Meal Planning for January

I love these cold January days.  We have been hiking numerous days in a row, the sun shining through the bare trees, the hawks flying around us, the rivers running fast and high.

We have also been home, basking in candlelight, salt lamps, cozy woolen warmth and fires.  Books and board games and creating things.  It makes my heart so happy.  We have had places to get to, but not so much that one feels rushed or overwhelmed.  I love this time of year.  One thing I deeply enjoy this time of year is the warmth and love of the kitchen. I have a pot of bone broth going right now.  I love to cook and I cook frequently.  Warming foods seems so important.  I am no cooking expert at all, but I would love for my readers to  share some ideas for your favorite foods for this month and ideas for meal planning, and I will share a few of mine.

For warming drinks for little people, I like warm apple cider and raspberry tea.  For older children, I like hot chocolate.  Bone broths can also be a satisfying hot drink.

Smoothies feel a little out of place to me in January when it is cold, but I have to admit that sometimes a smoothie is my breakfast or lunch when everyone else wants something that is higher in carbohydrates that I don’t feel like eating.  I like ice with water, chocolate protein powder, a banana, and a little bit of chocolate coconut almond butter.  You could also add greens to it, and whatever powdered adaptogenic herbs you like.

For breakfasts, we have been having spinach scrambled eggs in tortillas with salsa, waffles on special festival days, buttermilk pancakes, and oatmeal done in a rice cooker with cinnamon and chopped apple.  Also, we have been juicing.  For my husband especially I have been making a combination of beet, apple, pear, carrot and lemon.  It is yummy, and our six year old really likes it too!

Lunch has always been the hardest meal for me to figure out.  I recently took Beauty That Moves Freezer Cooking Class.  I love Heather’s recipes, and I have been trying out many of her recipes from this class for lunch.  So, right now on our rotation we have some legume dishes, soups, and rice bakes and I usually cook fish for one lunch a week.

For dinner, we usually do some sort of crockpot meal.  This can include pastured chicken or pork from our local farmer or some sort of bison, along with some vegetarian meals.  I am not huge on wheat, but we do like barley or millet mixed with lentils or split peas or roasted potatoes and lots of vegetables.

I have been trying to cut desserts down after the holidays, which is hard with the sweet tooth of all the children, so if we have to have something baked apples are so warm and lovely.

I would love to hear what you have been cooking!


17 thoughts on “Meal Planning for January

  1. I am looking forward to reading more ideas. I like yours and I feel in a rut, especially with lunch. We are gluten-free and limit animal protein. It sure does save money to menu plan, though!

    • Mary Lynn,
      These are some of favorites right now – black beans and rice, broccoli cheese rice casserole, Caribbean quinoa bowl, baked sweet potatoes…
      I agree, it really helps to plan, especially on busy school days!

  2. Thank you for sharing…I imagine many of us are in this common shift of getting back into the routine, winter weather meals, etc. We also are back to just picking a piece of fruit for dessert routine. The children really love “create your own meals” for lunch so I get a few grains cooked for the week, a few choices of raw or roasted veggies, possible dressing/cheese option and either a meat or legume ready – they can make it however they would like but it must include (3 veggies, etc.) This seems to get us through most of the week. I find it helpful for dinners to have one day be fish (my shopping day), taco-ish type meal (I asked the family for ideas on how to fill our corn tortillas, sometimes we just do a few chips, homemade tortillas, etc.), soup (Wednesdays), crockpot (Thursdays) and Friday meal or leftovers. Hope this helps! Can’t wait to see everyone else’s ideas!

  3. I always make enough dinner to have leftover lunch for my husband at work the next day and for us at home so I never have to cook lunch except to warm it up.

