Keeper of the Home – Menu Planning

Oct 23, 2009 | On Motherhood, Recipes | 20 comments

How do you keep two, soon three, little chickens and a hungry hubby happy?
Keep the food coming.
There are few things has frustrating to me as not knowing what to make for dinner. When I find myself unprepared it’s as if my brain shuts down. Every memory of every meal I know how to make and have ever made goes – POOF! Out the window. I get stressed as hungry eyes stare at me or Big Daddy starts rooting around in the cupboard ready to eat a piece of bread with ketchup (which, I swear is how he would eat were I not on the planet).
There are two ways to keep this problem at bay. Number one “Put Up or Shut Up” – (no, I have not forgotten to do my follow up post but I am ALMOST done and I really want to wait to “show off” my new pantry all stacked with canned goods and delights), Number Two: Menu Planning.
By putting up food and having soups and lasagnas and such in your freezer you won’t be caught off guard on those days when errands keep you out ’til 4, or that sewing or hot glue gun project is strewn all over the place or work has your running late. By planning a menu, everyone can have something to look forward to, your shopping will be more deliberate and you will find yourself wanting to try new things more often.
Because my shopping habits are let’s say- inconvenient. I don’t often run to the store. By inconvenient I mean my desire for hormone free meat and dairy and organic produce. We do grow what we can and shop our local farm stand but I have yet to take the time to find a beef farmer in the area and the farm down the road wants $3.50 for a dozen eggs!!!! What is up with that??
I end up driving over an hour round trip when it’s time to stock up and if I don’t plan a menu I go into a panic grabbing everything I “think” we may need in the next two and a half weeks. With small kids wanting Trader Joe’s balloons, announcing they have to pee and fighting traffic and crowds this can get a little stressful. But not so much if I plan a menu.
What a privilege we mothers have, even if our kids are grown.
We can give them that gift of a warm and fruitful kitchen.
We can give them the gift of pure family time around the table.
No TV, no talk radio. We can give them memories of tastes and smells that will stay with them for a lifetime. We can comfort them when they come home from college or with a new spouse on their arm, we can give them memories of a mother with a servants heart.
An apron is not a janitors uniform. It’s a garment of honor.
What a gift we can give our husbands; out there working for us and fighting for us. We can create an atmosphere of warmth and love. It’s not being sentenced to the kitchen – a simple attitude change can fix that. Consider that you GET to be the one who provides him with a warm meal. Even if it’s just the two of you. Put a few plates down, plan a few microwave-free meals, sit down, poor a glass of wine and DINE together!!!
Try a menu next week. Monday morning before you shop, settle the kids down with a fun, (but not messy) art project, pull out your favorite cookbooks, pour a hot cup of tea or coffee and get lost in the wonder of new recipes and herbs that you have not experimented with in awhile. You may be amazed at the fresh perspective you can find, perhaps turning the dreaded question of “What’s for dinner” into an unveiling of something you have never tried before.
One of our items this week was Pork Chops with Apples – delightfully studded with cloves and broiled with imported Swiss and brown sugar and butter. So easy and oh my goodness, how cozy and how perfect for fall.
It’s 4:10!!!! and I’d better hop off the computer and check the menu – yikes, a few photos and time on blogger and where does the time go???
Bon Appetit.


  1. Victoria

    This is basically the only way I can both keep myself busy and keep from losing my mind, daily. I like planning the menu for the week. Takes SO much pressure off. Plus, I never know when Nic will be home so I can’t plan dinner at the last minute. Otherwise, we’re eating at 11 pm (no joke). 🙂

    P.s. give me that pork chop/apple/swiss recipe, please!

  2. Deanna

    Hi there! Blessings to you.
    Enjoyed your post today.
    It is fabulous to be a Keeper of the Home. An honor that I didn’t come to fully appreciate until I was a homemaker for many years.
    God is so good,

  3. Mrs. G

    Beautiful post! Menu planning and follow through are my hardest part of being a Keeper of the Home. Love your chalk board menu, maybe something like that would please my husband. I like the idea of giving the family something to look forward to.

