You know that life is good when you have friends that enjoy putting you on the spot and watching you squirm. Take my friend, Val, for instance. We are starting a super fun soap venture together so today was not only Bible study day together, it was also make a couple batches of soap afterwards day. We were laughing and cleaning everything up when I realized it was 4:30. I had of course forgotten to put something in the crock pot and my brain was scrambling, trying to think of something quick and easy off of my menu list. (remember that list that we talked about here?) So I ask Val, as casually as I can, mind you, what she is making for dinner. She tells me and then so super smoothly that it totally cracked me up while catching me off guard says, ” Since you are asking me what I am making for dinner I’m going to assume you don’t know what you are making yet…. Didn’t you just write a post about menu planning? And here I was thinking that it was going to be a great idea and something I wanted to follow along with and get some good ideas from and now here you are asking me what I’m going to eat for dinner!”
Yes ladies and gents, she totally went there and proved how human Bobbie really is. It was great though because it led me to a point that I wanted to make sure I went over with this menu plan of mine. It’s a very fluid plan. Meaning I don’t assign days to each meal. I know that Wednesdays should be a crock pot day since it’s Bible study day and super busy, but sometimes my brain doesn’t turn on when it’s supposed to and I forget. And that reason is why I write down a handful of super quick and easy recipes that I can pull out on such a night as tonight was. Stroganoff! When making your menu, add some of those gems in, we would be lying to ourselves if we acted like we had it 100% together all of the time….well, except for Val, she actually might have it all together all of the time.
So to pick up where we left off on my last post, you have your menu list written out by now, right? If you do then it’s ready to go into the form of a shopping list. Now this is obviously going to look very different for each person. Some are going to have bread on that list while others are going to have bread ingredients on their list. Either way doesn’t matter! You might make your own ketchup, you might buy pre-cooked hamburgers, we aren’t here to have that debate today. Today, we are going to make a list so you don’t have to go to the grocery store more than once a month. Our goal is to save that headache for one special day a month, only 12 times a year! Think of that, only grocery shopping 12 times a year!! Breath in that feeling of enchantment and savor it cause that’s what we are going to accomplish here today!
Ok, you have your list and those recipes are telling you how many pounds or cans of each item you need. Start with one ingredient, say, chicken, and figure out how much chicken you need for all of the chicken recipes you wrote down. Say you need 11 pounds of chicken total. Does the cut matter to you? If yes, write it down. If not, then write down 11 pounds of chicken. Costco sells 15 pound bags of chicken for a great price. Great, get one of those and then you won’t need to buy as much chicken next month. Now move on, to say, beans. Do the same thing, 4 recipes call for pinto beans, 6 cans total. You can write down 6 cans of pinto beans or you can write down to get a case of them at Costco and have some extra for next month. This is easy, I promise!
All of your recipes for the month get this treatment until you have written down everything you need to cook with. There are going to be things you don’t have to get a lot of times, like salt, but check them anyway just to make sure you won’t run out. I check spices every month because I have run out of some very basics before and it’s not fun. Not fun at all.
You’ve got your list, and you’ve checked it twice, you know your budget, so now it’s time to shop. If you get yourself into the store and you know that there are isles you don’t have to go down, do yourself a favor and don’t go down them! It’s a trap! We have whole sections of Costco that we never cruise past. Not on the list, don’t need to look. Shopping gets a whole lot easier, faster, and less painful if you just avoid the temptations lurking down those dark isles to start with. Teach the kids that it’s a game. How fast can you get in and out? We have Costco down to 45 minutes from the second we walk in until we walk out. *disclaimer* if you shop with your husband, who only gets to town half of the amount of times a year that you do, shopping is going to take longer and you are going to find things in your cart that you don’t know how they got there. They are just watching and waiting for your back to turn so they can hide that 4 lbs. of summer sausage under the bags of flour. Cowman, I’m looking at you!
Tip, don’t take your menu with you shopping. Take your shopping list but leave your menu safe at home. I had a friend tell me that she always loses her menu when she goes shopping. Put it on your fridge or on the inside of a cupboard door, or in the front of a binder like mine. This is my Pinterest recipe book. I slip my menu in the front so I can see it, but it doesn’t get wet, dirty, or lost….or used as scrap paper, or drawn on by kids who don’t seem to remember that we have a file drawer full of unopened packs of printer paper… The point is to stick it somewhere that you can see it and it can stay safe.
The last part of this is probably the most important part. You’ve planned. You’ve made your shopping list. You’ve shopped. The last crucial step is to USE IT!! I promise that you won’t regret it. And I promise you will be hooked on not having to keep going back to the store, and your budget will love it too! All around everyone will be happy! This post seems so simple, almost too simple to write out. But usually the most simple things are the things that make our lives more easeful, and often times they are the things we overlook first. So here is to getting back to the basics!
Love from here,