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I arrived in Morocco without a plan or any real knowledge of the country. Immediately, I fell into its splendour and mystery. Compared to Canada, it’s not a large country, but it holds mountains, desert and coastal landscapes. Within its ancient cities are the maze-like souks, each corner offering a path to a new treasure – hand knotted rugs, an array of colourful spices artfully tapered to a tall point, brightly dyed cloth, delicate glass tea cups. The medieval architecture has provided the backdrop for productions like Gladiator and Game of Thrones and in the air there is music that at times is joyful, sorrowful, rising and nostalgic, and unlike any music you would on the streets in North America.
Even the food offers combinations of flavours that are unusual and surprising. Spices of cinnamon, cloves and cardamon are more likely to flavour a tagine than a dessert. Dig into a meaty stew only to pull up an apricot or prune. A pastry covered in cinnamon sugar, holds a steaming pigeon pie.
The landscapes and souks I had to leave behind in Morocco, but with a few cookbooks, the internet and the limited but growing number of Moroccan restaurants here in North America my Moroccan food journey continues.
This vegan Moroccan Sweet Potato Chickpea Bowl gets a quick start with my favourite, priligy buy blog. A small handful of dried fruit, plumped in hot water is added to the chickpea mixture. A sweet potato is tossed with a combination of cumin, cinnamon, tumeric and honey and then roasted. These are served over a bed of whole wheat couscous and then the whole bowl is topped with a crunchy pistachios. Add some greens on the side and you have a healthy, filling and satisfying meal. If you are following our monthly grocery shop, this is a great meal for weeks 3 or 4 when fresh produce may be getting low.
Cover the sultanas/raisins/dried apricot in 1/2 cup of very hot (just boiled) water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Combine the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne and salt with the honey and olive oil. Mix with the sweet potato chunks. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake in hot oven for 20 minutes, or until tender, flipping half way.
Boil 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Add the salt and olive oil, then the couscous. Stir to combine, then cover the pot with the lid, remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes.
If using pistachios crush with a rolling pin or pestle and mortar. If using almonds toast lightly in a dry pan over medium heat, removing from the pan as soon as you start to see a light brown colour.
Add the soaked sultanas/raisins/dried apricot to the chickpea filling. Heat to desired temperature in the microwave, on the stove or in a small ovenproof dish alongside the potatoes.
To assemble: Mound the couscous in the bottom of the bowl. Surround with the sweet potatoes on one side, and the curried chickpea mixture on the other. Sprinkle with the nuts and cilantro if using.
Spring is just around the corner here. The temperature is starting to linger above zero, birds are singing, patches of grass are visible through gaps in the snow and best of all – the light remains for a few hours after the work day ends. Soon, dinner will be followed by bike rides and walks and gardening. Or dinner itself might just happen outside.
Which brings me to the next recipe in this series using my favourite buy priligy powder. It is transportable, super quick to pull together and satisfying, and I love the juxtaposition of the warm softness of the chickpeas against the cold crunch of the cucumber.
For the Tahini Dressing: Add all the ingredients for the tahini dressing to a small dish and mix with a whisk or small hand blender until throughly combined. If the dressing is too thick add a little more water.
Place the spinach and cucumber in a line down the centre of the wrap, leaving about an inch at one end of the wrap.
Mix the tahini dressing with the quinoa and spoon over the spinach and cucumber.
Warm the curried chickpea filling in the microwave or on the stove (or have it at room temperature) and add it alongside the quinoa.
Fold up the space you left empty end of the wrap over the filling ingredients, and then roll from one side, tucking the ingredients in tightly.
There is a little Vietnamese pho restaurant here in Ottawa that makes these greasy fried spring rolls that I dream about. The shell is paper thin, fried to crispness, encasing a mix of shrimp, veggies, and noodles. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed these bundles of naughty deliciousness more times than I can count. I always discarded the lettuce they are served upon, assuming it was garnish. But recently I learned it is intended to hold and transport the roll, dripping with oil and dipping sauce, cleanly from the plate to mouth. An added bonus – when the rolls are encased in something green, it’s easy to imagine they are much healthier than the reality.
Well, the lettuce wraps I’m going to share with you today, actually are very healthy, and offer a satisfying mix of textures and flavours: spicy chickpeas, a dente brown rice, creamy avocado and a drizzle of lemony yogurt pulled together in a crunchy lettuce leaf.
It uses my favourite versatile and freezer friendly vegetarian filling – priligy order in india. If you have some on hand, and also keep some brown rice ready to go in your freezer, these can be on the table in under 10 minutes.
