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10 reason to grocery shop online

Here are 10 reasons to grocery shop on line. In June 2015 I started this blog and in the first article I spoke about how much I saved with online shopping.  Nearly 2 years later, I can still say it is worth the hassle.

Yes it was a huge learning curve on how to do the online shopping and still get everything I ordered. I have learned the best days to order, what I can’t order and what I must specify as ‘no substitutions’. The first time was really painful!

1.     You can shop anytime

Our country is held hostage by the taxi drivers, staff at the end of the day are in a rush to get off work so they can catch the last taxi of the day. If you are late finishing work you don’t have to rush to make it before the store closes, because there is no closing time.

Shopping times
Online shopping is 24/7

2.     No rude staff

I have to laugh when I see the signs on the tills that remind staff to greet the customer with a smile. I have seen this very rarely. Customer service seems to be a vague concept that they are taught and then promptly forget. The staff is quite content to carry on their conversation about the evening before, what’s happening in their favourite soapy or how the new ‘protocol’ is unfair or the boss is rude. This is whether the client speaks their language or not.

3.     You can wear your pajamas

There is no dress code. Now I have seen people (mostly women) at the shops in their slippers, hair in curlers and once at my local store a lady in her nightie! I am not saying you must get dressed up and made up to go to the shops.  I know some would disagree, you never know who you might meet! At least in your own home you can happily do your shopping in your skivvies if you want, no one will judge you.

pyjama-shopping
Image courtesy of CSN Media.

4.     Your stuff is safe!

Shopping from the comfort of your own home, means your wallet, cellphone and children are safe. There are no pick pockets or child snatchers around! No worries about keeping your handbag close or people distracting you so their sticky fingers can lift your property.  You don’t have to worry about someone jamming your locking signal and then making off with the contents of your car or even your car itself.

5.     Guilt free parking

Since you won’t need your car, you don’t need change for the ‘car guard’ to help you unpack your trolley or help you reverse out the parking that you got into quite easily on your own.  I don’t always have change as I use my card for most things and then I put that in my phone cover and leave my bag at home. I have a savings option on my card, where the total purchase is rounded up and the difference is put into a little savings account.  Sometimes when I do have some change with me it is only 50c or so and I feel guilty that with my huge shopping trolley all I can give is some tiny change. I did try once to give a guy a can of food and he handed it back to me with a disgusted look.

6.     You save money

One thing about online grocery shopping is that impulse buying is reduced to a minimum. You have your list and you search for those items only.  There are no checkout counters, so no sweets or chocolates to tempt you. You aren’t wandering up and down aisles and taking things off the shelf, because they caught your eye.

Another thing I learned to do is to open the profiles of the stores that offer online shopping and compare prices. You can shop at 3 stores at once (maybe soon other grocery stores will offer online shopping). You get to choose your products and make use of any specials that are offered.

7.     It’s environmentally friendly

When you shop online you have the option of saying no to plastic bags! This not only helps the environment, it helps your pocket too. The delivery arrives in plastic containers, which are then unpacked in your home, no having to worry about carrying heavy stuff or plastic bags breaking.

8.     You can shop in stages

One thing that I am sure has happened to you, I know it has happened to me more than once. In fact it happened just last week. You are in the store and shopping is taking longer than planned. Suddenly you realise the time and you have to be at a meeting or fetch the kids from school, an extra mural or a friend. This means you are either going to be late, not going to be able to complete your shopping or have to abandon your trolley all together and come back another day. You land up with your shopping

Shopping online means when you can come back all your groceries are still in your trolley where you parked it. You don’t have to start again; nothing is going to go off, because it sat in the car while you did lift schemes.

9.     You can take as long as you want

This goes a long with the last point. You can shop in stages. It can be days or weeks. You can add to your trolley anytime you want.  If you log on and add to your trolley as soon as something is finished in your cupboard, you will not leave anything off of your shopping list.

10.                        No children

Shopping with babies and small children can be difficult. Having to push your trolley and control an over tired toddler can cause any mom to have a meltdown. Shopping online means you avoid, cranky, tired children, your own children and other people’s children too. It also means that if it is nap time, you can stop shopping, put your child down for a nap and go back to shopping. There is no nagging for this toy or that sweet. This applies to children of all ages.

