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Let’s panic about dinner time!

It’s 5pm.  You start to feel hungry and so does your family.  What’s in the fridge that you can put together for a dinner–fast?

A lemon and sour cream?  Awesome.

No.

“Let’s just go out,” -Hubby

Tempting, but do we really need the calories, or to spend the money?

No…

There’s no food, you’re kind of too tired to cook, too hungry to wait, and eating out is not the best option.

But then, I heard from Dave Ramsey about a dinner idea he endorses.  Dave Ramsey endorsing meals?  Yes, e-mealz.  Our friends had recently signed up and were saying how great it was.  “Saves us time and money,” they championed.  “I don’t really care,” I thought.  Until I did care.  Then I tired it, now I am a fan.  Mega-fan?  Sure.

I am not being paid to tell you how great it it (darn!), but I’m still here telling you it’s great. 

What is e-mealz, and why I love it–and why many families would, and why…no just kidding, no more whys:

E-mealz is a weekly food schedule with shopping list to make these meals for each of your seven meals.  Your shopping list is broken up by category to group your items to purchase. (Meat, produce, etc)

Those of you who already shop based on a weekly menu, good for you, give yourself a lil’ medal.  I seriously used to go to the grocery store and buy mostly at random, making decisions between different items based on what I now see as arbitrary qualifications, my mind slowly growing numb staring at food products, deciding whether to save a few cents here, pick all natural for this item, etc.  This process would eat up my time in the store and when I would get home, there would be lots of groceries but only maybe one or two guaranteed and cohesive meals.  What they hay?  (Dave Ramsey is rolling his eyes at me)

The first week we did e-mealz I went into the store, bought everything on the list in order–just threw each item into the cart and was checked out in about 15 minutes.  As I walked out the door…I felt elated.  Yes, seriously I remember walking out of the store elated, sun shining on my face, mind not numb.  I didn’t stare at two different kinds of black bean cans for 4 minutes, decipher prices between salad dressings, or any of the other menial tasks for non-specific meals.

I called Andrew on the way home, “Andrew!!  I was in an out in no time!  I have a lot of groceries!  It was amazing.”

I got home, stocked my fridge and pantry.  I felt kind of cool because I had purchased items that I had never even thought about before, I felt like I had branched out, and gotten to know my grocery store better.  That night, at 5:30 I decided I should start thinking about dinner.  I looked at the print out of the weeks meals, got out my ingredients for meal #1 and within 5 minutes had dinner cooking.  I had every single ingredient–no need to try and concoct a good substitute for capers or onions or milk in a recipe, I actually had everything I needed.  What the double hay?!

“This is really good,” said Andrew.  “Oh really?  I don’t even care if it’s good or not, that was so flippin’ easy to shop and cook.”-me.   “This is good, ” -Andrew

(French Dip Sammies and cucumbers)
There is a variety of styles and choices of the meals.  There are even menus based off certain grocery stores.  Some friends of ours got “Low Carb for Two” menu plan.  We got the “Any Store for 4,” menu plan even though there are only 2 of us, that way if we have guests over, it will be enough, or we can have lunch leftovers for the next day.  (I love leftovers)  My friend didn’t know how to cook, or anything about grocery shopping, but e-mealz has taught her how to get into it!
(BLT Chicken Salad)

Since my first couple weeks, I now change some of what I buy on the list.  The meals seem very mid-western, and I don’t mean that to offend mid-westerners, but I am just not going to buy texas toast from the freezer section to go with our meals, that’s all I mean–so if I ever see something like “Texas Toast,” I just buy green beans or something.  So, sometimes I swaps salads for bread, fresh veggies for canned, ground turkey for ground beef, or veggie-shred’s non-lactose cheese for cheese, but for the most part, I stick to it.  We have had such a yummy variety of food, meals that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked on my own, but when I made them I loved them, hubby too.
(Mediterrainian Shrimp and Pasta Salad)

Hoodie-hoo, e-mealz, I kind of love you!

Each meal plan is many hours of recipe and menu planning, price shopping, and recipe testing. It’s $15 for 3 months.  So 5 dollars for a month on shopping and recipes, or 1.25 a week.  Spending that $15 has saved us hundreds, more importantly saved time and stress. We may cancel after our three months, and then just recycle what we have, we’ll see!   I even have a little notebooks and plastic sheets to put all my recipes in.  “What Don’t you just save the PDF’s in a folder on your computer?”  -Andrew.  “Don’t break my stride,” -me.

I like it, I love it, it has cut down our grocery bill and eating out bill each month.  Plus, who doesn’t love serving their family a yummy, hot meal at the end of the day without opening a cookbook, or staring blankly into a cupboard?  Sure beats sour cream with lemon zest.  It’s good for a new mommy who can’t really be relied on to do much more for quick, healthy meals.
Two months ago, I had an extra hundred bucks left over in our food budget because of e-mealz, then I bought an ergo baby carrier with the extra.  So in my mind, that carrier was free!  E-Mealz gives you free baby carriers?  Sure!
Your husband might love you for it.  You might love you for it.  I might love you for it–well, I don’t know, maybe I would.  (I just put a link on my blog on the right connecting to e-mealz, look for the cute blue owl.  If you sign up through it, I think I get a referral discount or something!)

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Mommy Kerin May 23, 2011, 2:27 pm

    I am definitely going to check this out! Sounds like something we need to do! Wondering about cost though. Hmm

  • crazybabypants.com May 26, 2011, 1:50 am

    I am so super stoked you randomly found my blog because I am SO EXCITED about this. I am TERRIBLE at meal planning and this is just so stellar! Thanks for posting on it!!!

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