nook & spice

BY ANDREA BEFUS

WHERE WE

spice up

your nook

& nourish

your soul

food meets family & stories intertwine

with flavors

what to expect...

Explore The Internet's Most Buzz-Worthy Recipes

We explore, taste, and review the internet's most talked-about dishes. From viral hits to undiscovered treasures, my global journey infuses each review with distinctive insights and a touch of humor.

Conversations Over Coffee - or Hot Cocoa If You're Like Me ;)

Each blog post is a genuine conversation, like catching up over coffee. Engaging and heartfelt, I share life's highs and lows. It's about nourishing the body AND the soul, with content that speaks to your values.

Easy Meal Plan Inspirations for Your Family's Table

Save yourself time by peaking into my kitchen and see what's cooking each week. I share meal plans that come straight from what's cooking in my world. I promise simplicity, variety, and a dash of adventure.

recent blog posts...

blog image

How to Meal Plan Without Losing Your Mind

January 14, 20244 min read

I can literally hear the groan inside people's heads when they think about meal planning...

And trust me, I get it.

Meal planning sometimes feels like the WORST because it can take a lot of thinking. It's not only thinking of dinners, but ALL the meals for every person for the entire week. Plus groceries. Plus making sure it works with the schedule. Then the week actually happens and your meal plan goes out the window because something pops up.

I've figured out a way to meal plan that helps me stay sane, the bank account stays happy, the family eats yummy food, and it also accounts for the fact that life happens and schedules change.

In this post you'll learn:

  1. The principles behind meal planning that most people miss because they're focused on the tactics that get too complicated

  2. The meal planning app I use that keeps everything organized

  3. Top Tips for your family's success

Family Photo

~ Principles Behind Meal Planning ~

#1 Preserve Your Mental Energy:

  • Making decisions now = no "decision fatigue" later. When you meal plan ahead of time, you're actually saving time and energy throughout the week. The last thing you want to do is wait until the last minute and feel frantic at dinner time. A frantic cook is not helpful. So spending a little energy ahead of time is essential.

#2 Get Organized

  • It doesn't matter where you keep your plan: a note on your phone, a Post-It on your fridge, or an app on your phone - all that matters is that it's written down somewhere for you to reference. Read about my favorite app below!

#3 Be Flexible

  • Life happens. So whatever system you have must account for the appointment you forgot about, or the kid's friend who is over at dinner time, or the late soccer practice. When we are too tied to a schedule, then frantic energy can pop up again.

#3 Test Everything

  • It'll take some time to find what works best for your family! Have patience and make it fun for everyone.

Kitchen

~ Favorite Meal Planning App ~

I have tried A LOT of meal planning systems. Hands down my favorite is an app called Plan to Eat. Inside this phone and desktop app you can:

  • Save online recipes with just a link (that means NO scrolling through long stories or ads to make recipes)

  • Sort all your recipes into categories and search by ingredients

  • Get grocery lists automatically created for the week's recipes

  • Meal plan calendar

  • Share recipes with friends

I learned about this program from my friend Katie and WOW it blew my mind. It's only $49/year or less than $6/month. DEFINITELY worth it. I use it every day. If you click the link above, you can sign up using my link (affiliate commissions may apply).

If you have a meal planning app or system you love, then message me on Instagram! I'd love to hear about it.

plan to eat screenshot

~ Top Tips For Meal Planning ~

**Note: I wrote this for families living in the USA. I would make some tweaks if living internationally.

  1. Meal plan for 1 week ahead

  2. Plan 6 dinners a week (assuming the 7th dinner will be take out, date night, or visiting family, etc.)

  3. Always have the essentials for breakfasts and lunches so you can whip up a dish you already love and don't have to think about

  4. When planning meals for the week, look at the main proteins and carb ingredients you have in the house and build your meals around those

  5. Look at the weekly deals at your local grocery store and plan meals around those (prioritizing proteins and fresh foods)

  6. Rarely walk through the snack or drink aisle at the store so your pantry isn't full of junk snacks

  7. Make sure to plan for something FRESH AT EVERY MEAL

  8. Random Side Note: The fancy meats you see at the deli counter? Usually they're the same products as what's in the cases. It's all been frozen. These are just displayed fancier.

