There's nothing more frustrating then to sit down and want to make something, and you don't have the ONE SPECIAL INGREDIENT that the recipe lists for! Extremely frustrating and irritating, especially if it is something you have never heard of!
This is how I generally plan my shopping. First, I have a list that I made on Word, that has the most common stuff I need, with a __ in front of the word. If I need it, I check it on the list. This gives me a starting point to look through cabinets and decide what I need (especially helpful for basics like flour, milk, yeast, salt, baking soda, powder etc...)
Then I sit down with my recipe books. Using a sticky note, I mark the recipes I want to try for the week. I generally try to figure out 4-5 dinners and 3-4 lunches. This is more then I usually make due to leftovers, but I always like more because sometimes that day, I'm just not in the mood for chicken and switch my mind to something else.
Then I re-check my list.
My primary grocery source is Wal-mart (2x a month). Most of my staples come from here because it's cheapest and I need to budget. It's 3 miles in one direction. The other direction, one mile, is Target, my second source, and usually where I get fresh veg and fruit (2x a week) as it is better there then Wal-mart.
Whole foods is last on my list as it is the most expensive (2x a month).
One thing that helped me is spending an hour in each store, and just walking around familiarizing myself with what was there. This was really helpful when I first started Spark and I spent time reading labels of all the crap I had been eating, comparing stuff, figuring out what I would buy but not actually buying it that day.
Recently, I've noticed that Wal-mart and Target are both getting more variety in certain areas (Wal-mart less so) and they are now carrying (in my area) Greek Yogurt, Agave, Sucanate, etc... which before they did not. Doing a recon in the store is very helpful and will save you time later.
| current weight: 208.0