I can’t thank e-Mealz.com enough for participating in the The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew program. I just gotta say it from the get go – so if you don’t read anything else – you will understand my gratitude. September has been a crazy month for us. My hubby has been home, bed ridden for the last 5 weeks with a lung infection, we have had several doctor visits a week, both in town and across the state, my grandmother passed away and we were able to gather with friends in our home town down the coast, we’ve had loads of last minute beach company, we’ve enjoyed the lake to the fullest this last month of warm smooth flat water without tourists, and – the little thing of starting a new school year with 5th and 8th grade while starting a new First Lego League club meeting two nights a week with a handful of new families. And Yet – Each evening – we have been able to sit down to a simple, nutritious, inexpensive, family meal.
It took me a week to get started. We learned we’d be reviewing the last week of August – and I put off printing the two page menu and list of ingredients. It seemed overwhelming. So many choices of meal plans. Seriously, there are over 30 plans. Vegetarian? Low Carb? Gluten Free? Low Fat? Portion Control? Several Stores to choose from? I just stared at the list and picked Any Store. I knew from several other menu plans from my own created, book plans to web sites – that we’d try it for a week, and prove to ourselves that our PB&J make it your own self plan would probably prevail.
Loaded with my 7 meal menu, I was a little fearful of how much this was going to cost. So many ingredients. Pork, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Pasta – We are big Burger/Chicken meal creation artists. I waited until a paycheck came along that we’d have extra – so I could do the whole menu exactly. Imagine my delight when the total bill came to be under $70.00, including personal breakfast and lunch items and snacks. It made a difference – looking at the specific portion amounts – to keep the bill low. I think I over purchase with sale items – bulk up, cause I’m at the store. I came home and put the dinner together quickly, gathered the family at the table – and haven’t turned back.
Each Sunday afternoon (time it works for me) I print out Wednesday’s list of Any Store Meal Plan and in less than an hour, I have all of our shopping done. We have not had the need or desire to eat out for dinner or grab a quick bite on the way home. Several of the evenings we have had company, added a bit more potato, salad or bread, and all of our company has marveled at how simple, delicious, and quick the meals are.
Personally – I think that this e-mealz plan is targeted at families, especially dual income families – who do not budget their shopping, who eat out almost every night. They have plans for 1-2 people or 4+ people. Their meals may have you eating Fish Filet Parmesan w/ Almonds or Savory Ham & Swiss Subs. We had to travel for an entire week in September, and it was REALLY hard to keep our food costs down on the road. I knew, that to the average single income homeschool family – $70.00 a week in budgeted food costs would sound high, and to a family of 4 with dual income, crazy evening schedules and eating out – it would sound like heaven. The surprise for us – was the savings throughout the week. Only going to the store once a week – cut down all of those 10-20 dollar trips throughout the week. Saving us time, money and frustrating grocery store time.
My thank you extends to e-meals. It was like having a personal assistant in my kitchen. The ingredients are easy to shop for, the preparation instructions are so simple and fast, the food is flavorful and nutritious, and my family is grateful.
We have since learned that for $15.00 quarter, billed to our account – we will be able to continue the service. Five Dollars A Month. I will continue this service – definitely. I have been printing and saving the meals, this evening I’m using an old recipe for Enchilada Pie for my new mommy friend, but what I’ve found – is that the plans are so in sync with the national ads, that it is best to stay on this week’s plan. W
Without fail, 6 weeks in a row, I can almost now shop just looking at the sales tag – knowing it will be one of my ingredients. Oh – and I should add – that we have always had one or two extra large portions for meals the next day, we were able to bring the Pizza Salad to the Funeral Dinner and the Italian Subs to a Co-op meeting out of town.
I might mention too – to my virtual friends – we live in a tiny coastal tourist town with 4 grocery markets. One large overpriced Safeway catering to the crowds from Salem and Portland – two tiny Western Family – IGA markets – and a Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. I have been able to find all of my ingredients at our Price and Pride, with a few sale items at the Bargain Market and staples at our Bi-Mart store. Our prices are really high here in this tiny town, but gas prices are higher to travel to I-5 or Newport, 45 minutes south of town. Your prices for groceries should be in consideration to the stores you are able to frequent.
I can’t share the meal plans – or the recipes – they belong to e-mealz – BUT – on their website – they share how it works, the meal plan options with sample meal plans like this one, and a page dedicated to answering your questions. They do truly seem to be a company devoted to helping your family budget – helping your meals – helping you – for the lowest price possible. I can’t imagine paying someone a $1.25 a day to do this for me. I’m still not writing this as an ad – but to really convince you how thankful, from our family – we truly are.
Thank you to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine – for allowing our family to be a part of the Review Crew Team – and for allowing us to use this program for a few weeks in exchange of our honest review. Want to see how other families used their review time with various incomes, family sizes, and eating styles? Join me on the Homeschool Crew’s Blog!
P.S. – Hubby read over the review – and added that there wasn’t a meal that I made that he didn’t like – and that is what has failed on other plans we have tried. He said it would be best to buy extra cheese, cause if you leave him home to prepare the meal on Lego Club Night, he’ll add more cheese to everything and then the Spaghetti Pie won’t have enough cheese the next day. He hopes I learned my lesson to always buy extra cheese. Nathan says that he likes doing food reviews WAY better than Math reviews and Jon says that he is really glad we don’t do leftover lunch or pancakes for dinner any more, he likes these “healthy meals”.
I know this is getting long – but I thought I’d list out the meals that we purchased and prepared to give you an idea:
Enchilada Pie, Spaghetti Pomodoro, Italian Sandwiches, Roasted Turkey, Summer Squash and Sausage Casserole, Beef n Rice Mexi Bowl, Apple Turkey Salad, Low Country Boil, Turkey Divan, Swiss Steak, Bacon Cheddar Burgers, Pizza Salad, Creamy Penne with sausage and squash, Chicken Kabobs, Crispy Almost Chicken, Beef Zucchini Bake, English Tuna Melts, Oven Fried Chicken, Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup, Family Favorite Meatloaf, So-Good Chicken Enchiladas, Baked Spaghetti Pie, & Italian Subs. If you took the time to do the math, you’d see we didn’t purchase and prepare every single meal – but it all worked out.