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What I’m Making Monday: Food (Can you freakin’ believe it?)

If I had to choose my punishment and my two options were either getting punched in the stomach or cooking for a week, I’d get it over with and take the hit.–Because the pain wouldn’t last as long.

Cooking is a form of domestic torture for me, but I’ve challenged myself to take it like a woman and just do it.

Last year a company called E-Mealz approached me about trying their program out. You sign up and get a three-month subscription for menus to the grocery store of your choice, and you get a PDF each week with a grocery list of items, plus a corresponding menu that goes with it, and directions on how to cook it. All on two pages. Each week groceries for my family cost about $41 or less. Mind you these are dinner menus (entree and side), not including breakfast and lunch, but since it was just the two of us, I figured we’d have leftovers and that it was a good deal.

I got a free month subscription and printed out the menus (I really wish they emailed these things cause it’s hard for me to remember each week) but never used them to shop and cook with. I lost the menus and forgot about the website.

… Until about a month ago when I was realizing Lil’ J wants to eat EVERYTHING I eat, and it’s probably not the best to be giving her my french fries and frozen burritos. I was desperate, and tired of cooking spaghetti. My time is up. I need to cook and I need to learn NOW.

I searched through my emails and reunited myself with the website. I paid the $15 for a 3-month subscription and printed out the menus for the current week and the previous week.

I looked them over to see what I’d be making and shopping for the next day. None of the meals on the menu were things I had made before (or heard of). GULP.

The next day we packed up the baby and headed to the grocery store. I gave my husband a portion of the list to shop for and promised to do the rest. Now the nice thing about the way the shopping list is set up is that it breaks it down by area of the store: Produce, Meat, Dairy, etc. So I’m not walking back and forth across the store getting another item from the area I just left. It also says the price of each individual item so if all else failed I could look at prices before the item name to find a match. If only they had what isle number each item was in, then I’d be SET!

Anyway, sadly, even though it’s near-fool proof, it till was still a little difficult for me.

“Yellow squash” I read from the list. I walked around and around and around the produce section looking for it but I couldn’t find it anywhere! I actually didn’t even know what it looked like. Luckily, I had my iPhone (thank goodness for Google images), and a store clerk who were able to rescue me and direct me to this foreign food.

“Nutmeg,” I read a ways down the list later. I had never heard of this before and had to phone a friend aka “twitter” to figure out what it was and where it should be. After the swallowing the sticker shock for a simple spice ($6, are you kidding me?!) I was about done with my first week of shopping.

The first dinner I made was four cheese pasta. Except I made it with three cheeses because we didn’t have the staple “Parmesan” cheese that was left off the shopping list. I noted to myself to check out what the staple items were next time because unless it was bananas, cereal, or Cheetos, we probably didn’t have it.

I wasn’t expecting to like this dinner because it had spinach in it and I don’t like spinach, but I really couldn’t taste it. My husband liked it too and even ate the leftovers the next day! Lil’ J of course liked it as well. Here she is eating that sneaky squash.

A few nights later I tried making another menu item–Some kind of hashbrown casserole. It had mushrooms in it, which my husband doesn’t like so I only put it on my half. I LOVED this!
Neither item took very long for me to make, and on days where I forget to pop something in the slow cooker, these meals were easy to do last minute, plus I had already bought the grocery items for them.

I just went shopping for another week of groceries and now our freezer is full of meat, and things I haven’t made yet but I’ve promised to cook at least three or four nights this week. My husband has offered to help too. We are both learning together so hopefully there will be a few things he likes to make and a few things I like to make.

My plan is to circle/star the menu items we really like during our three month subscription, and save those in our recipe box, then X the ones we don’t like. But for now, we’re open to trying anything.

Creating a shopping list and looking for groceries I’ve never had to buy before has been a bit scary but it’s getting a little easier each week. I wanted to share this for my first What I’m Making Monday: COOKING ADDITION! Hopefully there will be many more in the future.


If you want to give E-Mealz a try check it out! My readers can get 10% off by using the code “BMM” at checkout. Everyone who comments on this post before Tuesday the 5th will be entered to win a free 3 month subscription. Also, check out their blog: MakeTimeForFamily.org for more tips. Winner will be announced on my facebook page.

I’m on a craft kick tihs week so be ready for What I’m Makin Next Monday, and link up if you make something you’d like to share! I’d love to see it!


trishy p says:

I have been looking for something like this! Love your blog, and your pics too! Thanks for all you do!

I think this is such a neat idea! In our household my beau is the one who cooks 99.9% of the time…and if making rice, which is my contribution, doesn’t count, then it would be fair to say he cooks 100% of the time 🙂

The only problem is that he cycles through the same meals over and over again. We’re always eating chicken alfredo, chili, beef stew…and if I eat one more taco I think I’m going to scream! So this service would be a welcome one to introduce some variety to my poor taste buds.

