Simplify For Fall: Kitchen & Meal Plan

This week I’m following along with the Life Your Way Simplify for Fall Challenge. Six days, six areas of the home to simplify. I’ll be sharing my progress here all week.

Simplify your: Kitchen & Meal Plan

Time I spent on this task: 3-4 hours *half of that was meal planning and organizing grocery delivery for the month


For this task I:

Tidied up our dry food cupboards and wiped them out. I checked for anything that was expired.

Yes, I have a LOT of spices. I use them. I really do.

Emptied out and sorted through all the crap that has accumulated on these shelves in the last four months.

that's better

Put some matting in the cooking utensil drawer.

Found a few more bits and pieces from the owners that we weren’t using and boxed them up.

Checked the freezer and refrigerator to see if anything was out of date. All clear on that one.

This was a good kick in the butt to take stock of what we have. If you look closely at the cooking utensil drawer photos you’ll see we have not one but two pairs of tongs. One is ours, one came with the place. I kept them both because I use a nonstick pan that would get scratched from the metal tongs. I’d like to pack up the nonstick and switch to cast iron now that we have a gas stove again. When I stop using nonstick pans I can get rid of the plastic tongs and plastic flipper.

Meal Plan

For the last year or so I’ve kept a meal plan on Google Docs. It’s pretty casual and has a master list of meals we like and then sheets for each week. Some weeks I don’t use the meal plan at all. I just make an online grocery order and select meat + vegetables for each night’s dinner and then our usual items for breakfasts. Lunch is usually leftovers.

For the Simplify for Fall Challenge I created a thirty day wheat and dairy free meal plan. We eat that way for 2/3 of our meals but I want to be completely wheat and dairy free by the end of my pregnancy.

Henry was a very gassy and unhappy newborn. I hope eliminating some known allergens from my diet will help our second child, and us, have an easier start. I also feel really good when I stay off wheat and dairy. I sleep well and have better energy. Perks abound.

As fate would have it Chris read the book It Stars With Food and wanted to try the 30 day nutrition challenge described in the book. So I took the meal plan to the next level and eliminated anything processed or packaged. I made two seven day meal plans that I will alternate over the 30 days.

Grocery delivery really simplifies my life and makes living without a car easier. For the challenge I set up my deliveries for the next month. It was pretty easy because once I had a shop in my queue for the week 1 & 2 meals I could just copy those lists for the following weeks. Simple. I’ll be using that method from now on.

Tomorrow: Toys & School Supplies

 Anyone else taking the Simplify for Fall Challenge? How are you fairing with the tasks?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Like this post? Share it:
  • The kitchen cupboards and fridge/freezer are waiting for me (and the kids) this afternoon! Also, I have 2 kgs of rice that I want to cook and freeze. Furthermore, I have to do some uniform-shopping with the kids too, as yesterday we decided to go to the cinema instead of the school supplies shop. :)

    As we still do not have a car, I am making the most of my 4-week meal plan/shopping list. TESCO online shopping is handy.

    • TESCO online shopping is handy. I don’t think I would have lasted car-free here without it.
      What a nice mum taking them to the cinema instead of school supply shopping. :)

  • Who needs Fifty shades when you’ve cupboard porn? 😉 I love love love cleaning out kitchen cupboards. It’s one task I remember doing for my Mom when I was little. She has a large pantry also so it was extra exciting!! The cupboards are looking good Rachel. I spy some protein (a staple here) and also lot’s of spices. Last count I had 36 – and indeed, like you, I use them! As for meal-planning, well I was born a meal-planner I reckon, so that’s a must here…

    • Oh yes we are! 😉 and if you get tired of ogling your cupboards pop Food Network on… last week I indulged in “Cupcake Wars” and “Amazing Wedding Cakes”. Getting really in the swing why not photograph your fridge weekly? Oh my if only my 20-yr-old self could meet me now!

    • Hey Bryanna – here is our Whole 30 plan. I adjust meals based on the best buy dates from my grocery delivery. For instance, tonight we are having slow cooked beef tortilla soup instead of chicken and I’ll make a chicken rogan josh or korma instead.

    • Here’s what we’ll have next week. First is dinner, second is tea.

      Mon. prawn and vegetable steam-fry -French toast
      Tue. spagetti bolognese – brown bread, carrots, scallions
      Wed. lefovers – eggs
      Thur. spinach pasta – chips and dips
      Fri. soup, pancakes – pizza
      Sat. sausages with mash&baked beans – salad
      Sun. fajitas – jacket potatoes

  • OH I wish we had grocery delivery here! I e-mailed Amazon’s grocery program but since we’re in a small town in the middle of nowhere I don’t see that anytime soon. 😉

  • I wish we had grocery delivery here, but I live in a very rural area so I doubt it will ever happen. I don’t know that I could ever have only one week’s worth of groceries at a time. There are plenty of times that I can’t make it to the store for 10 days, so we have to rely on whatever combinations I can make out of my freezer along with picking up some bread and milk at the little convienence store. I am trying to use up some of our extras though as we’re looking at moving in a couple months & I really dislike having to pack & move a lot of groceries. Your progress looks great though! And I’m cracking up at “cupboard porn”– I’d rather see cupboards than 50 shades any day!

