Thursday, April 29, 2010

What I have learned Thursdays... 1 of 4 in a series.

This little bit of information comes from ME!! It is not something I learned from someone else.  It is something I have learned from:

11 years of marriage

4 kids

Very little $$$

and 1 very important goal.

For 11 years, having a home-cooked meal on my table has been very important to me.  I believe now more then ever that we must find time to gather with our families around the dinner table.  Home prepared meals not only allow us that but they also afford us ways to save money and eat healthier.

This will be post 1 in a 4 post series titled:

"Being Prepared in the Kitchen."

How many of you have experienced this before?:

"Mom, I'm hungry.  When will dinner be ready?"

"There is nothing to eat."

"Could you bring dinner over to so and so who is ill?"

"I invited so and so over for dinner."

"It's our turn to feed the missionaries, co-workers, or neighbors."

"Can you bring a dessert to this event tonight?"

And then....

you look in the pantry and you have nothing. 

I. mean. nothing.  to feed them.

Well... I am here to help with that.

WEEK 1:  Organize

WEEK 2: Shop and Prepare

WEEK 3: Make Ahead and Prepare Early

WEEK 4:  Share with others

Week 1:  Organization is a huge part of being successful at anything.  I am going to show you how I am successful at keeping my family and friends happy through there tummies and meal times.

#1.  Clean out your fridge.  Never ever come home from the grocery store with a messy fridge.  It will leave you feeling frustrated and frazzled.

#2.  Decide how many times a month you want to shop.  I shop every 3 weeks or so, with a small trip about mid-way through for a few more fresh items.  If you had a dairy that delivered this would eliminate that step.

REMEMBER:  the more you go to the grocery store... the more you spend.

#3.  Pick the stores that you know you will be shopping at, and get familiar with their layout.

#4.  Organize your recipes.  I have found it easiest to keep all of mine in a 3-ring binder. I will tell you why in the next series.


a.  I have one binder for meals.  This binder is divided into categories.  ie: chicken, beef, pork, non-meat.  I also have a sections for soup, salads, and crockpot.

b.  I have another binder with bread recipes, this includes pancakes, muffins, and waffles.  It is also home to my desserts, baking, sauces, and appetizers.

c.  I also have a list inside my binder with some our favorites that come from my cookbooks.  I have recipe name with the page number listed next to it.

#5.  Now it is time to make your Menu.  I pick about 12 recipes.  That seems to last us the 3 weeks.  I write them down on this handy dandy menu planner that I found at Michaels in the $$$ section.  You could create your own on the computer.

It has a magnet on the back, and hangs on my fridge for easy reference.


a.  On the side that says shopping list, I have created a spot for breakfast ideas, lunch ideas, dessert ideas, and sides.  This way I won't forget to add these ingredients to my list.

#6.  Once your recipes are organized, it is time to organize your store list.  I have a grocery store list, and a Sam's Club list.

list 2 


a.  each list is divided into categories.  I have filled in the categories with the items that I buy every grocery trip or almost every trip.

b.  I have them printed out ready to go with the grocery on the front, and Sam's on the back.

c.  I also have a list that I like to call my Cue sheet.  This helps remind me of the items that I like to have on hand in my pantry.  If I scan down it, I can remember, "Oh yes, we are out of this."  Then I add it to my list.

Cue List

#7.  Once my menu is complete, I refer to my recipes for the rest of my grocery items.  I just fill them in the blanks that they belong. 

a.  What is typed on the list are the ingredients that I usually need to buy.

b.  The handwritten items are what I need for my meals.

c.  The items that I cross off of staples that I usually need to buy, but don't need this go round.


1.  Pick menu items that use one or more of the same ingredients, and then they won't go to waste.  ie:  make two recipes that call for Catalina dressing.

2.  Be realistic in what your family will eat, and how much time you have to prepare.  If you don't you will pick something, put it on your menu, and never end up making it.  As a result, all of your ingredients will go to waste.

3.  To save money, don't cook recipes with lots of ingredients.  Maybe pick one recipe like that per menu.

4.  Make your recipes that call for fresh ingredients first.  That way they don't go to waste.  Save your recipes that call for canned and frozen items at the end of your menu cycle.

5.  Talk with your spouse about how much your food budget is, and stick to it.  Use cash if you have to, and once the money is gone you don't shop until your next paycheck.

Now go get prepared, and meet me back here next week for tips on shopping and preparing.

If you would like a copy of my lists, please let me know and I will be happy to email them to you.


Stacey said...

This is really awesome....I'm already excited for the next series of 4! I'd love for you to e-mail me your list(s) AND at some point I'd really be interested in hearing what your families favorite and/or stand-by meals are (if that can fit in anywhere).

Thanks so much for your hard work in putting this together, take care!

Kendra @ Domestic Princess in Training said...

All great ideas! Love the idea of having a "queue sheet: I use a little binder for recipes as well. If I pull a recipe to use out of one of my cook books I make sure to write the name of the cook book and the page # I found it on...that has saved me a few times.

I look forward to seeing your future info!

Kendra "Domestic Princess in Training"

The DeVito's said...

That is great! This is a BIG thing I struggle with. Can you email me your lists? hollydevito777 at gmail dot com.

Brunson's said...

I will be forever thankful for seeing your list on your fridge. I now have my sheets I print out and it makes it so nice.

melanie liljenquist said...

