meal planning en-US Bulk Buying Basics: What to Buy, How to Store, and Money Saving Tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bulk buying" title="bulk buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you think about buying foods or other items in bulk, you might picture an underground bunker in some remote area with enough supplies to survive a zombie apocalypse. Bulk buying is no joke, however. If you have the space, stocking up can be an excellent, budget-friendly way to fill your shelves with foods and other items routinely needed in your daily life. (See also: <a href="">Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash</a>)</p> <p>As you can imagine, bulk buying is an art. It requires careful planning to achieve the best savings and lower risk for spoilage. When done right, this method of shopping can yield big returns on the investment of both time <em>and</em> money.</p> <h2>Bulk Benefits</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you&#39;ve ever scanned the unit prices on your favorite grocery items, you&#39;ve likely noticed that those in larger packaging/quantity <em>typically</em> cost less per unit than their smaller counterparts. In much the same way, those items in the bulk bins &mdash; sans packaging &mdash; are even less expensive in comparison. If you cook or use certain items more often than not, it&#39;s in your best interest to buy and buy big to yield the biggest savings. (See also: <a href="">15 Dollar-Wise Winter Staples</a>)</p> <p>Here are a few more benefits:</p> <ul> <li>Less packaging means less waste and is, therefore, a smarter environmental choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buying more at once saves on time and also gas and other related expenses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Without conforming to pre-measured, packaged amounts of food, you are free to choose how much you need for yourself or your family. This scalability is smart for a number of reasons.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bulk buying also leads to healthier food choices. Many ingredients in those bins are whole foods, which are fantastic choices nutritionally.</li> </ul> <h2>What and Where to Buy</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Bulk foods and other goods can be found at your local grocery store, health specialty shops/cooperatives, online, and through bulk buying clubs (not to be confused with big box buying stores). If you haven&#39;t ventured into the bulk section in your store before, it&#39;s well worth a jaunt to see what&#39;s in all those tubs. Many of your favorite basic ingredients are well represented here. (See also: <a href="">25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Grocery List</a>)</p> <h3>Pantry Items</h3> <ul> <li>Rice: white, brown, and just about every other variety</li> <li>Lentils</li> <li>Quinoa</li> <li>Oats: instant, rolled, steel-cut</li> <li>Nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc.</li> <li>Nut butters</li> <li>Spices: from cinnamon to curry, nutmeg to smoked paprika</li> <li>Pasta, including couscous</li> <li>Dried fruits: apples, papayas, banana chips, dates, raisins, etc.</li> <li>Dried mushrooms</li> <li>Dried seaweed</li> <li>Sugars: white, brown, coconut, etc.</li> <li>Flours: white, wheat, rye, gluten-free, etc.</li> <li>Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, sesame, etc.</li> <li>Confectioneries: chocolate chips, among others</li> <li>Coffee and tea</li> <li>Cereal</li> <li>Maple syrup</li> <li>Oils: olive, canola, vegetable, sesame</li> <li>Vinegar: apple cider, white, etc.</li> <li>Honey</li> <li>Tomatoes: whole, diced, sauces, etc.</li> <li>Beans: kidney, black, chickpeas, etc.</li> <li>Soup stocks and broths</li> <li>Condiments: ketchup, mustard, hot sauce</li> </ul> <p>Note: You can also buy seasonable fruits and vegetables in bulk and then can, freeze, or otherwise preserve them for later consumption. Similarly, you can get great deals on frozen fruits and vegetables. (See also: <a href="">25 Ways to Use Frozen Vegetables</a>)</p> <h3>Non-Food Items</h3> <ul> <li>Aluminum foil</li> <li>Plastic wrap</li> <li>Sandwich bags</li> <li>Shampoo and conditioner</li> <li>Soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant</li> <li>Laundry detergent</li> <li>Toilet paper</li> <li>Paper towels</li> <li>Batteries</li> </ul> <p>...basically anything and everything you use on a daily basis that is either shelf stable (or lends well to preserving) can be purchased in bulk. We&#39;d love to hear what types of items you stock on a regular basis, so be sure to leave a comment below!</p> <p>Oh, and beware of big box stores, which are popular spots to find many of these items &mdash; they typically involve more packaging. As well, I did an informal price survey at my local joint, and I wasn&#39;t impressed with my findings. And if you haven&#39;t heard of those bulk buying clubs I mentioned above, ask around your local farmers market &mdash; or <a href="">start one</a> of your own.</p> <h2>How to Store</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you live in a tiny apartment or are otherwise short on space, you might be wondering about how to house all these items. I live in a modest home and we&#39;ve found a few creative solutions, including setting up a special pantry shelf in our basement, storing smaller quantities in clear Ball jars on some open kitchen shelving, and stocking frozen items in an upright freezer. (See also: <a href="">5 Best Freezers</a>)</p> <h3>Containers</h3> <p>Place items in safe containers. If you order items online or buy them at the store and they come in paper bags, consider switching over to either plastic or glass storage. This will eliminate the chance that the bag could tear or be tampered with (cats, dogs, mice, the neighbor kids). (See also: <a href="">Where to Find Free or Cheap Mason Jars</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Utilize all the options for sound storage. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, but be sure that whatever you use is airtight and uncompromised. The key with storing bulk foods is keeping them as fresh as possible. Protect your investment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look beyond your favorite retailers for deals on storage containers. You can find great deals at discount dollar stores, online, or even at garage sales.