  • I went dairy free at the end of my last pregnancy, and had a much less gassy newborn. Maybe she would have been less gassy either way, but it was a complete 180 from my first. Worth the sacrifice!

    I’m participating in the Simplify for Fall, but I’m so busy actually simplifying, I haven’t had time to post about it! I’m impressed you can do both!!

    • Well I have a little secret: I started and completed some of these projects last week. :) I don’t think I could get them all done and blog about them in real time. Mandi from Life Your Way has a neat posting system where she posts here before photos and then blogs and send pictures updates as she works through the project. I’ve just been picking away at things in the morning and evenings.
      Dairy free: good to hear this. I have to remind myself that I’m doing it for myself too. I feel better without dairy – although I do miss my cheese.

  • Rachel, where do you get your recipes for non wheat/dairy meals? I suspect that my two year old son would do well without either in his diet. Also, have you read much on coconut oil/milk? I hear conflicting information on the health benefits/hazards.

    Once again your clean cupboards and drawers have given me some inspiration!!

    • Mostly from and (some recipes on this site have dairy as an option). I also adapt some of our favourites. We like shake and bake chicken so instead of making a bread crumb based coating I use ground almonds.
      We use coconut oil and coconut milk (the canned kind, we use it in curries and a few other things). There’s so much information out there and conflicting studies I find it hard to navigate all of them. For me, if we’re eating mostly whole foods and unpackaged/unprocessed foods, I feel like we’re doing really well.

  • Great post! I think planning dinners is the key to healthy eating. I’d love to see a post about how you organize your recipes. I’m in the process of moving any hard copy recipes and cookbook recipes to my computer. I’m mostly saving in Word in different categories (pasta, breakfast, etc.), but wonder if there is a better way. I look forward to your blog everyday! Tx!

    • I tend to collect a lot of recipes and try to do too many things. When I started de-cluttering my kitchen, I also de-cluttered my recipes. I have purposefully limited my recipes to that stuff I want to cook. I no longer try to do every kind of cultural food, I have limited it down to several kinds of Asian dishes and some indian. I was able to narrow down my equipment by narrowing down my recipes. I no longer have any recipes for my crock-pot so why did I have it. The only thing I cooked in it was dry beans and I have a pressure cooker that can do it faster.

      When there is less recipes, you don’t need a really big organizing system. I just have a three ring binder and each recipe is in a clear plastic sheet. I also keep recipes on a external drive with my files. Only the stuff I really use all the time makes it into the binder.

  • I have cleaned out the fridge from top to bottom and put clear textured IKEA shelf liners on the shelves. Since the clear, the light in the fridge is still able to shine through. I got the liner with the idea that it would make the fridge easier to clean, but It made my fridge look really nice. I also recently got long rectangular clear containers that have three removable sections. They are made by Lock & Lock. I have three of them and I use them for chopped veggies for salads, stir-frys, lunches, etc… It makes it much easier to incorporate lots of veggies into our diet when they are prepped and ready to use. When my fridge looks neat, bright, and orderly, I tend to keep it that way more easily.

    I have been Gluten-Free for a year, ever since I found out that it was making me sick. I went cold turkey. I find that eating an Asian diet full of rice, veggies, eggs, protein & tofu, with fruit for dessert, lends itself very well for me. The Japanese diet does not really have much bread, baked goods, or dairy in it.

    Foods I like to make:
    tamagoyaki (sweet egg omelet)
    Oyakodon (egg and chicken dish that goes over rice)
    Kimchi fried rice (you basicly make fried rice out of rice and kimchi)
    Miso soup (I add any veggie i want)
    Gyūdon (beef and onion rice bowl / so yummy!)
    Fried rice (I make it with what ever veggies I have/ just hungry has a great recipe for it)
    Homemade veggie sushi (good with cucumber inside or tamagoyaki)
    Sushi Bowl ( make the sushi rice, put it in a bowl and top it with all the things you like in your sushi. This is an easy way to do sushi without having to roll it up. I like english cucumber, tamagoyaki, shredded carrots, cooked salmon or smoked salmon, etc…)
    Japanese dry curry (this is a ground beef curry rice dish)
    Pad Thai (I get the pre-made pad thai sauce, which makes it easier)
    Stir-fry (I just put whatever veggies I have into my wok and stir fry it with either soy sauce and canola oil or canola oil and homemade teriyaki sauce. I may add some firm tofu.)
    Fried tofu with eggs (drain firm tofu, cut into cubes, dip in egg and pan fry on each side. Put on top of stir-fry with rice or sushi in a bowl.)

    • Dinah – I’ve been considering some bulk veggie prep. How long do the chopped veggies stay good in your containers in the fridge?

Comments are closed.