grocery list http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8587/all en-US Avoid Dinner Stress: Pay Someone to Plan Your Meals http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6110846706_20046251ca_z.jpg" alt="making pizza" title="making pizza" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Running a household is busy enough with laundry and dishes to clean, bills to be paid, kids to be delivered and picked up, and meals to shop for and cook.</p> <p>If you've got enough money, you can hire a personal assistant or a few people to run all of these life errands for you. For those who can't afford a personal valet, there are options to at least getting a few chores done by someone else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-to-consider-before-hiring-household-help">4 Things to Consider Before Hiring Household Help</a>)</p> <p>Take meal planning. I didn't give it much thought until I read a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/dining/planning-your-menu-with-some-help.html">New York Times</a> story this summer about websites that provide a week of recipes for a minimal amount &mdash; about $5 a month.</p> <p>As a stay-at-home dad, planning family dinners wasn't a major stress in my life, but the time it took added up each week. It took a few hours as I looked up recipes, checked the pantry and freezer for what we already have, made a shopping list, went to the grocery store one day and the farmers market the next, and invariably had to return to the store because I forgot an ingredient.</p> <p>It was always a little difficult coming up with meals everyone liked, especially with a picky child and a no-fish rule in the house. Meal planning, it turned out, was a stress that I didn't realize I had until I saw a solution for it.</p> <p>So after finding a Groupon for half off a year's worth of recipe planning at <a href="http://www.thefresh20.com/">The Fresh 20</a> &mdash;&nbsp; named after the 20 ingredients essential to a pantry and the fact that there are no more than 20 fresh ingredients to shop for each week, I decided to hand my family's meal planning to someone else.</p> <p>The site promises meals that won't have processed, frozen, or packaged foods with preservatives &mdash; most of the stuff in the middle aisles of supermarkets &mdash; and instead uses fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, and brown rice and pastas. Options are available for gluten-free, vegan, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-vegetarian-crock-pot-recipes">vegetarian meals</a>, along with a classic menu each week. There's also a lunch menu.</p> <p>With the 20 ingredients to buy each week (some are used in two or more recipes, such as chicken or rice), and a pantry of 20 items the site recommends having (olive oil, certain spices, etc), grocery shopping is a lot easier than it used to be. I'll go over the pantry items in a future post and will include details on just why certain things should always be in a pantry.</p> <p>Instead of wandering down each aisle, a shopping list provided with each weekly meal plan helps you avoid aisles where you don't need anything. You do still need to shop for lunch and breakfast items.</p> <p>The meal plans should save you money while shopping since you're buying less. Once the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash">pantry is stocked</a>, weekly groceries should be cheaper because you're buying fewer items. While only five meals are planned for the week, The Fresh 20 goes off of the idea that you'll either go out for a meal or two during the week, or you'll have leftovers for a night. I estimate we're saving about 20% on grocery bills.</p> <p>I've used the meal plans for the past month or so and have so far found it to be a godsend in helping me worry less about what I'm going to cook on any given night. I usually don't cook one of the prescribed meals every few weeks because it's something that most of my family won't eat. Or I find a substitute ingredient &mdash; such as chicken for fish &mdash; and the dinner still tastes great.</p> <p>In an average week, I'd say that one meal isn't a hit with everyone, so the recipe gets thrown out. Not that the meal was bad, but that it wasn't great enough to make us want to eat it again if given the choice. For the meals we do like, I keep the recipes in a file for future use.</p> <p>The meals are all easy to make, taking about 30 minutes or so. Food prep can add a little more time, only a few minutes, and the weekly instructions recommend doing some prep work on the first day of the week for the rest of the week's meals. I've skipped the advance prep work and have found that most recipes can still be completed within 30 minutes.</p> <p>I get an email every Friday from The Fresh 20, giving me a link to that week's recipes along with a shopping list and nutritional analysis of each meal. I print it out on Friday and either my wife or I go grocery shopping before Monday night, when we start the five planned meals. For the two days without provided recipes, so far we've either cobbled something together in the kitchen with whatever we have, have leftovers, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">go out for dinner</a>. Who wants to eat at home every night?