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Save Money, Time & Calories PDF Print E-mail

Slow cookers were made for cold, busy December days. Endless to-do lists and crazy holiday traffic turn the idea of making dinner when you get home into a Herculean effort!  No wonder we tend to go out to eat more the last month of the year.  But going out to eat takes time and effort as well.  It also takes money that you'd probably rather spend on something more important than grabbing lunch or dinner on the go.

If you don't already have one, pick up a slow cooker the next time you're at Macy's or Target - or order one online.  This 6 quart slow cooker by Crock-Pot is programmable.  Place your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning before work and set the timer.  Walk in the door after work and be greeted by the smell of dinner which is ready to go. 

As for recipes, our go-to website for slow cooker meal ideas is A Year of Slow Cooking

Save time, money and calories this December by getting that slow cooker to work for you. Every kitchen should have one! 

$48.33

 

 
Time To Stock Up PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti 
 
Over the course of the next seven weeks, grocery stores will be selling products at some of the best prices of the year.  With a strategy in place, it's a wonderful time to stock up. 

Some of the items that will be on sale over the next seven weeks include:
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Spices
  • Butter
  • Chicken & Beef Broth
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Nuts
  • Cake Mixes
  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Liquor
Each week, look over your store's sales ad to see what you can stock up on.  One week you can pick up one or two extra bags of flour and a second can of baking powder.  The next week you can purchase a few spices.  The following week you can walk out of the story with a dozen cans of corn.  You get the idea. 

So, for as little as an additional $5 - $10 a week, spread over the course of the next seven weeks, you can stock your pantry with items you and your family will eat in the coming months.  Just make sure you only purchase items that will be consumed.  
 
 
Whole Foods Market Fans - Good News! PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Fans of Whole Foods Market will be happy to know that in an effort to compete with Krogers and Walmart, it's dropping prices on some products, specifically produce.
 
Many of my Spending Plan clients are Whole Foods shoppers and the news will be much appreciated! 
 
In the article Forget 'Whole Paycheck' - This Grocery Chain Now Beats Many Competitors' Prices, author Sarah McColl offers strategies and tips for saving at the store.  Check it out!
 
 
 
Savvy Kitchen Investments PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Thursday night I gave a presentation on running a Savvy Kitchen at the Cooks Nook in McPherson, KS. 
 
It’s one of my favorite talks because in my experience of working with clients, food is the number one area where people struggle. The presentation focuses on how to save both time and money from creating an effective grocery list all the way to managing leftovers. 
 
What was particularly cool about doing the event at the Cooks Nook is that part of the presentation concentrates on the importance of investing in good tools. Not gadgets, but tools. 
 
Gadgets are the As Seen On TV items you buy that never get used. Tools are the things that get used on a regular basis and are worth spending a little more on to ensure they work well and last. For example…
  • Invest in a good set of knives and you’ll be amazed at how much faster you can dice an onion or slice a tomato.
  • Purchase a quality set of pots and pans and they’ll cook more efficiently and last twice as long as their cheaper counterparts. 
One of the aspects of a professional kitchen that's worth imitating is that everything pulls its weight. There’s no clutter to slow down the process of preparing each and every meal.
 
With that said, it’s important to note that one person’s gadget is another person’s tool. It all depends on what you like to cook. For example, my husband Paul is crazy about egg salad. Fifteen years ago I purchased an egg slicer for about $5 that has paid for itself over and over again by saving me time. 
 
Another item that could be considered a gadget in one person’s eyes but a tool in another is the Chop Stir. I first saw one at my Aunt Sadie's house that she used while cooking hamburger. She has rheumatoid arthritis so the tool is a blessing for her! My mom now swears by it too.
 
To take the first step to streamlining your own kitchen, consider going through everything in it and getting rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. This will not only help make cooking more efficient, but will also help make room for quality tools you may purchase down the road. 
 
One of the racks at the Cooks Nook
 
 
Do Ahead Meals PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Growing up across the street from my grandparents had a lot of perks - my grandmother's cooking being at the top of the list. On any given day, there would be something delicious in her refrigerator, ready to be warmed up and enjoyed.
 
Making a large batch of stew, pasta or Portuguese beans and eating it throughout the week is one of the many savvy lessons I learned from my grandmother.  It's a habit I continue to this day.  In fact, there's a pot of lentils in my refrigerator right now that I've been eating in various forms all week.
 
I can easily eat the same thing for several days in a row.  My husband Paul, not-so-much.  He prefers more variety.  Because of that, we got in the habit of doubling what we cook on a regular basis so he has plenty of choices when time is tight.
 
One of my favorite blogs is Stone Soup by Jules Clancy where she focuses on how to prepare quick and easy healthy meals.  The other day she posted a great piece on The 3 Golden Rules of Do Ahead Meals.  It was her post that got me thinking about the habit of do ahead meals that my grandmother instilled in me. 
 
This weekend, take a few tips from Jules' article and make one or two extra meals.  Then, see just how much time and money you save throughout the week. 

 
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