Napkins.

•September 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

With so much wedding preparation going on (exactly 1 month to go as of yesterday, yikes!), I have been thinking heaps about entertaining, decorating, and beauty. A close friend of mine suggested to me to write a post about folding napkins into aquatic animals, particularly walrus, because the walrus happens to me my favorite, rivaled only by the octopus and nautilus.

However, this got me to thinking, what other shapes, symbols, or creatures could be represented as a folded napkin? This opened up a whole new world for me, not only because I love learning, but also because I love crafts and decorating. Goths are definitely among the few who appreciate going through a lot of trouble to make something beautiful, even a napkin.  Sprucing up the old dining table always makes things feel festive, and sparks a mood of enjoyment and mirth. Most Goths need a lot of positive reinforcement in this area, especially me, so I decided to dedicate this post to napkins and all of the wonderful ways they can be decorative.

First of all, there are several rules of etiquette involving napkins that many people are unaware of in this day and age, so I figured that I would go over the pointers for everyone who is interested. Those of you who are mannered and elegant may skip this section if you so desire.

  • Whether a napkin is paper or cloth,  it still serves the same purpose. Just because the napkin is made out of paper does not mean you have any excuse not to lay it across your lap, unless it is a tiny,  thin paper napkin at a diner.
  •  If you are given a napkin at a meal you are attending, even fast food at a friend’s apartment, use it. Leaving it next to your plate is not only a waste, it is also rude. Not using your napkin and letting it sit beside your plate marks you as an uncouth slob.
  • Wait for your host or hostess to open their napkin first before you open yours.  (While we are on the subject, make sure you do not begin to eat until your host or hostess takes their first bite.)
  • Never tuck your napkin into your pants, shirt, or elsewhere. The appropriate place for it is your lap, unless you are in the South of Italy, where tucking into the shirt is acceptable.
  • You do not have to wait until the food is served to unfold your napkin. It is best to do it before, so that the napkin is not in the way when everything is served.
  • Do not shake your napkin to open it. Unfold it as nonchalantly as possible. Wildly flapping a napkin about is very unattractive and embarrassing if everyone stops to see what in the world you are doing.
  • If you need to leave the table during a meal, fold your napkin and set it down on the left side of your plate until you get back.

These pointers being stated, I would like to move on to napkin rings, which are used on cloth napkins. Paper napkins are fine, but just make sure they are thick and/or weighted.  High quality paper napkins are almost like cloth ones. You can purchase them here.

Silverware Napkin rings

Silverware Napkin Rings

Back to the napkin rings. First of all, Bed Bath & Beyond has a large selection of napkin rings in many styles, but you can also get great napkin rings from Amazon or Target. Amazon has a ton of Gothic style napkin rings to suit your own needs, as well as vintage, Victorian,  or Medieval themed napkin ring sets for affordable prices.

Many stores that sell housewares also have holiday themed napkin rings, so you can always wait until after the holiday for them to go on sale.  A good piece of advice to follow decoration-wise is to try to match the napkin rings to compliment your dinnerware pattern or place mats.  If you are having a themed party, try to get napkin rings to go with your theme, or coordinating colors of the decorations for a party.  Getting attractive napkin rings will always make things look great, and is a good way to get out of having to fold the napkins.

Speaking of folding napkins, many people may not want napkin rings because they do not have cloth napkins. Or it is possible that they prefer to roll silverware in the napkin in a certain way instead. some people are also crazy and enjoy doing menial but crafty things such as folding napkins into shapes, animals, or designs (myself included).  If you count yourself as one that would enjoy making your napkins into Gothy folds, then here are some great napkin folding how-to sites:

Napkin Folding Guide

About Napkins

Napkin Folded into Tuxedo

Napkin Folded into Tuxedo

I have yet to figure out how to fold a napkin into a skull ,  but when I do I will definitely be posting it here.  If you’re the type that likes to have a reference, or needs a diagram or lots of practice,  there are also a ton of books on napkin folding. The best one that I have seen contains instructions for 94 different napkin folds,  and I am thinking of purchasing it. Here is a link to it on Amazon for less than 15 US dollars: The Simple Art of Napkin Folding .  I particularly like the animal folds, flower folds, or ones that are silverware pouches. There is also a simple Fleur-de-Lis napkin fold that you can do inside of a goblet or wine glass on the websites above as well as in the book I believe, as well as several folds shaped like crowns.

