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!