Shopping with children
Image from http://whattheflicka.com/tag/shopping-101-guide/

For breast feeding mom’s it means you can feed in comfort while still doing the shopping. No one complaining about you feeding in public, no having to go feed your baby in the public bathrooms either or going to sit in your hot car for privacy and then having people look in your window.

Some smaller stores allow you to phone in your order and they deliver, this is usually the butcher and specialty stores and has the same benefits of online shopping.

Do you online shop and if not, I would love to hear why not?

Kitchen Cupboards and Drawers

This week we are working on sorting out the kitchen cupboards and drawers.

My cupboards refuse to stay sorted! I just have too much stuff!

What’s in the drawer?

Starting with the drawers, empty them out and get rid of anything broken! Last week we looked at the function of our kitchens, anything in those drawers that do not fit the function, needs to go.

kitchen drawer
I do a lot of cooking and I love gadgets, my drawers are full even after sorting!

What the end result should be is, drawers you can open and close easily and where you are able to find what you are looking for!

Challenging cupboards

For your cupboards, the aim is to be able to get to things without having to stack and unstack anything first. I’m still working on that after having done this declutter assignment for the last 3 years.

You need to be a little tougher on yourself here and get rid of the chipped plates no matter how sentimental and useful they are. These are dangerous, especially if you have young children or do the dishes by hand. Someone can easily cut themselves.

Stop mugging about!

I think you can never have too many coffee mugs but if you haven’t the space to keep them then it is time to clear out.

It is not a good idea to pull out everything from all the cupboards at once as this may just become overwhelming. One cupboard at a time works best.

Then sort by what you use daily, weekly and rarely. The rarely gets put back at the back and the daily, where you will be able to reach it easily.

In the zone!

If you have the space to do it, you should try and create ‘zones’ in your kitchen. Placing your chopping boards where you would prep your veg, your pots and pans where you would cook and your cups and saucers near your kettle or boiling water source.

This may help you with efficiently getting meals out and not having to scrounge around for things you need.

As you unpack your cupboards, before putting items back, work out if you really need that item and how many of it do you need. Water/juice bottles are an example of items that just seem to multiply.

Storage capacity

Food storage containers are also another item that you need to monitor. If you often have left overs or you cook in bulk then you may need quite a few, however, if your house is anything like mine then there usually aren’t any left overs at all, you don’t need too many containers.

Kitchen cupboards
Over full kitchen cupboards

If you want to buy fancy organising gadgets to help you keep your kitchen cupboards neat and tidy, please wait until ALL your cupboards and drawers are sorted, so that you can make good decisions on what to buy and not end up with stuff you don’t need or won’t fit.

Remember to ask yourself these questions before putting something back in your cupboard.

  1. When did I use this last?
  2. Does it still work?
  3. Do I have all the pieces?
  4. Does it fit in with my kitchen functions?

Every day I will cover a different area of the kitchen cupboard in the Facebook group, small tasks to prevent overwhelm.

I will be posting pictures of my sorting in the Facebook group (the ones in this post are my before) and would love you to do the same. If you haven’t joined the group yet, now is a good time to do so. Want to read more? Here is the link to last years post on this What’s in the drawer?

Planning a picnic

Going on a picnic can be both fun and exhausting. Fun as it is great way for family to spend time together. It is exhausting, as you need to organize the food and cold drinks, cutlery and crockery to take with you.

Planning a picnic is quite an undertaking, especially if you have small children.

Where?

Venues are important as you want somewhere where the children are safe can have fun running around, riding bikes and enjoying themselves, where you can relax and not worry too much. So avoiding places with large bodies of water might be a consideration.

A great venue with little children and babies, is your back/front yard. Very little traveling is required, you know it’s safe and if you forget anything it is not far to go to fetch it!

Picnic
Planning a picnic? The venue is as important as the menu

How?

Then there is your comfort, beach chairs for those who prefer not to sit on the ground. Ground cover that is large enough for the rest of the picnickers.

Plates, cups and cutlery are also a consideration. Do you have a stock of disposable items to use at the picnic or are you going to use your normal everyday cutlery and crockery?

If you are using disposables, don’t forget the trash bag for your rubbish.

What to eat?

Now for the most important part of picnic, the food. What are you going to be serving at the picnic and how many people are joining you?

