I am Josie. I am the friend with the food allergy family. I am joining Erica in this quest. Actually we have been working on it together for a few years now. I always know what Erica has eaten, will eat, is wanting to try to eat and will never eat again. And at any moment she could tell you the same about me. I enjoy cooking, eating, reading cookbooks and planning meals, but in moderation. I tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. a lot. My least favorite part is from 3:30 until 6 when I don't have a plan. I spend much needed mental energy contemplating what to feed this family. Each hour that passes, crosses undecided upon options off the list. This drives my husband INSANE. "We have a pantry full of food. How is this an issue?" he asks. "We have a pantry full of ingredients," I politely correct.
I have tried many forms of organizing my menu plan to avoid this situation. I have made a very detailed weekly menu, down the specifics for each snack. It was ridgid and confining, but the week or two I was able to do it was great. I knew what to make for 3 meals and 2 snacks everyday without thinking. I have been unable to do this since. I sit down on the couch with my cookbooks and a blank sheet of paper and I simply cannot think of anything I have made for this family in the past 8 years. So I fritter away an hour looking through the cookbooks, asking the kids what they like to eat (cake and candy) and end up playing Word Twist on Facebook. So then I found a few other ideas for looser but still structured menu planning here and here. I just can't commit to them either. My new plan is to make a cheat sheet. Much like this one for recipes, except for meals my family enjoys.