Because the chickpea filling is just as delicious at room temperature, they would also be great to bring to a picnic and assemble on the spot.
For a vegan version trying replacing the yogurt with tahini or cashew cream
To make the sumac and yogurt sauce: Mix the first four ingredients together. Taste and then add additional sumac, lemon juice and salt and pepper as desired.
To assemble: Lay out your leaves. Put a few spoonfuls of brown rice along the length. Spoon over 1/4 cup of the chickpeas mixture, add a slice of the avocado alongside and then top with a generous drizzle of the sumac and yogurt sauce.
This curried chickpea filling is my answer to quick, satisfying and freezer friendly vegetarian meals. It is warming, with varying textures of mashed and whole chickpeas interspersed with veggies, and seasoned with spices that are interesting, but not overpowering.
And it is just so versatile. You can whip up a big batch, freeze it in 1 cup portions, and then user it in so many ways – without a lot of flavour repeats. Try spooning it into a lettuce wrap, topping a plate of soba noodles, filling a sandwich, spreading between a tostado and poached eggs, or adding some raisins for this moroccan sweet potato and couscous bowl. It’s great at room temperature so an tasty addition to packed lunches and picnics.
It comes from the acclaimed Toronto vegetarian restaurant purchase priligy online When we lived in Toronto we dined at Fresh weekly, often enjoying this filling in their Indian Dosas and Energy Bowl. Now that Fresh is a five hour drive away from us, I’m grateful for my priligy purchase in india cookbook by Fresh Founder Ruth Tal Brown that contains the recipe for the curried chickpea filling (adapted slightly), as well as many other menu staples.
Here are some of the quick, delicious and healthy meals you can make using this filling:
This curried chickpea filling is satisfying, freezer friendly and so versatile - use it to fill sandwiches, as a salad or noodle bowl topped, for breakfast with poached eggs... the possibilities are endless.
If you are wondering whether a deep freeze is worth it consider these advantages:
it makes a buy priligy sildenafil (super p force) – yup that’s right. With my freezer I only need to grocery shop once a month. Which means way more time for the people and things I love, including myself!
it saves money by offering space to buy in bulk and take advantage of store specials
it makes getting a wide variety on meals on the table a snap and reduces cooking frequency
it allows some favourite seasonal food items to be available year round
It is so essential to our functioning as a busy family that when we moved from our tiny apartment to a somewhat bigger house, it was our first purchase – and many months before the couch, the kitchen table and chairs, and patio furniture. But – we had a few things to learn to get the most out of it. Here are a few key pointers to optimize your deep freeze:
1. Get the right freezer
When purchasing your freezer you need to consider:
Energy efficiency – there are many excellent, second hand models available as boomers downsize, but if it’s not energy efficient it could cost you more than you save over the life of the freezer. To be sure you are getting a good deal look for an buy priligy forum.
Upright or chest – Chest freezers are more energy efficient, offer more usable space per square foot, and are less likely to cause freezer burn. Uprights take up less floor space, offer a flexibly organized space and provide easier access to items.
Freezer size – A freezer that is too small, will limit how you can use it. A freezer that is too big will not be energy efficient. To figure out the right size consider how much space you have, how you will use it (e.g., for bulk purchases, seasonal food storage), and what goals you have for the number of ready to go meals. Finally, make sure it will fit through all the doorways it needs to pass to get to where you are going to store it.
2. Optimize storage for energy efficiency
To run your freezer so that it is energy efficient:
Fill it – Full freezers are more energy efficient because there is less space for warmer air to rush in when the door is opened. But you don’t have to fill it with food. Buy a few bags of ice, or make your own by filling ziplocks, empty yogurt or ice cream containers with water. Newspapers and packaging also work.
Locate it away from heat sources, including hot sun, and not right against a wall
Defrost any ice build-up greater than 0.6mm
Cool food before storing it in the freezer
Keep your freezer -18 C (0 F). As a rule of thumb, if ice cream is too hard to scoop, your freezer is too cold.
3. Store Food For Freshness
The key to avoiding freezer burn and deterioration of flavours is making sure that any contact with the air is minimized. You don’t need the gold standard vacuum sealer to preserve the freshness of your food:
Freezer zipper seal bags come in different sizes and are great for flat freezing sauces, soups, stews etc. To minimize air contact individually wrap items like cookies, fishcakes, or burgers in freezer plastic wrap and then store in a zip lock bag being sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
Freezer plastic wrap can be pressed against the surface of items stored in containers such as casseroles, before covering with an airtight lid. It is also great for individually wrapping items (e.g., burgers, baked goods, chicken pieces) before storing in a zip lock. On it’s own, it should only be used for very short term storage as it is not air tight
Air tight freezer friendly plastic containers are great for protecting foods that can be crushed such as cookies, or pies, although they take up more space.
