I have the last frozen meal that I prepared last month in my crockpot right now. That means it is time to shop and cook and freeze meals for another month.
Since I need the van all week to bring my daughters and their friends to VBS, I am bringing my husband to work every morning. He starts work shortly after 6:00am this week. This means I got to go grocery shopping at 6:30 this morning! Have you ever gone grocery shopping at that time of the morning? It's great! You are almost the only person in the store. The dairy guy, the butcher, the produce man--they are all out there arranging their shelves, stocking things, and best of all, able to answer questions and tell you about the great deals they have that day!
So I did my Once a Month Shopping today, so that over the next three days or so, I can do my Once A Month Cooking. I used to do this very faithfully, but then I quit when we started eating healthier. Last month, I found the Once A Month Meals website. What a great tool! Amazing! A member can choose from traditional, whole foods, paleo, diet, vegetarian and other menus with a new menu each month. Previous months menus are available to choose as well. With a premium membership, you can swap recipes if there is one your family won't enjoy or that your allergies prohibit you from making. At $16 a month for a premium membership, I shuddered at first, but I had a free month membership. Once I tried it, I loved it. The time saved in planning is worth that money to me right now. See, once you have your menu planned, you can enter the number of servings you want and print out a shopping list, recipe cards, prep work, cooking day tasks, and a thaw sheet so you know what to do with your meals when you take them out of the freezer. I print all of these up and put them in a three-ring binder, so after I've done this for a few months, I'll have a nice collection of menus to choose from.
Back to today's shopping. I went to two stores this morning. At my main store, I spent $219.37. I saved $75.64 by shopping the sales and using coupons that I found as I shopped. (I am not a big couponer, but I use them when I find them next to the item I am using) At the next store, I spent $23.47. That is a total of $242.84. I have things like flour, salt, and such at home, because I buy them in bulk from a co-op. With what I spent, I will have everything I need for a month of meals. I don't anticipate going shopping again for a month. We'll see how that goes! I did put down that I wanted 8 servings instead of six when I printed my menu, because last month, the meals were just right for a meal. For many people that would be perfect, but I'm a leftovers kind of gal. I missed having leftovers to send to work with my hubby and use for the kids and I at home for lunch. So I increased the servings that I needed for this month to see if I will have enough leftovers.