Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eco-Friendly Menu Planning: How We Use Asana

In my new job at work, I am responsible for a team of staff who research and select technologies to make staff work easier.  We came across Asana as a task and project management tool.  It has revolutionized our work, and while we may not stick with it for project management in the office, my husband and I have learned about its amazing domestic applications.

Asana is a cloud-based web application, meaning that all of your data is hosted by Asana and is accessible via URL by any PC, workstation, or device.  It's very slick and easy to use with its real-time updates.

You can have different and separate workspaces in the application.  I have a workspace for my department at work, one for home projects with my husband, and one for personal and private projects.  Workspaces can be shared with anyone through an invitation.  Check it out!

Here's how we use it for menu planning:

First, we create a project, called Weekly Menu.  We add each recipe as a task and add a URL to the online recipe or a note about the recipe book and page number in the right hand pane that contains notes.  When we've made one of the recipes for the week, we check it off, and it becomes archived.  The next week when we are planning, we can see our archived list and revive our favorite recipes for the weekly menu by un-checking them as complete.

We then write up the grocery list in a different project, categorized by sections of the grocery store.  Each ingredient is a task.  You can move the tasks around to different categories.

We both have smartphones, and Asana has an app for both iPhone and Android.  When either one of us are at the grocery store, we just check off what we've purchased.  It's cool that you can see what you still need in real time.  We could technically both shop in different stores at the same time and be able to communicate with each other about what we've already selected for our grocery carts.

Have you used Asana for menus and grocery lists?  If so, what are your tips?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Penne with Basil, Spinach, and Ricotta Pesto

These days, we often plan our dinners in a kid-friendly fashion in hopes that our son will eat a nutritious meal.  I refuse to make a completely different dinner for my son because I don't want to instill bad habits, but I also think that in order to do this, you have to make something appropriate for kids.  For example, something super spicy or full of alcohol probably isn't wise!

Because I work during the week and my husband stays home with the boy, he makes dinner during the week, and I get the weekends to be creative.  Usually by the weekend, we've run out of everything, and we haven't planned anything specific.  I'm too tired to go shopping, and this gets done during my hubby during the week anyway.  So, we usually have some sort of clean-out-the-fridge dinner.

This night, we had penne with a unique (I think) and good pesto.

Penne with Basil, Spinach, and Ricotta Pesto

1 pound dried penne pasta
2 cups basil leaves
1/4 pound baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces ricotta cheese
olive oil

Bring large pot of water to boil and cook penne according to package directions.

Heat medium skillet over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.  When hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  There is no need to drain the spinach.

Place spinach mixture and basil leaves in a food processor with enough oil to thoroughly chop and puree the greens.  Place the puree in a bowl with ricotta cheese.  Add hot pasta.  Toss and enjoy!!

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