</p> <p>With that one chore out of the way for such a low price, I'm now looking into paying someone to deliver produce to my door from the farmers market. I'll let you know how that turns out in a month or so after I've tried it out for awhile.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home (and 5 to Buy)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons">25 Alternative Uses for Lemons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Food and Drink Home dinner planning grocery list pantry Wed, 31 Oct 2012 09:48:35 +0000 Aaron Crowe 954954 at http://www.wisebread.com Eating Vegan on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/eating-vegan-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eating-vegan-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/people_holding_produce.jpg" alt="People holding produce" title="People holding produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Exploring a plant-centered lifestyle is popular these days, but with it comes the common concern of a cost increase for the household grocery budget. Now that I've been in a (mostly) vegan household for a little more than two years, I&rsquo;ve learned a thing or two about going vegan on the cheap. Here are a handful of my top tips. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-delicious-healthy-and-cheap-bean-recipes">25 Delicious, Healthy, and Cheap Bean Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>Select Seeds</h2> <p>When it comes to vegan protein, many people gravitate immediately towards nuts. While I love a good cashew-pepper stir fry as much as the next girl, stocking your pantry with even conventionally grown nuts can cost as much per pound as high-quality organic meat. If you&rsquo;re looking to spend less, seeds are a safe bet. For example, <a href="http://webesharin.com/2011/07/19/creative-uses-for-sunflower-seed-kernels/">sunflower seed kernels</a> can be used to make spreads, seed butter, gluten-free baked goods, and more. I&rsquo;ve also found that organic versions of popular seeds such as pumpkin, flax, sesame, and others actually cost less than conventional nuts as well. Bonus? Those with nut allergies can feel free to indulge.</p> <h2>Season With Liquid Smoke</h2> <p>This is one of the best-kept secrets of maintaining a successful <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-plant-based-diet-tricks-for-carnivores">plant-based diet</a>. If you&rsquo;re new to being vegan and are concerned about filling your flavor requirements affordably, liquid smoke is something you are going to want to purchase for your refrigerator. Available in a variety of flavors, it adds smoky goodness to any dish you want, making it more like the meat dishes you may have previously been used to. I use it in Middle Eastern eggplant dip, pea soup, and other dishes to add &ldquo;meaty&rdquo; flavor without the actual meat.</p> <h2>Stock Up on Beans and Legumes</h2> <p>In addition to the seed suggestion above, beans and other legumes and pulses pack a nutritional punch as well. For example, there are several <a href="http://webesharin.com/2011/11/17/sassy-and-simple-split-pea-recipes/">split pea recipes</a> that are very affordable and easy to make. And not all of them are soup based. Another often-overlooked vegan grocery item is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lentil-love-how-to-sex-up-a-simple-staple-and-save">lentils</a>. There a number of varieties that can be used in pilafs, soups, vegan meatloaf, and more.</p> <h2>Go for Green Groceries</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organic-groceries-on-a-budget">organic groceries</a> are great, what I&rsquo;m talking about here are fresh grocery items that are actually green in color. They tend to be some of the highest-rated items on the nutrient density index and can be remarkably affordable. Organic romaine hearts go on sale all the time, making them a steal for salad fans. Other affordable ideas include incorporating some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-tasty-frozen-broccoli-recipes">frozen broccoli recipes</a>, roasting Brussels sprouts, and trying out baby spinach as an add-in for some of your favorite sandwiches and pasta dishes.</p> <h2>Try Toppings</h2> <p>Incorporating a few toppings is a great way to jazz up a meal. They don't have to be expensive, either. For instance, chopped scallions are one of my favorite <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/soup-toppers-with-style">soup garnishes</a> for simple broths, tomato bisques, and old-fashioned potato soup. They dress things up, are nutritious, and can be prepared relatively quickly with a chef&rsquo;s knife and cutting board. Another option for enhancing a meal affordably is to use creative <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-salad-add-ins">salad add-ins</a>. Bacos &mdash; believe it or not &mdash; are actually vegan. I love to use them on top of salads, on pizzas and even in tortilla wraps. Homemade croutons are another one of my favorite salad ingredients.