I am inspired I too think Family Meal time is so important. I also do a menu planning list but sometimes I love to see new Ideas. Will you Please E-mail me a copy of your list. By the way I have been enjoying your list you e-mailed me of Crockpot meals. Thanks for being so great.


Matt Ormond Family said...

You are incredible and I would love a copy of your lists, if you wouldn't mind emailing them to me. I'm excited for next week! Thanks!

Beth Curtis said...

you are wonderwoman. I am excited for the next 3 weeks. I really need to get organized with my shopping.

Krysta said...

Great post! Being organized like that helps so much. I love not having to go to the store every week.

I didn't get my list done today. Looks like I'm doing it tomorrow morning.

EMILEE said...


Torie Chipman said...

This is great! I would love for you to email your list to me. Thanks so much for the great idea and I am looking fwd to the next 4 series.

Thank you,

Elise said...

I need to be better at this too...great ideas! Send me your lists girl:)

Shayla and James said...

I stumbled across your blog and you are amazing. I am inspired and leaving with extra motivation and energy. Thank you. I love this 1 of 4 series-pretty neat. I would love a copy of these lists-my email is
Thanks! :)

The McClellan Clan said...

okay I have been trying to figure out how to make all my cabinets with food in them make sense! You just totally helped me out. You are to good at all this!! What a talent you have!! Of course I like it cause I benefit from it as well!! :) :) thanks!

Heather said...

Are you freaking kidding me? This is genius. Way to go. BTW... I'm annoyed by your dairy delivery comment. After all, I am an Arizonian. That is nonexistent here. RRRR....

Angie said...

You have such great tips and ideas!! Love your blog! I would love a copy of your lists!

Anna said...

Hi! I loved this post and look forward to seeing the rest of the series. Thank you for blogging about this. I would love to get a copy from you! Thank you so much. You have a lovely family and are very inspiring! I really enjoy your blog.


JoDean said...

Thanks for sharing, Andrea!

schrammfam said...

Ok you are killin me!! I knew you were organized but sereiously???????? Im calling you this week to talk about it!

Jessica said...

Please email me your lists!!! I have wanted to do something like this for a while, but just haven't sat down to make the list and save it on the computer! Thanks!

Emi said...

I would love to have a copy of your lists! I have been asked to teach a monthly series on menu planning freezer cooking crockpot cooking etc for our Relief Society and need all the help I can get. I will be sure to give you credit and refer to your blog at the class. Thanks so much!! Emily (ps I noticed the similarity of your name and my email. HA HA!! Mine stands for Jason and Emily Hill. We must have a lot in common LOL!)

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to share! Could you please send me your lists? Thank you!

The Simple Life of a Rich Girl said...

Love your blog! As a mom of three young boys, I am taking notes on all your tips! Could you please email me your lists? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I would love to have a copy of your lists, I just started following your blog, I love all of your ideas!


ninazech46 said...

I have just seen your tips for the kitchen. Love it! I would love to have a copy of your grocery list. Thank you and Merry Christmas. My email is

Ashley said...


A good friend recommended your blog to me and I'm so glad she did!! I would love it if you could email your lists from this series! My email is

Thanks!! Hope your family has a wonderful Christmas!


Tami and Jon said...

I just came across your blog. I have always struggled with meals and planning them out. I would really love for you to email me your lists. Thanks!!

Brandy said...

I would love to get a copy of you lists. Thanks.

Erin and Garrett said...

I'd also love it if you'd email me your lists and your favorite go-to meals. Thanks for all the tips!

tricia said...

Great ideas! I'm a little late as far as discovering your blog. If you are still willing to email your lists I would be appreciative. Thank you for sharing your ideas!
Tricia.mcswain at gmail dot com

Rachel said...

I would also love the list

Rachel said...

I would also love the list

Anonymous said...

I would love to get a copy of your lists if you don't mind. You have some fantastic ideas!!!

Thank you so much!

Heather I am getting lots of spam, can you put lists in subj line please?? I appreciate it much!

Jamey said...

I would love a copy of your shopping list - I am trying to get better at menu making! Thanks

Meagan Davis said...

I would love a copy of your lists. I love your blog! This looks so helpful. My email is

Hudson and Emily said...

I would love your lists! My email is Thanks!!

Brigette said...

I too would love your lists. I tried not cut and paste so as not to bother you but it didn't work out. Thanks for all the amazing help.

hyarbrough said...

I'd love the lists please.

hyarbrough said...

I'd love the lists please.

Doreen Cole said...

Wow your blog is amazing!(I found it through pinterest) I'm about to have my second baby and I'd love to get some organization in my household and set up a list for us as well before baby comes it would really help! Could I get a copy of your lists please!

Doreen Cole said...

Wow your blog is amazing!(I found it through pinterest) I'm about to have my second baby and I'd love to get some organization in my household and set up a list for us as well before baby comes it would really help! Could I get a copy of your lists please!

amanda said...

Thank you for sharing this! I love it! I am new to your blog and have already found lots of things to help make me a better homemaker and mother.
Do your lists include your recipes as well? Sorry if that's asking too much. I'd love your lists.
Thank you!
amandaleelarsen at gmail dot com

Leslie said...

Oh my gosh! You are so inspiring! I just came across your blog and LOVE it! Time to start being a better wife/mother! I know this post is from three years ago, but I would love a copy of your lists and recipies if you have them in a file...I know how important family meals are together, but just can't seem to get myself organized. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

Kristin said...

Can I get a copy of your lists?

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