Over the last few weeks I’ve posted about budget wrangling and dealing with supply chain challenges.
Here’s a summary of links, in case you missed them:
Supply chain challenges:
Reducing Budget Bloat
If you’ve got questions about budgeting or grocery shopping, feel free to drop me a line! And stay tuned, there’s a 3-part challenge coming up…with a prize draw for some sweet swag!
Let’s be clear, I am definitely not suggesting hoarding. That leads to chaos, panic, and stress for everyone in the community- it’s in no way helpful these days.
However, you don’t have to wait until you completely run out of something either. If you’re out of kidney beans, pick up an extra can (or 2). Ditto for other shelf or freezer-stable item.
Knowing what you use a lot of and what will keep is paramount- it makes no sense to stock up on something that will go bad and ultimately end up in the compost or landfill. Bulk purchases don’t have to be massive amounts of “extra” items- just a couple of extra items in your pantry is incredibly helpful to bridge the gaps in availability.
Some other ideas to consider:
The most important thing to remember: Label and date everything so it can be used rather than wasted.
Wishing you a marvelous day! I’d enjoy hearing what your favourite way to “bulk up” is- please drop me a line here or hop over to Facebook and join the conversation there!
When you hear “shop local”, most people jump to farmers markets in their minds. Depending on where you live, this can be a huge source of farm-to-table products that are worth their weight in gold for how fresh and delicious food sourced this way can be. Some of these are seasonal, some year-round. Do some research for your area! It can be a fun way to spend a day.
Have you ever considered these other options?
For real, every single client I’ve ever had, myself included- have forgotten about food stored in their own freezers. Before you shop, see what you’ve got. This is one of the best ways to keep yourself steady during complicated seasons, such as the one we’re currently in. You may have a bounty of food already available. Freezers are great places to store for a future need, but your food won’t keep forever. Honour your foresight in making these purchases and use what you have.
Questions? Comments? I’m continuing the conversation on Facebook, come on over to “like” my page and comment on my post. Looking forward to connecting with you!
Do you remember in Jr. High, when you were expected to partner up with someone in class, and it was the worst ever? No matter what class, those partner assignments were the worst.
In this age of random food and supply shortages, partnering up with a few friends, colleagues, or family members can often be the difference between having what you need and going without.
I have a few people in my life that will keep an eye open when they’re shopping for what I often use, and I do the same for them. We’ll ask each other to pick up something on our next Costco runs. Or we’ll split one of those large quantity bags of rice or flour when it makes sense to do so.
One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that a full pantry makes me feel happy. I won’t ever hoard a room full of toilet paper or keep a year’s supply of canned beans on hand, but I won’t ever run out, either. Having grocery partners helps to keep a household running smoothly.
If you haven’t yet asked anyone to be a grocery partner, you should consider it. We can’t be everywhere all at once and having a team to work with helps keep things running smoothly for everyone.
I expanded on this idea on Facebook today, check it out and let me know your thoughts!
Prior to Covid-19, grocery shelves in my city never ran out of food. If I wanted to buy something, it was always there. That made it easy to meal plan around what I wanted to cook.
Times have changed, now. With the introduction of new and unexpected challenges related to supply chain issues, it’s no longer as feasible as it once was to cook according to what we plan. Instead, flexibility is what’s called for.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that while I find the act of cooking an act of therapy, I also really like being organized enough to not have to cook every day, of cooking ahead to meet a future need. One way I’m organized like this is to not necessarily have a plan for exactly what I’m cooking, but to cook thoughtfully, aiming to have leftovers, so the basic building blocks of a new meal are ready to go in my freezer.
If I find when I’m shopping that I’ve planned on pork but there isn’t any available, I can choose chicken instead. If I plan on beef but there’s none to be found, I can choose something else. The most important thing to remember is that remaining flexible gives you options when you’re shopping- rather than going home empty handed, you pivot and create a meal that works for you anyway.
Seeing empty shelves can be disheartening, especially if you can't find what you're looking for, be it dairy, bread, meat, or produce- but having flexibility and patience will make it easier to manage that which we have no control over.
Allowing yourself flexibility gives you freedom to roll with whatever you can find. Keep an open mind, knowing you may just discover a new favourite meal in doing so.
Hi, I’m Stacy! Pleased to meet you!
If you've been following me for a while, you know how many hats I've worn over the years, and how those hats have shifted and changed as life has changed me.
I still wear a lot of hats. Right now I'm juggling the responsibilities of middle-aged life, such as raising a couple of teenagers and dealing with the ramifications of growing older, like aging parents, loss of family members, and more.
At my age, I’m watching the trends of my youth come back in fashion and food, the continued all-pervasive nonsense of diet culture, and the one-size-fits-all attitudes about calories, body type, diets, and so on. It seems the older I get the less patience I have for all of it.
All I really want is to help you make decisions for your life that create the wellness you deserve. I’m The Meals Maven, the original healthy eating strategist, and I’m here to help you be you in the way that works for you, because you are not a carbon copy of anyone else.
Come find me on Facebook, let’s talk.
I’ve been posting lately about the cost of groceries rising, and let me tell you, I’m completely familiar with how easy it is to bloat your budget with “extras”.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for goodies, both needed and wanted. But when your bottom line stays the same and needs to accommodate bigger pricing, that’s when bloat needs to shrink. There are many ways to help accomplish this goal, from shopping the flyers and price matching to couponing and paying attention to what you are paying at stores that honour the “Scanners Code of Practice”, among other strategies.