Salads are usually standard potato salad but what if you want a bean salad or a green salad with dressing? Containers need to suit your salad. Potato salad doesn’t need to be in an airtight container but a salad with a dressing or sauce will need to be properly sealed.

Are you taking cold meats or cold meat sandwiches? Cold meats are easy, you take them as they come packaged.  If you prefer sandwiches are you going to prepare them at home or are you taking bread and spread with to make the sandwiches at the picnic?

picnic food
How will you be serving your food?

The bee issue

Sugary drinks attract bees, so if you have anyone with an allergies then cups with lids and bottles that close are better than cans, water is better than either. If you are me though then water is not going to cut it on a picnic.

bees at a picnic
Sugary drinks and food attract bees so think carefully about what you are taking with

Serviettes (napkins), I always forget the serviettes! Hand wipes are a good idea for sticky fingers as ablution facilities are not always nearby.

If you plan for your picnic beforehand, not only will it be less stressful on you but you are able to plan a healthier picnic than you would in a last minute dash for the picnic basket.

When?

When was your last picnic? I don’t think my family has been on one in at least 5 years, teenagers with a social life don’t seem to keen!

March in your Kitchen

Kitchen week

It seems strange to have a whole week dedicated to decluttering and sorting out of your kitchen counters. If you are anything like me you will understand why this is.
I love cooking and I think I own almost every conceivable kitchen gadget, with a few more on my wish list.

Gadgets
These are just some of my kitchen gadgets!

As with last year I have planned the kitchen sorting goal around the Jewish holiday of Passover. Our kitchens need to be scrupulously cleaned and with 5 weeks to go, now is the time to start.

What is it for?

The first step in keeping your kitchen clear of clutter is deciding what you use your kitchen for besides cooking.
Is it a homework area? Is it a home office? Having a definite idea of what is going on in your kitchen will be a huge help to your ability to keep organized.
If you are going to be using the space for homework or a home office, get yourself a nice box or basket to place the work into after you are done for the day, before you begin cooking.

Where to start?

One of the reasons we are starting on the kitchen counters, is that walking into a messy cluttered kitchen can ruin your mood for cooking. A nice clear space is far more calming that having to face a mess of disorganization.
I am not saying that your kitchen counters must be cleared of everything. I don’t do minimalist and I am not expecting anyone else to.
Once you have defined your kitchen’s uses, it is time to clear, pack, sell or give away anything that does not fit this function.
If you have a space designated as a home office, then any paperwork should be packed up and moved to the home office.

Where does it go?

One of the hardest tasks of clearing your kitchen counters is finding a place for those things that actually do fit your kitchens functions. The best way is to work out what you use daily and leave those out where you can reach them easily. Go through what you use weekly and finally what you use rarely.

I am Queen

Gadgets are another thing, I am the kitchen gadget queen. I have said it before, I love kitchen gadgets almost more than cookbooks! If it is broken it must go! A lot of appliances can be recycled. I no longer have the excuse of it being a schlepp to take it out of the house. The recycle people collect at my house. How to do recycling without leaving your house.

Gadgets

Space savers
Use space savers in your kitchen to create extra storage space

Make it a habit to tidy as you, when working in the kitchen.
Making use of nifty space savers will help you keep your kitchen tidy and still be able to have what you need at home.
Knife blocks or magnetic knife holder for the wall
Extra shelving
Hooks for hanging pots
Something I still have trouble with, is training household members to actually put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Most of them can manage to get the dishes to the sink, the dishwasher is just underneath!

It’s sorted

Happy Kitchen, Happy Home! I would love to see before and after pictures on the Facebook group or if you have come up with a great space saving solution, why not share it? For those who would like a little professional assistance with your sorting Catherine of Sensibly Organised Spaces is running a special now, she will talk you through everything Book now $147

The restaurant meal plan

Restaurant
Eating in a restaurant can be part of your meal plan

Meal planning doesn’t only have to be meals made at home. If you are in the type of working environment that requires you to eat out, then put restaurant food on your meal plan. Dinner Theme Meal Planning

How does this work?

