Thursday, June 28, 2012

Of course you know what's for dinner! (Right?)

"What's for dinner?"

Do those words send a shiver of dread down your spine?

I used to hate them. I never knew. I was always winging it and then rushing to the shops for last minute supplies. (Last minutes supplies like "a takeaway kebab", ahem...)

But that last minute rush just isn't as feasible with young ones. Once you fit in a couple of daytime naps and add in an absent husband, I can no longer just duck out. So instead, I meal plan. It saves me cash, stress and time. We eat more healthily, and have a greater variety of food. And fewer kebabs (is that an upside? I do like a good kebab...)

Meal Planning

Here's how I do it:

1) Check the calender. No point planning meals for times you're eating out; no point planning a six course degustation on soccer night. Unless you're super mum, in which case by all means carry on.

2) Peer hopefully into the fridge and see what's left after Mr Accident has done his daily "hoard of locusts" impression.

3) Check the "Peanut and Mr A approved meal list." Do not check the Bug approved meal list. It includes dog food and licking her own shoes.

4) Slot meals into spaces on my meal planning sheet, trying to use what's left from last week first (i.e. "not much").

I use the Kikki K meal planner (this is not a sponsored post, I just do.) The planner itself is nothing special, just a magnetised notepad where each page has space for a week's worth of meals, and daily snacks. Never forget the snacks!

5) Write out the ingredients for each meal under the headings. This sounds like a pain. It is. But it comes in handy in the next step, which is:

6) Peer again into the depths of the fridge, trying to memorize the contents. Then write out the shopping list.

If I don't list the ingredients in the previous step, I always miss something in this one. ALWAYS. Chicken salad tastes sad with no chicken, coincidentally. Also, if Mr A decides to cook, lovely man that he is, it stops him constantly running in and asking me what sides he should be making. Curse him for disturbing my relaxing bath while he slaves over a hot stove!

7) Season to taste. Meal planning isn't a contract. If I don't like what's for dinner today, I can shift it to another, but it's nice to know I have the ingredients I need to make a week's worth of food, regardless of when it actually gets eaten.  

Giveaway **now closed**

And now I want to share the love. It's my 200th blog post, and I reckon it's high time we had a giveaway! So, if you would like the chance to win your own Kikki K meal planner, read on.
No hoops to jump through, no need to follow (but I do love it when you do). Just comment on this post and you're in the draw. I'll get Peanut to pick the winner out of a hat at 9am EST on Sunday 8 July, and announce it here the Monday after. You'll need to come back and check if you've won, so I can ask you to email me your address. **The winner was VANESSA! Email your postal address to theaccidentalhousewife(at) to claim your prize. Congratulations!**

Blog Award!

Now on to other things: in the spirit of giving, Beccra from True Blog! has awarded me a blogging birthday surprise: the Sunshine Award! 

It comes with caveats, of course, but they fit nicely into the "facts about me" expectations that surround  hundredth blog posts, so I am happy to oblige. But before the questions, let's pass on the love.

I hereby award the Sunshine award to:

Charlotte from The Old Milk Can. Her posts recently have been just lovely. Really, truly delightful. Thanks for writing them, Charlotte. They make me happy.

The Old Fashioned Housewife. A girl after my own heart.

Katherine from Girl World. She still makes me laugh every single day. I'm suspect she thinks I'm some kind of weird blog stalker, and I always hope I don't make her uncomfortable, because I heap her with as much gushing praise as I can manage. I freakin' love her writing.

And now, finally, what you've all obviously been waiting for with baited breath, let's get on to the bit where it's all about me!

Favourite Colour: Maroon.

Like this:
Maroon. Lovely.

Not to be confused with this:

Maroon 5.
Image from here.

And CERTAINLY not to be confused with THIS:

Queensland's Rugby colours.
Image from here 

Favourite Animal: Chicken. Both as a food and a companion animal (writing that makes me feel a bit like Hannibal.) Before Milly and Tilly came to stay, I had underestimated chickens as a species. They are not in the least bit "chicken". Instead they are brave, amusing, intelligent, eternally interested pets. And delicious. So delicious!


Favourite Number:  I'm apathetic towards this question. If I had to pick, I'd choose 8. She's sassy, look at those curves! Nice belt, too. And so divisible! Oh la la...

My Passion: Yes. Well... Besides the children, obviously, and my handsome husband.... my love of aprons and the written word.... I'm not sure. I wish I knew, it would make selecting a new career to train into so much easier!

Facebook or Twitter: Both. I love that on Twitter I can ask anyone anything, and they will probably answer. And once I was retweeted by Hamish Blake. I'm pretty sure that was me reaching my social media pinnacle. I'm done! But I also love keeping in contact with old friends on Facebook. We would have drifted apart if we weren't able to lazily watch each other's lives develop while we grew from relatively uncomfortable-with-communicating-and-showing-affection teenagers into functioning adults. (Hi Joel! Hi Stu!)

Giving or Receiving: Give give give. I love giving away a well wrapped present or a basket of cookies. Or a meal planner. Ahem.

