Menu Plan October 31-November 4

When I started really planning out menus each week, I would carry around a folded-up piece of paper in my purse. This piece of paper would have the menu scribbled on the back, plus any additional notes for other things that I was hoping to make. On the front, I would write out my grocery list. I had a different area for different categories on the sheet – at the top left, I’d list all of the produce I wanted to buy. At the top right of the page, I’d list meats and seafood. Canned and pantry items would go in the bottom left, household cleaning items, hygiene items, and paper goods to the bottom right. Anything that wasn’t a weekly purchase or was out of the ordinary for me to buy – such as batteries, dog food, or a filter for the vacuum cleaner – would go at the very bottom, a bit separate from the other items, so I’d be sure to notice it. I would add to that list throughout the week, pulling it out and jotting down things I needed as I would think of them. It wasn’t pretty – that piece of paper would be pretty worn and crumpled by the weekend, sometimes with items crossed out because I’d changed my mind, but it was a system, and it worked.

Even when we got an iPad, and I knew of various grocery/shopping apps, I still hung onto my old paper-in-the-purse routine. My husband encouraged me to look into the apps, certain that I’d find one I liked. I even downloaded one or two. But I couldn’t cozy up to any that I found – they didn’t allow me to organize things the way I wanted to, and besides, I didn’t carry the iPad everywhere with me. What if I wanted to add something to the list on a day when I wasn’t carrying the iPad around? It just didn’t seem like a solution to me.

Then, I finally joined the rest of the world and got a smart phone – an iPhone. Yes, I am typically somewhat slow to adopt new technologies, and was carrying around my old “pseudo-smart” phone (a phone that had a full keyboard and claimed to have a browser, but you couldn’t actually use it for anything.) for a long while. But when I got my iPhone, I finally took the plunge and got rid of my paper grocery list.

Now, my grocery list is on my phone! I love it. This app isn’t anything special, but it allows me to customize categories, which I appreciate, and it even has an option to mail the grocery list to someone else, just in case I need to send my husband out to the store.

However, the big part holding me back from converting from paper to electronic grocery lists was the fact that I was also writing out my menu on the back of that piece of paper. Well, now, there’s an app for that too! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) I have a meal planner app that helps me out with that.

This app actually has a lot more features than I utilize – you can even put in recipes and throw them into your meals, and can inventory your pantry, create a grocery list, and so on. I prefer my other grocery list app, so I only use this for meal planning. It works for me. I use it week in and week out, and I love it – I’m actually better about adding things to the grocery list than I was before, because I carry my phone a lot more than I do my purse. It’s also easier to “check off” items in the store  – no pen needed.

Not that I’m trying to promote the iPhone or any particular app – I’m just appreciative of technology and how I’ve finally made it work for me. Let’s hear it for bringing grocery shopping and menu planning into the 21st century! Woot! Woot!

Okay, maybe that was too much. Let’s move on.

The menu this week is simple, with only one semi-complicated item on the plan (Kung Pao chicken is hardly complicated, truthfully, but it’s the most difficult thing to make this week). I’m happy to keep it a bit simpler – after all, the holidays are nearing, and I’m sure my kitchen will be all too busy for the next two months. I have to take my breaks whenever I can.


Breakfast: green creamsicle smoothie (kale and spinach, orange, vanilla protein powder, and a bit of non-dairy milk)

Lunch: a smorgasborg of leftovers – a bit of hard salami, Bubbie’s pickles, a bit of chicken, curried kohlrabi greens, kohlrabi slaw

Dinner: baked Scotch eggs with a garden salad


Breakfast: paleo biscuits and sausage gravy

Lunch: garden salad with chicken

Dinner: leftovers (it’s soccer night!)


Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, steamed kale

Lunch: tuna salad with parsley and lemon, tomatoes, celery and carrot sticks, olives and pickles

Dinner: slow-cooker beef tongue tacos and guacamole (yes, my love of offal continues! Got a grass-fed beef tongue from a local rancher.)


Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, apple

Lunch: leftover beef tongue tacos, lettuce-wrap style

Dinner: Kung Pao Chicken (from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen – I met Laura B Russell, the author, at the GFAF Expo and am excited to review her book!), green beans with gluten-free tamari sauce


Breakfast: green smoothie with mango

Lunch: leftover Kung Pao Chicken and green beans

Dinner: leftovers or chili from freezer (soccer night again!)


What exciting things are you planning to make this week?

 This post is linked to Gluten-Free Menu Swap at Celiac Family.


  1. Laura says

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I’m new to menu planning and have been experimenting with different systems to facilitate the process. Where do you get your inspiration for which recipes end up going on the menu?

    • altawrites says

      Laura – Step one on my recipe planning – I check to see what I have in the house that needs to be used up. Usually I start with the meat in the freezer, but sometimes the inspiration is a veggie or something. I create a meal around those items as much as I can. Also, I bookmark WAY more recipes than I’ll ever get to, so sometimes I’ll go through those and choose something that sounds good. Same with my latest favorite cookbook. Of course, now that it’s nearing winter, I won’t get to do this as much – but after my visit to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, I’ll look at what I’ve purchased and figure out what to make with it and how to incorporate it into various meals. I also check the grocery ads – if there is a great deal on something, I’m likely to buy it and incorporate that item into a recipe.


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