Friday, November 17, 2006

Saving Dinner cookbooks etc.

Like the FlyLady system, I don't follow the Saving Dinner plan very well or often. BUT, when I do follow as instructed, I have to say that the results they promise DO follow, both from Flylady and Saving Dinner. FLyLady is a housekeeping, routine building, bring-peace-to-your-life-by-decluttering cheerleader. Saving Dinner is the set of cookbooks by Leanne Ely, who writes the Food for Thought emails from FlyLady. Ms. Ely also has a subscription email version of her cookbooks called Menu Mailer. The main idea is that she gives you the menu and the shopping list and the recipes for six days at a time, so you don't have to think too hard about planning your evening meals. Her recipes are easy to modify, which is lucky for me because I have picky eaters and one with allergies, and I own a tempermental slowcooker/crockpot. And no, I'm not talking about my husband or myself ;) There is usually one crockpot meal, one vegetarian meal, and one fish meal per week. Because my eldest is allergic to fish, I usually just skip those and substitute some old stand-by family favorite.

You can probably get these cookbooks through interlibrary loan if your library doesn't have them, or just investigate the Menu Mailer (linked above) to get a good feel for what the books are like. I bought mine at a discount through Overstock.com, but I don't know if they still carry them. Why did I buy them? I thought I'd give one a try even though I wasn't confident my family would go for the recipes. I can't remember if I found it at the library before I purchased it. I liked the tone of her writing from her newsletters, I had gotten a complimentary subscription to Menu Mailer at one point, and I liked her attitude about healthy food. I liked the first book well enough to buy the second, the low carb one. Not that I was going to go low carb, but every recipe in the low carb book has regular carb options for the rest of the family, so it didn't matter. The best thing about the books for me is that she puts in plenty of vegetables and whole grains, of which my family needs more, and I need reminding to serve. I have a terrible habit of making the main dish and forgetting the sides. Lucky for us lots of my main dishes are casserole or pot roast or the like that have all the veggies right in them. But there have been plenty of times where it came down to the wire and someone said, "What's for dinner?" and I'd say, "Chicken." and then realize chicken and what??? Thank goodness for frozen veggies and canned fruit. Anywhooo, I also have her Holidays cookbook, which is nice but I don't like it nearly as well as the others. The organizational tips are good, especially for big meals like Thanksgiving, but you can also get those for free from FlyLady.

So tell me, how do you plan your menus? Do you plan? For the most part I just try to keep a well stocked freezer and pantry and then I end up with meals like "chicken and um... what?" But I have the veggies somewhere, and hey, I can always bake a cake :) I even have two different recipes for great chocolate cake with no eggs.

As an aside: Could any of you tell me how to make links so that when the reader clicks on a link it opens in a new window instead of navigating away from the page? I suppose it's some HTML thing I'd have to put in somewhere...

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