PB & J + Planning

Happy Friday!!! I’m so happy it’s the weekend – and next week is Thanksgiving! Can you believe it? I feel like this year has flown by.

I had a hard time deciding on breakfast today, mostly because I wanted pumpkin oats but didn’t have any banana.


I made PB & A & J oatbran instead!


  • 1/3 cup oatbran, 1 cup water, pinch salt
  • 1/2 small local Gala apple (diced and microwaved for 1 minute with cinnamon)
  • crunchy pb
  • four fruits jam


This would be really good with banana in the mix, but I liked the apples in here, too. It gave the oatbran a different texture.


I got a question the other day about meal planning and wanted to get your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions, too!

I’ve posted what my grocery list typically looks like, but my meal planning for the week doesn’t always happen the same way.

Sometimes, I have the next week’s meals planned before I even start to actually make my list.

And sometimes (like today!) I’m scrambling to figure out what I want to make next week so I can get my list done.

Mostly, I try to do the following:

  • Keep a list of recipes I see online or on tv that I want to make
  • Go through fridge/freezer to see what we already have
  • Base meals (if possible) around what we have at home and what’s on sale that week
  • Find recipes that use the same ingredients or herbs or garnishes so I don’t waste what I buy.
  • Make at least 1-2 things that will leave us some leftovers for lunch options

It’s not a foolproof system – well, it’s not really a system at all – but sticking with these things usually helps me get a pretty good list together.

And even when I have a great meal plan, there are still weeks where I end up not following the plan at all, which is also fun.


How do you do your meal planning, or do you? If not, how do you do your shopping and decide what to buy?

…and what are you making this week? I need ideas  ;)



  1. I haven’t tried oatbran yet…. Next week I will for sure. :)
    I don’t plan so we basically buy whatever we feel like buying but we usually stick to the same things every week, with a few exceptions, like when I want to try something new, but overall we just buy the same things and things we really need that week because we used it all.

  2. My meal planning tactics are literally the exact same as yours! I was like, did I write that haha?! Great minds think alike :) Have a wonderful friday dear!

  3. I’m a TERRIBLE food shopping planner – I always think of my meals that day – which means I go to the store or farmer’s market about every other day…but since it’s my favorite thing to do…I don’t mind too much!

  4. I usually plan out my meals for the day which are most snacky and basic foods, like fruit, yogurt, etc. Dinners are more complicated, and unfortunately sometimes I plan them, but most of the time I decide during the day what I want to create. I’ve tried planning before, but I end up coming up with something more creative I want to try!

  5. I don’t do meal planning but I do save recipes that I see online/magazine that I want to try. Usually 30 min before the meal I come up with what I want to eat depending on what I have in fridge. but when I don’t know… I go to the saved lists of recipes.
    groceries shopping is pretty random. I go to store and pick up whatever is in season or something that I haven’t had for a while.

  6. You just described exactly what I do. And I also stock up on staples when they are on sale so that I have more in the freezer and pantry.

    I don’t have my list in front of me but I know that there are at least 2 crockpot meals, thanksgiving and something pasta based.

  7. I try to meal plan, but my husband makes it so hard. He never wants to stick to the plan!

    I plan on cooking Chilquiles Casserole that was posted on Danica’s Daily last week. I think it looks yummy, and it is very different from all of the Thanksgiving foods I will be eating later in the week,

  8. I plan week night dinners. Like for you, the planning varies from week to week. When I see a recipe that looks good & easy, I sometimes put it on my meal plan right away (I keep a recipe file on my computer). I also have recipes on my blog, and when I really run out of ideas, a quick glance at the list, gives me some ideas. I also try to use ingredients that are in season; they are fresher and often cheaper.

    I have found that going grocery shopping with a meal plan is really helpful; it saves time & money.

    Have a great weekend, Brandi!

  9. I started planning meals about two years ago when I first got married. We save so much time and money by planning meals and making lists. On our menu this week: Baked Potato Soup, Homemade pizzas (BBQ chicken, and veggie), African Pineapple Peanut Stew (good-but different!), Tuscan White bean soup, Tofu Stir-fry. Actually, those were the meals that I planned for this last week, but it’s going to stretch into next week with all of the leftovers!

  10. Summer meal planning is super simple since my husband and I joined a local CSA. We pick up a weekly bounty of seasonal veggies, and plan accordingly. We grocery shop once every 10 days or so for dairy (milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.), and use pantry staples to create meals with the CSA veggies. I’m a little anxious about the winter, however. Next week is the last CSA delivery, and we’ll have to start implementing our meal planning around grocery lists. I do much better when I have to work with what I’m given. I’m definitely going to keep your tips handy!