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use a funnel to swiftly and cleanly transfer goods from larger to smaller containers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use old measuring cups and spoons (tablespoons are particularly handy!) as scoops.</li> </ul> <h3>Space</h3> <p>Consider installing a dedicated shelving unit in your kitchen or another room in your house specifically for housing bulk food items. (See also: <a href="">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Designate one of the kitchen cupboards the &quot;bulk cupboard&quot; and store all your goods in there. Alternatively, create open shelving for storage of clear containers for an easy, grab-n-go experience.</li> <li>Use unique spaces, like under the bed or in the hallway closet, as creative storage when in a pinch. You can even create a <a href="">stairway pantry</a> with all that unused wall space!</li> <li>Find new uses for old items, like over-the-door shelving for shoes. If it holds stuff, it might be just what you need to organize your bulk empire.</li> <li>If you&#39;re lucky enough to have a pantry, clear it out and organize with bulk in mind. Containers should be in clear view, easy to reach, and out of harm&#39;s way (off the floor, away from where pets and toddlers can reach, etc.).</li> </ul> <h2>Other Bulky Considerations</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Now that you&#39;ve got the basics, here a few more tips to make it all go a little smoother.</p> <h3>Make a Plan (and Stick to It!)</h3> <p>It can be tempting to go overboard when presented with seemingly endless bulk buying options. Keep in mind that the only way you save is if you actually use up what you&#39;ve bought or it doesn&#39;t go to waste do to spoilage. (See also: <a href="">Recipe Substitutions That Prevent Food Waste</a>)</p> <h3>Bring Your Own (Reusable) Containers for Shopping</h3> <p>Many establishments charge for bulk jars (not so much bags). And while you&#39;re at it, be sure to mark the tare weight (that&#39;s the weight of the container) on your containers, so you&#39;re all set with that information come weigh-time.</p> <h3>Freeze It</h3> <p>To eliminate any possible pests, it&#39;s a good practice to freeze foods (especially grains, beans) for a day or two. I don&#39;t always follow this rule myself, but someone told me it keeps foods fresher, longer.</p> <h3>Mark Ingredients With Name and Date</h3> <p>All those grains can get confusing without packaging. Be sure to use a permanent marker and some labels/masking tape to stay organized and fresh.</p> <h3>Write Up Cooking Instructions and Stow in the Container</h3> <p>Along these same lines, you will likely forget how to cook black rice versus Israeli couscous &mdash; we write instructions on note cards stored in plastic baggies and toss them in with the ingredients for easy reference.</p> <h3>Create a Master List</h3> <p>A danger in buying a lot of something is forgetting you have it. To avoid spoilage or duplicate purchases a simple inventory list can be a lifesaver.</p> <h3>Plan Meals and Cook In</h3> <p>When buying in bulk, it&#39;s important to dedicate a certain amount of time into figuring out which recipes/meals they will eventually turn into. With so much fresh, healthy food on hand, you might want to cook more often rather than going out, further escalating the potential savings. All it takes is a little foresight (and a few good cookbooks). (See also: <a href="">A Month of Frugal Meals</a>)</p> <h3>Evaluate and Tweak as Necessary</h3> <p>It&#39;s good to keep those receipts and track your investment wisely. What items did you use up quickly? What ones did you forget? Were any ingredients unusually costly? Is there another place you might want to check out? Continually refining your process will help it work better each shopping trip.</p> <p><em>Are you a bulk buyer? What works for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Bulk Buying Basics: What to Buy, How to Store, and Money Saving Tips" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Organization Shopping Bulk buying discounts meal planning Mon, 30 Dec 2013 19:47:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1285 at Best Money Tips: How to Meal Plan and Save Cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on how to meal plan and save, money-saving tips for the holidays, and Christmas gifts you can&#39;t buy at the mall.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">How to meal plan and save some cash</a> &mdash; When planning your meals on your own, set aside a certain time each week to plan your menu. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">Money-saving tips for the holidays</a> &mdash; Comparison shopping and buying in bulk can help you save during the holidays. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="">27 Creative Christmas Gifts You Can&#39;t Buy at the Mall</a> &mdash; This holiday season, consider giving homemade treats or a handwritten recipe book. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">Reasons Why Now is the Time to Shop the Thrift Stores</a> &mdash; Now is a great time to shop at thrift stores because the holidays are a prime time for people to donate their unused or old items. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">7 Savvy Tasks to Do in December</a> &mdash; In December, take the time to plan for upcoming expenses. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Those Who Are Hard to Shop For</a> &mdash; Not sure what to get a certain person in your life for the holidays? Try giving them the gift of learning a new language! [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <p><a href="">What Everyone Should Know Before Depositing Their Money In a Bank</a> &mdash; Before you deposit your money in a bank, keep in mind that banks aren&#39;t liable for any deposits that aren&#39;t reimbursed by the FDIC. [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="">Financials of Real Estate Investment #2</a> &mdash; When investing in real estate, be prepared for future expenses and immediate change expenses. