If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE to cook. (I certainly have not always loved to cook… it really has been in the last eight years or so that I’ve picked it up and enjoyed it as much as I do). I share recipes on this blog all the time. Cooking, in some weird way, relaxes me… I don’t know. I just enjoy it. I love the process of meal planning, trying a new recipe, learning a new skill, testing different ingredient combinations and whatnot. But, to be totally honest, the last few months or so I’ve been finding myself making the same meals over and over again and my menu planning process has been a bit… lacking… you could say, in variety.
My sister is the QUEEN of menu planning. For years she has clipped recipes from newspapers and magazines and whatnot and she’s planned her meals a month in advance. I’ve always admired that. Finally, back in May, I got an old school white board calendar, put it on the fridge, and started meal planning a month in advance… (You can see what it looks like pictured here… this was my meal plan and whatnot for September)… I figured I would try my sister’s method of menu planning and see if that helped switch up the monotony of meals around here, help control our grocery bill (so I’m not just aimlessly buying food in the store), and get me just a little more organized.
Overall, the process has actually worked pretty well. I sit down at the kitchen table the last day of the month and I just write out dinners for the next month on the whiteboard. I go through cookbooks and Pinterest and I try to find recipes I want to try and I write them out. But, inevitably, when it comes time to actually going grocery shopping for that particular week’s meals… I can’t find the recipe, or I forget to get a critical ingredient for a particular recipe, or something falls through the cracks. So, it does end up being a little bit more difficult than I originally anticipated.
Anyway. I’m rambling.
The sweet people at Cooking Planit reached out to me and wanted to see if I wanted to partner with them in the month of October for their Colavita Eat Fresh Challenge (#EatFreshChallenge). At first, to be honest, I was like, “Ehhh, I dunno. I don’t know if this will be a good fit or if this will be something I’d use…” But then I took a look at the website, looked at the app, read a little bit more about it and I thought, “Hmm, actually this looks like exactly the thing I have been looking for to make my meal planning and grocery shopping process easier and more streamlined.” So, I said, “YES! Let’s do this!”
In short, Cooking Planit is not just a “meal planning” or “recipe” app, it’s a whole system, if you will. It’s a digital, personal cooking assistant. It gives you everything from recipes, to full on meals, to creating a meal schedule, to telling you step-by-step what to do next when actually cooking your meals, to creating a grocery list for you based upon what meals you have planned for that week (or you can even add your own items to the grocery list, too). One of the things that is also awesome about it is that all of the meals include fresh ingredients… fresh meats, produce, cheeses, etc.
I tend to cook pretty healthy meals to begin with, but to be honest, I could absolutely do better. I’ve really been on a health kick and I’ve been trying to eat better, so this was just another GREAT way for me to expand my cooking repertoire and whatnot and start making fresher, greener, healthier meals. So, I really was totally (AM totally) on board and pumped to really give this thing a shot and see what it’s all about.
Technically I was only supposed to try Cooking Planit for two weeks throughout the month of October starting this week, but because I plan a month in advance and because I’m OCD like that, I was all like, “It’s go hard or go home on this one, baby! Let’s do the whole month!”
I will be making meals throughout the weeks. Now, I have built in some nights for leftovers or if we are out of town or if John has to work late… so it’s not EVERY night that I’m cooking with Cooking Planit… but about 4-5 times a week.
Next week, I’m gonna be sharing a little bit more of my experience, some of the recipes I’ve been trying, etc. AND I’m going to be sharing an AWESOME contest with y’all and giving away a Colavita Pantry Essentials basket (valued at $120!!!). More details to come next week, but you can be preparing by signing up for a Cooking Planit account, if you’d like. Also, if you are interested in checking out any of the awesome stuff that Colavita has to offer, I have a coupon code for you to use: “EATFRESH20” for 20% any Colavita purchase PLUS free shipping on orders over $99.
There is a desktop / web version, an Android version, and an iOS version (iPad AND iPhone). There is a paid version of the mobile app that is ad free (I think it’s like $2.99)… but there’s also a free version!
I’m also joining 10 other fab lifestyle bloggers on this “journey” towards eating fresher and better this month. Check them out below!
*This post is in partnership with Cooking Planit. All opinions are 100% my own and I am giving you a raw, honest review of my experiences. Thanks for supporting the companies that help support me and my family!