Monday, September 6, 2010
Grocery list strategies
I truly feel called to be a homemaker, and I do my best to do a good job at it. There are 2 tasks within homemaking, however, that are out to get me.
1. Cleaning the shower
2. Planning meals
Now, I loooove to cook. Really. And I'm pretty good at it. So its a mystery to me why I am stopped in my tracks when it comes time to plan out the next 2 weeks of meals.
The Printed Checklist
Yet, aha! I have found a good, workable solution: I have a template style grocery list to help jog my memory and speed myself along as I write the list. In other words, I have assessed our most-often required grocery items and printed them out in an organized list. It is organized by the sections of our favorite grocery store so that while I'm zooming around the store I have a list that works with me, not against me. (Backtracking in the store uses up a lot of time, trust me, I was a green bride once, way back 3 years ago, ha ha).
A section entitled Meals This Week
And, on the list (see lower right hand corner of photo) I have a space in which I jot down the recipe titles that I have planned on the family menu. So, for example, if we're in produce and my husband asks "Hmm, why are we looking for beets?" instead of drawing a complete blank and having no answer for him, I can simply refer to my notes and tell him. *smile*
It is a helpful guideline for me! It helps me remember things.
The menu is totally not etched in stone - its a guideline for myself as I decide when to cook what, when to defrost what, and how to sort/separate meat into the freezer, and how to align meals so as to put leftovers to good use. And, it helps me remember why on earth those beets are in the vegetable drawer.
Further help with meal planning: clippings, envelope, bulletin board!
I have such a hard time planning meals that I have invented a little system for myself. After the groceries are put away, I take the grocery list and clip off the Meals This Week section. I pin it up on the kitchen bulletin board. When I'm finished with that list, I file it in an envelope which is pinned to the bulletin board in my kitchen. Then, when it is inevitably time to sit down and plan out the upcoming 2 week menu, I refer to the old "Meals This Week" clippings from that envelope to get ideas. That way I'm not reinventing the wheel each time I write a grocery list.
As a new bride I slaved over recipe books, wondering what we'd both like to eat, writing out grocery lists containing very little order (or ordered by each recipe, which was a disaster of a system!), and then sometimes I'd come home and forget which recipe book a planned dish came from, anyway. And why did I buy Swiss chard?
My husband and I departed for our honeymoon trip 1 day after our wedding. He peered into my suitcase with surprise, and noticed several cookbooks that I was taking with me. Always the gentleman, he paused and told me gently:
"Heather? Where we are going, you won't have to cook."
To which I replied: "Oh, I know. I'm just getting ready to do some recipe planning on the plane so that I'll have our first week's menu all planned and the grocery list ready to go when we get home." *smile*
Silently, he nodded and thought this over. And that was all he said about that.
Find a system that floats your boat!
All that being said, this isn't the only way to do things. I like it and it works for me, but I am always on the lookout for other methods that work for other homemakers. I hope you have a great system that serves you well, and I would love to hear all about it.
Anyone have any fabulous plans they'd like to share? Happy homemaking!
Note: Take a little trip over to Raising Homemakers to view a great link-up with lots of other homemaking blogs - you'll find plenty of great homemaking tips and encouragement in this noble calling. :o)