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="">How to Stay Safe Traveling</a> &mdash; To stay safe while traveling, pick up a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot. [Daily Worth]</p> <p><a href="">3 Home Heating Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune</a> &mdash; Did you know that keeping your room warm at night may not just cost you more money but it may cause you to have trouble sleeping? [MintLife Blog]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: How to Meal Plan and Save Cash" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips meal plan meal planning saving Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:48:07 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1098945 at The 8 Best Cooking Apps to Make Mealtimes Manageable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-best-cooking-apps-to-make-mealtimes-manageable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tired of serving up the same ol' grub week after week? Then spice up mealtimes with these comprehensive cooking apps that'll help you turn ordinary food into a delicious feast with just a few flicks of your fingers. (See also: <a href="">Top Meal Planning Apps and Websites</a>)</p> <h2>52 School Lunches</h2> <p>For many busy parents, packing school lunches on a daily basis is the bane of their existence, and often kids are sent to school with a few bucks in their pocket to buy the junk food that's being passed off as a proper lunch in the school cafeteria.</p> <p>The <a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">52 School Lunches</a> app, <a href="">based on the book from Familius Publishing</a>, aims to change that with its full-color-photography and directory of delicious, nutritious, fast and fun recipes to keep kids happy and healthy. The app &mdash; available on most mobile devices for $1.99 to $2.99 &mdash; comes complete with ingredient lists, tips (like how to turn leftovers into lunch), tricks (how to make salad stacks), and edible ideas (how to swap boring sandwiches for wraps and rolls) that make sending the kids off to school with a decent meal motivating again. There are even a few jokes along the way to keep you smiling as you learn to love making lunch again. (See also: <a href="">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Relish Daily Dish</h2> <p>Not as comfortable in the kitchen as you'd like to be? There's no shame in seeking out a little digital assistance, which you'll get from <a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">Relish Daily Dish</a>, a free app from Relish magazine and Zumobi.</p> <p>This interactive cookbook guides you through the entire meal-planning process, providing thousands of customizable recipes (so you can accommodate those picky eaters); a wealth of photos, videos, and user-generated content; and integrated social sharing that allows you to post directly to Facebook and Twitter. A search feature also lets you enter a specific ingredient that you may have on hand in order to build a meal around that, along with a shopping list to ensure that you get everything you need at the supermarket so you can make a magnificent meal.</p> <h2>Craft Cocktail</h2> <p>As Food Network's Sandra Lee would say, &quot;It's cocktail time!&quot; &mdash; and with <a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">Craft Cocktail</a> you can play master mixologist with access to loads of original, modern, and exciting cocktail recipes that will wow your guests. This app, available for $1.99 on iPad and iPhone, combines the best of all worlds by providing a thirsty encyclopedia of adult beverages designed by professional bartenders, adapted from classic recipes, and alcohol-infused refreshments easy enough for casual entertainers. Craft Cocktail also includes stunning photography along with offbeat commentary to make your shaken-and-stirred crafting experience even richer. (See also: <a href="">20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails</a>)</p> <h2>Substitutions</h2> <p>Anybody who's ever been in the middle of preparing a meal only to realize that they're missing an important ingredient will bow down to the <a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">Substitutions app</a>, available for $0.99 on iPhone and iPad.</p> <p>Out of Apple Pie Spice? Whip up a quick mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice thanks to this handy-dandy app. Don't have buttermilk on hand? Sub in equal parts plain yogurt and milk as detailed by Substitutions. There's a broad database of substituted ingredients that you can search (more than 400 in total), or you can narrow down your search by categories that include Gluten-Free, Seafood &amp; Meat, Vegan, Baking &amp; Cooking, and more. Other features include the ability to add your own substitution to a category; duplicate an included substitution and edit; share a substitution via mail, message, Twitter, and Facebook; and measurements in U.S. and metric.</p> <h2>KitchMe</h2> <p>If you're looking to shop and cook more efficiently, try <a href="">KitchMe</a>, a new web-based platform from that compiles the best recipes from top sources and combines them with shopping list creation and coupons into a single application.</p> <p>Key features include Drag-and-Drop Meal Planning, which allows you to choose recipes and drag them to a calendar so you can create weekly plans, entrée pairings, sides, and access savings that coordinate with your selections. Curated Recipes focus solely on recipes with ratings of 4.5 stars or higher and that can be prepared in 45 minutes or less. The app also includes social-media sharing capabilities. The Integrated Savings feature is an intuitive tool that shows you which ingredients are on sale at your favorite supermarkets. KitchMe also recently introduced a Google Glass app, which allows Google Glass users to access the platform in a hands-free setting, so you can keep your hands on your meal and off your computer while cooking.</p> <h2>Cooking Planit</h2> <p>Anybody who has ever made a large meal &mdash; say, Thanksgiving dinner &mdash; knows how tough it is to time it perfectly so everything is on the table at the same time, hot and fresh.</p> <p><a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">Cooking Planit</a> makes that feat a little less stressful with its web component and a mobile app that helps organize the meal-planning process with step-by-step instructions to achieve maximum efficiency. Touted as a &quot;GPS for the kitchen,&quot; Cooking Planit lets you filter by main ingredient, occasion, dietary restriction, and type of dish, with each recipe displaying a complete list of ingredients and necessary utensils to reduce chaos in the kitchen. Cooking Planit is free on the web and priced at $0.99 and $2.99 for iPhone and iPad, respectively.