  4. It’s awfully cold here in northern New England, so we are enjoying a lot of soups and stews and curries, all made with homemade broth. We love hot cocoa after playing out in the snow (only 5 degrees here today!). We also stick with warming breakfasts in the winter – eggs any way, oatmeal with applesauce and warm milk, pancakes or waffles on Saturday or other special days. I like soups for lunch and try to make at least one a week. Tomato soup with grilled cheese is a favorite. Simple chicken soup or thai coconut chicken soup are also hits, and this week’s cheddar soup is as well. We have lamb, beef, and chicken from local farmers in our freezer to pull out for meals. We have fish or vegetarian meals twice/week (according to the Orthodox fasting calendar), although I am pregnant so we are leaning more toward fish these days. We also love the brightness that citrus brings to our days in the winter. We got a case a of grapefruit and another of blood oranges, and those are our treats right now other than the occasional dark chocolate. I also love baking in the winter, and in addition to the weekly sourdough bread that I make, I have been experimenting with homemade granola (lovely with milk or homemade yogurt as a quick snack for kiddos and a pregnant mama), banana bread, and grain-free coconut granola bars. I may try something else this week.

  5. breakfasts, eggs with veggies(sometimes with bacon or lamb), sourdough pancakes (from Rhythm of the Home archives) or porridge with apple or banana. lunches, veggie or lentil soups, the children often make their own sourdough bread toasted sandwiches, dinner, we are trying to avoid pasta and wheat generally so having stir fries and casseroles and curries. trying to get the kids to do more, as i like to always cook from real ingredients. if we chop the veg early on it makes life easier later when i am tired! i love the winter too…cosy. my friend anna came with her children yesterday and made us all rooibos chia from Beauty that moves which everyone loved.

  6. These all sound so delicious. No real inspiring ideas here I’m afraid though I did just try a soup with nettles, onion, celery, leek, potato and stock. Might try a pesto with dandelion leaves as they are everywhere with our unusually warm winter and what seems like early spring. Still would like to try more crockpots though and a rice cooker seems to be something we might need. Thanks for the link to beauty that moves – the courses look great! Carrie would you be able to let us know how your bone broth recipe goes? 🙂

  7. Lunch. Yeah. I love making a hearty, hot breakfast in the morning, and it gets us all off to a good start. But then to turn right around and make lunch…ugh. In fall, winter and early spring, I make a huge batch of soup once a week (w/ bone broth, veggies, beans or lentils, and a gluten-free grain). We have fresh fruit on the side, and vary daily from adding croutons to crackers to fresh bread, etc. In the summer, lunch is usually popcorn or hard boiled eggs w/ salad or fresh veggie crudite. (And sometimes soup, because we live in a seaside rainforest, where our summer days are rainy and in the 50s/60s for weeks at a time!).
    I cook dinner three times a week w/ enough for leftovers three other nights, and the seventh afternoon/night is Sunday dinner, with either my husband cooking or we go to our friend’s house and take a dish or dessert.
    We live a partially subsistence lifestyle, so for meal planning I have to stay loose. I have 6-12 months of staples and dry goods on hand at a time, and then weekly I make a rough plan for what veggies I have on hand or preserved; and for the meat/fish, I have an idea of what’s in the freezer and what I want to do with it, but then I have to be ready for what might show up unexpectedly in my kitchen!

    • Oh…and I find it helpful to have morning and afternoon snack be pretty much the same thing every day, so that I don’t have to think about it too much. For morning snack, we have yogurt or cheese w/ fruit. For afternoon snack, we do smoothies year-round. We find the creamy frothiness both comforting and refreshing. In Wintertime, we follow a smoothie with a hot cup of tea. Our favorite teas are nettle/mint combo, and half camomile (light steep)/half warm milk, with a titch of honey. Our most favorite smoothie is milk, avocado, frozen banana, w/ a few drops of vanilla. But most of the time, I just toss in whatever frozen fruit I have on hand…berries, pear slices, or bananas…w/ milk, a little juice, flax meal, chia seeds, kale, parsley or fresh mint, and some nuts or nut butter.

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