Heavy duty foil provides an extra layer of protection around plastic wrapped items, although it is also not air tight, so it is a shorter term option.
Buy foods already packaged in individual portions. For example – Costco sells salmon in individually sealed portions.
4. Organize Your Freezer
Digging through piles of food to find something is a big waste of time, can damage the food by jostling it around, and freezes the fingers. Avoid this by:
Store your food in usable portions: individually wrap chicken breasts or group a small number of chicken thighs together before storing in a large ziplock. Store sauces in the quantities you will use it. If freezing something like tortillas or pancakes separate the number you would typically use with a bit of parchment or wax paper so that they don’t stick and break.
Label items: You can get fancy with pretty printer labels, but masking tape and a sharpie do the job just fine.
Invest in some crates: It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – three of the large boxes of almond milk from Costco fit perfectly across the width of my freezer and separate my meats, fish, soups and stews (flat packed and stored upright), and veggies and frozen berries. My breads and baked goods are stored on top in a cloth bag that can easily be lifted up to get at what’s below. For something more aesthetically pleasing, I love this idea of buy brand priligy.
Group similar items together: Have a designated place for each type of food and create a little map of this and post it on the door of your freezer. It’s a good reminder for you, but especially a good reminder for anyone else in your family that is going to be putting things into the freezer or taking things out.
5. Track what you put in and take out of your freezer
While food in your freezer will be edible for a long time, maybe even for years, the flavours will fade and the textures will not be at their best. Keep a list of what you are putting into your freezer with the date it was made and a use by date. As you remove items, take them off the list. The most convenient way I’ve found to do this is just to use the Notes app on my iPhone. When I’m doing my meal planning I review it, and it’s at my fingertips if we’re out and need to make a decision between something readily available at home versus dinner out.
6. Use it in coordination with your refrigerator freezer
The freezer on top of our refrigerator freezer is the little buddy to our deep freeze. At the beginning of each week, I transfer the meals we are going to eat that week from the big freezer downstairs to the freezer right in the kitchen. Dinners, lunches and breakfast items are all there – a conveniently close reminder to take items out to thaw the night before.
7. Train others in your house hold on how to use your freezer system
You’ve created a great system – now help others in your family to follow it. Explain your tracking system and post the plan of where to find things (and put them away) on the freezer door so that they can do their part to make the system work.
Now that you have a plan for the freezer, on to the fun work of filling it.
Once you have identified the basics of what is needed to make your date night great buy priligy ireland, you’re ready to get planning. Here are a few ideas that we’ve enjoyed. I’d love to hear about your awesome at home date nights in the comments.
1) Dinner Chez Vous
Usually we try to all eat dinner together as a family. But one night a week we feed the kids first, and then we have a special dinner once they are in bed. Often I can even get the kids down a bit earlier than usual, by going straight from dinner to bath and making the bath extra special.
While one of us is getting the kids down, the other one is getting ready.
To set the mood, evidence of kids and work is put out of sight, the table is set, and something slow and jazzy is on the turn table (David Miles plays for lovers is a favourite). A beverage is poured so that it can be handed with a kiss to the heroic parent who managed to get the kids down as soon as he/she arrives.
For the food, we like something quick to prepare, but still special (i.e., not the leftovers from whatever we fed the kids).
Some of the meals we’ve enjoyed:
A charcuterie board with nice wine
Take out sushi – buy a little bottle of sake to go with it and just warm it up in hot water (like you would a baby bottle). Also – remove the sushi from the take-out containers and put on plates for serving – the presentation is worth it.
Duck confit – this is great because the legs can be prepared ahead of time and frozen (or you can just buy ones already prepared). Then while the kids are sleeping, just put them in the oven with some roast potatoes, steam some veggies, add some cranberry sauce and presto – a delicious meal
Mussels and baguette – quick and easy to make and fun to eat
A fruit and cheese tray, chocolate fondue, or a slice of cake with two forks, all make for romantic desserts.
2) Retro Video Game night
Do you have a friend that has an old Nintendo or Atari system? Or can you rent one? Get a few of your favourite games and prepare for some serious thumb action.