  11. YAY! Your blog isn’t blocked at work anymore!!
    I try to menu plan, but a lot of times I’ll think we have things at home and we don’t, so i have to run to the grocery store multiple times a week. It’s not bad though, since it gives me time to decompress from my day.

  12. I never used to plan meals. I would pretty much check the circulars and buy whatever meat was on sale and then play it by ear during the week – this means I didn’t experiment much with recipes. Now I’m much better (but still needs improvement). I take one part of a day and plan a few recipes for the next week and then go to the store :-)

  13. I buy what I need for the week, but don’t plan out the specific days. Just depends on what I feel like for that day.

  14. I take things more on a day by day level, which is probably why it seems like I’m at a grocery store every day lol. I like to just have things on hand, and see what I can do with it. Things like boxed mac and cheese and canned tuna won’t go bad, so they’re easy to keep on hand. Then I like to get “inspired” by something I find, like maybe a local squash, and see how I can make a meal of squash and tuna.

  15. I have the same ‘system’ as you so I don’t have much advice.

    We are making – 1. penne pasta with aruglua, mushrooms, red onion, white wine, and brie; 2. leftover penne, arugula, mushroom casserole with pesto from Foodbuzz stirred in; 3. buffalo and blue cheese bean burgers…..and then it will be time for Turkey Day!


  16. Good subject! I only have two nights where I can make proper dinners, so meal planning isn’t that difficult. I star items in my google reader from other bloggers that I want to try, so I’ll look through the starred items. And I always hit up Epicurious, Cooking Light, 101 Cookbooks, Simply Recipes for inspiration as well. Then I usually buy right before I make.

  17. Love the pb&j oats! I don’t meal plan but I really should! I spend way too much going to the little good stores every day!

  18. hmm..ive never had oatbran! i usually blend up my oatmeal..i guess oatbran would be way easier

  19. PB+J anything rocks my world. i am currently obsessed with PB+J yog messes. delicious.

    i plan the same way you do – see what i have, see if there are any good recipes, see what appeals to me at the store. since next week is a short week (woowoo!) it might just be lots of rando meals :)

  20. I LOVE PB and J. Its my all time favorite!! Since we have moved, i’m not sure i want to plan our entire weeks lunches out. it seems kinda boring to eat the same thing all the time and i don’t really want to.I’m looking for new ideas, so this post was great. I loved reading all the comments!! have a great weekend hun!

  21. I have those same bowls!!

    I usually try to make something in the slow cooker on Sundays that will last us at least until Wednesday with leftovers. This weekend I’m making us a mini Thanksgiving dinner for two though.

  22. PB&J oats? thats the stuff!! looks Fa-u-lous! Im the worst grocery store shopper as I go on impulse! ha! I have a ton of recipes that I want to make and i try to stick with buying what i need but i always end up finding other tasty things and then that goes in the basket. I started making lists and then quickly realized I didnt follow them too much or half the time I would forget them or something. Im terrible at that! hahah. I actually find shopping at the grocery store relaxing. So I just kind of take my time and enjoy it.=)

  23. PB&J oat bran is the BEST!!!! it reminds me of my childhood sandwiches — sans the bread.

  24. That is one creamy looking breakfast! :D

  25. My meal planning is very similar to that. Except I haven’t been doing it lately since I’m in the middle of moving :(

  26. Oh my gosh, I am such a meal planner. I think my problem is that there are just so many recipes I want to try, that if I don’t plan them into the week, I will forget to make them.

    I usually write down meal ideas in the beignning of the week and then on Friday, I will buckle down and make the final details and write out the list. It seems to work and I really look forward to this task.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  27. mmm pbj oats. i love your planning tips. i am more of a fly by the seat of my pants eater.. whatever i can dig up or go buy to whip up quick. i guess it is easy for me since it is just me eating it! i plan more when marshall eats over.

    i am having thanksgiving tomorrow with the fam. i am making roasted brussels sprouts, savory mushroom bread pudding, cranberry apple sauce, baked sweet potato & goat cheese casserole, caramelized onions with thyme, rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, pear & gorgonzola salad.. holy crap. ima be busy..

    love the polka dot bowl!

  28. Wow! What a blog. You have a real knack for making a blog readable and easy on the eyes. I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes you have here (after a trip to the market to get the ingredients). Cooking is one of my favorite things. I love improvising in the kitchen. I don’t have time to read all the articles on your site right now, I found your site while I was looking for something else on Google, but I’ve bookmarked your home page and will visit again soon to see the latest recipes. Visit my site if you’d like to read more. Keep up the great work, and have a great weekend!

  29. Well-written. Thanks. I have been learning a lot about low-fat cooking lately. There are a lot of creative recipes using rice out there, the trick is finding one that really brings out the flavor of the rice you are using. Visit my blog if you’d like to read more. Thanks again for this blog – it is really educational.

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