  4. Bonjour Madame

    I love the chalkboard too and agree this is a beautiful post. Providing a good hot meal makes me feel great inside. I am however, a total mess when it comes to menu planning. No plan = a bunch of groceries that don’t really translate into actual good meals. You are so right. But when I do take the time to plan, it’s so much smoother. I’m glad you reminded us of this and also what a joy it is to be the one creating all of the goodness that comes out of the kitchen.

  5. Farmgirl Cyn

    I LOVE sitting down to my favorite cookbooks (or cooking blogs) and planning our menu! I try something new at least once a week, and likely twice. Nothing so weird that I think no one would like it, but definitely stepping out of my comfort zone. Shrimp Pad Thai, Sausage and Lentil soup, Coconut Curry Chicken…recipes I would never have tried 30 years ago!
    And knowing what’s for supper seems to calm the wild beasts around here. And when the family KNOWS what I am fixing, life just seems to go a bit smoother.

  6. Jenn@Spejory

    Very timely post! I just sat down at the computer to print out my grocery checklist and actually PLAN my trip this week so we don’t end up having ramen noodles by the end of the week, like we have lately. I usually panic when they start getting out the ramen noodles because there’s no nutrition there AT ALL. Planning is difficult for me because I tend to be spontaneous. But spontaneity does not make for a very good keeper of the home.

  7. Homemaker Ang

    my put up and shut up is well over 400 quarts now and counting!

  8. The Brocantess

    Great blog that I found visiting A Beautiful Life….but I’m following you now.

    Oh and the CDG pink jacket!!!–email me when you get tired of it:)

  9. Arlene

    Definitely agree with you, Menu Planning is a big help. I know this, I enjoy planning a menu for two weeks in advance, going through my cookbooks and online recipe sites trying different things. But there are times when I don’t get to do this, and boy do I pay for it later! The frustrations when you’re in the kitchen wondering what can I whip up tonight because I’ve been too busy sewing or playing in my workshop…LOL. So yes, menu planning is great, just need to take the time out to do it and the reward is great, plus you’ve fed the hungry ones who are staring at you as if the world will end soon if they don’t eat now.
    My Casa Bella

  10. Bonjour Madame

    A quick follow up and a thank you. I sat down this morning and went through a cookbook and actually planned a menu for the week. I shopped with intention today and it changed everything. It didn’t feel like a chore and I was actually excited about what I have planned to cook and they are all new things to try too. My cart was filled with healthier things that actually go together. Yay! Thans for the reminder to spend a little time preparing to make my week run smoother.

  11. Cathy

    Keeper of the Home…what a wonderful title…love it. Planning for and preparing meals is one of the favorite parts of my job…taking care of my family.

    I can’t believe I am just now finding your beautiful blog. I became a follower and look forward to many more visits.

    Have a wonderful evening.

  12. cityfarmer

    do left-overs count as planned?

  13. Ticking and Toile

    I agree! cooking can be such a joy & I really love feeding my family. But I totally know what you mean about the brain shutting down @ dinner time. Mine does it all the time. The menu also cuts down on the “no, that doesn’t sound good” routine from all 3 kids & us. It’s what’s on the menu–end of story right? 😉 I love all you wrote regarding being keeper of the home. So true & we really should cherish our great gift to be mothers & wives. It is an honor.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  14. Musings From A French Cottage

    This is a wonderful post and is so true! To be prepared is a wonderful thing and I too love to plan out a menu and write it on the kitchen chalkboard each morning. This way, everyone knows what’s for dinner and they can look forward to it all day. Plus, when four o’clock rolls around and the kids are gettin’ a bit cranky, the question of what’s for dinner isn’t on my mind. Thanks for a fabulously inspiring post!!

    Blessings to you and your family!

    PS – I think it is so cool that we’re both expecting at the same time. How far along are you? I’m 23 weeks today!

  15. menu planning

    do you know of any good menu planning software or products. i am dying to learn how to menu plan. i would also like to give something to my sisters for Christmas.


  16. Rebecca Ramsey

    You’re blog is just beautiful. I can’t believe how big your kids are getting! And another on the way! How EXCITING!
    Great post. Dinner time with my family is my favorite time of the day.

  17. Berlin Deluxxe

    I can honestly say that I find great joy in going grocery shopping on payday with my hubby 🙂 It’s sounds silly but having a full pantry makes me so happy.

  18. Kasey

    sounds like a great plan.

  19. banking jobs

    I want to have one like this on my kitchen.


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