A Mommy Lifestyle
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:12PM
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Easy Meal Planning! 

 

This is where you need to analyze your families meal schedule and figure out what kind of plan will work for you & your family! Many websites offer these huge articles on meal planning for a month and freezer meals and blah blah blah. Seriously, this is a family not a military so just take it easy on yourself and have fun with it.

Here is what I do. I plan for a week. Longer than that is just too much of a commitment. Sometimes you need to change it up last minute and a weekly plan is perfect for my family. First I made a recipe box! This holds all my recipes that I make on a regular basis {all my holiday and special occasion recipes are in another box}. These were made with notecards that I laminated with recipe clippings from magazines, online and copied out of cookbooks. The box is from Michaels which I plan to decoupage someday! Whenever I get new recipes I try them first before they go in the box to make sure they are a winner with me and the family! 

 

 

I pull out 7 recipes that I want to make that week and 1-2 recipes for desserts.  I organize them by day of the week I will prepare them. This way I know the night before if I need to take out any meat to defrost and I know what I need to shop for at the grocery store. How to Grocery Shop Efficiently! I place the cards on the side of my fridge so that it doesnt clog up the front and it is out-of-sight. I use weekday magnets to keep track. Remember that you will have leftovers and some times you will need to adjust your menu, but for the most part this will help you keep on track and keep sane. You wont be staring at your fridge or pantry wondering what to make for dinner once your already starving! I try to put the recipes in the back for the last week so that I dont make the same meals over & over. 

 
Monday, August 20, 2012 5:39PM
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Grocery shopping can take a couple precious hours out of our week! Here is a list to use when shopping and how to do it quickly and efficiently. I first recommend going through yout kitchen and taking inventory of what you have before you begin to plan an menu and make your grocery list. Pantry, Fridge & Freezer Inventory. 

First Plan you weekly menu so that you will know what you are missing to complete the meals for the week. To save money check your local grocery store for ads and specials they are running on things you can base your meals on. For example they are having a huge sale on ground beef. You can make a few meals with that ingredient in mind. Also, there are certain fruits and vegetable that are in season and are lower in price than in off season.

 

 

When you are at the grocery store have an open mind, if you planned to make something with chicken but the meat option is on sale go ahead and switch. Don't forget looking for coupons online! a few great sites are smartsource.com, couponmom.com and coolsavings.com Now based on what you have on your inventory list make a grocery list of the items you still need. Printable Grocery Shopping List. Try to make the list based on grocery store food departments it will save you time. I usually close my eyes for a second and imagine what my local grocery store looks like and what is located down each aisle. It sounds like a lot of work but it will keep you from running from one side of the store to the other {with my luck it would happen several times, although it is good exercise}. 

  • It is said that avoiding impulse buying will save you over 23% on groceries and the best way to do that is to stick to your list. 
  • The best time to go shopping is wither Monday, Wednesday or Friday morning for fresh produce. If your looking for when the grocery store is least busy that would mostly be Thursday mornings. 
  • The freshest produce with be located at the back or bottom of shelf. 
  • Check the price per unit of an item sometimes it just makes more sense to purchase the larger option {especially if it is something that you use often}. 
  • Try the store brand as often as possible. Most of the time the ingredients are exactly the same.
  • Add as you go. This can be tricky. But if you are on a budget it will help you stay on track. I usually round the prices up so that I definitely do go over and just remember the last amount I was on. That way you can remove items you really don't need. If you don't add as you go and you go over at the checkout counter you will probably feel obligated to purchase it. {my Husband usually gets a trip out of me knowing how much the total will be, little does he know I was adding the entire time! :) } 
  • Once you get home remove the items from the bags and place them neatly in there places. It is best to portion out items before freezing so that you dont have to use the entire package if you dont want to.
  • If you have the time that day it is also best to portion out your menu items to make cooking a lot easier through the rest of the week.
  • I usually designate an entire day to meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prepping. It is also a great idea to make meals in bulk and freeze portions for nights when cooking is not as convenient and when others want to easily feed themselves. 

Happy Shopping!  How to make meal planning easy! 

 
Monday, August 20, 2012 4:55PM
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Printable Pantry, Fridge & Freezer Inventory List

Before you begin taking inventory of your kitchen items I suggest cleaning your fridge, freezer and pantry! It will make taking inventory of what you have much easier and more efficient. 

  • Remove all Food items {put frozen food in a cooler if you feel it will take long enough for things to start defrosting}
  • Use a mixture of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart warm water and wipe down shelves, doors, drawers ect. 
  • Take out Ice Bin and wipe down {ice can absorb odors}
  • Make sure you vacuum in the pantry floor, behind the fridge and underneath it {dust on the coils will cause fridge to use more energy to work properly}
  • Wipe down the front of fridge with soapy water {stainless steel need special cleaner}. Dont forget the handles inside and out! 
  • Check dates on all boxes, cans, bottle and packing.
  • Place items back in categories {such as: grains, canned food, condiments, cheeses, snacks, chips, cookies, quick meals, fruit, vegetables ect.} 
  • Take children into consideration for height adjustments.
  • I suggest labeling to make life easy for others to put things back in the same place {nothing drives me crazier when i cant find something someone moved}
  • This is a time to pull out your list and start taking an inventory of what you have. 

 

Taking inventory not only helps you use up what you have on hand but helps creating a shopping list a breeze. Once you plan your menu you will know what you need. Then you refer to your inventory list and only buy what you are missing. This will help keep your costs down and stop you from wasting food. 

One the sheet write down what you have. There is a section to tally how many of the item you have. I dont think anyone has more than 5 of one thing. {lets hope} But everytime you pull something out of the pantry/fridge/freezer you can mark off one of the tallies. 

 

How to Gorcery Shop Efficienty!