As I mentioned in my last post, Is It Time For Something Different?, I am hoping to get back into my normal meal planning and healthy eating routine I had before I suffered an injury last summer that left me unable to cook for myself (go try and make your favorite whatever only using your non-dominant hand). Having to rely on easy, prepared foods (along with eating out and the kindness of others) has me less than excited about spending time in the kitchen, let only having fun trying new recipes. Not only do I hope to get my home meals back into shape but create a new habit for preparing my backpacking meals for my upcoming outdoor adventures.
Preparing for Boot Camp
Drop and give me twenty!
I signed up for the 10 Day 10 Planning Boot Camp through Melissa Joulwan’s site Well Fed and it started today! In preparation, I decided to spend a little time in the kitchen getting is sparkly clean. The biggest thing I did was clear off the counter. I even moved my Kitchen Aid mixer that I have had for 24 years to a spot in the pantry because I tend to mix by hand for most things these days (use it or lose it). It was a sad little procession but one I have been putting off for some time. Now there is plenty of space for meal prep! I’m not exactly sure what the boot camp will entail, but counter space is always welcomed. Here’s a little picture of what my kitchen could normally look like:
And how it looks now all ready to get TO WORK!
So, what was my challenge for Day 1?
I need to discover my planning personality. First, I pick a planning method with the choices being paper, electronic and whiteboard. This one was pretty easy, I do everything on my phone. My to-do list, shopping list, ideas list are all there. It is the one way I know I won’t get somewhere and not have my list. So, I created a note on my phone labeled “Meal Planning” and added a Google Calendar just for the purpose of keeping track of meals. It seems pretty simple but I am all about the straightforward.
My second step was to decide when I am going to do my meal planning. I opted for Sunday mornings, early. Since I do most of my shopping-prepping-cooking on Sundays, this will probably be the best time to get the planning done before I get to all the rest. I’m up anyway and so I might as well put the time to good use.
The Day 1 advice says start with something and don’t worry about being perfect so I am going to see how this works and adjust if needed. I, also, went over and joined their Facebook group page.. There is nothing more motivating than have a like-minded community.
What I Already Have In Mind
If you are not familiar with Well Fed, the basic principle (besides just delicious food) is to work smarter, not harder. Learn some basic meals and then make them work for you throughout the week and exploring with different spices and combinations. Based on her ideas, I tend to do a mix of batch cooking my favorite recipes and simply keeping the fridge stocked with basic staples I can pull from during the week to mix and match for meals (prepped veggies, dips, cooked meats, salad bases). If you like how this sounds, go check out more of her ideas on her blog.
One of the reasons I prep my backpacking food the way that I do, by making as many separate food items as I can and then mixing and matching with different spices to tailor meals to exactly what need or how I am feeling, is based on the same principle. Plus, some things last longer than others and it means I don’t have to throw out a whole meal just because the meat has outlived its shelf life. So, my plan for getting back to meal planning will be to include backpacking meal prep into my week, as well! Instead of cramming all my meal creating into the month before summer, I am going to be dehydrating and assembling during the winter when it makes more sense to have the dehydrator running and heating up my house.
I am imagining how less stressful it will be come spring when my meals are already done!
Did you sign up for the 10 Day challenge? What would you choose as method and when would be the best time of the week? What is your plan for getting your backpacking meals created and ready to go for next summer’s adventures?
For more information about dehydrating food for the trail, visit my Dehydrating 101 page. For more great recipes, my Recipe Index will fix you right up! To find out what my next challenges are, read Happy New Year and Boot Camp Days 2 and 3.