If you are looking to purchase inexpensive cloth napkins, I would certainly recommend Bed, Bath & Beyond because they have an excellent array of colors, as well as real silk napkins for less than $10 US dollars each. Places like Target or Kohl’s do not really have quite as good of a selection as they do, but they do have reasonable prices for their cloth napkins.

I certainly hope that this post was informative for all of you dark ones to get ready to get folding!  Until next time, fold on.

Even Goths Like Snacks.

•August 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It is true. Some of us even host High Tea at our homes, especially those of us that have a particular fondness for the Victorian Era.  (I am in fact, of the Tea-Hosting type.) I have noticed, however, through personal experience that many Gothic ladies I have met do not share my personal fondness for exchanging recipes.  I find this practice to be one of the best and most non-offensive bonding activities for ladies of any culture.

Therefore, I have decided to make readers feel more at home by sharing a recipe which my Grandmother Edna,  gave me as a teenager that is one of the main snacks or desserts served by my family during important holidays or special occasions. I do not have any idea whether or not my Grandma created this treat herself or received the recipe from another person, but most women in my family swear some secret oath never to give this recipe out to anyone.  After receiving permission from Grandma, I bring you Seven-Up Salad!

Seven-Up Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces of lime gelatin powder( I use Jell-O)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling water
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 small can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup of 7-up
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • chopped nuts (optional, pecans or macadamia nuts are both good choices)

To Prepare:

Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water. After it has completely dissolved, stir the cream cheese in until it is not clumpy.  BE VERY CAREFUL if you use an electric mixer because this junk splatters; the lowest speed is recommended. Add the pineapple, 7-up, vanilla, and sugar and give it another good stir. When the mixture is partially set, fold in the nuts if you choose to have them. Pour into the mold of your choosing and then refrigerate until firm. I always leave mine in the fridge overnight just to be certain.

I like to use a bundt or a pan shaped like a cathedral or a castle for my 7-up Jell-O.  Also fun to use are reptile or monster shaped pans, because the 7-up Jell-O is a mint-green color. If you use normal style pans, the recipe will fill a 9″ x 9″ Pyrex pan to the very brim. This snack is great for parties, gatherings, or holidays, and people tend to appreciate something different once in a while.

Also, if you are into cherries, you can use cherry seven-up and bing  or maraschino cherries instead of regular 7-up and pineapple.  Both versions are extremely good.  Doing it this way, instead of mint-green your treat will come out baby pink in color.

 

Enjoy!

if applicable.

•August 5, 2011 • 2 Comments

I would like to first offer my sincerest apologies to those few loyal readers of mine for not having posted for such a long while. I can assure you no more waits of this length are in your future. However, I would like to discuss my reason for not having posted in so long: there are only two months left until my wedding day, which is October the 2nd.

Planning a wedding  is a very time consuming and arduous task, especially for those of us not accustomed to doing so. With this in mind, I have decided to make it a little easier for everyone by choosing wedding planning for Goths as the topic of this post.

First of all, do not be frightened by the “largeness” of having a wedding. Many future brides are daunted by planning their own wedding because they see the big picture and all of the little details all at once. They think of every little thing they have to do and arrange, and they become overwhelmed. I know this, because that is how I felt at the idea of planning my own wedding.  However, planning your wedding yourself (and possibly with the help of your parents or bridal party) can save you a considerable amount of money by not hiring a wedding planner. Here are a few tips and suggestions to get you started.

The first thing you need to do is get a checklist. Many websites and stores that have Bridal Consultants offer free bridal checklists or bridal planning notebooks.  You should seize the opportunity to get one of these, or print out a checklist you feel is easy to understand and read. I made my own bridal notebook using a black 1″ inch three ring binder and some dividers. Here are a few websites with free printable checklists or planners that are inexpensive or free:

  1. Gothic Wedding planner  is the websites for Steff Metal’s book on the subject of planning your own Gothic wedding.
  2. Wedding Wire is the website that I used to make my wedding website and get my checklists. Very good site.
  3. Ultimate Wedding Checklist …self-explanatory.

