Saturday, August 17, 2013

DIY: Menu Board

I've been meaning to get serious about menu planning for a while. My house has been in total chaos since well before Ragnarok, and with that comes a complete lack of desire to cook dinners. But a recent assessment of our food spending habits have lit a fire under me and well, I have to settle down and get busy planning and cooking.

This is actually really hard for me to do, since when I'm not working I don't want to do anything at home. And it seems like an insurmountable task. In order to save money, you have to be consistent, well planned, and figure out ways to use up everything. Plus it takes time, which seems to be a scarcity these days.

Well, first things first. Let's tackle problem numero uno, which is: I never know what to cook for dinner. Which leaves me standing at the grocery store impulse buying meals and spending $30 for one meal, or giving up and ordering pizza.

Solution: A menu board. Found one over at The Creative Mama and I really liked it, so I decided to make my own.

 Each meal or dish is printed onto an index card. Every week you flip through the index cards and attach them to the menu board. Dish is printed on the front and ingredients & recipe location printed on the back. It will hopefully be the perfect solution for someone like me who has dozens of cookbooks. I really do; I collect them! That makes it hard to remember what recipes I want to try.

Anyway, since money is obviously an issue, I raided my house to make this menu board.

First up: A Wilton cookie sheet. Please don't gasp in shock before I explain. This was my favorite cookie sheet EVER until a roommate back in my college days decided to slow cook barbeque ribs on it. (This is where you can gasp in shock. It was a tragedy. I'm giving this cookie sheet new life with this project.)

 See, look.. isn't it sad? I haven't used it for much since it was ruined, the poor thing.

Next to pick out some fabric.

 This stuff is really pretty and matches the floor tile in my kitchen (when we moved, we had to paint over the salmon color on the walls. Once that was gone, the brick red floor looked really cool!)

 Iron the fabric and cut it to size - it should be 3-4 inches larger than your cookie sheet on all sides. I used pinking shears to help prevent fraying.
 Carefully glue the fabric to the sheet. For glue, I used some Elmer's craft bond spray glue I had, which I really liked because it didn't clump and build up. I got nice, even coverage. First I glued the "bottom" of the cookie sheet and smoothed that out, and then each side, being sure to press the fabric into every nook and cranny.
Flip over, trim, and glue the fabric to the "top" side of cookie sheet.
 This is where I goofed up. You can see I didn't trim the right side quite enough and the fabric is bunching up in the top right corner. Now this side will be against the wall, but I couldn't leave it all ugly, so I found some fabric I didn't have plans for and covered up the rest of the ugly.

Yay! Magnetic menu board. Flip it over right side up and add decorations.

 The flowers are from the dollar store. I picked up two bunches, took off the stems, removed the green back, and trimmed the center as flat as possible then glued the petals at the center. When that dried, I glued them to the board. The trim I had from garbing projects (I wish it was yellow) and that was just glued all the way around the edges. To attach the decorations, I used Elmer's glue (not the washable school glue) in liquid form. Just let it dry completely and it holds very well.

One pack of magnets from Office Max and a stack on index cards later, and I'm ready to start printing my meal cards. Now I just need to get Jack to hang this in the kitchen for me, when he is done fighting the forces of evil at the Eryndor event today.

Goal #1 is to cook at home five nights out of seven. Goal #2 is to take leftovers to work for lunches more often. Goal #3 is to slowly filter out processed food and get back to a healthier way of eating.

Wish me luck!


  1. I love your redo of the cookie sheet! Great idea! Who doesn't love magnets? Good luck with the healthy eating. You can do it!

    1. Thank you! But it is not without bumps. An hour and a half in the kitchen tonight and I found a recipe to add to our "no go" list. Win some, lose some!

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