</p> <h2>Matt's Pantry</h2> <p>There are many reasons why people avoid the kitchen, two of which <a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">Matt's Pantry</a> iPad app &mdash; created by NYC-based chef Matthew Shields &mdash; aims to eliminate.</p> <p>First, Matt's Pantry allows you to create weekly menus with a shopping list that will compile everything you need to pick up in one fell swoop, meaning no more multiple runs to the market. With those ingredients, you'll be able to make at least five delicious meals with little waste (how many times have your fresh herbs rotted before you could use them all?). Matt's Pantry also includes nutritional facts for each recipe, so you can manage your waistline along with your wallet, and the available recipes run the gamut from appetizers to vegetarian dishes to desserts, which also come with suggested wine and beer pairings. The iPad app is $3.99, and a <a href="">short video</a> is available to view before purchasing. (See also: <a href="">Teach Yourself to Cook</a>)</p> <h2>Paprika</h2> <p>One of the best features of <a href=";offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;">Paprika</a>, available in desktop, iOS, and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008XGLR14&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=best-apps-20">Android</a> versions, is the ability to sync content between devices via its free cloud service. This innovation itself is music to the ears of every home cook whose phone has died right before they're about to start making dinner; just switch to another charged device and get cookin'.</p> <p>Other ingenious features of Paprika include clipboard tools that allow you to copy and paste recipes from any website, recipe scaling so you can cook the same delicious meal for one or six, the ability to add personalized notes to each recipe (like &quot;This could use a pinch more salt next time&quot;), customizable categories (great for holiday meal planning), and offline access so you don't have to starve yourself when your Wi-Fi gets wonky.</p> <p><em>Do you have a favorite cooking app that's not listed here? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 8 Best Cooking Apps to Make Mealtimes Manageable" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink apps cooking apps grocery shopping meal planning Wed, 14 Aug 2013 22:57:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 981118 at Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Three girls cooking with cranberries" title="Three girls cooking with cranberries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanksgiving can be stressful enough &mdash; lots of relatives in town, too much food to cook (in one tiny oven), and of course, timing it all to be ready at just the right moment. Thankfully, one of the best ways to decrease stress on Thanksgiving day is to make dishes ahead of time. (See also: <a href="" title="Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Fixes">Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Fixes</a>)</p> <p>Rather than rely on my relatively few years of experience preparing Thanksgiving, I called the ultimate expert in make-ahead Thanksgiving dish advice &mdash; my mom. My mom has always managed to pull together an amazing Thanksgiving feast where the only thing not homemade is the cranberries (my brother prefers the jelly cranberries in a can) despite working full-time and juggling two hectic kids' schedules.</p> <p>So, what are Mom's tips for dishes to make ahead? She offered her top three dishes in terms of time savings and what was least likely to affect the taste of the dish, along with several other make-ahead dishes and information that is just as important &mdash; what <em>not</em> to make ahead.</p> <h2>Top Three Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes</h2> <p>These three dishes require a fair amount of work, and the taste isn't overly affected if you make them ahead of time.</p> <p><strong>Apple Pie</strong></p> <p>Apple pie can be made a week or two ahead of time and frozen. When you bake it the first time, don't bake the pie all the way through. When you reheat it in the oven, the pie will finish cooking. Also, put some bread crumbs in the bottom of the pan under the crust &mdash; this way, when you cook the pie again after it has thawed, the breadcrumbs will absorb the extra liquid.</p> <p><strong>Stuffing</strong></p> <p>Stuffing requires a lot of peeling and chopping. But dressing (as in a dressing casserole, not a kind you make in the turkey) can be made the day before and reheated on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Mashed Potatoes</strong></p> <p>Mashed potatoes can be made the day before and microwaved on Thanksgiving day. They are <em>almost</em> as good. (Mom's words, not mine. In fact, she always makes hers the day of, but if you need extra time due to the amount of work required to peel potatoes, they can be made ahead of time.)</p> <h2>Other Make-Ahead Dishes</h2> <p>While the following dishes might not be quite as good made ahead as the above three, they're still great. Do these next if you need to save more time.</p> <p><strong>Cranberries</strong></p> <p>Homemade cranberries should be made one to two days before and refrigerated, so that they are cold in time for the Thanksgiving feast.</p> <p><strong>Turkey Breast</strong></p> <p>If your family eats a lot of turkey breast, bake a breast separately (in addition to the full turkey). You can bake it the day before and store in the fridge in some turkey juice. It will absorb the juice and not dry out when you reheat it.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Rolls</strong></p> <p>Dinner rolls can be made one to two weeks ahead and wrapped tightly in tin foil and frozen. When you reheat them in the oven, be sure to keep them in the tin foil, as this will trap the steam and prevent the rolls from drying out.</p> <p><strong>Sweet Potatoes</strong></p> <p>Sweet potatoes can be made one day ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. Just wait to add any marshmallow topping until the dish is almost hot. Otherwise you will end up with exploded and sticky marshmallows coating the inside of your microwave.</p> <h2>Don't Try These Ahead of Time</h2> <p>There are a few dishes to always make on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Turkey</strong></p> <p>There's just no way around it &mdash; you need to get up early and put your turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning. Besides the wonderful smell and better tasting meat, a <a href="">turkey made on the day of Thanksgiving</a> reduces the risk of food poisoning.