Navigating the OAMM Monthly Menu
Over the last few months I have seen quite a few new visitors to the site. WELCOME! There seems to be a common thread of questions as well. As I would get questions I started to look around the site and realized that there were a few things that weren’t really explained well. I suppose as the site has grown I just assumed the information was there. It wasn’t.
So this is a run down of how you, the readers, make sense of the the monthly menus and what you can expect here at Once A Month Mom.
Each month there is a new menu that is posted. The menus ALWAYS come out on the 1st of the month, no matter the day of the week. In most cases, they are posted by 8:00 am on that day. Now, this is a free service so I do reserve the right to be late or to postpone but I will typically let you know if something will be causing a delay. I have never missed a 1st of the month deadline and hopefully it will stay that way.
Previous months menus are also available for you to view. You can go to the menus tab or you can search by a particular month. We began in February 2009.
The Menu Post
The menu post includes a podcast, printable menu for cooking with a partner, links to the original recipes, a grocery list, step-by-step instructions for cooking with a partner on your cooking day, and printable labels for your meals. Here are some key things to note about the menu post:
This tells you about that months menu, what choices were made, why those choices were made and some strategies for approaching that months’ menu. You should listen to these when you have the chance. They are not very long.
I have listed out the recipes that are included in our monthly menu complete with links to the authors original recipe. For the most part, I do not create my own recipes. I like to cook, but I leave the development of great recipes to others. Each month I search the internet for great recipes that we can turn into bulk freezer meals. I strive to choose menu items that are “different” and don’t just stick with the regular old casserole (not that there is anything wrong with casseroles). I provide the original links so that those authors receive credit and because there are often great pictures.
For your cooking day you will need to go to the “printable (insert current month) menu”, which is a Google Document (if you don’t have an account already you can sign up for one for free, but it is not necessary for viewing the documents). If you want to alter this in any way you need to “save it as a new copy” before printing. Please note that there are tabs at the bottom of this document with each of the recipes. You need to print the entire document.
This is a list of all of the items that you will need to complete the menu you desire to cook. The Grocery Lists are divided by sections of the grocery store to hopefully make it easier for you to shop.
Prior to May 2011, the instructions were written for 2 people working together on a cooking day. If you are cooking alone you may need to make some variations to suit your day. After May 2011, instructions are written for one person cooking alone. However, instructions can easily be altered to add in additional people to your cooking day.
These are for you to print out on Avery 8163 or equivalent. I currently have them posted as a .pdf document. If you are cooking alone it is too many labels, I know. However, when I posted the Google Doc, where the labels are created, and readers tried to print, the labels did not print correctly. I will look into a plausible solution for this problem.
The menu each month is built on predicted grocery sales and seasonal produce. The thought being that our overall cost of cooking will be lower if we base our menu on items we expect to find on sale. Occasionally, the predictions are a bit off, but we are trying. I also put out the menu on the 1st of the month so that we can spend the rest of the month shopping the grocer sales. You most certainly can shop for your grocery items all in one day but you are more likely to save the most money if you shop throughout the month. When I am still missing items several days before my cooking day I use this shopping strategy.
Shopping with coupons will indeed get you the most savings. I also keep a running list of “lowest prices” for my area so I know when something is really a good deal (and am certain I can’t get it at Aldi for cheaper). This is a good thing for you to do as you go forward as well.
I have found that we typically spend between $100-$200 on the groceries for 4 servings. The average cost per meal for a family of 4 (NOT per serving) ends up being between $2.50-$4.50! That is some amazing savings if you ask me. True, the first month you do it your grocery bill will be higher but you will soon be turning that into savings each month. Especially because freezer cooking usually means less last minute shopping and eating out.
The Time Factor
Many people get intimidated by the thought of cooking 8-12 hours on one day. Especially if they don’t like cooking in the first place. There are a few points to be made here. If you don’t like cooking you should note that if you made all of these meals throughout the month you would be spending around 30 hours of preparation time. That means that you are actually saving time by cooking all in one day. Can you use an extra 22 hours a month?
Having a partner really does help pass the time and make things run more smoothly. If you don’t have a partner start telling your friends and family members what you are doing. I promise someone will indicate that they are interested. I had no less than 6 people ask about cooking with me when I got started. Especially when they realized the hard work of organizing the day was done for them.
There are also other posts and resources on this site that will help you navigate and answer your questions. Here are a few that might interest you: