Since I am still
I I haven't got it down perfectly yet by any stretch of the imagination or budget (ahem we ate out A LOT this past week), but I exposed the flaws I have and hang ups that get my caught off guard that I think realizing will make this more streamlined. Here is what I found I need to be aware of and work with:
-Add taking meat out to thaw, to my morning chores: I found myself standing in front of an Arctic freezer with a glazed over stare when I suddenly remembered I needed to thaw the meat at 5 o'clock many of hungry nights.
-Make a meal ahead in the crock pot and remember to freeze it: I made two meals in the crock pot simultaneously two weekends ago, needless to say I was feeling pretty domestically industrious at this point. That is until I realized a week later instead of having ready made meals, I had ready made yucky leftovers that were going bad. I need to remember to put them into the freezer in case they don't get eaten by the time I think they would.
-Don't be afraid to try new recipes: Our family is funny, either you love it or hate it when it comes to a recipe. And I cannot stand to think of making something, dirtying up the kitchen, etc etc and it end up going awry and I'm left at square one. So I've been avoiding trying anything new. Well the best way to combat that is to have an easy back up meal that you know how to make that is fail proof. I think having a frozen pizza on hand or quick cook soup mix is a great reassurance that even if your new recipe is a flop, burned mess, or what have you. You're family isn't going to starve or resort to fast food.
-Make eating out count: This really doesn't have too much to do with meal planning but the real truth is everyone wants to eat out sometime. Date night, birthday, it's been a long week etc. So you may as well make it count when you do go out, instead of being whatever food from whatever restaurant you've been to a billion times and resort to. Sit down and make a list of all of your favorite restaurants and then favorite cuisines, look up those cuisines in your area and jot down some new restaurants.
Another great way of finding new restaurants to try on the cheap is going to www.restaurant.com and looking for discounted gift certificates in your area. We tried a great place called The Bier Garden in our area. It was a really neat German restaurant in downtown that we went to for our Anniversary, that we would have literally otherwise never tried. There wasn't a hassle at all they just seemed to take it like any other gift certificate. Also if you do check it out, there is a coupon code available for 70% off right now. Just type in: SPORK. Always search for a code first, saves you big time!
-Make grocery shopping shorter so you don't dread it: I've already touched on the idea of bulk shopping once a month for the non-perishable portion of your monthly grocery shopping in a previous post. But this weekend my husband and I took i a step further. We were both exhausted and it dawned on my in the parking lot split up our list and get separate carts to go through the store.
WARNING: separate your list by things you have coupons/ price matching for and make that your list the other list that doesn't require coupons and price matching give to your husband unless he loves using coupons and is super familiar with your methods. Or that might be a whole other stress for him to figure out on the spot.
My husband also make the genius remark that not only did this speed up the process but by having the coupon/ price match items separated already it would make it easier at checkout to ring up his cart first instead of me picking our random items once we get up there hoping I remembered everything. Which let me tell you is not always fool proof. So I think his realization could be really helpful and make things a little less stressed.
This may be completely common sense for someone else but for me they were real eye openers. Do you have any tricks that help de-stress your grocery shopping experience?