12 May

Along with all of the fantastic suggestions on my grocery shopping post, I took Erin's advice and purchased this Cooking Light cookbook at Target. The recipes are easy, fast and it's hard to pick because they all sound and look DELISH. Megan and I bought this cookbook on the same day, great minds think alike!

Sunday night I sat down with my new cookbook (not that I didn't have enough already... sometimes you need something new to encourage new habits, right?) and made my very first menu plan and grocery list. Since I don't live in our home yet, I had to buy pretty much everything because JH could live off of popcorn and boxed gumbo! It's okay, I love him anyway.

I made my first trip to the grocery store and purchased almost everything on my list. There were a few really great suggestions/tips to speed up the preparation process in the back of the Cooking Light cookbook: jar of peeled garlic (my grocer was out of it, maybe everyone bought the Cooking Light magazine over the weekend), pre-chopped veggies and pre-cut fruit.

Fruit smoothie drinks, pre-cut fruit, low fat cookies are all quick healthy items that can take the edge off when craving desserts.

I have zero explanation for the caramel vanilla coffee creamer, other than the fact that it's yummmmy!

Items that I could not find:

  • Basil Aïoli

  • Fresh Basil

  • Adobe Sauce

I made it through Day 1 with the help of page 242. I substituted the ground beef with ground turkey and it was sooooo good. I had the leftovers for lunch yesterday and for anyone that knows me knows that is a HUGE deal! I don't like left overs.

Day 2 didn't go over so well because last night I was working like a mad woman on getting the first stage of the wedding invitations (see below) ready to go in the mail so we ordered Mexican take-out! I only planned for 4 meals so I didn't feel too bad.

Tonight, I'm making Panko chicken breasts with rice and vegetables.

The menu planning and shopping was not torture. I actually thought it was quite fun! I love to write stuff down and mark things out so this is right up my alley!

Here's a sneak peek of the beautiful work by Kelly Ashworth Design on the first piece of our wedding invitation suite. They are magnificent in person. Kelly, you are my paper hero!

Southern Weddings tweeted this picture a week or so ago. Wouldn't you flip a lid if you walked into your hotel room and this bag was waiting for you!? I would!

Did you have welcome bags for your out of town guests? Did you have custom bags? What did you include IN the bag?

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  • http://www.pinkpetuniainparadise.blogspot.com Petunia

    Okay–finally sat down at the laptop and read this post!
    I am totally going out and buying the cookbook and a notebook just like yours. I’m going to give this a try. Even if I only crank out a couple of meals per week at first it will be a good thing. :)
    .-= Petunia´s last blog ..{georgina} =-.

  • http://www.grovegals.blogspot.com grovegalk

    we did welcome bags…they had 2 bottles of water, pralines and other charleston snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, altoids, a small thing of advil, a schedule of the weekend, a map of kiawah with a list of things to do, golf tees and a note from my husband and i
    .-= grovegalk´s last blog ..No More Crackers! =-.

  • http://virginia-belle.blogspot.com Christina

    I’m glad meal planning is going well for you so far! I feel so much better entering my week if I have already planned my meals and gotten the dreaded grocery shopping out of the way.

    We did welcome bags and they were a hit! It was so much fun coming up with things that were unique to us and our wedding location to put in them. Our wedding location (Charlottesville, VA) items were a bottle of VA wine, VA peanuts, and pamphlets for things to do in the area. We both graduated from UVA so we added a UVA koozie. We also threw in a few things from my husband’s home state of Indiana.
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Target Steals =-.

  • http://www.growchristianblog.blogspot.com Christie

    I love that cookbook, too! I especially love the grilled chicken sandwiches with the avocado sauce — they are delicious, and I could eat the avocado sauce with a spoon — which probably goes against the whole “cooking light” thing!
    .-= Christie´s last blog ..Hopefully It Won’t Make You Throw Up… =-.

  • http://thecompleteprep.blogspot.com/ Elle

    I love, love, love that notebook… what kind is it and where did you get it? That column to the left, and then the ruled notebook lines… oh my goodness I need some of that in my life!

    And I love that your wedding theme is meet us in St. Louis… so fantastic

    And that welcome to our wedding bag is stunning… I hadn’t even thought of doing something like that but what a great idea!
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..Preppy Pink and Green Thursday =-.