If for instance you use a meal planning template, this could help you decide what to eat at the restaurant your business meeting is being held.

chicken night
Some chains have healthy option meals

Using my home template, it would mean that if you are going out for lunch or dinner at a restaurant you would then either choose vegetarian/vegan restaurants or a vegetarian dish at whichever restaurants you go to. Monday is meat free in my house.

Mince is the main ingredient on my meal plan template for a Tuesday, so Italian restaurants would work well.

Mince night
Tuesday mince, try Italian

Fish on Wednesday’s, there are so many restaurants to choose from for this option. My advice though is to avoid ordering fish in a steakhouse. They cook steaks; fish is not always their forte except at the very upmarket places.

Fish Night
Some restaurants offer specials on certain days

You can see how this would work for you.

There are 5 benefits to this method.

  1. You can actually stick to an eating plan, by knowing ahead of time what you are going to be ordering. Maybe not the exact dish but an idea
  2. It gives you an excuse to try out new places and new flavours
  3. When you draw up you home meal plan you can adjust the size of your meals to suit what you had at lunch or pack a lighter lunch if it is a business dinner.
  4. It will take you less time to order as you already can cross off certain dishes from your range of choices.
  5. You don’t have to cook! For those who don’t like cooking, this would probably be the best option.

Once again proof that meal planning is not some rigid regime you have to stick to. It is flexible and can fit in with any lifestyle you live.

If you need help getting your meal plans up and running, why not book a Skype one on one coaching session with me? https://calendly.com/adrienne-2/90-minutes

Are you Proud of your Pantry?

What’s in the pantry?

Your pantry cupboard is an important part of your kitchen. If this is in a mess and dis-organised, it is not only difficult to decide what to make for dinner, but it also wastes money.

I got this cluttered grocery cupboard picture off frugalfindsduringnaptime.com

How many times have you gone to the store bought something only discover on your return that you already have 2 or 3 of the same product in the cupboard already! I own my kitchen, do you?

Hoarding Cans

Being kosher means that we can’t always get a lot of food stuffs, so I developed a habit of buying unusual kosher products, which then sat in my cupboard for years. Last year I got rid of 2 cans of waterblommetjies. They had expired 3 years before.

Expired food

The expiry dates on canned good is not really an expiry date but more of a date of when the producers will no longer guarantee the quality of the product inside. As long as the can is not bulging your food is safe to eat.

I did think, however, that having sat in my cupboard at least five years and still not been used in a recipe, it was unlikely that I would ever make a waterblommetjie bredie (stew). There were also other products that needed to be tossed.

Keeping your pantry cupboard tidy and organised is a must if you want to stop wasting time and money. If you ask a family member to look into a disorganised pantry cupboard and pick something to make, 9 times out of 10 the answer will be, ‘there’s nothing to eat’!

Keep like with like

Keeping items of a similar kind together will definitely make your time spent in the kitchen easier, cut down on your grocery bill and allow you to use up products before they expire!

My very neat pantry
My Pantry cupboard is still the most organised place in my house

It doesn’t need to be OCD tidy to be organised. If you have all your baking ingredients, your pasta’s and cans on their own shelves, condiments together on another shelf and spices together on a different shelf, you are what I consider organised. Items don’t need to be alphabetised or facing the same way, unless that’s what you want of course, but being arranged like with like will be enough.

Join us

Follow in the group as we get through the week with short daily tasks to organise the pantry cupboard https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/.

Planning 3 meals a day

Planning for 3 meals a day is important when you are trying to follow a healthier eating plan.

3 meals
Picture From https://www.slideshare.net/vivivillouta/i-like-healthy-food

Starting off well

Breakfast is purported to be the most important meal of the day as it helps to kick start your metabolism after a 6-8 hour fast (sleep).
One aspect of meal planning is that you are able to plan your meals according to you and your family’s activity levels.
What your first meal of the day should be, depends entirely on what activities you will be doing during the morning.

Fuel for the day

For adults at a desk job, who go straight from home to the office, or go via the schools, you want to plan a meal that is low GI and low carbs as you will not be expending too much energy.

However, you still need to eat something that will keep you feeling satisfied, at least until your tea break.

Eating to exersise

On the other hand, if you are stopping off at the gym for a workout, you will need to plan your breakfast accordingly.

A cardio workout allows you to have a little extra in the carbohydrate department, while a strength workout would require you to take in a little more protein for your first meal of the day.