Cheers!

jennie w. says:

GOOD FOR YOU! Although I can’t believe you’ve never heard of nutmeg. It’s only my favorite after cinnamon!

Brie H says:

I am an ok cook but I keep telling myself make the menus for the weeks and create shopping lists for them, and I haven’t done it, so I woul love to try

CurlyKye says:

Reading your shopping experience is quite hilarious. Although I know my way around a grocery store junk food, fried food & processed food-wise…I am having quite the adventure in re-learning the grocery store in a healthier way (so is my pocketbook).

Anonymous says:

I would love to try E-Mealz! It’s such a great idea, & like you, I don’t want to start eating healthier 🙂
-Lea

Iiona says:

Seriously, I was laughing so hard 🙂 You are too cute. One of my criteria I had for when I did get married was my husband had to be a cook, because I hated it. I love to bake and experiment that way but cooking… Not my idea of a great time, especially in my house with all of the food allergies we have. Luckily I married a guy who LOVES to cook his moms cooking, and it is so great. Could also be why I’m not losing this baby pouch that quickly too… I have been cooking a little bit more lately, but that’s because of the food allergies and everyone in the house is getting tired of eating the same or similar things week to week. So I have been searching the web for fun and new things to cook, most of the time it goes over well and other times… well it just goes down the disposal… Have fun, I can’t wait to see what you cook next week 🙂

Brandi says:

Those both look so yummy. I would love to try E-Mealz.

Mrs. D says:

I’m trying to make more time for cooking… not always easy when we have opposite schedules but this sounds like something I’d love to try!

erin says:

Also check out http://5dinners1hour.blogspot.com/
I tried the one week free trial, and I really had ALL 5 dinners put together and the kitchen cleaned up in 40 minutes. Then when it’s dinner time, all you have to do is throw the food in the oven or the crock pot!! Check it out.

Kristen says:

Love this!

I also had a question for you, on an earlier post you were making baby food in a baby food maker (steamer/blender combo) and I was curious what kind it was? I’d read good things about the Beaba cooker but when I finally saw it in person the container only held about 2 cups! I want to make big quantities and freeze it so I don’t think that will work. Do they even make them with larger containers? I might just have to do it the old fashioned way with a food processor and a metal veggie steamer.

Good for you learning how to cook, it is amazing how much healthier I feel like I should eat now that Addison wants to eat what I am eating. That cheese pasta looks yummy!

LiciaLee says:

that’s really neat. :D. I am always searching recipes on line.

Dianne says:

That’s awesome that you’re doing it…after a while it becomes much easier and you start looking for great recipes. I find a lot of my favorites here http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/

Have fun!

Jennifer says:

I hate cooking too. I hate trying to please everyone with cooking…baby, toddler, husband, me (LOL). We need to eat healthier also. Many of our “go to’s” are not healthy for any of us. 😛

MelindaB says:

I am always up to new ideas!! We definitely get stuck in a food rut – my fault since I am picky!

I struggle to cook too, yet somehow I am spending a FORTUNE on groceries. Maybe this would help me keep it in check!

Vivian says:

Well If you are new at cooking, you sure do a GREAT job…I was going out tonight for dinner but it looks like I’m staying!! You just rubbed your cooking instinct into me 🙂

We cook at home most of the time but I find us eating the same things over and over. I like the idea of not only the recipes but also the shopping list!

YUMMommy says:

Woohoo…look at you becoming the domestic diva that you said you weren’t!!!

Gramee says:

I have been using the LOW CARB version of
E-Mealz almost a year now. The Dr. put my husband on a low card diet and I was running out of meal options. We have loved all the meals.
I have saved all the recipes and shopping lists in a binder, besides in a folder on my desktop.

B.U.I. says:

Wow, $15 bucks isn’t much $$$ at all for a 3 month subscription. Very neat idea! My husband and I always seem to have the same dinners over and over again and we’re getting pretty tired of them!

Also, Lil’ J is too cute munchin on that squash! Love the facial expressions.

Sarah says:

wow what a great idea… i think i need to check this out 😀

Jessica says:

That 3 cheese pasta looked delicious!! I love stuff with spinach though…Yummy!

Mrs. K says:

those actually look really yummy. lil j’s mom can cook. yay!

Christie L says:

That seems like SUCH a great idea to this working mama of a very active 6 month old boy! I would love to try them.

Erin Marie says:

That looks awesome. Variety. EASY. Definitely worth looking into. And trying if I get the a-OK.

Laura says:

Wow, you’re doing great. Something finally clicked in my “motherly/wifey” brain and I’ve been menu planning (2wks in so far). However we’re limited in our meals as well (we limit red meat, no pork unless we’re in NC, etc). So I’ve been struggling. I would love an e-mealz subscription!
Sidebar: Have you tried to make rice the non-microwave style yet?

1stopmom says:

I think you did pretty well. I would love to try the three cheese pasta!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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