</p> <h2>Choose Long-Lasting Produce Items</h2> <p>For those with crazy schedules, watching produce go bad due to lack of time can be disheartening. That&rsquo;s why shopping for long-lasting veggies such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-cabbage-ten-cheap-meal-ideas">cabbage</a> and onions can keep you on track financially while still keeping you stocked with vegetables. This might mean you eat fewer salads and enjoy winter squash more often, but in general you&rsquo;ll have more flexibility with your groceries when work keeps you on the go.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve done your research and test driven a few types of recipes to determine what&rsquo;s right for you and your family, you&rsquo;ll see that pulling off vegan on the cheap isn&rsquo;t necessarily as difficult as you might have previously have thought. For those more experienced vegans reading, what are some areas of savings that might surprise the rest of us?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-vegan-on-the-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-mouth-watering-lentil-recipes">35 Mouth Watering Lentil Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perfect-peanut-sauce">Perfect Peanut Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-amazing-veggie-burgers-to-make-tonight">10 Amazing Veggie Burgers to Make Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-think-youre-a-carnivore">So, You Think You&#039;re a Carnivore?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cheap Food grocery list vegan vegetarian Wed, 15 Feb 2012 11:24:13 +0000 Staff 895853 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Tips for Streamlining Your Shopping List http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-streamlining-your-shopping-list <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-tips-for-streamlining-your-shopping-list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/376764915_205bfcefab.jpg" alt="" title="Shopping List" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a long-standing dislike of grocery shopping. Pushing a cart around a store is not one of the ways I amuse myself. I've found that because of my attempts to get in and out of the grocery store, I wind up forgetting things. The only way I can manage is to have a perfect grocery list &mdash; the type that includes even the little things that we need on every trip. There are some tricks to figuring out a grocery list, though, and I'm sharing them here and now.</p> <ol> <li>Use a spreadsheet. I know that not everyone likes to use technology for stuff like their shopping lists, but being able to organize my list, especially by store, has saved my life. It also makes it easier to add information like whether I have a coupon or which store is holding a sale.</li> <li>Add items immediately when you run out. The biggest danger to my grocery list is three little words: &ldquo;Oh, I&rsquo;ll remember.&rdquo; Whenever I run out of something, I write it down immediately. If I see that someone else has used up the last crumbs, I write that down, too.</li> <li>Buy in bulk, when you can. I live in an apartment, but I still managed to find a hiding place for a 25-pound bag of flour. Small spaces should just be an opportunity for creativity. Buying in bulk from Sam&rsquo;s Club and its ilk can often get me just as good of a deal as clipping coupons and buying weekly from a grocery store.</li> <li>Shop around, but not too much. I read the weekly sales paper, and pick one or two stores that seem to have the best overall prices for the week. For some families, it may come down to the price of just one item: I usually wind up going with the store with the cheapest price on our soda pop of choice.</li> <li>Plan meals. The easiest way to get an idea of what needs to be on your shopping list is to plan out what you&rsquo;ll be preparing for the next week or so. You can put together a list from your ingredients, and, if someone&rsquo;s coming to dinner, you know which ingredients you&rsquo;ll need more of.</li> <li>Determine your staples. Every family has different staples: my boyfriend would mutiny if I didn&rsquo;t keep cheddar cheese on hand at all times, while my mother&rsquo;s household practically runs on tortillas. Whether or not your staples fit into your meal plan, they&rsquo;re usually worth picking up. Running out may not be a pretty option.</li> <li>Go green. The less you&rsquo;re buying from the store means the less that has to go on your grocery list. Even as simple a step as purchasing cloth napkins to reuse, rather than buying paper towels or paper napkins, can <a title="Supermarket Savings Guide" href="http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-savings">reduce costs</a>, as well as worry when you forget to buy something to wipe up messes.</li> </ol> <p>If you've got a tip on refining the shopping list, let me know! I'm always looking for ways to simplify my system.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-streamlining-your-shopping-list">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growing-my-own-food-in-my-apartment">Growing My Own Food...In My Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-ways-to-spice-up-rice">25 New Ways to Spice Up Rice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-face-of-poverty-is-fat">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bulk Food green grocery list meal planning shopping list Staples Tue, 22 Jan 2008 17:25:51 +0000 Thursday Bram 1660 at http://www.wisebread.com