Saturday, March 2, 2013
Peace at the Grocery Store
Back in January I told you my word for 2013 was peace. I am feeling pretty good about peace in my home, but when it comes to grocery shopping, that's another story. Until now. In the past I have always planned our menus week by week, writing in recipe titles and cookbook page numbers on a calendar. It was a lot of work, because each time I sat down to plan, I'd have to drag out all the cookbooks and then write down the ingredients on my list. When I finally got to the store, my list wasn't in any particular order, so I'd often overlook something or it would get left off the list accidentally.
Around Thanksgiving I took the Plan to Eat plunge. They were running a sale for a year-long subscription for around $20, so I thought it was worth it to give it a try. If you've never looked at the site, the quick version is that you enter your recipes on the site and then can plan your menu with a few simple clicks. Then you can print a shopping list that shows all of the ingredients and has a key so you know which recipe the items are for.
The first couple of times I went shopping after I started seemed a little easier, but not significantly easier like I was hoping. There were a few glitches on my end such as not choosing the right dates to print, but the list was more organized.
The last three times I've planned and shopped it's been a breeze (except for the two small people who accompany me) so I thought I'd share what works for me. It's kind of time consuming so it may not work for you, but while I'm doing more work before I go to the store, the actual shopping trip is much quicker.
I plan menus at least two weeks at a time. PE days are almost always crock pot meals or something from the freezer. We also run errands on those days, so I don't want to cook something huge and involved after running around all afternoon. I also plan around Jay's work schedule. Once I've got my menu planned, I print my list, which is what you see in the first picture.
After I have the list, I go through my pantry to see what I already have because every single ingredient is listed, down to salt and pepper. There is probably an option to not print everything, but I like to see it so I don't assume I've got it and then be stuck without in the middle of cooking. If I don't need it, I cross it off.
The last thing I do is make my new list (the second picture). I sort everything into categories so that my list is set up in the same order I get to those items in the store. So all I have to do is walk in and start shopping! I don't have to backtrack and I don't think I've forgotten anything in the last six weeks, so even though this takes some time I am so happy with it!
(And now I feel old because not only am I so excited about my new grocery shopping plan, but I even blogged about it. Next thing you know I'll be telling you what I think is great about toilet paper. Oh....)