</p> <p><strong>Pumpkin Pie</strong></p> <p>Pumpkin pie doesn't freeze well because it's a custard. The only exception would be if you own a commercial freezer that will flash-freeze the pie. But like with the turkey, the smell of freshly baking pumpkin pie is a staple of Thanksgiving.</p> <p><strong>Veggies</strong></p> <p>Every family has their own unique Thanksgiving vegetable. Whether it's salad or green bean casserole, it is best made on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Whipped Cream</strong></p> <p>You can whip your cream most of the way on Thanksgiving morning and then finish whipping it right before serving. But you don't want to make whipped cream too far in advance, or it will turn&nbsp;back to liquid.</p> <h2>If You Do Nothing Else, Do This</h2> <p>Even if you can't or won't make dishes ahead of time, do these three things to save money and stress on the big day itself.</p> <p><strong>Take Stock</strong></p> <p>Two weeks before Thanksgiving, take stock of your cupboards and dishware. Determine exactly what dishes you'll need, so that if you need to borrow from a friend or family member, you can give them advance notice. Also determine which recipes you are going to use, and make lists of the ingredients you'll need. Chances are as the time gets closer to actually go shopping, you'll remember items you might have otherwise forgotten.</p> <p><strong>Set the Table</strong></p> <p>You can set your Thanksgiving table up to a week in advance. To easily get the wrinkles out of your tablecloth, spray a very fine mist of water on the table cloth. By Thanksgiving morning the wrinkles will fall out. (Don't spray too heavily, or you will mold the table or turn it white.) You can also put out all the silverware and dishes you'll need a week ahead of time.</p> <p><strong>Make Your Centerpiece</strong></p> <p>Either order your centerpiece in advance, or make a cheap centerpiece a few days to a week before Thanksgiving. A clear glass bowl of different colored apples is a favorite cheap, easy, and festive centerpiece.</p> <p>With these tips, you'll be on your way to a stress free Thanksgiving. For great make-ahead recipes for anytime of year, also check out <a href="" title="5 Awesome, Easy to Freeze Meals">5 Awesome, Easy to Freeze Meals</a> and <a href="" title="9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Breakfasts">9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Breakfasts</a>.</p> <p><em>Is there anything I've forgotten? What tips do you have to save stress on Thanksgiving day?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink holiday dinners make ahead food meal planning Thanksgiving Tue, 13 Nov 2012 10:36:51 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 955474 at Top Meal Planning Apps and Websites <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-meal-planning-apps-and-websites" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Cooking dinner" title="Cooking dinner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few months ago, I finally joined the rest of the world and got an iPhone. At first, I wasn't sure if I really wanted or needed such a fancy gadget, but the ease and convenience of having the Internet at my fingertips quickly erased any doubts I might have had.</p> <p>I mean, who <em>doesn't</em> need instant access to Facebook 24 hours a day?</p> <p>Facebook jokes aside, new apps and websites are created daily to help us manage almost every aspect of our lives. For example, one of the most stressful parts of my day comes when someone asks the inevitable question &quot;What's for dinner?&quot; They're three little words, but they have the power to strike fear in the hearts of mothers (and meal-preparing fathers) everywhere. For me, it isn't so much the cooking itself that I don't like, but rather the task of meal planning that makes me want to throw in the towel and dial up delivery.</p> <p>Fortunately, to borrow the trendy new phrase, there's an app for that. I've been visiting recipe websites for a while, but only recently did I discover that there are many other <a href="">meal planning apps and websites</a> that offer so much more.</p> <h3>Supercook</h3> <p><a href="">Supercook</a> is a website devoted to helping you answer the &quot;what's for dinner&quot; question. After creating a free account, you can type in the ingredients you have in your pantry, and the Supercook recipe search engine will find recipes that you can make with only those ingredients.</p> <p>The website is a great resource for those nights when you've got a package of chicken thighs in the freezer but no idea what to do with them, or when you need to make do with the ingredients you have on hand becase you don't have time to stop by the grocery store.</p> <h3>Once a Month Mom</h3> <p>At <a href="">Once a Month Mom</a>, you'll find a program designed to help you plan and freeze <em>an entire month</em> of meals for your family. You can choose from several menu options, including Traditional, Vegetarian, Whole Foods, Diet, Gluten/Dairy Free, and even Baby Food.</p> <p>One day a month, you will spend 8-12 hours cooking and prepping meals for the month ahead. I personally think this sounds like a daunting task, but I do like the idea of having my menu plan handed to me. I also like the idea of not having to scramble to put together a meal at the last minute.</p> <h3>Menu Planner</h3> <p>The <a href="">Menu Planner app</a> for your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad allows you to store your favorite recipes, create shopping lists and meal plans, and keep track of what's on your pantry shelves. All your meal planning information is kept in one place and is aways easily accessible.</p> <p>If you choose to use Menu Planner, you'll love that you can find <a href="">tutorials and FAQs</a> to help you figure out what the heck you're doing (especially if you're like me and you're still trying to understand all this new-fangled technology in the first place). But keep in mind that Menu Planner is <em>not</em> a free app, and from what I can tell, is not available for Android either.