Sunday, October 16, 2011
TOS Review E-mealz
Being a stay-at-home, homeschooling, momma has its immense benefits. One of those is not meal planning; at least not for me. It doesn't come naturally to me and I tend toward planning the same meals over and over again until we are all sick of our once favorite meals.
I have tried researching online databases, cookbooks, even bugging friends for recipes but it has been to no avail. I give up because it is just too time consuming. Not that my family isn't worth it, they absolutely are. It is just with all the other responsibilities pulling at me, this one is easiest to let go.
But when I do let menu planning go the budget goes right along with it. Now, I don't know if your family is like ours but our food budget is very tight and doesn't get a lot put into it. Meager might be the word I am searching for here. A family of seven isn't easily fed on a meager budget without some craftiness and planning.
So, when this review came up at The TOS Crew, I just had to be on it! lol I really want to teach my girls to plan meals, plan food/grocery budgets, and to teach them to use wisdom when feeding their families. It is a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. To say I was thrilled to be chosen for this review would be an understatement! I am pretty sure that I was jumping up and down and doing a happy dance. :-)
What I didn't know was how much I would fall in love with E-mealz. As soon as we were given our trial I logged on and started hunting around the sight. It was proving to be even cooler than I had suspected.
But before I start gushing, let me tell you about E-mealz.
E-mealz was started by Jane DeLaney while searching for a way to plan meals for her family and to make dinnertime a less stressful time so the family could come together and decompress. Jane's sister joined her and they created E-mealz to aid families in bringing back the art of family dinnertime.
"Jane and Jenny share a vision for inspiring other families to connect at dinnertime, strengthening that crucial bond and making a simple tool available to them. E-Mealz is just that… a practical tool and a means to an end."
"Now thousands of family cooks have been given the practical help they need to end the struggle to pull off dinner in the midst of all their responsibilities through E-MEALZ. They have found that it is budget-minded meal planning system with easy to follow (or delegate) shopping lists and recipes. The instructions are simple and the plan is easy to customize to any family. This is a tool that has helped Jane and all the other families of the E-Mealz team to connect and communicate in a meaningful way around the dinner table without the stress they all use to experience on a regular basis."
You should really read the complete story on their website. It is a great story and will help you understand where the company is coming from.
But what is it, you ask? E-mealz is a program that costs only $15 every three months and for that small fee you gain access to meal plans already made up with the grocery list for that menu plan listed by categories. The grocery list includes the price of the item and if it is available at the store you are shopping at. There are many options to choose from such as Wal-Mart, Dillons, Aldi, and others. You get to choose the store you shop at most or is in your area and each week you can print off a ready made Menu and Shopping List. You also choose whether you want a Family Plan, a Regular Plan for Two, Specialty Meals for a Family, or Specialty Meals for Two. Just look at this list of options for Meal Plans! Wow, right?
Sign up, pick your list and it's all done for you! It really is just that simple. Better yet, you can see a sample of each list so you can be sure which list you really want. Just check out this page and click through the lists to see which one is right for your family. Gotta love a plan that gives you options that fit into what you are already doing, right?
Don't forget to check out their FAQ page to answer any other questions you have.
We have truly enjoyed E-mealz. I think have enjoyed it more than anyone else but is to be expected, right? Since I am the one that is responsible for the planning, shopping, and cooking for the family. But, the rest of the family is benefiting as well because they are getting to taste the new and wonderful meals that are on the menus. Some we have loved and will continue putting on the menu and some were not quite to our liking right now but might be later as the kids get a little older. ;-)
I will say that one of the cons, of which there are few for us, is that the cost of the menu items is only for supper. Now, we chose the Aldi plan and it runs around $75 a week which isn't bad but that is just for suppers. We are not used to spending quite that much on our suppers since we have to spread the money out a little more tightly than that. I think that we could make this work with substituting a few of our "regular" meals in place of some from the E-mealz plans to bring the cost down just a little more. Other than that, we have enjoyed it thoroughly!
If you want to know what other Crew members thought about the plans they chose head over to The Crew Blog and check them out.
** I was given a subscription to E-mealz through The TOS Crew in exchange for my honest review.