Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shopping 101 - Buying Cooking Ingredients

Before I start in on my daily pondering,  I would like to explain something.  I currently work 3:30-9:30pm every weekday except Wednesday.  This makes cooking dinner, very difficult!  The Husband gets home from work at 6:30pm, at which time I am obviously working, so the crock pot recipes work well for me.  I can start them in the morning, let them cook, and by the time he gets home everything is finished and he can bring me a plate (I work from home).

In September my schedule is changing and I will only be working one weekday, Monday.  Since i will no longer be working evenings every weekday, I think it's only fair I am the one who makes our meals.  And now that we are responsible for not only ourselves, but also our little one, I have come to realize why daily meals are so important.  I've said this before, but I want to improve my cooking skills and learn how to prepare food and provide healthy meals for my family!

So, you may be thinking, "well, today is Wednesday, so you must have made something good, right?"  Wrong.  Today was a miserable day for me.  I was very tired, Little One did not sleep well last night and was cranky all day, and I didn't go to sleep until 2am, ouch. But I had my back-up plan.  Pulled pork.  It only takes a small amount of time to prepare, so I was going to wait till about 40 minutes before The Husband got home to start.  But, he had to work late and then had meetings for church so he didn't get home until 9pm at which point he had already eaten during his meeting, and I wasn't hungry.  So I didn't cook dinner today (shame on me).    So anyway, that is my excuse for today, and I am truly sorry.  But instead you get this:

Shopping 101 - Buying Cooking Ingredients

I have a subscription to Woman's Day magazine.   Each month, they do something very clever and publish their calendar with a monthly menu.  Which also comes with a downloadable shopping list. Since I currently do not  use this method of meal planning and shopping, I've found this also hinders my attempts to cook.  When I don't have a "game plan" for the week, I go to the grocery store and I just buy a lot of random things, with no meals to prepare in mind.  Then, when I get home none of the items relate to each other in a way that makes much sense, and I'm stumped as to what to cook.  I'm pretty sure this is one of my biggest mistakes, and therefore worthy of being added to the Cooking Lessons Learned list (see sidebar).  So here it is, lesson learned #3: It starts at the grocery store.

If every Sunday, I sit down and plan out what I am going to make that week, or even that month, I can budget wisely, and know almost exactly what I will need to buy, and how much of it.  It would also give me a use for those weekly ads I throw away every day, those poor trees!

Currently, when I get a grocery ad, I find it overwhelming.  But, if I had this meal plan, then I could flip through the ad, circle the items I am interested in, and even price out approximately how much I can expect to spend on our meals.  How great would that be!  Since I am always looking for ways to save money (aren't we all?), I think I am going to test this theory out and see how it goes!  Get ready for September, it will be "Woman's Day Monthly Menu" month!

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