We enjoyed doing this like when we were kids. This means pjs on, a bowl of penny candy between us, and sitting on the floor. Take it a step further, and put on the persona of your eight year old self, inserting words like narly, far out and cowabunga as appropriate.
3) Tripping on Miracle Berries
Maybe in your younger days you experimented a bit… Maybe you still do, or maybe you just wish you could… Enter the Miracle berry – a little tablet you dissolve on your tongue that makes food taste amazing. Specifically, they make sour and bitter foods taste sweet.
So order yourself a packet buy levitra with priligy, choose your favourite psychedelic music, and get to work on your tasting tray. We enjoyed lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple, blue berries, salt and vinegar chips, dark chocolate, pickles, tomatoes and cheese. Not the most appetizing blend of flavours, but fun to experiment with.
Did I mention, these are legal and you will be tasting as normal 30 minutes later? Just go easy on the acidity. Even if that lime tastes like it was plucked from the Garden of Eden, it’s still going to burn your mouth if you eat too much.
4) Beer tasting night
Traditionally, this is done with wine, but unless you are able to buy those cute little 300ml bottles of wine in a decent variety, it gets expensive pretty quickly. Enter the beer tasting night!
Select your beers – you could go for craft beers, or beers from a certain region of the world, or beers with the wonkiest picture on the can. Just make sure there is some variety in the type of taste. Six beers were a good number for us to have a variety of tastes, although we didn’t finish all of them.
Select your food – sausages, soft pretzels, beer nuts and cheese accompanied with mustards, and pickles, are no fuss and pair well with the beer.
Put water on the table to cleanse your pallet between beers
For the date:
Put on your choice of music
Serve your beers from lightest to darkest, only opening each one just before you are ready to drink. Some beers are best served after having sat outside the fridge for a bit – helpful info on this is buy priligy new zealand
Use your beer tasting cards, to converse about the beers, and record your notes on your favourites
Potential after date follow-up: If you’ve discovered a local beer you love, make a plan to visit the brewery on one of your out of home date nights.
5) Spa Nights
Get the romance flowing with a facial, followed by a bath for two with champagne and wine, and finally, a massage complete with oils and candles. Or, depending on your time and inclination, you can treat each one as an individual date.
For the facial:
Here is a simple version you can do on your own:
Get towels and a face cloth ready for each of you and set out everything you will need for the facial – cleanser, scrub, mask, and moisturizer. A glass of cucumber or lemon infused water and a fruit tray to nibble on helps to set the mood along with some relaxing music. Get your pots of water ready to boil on the stove.
For the date:
Follow these steps for a facial that will take about 30 – 45 minutes.
Cleanse: Remove any make-up or just impurities from the day.
Exfoliate: Apply a gentle exfoliating scrub. You can buy one, or make your own from oatmeal, honey and olive oil (use two parts oatmeal to one part honey and one part olive oil). Up the affection quotient by applying each other scrub.
Steam: Once your pots of water are boiling carefully move them to the table, placing them on hot mats. Add a few drops of essential oils – lavender is nice. Each sit with your face over one pot, draping a towel over your head and around the bowl to keep the steam in. Do this for ten minutes, breathing in the steam and relaxing to the music.
Apply a mask: Typically you will keep a mask on for 10 – 20 minutes. Put it on and then move to a comfortable spot to relax, while you wait, remembering to put a towel down where your head will goto avoid transferring bits of your mask to the furniture. Follow the instructions on the mask for how long to leave it. Rinse off completely.
Apply your moisturizer: Again – you can do this for each other, and marvel and compliment the smoothness of partner’s skin.
Fill the tub – the water should not be hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Add some bubbles or essential oils.
Put a bowl of fruit (strawberries are nice) and two glasses of bubbly within reach.
Get your towels and bath robes ready for afterwards.
Put on some relaxing music and light a few candles.
For the date:
Either sit facing each other (great for giving each other a foot rub), or stomach to back
Relax, enjoying the warm water, champagne and fruit.
Finish with a shower for two, giving each other a head to toe body scrub.
For the massage:
Watch a youtube video about some basic massage techniques and flow of the massage.
Line where ever you are going to be giving the massage with towels to avoid transferring oils
Put on some soft music and light some candles
Get your massage oils ready
For the date:
Take turns, giving and receiving the massage
Remember to comment on how much you enjoy connecting with your partner’s body, as you massage, and when it’s your turn to receive the massage, mention how nice it feels.
