Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Food Thing

I keep striving to find a meal plan that works for me and my family.

Let's see . . . there was 30 Day cooking. Loved it, but a ton of work.

There was creating my own menu and shopping lists from our family favorites . . . loved the food, but a TON of work and we eventually fell into a rut.

There was Menu Mailer from Saving Dinner . . . each week they would mail the menu, recipes, and dinner plan. I used this for years! I stopped my subscription when I had about two years of menus and shopping lists saved on my computer.

Then I heard about Dinner A'Fare, where I would go and assemble a 13 meals and have them ready in my freezer. This was so wonderful! I had to adjust each recipe to my family's tastes. Unfortunately, the store closed when the owner decided she needed more time with her family.

As many of you know, Himself and I have been snowballing our debt via Dave Ramsey. His site led me to my current passion, which is e-mealz. Similar to Menu Mailer, each week I access their site and download a list of recipes and the shopping list. Unlike Menu Mailer, however, I am able to choose which store to shop! E-mealz combs the sales before the stores even have them and designs the menus according to what would be the most economical for that week. Brilliant!

When I went shopping without my e-mealz list, I ended up spending twice as much as I normally do. It has proven itself over and over. Never a good idea to head to the store without a plan of some kind.

Whenever I share my cooking enthusiasms with family food frazzled friends, it amuses me to hear them come up with excuses as to why it simply won't work for them. The common reason why it won't work is basically because they won't make it work. I have never been a slave to any system I've used. Instead, I've adjusted it to our family's tastes, needs, and preferences. This is what makes me a happy consumer!

With e-mealz, I first opted for the Publix Family Plan. The problem I soon found was that while I was initially saving money by purchasing a lot of the food that was on sale, I discovered that as with most stores/coupons, the sale items were processed foods.

My family rarely eats processed foods. In fact, if I were to bring sugared cereals, frozen packaged meals, or anything that's not really cheese, my family often responds with, "Mom? Are you all right?" My cousin's wife, Vicki, was delighted when I returned from a shopping trip with ingredients rather than pre-assembled food, which is how she also likes to cook.

I solved this by adjusting the recipe while I was at the store. Where it called for a processed item, I bought the ingredients to make my own.

This worked well. After a while, I re-visted the menu options at e-mealz and decided to try the low-carb menu. This has actually solved the problem! While I'm not shopping for items that are mainly on sale, I am still saving money by going in with a plan, and the low-carb menu rarely has any processed foods listed. Sometimes the menu for that day is a bit lacking, so I just throw in a salad or some rice or pasta for my family. Again, it's all about not being a slave to any system, but making it work for you.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Thanks for your blog! I read EVERY SINGLE one of them. :) I am on week 3 off e-mealz and agree aboout finding all the processed stuff in the publix menu too! Now, I know and will switch to the low carb one! Thanks so much! Keep the blogs coming! :) -Kim


DaisypathAnniversary Years Ticker