Hey, Grandpa, what’s for super?

Tonight it’s hamburger steaks, and tomorrow is shepherd pie. I know this because I have become a menu planner. And props if you get the title reference, y'all.

Yes, it is shocking. Ask anybody in my family.

How can I be so darned organized, you may ask. Well, it’s simple: if I don’t know what we’re going to have for dinner, food gets forgotten and risks being wasted. One thing I don’t like is wasting food. It costs good money that we can’t afford to lose by throwing out food that’s gone bad.

I’ve been keeping this kind of information in my head for a while, but I’ve got better uses for the ol’ gray matter. I started writing it down on the whiteboard calendar (which is no longer on the fridge, but resides in a new home on the front door), but it was a pain to write it down, erase, write something else, erase… You get the drift.

So, I’ve been looking at various things on Pinterest, and kept seeing variations of something called a menu board, or a menu planning board.

Have I mentioned I spend way too much time there? Well, I do, but it’s turning into productive time, so let’s not go there. ha ha

Back to the topic on hand, I found one particularly interesting idea and knew I could make a version for myself. I have loads of old magnetic business cards, and more scrapbooking supplies than I should probably admit to, at risk of being sent away for an intervention.

Okay, my mind wandered again. Where was I? Oh, yeah.

So I opened up a program I’ve had for a few years call Sure Cuts a Lot (SCAL), which allows you to make designs, or cut other people’s designs in paper, card stock or vinyl. I have an older model Cricut Expression (and a couple of personal cutters, too. Have I mentioned the scrapbooking supplies?), which I already had out to cut some stencils for Daddy.

Sadly, Provocraft, the maker of the Cricut machines, doesn’t allow their machines to work with third-party software, so don’t go rushing to get the program. It won’t work. boo hiss As a side note, it’s pronounced like the insect: cricket. Though in my head, I still say it “cry cut”. I’m funny that way.

After some fiddling, I managed to create a grid, like a calendar, with four rows of seven squares. I made the squares 2.5 inches, to fit the menu cards I’d already made. Oops, I’ve gotten ahead of myself here. Never mind, it will work out in the end, I promise.

I typed out the days of the week, or rather, the abbreviated versions, and welded them to the appropriate row on the grid. For this, I used a plain font, and lower case letters. I also typed the words “On the Menu” and made that into a fancy script. Just because.

Then I came to a standstill, because I couldn’t find any black vinyl to cut the blasted thing with. Talk about being frustrated. Well, mad mostly, but frustrated. Scrap bin to the rescue! Turns out I had two 12 inch squares of matte black vinyl tucked away in with the bits and pieces I keep for smaller jobs.

Hooray! Day is saved! Are you half as relieved as I was? I know the post isn’t over yet, but hang in there.

I cut the design, and spent this morning saying very naughty words while I tried to get the thing up on the fridge. This is one of those jobs it’s probably better to have an extra set of hands during the construction phase, because the grid is fairly large, and being cut it from two pieces of vinyl made it very tricky to get in position. Thank goodness for the wet apply method, is all I’m saying.

But it's up, I’ve got my magnetic menu cards done and sorted into baseball card sheets in my kitchen binder. I’ve even got the next few days’ menus on the planning board. Here’s proof:


Pretty awesome, right? Other than the glare from my white fridge, that is. Above the "On the Menu" is my gargoyle, who protects my kitchen, and keeps watch over the back door (which he is facing). I have gargoyles all over the place, and they work very hard.

I know it starts on Thursday (chili, yum!), but I had the card up from yesterday so I stuck it on the right square. Tonight's meal is hamburger steaks, then shepherd pie, nachos and soup. Monday is shopping day, so I'll start planning again from there. You can see the edges around the white paper is inked in blue, except for the soup, which I have as a vegetarian dish.

At the same site where I got the inspiration for the menu planning board, was a nifty way of storing the extra cards that aren’t being used. It involves baseball card storage pages, which I thankfully have quite a few of, remnants from Sk8monkey’s Pokeman days.

 
 

Here are a couple of pages for the cards not being used. Excuse the glare. I probably should have taken the book outside, and avoided the flash, but I'm lazy. The top picture is of some of the beef recipes, and the bottom is chicken. I really need to find more chicken recipes.

I used some old magnetic business cards from the wedding chapel my sister and I used to have. You can use magnetic sheets from the office supply or craft stores, if you don't have any old business cards hanging around. I cut the cards into two inch squares, and used an ATG tape gun to attach same-sized squares of scrapbook paper to the front. I inked the edges of these in black, to hide any spots where my cutting wasn't so great.

Then I cut some squares of white paper into 1.5 by 1.5 inch squares. I hand-wrote the names of the recipes we normally use on these pieces, inked the edges depending on their category, and stuck them onto the cards. I actually made up a Word document with the names, but my printer is out of ink and Second of Three kept forgetting to stop by someplace and get them printed for me. So we get to look at my bad handwriting. Yuck.

The categories I used were: beef (blue), chicken (yellow), vegetarian (green) and other meat (red). I also made cards for: holiday, take out, new recipe and pot luck (pinkish). There's room to add more recipes as I come across them, if they make it into the rotation.

The actual recipes are in one of my cookbook collection, my recipe book, the kitchen binder, or saved on the computer. I’m working on getting our regular things into the recipe book, so it’s easier to find them, but I know most things by heart. We eat pretty simply, so it's easy to remember what goes in the dishes.

There you have it, my latest burst of organizational enthusiasm. Thanks for sticking with me to this point. Still to come are posts on my efforts to rebrand my writing career, a disappointing chicken update, and more still more exciting news from my world.