Print out the list and stick it in your bridal notebook. This way, you can certainly check everything off as you go along. If he wants to help, get a copy for your groom as well.

Start brainstorming and collecting ideas. This is one of the most important steps. Pouring over magazines, online resources, books and magazine articles are one of the main ways that brides decide upon their wedding colors, theme (if they decide to have one) cake and reception, honeymoon, and wedding gown. Clip out articles, print things off of the internet, and rip pictures out of magazines.  Put everything in the appropriate section of your bridal notebook and put sticky notes on them if you need to jot down ideas that come to you when you see them. Below are a few sites online that I used for inspiration.

  1. Gothic Beauty Magazine is always full of great pictures and articles. The site page I am linking here is an article on Goth weddings.
  2. Gothic Martha Stewart Weddings is the wedding section of the awesome Gothic MS website run by Trystan Bass.
  3. Gothic Weddings is run by The Knot, but has a lot of great sections and ideas to look through.

Choose your colors and theme. This is crucial, and for a lot of people, will make or break the wedding. Poorly chosen themes or colors can make your Gothic wedding into a tacky disaster.  Be certain you have the budget and resources that you will need to make your wedding the way you want it to be, without sacrificing elegance and style. For my wedding the colors are black, gold, and ivory. Bright white irritates me and I believe it looks horrible on everyone, which is why I opted for a more worn-looking and still classy ivory. Our wedding has a medieval theme, which has been done before, but I also chose this theme because many of my family members are fantasy and history enthusiasts, so I figured a medieval wedding would not seem creepy to them. This way, Gothic decorations, music, and dress would incorporate easily while not frightening my more conservative wedding guests. A second cousin of mine chose to have a masquerade ball wedding, and it was incredible and left the family talking for months afterward.

Even if you are on a budget, do not skimp on your wedding gown. Your wedding gown is going to be the integral part of your wedding day beauty. It is meant to hide flaws (if any) and accent your gorgeous features.  Many brides dream of this gown from the time they are small. For those of us that did not, it still gives us the chance to feel like an empress just for a day. Here are my favorite Gothic wedding dress sites.

  1. Faerie Brides for those of us that enjoy the medieval, celtic, or fantasy look.
  2. Gothique Bridal has tons of options, not only for dresses.
  3. Wedding Dress Fantasy has gowns in every color you can think of.

Themes you should not choose. This is a list of themes that are begging for disaster, or have been way overdone and may issue groans from the wedding party or guests.

  • Nightmare Before Christmas.  This has suddenly become most Gothic brides’ idea of “family-friendly Goth” wedding.
  • Alice In Wonderland. With the current Alice craze, this theme is rarely ever done in a way that is not horribly tacky, but that does not seem to stop people from trying and failing.
  • The Crow. You know why.
  • Halloween. I still can not keep myself from face-palming every time I hear a young Goth couple saying they are getting married on Halloween. Not to mention the fact that Pagans and Wiccans would be busy with religious practices and unable to attend. Having a Halloween themed wedding is tacky and stereotypes all Goths in the world. Do not do this.
  • Vampire themes. With weddings like this, is it any wonder Goths are still fighting stereotypes? Also, this, if done correctly, is not a children-friendly theme, and would cause problems for guests with baby bats.

Make-up, of course. Make up is always important to a Goth, but even though your make up is always over the top and fantastic, you want it to be fatally sexy and glamourous on your big day. Here are some awesome resources I have used:

  1. Adora is my hero , make-up wise. She’s a Swedish make-up artist and with this link to her YouTube channel, you will find awesome video tutorials and advice.
  2. Make up Tips for the Bleak courtesy of a posting on Vamp.com.
  3. Abracadaver’s Make up Guide has great advice on skin care and everything make up wise.

Hopefully the information and links should give all of you Gothic Brides a good starting point. Congratulations to you all!

Morbid Delicacies.

•April 15, 2011 • 2 Comments

Most Goths have a fondness for ancient cultures or history, and I am definitely among those that do. This recently got me thinking about whether it would be possible to replicate meals or desserts from ancient cultures. It turns out that after some research (and a lot of fun), there are tons of ancient recipes available, especially from ancient Rome, where the food was decadent and flavorful.