The midday meal

Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day. However, for most of us it is a hasty meal at our desks. Once again, when planning your lunch meal, you need to take into account what you will be doing in the afternoon.

A daycare worker may require higher energy producing foods than an executive, no matter how busy you are.

What’s for dinner?

The evening meal should be lighter and more easily digested than the midday meal as you will most likely be going to sleep a few hours after you have eaten.

This meal should also be the lowest GI as you want it to keep your blood sugar level fairly constant throughout the night.

Low GI

A low GI food is a food that will keep you feeling full for longer as it helps to keep your blood sugars on an even keel.

When your blood sugar drops, you are left feeling hungry and often craving for something sweet. Eating fruit first thing in the morning can keep you going till lunch time but be careful, not all fruit is low GI.
Apples, oranges, peaches, cherries are a good low GI fruit, while watermelon is definitely not! If you are going to the gym then a banana would be good, along with raisins and other melons.

Conscious eating

Healthy eating is about conscious eating and meal planning plays an important role in this.

If you are not following any type of eating plan, why not try a little experiment? For two days keep a food diary. Every time you eat anything, write it down. Next, try and create a meal plan just for the following two days and watch your eating habits change.

Remember that meal planning is best done after a meal, so that you are less inclined to put high energy or comfort foods into your plan.

Are your cookery books taking over?

Some women have a weakness for shoes. I have a weakness for cookery books, so in answer to the question, most definitely YES they are taking over.

Recipe books
Only recipe books I use are on this shelf and in my kitchen for easy access

Winging it

In all honesty, I maybe use half of them over and over, when I use a recipe that is. Even when I look up the recipe in the book, I have to substitute and change things for various reasons.

I still love the inspiration found in my books and I can see how my cooking has evolved over the years.

2016 Clear out

Last year, I cleared out over 20 books, this year I will have to clear out more. Just because I have a lot of cookery books hasn’t stopped me getting more.

Some books I have been given and are over 50 years old, it is interesting to also see how the trends in cooking have changed.

Then there are the recipes that I have taken off the internet and more recently my new favourite cook book, Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course which I was given as gift.

Gordon Ramsay
My new favourite cookery book

Sorting it all out

Last year I tried sorting out the recipes that I had taken from various magazines and the newspaper but I really am not that good at keeping it up, I think it lasted a whole month. A new solution to this may be a concertina file, where I can just slide the recipe in under its correct category.

Concertina Files
This concertina file can be used for more than just your bills,

My mother has a book in which she has written her favourite recipes to pass down, this way family traditions will also not be lost.

This week we are looking at sorting out the cook book and recipe situation in our homes.

What has been a solution in terms of space in my kitchen, is that the books I use more frequently are kept in the kitchen, the rest have been moved to the bookshelf in the lounge. I can still get to them, they are just no longer taking up valuable kitchen space.

Do you need them or do you want them?

Look at your collection and have heart to heart with yourself, be honest, how many do you really use?

Dinner Theme Meal Planning

One of the tricks that has got me through meal planners block, is theme nights.

I don’t mean elaborate themes, I just mean creating a template for yourself that will make meal planning, in all aspects, a little less stressful.

What is a theme?

A theme is whatever idea you want it to be. Some of the examples I have used are:

Countries of the world

Jewish dishes from around the world

I love Africa

Cooking shows I love

 

Success and failure

Some were harder to follow than others. For example, the dinner from Russia was a total disaster! Vareniki- I don’t know what I did wrong, but they were totally inedible.

Varineky
Vareniki- a russian dumpling, ravioli type meal, this was an epic fail

Others, like my cashew nut chicken, are such a hit that they now appear on my meal plan once a month.

Cashew nut chicken
Chicken and cashew nut stir fry, a hit

The homemade pasta that I learned to make from watching MasterChef and Gordon Ramsay were another rebounding success.

Homemade pasta
The first successful batch of pasta

How to decide

Using current trends to create themes is another easy method. Meat free Monday, Banting and LCHF (low carbohydrate, high fat) recipes are another method. You don’t have to follow the diets themselves, just some of recipes that your family might enjoy.

A basic template can actually be used when changing lifestyle eating habits to control your food choices.

