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!!
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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.