So, after said research, experimenting, and poking around, I thought I would include some pictures, recipes, and other tidbits so that anyone can host the Ancient Feast of their Gothic dreams. Definitely a great idea for a party theme! First of all, let’s take a look at Ancient Rome.

Romans in ancient times basically ate anything. If they could find it, catch it, or cook it, they ate it. Some of their recipes call for exotic birds like parrots or flamingos, even turtle doves boiled in their feathers.  They even ate dormice.

Slovenian Dormice frying with vegetables photo

Dormice frying with vegetables

However, since not many people would have access to (or be willing to eat) these exotic animals, I thought that this recipe was appropriate.

Baked Chicken*

  • 8 to 10 chicken wings
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. caraway seed
  • 2 tsp. paprika powder
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • olive oil (to baste, and oil baking pan)

1. Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle.
2. Put the flour in a plastic bag with the crushed cumin, caraway, and paprika. Add a few bay leaves, and make sure everything in the bag is mixed well.
3. Baste the chicken with olive oil, then put the honey and the chicken inside the bag. Mix thoroughly.
4. Seal the bag and let the chicken marinate overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the chicken a chance to absorb all of the flavors.

Susanna Duffy's baked chicken photo

The Susanna Duffy version using chicken drumsticks

5. Lightly oil the baking pan of choice and place the chicken wings in the pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until forking or knifing the chicken only makes clear grease or juice come out. (A good baking temperature is around 375 degrees Fahrenheit, I just recommend checking the chicken often.)

* : Susanna Duffy says that you can substitute chicken drumsticks for Roman recipes asking for dormice, and chicken wings if you prefer not to use quail.

Roman Cheesecake (Libum)

  • 1/2 cup  all purpose flour
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg already beaten
  • bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup clear honey

1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Beat the cheese until it is  soft, and  stir it into the flour.
2. Add the beaten egg to the cheese and flour mixture until it forms a soft dough.

photo of mixing dough in a bowl

Mixing the dough

3. Divide the dough into 4 to 6 equal chunks and mold each piece into a roll or bun shape.
4. Place on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath it (Decoration, remove bay leaf before eating).
5. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown in color.
6. Warm the honey and pour into a plate or bowl, then place the cakes in the dish of honey.
7. Leave the cakes in the honey while they cool and they should absorb all of the honey in the dish. Serve.

On the whole,  the food of Ancient Rome is very rich and they use sauces, marinades, and gravy in their cooking and recipes a lot, basically like a staple of their everyday menu. There are actually a lot of books available on Amazon containing recipes from Ancient Rome, so it is definitely something readily available and easy to try.

The Romans were not the only ones with great recipes. I actually found some excellent Mayan recipes. The Mayans use a lot of beans, maize, corn, peppers and squash, as well as avocados, vanilla, cacao, and cactus fruits.  The good news is that the Mayans have descendant peoples living today and many of their recipes have been passed down and are still enjoyed in the present. Most people know that they put cayenne pepper in their hot chocolate, and if that sounds good,  some of their other recipes are even more delicious.

Fruit Compote (Recipe from Shanti Morell-Hart)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups honey
  • 3 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, (can substitute 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 10 small ripe guava fruits
  • 1/2 pound fresh cherries (I use Rainier cherries because they are my favorite)
  •  grapes, halved, for garnish

1. In a three-quart saucepan, combine the honey and water.  Place the pan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer.

2. Stir until the honey is dissolved, making a thin syrup.  Place the vanilla bean in the syrup and reduce heat to low.

pineapple photo

Pineapple

3. Bring another large saucepan of water to a boil.  Plunge the guavas into boiling water for about 20 or 30 seconds, then remove and peel.

4. Add the guavas and cherries to the simmering syrup and poach for 15 minutes, stirring gently.  Add the pineapple and continue to poach for another 5 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat, and allow the fruit to cool while in the syrup. Remove the vanilla bean, rinse, dry and store.

