For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's for Dinner? - My E-Mealz Review

Here's a big surprise for some of you, I have ADD. Now some of you right now are smacking your hand to your head and saying, "Nawww.. REALLY?!" Yeah, really. Bright shinny objects distract me, my house would be total chaos were it not for my husband, and I'm habitually late to every appointment I make. Yup, I'm one of THOSE people. When I met my husband one of the reasons I knew he was the right man for me was because our first date was planned down to every last detail. Somehow I just KNEW that I needed someone like him in my life! WONDER WHY?!

One of the things that I really hate doing each week is planning out our meals for the week and make the grocery shopping list. It's one of my most dreaded tasks. Why? Because in my brain it goes something like this: *while looking in a cookbook* "Ooooh, that looks like a yummy recipe! I just HAVE to make it this week! Let's see... it says I need fresh ginger... check. Garlic... check. Carrots... check... chicken... got it... OH LOOK! My neighbor across the street is getting her newspaper! Aw, she doesn't look like she feels very well. I wonder if I should make her some soup. Hm, does this cook book have chicken soup? *checks the index* Yup, it does! *flips to the soup recipe* Ok, it says I need chicken... check... noodles... check... carrots... check... onions... check... Ok I think that's everything. Oh wait, did I finish putting everything from that first recipe on my list? *flips around* Where was that recipe?! Freakin' A!!!

That above scenario took me about 20 minutes... and I haven't even gotten past meal #1!!!

So as much as I love to cook, and have control over my own culinary destiny, I've decided to move on to a meal planning service. Because let's face it, I need less stress in my life and paying $1.25 per week seems like a small price to pay for less stress. I decided to go with E-Mealz because it's endorsed by Dave Ramsey. I've never listened to Dave Ramsey in my life but certainly can't stop hearing about him from practically everyone I know and he seems like an upstanding citizen who wouldn't lead me astray.

The point of E-Mealz is saving money on your grocery bill via planning meals according to store sales. Now, obviously that's WAY beyond my organizational skills which is why I hadn't even considered doing such a thing. But it sounds like a good idea, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I've been using E-Mealz for about 3 weeks now, and I've got to say it works out pretty well for us. I was a bit skeptical because Hubs is the pickiest eater alive, but knowing that I could always just cross out a meal he wouldn't eat, and knowing it wouldn't reappear on my meal plan for at least 6 months, makes it worth it. All of the meals are super easy to make, which has been a nice break for me. Especially during this time of year when I am busier than usual.

There are lots of meal plan options to choose from. You select which grocery store you usually shop at, or a generic "Any Store" list. Obviously you save more money if you can choose a store, but the meals themselves are very economical so I imagine you'd still save money no matter where you shop. You can also choose between low-carb, low-fat, or "normal" dietary options. I went with the low-fat option, and so far the meals have seemed healthy and balanced. Plus we're no longer running out for fast food because I've forgotten an ingredient, which naturally has helped my waistline.

The shopping lists are also very user friendly. They're organized by produce, dairy, meat, pantry items, so it's really easy to find what you need at the store. There is also room on the list to write in additional items you might need to pick up that wouldn't be included on the meal plan. The meals are numbered on the meal plan, and then the ingredients used for each meal have the same number. So if you decide not to make a particular meal it's very easy to go to the list and cross off ingredients you don't need to buy.

Obviously I'm very pleased with how the past 3 weeks have gone in my kitchen. E-Mealz has given me back a small bit of my sanity, especially around 3:30 pm when I start to think "what's for dinner?" Instead of scrambling around to defrost meat or search my pantry for ideas or picking up the phone to dial the local Thai take out joint, I calmly look at my meal plan and in 20-30 minutes I can have dinner on the table. What a relief!!

For More Things to Love visit The Diaper Diaries!

If you're interested in E-Mealz I've placed a button on my header & sidebar. I do receive a small commission for anyone who signs up, but as I've stated elsewhere on this site all money I make goes towards charities in my area.


Brooke said...

i <3 dave ramsey. but i wouldn't dare give the privilage of planning an area of my life to someone else. i get a sick high off organizing random crap. :P

but i'm very glad its working for you. you're a busy mom and deserve to have some of the load taken off your shoulders.

Mommas Soapbox said...

I've heard of that from Dave Ramsey also. I've never gone to take a look. Which is a shock. I've used his ELP's for insurance, gone to his small business seminar in nashville and I'm a member online including going thru FPU online. Am I a groupie? Do I have my budget ran for this month?

Maybe I have ADD......hmmmm

Becca said...

Wow, that sounds kind of cool. We have trouble menu planning because no one in our family likes the same foods LOL

Tammigirl said...

Uh, you lost me at the start of the 2nd paragraph. We're supposed to PLAN meals? What? Nobody told me this.

It's not ADD, dear. It's NAM. (Need a Maid)

非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

Dan River Mama said...

LOL The distraction factor reminds me of myself. I will check this out. Thanks so much for the tip!


Dan River Mama said...

Hopped back by to let you know that I signed up.

John Munzer said...

You've seen the movie "Up", yes? Remember the dogs who would stop in mid-sentence - "Squirrel!" - and be compelled to follow that for a few seconds before coming back?
I think all of us are at least part dog.

heartnsoulcooking said...

I would love to meal plan, but for some reason I just don't do it. I plan daily or sometimes one or two hour before dinner. I shop once a month for all my meats, cans and frozen foods. When I see a GREAT!!! sale I stock-up. THANKS!!! for sharing.

thediaperdiaries said...

I just stopped subscribing to my meal planning service and am up for trying a new one. This looks interesting. Clicking over!!

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