My husband and I got married in Birmingham, Alabama where I am from, in 2007. I had recently moved back from Jerusalem, Israel where I was a missionary with the Christian Embassy. At the time, my husband was finishing up his Masters degree at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so I moved from Jerusalem back to Birmingham and then to Tulsa all in a couple of months. As a new wife, I was really clueless about how to take care of my husband, what was expected of me and what I should do with all of my newfound free time.
When I was single, I composed a binder of recipes that I would tear out of cooking magazines and save in hopes that one day I would have a family that I could cook them for. So from this very binder I drew my dinner inspiration. Each day I would pull out a recipe from my binder that looked and sounded appetizing and then proceed to the grocery stores to find the various ingredients. I made stops at Whole Foods, Food Pyramid and Wal-Mart. I did this every single day! My husband couldn’t understand why in the world I would go to the grocery store every day to buy ingredients. He came from a home where they shopped weekly and had a plan. I did not. So that was all I knew. It had never occurred to me to have a meal plan or how to do it. Or even that there might be a problem with going grocery shopping every day aside from the gas expense.
My second issue was that I would always pick out complicated recipes for things that I had never made before. And since I was so used to just eating out when I was single, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to brush up on my culinary skills before I got married. Inevitably the meal wouldn’t turn out right or I would do something wrong and the whole dinner would end in tears. My husband would literally be sitting at the table eating his dinner and I in my chair next to him sobbing because it didn’t taste like I had envisioned it would or something of that sort. If you saw the movie, “Julie and Julia”, then you probably remember the scene where Julie is trying to bake a stuffed duck and has a meltdown during it and ends up laying on the kitchen floor crying like a small child with raw duck on her hands. That was me.
And then a glorious thing happened. My friend, who is a huge Dave Ramsey fan told me about e-mealz.
E-Mealz not only taught me the value in having a plan, but how to plan a weeks worth of meals utilizing all the ingredients I bought. It taught me that you can cook once and eat twice. That you can save that leftover side dish and heat it up two nights later to go with a different meal. And finally after having my baby, E-Mealz taught me sanity. When I could no longer form coherent sentences, E-Mealz told me what to buy and what to do with what I bought. Brainless – it was exactly what this sleep-deprived mama needed: someone to tell me what to do and how to do it.
Thank you E-Mealz. You have taught me to be frugal, strategic, and simple!
Laura Gail Claassen & her husband Steve have been using E-Mealz for their meal planning and budgeting since March 2009. If you would like to submit your E-Mealz story for review, please contact HeatherBrown@e-mealz.com.