Countdown to an Organized Christmas: Shopping Lists ~ Food Items

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countdown christmas

{If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series you can find them here.}

There’s no way around it.  Today’s assignment will probably be a bit tedious and time consuming.  However, it will definitely be worth it in the long run.

Let me explain.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever done this:  You start cooking something and just get going good when you realize that the sugar/bread crumbs/soy sauce/whatever-ingredient-needed is nowhere to be found in your pantry — even though you were so sure you had some.  Or you do have the ingredient — but it’s two years past it’s sell by date.  Or even worse, you abandon the recipe because of the lack of ingredient and then later find what you needed buried in the back of the cupboard!

Are you raising your hand yet?  I am.

Today’s assignment will help keep that from happening this holiday season.  What we need to do today is take all of our holiday recipes and make a master shopping list.  (I told you it wouldn’t be fun.)  If it works for you, divide your list into three pages (or groups) —

  • Nonperishable items
  • Perishable items
  • Produce

The goal is to do as much of your shopping as early as possible so you don’t have to deal with it later.  Obviously, if you have space/financial restrictions this may not be possible, but I’ve found it to be so much easier than trying to buy everything a few days beforehand.  The main concern is running the risk of not being able to find an important item.

A few years ago I ran out of mincemeat and could not find it anywhere I looked.  And I looked everywhere.  At least twelve stores in three different cities.  And because I left it so late, I couldn’t even order any online.  Needless to say, that’s when I started paying better attention to the shape of my pantry!

Nonperishable items can be bought now.  They’re usually those canned or boxed items that can last a few years in the pantry.  Perishable items, such as dairy items, may need to be purchased closer to your cooking day(s) depending on their shelf life.  Produce will obviously have to be bought the week of (sometimes the day before) — unless it’s something that will last well in the fridge, such as celery (wrap it in foil and it’ll last weeks), apples (which last a few months in the fridge) or the like.

Here’s what I suggest.  Print out the printable below or grab a few pieces of scratch paper and start writing down the ingredients that you’ll need.  In fact, you might find it easier if you make different lists for your Thanksgiving meal, Christmas meal, Christmas baking, edible gifts, etc.  Whatever will be cooked around the same day should be on the same list.

You could even go a step further and write out the amounts you’ll need of each item so you know you’ll have enough of each ingredient on hand when the time comes.  In fact, I usually make my list do double duty — I write down each ingredient the way it should be prepped (for example, “onions, chopped”, “onions, diced”, “onions, sliced”) and how much I need for each (like, 1/2 cup for one recipe, 1 small onion for another recipe, etc.).  When I’m at the store I can glance at my shopping list (which is in alphabetical order because I’m weird like that) and I can quickly add up the approximate amount of onions I’ll need (erring on the safe side!).  When I am home and it’s time to cook I can go ahead and easily prep my onions because I know exactly how much needs to be sliced, diced, or chopped.  {Quick tip: I usually do my slicking and dicing the day before cooking day to save time!}

Does all of that make sense?  If not, leave a comment and I’ll try and help you out.

And now, the homework:

Today’s Assignment:  Probably my least favorite task of the holiday season, but it must be done!  Use your recipes to plan your shopping list.  Start thinking about buying your nonperishable items to go ahead and get that out of the way.  Be sure and schedule time closer to hand to purchase the perishable goods and produce.

Today’s Printable:  CCJ shopping list

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Countdown to an Organized Christmas: Welcome | Happily A Homemaker

  2. Pingback: Countdown to an Organized Christmas: Binder Prep and Organizing | Happily A Homemaker

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