Favourite Pattern: Well, stash THIS in the "things I've never considered before" drawer. Looking at my wardrobe and homewares, I'd say stripes. Especially blue and white. In the right tones and widths, they are kicking fresh.

Image from here.

Favourite Day of the Week: Monday. Yeah, I said it. Peanut's at school in the morning, so Bug and I have a chance to spend quality time together, and I can catch up on laundry after the weekend's madness. So "Monday so I can clean the house". It's sounding worse and worse, isn't it!

Favourite Flower: The freesia. So simple and they smell so nice. They grew wild on the hill behind my house when I was growing up, I used to come home with armfuls. I have a pot of them growing on my kitchen window sill right now. Roll on spring!

White ones, please!
Image from here. 

And that concludes this epic 200th post. Thanks for sticking with me, both through this post, and through my blogging journey*. Now head down below there and comment, so I can give you the chance to win!

{*I put that in for you Mr A. I know how much you love a good reality TV "journey". Just don't make me pay "the ultimate price" at the}


  1. Congrats on the 200 always make me smile and feel a little more connected so thank you for writing the posts that you do!
    I enjoyed reading more about you...congrats also on the award!!!
    And i love meal planning too although have been getting a little slack with following of the actual beautifully planned week lately lol! Of course maybe if i had one of those wonderful Kikki K planners i would be a much better housewife ;-)

  2. G'day
    Can anonymous'''''''' enter? Love your blog, glad you are back. I have two littlies (very fussy) and hubby (gloriously NOT fussy) and could use all the meal planning help I can get. Not sure there's room on the fridge tho, between photos, gorgeous crayonned masterpieces, collage art work, letter magnets, and the odd birthday party invitation (for them, not me. They have the best social life!)

    1. Yes! You can be anonymous number one. You know, if anyone else actually enters ;)

      My fridge issue is keeping the meal planner high enough so IT doesn't become a gorgeous crayonned masterpiece...

  3. Oh man, I love my meal planner, well I did till my wipe off marker dried up, and I have not planned a weeks meals in well, weeks....I miss it...I dont function without a meal planner, hence I am sitting here in front of the computer reading blogs at 5.30 in the evening with nothing to cook for my kids......seriously........
    Its the one thing that I am usually organised with, my pantry and my meal planning..............I must go...and feed my children...x

  4. I love the meal planner idea. I plan my meals every week but I record it in my head, so that doesnt stop the dh and kids asking whats for dinner every afternoon, this way I could just point to the fridge! Congrats on the 200th post!

  5. COngrats on 200!
    I would love the KikkiK planner - i desparately need to get into planning...yeah...and I discovered KikkiK DAYS before we moved back to South Africa - everything packed and shipped, no space for even a tiny little notepad or nothing...sulking ever since...

    1. Oh no! It must be time to take another trip...

  6. Since my menu plan is written on the fridge, where everyone can see it, anyone between the ages of 5 and 30 who asks that question gets glared at and told "food". The oldie is excused because he usually asks when he's out of the house and can't see the fridge. Your system sounds very similar to mine.. except I stock up on freezables and non-perishables once a month so my weekly shop is basically for milk, fresh fruit&veg, and any seasonings I've managed to run out of. And I have to make sure we have leftovers at least once a week so the boy can have dinner when we eat chicken.
    (Can I be not entered please? My whiteboard works wonderfully for me and I'd rather someone who needs a hand get the planner.)

    1. I shop once a month-ish at Costco for the frozen and bulk stuff, because we eat very predictable basics, and then I just buy the fancy bits and ridiculous amounts of milk at the supermarket. I'm going to miss having Costco around the corner when we move!

  7. I'm entering - an actual meal planner (as opposed to scribbled on my whiteboard) is on my wish list.
    Congrats on 200 posts - I'm looking forward to the next 200. Oh, and that is seriously cool to be retweeted by Hamish :)

  8. Congatulations on 200. I try meal planning before but just writing it down in a book that then gets lost in my busy household. Maybe if it is up on the wall for me to see readily all the time I may stick to it.

  9. Well a BIG congratulations to you Mrs A, 200th blog that's awsome. I'm commenting because I loved this blog and finding out more about you and you fasinate me (not in a stalking kind of way lol). And not because I want the meal planner hubby does that at the moment when he does the shopping list. I too like giving it makes me feel less uncomfortable. I sooooo wish I could have chickens hmmm one day. Keep up the great blogging. Jodiex

  10. Pick me peanut!!! Pick me!!!

    I have no system whatsoever... I call it the stand in front of fridge/freezer/pantry with mouth gapped open hearing the cogs in my brain clunk from thinking system.

    If I'm dedicated enough to create that many blog posts I think I'll do a crappy animal knitted by me giveaway...

    Thanks for the motivation to keep my blog ticking :-D

  11. Hi there, I'm stopping by from Beccra's TrueBlog. Love your chicken header and your blog in general.

  12. I already have one of those Kikki K planners on my fridge and it's great. My biggest tip for meal-planning is to do it retrospectively. I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down what the family ate for a month and then I made up a meal plan of 14 fool-proof easy-to-make dinners. My meal planning in the past was never successful because I was always scouring recipe books to include new or 'glamorous' dishes. Never really worked. Now I stick with the boring & safe and try something different if the mood takes me. Congratulations on 200 posts!