6. Garnish with sliced grapes. Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Soup (Recipe from Shanti Morell-Hart)

  • 1 small pumpkin (not larger than 14″ )
  • 2 tbsp. palm oil
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 4 cups turkey broth
  • Salt to taste
  •  thinly sliced onions, grilled, for garnish
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pumpkin in baking dish and roast until easily pierced with a knife. (Usually about 1 hour.)

pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup inside a pumpkin shell

2. Allow pumpkin to cool, slice off the top and scoop out the seeds. Clean the seeds by removing all pumpkin pulps and strings.

3. Toss all seeds with oil and salt, then spread out onto a baking sheet. Return baking sheet to oven and bake seeds for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove and set aside for garnish.

4. Scrape all pumpkin flesh from the shell and mash until desired consistency is achieved. Place in a large saucepan and season with salt, honey, and allspice.

5. Turn saucepan on medium heat and stir pumpkin mixture, adding turkey broth gradually until soup is desired thin or thickness. Simmer for around 5 minutes or until soup is hot.

6. Garnish with grilled onions and pumpkin seeds. If desired, the soup can be served in small pumpkin or squash shells.

During the time of the Ancient Mayans, the pumpkin would have been baked whole in hot ashes. However, this soup is highly recommended. Like the Romans, the Mayans relied heavily on honey for seasoning and sweetening things.

Hopefully this will inspire you history loving Goths to find recipes worth trying from your favorite ancient cultures. To have the chance to eat as those peoples did everyday is an experience worth having. It allows you to experience culture and history through food and specifically through taste, which is something I believe everyone should try.

Until next time, Bon appetit.

Date night.

•April 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Things have been hectic lately, but finally we will have some relaxing time. Every Sunday is date night for us, and instead of cooking, I get to have dinner out. We also usually see a movie or something , maybe go to a concert.

Good Movies for your Creepy Night Out(recently released):

  • Paranormal Activity
  • Paranormal Activity 2
  • Inception
  • Sucker Punch
  • Insidious

Enjoy your time with your significant other, and never take it for granted.  My next post will be worth the short wait!

Spicing (and Spooking) Up Your Cooking

•April 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Judson and I enjoyed a stress-free trip to the grocery today after going to the gym. This week, on the menu:

  • Chicken  and red, yellow and green bell peppers on a bed of capellini pasta with garlic créme sauce, and breadsticks
  • Jambalaya with smoked beef sausage
  • Caribbean jerk chicken
  • Spaghetti with meatballs in a tomatoless sauce
  • Shepherd’s Pie

Also, I would like to add that all of the ingredients for these dishes only cost us about $75, so it was very affordable. Last night I made cheeseburgers and homemade french fries for us,  which was a simple and enjoyable dinner that left us both feeling full.

On to the main subject of discussion: how can you show your unique style and darkness through your cooking without having it seem like everyday is a certain day in October? There are a bunch of really excellent ways to do so, the bottom line is just to be creative.  While everyone is different, I thought I would share some of the ways that I do it in my own home.

Black pasta. Judson and I both really love pasta in general. I make it a point to try and have it once a week. What better way to make it gloomtastic than make your pasta dishes with black pasta? We recently discovered black spaghetti at our local SuperTarget. However, a variety of black pastas are available for ordering online, such as at the website Alibaba.com.  Another good source is at Italian Corner,

Black Spaghetti

where a package of black fettuccine costs only $4.99 each. After this dark pasta is cooked, it is quite creepy and slimy-looking,but delicious. Black pasta that uses squid ink has a different flavor than black pasta made using other dying methods, so take that into consideration when buying.

Black, bloody looking, or creepy drinks. Martha Stewart and All Recipes both have tons of Halloween or party inspired punch, cocktail, or other drink recipes that can be adapted to everyday use in your Goth home.  Some particularly good ones include:  Spiced Hot Concord Grape Juice and Ghoulada Punch, which is non-alcoholic. Another way to add a little dark excitement is by the use of Black Vodka , which should be available in specialty liquor stores if you do not wish to purchase online.  A quick , morbid fix to a rainy day drink? Try adding food coloring to your hot chocolate or coffee to make it crimson and bloody looking.. or blacken it like bile. Also, as every Goth knows, a bottle of absinthe in the liquor cabinet is always a classic and necessary staple.