Meal Plan
My monthly meal plan

Creating a template for your plans can sometimes be difficult and other times quick and easy. However, once created, the actual meal planning time is cut almost in half. Monthly Menu Planner and Shopping List

Decide what night you will be eating which type of meal. Here is a basic example of a template.

Monday- Meat Free

Tuesday- Mince (any kind)

Wednesday- Fish

Thursday – Chicken

Friday – Red Meat

Saturday – eat out

Sunday – pizza

Weekly menu planner and shopping list

Love it or hate it

Whether you love cooking or hate it, whether you are a contender for MasterChef, or you can barely boil water, what a template allows you to do is cook within your preference.

I am one of those people who love cooking. I am also a pretty good cook and love to try new recipes. Thankfully I have a family who like to eat and aren’t too fussy about their food choices.

I use meat free Mondays to make mac and cheese, tuna or vegetable lasagne’s and often to experiment with vegan recipes.

For mince night, I have a standard set of about 10 recipes, some more involved than others, which range from Chilli Con Carne to Sloppy Joes, Taco’s, Bolognaise, Cottage Pie, Shepard’s Pie, Mince Pie, Meatballs, Meatloaf and a few others.

For fish night, I have a few standards that I dare not alter too much. Haddock and Spaghetti, Hake and Basil Pesto, Grilled Fish and Chips, Crumbed Fish Cakes and Crumbed Fillets. There are a few more but I don’t make them often as they are either too expensive or the majority of my family don’t eat it.

Chicken night is another favourite meal and I can use this to try out new recipes.

Red meat night could mean stews or roasts and is another time where I can play with recipes.

As you can see my family are definite carnivores. Saturday and Sunday nights, we eat whatever is going. In a house full of teenagers this means they are mostly all out on Saturday night and we pretty much scrounge in the fridge for left overs or we have eggs or I will make pizza for supper. Sometime it is simply soup and toast.

Find freedom from the stove

Your template does not restrict you, it actually allows you to play around. You don’t need to follow a recipe either. If you know that tonight is mince night, you can take your meat out the freezer, come home and make whatever you want.

Another advantage is, if you have a whole lot of recipes you like, you can plot them for a month or more into your chosen nights.

Why not give it a try and see how easy meal planning can be?

Meal planning and a sorted life

How does meal planning fit in with get sorted?

New habits

We’re getting sorted is all about clearing out the junk however, one of the most important ways to prevent the clutter from returning is to develop new habits.

This week we look at meal planning, this topic is one of my favourites. I have an entire blog about it. I offer online support on the topic. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/booking-form/

My monthly meal plan

Try this little exercise, write down everything you think you need to buy for your next 7 meals. Now go and look in your kitchen, the fridge, the freezer and the cupboards. What was on your list that you already have? Did you have more than one? Are there things that you had forgotten you even have?

This is part of my grocery cupboard all tidied up

Meal planning is about more than just knowing what is in your cupboard, it is about saving money, saving time and saving your sanity.

Take control

Planning your meals in advance is about taking control of another aspect of our homes and lives.

You don’t need a recipe book to meal plan, it is not set in stone.

What to cook?

Next week we will be sorting through our recipe books. Meal planning will give you a better way to know what cook books you want to keep close at hand, which ones you want out of the way and which you will be getting rid of?

Recipe books
Only recipe books I use are on this shelf and in my kitchen for easy access

An important part of meal planning is knowing what the family enjoys eating. If you don’t think meal planning is for you, why not try something simple? Take a piece of paper and write down everything you know your family loves to eat. You now have the start of your voyage into meal planning.

Organised meals

The most organised space in my house is my kitchen. Meal planning also renewed my love of cooking.

Gone are the days of coming home tired, opening a cupboard or fridge looking inside and closing it, then putting pasta on the stove, because it is easy and I am too tired to think or I forgot to take something out the freezer.

Now, even though I still often come home tired, meat is ready to cook because I took it out in the morning to defrost. I didn’t have to think about supper, my thinking was done when I had energy and put the meal on the menu.

There are still days where I look at the meal plan and think, ‘I don’t feel like this today’ and we land up with pasta of some type.

I am more likely to cook what has been defrosted than not as I don’t want to waste it and let it go off, so the family is eating much healthier Take out more than once a month is not in my budget.

Do you meal plan or do you wing it?