Cute Paper Motivates Me

Fellow aviation bride NavyGirl of Marrying the Navy recently held a Reader Recipe Giveaway. I submitted my recipe (Lentils with Spinach and Goat Cheese) largely for the fun of writing up one of our household staple meals, but the random-drawing Force must have been with me: I won! (I only wish my admittedly healthy recipe had been as drool-worthy as the cookies NavyGirl featured after the announcement.)

"What to Eat" meal planning notepad

The turtle wonders what delectable delights will fill the tantalizing blanks.

Sampson and I have never, perhaps, been as good as we could be about planning our meals in advance. When we did, though, it was always a pleasant surprise how much of a stress-reliever it was to have answers to “the eternal question” (as the adorable notepad puts it at the bottom of each page) written down right in front of us. Our grocery runs were smoother, we avoided situations where we needed to dash out at the last minute to get some missing ingredient, and we didn’t wind up eating out when we hadn’t already planned to do so.

And then stuff would come up, and we’d get distracted, and we’d forget to sit down and plan out our meals ahead of time. The same old rut welcomed us back: “What’s for dinner?” “I dunno. What do we have?” “I dunno. Wanna go to Chipotle?”

It’s been even worse since Sampson deployed. I haven’t gone out to eat, which is good, but neither have I been motivated to cook just for myself and wind up with piles of leftovers. I’m kinda lukewarm about leftovers; I get bored with the same dish reheated, and with the household’s King of Leftover Demolition currently halfway around the world, leftovers can hang out in my fridge for a long time. Unless I come up with clever ways to transform those boring remnants of a previously exciting meal into something new and different, they probably won’t get eaten.

That’s where mapping out my culinary week is going to come in really handy: figuring out how I am going to utilize leftovers from one meal in future recipes throughout the week. If I plan out my “transformations” ahead of time, I can space out my leftovers so that roasting a chicken and making rice pilaf for myself doesn’t mean a week-long dinnertime death march until it’s all gone (read: when I can’t stomach another bite of microwaved chicken and rice, it languishes in the fridge until I eventually throw it out). A far better scenario is likely when I know before I roast the chicken that I will use the leftover breast meat for chicken salad one day and soak the remaining dark meat in a soy-sesame marinade to go in fried rice made from the leftover pilaf on another.

Less wasted food, more motivation to cook, and I get to indulge my stationery nerdiness by writing it all out on a hip notepad? Thanks so much for a prize imbued with several different kinds of win, NavyGirl! I strongly suspect that many recipes from her other readers will wind up jotted on the notepad in the coming months.

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14 thoughts on “Cute Paper Motivates Me

  1. We are very similar when it comes to our motivations 🙂 I would be lost if I didn’t have cute paper to write things on. Where did you buy the notepad?

  2. Yay!!!!! I’m so glad your notepad got there! I was stressing that somehow Amazon would let me down, but of course, they never do 😉 How wonderful that you’re going to put the notepad to use right away. (And I can’t thank you enough for the blog links.)

    Kimberly – yes, the notepad can be bought through Amazon. I’ve also seen it at Anthropologie, or occasionally at Pier 1. Totally worth the cost, because it’s helped keep us organized, and it’s cute!

  3. So jealous! But then again, I didn’t enter. I was THISCLOSE to entering my sister’s asian salad…but I got greedy. I didn’t want anyone else to know it’s deliciousness. Yes, “my loss”…but I still have the recipe. 🙂

    But I’ll at least drool over the pad as you blog-brag. 🙂

    • And I’ll drool over your tantalizing hint about an Asian salad — cruel woman, mentioning such a thing with no intention of sharing to sate my curiosity (or my tummy)!

  4. L says:

    You could try freezing leftovers. Both chicken and rice freeze well. I freeze my rice in single serving sizes and just pop it in the microwave for like 45 seconds. Comes out fluffy and yummy! Only catch is, you have to freeze it the day you make it.

    Freezing helps me, because I somehow cannot cook for two (or just one!) person. There is always enough for at least 4. Plus is saves money, and it saves time the next time you want to eat it! =)

    • Good call on the freezing. I do freeze some things (chili comes to mind, as it reheats well and it’s convenient to freeze in single-serving microwaveable containers), but I would probably do more if we invested in a chest freezer. As it stands now, there isn’t much room in the small freezer atop my fridge.

  5. ostranderblog says:

    Lol this blog so reminds me of my own thought process to cooking. Freezing things has helped… I love that planner going to look over at Amazon.

    • Oh, but aimlessly wandering the aisles is the best part of grocery shopping, especially when I happen upon some sort of glorious candy. 😉

      I’ve seen the shopping list version of this type of notepad, and I’ve got to say I’m tempted. We currently keep our list on a long, skinny magnetic notepad from the dollar store, but it’s nowhere near as stylish.

  6. I saw those papers advertised in Cosmo Magazine. There are awesome. They have paper’s for everything. They are funny and practical at the same time. Good stuff!

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