</p> <h3>Ziplist</h3> <p><a href="">Ziplist</a> makes grocery shopping easier than ever before. At Ziplist, you can create a free, customizable, online shopping list. This list can be easily updated by email, instant message, text message, or on the web, whenever you remember items that need to be added. And if you need help with meal planning, you can search Ziplist's extensive meal planning database. Once you've found a recipe you like, you simply click, and all the necessary ingredients will be automatically added to your shopping list.</p> <p>Ziplist also offers free apps for both iPhone and Android users, which will fully sync with your online account. With so many great features, this is one I definitely plan to use.</p> <h3>Relish</h3> <p><a href="">Relish</a> is a meal planning website that operates on a subscription basis. For $7 a month ($5 if you purchase a year-long subscription), you'll receive weekly emails that offer a variety of recipe choices. Once you choose your meals, a shopping list will be generated for you.</p> <p>At Relish, you get to choose five meals a week, and can expect to spend about $90 purchasing the ingredients. Personally, because there are so many other free meal-planning options available, I don't know if Relish is worth the money. But I found many enthusiastic, positive reviews of the website, so you may find that it's worth every penny.</p> <p><em>Do you have other meal planning apps or websites that you prefer, or personal experience using the ones listed above? Please share! </em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Quickly crafting delicious and healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners is easy when you have these meal-planning tools on your side. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This post is by Alyssa Chirco from our sister blog, Parenting Squad. Visit <a href="">Parenting Squad</a> for more parenting tips and news:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Capture And Share Family Memories With Google Products</a></li> <li><a href="">Moving With Kids: 23 Can't-Miss Tips To Help You Cope</a></li> <li><a href="">Whole Food Replacements For Junk Food Sweets</a></li> <li><a href="">9 Household Items To Use As Toys</a></li> <li><a href="">From The Playroom To The Boardroom: 5 Steps For Returning To Work</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Parenting Squad</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Technology apps bulk cooking meal planning Wed, 20 Jul 2011 09:48:10 +0000 Parenting Squad 622060 at How To Eat Well And Stay Healthy Despite Long Work Hours <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-eat-well-and-stay-healthy-despite-long-work-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="192" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How To Eat Well And Stay Healthy Despite Long Work Hours" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>At some point in your career, you will work long hours. Right now, for example, you may be spending loads of time strategizing the launch of a new product, poring over statistics to pinpoint the cause of a quality glitch in manufacturing, or setting up a global supply chain to make sure that your company delivers its first shipment to a new account on time.</p> <p>Fewer hours in your day means less time to prepare and eat healthy food. But with a little planning and a couple of handy apps, you can sustain yourself and avoid developing unhealthy habits.</p> <h3>Focus on Saving Calories, not Money</h3> <p>As a business owner or manager, you are on a constant quest to derive the best value for every dollar you spend. But cost-saving initiatives may not apply to purchase decisions if you eat out frequently. Carefully engineered (and manipulative) menu pricing steers buyers to larger portion sizes at restaurants, whether it's a quick-serve establishment or a fine dining restaurant. Reject the idea that getting the least expensive price on a per ounce basis is the optimal choice in terms of eating well.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Davis Liu, M.D.,</a> family physician and author of <i><a target="_blank" href="">Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely: Making Intelligent Choices in America's Healthcare System</a></i> says choosing right-sized portions saves time (and money):</p> <p>&ldquo;Yes, it [the footlong compared to the 6-inch sub] might be cheaper, but the cost to your health (with the added calories) and the time you don&rsquo;t have to burn it off (that is why you are working long hours, right?) is saved with a smaller portion size.&rdquo;</p> <p>And, as most people are aware, portions have grown larger over time, contributing to an obesity epidemic in the United States. Dr. Liu points to <a target="_blank" href="">Portion Distortion</a> as a way to see just how much our sense of the right portions may be skewed. For example, there are 615 more calories in today&rsquo;s version of a coffee and muffin than those served 20 years ago, requiring more than a couple of hours of moderate activity to burn the extra caloric fuel.</p> <h3>Embrace the Predictable</h3> <p>Innovation drives success in business. But predictability and consistency &mdash; yes, those boring, same-old, same-old choices &mdash; are beneficial and conducive to eating well during long workweeks.</p> <p>Dr. Liu uses <a target="_blank" href="">Jared of Subway</a> as an example. This now-famous dieter ate the same lunch and same dinner for months as a simple way to lose weight.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you go out to a lot to restaurants, pick a few options that you are familiar with so you aren&rsquo;t always faced in trying to figure out if an option is healthy or not,&rdquo; he advises. This approach &ldquo;takes the stress out of deciding&rdquo; and reduces the possibility of making an &ldquo;emotional or hunger purchase.&rdquo;</p> <p>Before you begin marathon workdays, check out menus online or ask about healthy options at local restaurants, and then decide on a few items to eat on a regular basis.</p> <h3>Follow a Game Plan</h3> <p>Plan for the week so that the morning rush does not thwart your intentions to eat well. Develop a plan and stock supplies for breakfasts, snacks, and lunches.</p> <h4>Breakfast</h4> <ul> <li><b>Fruit smoothies</b>. Keep frozen fruit, yogurt, and orange juice on hand as well as add-ins such as flax seed and peanut butter; blend together in the morning for a quick breakfast.