Letter 16. Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping

My dear Thinette

Nothing better than the smell of food cooking with a promise to a good home cooked meal. You might need more than just a pot and a pan my dear, and soon the smells will come from your kitchen. I would love to see you with a apron preparing a meal for us while we sip a glass of wine, yes an apron love, because very easy can a unexpected splatter of oil ruin your new blouse.

Lets get started it is time for menu planning and grocery shopping!  It seems planning is key to a happy productive life, from planning your future, cleaning your house and planning your meals. Planning brings order and clarity my dear. Planning your menus in advance and do your grocery shopping weekly will make life so much easier and is the sign of a well organised household.

Planning a Menu

  • Write down your favourite meals, healthy or not. Have four sheets of paper and mark them WEEK 1, WEEK 2, WEEK 3, WEEK 4. This will be your menus for the month.

  • Divide the week into seven days and each day into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add your favourite meals equally onto the sheets and add healthy options in between.

  • Make it easy and use quick meals during the working week and exotic dishes over the weekend. One night you will have Take-A-Ways decide which night and fill it in, this way it stays a special treat too.

  • Make a separate shopping list for each menu of the week. At the back of each menu, paste an envelope where the shopping list goes. Do it for every week on a list and paste to the fridge with a magnet.

  • Add current menu to the door of your fridge with magnets. Store the other three weekly menus on the side of your fridge with magnets and change every week as needed.

  • To save time it is wise investing in a multi purpose pressure cooker and a slow cooker all in one. It makes for quick and easy meals. Plan your menu accordingly.

If you buy weekly, the food is fresh and you save on fuel and money by not stocking up on goods not necessary and sometimes go wasted.

Plan a Shopping Trip

  • Remember to take your shopping list from the envelope.

  • Have a food cooler container with an ice brick packs inside to keep the perishables fresh while you are in town. Make sure to buy fruit and vegetables, your body needs it to stay healthy. The health Gurus say you need seven potions of fruit and veggies a day, see how far you can get my love.

  •  Plastic bags from previous shopping trips and stronger shopping bags   of material is handy if kept in the car. Keep the bags in a place where you can see them and remember to take them with you.

  • It is good if you have a crate or a small shopping cart in the boot of your car to carry all the parcels inside

Selecting Goods

  • Make a mental note when the grocer shop gets fresh stock, normally it will be before the weekend, maybe on a Thursday. If possible, it is best to go shopping when the perishables are fresh.

  • Walk down the aisles with a mission, do not ponder or look around. Know what you need from your list, go and get it.

  • Earmark a day when you have the time to browse the shelves for interesting new goodies. Usually the day you go ‘photo shopping’ with a friend. Take photos of goods you like and select at home for a next time shopping.

  • Select the best value for your money, a bottle of oil or milk that is fuller than the next, check everything you buy to be in a perfect condition, no dents in tins or damaged items. Be aware of GMO foods.

  • When buying eggs turn the container over to have a look at the bottom, there might be a cracked egg hiding inside.

  • Check all due dates and make sure to buy goods within the set date.

  • Learn to turn the container around and read at the back the list of ingredients, you might be allergic to some ingredients or it might not be good for your health.


  •  First thing, put back the shopping list where it belongs and your receipt in a marked box. Keep them for a month to see what your budget will  be on basic foods.

  •  Pour yourself a cold beverage and do the unpacking immediately. Each item in its place in the cupboards or fridge.

  • Keep food on the shelf that needs to be portioned and prepared.

  • Meat first. Divide the meat into portions, wrap and put immediately into the deep freeze.

  • Tie the empty plastic shopping bags in a knot and put it back in the car for use the next time.

  • When buying fresh warm bread in a paper bag to cool off, add a plastic bag next to it in the paper bag to keep it fresh at home when cool.

  • Keep the paper bag to use with the fresh vegetables and the plastic bags of the bread can be used to keep portioned food in the deep freeze or veggies in the fridge, only pay for plastic bags when you really need them,

  • Keep the empty egg containers to put at the bottom of the veggie drawers in the fridge and shelf. Fruit and veggies keep longer good when not touching each other, the flat surface and sometimes wet bottom of the drawer contribute to damage and it keeps the air flowing around the vegetables.

Storing of Fruit and Veggies.

Fresh tomatoes.

  • Tomatoes. Take them out the plastic bag and lay loose in the drawer on the empty egg container. Never wash the fruit or vegetables when you store it. Rinse just before use.

  • Lettuce
  • Lettuce. Take it carefully out the plastic bag and keep the bag. Put the lettuce in the paper bag you kept from the bread and then back into the plastic bag before adding to the drawer in the fridge. The paper bag absorbs all the moist and keep it from rotting, the plastic bag keeps it crisp and fresh.

Fresh carrots.

  • Carrots. Cut the stems and peel the carrots with a potato peeler and into another paper bag from a bread and then in a plastic bag into the fridge. When you need carrots for salad or cooking it is ready and such a pleasure to use.

  • Make sure to punch a few holes in the plastic bags of all other fruit and veggies in the fridge, preventing it from rotting, it needs a bit of breathing space.

  • Fresh potatoes
  • Potatoes. A potato needs a dark airy space to keep good. Use the empty egg containers in a veggie shelf add the potatoes and cover with a newspaper. Air should flow around them in darkness. Never store potatoes in the fridge.

  • Onions. Onions are the most forgiving vegetable, only thing is it needs air around it too, never in a closed container.

Menu planning and grocery shopping lists makes for easy shopping once a week, it will make life well organised and so much easier in a busy schedule. Now you really are becoming the domestic Queen of your house my dear.

Get cooking and enjoy the fruits from the earth.

Love you dearly

Gran Stella


2 Comments on “Letter 16. Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping”

  1. Wow such great tips!
    I have been prepping and cooking for so long and I found your tips amazing. Never thought of putting potatoes in the fridge, i always feel they get ruined easily. Will definitely be trying these. The budget tip is great as well, i sometimes just mix things and get confused.
    As usual, sharing your great your experience is very appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Potatoes should not go into a fridge, it changed the nutritional value.
      I live in temperatures of 38*C and upwards during summer, keeping the potatoes in a breezy cool place evenly spread on the empty egg containers, and it lasts till all are used without getting rotten. It also depends on how fresh the potatoes are. I buy a bag and it lasts the whole month.
      Budged is the ‘B’ word most people try to avoild but can be a handy tool in managing your money.
      Thank you for kind words and a motivational comment.

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