A Brilliant Idea: Meal Swapping

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We picked up a yummy chicken tamale pie from Nicole tonight.

If you are blessed enough to have had great family, friends, or church family to support you with meals the first few weeks after having a baby, then you know that wonderful feeling of looking at the clock at 5 o’clock and instead of stressing about what is for dinner, the doorbell rings and voila: a hot yummy meal delivered straight to your door. It is seriously one of the best feelings in the world. I hope every mom reading this has experienced that, and if you haven’t, next time you’re about to have a baby, or about to go in for surgery, or any other reason you may need some extra help- please let me make a meal for your family and deliver it to your door. It would be my pleasure! (As long as you live in the same county as me of course! Sorry Sacramento and Ohio family and friends!)

On to my brilliant idea. I often have brilliant ideas. (I have after all dubbed myself the Brilliant Mama, so that does come with the territory naturally.) However, about a month ago I had one of the most brilliant ideas that I may have ever had. I text my good friend Nicole who just had her first baby in July to let her know that I just had a brilliant idea and to remind me to tell her about it next time I saw her. Nicole was recently in the receiving end of dinners being brought to her door by family and friends, so I knew she would be stoked on my brilliant idea.

So here it is: I love to cook, but I often cook way too much food for just my husband and me (along with the tiny bit that my eleven month old, Matthias, now eats.) Even after eating leftovers for a few lunches we would end up throwing out almost half of the meal. (I have found that there is a finite number of times that you can repeat a meal before vowing that you will never touch that casserole ever again.) I HATE being wasteful and throwing out food that has gone bad makes me sick to my stomach for more reason that one. (I am terrible about remembering to freeze food before it goes bad as well. Anyone else struggle with that same syndrome of forgetfulness?) So I thought to myself, why not share what I make? And in turn, have meals shared with my family? That is exactly what I proposed to Nicole.

We now swap meals two nights a week. That way one night a week I don’t even have to think about what we are having for dinner. The other night I make dinner for Nicole and her husband. On Sunday (I like to do all my grocery shopping for the week on Monday) Nicole and I talk and plan out what days we will swap that week, and after browsing our Pinterest foodie boards, we share what we plan to make so we don’t have duplicates or too similar of meals. The cook never delivers the food, but instead the receiver (sometimes the moms, other times the dads) of the meal picks up the meal at a prearranged time.

This works really well for Nicole’s family and mine for a few reasons. Nicole was my roommate for 7 years and her husband and my husband were roommates for a couple of years and good friends as well! We know what each other like to eat pretty well and none of us are overly picky.  We live about 5 minutes away from each other, which makes pick up super easy. It is an arrangement that we both love. Who doesn’t like a homemade dinner that you didn’t have to make one night a week?

If you are blessed enough to have a Nicole in your life, then I totally recommend meal swapping. And no, San Luis Obispo friends, you cannot steal my Nicole. She is my meal swap partner. I found her first! But I am totally okay with you calling up your Nicole and claiming this to be YOUR brilliant idea. The most brilliant of moms aren’t ashamed to steal other brilliant moms’ ideas and make them their own.

I would love to hear stories from anyone who has done this, is doing this, or starts to do this. It has been a big help in my busy life and I hope it can be in yours too!

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