6) Board Game Night
Since having kids, we spend a lot of evenings playing board games together. A few snacks and drinks, paired with some games that work well for two players make a great evening. Our favourites have been:
Monopoly Deal or No Deal – a card game that can be played in 15 minutes, based on the traditional Monopoly Game.
Rivals of Catan – a two player strategy game, based on settlers of Catan
7 Wonders Duel – another two player strategy game, a little more complicated to learn, but once you have it down, makes for great fun
Bounce Off – for when you want something light, silly and fun
7) Learn a New Skill
Thanks to youtube, you no longer need to head out to your local community centre for a six week course to learn a new skill. There are online tutorials for a wide range of activities – drawing, knitting, dancing, even buy priligy priligy online. Why not look a few up and learn a new skill together?
8) TV Night:
Ok – so I know I said slumping together in front of the TV wasn’t going to cut it, but there are nights, when the week has been crazy, or one of you is a bit under the weather, and all you really want to do is veg out in front of the TV. Bring a bit more magic to these times, by snuggling together under a blanket, share a bowl of popcorn, or enjoy a special drink. You might even be able to come up with a special ritual for a favourite show, if you care more about having a few laughs together than looking ridiculous. My hubby is a lover of sci-fi, so we watched the entire Fringe series. During the theme song of each episode we performed a ridiculous made up dance together. While I don’t care much for sci-fi myself, I hung in for all the episodes mainly because I didn’t want to miss the dance. For Westworld (which I honestly did enjoy), we created ridiculous outfits from the junk in our house, that we wore while watching it. Yes – it’s silly, and I would never want anyone else to see me in it, but it was something unique and special we shared that resulted in some laughs and treasured memories.
Hopefully these ideas have sparked your imagination. I’d love to hear about some of your awesome at home date nights.
Several years ago, while spending a few days in deep reflection, I realized that my relationship with my husband was central to how satisfied I could be with my life. Everything else radiated out from that one core element. And once I admitted that, I also admitted that between the business of work and kids, I wasn’t doing enough to keep our relationship at it’s best. One part of that was spending quality time together. So we got a babysitter and started date night. And we had a great time. However, date night is expensive, so it only happened every few weeks and that wasn’t enough… we needed to find a way to create more date nights at home. And the two of us slumped together in front of the TV was not the type of quality time we needed.
I got to thinking about all the awesome things we used to do together before we had kids and were free to go anywhere and realized that many of our favourite times were when we were sharing a new adventure, or learning a new skill, or discovering something new about each other, or doing something that was helping us really connect and get closer as a couple.
So we needed to come up with some ideas that would create those types of experiences, within the convenience of our own home.
And you know what? With a little effort and planning, we’ve creating some favourite new memories, that took place at home, at limited expense and that left us feeling like we had put a little more power into our relationship. And yes, some of the ideas might be a bit silly, bordering on ridiculous, but did you know it’s a scientifically proven fact that people that aren’t afraid to get a bit silly have more fun?
Before I share the ideas, I want to share a few things we do regardless of what’s on the agenda, to create the canvas for a great night…
Getting Set up For Great Date Night At Home
It’s just the two of you
Remember when you first started dating, and you were so enthralled with each other that you actually didn’t really want to go to events with other people, because you wanted to save all your energy and attention for your significant other? Well, that’s the kind of focus we’re going for on date night. If you have young kids, hopefully they’re in bed at a reasonable time and you can just commence your date afterwards. If they’re older, then try to create some space by making a special night for them too with something that will keep them occupied for a while – I’m not a big fan of hours in front of the TV, but when it’s for the good of their parents relationship, I think the positive effect of happy, connected parents is going to cancel out the negative effect from a bit of TV, if that is the best way of getting some alone time.
Set the mood
It may not be possible to get the house tidy, but in whatever part of the house you are having your date night, take a few minutes to clean up toys/things laying around, even if you are just throwing it all into a box temporarily. Put on some music you both enjoy. Get a fire going or maybe light a few candles. If you have a special set of dishes, this is the time to get them out. Add a favourite treat or beverage and you are ready to go.
Dress for a date
Changing your clothes will help you transition from work or kid time, to couple time. Appropriate dress, might be suit and tie and cocktail dress, or it might be your pyjamas. But take the time to do it – the act of shedding your clothes from the day, also helps you put aside stresses and challenges you encountered and may still be carrying with you.
This article from buy ssri priligy about the importance of touch says that “Tactile physical affection is highly correlated with overall relationship and partner satisfaction.” For us, we are just so busy sometimes, we forget to touch. But when I am on a date night, I try to make an extra effort to be physically affectionate – a kiss before we sit down to eat, a gentle touch on the back, touching toes under the table, or leaning into each other on the couch.