</li> <li><b>Oatmeal</b>. Stock oatmeal and add-ins such as dried fruit and nuts as well as butter or a healthy butter substitute along with spoons and microwavable bowls; prepare at home or at your workplace.</li> <li><b>DIY egg sandwich</b>. Use basic food pantry supplies such as eggs, bread (or bagels), milk, and cheese to prepare a hearty breakfast sandwich.</li> </ul> <h4>Snacks</h4> <ul> <li><b>Fruit</b>. Buy ready-to-eat fruit and/or prepare a batch for the week, such as bananas and oranges that require no preparation; apples and grapes that simply need washing; pineapple and kiwi that can be peeled, chopped, and stored for easy access.</li> <li><b>Trail mix</b>. Make your own and create reasonable daily portions of healthy nuts and dried fruit.</li> <li><b>Vegetables</b>. Prepare raw vegetables and dip, such as hummus or a yogurt-based recipe.</li> </ul> <h4>Lunch</h4> <ul> <li><b>Homemade one-dish meals</b>. Develop a repertoire of home-cooked meals that reheat well; bring a large portion and divide into individual meals throughout the week.</li> <li><b>Soup.</b> Make vegetable and bean soups; bring jars of soup for the week.</li> <li><b>Supplies</b>. Keep staples and kitchen supplies on hand such as salad dressing, bread, and peanut butter as well as plates, cups, and utensils.</li> </ul> <h3>Use Healthy Food-Related Apps</h3> <p>If long hours mean that you don't have time to plan and prepare meals, apps may help you to quickly find and evaluate sources of healthy food.</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Restaurant Nutrition</a> offers nutritional stats on common meals at restaurant chains;</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Fooducate</a> provides nutritional information by scanning bar codes on packaged food;</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="">Yelp</a> leads you to local fruit stands and health-focused restaurants that serve fresh food.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center diet Health low cost meals meal planning overwork small business Sat, 07 May 2011 21:48:02 +0000 Julie Rains 532483 at Save Money on Groceries With These Online Tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-on-groceries-with-these-online-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Man grocery shopping" title="Man grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The cost of just about everything seems to be going up these days. Gas is only the most notable example. The prices on groceries are rising steadily to the point that people are in a tizzy after they check out, getting a lot less food for a lot more money.</p> <p>There are many ways to save on groceries. Unfortunately, these all take time, and that&rsquo;s a precious commodity in our world, too. However, there are some online tools that can help you save both time and money, so you&rsquo;re happier, more relaxed, and still eating well. (See also: <a href="">3 Reasons Why Buying Groceries Online Is Great</a>)</p> <h2>Menu-Planning Tools</h2> <p>Most people know about the wisdom of menu planning. If you look at what you have in your house and plan your menus around that, you&rsquo;ll spend less because you won&rsquo;t buy as many new items each week. In addition, you&rsquo;ll use up everything you have, so nothing goes to waste. Finally, you won&rsquo;t be as prone to impulse buys because you&rsquo;ll know your list has everything on it that you need.</p> <p>In fact, the only downside to menu planning is that it can take quite a bit of time, especially at the beginning. But there are some handy-dandy websites that will not only allow you to choose the recipes you want to make, but will put together grocery lists and, sometimes, organize them for you, too.</p> <h3>Kitchen Monki</h3> <p><a href="">KitchenMonki</a> not only provides you with recipes, but will break those up into an aisle-by-aisle list of what you need to buy. It will also help you scale recipes and figure out if you have enough of an ingredient left or if you need to buy some more.</p> <h3>HealthyEating</h3> <p><a href="">HealthyEating</a> is similar, with an added focus on healthy foods. They help you understand nutrition, then provide recipes to help you meet your particular goals.</p> <h3>Relish!</h3> <p>While <a href="">Relish!</a> charges a $7/month fee, they claim to have better meals and more flexibility. You can choose to go gluten-free, or you can go for options that you know the kids will like. Five meals worth of food should cost around $90, and there&rsquo;s little thinking involved on your part.</p> <h2>Coupon Resources</h2> <p>For most people, coupons are either a favorite or a least-favorite way to save money. For some, the process of finding, clipping, and using coupons feels tedious. To others, it seems like a no-brainer. And to some, it becomes a way of life, or even an obsession.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;d like to use coupons, but you&rsquo;re intimidated by the process or aren&rsquo;t sure how to get started, <a href="">CouponMom</a> is a great site. You&rsquo;ll have to invest a little time, but it offers articles on how to use coupons, what the different terms that couponers use mean, and how to get started. She also offers printable coupons, online coupons, and a coupon database, as well as a list of coupon deals by state.</p> <p>Once you know what you&rsquo;re doing, there are a bazillion <a href="">coupon sites</a> online. <a href="">Redplum</a> is one of the best, and one that people have found to be trustworthy, reliable, and worth their time.</p> <h2>Online Price Comparison</h2> <p>One of the most tried-and-true ways to save on groceries is to compare the costs of items you buy regularly and shop where they&rsquo;re the cheapest. In terms of a time hog, though, this takes the cake. Not only do you have to find all the items in each store you want included in your comparison, but you also have to write down the prices. Then, when you&rsquo;re done, you have to decide where you&rsquo;ll save the most. (See also: <a href="">Save on Groceries with Discount Grocery Stores</a>)</p> <p>Enter <a href="">Pricible</a>. This site claims to do your comparison shopping for you. All you need to do is tell it where you live, then enter the item you want to buy. It should give you the price options and the stores reporting the different prices in your area. Once you&rsquo;ve worked through your standard grocery items with Pricible, you should be able to target your shopping so you can save as much as possible. Note: I didn&rsquo;t find too many price options in my area, but it seems like other locations around the country had a much higher participation rate on the site.