Friday, May 2, 2008

What's for dinner?

So Floyd and I traditionally go back and forth with each other. "What do you want for dinner?", "What do YOU want for dinner?" et cetera, et cetera until we cave in and make frozen pizza or noodle-roni or something else that is quick, tastes okay, but is not exciting, and doesn't include many vegetables. This happened almost every day and maybe once a week I might get ambitious and plan something that actually involved cooking.

Well now that I am home during the day, and have a young toddler to feed, I felt like I should be making more nutritiously diverse meals. So I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a website that just told you what to make every day and gave you a grocery list?" Then I figured there probably was, so off I went and started googling menu planning services. There are plenty. So being a frugally minded person, my idea was to try each websites sample menu, and since there were about 8-10 sites that would last me two months, and rotating menus every two months would work pretty well, and it wouldn't cost me anything.

Well after perusing the menus (on a side note look up the word peruse, I was very shocked at it's definition) some of the menus really didn't sound too good. So I did another search for whole food meal planning and found Their sample menu looked really good and their philosophy behind diet seemed similar to mine--eat a wide variety of fresh foods. They aren't providing a weight loss service so they don't provide calorie counts or fat content and they don't sacrifice taste by trying to make a meal "light" (one of my pet peeves), they provide recipes made with fresh ingredients that taste good. So I decided to try their site first. It was very tasty. Their current sample menu is a little different now then it was when we tried it, but my favorites, the chicken strips, steak sandwhich, and the tomato salad are still there. The chicken strips have a side dish of zucchini and potatoes that is really yummy. I am not a fan of salads but the tomato salad was really good and I got to make my own croutons. So overall I was pretty happy, but I figured I should give another site a try.

So I tried Their sample menu seemed pretty good when you looked at it, unfortunately it seemed like noone actually tried the recipes out before providing them. A couple had really weird contrasting flavors that didn't seem to go together, and a meatball recipe's proportions were all wrong--it was supposed to be a recipe for four, but it said to put an entire bag of meatballs in and the meatball package served 14. So after that disappointment I decided to sign up for's service after all. It is only $15 for 3 months so it is a pretty good deal.

We have been using it for about 2 months and have been overall happy with it. Like I said before I am not a salad person, but their salad recipe's are really good. I am also not a very good cook, but I have only had screw ups with a few of the recipe's so overall most of the recipe's are pretty easy to make. Not every recipe has been a roaring success, but each week there is usually one that is really good, that you really would like to have again. I usually only use about 5 of the 7 recipe's a week and then do leftovers, go out, or do something easy the other days.

The one big thing that is annoying and I find inconvenient is when you print out the recipe's and the grocery list your recipe and grocery list often get split between pages , so that you are constantly flipping between two pages. However I know that technically this is easier said then done. As a web developer you have virtually no control over how html is printed so you are pretty much stuck with what you get-- however it seems like their should be a library out there somewhere that allows you to dynamically create pdf files... But I haven't seen it and that is totally off topic.

But I really recommend this service to anyone who has a hard time deciding what to make for dinner. I really think the chef in this family owned business is talented and I feel really good about recommending their site.

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