A simple change that became fundamentally essential to me in the first years of the pandemic was online ordering. This forced me to be extremely organized because I didn’t want to run into the store if I forgot something I needed. It created the environment to talk to my kids about what we needed from the store. And it kept us from walking past all those other items we didn’t need but would toss in the cart anyway, from potato chips to ice cream to chocolate to…everything else you’d find at Walmart.
(I don’t know about you, but over the pandemic we ate a lot of comfort food)
Shopping online became my preferred way to manage my grocery budget. It gave me the chance to get creative with what I had if I did forget something, and it kept me aware of exactly what I had in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.
The best tip I can share about online ordering? If you’re feeling adventurous, keep the “accept substitutions” button selected. If you really don’t want to accept what the grocery packer chooses instead for you, deselect it and know that you may live without a few items.
For example, if you’re vegetarian and order veggie ground round, you probably don’t want to risk them substituting lean ground beef, or if you have celiac disease, you don’t want them picking up regular crackers instead of rice crackers. Sometimes the substitutions don’t make a lot of sense, but I found it a fun way to get creative with what I had the few times it happened to me.
Let me know if you try ordering groceries online, and what you thought of it!
Before Covid 19, all the other supply change challenges, and the rising cost of living, buying groceries was easy. You decide what you want, you go get it.
Now, however, this may be a challenge. If you’re anything like me, you’ll buy a couple of extra…whatever…so that you will have extra, lessening how often you must run to the store to pick something up. I have a small deep freezer for extra meat, vegetables, and fruit. And an overflow pantry in my basement, to house extra shelf-stable items, such as beans, peanut butter, and coffee. (Must not run out of coffee, not ever)
The overflow pantry is easy to manage. Everything is out in the open- it’s just dedicated shelving. I love having it, and it works. My issue lies with my small deep freezer. It’s adorable and it fits in my space, but it only has 1 basket and 1 shelf. The rest is just empty space where my food is stacked from the bottom up. Sure, I have pork items over here, beef over there, and chicken in the middle. Oh, and there’s fish somewhere in there too. But that is the problem. To get to anything I need to open my freezer and dig. Sometimes I forget where something is. Sometimes I forget I even bought that something.
Today, for instance, I inventoried my ground meats (because I love how versatile these are, I always watch for sales) And I found the pork roast I’d bought last fall (with very good intentions!) for this delicious roast dinner that cooks together with vegetables, beans, and a flavourful herby tomato sauce. I never found the right time to make it…and then I forgot it was in there. There were more ice crystals in the package than I like to see, and I don’t want to risk it getting too freezer burned to use the beginning of next fall!
Now it’s in my fridge thawing, to be cooked tomorrow, to add to my summer prepped food in the freezer. I’ve already meal planned for the next couple of days, and those are already thawed for cooking today and tomorrow (Asian-style brisket and oven baked chicken). That’s more than enough for the three of us to eat, especially when the second son is a …selective eater.
So back to the title- what did I do again? I shopped all winter without a proper inventory of what was in my freezer. That’s a mistake that can potentially lead to hundreds of dollars of wasted food. Take a lesson from me and be certain you know what you have before you shop. Keeping track of what you’ve already spent in the grocery store is a solid way to wrangle your budget.
Groceries have been steadily rising, and they aren’t going down anytime soon. And with everything else rising as well, it’s more important than ever to stick to a budget. Let’s talk about one big step you can take to make your budget behave itself- shopping with intention.
A large part of keeping your budget under control is being intentional with what you throw in the grocery cart and bring home.
Let’s talk about “nostalgia” spending- that is, buying something you remember from a happier time in your life in an effort to bring back those same feelings.
This happened to me over Easter. I found hot-cross buns at the store- and we ate those every Easter when I was a kid. I was so excited to see them they were added to my cart without a second thought.
The thing is, only one other person in my family likes them other than myself, and I don’t have room in the freezer to save them for later. In this case, spending on nostalgia was a waste of money. They came home with me only to meet an ultimate demise in the compost bin. It helps to ask yourself a couple of questions
I’m sort of known as the soup lady. I love soup, it’s my go-to meal any time of year. It’s perfect for those little bits of leftovers, the last few vegetables in the crisper, the little bits of proteins that didn’t get eaten.
But what’s the secret to a great pot of soup?
First, to make a great soup, you need a great base of flavour.
The yummiest soups always have the most flavourful broths as the backbone. Lately I’ve been using frozen bones from my freezer and cooking up a pot of bone broth as I’m prepping all the vegetables and using that broth, fresh and hot from the pot, to create an amazing flavourful base.
Second, sweat your aromatic vegetables in oil before adding the other ingredients- I like to use flavoured olive oil to add more flavour, and if that isn’t available, I’ll add some of the more robust herbs and spices to add their essence to the pot- it gets enhanced when released into oil. Spices such as cumin seeds, fennel seeds, freshly grated black pepper or peppercorns, and so on work well for this.
Third, add your vegetables and grain. I love brightly coloured, tender-crisp vegetables and “just done” pasta- mushy doesn’t do it for me. By adding grains and root vegetables such as carrots at the same time, the whole soup will come together perfectly. If you must have pasta. cook it separately and add at the end. There is definitely a time for pasta! I'll throw in frozen peas or corn right at the end as well, for added colour, texture, and nutrition.
When it comes to proteins: if already cooked, add them just before serving to heat them through in the soup. If you’re cooking meat as part of your soup, add it after the aromatics.
Questions? Reach out!