  13. I'm a big fan of Monday's as well. It means the husband is out of the house and not leaving things for me to pick up....and some guilt free "me time" while the baby is napping. I always try and pretend I'm much more domestic than I am on weekends!

    And as for finding your calling, you're doing pretty good at it right now. Why don't you write a book on organising your life? I seriously since becoming a mum have a) borrowed a book (saving mum) on how to run a house better and b) downloaded a schedule for cleaning the house on a day by day basis. Being a grown up is hard!

  14. What a lot of organised and would-be-organised women - I salute you! As I'm now confined to a chair, I have to do all my shopping online -AND I'M FED UP WITH READY PREPARED MEALS!! Serves me right for marrying a man from another generation in a burst of enthusiasm - tinned baked beans on toast is about his limit, usually burnt toast at that. Here's to the next 200 blog posts - you all keep me sane. Thank you.

    1. Oh Gartcott! So sorry to hear you're chair-bound. Ready made meals are not exactly flash, they all seem to have the same taste to them. Would you mind me asking where you live?

  15. Ahhh Kikki-K! I get so many comments on my giant Kikki-K OCD calendar over here! I just wish there was a store in the states :( Or, competitive postage prices! Fear not, If I win, I will give you an AUS address. Looking forward to the next 200 posts! Woot!

  16. Hi Id love to actually get organized enough to actually write down a weeks worth of meals. With four boys(five with hubby) it would be a stress off my mind.Kathy

  17. I ALWAYS menu plan, have done for years, it's the ONLY way (in my opinion) to stay organised and not waste money.

    I have an extra column on my menu plan sheet the "Which Cookbook" column, it transpired because I'd go to cook a meal, and forget which cookbook I'd found it in, I also include the page number just for added effeciency :)

    1. I write the book and the page number on my planner too! Just in the bottom corner of the meal square...

  18. I have done a 'rough' sort of menu plan for ages, but it needs a little help lately. I think I'm just getting lazy, and consequently food is getting wasted. Like the half kilo of brussels sprouts I bought last week that I just pulled out of the fridge. We used some, the rest....well I think today is the day.
    We were going to have takeaway chicken and chips for dinner (as I said I'm feeling lazy) but you have inspired me to get organised and get a proper menu plan going, including those brussel sprouts!
    Thanks for the pick-me-up

  19. Aw. You are the best stalker ever. You're fab. xx

    I've recently switched over to menu planning on my phone. The advantage is that I always remember to take my phone with me to the supermarket. I'd previously been making lists and keeping them only in my head. Complete disaster as I have the memory of an amnesiac goldfish. I like to have at least one slow cooker meal per week as they make the evening dinner-bath-bed madness much easier to manage. I also like to include a roast or a lasagna that can be prepared earlier and thrown recklessly at the oven at the right time. We always have a new recipe each week, too - the russian roulette meal of the week. Luckily G will eat anything and call it delicious. Even when it is mostly charcoal. That man is a legend.

  20. 200th! Holy monkeys where does time go? Congratulations to you :) Thank you so much for the award - sorry I'm a bit delayed in the response but I'm sitting on the hotel room floor catching a signal on the stick thingy to read blogs atm.
    I'm a bit more OCD about meal planning - ahem...yes you can laugh - I have seasonal menus and it does save time and money. It also has to alter when we move as the seasons are considerably different in each place, as it the produce available.
    I go to my cabin in the moutains tomorrow so I can blog properly then - keeping in mind you wanted to vicariously have a holiday with me :) TC

    1. Woohoo! Looking forwards to "our" holiday! ;)

  21. new to your blog, you are an entertaining writer.

    I'm a menu planner from way but only on scraps of paper, count me in a swish planner sounds lovely.

    cheers Kate

  22. Well bless your cotton socks for giving me that award, Mrs. A. I so appreciate the shout out! I dont usually do awards on my blog (as in, do the whole reciprocating and handing them on thing) because I never feel like I know who to give them to. But I sure do appreciate it and one of these days I am going to do a blog post on my favorite blogs just to share the love and when I do Ill be sure to put you right at the top because I do so love your posts. :)

    As for the giveaway, if people in the western hemisphere are eligible, Im in! Thanks for having it be gimmick-free, too... I have a serious aversion to all of those give-aways that require you to give them your first born in order to enter. No thanks. :)

    Blessings and happy 200th post!!

  23. *waves back*

    Pretty sure that's as close to internet stardom as I've come! :D

  24. Congratulations on your 200th post. I have only recently started reading and following your blog. i enjoy your writing a lot.

    1. Congratulations Vanessa! You've won the meal planner! Please email your postal address to theaccidentalhousewife(at) to claim your prize.

  25. I'll enter, thankyou! Fingers crossed and hurrah for meal planning :)