There you have it! My favorite tips for meal planning. If you have suggestions I can add to this list, then message me on Instagram! I'd love to hear from you!

meal planapptips
Back to Blog
blog image

How to Meal Plan Without Losing Your Mind

January 14, 20244 min read

I can literally hear the groan inside people's heads when they think about meal planning...

And trust me, I get it.

Meal planning sometimes feels like the WORST because it can take a lot of thinking. It's not only thinking of dinners, but ALL the meals for every person for the entire week. Plus groceries. Plus making sure it works with the schedule. Then the week actually happens and your meal plan goes out the window because something pops up.

I've figured out a way to meal plan that helps me stay sane, the bank account stays happy, the family eats yummy food, and it also accounts for the fact that life happens and schedules change.

In this post you'll learn:

  1. The principles behind meal planning that most people miss because they're focused on the tactics that get too complicated

  2. The meal planning app I use that keeps everything organized

  3. Top Tips for your family's success

Family Photo

~ Principles Behind Meal Planning ~

#1 Preserve Your Mental Energy:

  • Making decisions now = no "decision fatigue" later. When you meal plan ahead of time, you're actually saving time and energy throughout the week. The last thing you want to do is wait until the last minute and feel frantic at dinner time. A frantic cook is not helpful. So spending a little energy ahead of time is essential.

#2 Get Organized

  • It doesn't matter where you keep your plan: a note on your phone, a Post-It on your fridge, or an app on your phone - all that matters is that it's written down somewhere for you to reference. Read about my favorite app below!

#3 Be Flexible

  • Life happens. So whatever system you have must account for the appointment you forgot about, or the kid's friend who is over at dinner time, or the late soccer practice. When we are too tied to a schedule, then frantic energy can pop up again.

#3 Test Everything

  • It'll take some time to find what works best for your family! Have patience and make it fun for everyone.

Kitchen

~ Favorite Meal Planning App ~

I have tried A LOT of meal planning systems. Hands down my favorite is an app called Plan to Eat. Inside this phone and desktop app you can:

  • Save online recipes with just a link (that means NO scrolling through long stories or ads to make recipes)

  • Sort all your recipes into categories and search by ingredients

  • Get grocery lists automatically created for the week's recipes

  • Meal plan calendar

  • Share recipes with friends

I learned about this program from my friend Katie and WOW it blew my mind. It's only $49/year or less than $6/month. DEFINITELY worth it. I use it every day. If you click the link above, you can sign up using my link (affiliate commissions may apply).

If you have a meal planning app or system you love, then message me on Instagram! I'd love to hear about it.

plan to eat screenshot

~ Top Tips For Meal Planning ~

**Note: I wrote this for families living in the USA. I would make some tweaks if living internationally.

  1. Meal plan for 1 week ahead

  2. Plan 6 dinners a week (assuming the 7th dinner will be take out, date night, or visiting family, etc.)

  3. Always have the essentials for breakfasts and lunches so you can whip up a dish you already love and don't have to think about

  4. When planning meals for the week, look at the main proteins and carb ingredients you have in the house and build your meals around those

  5. Look at the weekly deals at your local grocery store and plan meals around those (prioritizing proteins and fresh foods)

  6. Rarely walk through the snack or drink aisle at the store so your pantry isn't full of junk snacks

  7. Make sure to plan for something FRESH AT EVERY MEAL

  8. Random Side Note: The fancy meats you see at the deli counter? Usually they're the same products as what's in the cases. It's all been frozen. These are just displayed fancier.

There you have it! My favorite tips for meal planning. If you have suggestions I can add to this list, then message me on Instagram! I'd love to hear from you!

meal planapptips
Back to Blog

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ABOUT ME

welcome to

nook & spice

My name is Andrea and there are 2 things that matter to me most: cooking yummy foods & being with the people I love! Having traveled to over 30 countries and enjoying every cuisine I've ever tried, and being willing to fail in the kitchen, it has led me to develop skills that I want to share with others!

As Remy from the Disney movie 'Ratatouille' would say, "Anyone can cook!"

Here at the NOOK & SPICE Blog, we're more than a food blog...

We're a community, a source of inspiration, and a companion in your family's growth.

Browse, read, cook, and grow with us.

Let's create delicious memories together.