Monday, August 7, 2006

Monday Morning.

So today is Monday. Monday, Monday. The wedding festivities are officially over. And we have no concrete plans whatsoever. Since the beginning of the year we've had one event after another, and for the first time, we have our eye on nothing. :-) Wednesday I take Abigail in to meet her teacher and have her reading assessed, and school starts one month from yesterday. But other than that...? We're trying to figure out what we want to do yet this summer before it is over.

But my thoughts are turning more towards food. I swear I have spent most of this summer in a fog, not really planning ahead, and not paying much attention to what we are eating. Now I promised that today my new resolve would take effect, and in a sense it will. I have every intention to sit down with a handful of cookbooks, magazines, and notebooks and plan out a month's worth of menus. One month's worth of dinner plans, and then one month's worth of lunches. I am fascinated by the concept of Once A Month Cooking. By the concept, that is. I do think of myself as a food snob. I like my food fresh. I think that's why I don't care very much for leftovers- because it's not freshly prepared. But there isn't any reason why I can't think ahead more. If I'm making enchiladas for dinner, what's to stop me from making two pans of enchiladas and popping one in the freezer for a few weeks later. What I'm essentially trying to do is rid myself of the frozen pizza and mac&cheese nights that seem to have invaded my kitchen. They've been occurring quite frequently, and they need to go away.

In addition to planning better, I still need to trim my gorcery budget. I've been trying to do that since January... and I'm doing a terrible job. I have learned that in order to save the most money in a shopping trip that I need to plan according to the sale flyer of one store, and then pick up the staples at another store. But that's a long and annoying shopping trip. One variable that I have not applied before is that of the whoelsale club. So for the next few weeks, I am going to attempt as much as possible to do most of my grocery shopping at Sam's Club. That is why I need to do a month's worth of planning. If I want to buy pork tenderloin at Sam's, I'm going to have to buy 4 tenderloins- enough for 4 meals for our family. Milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese are cheaper by the ounce at Sam's- you just have to buy more of it. So for the next few days I am going to be cooking from my fridge and pantry to make some room. And then likely Thursday I will go and do a major shop at Sam's. I'm looking forward to seeing if my wholesale experience will pay off. I can't say that I'm looking to exclusively shop there long term, but when I'm pinching pennies, it will be nice to have a plan to turn to.

And now I'm off to find a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes. So stay tuned for a post later today.


VeuveClicquot said...

You're so courageous to try this! I've been trying to cut my grocery budget (unsuccessfully) for several months now, so I'm looking forward to your account of the "wholesale" experience. Best of luck!

Tammy said...

Like you, we don't do leftovers very well. It's pointless to even save things to eat later for us. I do shop once a month since hubby gets paid once a month. It was a huge challenge at first, learning to plan meals, buy enough for those meals and actually have room to store the food in the fridge, freezer and pantry. But after a few years of doing this, I have almost mastered it.
I shop at Sam's but only for things that are worth me buying in a large quantity or things that are actually cheaper. I find that the laundry detergent, Downy, toilet paper, bottled waters, spices, etc. are good for me to get at Sams. I buy some of their meats and their fresh veggies and fruits are wonderful! I also like their Tyson frozen chicken breasts and tenders(not breaded). I also shop at super Walmart and I know some people are cringing now that I said that, lol. But there's some items that I can't get at Sams and I find WM to have a better price than some other stores. For example, dh must have his hazelnut coffee creamer, the refrigerated type with no sugar(splenda instead). I also buy shampoo, conditioners, cleaners and things like this at WM.
Grocery day(s)are not something I look forward to since I know it's a lot to do, a lot to put away when I get home. But the great thing is, it's over for a month and I have a menu planned out with everything I need for that menu. I also add a few "cheat" days to my menu for days that I don't feel like cooking. Like I add ORDER PIZZA day. I'm not ridgid with my menu. I don't say on Monday the 14th we MUST have spaghetti. I just make a list of meals, about 20, knowing that a few days will be sandwiches or fast food, a couple of days will be grilled burgers, etc. Each morning, I look at my list and pick a meal. It works for least on most days.
Good luck!!


Oh, btw, I find it helps the pinching pennies, because you don't find yourself in the store as often buying things you really don't need. I do have to stop for milk, bread and fresh fruits and veggies but when my fridge, freezer and pantry is FULL, I'm not likely to buy extras and spend more money.

Erika said...

Oh well said Tammy!! I'm hoping to be able to incorporate some of the things you've mentioned. My main goal is to do just what you do- have a list of meals on hand (or things to prepare a meal) and I can look at the list in the morning and pull out either A or B to thaw. I'm working on a list right now of our standard meals. I think if I start with a master list and get a little more organized, I can plan days in for specific things like "try new recipe" or "Chicken and Rice Man". Please feel free to share any other tips that have worked for you!