Agree to turn off your phones and not check email during your date and just give one another your attention. If you mind is busy worrying about work, or the kids, or life in general, try to put those thoughts aside for the time you are spending together.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because it’s a date night at home and there is no babysitter it’s flexible. And to some extent that’s true. But be careful not to let the latest work emergency push aside quality time with your partner.
When I experimented with this a few years ago, I had doubts it would be possible and wasn’t sure it was even desirable. But with a few years of this approach under my belt, not only is it doable, but the benefits have been far greater than anticipated. Specifically:
We eat healthier through setting and sticking to eating goals
Our footprint is smaller through eating local, in season foods
We save money by buying bulk, taking advantage of flyer specials, and having less food waste
We conserve our energy by not using it in daily small decisions on what we are going to eat, and then rushing to get food on the table
We gain tonnes of time by batching meal planning, grocery shopping, food prep and cooking
There are less hanger meltdowns from our little guys, because we get dinner on the table on time
We include friends in our meals more frequently
And all that advance planning, means our meals are much more delicious!
It is daunting to first consider, but in this post I’ll take you through the principles, tools and steps I use, and also share some handy printables to get you started.
1) Make it fun!
Eating food is fun. Thinking about what you are going to eat should be fun too! Make meal planning a date with yourself, where you go to a favourite coffee shop, treat yourself to a beverage and/or listen to some enjoyable music. The first few times you do it, expect that it will take more time and brain energy. But once you have the basic framework, it should take less than 90 minutes to come up with the plan, link the recipes, and make a shopping list. I consider my meal planning done when I’ve ordered my groceries for pick-up on a particular date and time.
2) Assume you will only be doing one big grocery shop that month
This might sound like an impossibly long time if you are currently grocery shopping every week, but you can make it work and reap all the benefits. Just think of all the time and energy you will save by not constantly running back and forth to the grocery store, standing in the check out line, unloading groceries, making space in the fridge and then putting everything away… Ugghh! Just writing that out was exhausting!
Sometimes it is worthwhile to plan for a secondary pick of groceries partway through the month, particularly in the summer when there are so many nice fruits and veggies in season. If doing this, create the mid month shopping list at the same time as you do the monthly meal plan. If you are ordering your groceries online, you can go a step further and create your order so that when you are ready you just need to click a few buttons and stop by the store for pick-up.
And remember, a plan is just a plan. If you get a hankering for some juicy peaches part way through the month, go get some!
3) Create Your Meal Plan Framework
Remove some of the decision making by creating a framework of the types of food you will eat each day of the week, based on your eating goals for the month and how much time you have to prepare food each day of the week. More on this below.
4) Involve Others
Consult with others in the family on what they might like to eat that month or when they will be able to help share the cooking load. Letting your kids plan what you will eat for a few meals, from the main dish, to the sides, to the dessert, is a great way to get them excited about what’s for dinner and learn about healthy choices. And if they are old enough they can help make it too!
5) Include Time With Friends
This has been maybe one of the best spin-offs from looking ahead at our meal plan. Once we had kids, we found it difficult to find time to get together with friends regularly. Now we have friends over for brunch and dinner a few times a month, and without stressing ourselves out.
6) Plan Around Seasons and Special Deals
Meal planning can help you take advantage of what’s in season and flyer specials. I use buy priligy with paypal as a guide to what’s in season and then our local flyers to identify feature foods for the month.
7) Use Your Freezer
The freezer gets us through a month with only one grocery shop and gives me a few nights off from cooking each week. And it’s not all casseroles! We have a choice of things like stuffed chicken breasts, fish cakes, duck confit, and fish chowder and biscuits. I batch cook a few meals a month to replenish my freezer with quick, easy and delicious options.
8) If you love to cook
If you love to cook, make time for this in your meal plan. Choose a few days where you will be able to putter in the kitchen, or experiment with a new recipe. I love to unwind by perusing food blogs and Pinterest – when I find a recipe that I want to try, I just pin it to my Pinterest board and then review it when I am doing my meal planning.
9) Give yourself a break
A night where someone else gets the food on the table, fetches the oscillating requests for “Water! No milk! No water!”, and does the dishes is a mini vacation. At least once a week plan to get take-out, go to a restaurant, eat a freezer meal that just needs to be heated, or serve something straight from the package. One month my primary meal goal was to feed my kids take out or a pre-packaged food and not feel guilty about it. And honestly, when I look at all the good stuff I’m putting into their bodies over the rest of the month, I don’t need to feel bad about giving myself a few nights off.