Absinthe Original: Bitter Spirits

Previously, as most people know, absinthe was banned in the United States. However, fairly recently it was legalized again, and is now available for purchase online and in liquor stores.  One of the top brands of absinthe is of course, Absinthe Original.  They also make red absinthe, which I have never tried, but is supposedly excellent. It is pretty expensive, however, many celebrities favor it as their absinthe of choice.
If you are not the sort to enjoy drinking absinthe, you may find absinthe candies, chocolates, or mints more palatable. These delicacies are available online, and the chocolates are something I have always wanted to try, though I have not yet had the opportunity. Amazon sells absinthe hard candies and mints. For the chocolates, I recommend Candy Warehouse , whose absinthe cordials are bright green dark chocolate and have excellent reviews by consumers. (These are the ones I plan to try whenever income permits.)

Candy Warehouse's Absinthe Chocolates

Black or morbidly themed desserts. How can you not love baking into skull-shaped cupcake trays, tombstone shaped cake pans, or cut your cookies in bat, star,  and skull shapes? I’m always amused by the creativity of my friends: one served up a  Hershey’s marble cheesecake whose top looked like a spiderweb.  Martha Stewart had this awesome and simple recipe for Marshmallows shaped like Bones, which I find I have really enjoyed in the past the few times I have gotten to use it.

Martha Stewart's marshmallow bones

Well, that seems to be all that I can think of for now, but I plan to post some of my favorite self-created recipes up for use as soon as I have time to rifle through them. Never forget to add your own special touches to any recipe you use, it is always wonderful to wow your friends. Until next time, Bon soir everyone.

Great grocery grabs, Gothic style.

•March 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As most Goths know, finding good quality Gothic items is usually a matter of being lucky, or being in the right place at the right time.  However, if you are a crafty Goth who enjoys baking, scrapbooking, sewing, or other activities,  you may already be familiar with searching clearance or seasonal sections of your favorite stores.

Do you enjoy baking, cake decorating, or candy making? Party City has anything from sheets of candy skull cake decorations to grey and black skull decorated cupcake papers, gift bags, or other tools you may find quite useful in your somber endeavors. In fact, whenever it is not Halloween season, these items are marked down anywhere from ten percent to half-off. (Sadly, most people and businesses associate Gothic with Halloween, though our lifestyle is not seasonal.)

Haunted House Kit

Party City as well as Target also seasonally sell a very cute Haunted House kit – you construct it like a gingerbread house, only with little spiders, black icing, licorice, and little sugar ghosts. It makes a great centerpiece for a party, as you can always leave out the orange candies if it is not Halloween.

Black currant nectar

What about recipes for everyday dining that are cheap and affordable? Martha Stewart had a great idea on her website for black ice cubes.  These can bring an eerie look to any everyday drink. The secret? Black currant nectar instead of water in your ice cube tray,  freeze for at least three hours, and there you are, never having to use regular ice cubes again if you do not want to. You can purchase black currant nectar at www.foodservicedirect.com. It is relatively inexpensive and tasty in many dishes.
The nectar itself is a rich purple with red tints, and appears nearly black itself even before it is frozen. It also has a decadent, rich aroma which is quite pleasant. The black currant fruits themselves are very dark as well, and have similar coloration to Concord grapes.

On another food-related note, tomorrow, Judson and I are going grocery shopping together for the first time since we have begun living together. I used to be very apprehensive of grocery shopping when I lived alone or even with  a roommate, but my best friend taught me a great way to simplify it, and this method always prevents me from impulse buys.

First, get one sheet of paper and fold it down the center vertically so that you have two long columns. In the right hand column, you write the days of the week with a few lines between. Then, under each day of the week, write the name of the main dish you are planning for that night and the side dish(es). In the left column, write down all of the ingredients (ground beef, chicken, broccoli, potatoes, salad dressing, et cetera) that you need to make each of those meals, going in order. Snacks and non-food supplies go at the bottom after all of the food (such as dish soap, shampoo, trash bags). I sometimes like to put the list folded with the “menu” side showing on the fridge when I get home, so that Judson or my company can see what is for dinner that evening.

Pleasant shopping!

 
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