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Keeping it Together in the Kitchen: Meal Planning Board

One thing that seems to help me keep everything organized is my meal planning board. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of forgetting to use it for weeks at a time.  (I think I sense a New Years Resolution in the making!)  But when I am using it helps me to figure out what I need to pull of the freezer to thaw out and when. It also helps me to figure out my calorie “allowance” for the day because my biggest meal is already figured out. Once a week I’d sit down and plan dinners for for the next seven days, which also gives me my shopping list and a chance to review what is in the house. If you have print outs of the recipes you’re making for the week, you could put them in a page protector clipped to the board. Most of my recipes are on the computer or in a book, so I have a page protector for takeout/delivery menus for our lazy nights.

One of my friends came over, saw my board and fell in love with it. So I decided I was going to make her one for Christmas. Of course, I had to take the opportunity to improve on my design and show everyone how to make one.

To make the board you’ll need a good sized cork board (one with a frame easy to pop off), about half a yard of fabric, index cards (or little cards printed out with dinners on them), a spool of ribbon, thumbtacks, small binder clips, one or two page protectors, and a small cup or bottle (it’s to hold the cards, mine is just the bottom of a water bottle).

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For my board I have four columns: days of the week, main dish, veggie side and carb side. For my friend’s board I made five columns in case she decides to use it as a chore chart or study schedule for her kids.

The corkboard I picked up had a plastic frame that came apart in four pieces and was stapled to the board on the back. After popping off the staples and the frame I laid it on top of the fabric to figure out where to cut it. Then I pulled the fabric over the edge of the board and put the frame back on it. I was thinking about stapling the frame down again, but it was holding really well, so I didn’t.

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Next step was to cut the index in quarters, clip on the clips without folding the arms back down. Leaving the arms up allow you to pull the cards off as you need to. Cut the ribbon to match the width of the corkboard. String the binder clips on the ribbon and tack it to the board. Thumbtack the page protector and cup to the board. And that’s it, you’re ready to go! I write the meals on the front of the card and where you can find the recipe on the back of the card. I also have multiple ones that say salad, broccoli, and pasta.

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