I started planning a week's worth of menus and then making the grocery list sometime last year as a way to stick to a more modest food budget. Most of the time it does help us keep track of how much we're spending, especially if I comb through the cupboard and freezer to see what dinner building blocks are hidden away (frozen stone-ground grits from Nene? Score!).
But it's really become a sanity preserver since Ford arrived and I went back to work. Knowing that one of us can be starting supper with all the ingredients on hand while the other does the bath + bedtime routine is always a relief on Thursday night when we're both exhausted and would be otherwise tempted to order Thai food. A few online resources have become my go-to's for menu inspiration: my old stand-by, Epicurious, and more recently Food52 and Spoon Fork Bacon.
The internet has made us all so visually obsessed and these food blogs with gorgeous photography are much more inspiring than just text on the page. So Pinterest has become where it all gets stored for future reference. You can dig through my Good Eats board and see that I am apparently obsessed with pasta, quinoa, leafy greens, tacos and lemony desserts. Here's our menu for this week:
Sunday: Leek, shallot and pancetta quiche (inspired by this)
Monday: Indian-Spiced Carrot Ginger Soup + green salad
Tuesday: Chipotle beef tacos
Wednesday: Quinoa Kale Pilaf
Thursday: Coconut Green Curry Lentils
Friday: Go out to eat. Collapse in exhausted heap.
And then there's feeding Ford. For the first few months of solid food I was on it with the steaming/pureeing/freezing individual portions of organic, fresh baby food. Now that he's a little older and is happy to eat pretty much anything (and in huge quantities), I've become a little more laid back about it. As long as there's a sweet potato, avocado and some yogurt on hand, we're in good shape! I've also taken these two books to heart in terms of what to feed his little growing brain, bones and muscles:
What is and is not appropriate food for the under-1 set can be pretty polarizing and sometimes Nina Planck's "I know better than all the experts out there" tone was a little off-putting, but her point that young children need fat, protein and plenty of it really resonated with me. So I've been paying extra for pastured eggs and butter, offering him organic beef and turkey about once a week and even smoked salmon on occasion! Cheese grits with some jalapeno baked in, quinoa and black bean salad...he loves it all and is growing like a weed. It just feels better than jars of gray-green peas and loads of cereal. So I'm starting to plan our meals with an eye to what he might enjoy as well. I think everything on the menu this week except the chipotle beef tacos will suit him. It's so much easier than prepping two meals each night! What foods have been or were a hit with your 6-12 month-olds?