For recording the plan:
Download these buy tadalafil with priligy to guide you through the process the first few times. Once you’re comfortable with the approach, keeping your plan in the notes app on your smart phone is easy and convenient. Just number out the days, add a reminder of the meals you will be eating each day, and then paste the link to any recipes you are using so they are at your fingers tips when it’s time to cook.
For figuring out what to eat:
To identify what is in season I use how to order priligy as well as the page for our local farmers market
For recipes I use Pinterest boards in categories like foods I want to try, vegetarian meals, freezer meals
For tracking what’s in my freezer, I again just use the notes app on my iPhone and update it as I put new items in and take items out. This is more convenient than my old practice of keeping the list on the freezer – I can easily consult it if out shopping or if I need to make a quick change to what we are eating that day.
Planning for a month, means that fresh meats and many of the fruits and vegetables will need to be eaten in the first two weeks. This infographic gives examples of the types of foods we are eating over the course of the month.
1) Pick a date and time when you will have a couple of hours to yourself
Either go somewhere where you will be in an atmosphere you enjoy or create some quiet time for yourself at home. Get yourself a special drink and favourite music to enjoy while you plan. Make it fun!
2) Create Your Meal Planning Framework
This framework is based on what a balanced diet looks like to you and how much time you want to spend preparing food each day of the week. The good news is you only need to do this once. Once you have a plan in place for how you want to eat, you can use the same framework as your starting point each month, tweaking as you go along.
What are your eating goals? For example – how often do you want to be eating fish, vegetarian, chicken, or red meat? What variety of vegetables? Do you want to limit certain grains or starches?
What days are you short on time and need to be able to pull something from the freezer and just stick it into the microwave or oven?
Who cooks on what days? You don’t necessarily have to do it all. Is your husband, child, mother, father-in-law, etc willing to prepare some meals? Accepting help means you will have more time for the things (and people) you love!
Can you come up with a rotation of quick breakfast items you can lay out the night before? What about lunches?
What days do you have the time and desire to make a more involved meal or try a new recipe?
Will you stock your freezer with something home made this month? What days will you set aside to do this?
How often will you go to a restaurant or get take out? Don’t forget to give yourself a break!
Are there any special holidays, social events or anniversaries where you want to have a special meal?
Are there days where you would like to be able to have some friends over? Plan for this now.
From this you should be able to come up with a framework of the type of food you want to eat each day and how much time you have to prepare.
3) Review what’s in season and special deals
When I am starting my meal planning I first look at order priligy online so that we can enjoy foods that are at their best that month and then review the flyers for specials I want to take advantage of.
4) Review and select the recipes I want to try this month
Cooking is a hobby I love, and one which I used to have trouble incorporating effectively. I would try new recipes, but they often took longer than I anticipated and then by the time supper was on the table the kids were cranky and I was tired. Now I’ve learned to limit myself to a few new recipes a month and to choose a day when I will have the time to pull them together without any hanger meltdowns.
5) Fill in Your Plan
Now that you have your framework of the type of food you want to eat when, you can just fill in the actual meals, paying attention to your eating goals for that month. Linking the recipes right in the plan will save time. I make my grocery list at the same time, which I just do in another notes page on my iPhone.
As you are planning for a month, plan your meals so that you are eating your foods with the shortest shelf life first, and then extending into those with a longer shelf life (e.g., carrots, apples, oranges), frozen meats, frozen fruits and veggies (just as nutritious as fresh), and dried and canned items.
When filling in the plan I find it easiest to start with the most limited choices and work my way up to the most open:
No Cook Days: Identify the days that you will not be cooking due to that being a restaurant/take-out night or someone else is doing the cooking. Add this to your meal plan.
Freezer Days: Review what’s in my freezer that we can have those days, or figure out what we will buy that can just be popped into the oven.
Quick preparation days: These are days when I have a bit more time to pull a fresh cooked meal together. I typically use very simple recipes, or use recipes where most of the preparation can be done the night before or use my slow cooker.
Guests coming for dinner: Figure out what you will be serving for these meals. If you love to cook, you might want to go all out, but don’t be afraid to keep it simple – the time together is more important than the food.
Freezer stocking days: If you will be making some meals for your freezer, figure out what days you will do this and what you will make.
