Expiration Vs. Use By Dates

Have you ever noticed how some food items will have expiration dates, whereas others simply have use by dates? Did you ever stop to consider that their is a reason beyond simple dialectic choice that determines which phrasing is used?

As it turns out, their is a purpose in the phrasing. Items with a use by date are marked as such, because the product has the possibility of staying good beyond this date, however it is recommended that it be used by a specific date in order to assure optimum freshness and usability.

milk-518067_1280An expiration date, as should be made obvious by its precarious position on milk, eggs, and cheese is the date by which foods are expected to go bad. As most people know just because the day of expiration has arrived does not necessarily mean that the milk is bad on that day, in fact sometimes the milk does not sour for a few days following the date of expiration. This is where the smell test comes into place. Of course if there is ever any doubt about a products safety in terms of consumability based on smell, taste, or consistency of texture its probably best to just throw it out and buy a fresh version.

My favorite tip on how to use up the last of the milk before it goes bad:

Pick up a few packages of Martha White Muffin Mix and make a bunch of breakfast muffins for the week or weekend. Add 1/2 cup milk to mix stir and pour into 6 muffin tins, place in oven at designated temperature and time according to packaging and your done. You got to use up the last of the milk before it went bad, and you have a tasty breakfast or snack for the week.

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Preparing the Grocery List: Mom Style

For one of my first posts back in January I discussed the making of a grocery list for college students. For those interested you can check that out here. Today I bring you a similar post on how to create a Grocery List for your family, after all there are going to be some major differences between the two, on the other hand however there are a lot of similarities as well. First things first when creating any type of grocery list you want to think of cost, what does your budget look like for this week, the next two weeks, and/or the next month. In my household we generally do big grocery shopping twice a month buying enough supplies to last us two weeks, if we can we may do a minor run for perishables in between though we try not to have to do this. To keep yourself in budget for that shopping trip do yourself a favor and write the dollar amount at the top.

For the second step you need to think about your families nutritional needs, what items are important for your family to keep around. What snacks do you tend to go through pretty quickly, what items are you running low on in the home, do you want to buy organic and if so which items are a must for organic shopping? Also will you need to shop multiple stores to get all of the items you are going to need? If you plan to shop multiple stores keep in mind whether you will have cold or hot foods that will need to be refrigerated and plan out the best course of action for the order of shops you will visit make two separate lists one for each store and give each store its own budget.

Making the list:

Step1:

Write down all of the non-food items you need to purchase in order to get your through the next week or two. This includes items such as toilet paper, paper towels, any cleaning supplies etc. This immediately gets the easy stuff off your mind to keep yourself focused slowly on the grocery portion of your budget.

Step2:

If you do not pre-plan your weekly dinner menu (I often don’t though I am really hoping to get better about this soon) think about at least three meals your family is likely to enjoy eating in the next week or two. Write down the ingredients for these meals (also if your family has its go to’s this is a good place to start in terms of writing down items you will be needing in the next week or so. If your having a hard time figuring out what to include in terms of meal prep look in the weekly paper and see what items are on sale at your local store, or check out this website here for meal ideas it will give you a list of all the ingredients needed, plus tell you what ingredients from the recipe are on sale at your specific grocery store. (If your short for time, and don’t have the energy to make your own grocery list this website can even make one for you just pick out which meals you want to make for dinner this week.)

Step3:

After choosing a few dinner meals write down the ingredients needed or if using the pre-created list from readyseteat cross off the items you already have in your pantry, spice cabinet, freezer, and fridge.

Step4:

Organize the items by grocery section this will decrease the amount of time you spend in the grocery store especially if you record the items in order from top to bottom in the order by which you plan to buy.

This is what your grocery list should look like by the time your done.

Grocery List (2 weeks) Budget: $150

Non-Food:

Trash bags

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper

Dish Soap

Vegetables/Fruit:

Lettuce

Cucumber

Bell Pepper

Potatoes

Onions

Cilantro

Bananas

Pick 3 pieces of fruit that are on sale

Meat:

Chicken

See what meat is on sale/weekly HEB Meal Deal

Dairy:

Milk

Cheese

Yogurt

Eggs

Dry Goods:

Canned beans

Canned Vegetables (pick 3)

Canned Fruit

Cereal

Rotell

Tortilla Chips

Pickles

Frozen Goods:

Pizza

*Note this is just a sample of what one of my lists may look like on any given month it could change or be different. This is a very basic list. Keep in mind your families favorites. Currently my family is made up of two adults with a little one on the way.

It is most important to remember to write down all ingredients you will need to make any meal you are planning to create. In addition, in order to assure you don’t forget anything when going through the store to put your items in order that you should be picking them up. Keep in mind the layout of your local grocery store to determine the best course of action.

Happy Shopping!!!