Meal Planning & The Efficient Grocery List!

Can we first discuss that yesterday, on my THIRD meetup.com attempt, I finally made it to one (semi) on time and was SUCCESSFUL! The organizer of the "park day meetup" recognized me right away and introduced herself (yay for not awkwardly introducing myself). Then I made a friend. She asked for my number and everything.. seriously, we're besties now. But in reality I am so relieved to be making progress in the "mom friend" department.. it's stressful business!

To bring you up-to-speed on today... things started off with a lot of promise:

Adorable right?

I'm all confident this morning about how we will trek over to Trader Joe's (it's 20 min away) and grocery shop amongst the beautiful healthy food and then play outside blah blah blah WRONG. Teething monster strikes again! Now that Jack is FINALLY napping I have had to reevaluate my whole plan! Like go to Meijer instead of Trader Joe's (WOMP WOMP)

Now, I have been in a HUGE cooking slump lately.. like not excited about it at all because we are trying to be "healthy". I have been "attempting" to follow this SUPER bland meal plan for like 3 months now that doesn't ever work out and so it is time to find some cooking inspiration again! 

I headed over to skinnytaste.com and picked FIVE recipes I want to try over the next week. MEAL PLANNING PEOPLE! It takes work/time but it's important to sticking with a healthy lifestyle and EVENTUALLY it saves time AND $$$$ (da moneys). 

So here's my guide to creating the EFFICIENT grocery list:

-When you are trying lots of new recipes I'm thinking it is pretty normal to write down ALL of the ingredients for each recipe (or is this just me?) I usually end up with pages of notebook paper that look like this

Then I get to the grocery store and spend about 2 HOURS going back and forth up and down the aisles gathering the ingredients for each recipe one at a time. Pre-Jack this was fine, whatever, I can spend 2 hours at the grocery store because, who cares? Well now, Jack cares, he cares A LOT.

So now.. 

1. I write down every recipe I want to try

2. I start a NEW list and categorize the ingredients by things like produce, spices, dairy, etc. 

3. I first put down the things I need just in general (daily staples) 

4. THEN I got through each recipe and add the ingredients under their designated category (There are apps for phones that do this too but I am a CROSS IT OFF WITH A PEN kind of girl)

5. When I get to the store I BREEZE through the aisles checking things off like cray cray and we are out of there in no time! 

It takes a bit more time and forethought but the end result is worth it! I'm sure there are other methods, even ones that are maybe even MORE efficient?? I'm open to suggestions!

I also like to bring my groceries home to a clean and organize kitchen. This means clearing off the shelves of expired/half eaten/leftover items in the fridge. Last night there were a few things in the fridge and cupboards that hadn't been used or that were left over from other recipes so I whipped up a makeshift casserole. I am SO uncertain if this will actually taste good.. but it's what's for dinner tonight.. hahaha

chicken, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, cream of chicken soup.. 

Recipes I am TRYING this week:

Now this little naked napper just woke up so it's time to head to the store.. don't let that cute face fool you - there are teeth in those gums that are causing all hell to break loose in this household!

Wish me luck!

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