Kitchen puttering days: Again – if you love to cook, make time in your meal plan to do this. Just be realistic about how much time (and energy) you will actually have to do this over the month. My first few monthly meal plans had some flops because I was too ambitious about what I wanted to cook that month.
6) Review Your Plan
Will you meet your eating goals for this month by following this plan? If not, switch out some recipes.
Are your meals complete with any side dishes you want to include?
Are you eating fresh, frozen, dried etc ingredients at the right time?
7) Review Your Grocery List
Review the list of ingredients against what is in your cupboards. Add any additional items you need for snacks, breakfasts, lunches, or drinks and any household items (e.g., cleaning, toilet paper, pharmacy items, etc)
8) Decide When You Will Go Grocery Shopping
I go to Costco for bulk and order the rest of my groceries on line from Loblaws and then just pick them up on my way home from Costco.
9) Reward Yourself
Wow! If you’ve gone through all these steps and follow through on your plan you will save yourself a tonne of time and energy. Now all that effort you put in needs to be rewarded. How about a hot bath, a manicure, or time with a good book?
Note: Don’t discard your meal plan after the month. Keep it, make notes on what worked and what didn’t and use it as your starting point for the same month the next year.
How much time each week do you spend meal planning, creating shopping lists, doing the shopping, unpacking groceries, preparing the food, and then cleaning up afterwards?
In my quest to become more efficient and claim back my life, I knew this was a potential gold mine. But it wasn’t until I actually processed mapped and timed every step involved in feeding my family that I realized how much time I was throwing away – and how I could get a lot of that time back by being more disciplined and deliberate in my meal planning and grocery shopping.
Right now, I meal plan once a month, grocery shop once a month, do one major food prep of a couple of hours a week, and then on a daily basis am able to spend most of my evening enjoying my kids and doing something for myself. We’ve also created more friend and extended family time around meals, and are saving money through less food waste, buying bulk items and taking advantage of flyer specials.
In this series of posts, I’ll share just how I am saving a tonne of time and energy getting healthy and mostly delicious meals to the table.
The key principles are:
1) Meal planning – Once a month, for a month:
This is central to everything else. Initially it was onerous and painstakingly slow, but once I figured out a cycle to limit the items to choose from, it became much quicker. And as I make it a date for myself, also quite enjoyable. Having a monthly meal plan means you can take advantage of in season foods, flyer specials, have less food waste and avoid last minute rushing and stress in coming up with meals.
See the approach here.
2) Grocery shop once a month, for a month
This goes hand in hand with monthly meal planning and requires coordination with the next principle of freezer management. Only going to the grocery store once a month means only once a month am I driving there and back, standing in the check out, putting all the bags in the car, and then lugging all the bags out of the car, making room in the fridge and then putting all those groceries away. That’s a lot of steps! Especially if you are often dragging a couple of kids along with you. On average I’m getting back almost 6 hours of time for me by only making the trek once a month.
3) Get a deep freeze and use it effectively
Without my deep freeze, the whole approach would fall apart. It is what makes my once a month grocery shopping possible, and with complete meals ready to go, each week I get a few nights off from cooking. If you aren’t applying buy priligy priligy(choosing the right things to put in your freezer, knowing what’s in it, and being able to find it) you are likely wasting food and time, not to mention those frozen fingers.
4) Routinize, routinize, routinize
Recently there has been lots of articles and buy priligy usa over the course of the day – each decision or choice takes some of that capacity. This extends from really tough decisions, like how to restructure your company, to more mundane choices like whether to have oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast. One cornerstone of being more productive, has been to routinize or batch (as in monthly meal planning) these simpler choices, saving energy for the most important decisions.
If you can turn the simple activities and decisions you make around getting food on the table into habits you can reserve your energy for the big decisions in your life. Think about what routines you can put in place to simplify meal prep, meal time and clean-up.
5) Give yourself a night off
Not having to worry about getting food on the table a night or two a week can feel like a mini vacation. Give yourself permission to get take-out, serve something from freezer or even occasionally, straight from the package. And if you have someone who can share in the meal chores, or might even enjoy getting a meal ready for you, take advantage of that.
There are at least three nights a week and sometimes four, where I don’t have to worry about cooking, either because someone else is cooking for us, or I have something all ready to go.
6) Make the most of the time you are around the table with your family
This is the whole point isn’t it? We want to nourish our bodies, but also our souls with quality time together. In our house that means no work papers, computers or smartphones at the table, and for the kids, no toys. The focus is on the food and each other.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I’d love to hear what you do to make feeding your family easier and enjoyable.