</p> <p>Hopefully these tools will help alleviate some of the strain that rising food prices can put on frugal people.</p> <p><em>Do you have other sites that you use to save on food? Let us know in the comments.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Save Money on Groceries With These Online Tools" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping couponing Frugal grocery shopping grocery shopping online meal planning save money on food Mon, 25 Apr 2011 10:24:16 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 529940 at Cooking from Scratch: Where's the Work? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cooking-from-scratch-wheres-the-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Kneading bread" title="Kneading bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My grandmother loved the fact that she could go to the store and buy bread, noodles and all sorts of other food that she could have on the table in a matter of minutes. She remembered when she had to make all of her own bread, along with just about everything else. She did have access to canned vegetables and fruit, of course &mdash; because she had put them up herself, preserving whatever was fresh for later.</p> <p>Over the past couple of years, I've moved more toward cooking as much from scratch as I can. Just last week, I made a big pot of pasta from scratch. As I've gotten into the habit of preparing meals that require a lot more time than opening a box, I've tried to isolate the places where the biggest concentration of work is in cooking from scratch, and see what I can do about it.</p> <h3>1. Doughs</h3> <p>I started out making bread without much more than my hands and a tiny hand mixer. For just about every kind of dough, my hand mixer just wasn't enough &mdash; even on no-knead recipes, I found that I almost always had to get my hands dirty in order to get all the ingredients combined. It's time-consuming, and I could quickly see the appeal of just running down to the store for my bread. But one kitchen appliance has just about eliminated the problem: a stand mixer. (See also: <a href="">The 5 Best Mixers</a>)</p> <p>With a good stand mixer, it's easy to handle the entire kneading process for most doughs &mdash; without even touching the dough. A good mixer can even handle notoriously tough tasks, like kneading pasta dough. The downside is that a good stand mixer can be an expensive purchase: I've run the numbers on mine and even with the major difference in my food budget when I cook from scratch, it took a long time for the purchase to pay off. There are alternatives, of course. The best mixers, such as the well-known KitchenAid line, are very long-lived. There are mixers in my family that are older than I am. If you can find a second-hand stand mixer in good shape, you'll have less of an investment, and still be able to get the benefits.</p> <h3>2. Meat</h3> <p>The fact that we can buy just a single steak, ready to toss on the grill, is a major time-saving factor in the kitchen. But if you're trying to bring down your grocery bill, you're probably not buying just one steak. Many people buy their meat and poultry in bulk, or choose options like a whole chicken &mdash; it's a lot cheaper, even if you have to take it apart to get it ready to cook. If you buy in any kind of bulk, there are a couple of things (<a href="">beyond a freezer</a>) that can make the process much easier.</p> <p>Buy freezer bags in bulk, as well, and pull out the masking tape and marker. An alternative is a combination of cling wrap and tin foil. The moment you bring meat and poultry home from the market, it's easiest to immediately divide it into meal-sized portions, preferably marked with the date and the contents. It's a lot faster to handle it all in one go, especially if you have to divide poultry or any other item that you don't want to defrost until you're ready to use all of it. A pair of poultry shears can also make the process a lot faster.</p> <h3>3. Soups and Sauces</h3> <p>On the surface, a soup from scratch doesn't seem like a ton of work: after all, you put everything in a pot and then ignore it for a while. But soups, sauces and other dishes that can require cooking over longer periods of time can be a bit of a problem if you aren't planning to stay home with it all day. Crockpots and other kitchen appliances that allow you to cook on a timer are key to being able to cook from scratch.</p> <p>Admittedly, I still worry a bit about leaving a running crockpot when I'm out of the house. It's certainly not on the order of leaving the oven on while I'm out, but I'm not the biggest fan of leaving anything running while I'm not there to supervise.</p> <h3>4. Planning</h3> <p>One of the biggest sources of work that is necessary in cooking from scratch is planning out your meals ahead of time. If you're making bread for dinner, for instance, you need to know that with enough advance warning to not only mix up the dough but allow it to rise and then bake it. The same goes for getting food out of the freezer in time to defrost &mdash; it's not particularly a labor-intensive part of your day, but you won't be able to cook if it doesn't happen.</p> <p>That means sitting down and planning out meals ahead of time. It's just a matter of getting in the habit, week after week &mdash; and it does get easier once you're used to doing it.</p> <h3>Where's Your Work?</h3> <p>Is there another part of cooking from scratch that seems to make up the biggest part of the workload for you? How do you handle those tasks? Is there a way to cut down on the time necessary, or at least handle it all in one go?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Cooking from Scratch: Where&#039;s the Work?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink bread cooking from scratch meal planning Tue, 25 Aug 2009 13:00:01 +0000 Thursday Bram 3529 at 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="" 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="">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> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Tips for Streamlining Your Shopping List" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> 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