still am a big proponent of Once a Month Cooking, if you have the freezer space and the wherewithal to do it.) Invest in a vacuum sealer and make foods that you just need to thaw and re-heat.
Once you’ve planned for a work week and can stick to it for a while, try the whole week.