I have a confession to make. I’m a Penelope.
What’s a Penelope, you ask? According to Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists…
“Penelope is unabashedly organized. She makes no apologies for her love of lists, and notebooks, and pretty office supplies. She adores anything that’s called a “storage solution”. She thinks See Jane Work and Pottery Barn are the first and second wonders of the world. She loves useful websites and shelter magazines. She hunts down smart work organization software and swoons for project management tools. She’s tidy, she’s a bit OCD. She’s got a To Do List and knows how to use it.”
For those of you who know me well, this does not come as any surprise. Nor should it surprise you that I apply the same level of organization to my kitchen, meal planning, and cooking as I do everything else. One of Meredith’s post series is called “How This Blogger Stays Organized.” In it she interviews seasoned bloggers on how they keep their blogging organized, current, and (most importantly) balanced among their other roles and duties. Well, I’m not stealing her post idea, just the title. Today I’m putting my spin on it and letting you in on how I stay organized in my kitchen and for my week.
As you have undoubtedly noticed, I have a pretty healthy appetite. While I do try to eat healthily on a daily basis, I have to make a decision to do it. I could easily go the other way. I realized a few years ago that the key to my eating healthily daily was to – wait, let’s say it together – “STAY ORGANIZED!” Otherwise, I’ll end up driving across the street to Burger King for lunch then going out to eat again for dinner. Not good. But if my lunches are ready to be put in the lunch box and taken out the door and dinner is ready to popped in the oven, then I eat the healthy food I bought at the grocery store.
Here’s my process. First of all I keep one of these handy dandy Real Simple lists on my refrigerator.
I got it in the office supply section of Target. They don’t come with magnets, so I also bought some peel and stick magnets at Target, and stuck it on the side of the fridge. As soon as we realize we are out of something, we just check it on this list or write it in on of the blanks.
My local grocery store, Harris Teeter, provides an online shopping service and drive through pick-up service as certain locations. (There are a whole host of reasons why I prefer to do this rather than spend my Saturday morning at the grocery store with everybody else in Charlotte that works a 40 hr work week, but that’s a post for a another day.) Luckily, one of these locations is down the street from my office and on my way home. Orders have to be placed a minimum of 4 hrs prior to your desired pick up time. So, on Wednesday nights I sit down and plan out my meals for the week. Because I’m a Penelope, I like to fill them in on this calendar that hangs under my Real Simple list on the side of my fridge.
Thursday night I place my order. Then Friday after work, I swing through Harris Teeter and Presto! My grocery shopping is done before my weekend has officially begun. You don’t even know how happy that makes me!
Don’t get too excited, though. THAT is only the beginning. We’re only on Friday night. The real magic happens on Sunday afternoon.
First I organize the week’s vitamins for BG and myself.
Yes, I know that’s an old person medication organizer, but I don’t care. It saves me from having to dig them out of all the little bottles in the morning when all I want to do is drink my coffee. It also gives me a visual reminder as to whether I have or have not taken my vitamins that day.
Then I start getting my lunches and snacks ready. For lunch this week I will be having salad topped with Goat Cheese, grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, and sliced almonds. I go ahead and grill the chicken breasts that I’ve had marinating since Saturday night.
(That gadget is my Cuisinart Griddler. I’ll post the wonders of that thing another day.) While those are grilling, I wash, tear, and spin my salad.
When that’s done I divvy it up into these perfect Martha Stewart Collection “Lunch On The Go” containers, sprinkle the sliced almonds and goat cheese on the salad, prep the oranges for topping (I don’t put those on until right before I eat it. Otherwise the lettuce gets soggy. Ick!) and my side fruit like so…
Then I close them up put one in my lunch Monday and the others in the fridge. My snack this week will be Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, topped with honey and sliced almonds. The only prep work needed here is for the almonds, the yogurt and the honey are already packaged for portability.
Now that lunch and snacks are taken care of, I start to work on dinner. At this point, I whip up any marinades or pre-chop any veggies that need to be prepared so that the prep work for the meals I have planned for this week is all done. That way, all I have to do when I get home from work is put it together and cook it. This week I only need to chop some celery and boil/cut up some new potatoes.
Whew! I think that’s it. Vitamins ready. Lunches cooked, prepped and packed. Snacks prepped and packed. Meals prepped. That is a full Sunday afternoon! And THAT, my friends, is how THIS blogger stays organized.