Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers!
It’s another thrilling installment of…Blog Limbo!
That’s right, where I have to blog about things I haven’t done yet, to get the information to you, so we can follow the holiday schedule, together.
This is the second day of this weeks blog series, prepping for Thanksgiving. Although we did discuss the whole thing on Sunday, so this is the third blog, after the dry brine blog yesterday. Whatever, please feel free to read them if you haven’t yet.
Anyways, as you will recall from those blogs, namely the overview, today is the shopping day, and I have been prepping for this for a while.
I have already purchased my turkey, in fact, by the time this blog is posted, my turkey will have been dry brining for 12-24 hours.
But, I do still have some things I need to buy, namely the produce and some side dish items.
The way I approach my list begins with the menu. I first make the menu, and itemize every item needed for each item, including the pan and utensil.
Then, I take that itemized list, and cross check it with anything I already have. This allows me to finish my pan and dish check as well, to make sure I have items needed. There is nothing worse than needing a pan to make something and all the stores are closed.
So, I check off anything I already have, any seasonings I have, any pans I have, and make I have anything. I then check these items off to avoid buying duplicates and make sure any missed items make it onto the list.
I also make sure to check how many other key items I need. Some people use plastic or paper bowls, cups and cutlery. Some people need to grab dried sage. Some people may be running low on some usual staples, like flour, for gravy, or plastic wrap for covering dishes.
Some people also may find themselves without Tupperware, like we are. This something else that needs to be accounted for.
Lucky for you, companies pay people to know stuff like this, and you are able to normally pick up nice sets for cheap.
Don’t be fooled by some of the sales happening on Black Friday weekend- often times those same Tupperware containers on GREAT deals if you are willing to face a stampede at Walmart, are available the week before, at Kroger, without any drama.
Either way, make sure storing your leftovers is taken into consideration.
Please remember that you will need more than one onion, or more than a couple of potatoes, etc, when you make your list. I have seen more than one friend say “I have a clove of garlic” and omit it from their list, just to need way more later. Basically, keep in mind the quantities you will need. Often, the items are cheaper per when purchased in bulk anyways.
I also urge you to remember things that are crucial to everyday life, but may be overlooked.
You will be having more company, likely, or more people in and out of your home, so you would be wise to make sure you have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and hand towels.
I also suggest making sure you include some drink options, alcoholic or otherwise, for the meal, as well as for the day before and after, when you either won’t want to go to the store, as they are mobbed, or have other plans.
I know it is hard, but the key here is to not waste a single moment on Wednesday having to make a last minute trip to the store…or if you DO forget something, make it something you can have delivered to you. Seriously. The stores are bad enough on Tuesday, you don’t need to go on Wednesday when it is even worse…and all those people are behind and grumpy.
They are Thanksgiving zombies who want to steal your joy.
Don’t let these Thanksgiving zombies steal your joy.
So, make sure your list is complete. Make check mark boxes by each item, so you can clearly mark off each item when it goes into your cart. This is not your final list, but you will want to check off the items as you place them onto your master.
I take this list very seriously, to keep my cost down, my time in the store down, and my spirits up.
Take this list, and sort it by section. I tend to do it by produce, which is broken down into the herbs, fruits, and veggies. I then have a section for baked goods, frozen, canned goods, dried goods, and a catagory for “other”. On years where I have too many others, I will sort it into “Paper Goods” and others. On days when I have had to tackle decor purchases or outfit purchases in the same trip, I will make these sections separate as well.
Once you have this sorted list, make a final copy with check boxes beside each items, double checking to make sure you have every single item you may need.
Finally, armed with this list (for me, it’s typed, printed, preferably on card stock), make your way to the store. If you are able, and it is safe for you to do so, have cash and plastic.
The machines go down and lines get longer and I have gotten to go next because I had one or the other or both…If you can, do this, and you can possibly save yourself tons of time waiting in line.
It also may not be feasible for you to do so, and the way you tackle this shopping trip will save you plenty of time, so don’t worry.
This list and process will also keep your cost down.
Now, when you get to the store, you can expect to find it crowded. Keep your spirits high. I won’t tell you how to handle other people. I personally use a neutral to friendly smile, because I know plenty of people are not being their best self, and I don’t want to add to it.
So, armed with a smile, cart, and my carefully crafted list, (and a pen!) I dive in. Ideally, I would suggest the heavy stackable stuff first, so grab those drinks, grab any cases of water or canned goods, grab the heavy stuff. If you have pans to buy, buy them, you can stack stuff inside of them and save space in the cart. Grab these things first, and all dried goods, then grab produce, dairy, and chilled/frozens. Depending on your list, you may need to modify this order, but just keep in mind how long you will be shopping, IE save the cold stuff for later in the shopping trip. Also keep in mind the weight of the items, and store the sturdier stuff down below. Also avoid crushing delicate breads or produce.
The list will help you make your way through, because you broke it all down, and spent so much time on the list you are familiar with it. Make sure you check off items on your list with that pen you brought with you, and be sure to keep some extra’s on you. Things get crazy out there in the wild of the grocery store the week of a big dinner holiday.
Stick to your budget, and budget to get yourself a little treat for surviving the store. Don’t get rushed, and be calm. Avoid making any last minute “stress cuts” from the list, which can mess up more than one item. For example, if I were to get stressed about cost and decide to cut the cheese ball part of the appetizer, I would be making a mistake, because I need the bacon for the green bean casserole, I need the cheese, I have the cream cheese and almonds for it already, and the chives are growing in the kitchen.
I wouldn’t save any money, and I would lose not only one appetizer, but one main side dish that many people look forward to. Sure, I have made it without bacon, but Bret and I rarely treat ourselves to bacon and this is one of the times we do.
If you do make cuts, make sure you know what your cuts with affect.
The whole point of the list and menu planning is to keep the cost down by sticking to similar spice pallets and ingredients so things can be reused and costly one time things are avoided.
But, do whatever you have to, get the list filled and load up your car. Bring any grocery bags you have yourself, but understand that you may not have enough. Those plastic bags can be reused with cat litter, as trash bags in bathroom trash cans, or to pick up dog poop. Tons of other uses exist, stroll through Pinterest sometime. I think I have some saved on my page too.
Once you get your groceries home, treat yourself to whatever your treat you planned on was, and congratulate yourself on a trip managed. Double check your list as you put things away and stay sorted, make sure you haven’t forgotten any items. It is better to go back now then deal with it again tomorrow.
Congrats! You did it! You got through the shopping trip! Tomorrow, we tackle the biggest part of our holiday prep.