Sunday, August 10, 2008

Welcome to our new Sunday feature - Planning for the Holidays. This is where we come together every Sunday to plan for the future holidays. Holidays should be fun for everyone including Mom. If you are anything like me, I get all stressed out trying to make it perfect and forget to enjoy them. So this year, I have set up a series of challenges to make holiday planning easier on the budget and our schedule. Each Sunday, I will bring you a challenge that can easily be accomplished in a small amount of time, but will save a lot of stress later.


11 weeks till Halloween

15 weeks till Thanksgiving

19 weeks till Christmas

This week's challenge: Organize your shopping food list.

I came up with this week's challenge while I was looking for the spices to make Baked Oatmeal this morning. As I was looking at my spice cabinet, I was noticing that my pumpkin pie spices were looking low. I hate buying spices because they are always expensive and I don't use them that often. On the other hand, you can't make pumpkin pie without cinnamon and nutmeg. My family would shoot me.

Think about all of your family's traditional foods and favorites that you make between Fall and New Years. Dig out your recipes for your favorite cookies, pies, dinner dishes, and desserts. Find all of the recipes that you make every year.

Next, get a small notebook. Something that will fit in your handbag. You will want to bring this with you every time you shop. You will add to this every week till New Years.

This week you are going to start a food list in your notebook. Make a list of foods that you will need for holiday cooking. You can add to this list as you find new recipes. For now, stick with the all time favorites. Check your spices. Did you know that if you have a McCormick spice (except black pepper) in a tin, it's over 15 years old? Old spices loose their flavor. Are you running low on the popular items like vanilla, cinnamon, and all-spice? Add them to your list. Will you need extra sugar, brown sugar, condensed milk, flour, corn meal, marshmallows, or chocolate chips? Add them to the list. How about canned items like green beans, french fried onions, red beets, or pickles? Our goal is to come up with a list of nonperishable items to put in our pantries till it comes time to cook holiday meals.

When you go grocery shopping, try to pick up a few items on your list each week. Remember to look for sale items and coupon deals. By starting this early, we don't need to buy it unless its a good deal. If you are using the free food Kraft coupons in this month's All You issue, marshmallows are .88 at Wal-Mart and qualify as a particpating Kraft product. Boxes of Jell-O also qualify. If you are working on the Publix-JCPenney Gift Card promotion, consider picking up extra jars of mayo and salad dressings to put aside. displays lots of yummy holiday recipes that use their products.

Our ulitmate goal is to have our pantries fully stocked when the holiday comes around. Instead of having to spend $200 on Thanksgiving dinner the week before, we should be able to buy a few perishable items and be finished with no stress.

Just a quick note for Halloween: CVS has a deal on bags of candy this week. Spend $10 and get $5 in ECB's back. If you will need candy for parties or trick or treating, this might be a good time to pick some up. If your home is like mine, you might want to hide it so it's still around at Halloween.

Leave me a post or a comment and let me know how you did on your challenge. Did you find any good deals?


Kimberly said...

Do you happen to have an Amish market near you? They are usually really good about having a wide selection of spices and at really good prices.

I also find a good selection at the Maryland State Fair, and for good prices - but I feel like the Amish Market is fresher.

Chantalle said...

I love those markets. I have very found memories of going to Amish markets during the summer in Pennsylvania. They always had the best food. In Central Florida, I can't even find a good farmer's market. If anyone knows of one, I would love to hear from you.