Old Mother Hubbard and I have nothing in common. My cupboards are never bare! As the More is More Mom® I pride myself on being prepared. Little makes me happier than stocking up……on more of everything. One of my most favorite things to do is our grocery shopping. My penchant for food shopping must be a direct correlation to my fondness for cooking and eating. To me, the simple act of making a grocery list is highly satisfying, so I food shop several times a week. I imagine that those efficiency experts would frown upon the notion of making multiple trips to the grocery store each week, though I find it quite enjoyable………
Most Sundays I can be found pouring through my cookbooks and my collection of recipes that I clip from magazines and newspapers (I have a mostly super organized method for my collection. I am a bag lady at heart, forever inspired by everything I see. Stacks of pages and pages, torn out of magazines and newspapers, can be found stuffed inside of other magazines that are too inspirational to discard, and notebooks and folders, can be found tucked in to various nooks and crannies of my house. I clip recipes, gardening tips, pictures of beautiful rooms, vignettes and window treatments, groovy accessories, ideas for entertaining and trends in fashion; pretty much anything that catches my eye. I separate my clippings by theme and then store them by category in identical, portable hanging file boxes that I label for easy identification. Very simple.). My family certainly has their favorite meals, but I frequently tire of chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli (Yawn). I yearn for a tasty challenge from time to time (as the More is More Mom® I am never afraid of new experiences. The number of ingredients in a recipe doesn’t scare me……I have kids, and if that doesn’t scare you, nothing will!).
I take a quick gander at my color coded calendar for the weeks schedule of events (for example: Amanda’s gymnastics is in purple, Nick’s hockey is in red, Nick’s golf is in green, Our Lady of Perpetual Donations is in blue, and the Be All and End All Academy is in black. This way I know who has what at a glance.). This tells me who will be home for dinner and when. The next step in my evil plan to take over the world is to make a list of the upcoming days for which I will be making dinner. As a huge food snob, it kills me to eat out. For us it’s just a big fat waste of money. I have become a pretty darn good cook (I’ve come a long way in the past 20 years since my days of making crunchy lasagna), and eating out is hardly a thrill. We eat beautiful meals at home (nearly every day), and the wine is way cheaper (I can get a Santa Margherita Pino Grigio for as little as $15.10 a bottle. At a restaurant, we’re looking at a good $42.00 a bottle….Yikes! With the way we drink it, we’d never be able to afford to dine out anyway.).
Once I have my list of days for which I need meals for the week, I begin the selection process. The busyness of the week is the biggest determining factor. I know how much time I will have each day to prepare dinner and select my recipes accordingly, trying not to serve too many dishes with the same ingredients in one week. I also make an effort to try new recipes, even if they are just merely a new twist on an old classic. I also like to consider just how much I can prep in advance (last night for instance we were at Nick’s hockey game at super time. Chuck grilled the pork chops just before we left, and while my beautiful, creamy risotto cooked on the range I chopped up veggies for a salad to be served upon our safe return. Prep and organization is the key to success! The hot dishes are put in our warming drawer, one of the world’s greatest inventions, and I wrap the chopped veggies in paper towel to absorb the moisture so they don’t get all soggy and gross, which would be yucky.).
Having my meals scheduled for the week, it’s time to make my grocery list. Because I am so familiar with the markets that I frequent I am able to organize my list in accordance with the layout of the store. That’s not to say that I’m still not criss-crossing the aisles from time to time, but it is a far more efficient system. Here’s one of my little helpful tips: in the meat section of my grocery list I note the date on which I intend to serve that meal. Then, as I am making those selections, I can check the sell by dates and adjust my meal plan accordingly. No one wants to get Mad Cow Disease!
I frequent many fine purveyors; heading to Ultra Foods for all of my stock up items. Gotta love their Ultra Saver Prices! Dominick’s is my favorite market because they have a very nice Starbucks. I typically pick up small items that I need throughout the week, any prescriptions we may need refilled and peruse the wine department. As I am the More is More Mom®, you can only imagine how I salivate on an outing to Cost Co. They only sell in bulk!! We are a match made in Heaven. There I pick up your household basics, TP, Bounty paper towels (my favorite), Zip Loc Baggies (by the thousands!), snacks for Wrigley, eggs, butter, huge containers of Parmigianino Reggiano Cheese, Feta Cheese and garlic, and of course meat. Keeping my freezer well stocked makes it easy to make a meal in a flash!
Having an inventory of staples makes it possible for me to whip up a great meal in no time. My pantry is full from top to bottom and side to side with; baking supplies and mixes, pastas and sauces, rice’s, jars and jars of condiments, vinegars, oils, marinades, chicken broth, bread crumbs, cereals, crackers, party mixes, nuts and such.
If Old Mother Hubbard hung out with me, her cupboards would never be bare!