  • http://thisisallisonwonderland.blogspot.com Allison

    Congrats on the menu planning! It can cause so much grief to stand in a checkout line every day. Could the “adobe sauce” be a typo in the cookbook for “adobo sauce” ?? If so, I usually buy a can of chipotle peppers which are packed in the adobo sauce if I can’t find it on its own.

  • http://blueeyedbride.com Erin @ Blue-Eyed Bride

    Yay for menu planning. You’ve had a good week! :)

    Your invites are amazing and that bag is wonderful. We had welcome bags. We ordered the large gift bags from Nashville Wraps in gold and used pink and gold ribbon. We stuffed them with tissue paper and Gullah Gourmet Shrimp and Grits and Crab Cake Mix (South Carolina). We also stuffed them with bottles of Tabasco Sauce (Louisiana), water bottles, snack mix from Texas, homemade cookies, maps, and the wedding weekend itinerary. I think it was just enough without us having to break the bank.
    .-= Erin @ Blue-Eyed Bride´s last blog ..my blog got sick =-.

  • http://www.leighpweddings.com Leigh Pearce Weddings

    I’m totally inspired to go buy this cookbook! Another great one you might want to pick up: ‘Cook This, Not That.’ I’ve made about 50% of the recipes and only had one I didn’t like. Happy cooking!

    *Love the invites!

  • http://peach-pearl.blogspot.com Emily @ Peach & Pearl

    Love that sneak peek of the invites! And I second Christina (and Erin, I guess!) — I’m going to have to check out that cookbook!
    .-= Emily @ Peach & Pearl´s last blog ..Lobster welcome dinner =-.

  • http://dannyanddesiree.blogspot.com Desiree

    We had welcome bags at the hotel for our guests. I took plain brown bags from Michael’s and stamped on them adding a welcome note tied on with ribbon. We filled them with water and snacks for them to munch on seeing as most were traveling from pretty distance places. I made one extra bag to put in my scrapbook.
    .-= Desiree´s last blog ..welcome home wednesday: the craft room =-.

  • http://thecaddensblogspot.com christina cadden

    Oooh, I am going to have to get that book! Those meals sound delicious!

  • http://aglimpseofthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com Abbie

    Yay on the meal planning… and DOUBLE YAY on the invites! Love!

    We did have welcome bags, but they weren’t custom. We used some fun green reusable ones from Old Navy that said something like “Peace, Love…” We included a thank you from us, an itinerary for the weekend with a map between locations, places of interest, things to do, restaurants to visit, town maps, town guide books (but we live in a resort town that has things like that), town magazine, coupon books for activities, two personalized bottles of water, 2 Emergen-C packets (for high-altitude sickness), two bags of Boulder chips (b/c we live in CO), individual Tylenol/Advil packets, mini candy bars and Steamboat chapstick. The guests all raved about the bags and mentioned how awesome it was to have snacks to come back to after the wedding.
    .-= Abbie´s last blog ..Back to Life… Back to Re-al-ity =-.

  • http://lifeasacaliforniawife.blogspot.com CAwife

    I’m totally inspired to improve my grocery shopping/menu planning after this post!!!

    We had welcome bags, but my MIL completely handled them because they were a bit of an after thought and I just couldn’t handle one more thing on my plate at the time. We included maps/local attraction brochures, bottled water, small snacks for the room, a mini bottle of champagne, wedding logo cookies , and a few other odds and ends. Although we could have definitely made them a lot more special if we had the time and extra money in our budget, all of the guests really appreciated them as they were. Some gift bags are super amazing, but we just went with the simple approach!
    .-= CAwife´s last blog ..My Summer Movie Picks! =-.

  • http://wonderlandpapers.blogspot.com Laura

    I love the peek at your invites! I can’t wait to see more. Of course now I’m going to have the “Meet Me in St. Louis” song stuck in my head, again. Since I live in The Lou that tends to happen a lot.

    We wanted to do welcome bags for our guests but just ran out of time.I love welcome bags that are personal and include the regional specialties (even though I don’t know if you could put Ted Drewes ice cream in a St. Louis wedding welcome bag and not have it melt! )

    I illustrate wedding maps and a lot of my brides use them for their welcome bags.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Beautiful Blogger =-.