7th House on the Left

Since getting our kitchen in “working order”, one thing Ash and I’ve really enjoyed doing is cooking together. The kitchen in our old apartment was pretty small, and the layout wasn’t conducive for more than one person cooking at a time. Despite having a new-found love for spending more time together in the kitchen, we find ourselves making too much or too little way too often. Honestly, sometimes it feels like cooking for 4 or more people is a little easier than cooking for two.

That’s where today’s guest blogger, Stephanie comes in. She’s got some great tips for couples who are finding it hard to cook the right amounts for the right amount of money. In my best vintage talk show host voice… Heeeeere’s Stephanie!

I am so excited to be a guest at 7th House! My husband and I are big fans of Ashley and Greg and when we launched our business, Couple Supper, in early 2012 we knew we would find friends here at 7th House.

Shopping for two seems to be easy enough, but for anyone who actually does it you know it’s not as easy as it appears. In our house we tend to run into three main problems:

  • We buy too much and end up throwing tons of food away every week.
  • We buy too little and realize we can’t make a meal because we are missing an ingredient
  • We get too strict and then we feel like we “don’t have anything to eat.” (That’s not really the case but if you’re hankerin’ for an Oreo and all you have is carrots that’s when the whining begins.)

So, I wanted to share our best tips for couple shopping. This is what we do to make sure we are buying only what we’ll eat (or as close as we can), have exactly what we need for nutritious dinners throughout the week and curb the Oreo whining. Plus, we save money, time and calories with our deliberate practices.

1. Make a list and use it! We never shop without a list. It’s just too easy to over or under buy if you try to remember everything. Plan your meals, determine your ingredients, account for snacks and other random items you may need or want. Just make sure it’s all on paper!

2. Take coupons, but only for items already on your list. Coupons are great when gathered and utilized properly. We do a quick look through the Sunday paper coupons and occasionally grab a coupon from an online coupon site, but that’s it. We feel our time is worth more than that .75 cents saved on green beans after 20 minutes of hunting for an applicable coupon (yours time is too!). Also, do not look at coupons until you have your list made. Tailor your coupons to your list, not the other way around. And don’t buy something just because you have a coupon. That is counter intuitive and you end up spending more money rather than less.

3. Buy store brands. Nine times out of ten store brands are just as good, if not better, than name brand items. A vast majority of the time it is the exact same thing with a different label. Really.

4. Buy the amount of meat you need, not just whatever the butcher packaged. The butcher knows that most people either will not ask or do not know they can ask to have the meat re-portioned. They package larger portions because many people cook for full families and they can sell more meat when they display larger portions. But all you have to do is ask and they’ll cut nearly anything down to your desired portion size. This tip alone can save you a lot of money and great deal of wasted food.

5. Shop at a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are a treasure trove of delicious, seasonal, local food. You will encounter better food both in nutrition and taste, better prices and you are contributing to your local economy. Plus, most farmer’s markets have local artisanal foods from bakeries, butcheries, farms and an array of delicious canned goods. Take cash in small bills, ask questions, haggle a little and make a date out of it.

6. Indulge a little! If you get a few goodies it will help inspire you to stay in and cook. Cut yourself some slack, pick up that pint of ice cream or bottle of wine if it makes your evenings feel more enjoyable. This enjoyment will help you reinforce the habit of staying in for dinner and eating well.

Planning and shopping for delicious, nourishing and properly portioned meals for two can be tough. It’s not brain surgery but it takes planning time each week. Once you get into the habit, that home cooked meal at the end of a long day is not only worth it but it is an enjoyable process. Happy shopping!


A little more about Stephanie + Greg Gordon… Stephanie and Greg have been married for three years and have three fur babies. As self-professed homebodies who love a home cooked dinner, meal planning became an unenjoyable chore each weekend. After speaking to several other couples who felt the same way Couple Supper was born. If you want to reclaim your free time, minimize wasted food and have your dinners and grocery list planned for you each week then give Couple Supper a try. With a two week free trial, you can give it a whirl absolutely free!

Grocery store image found here. Farmer’s Market image found here.

****THIS GIVEAWAY IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING ENTRIES****
Scroll down to the giveaway widget to see who won!

I’ve mentioned it about a bazillion times, but I adore pretty paper. Jotting down a note, a recipe or even a shopping list on a piece of pretty paper makes my day. That being the case, I was super excited when the awesome folks over at Rifle Paper Co. gave us the opportunity to put together a prize pack especially for our readers. I literally felt like a kid in a candy store! One lucky reader will receive one of each of these fine paper goods you can use around the house.

giveaway

1. Botanical Journal | 2. Spoon Recipe Cards | 3. Homegrown Garden Set
4. Market Shopping Pad | 5. Vintage Telephone Notepad | 6. Wildflower Thank You Postcards

This giveaway is open to everyone under the sun – yep, all of you international readers, too! To enter, either log in with your Facebook account or enter your email address (as always, your information is kept private). Once you’re logged in, you’ll be shown the entry requirements set by yours truly. Click the “Do it!” button, answer the question and click “Enter!”. Now that you’ve entered, you’ll see some optional entry options. To gain additional entries and increase your chances of winning the prize, you can do one or all of them. If you already follow Rifle Paper Co. (or us!), go ahead and enter your Facebook or Twitter info for additional entries. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A few weeks ago, we received an awesome Reader Reno submission from Amanda. She and her husband started with a dated kitchen and ended up with something much more modern, yet cozy. The transformation is amazing by itself, but there’s a sucker punch coming at the end of her email…

Hello Ashley and Greg!

I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months and love what you’ve been doing!  You kitchen is fantastic.  And, I’ve got a kitchen to share with you.  We remodeled our kitchen around the same time you started yours.  Shortly after finishing it we accidentally found another fixer upper and sold our first house.

This kitchen as complete DIY.  My husband built the cabinets from scratch, installed flooring, cut wood for our counter tops, tore down walls, installed lighting, etc.  I’d love for you to check it out.  If you like it enough, I’d be honored if you featured it.

Thanks!

Amanda

Did you catch that? … The entire kitchen was a DIY project. At times, I feel like I’m reasonably handy around the house at this point, but I’m no cabinetmaker. Apparently, Ben (Amanda’s husband) is that, and then some!

Here’s what they had to work with…

After months of hard work, here’s their stunning transformation…

So much more airy and open. It looks like a different house! The first obvious note, aside from it being awesome, is that some walls were torn down. It makes the kitchen look SO much larger. Don’t you love a good wall tear-down project?

The wainscoting across the kitchen adds some great visual interest and ties in nicely with the cabinetry. The blue wall color brings in some color and brightens everything up even more.

I like how Amanda and Ben continued the back splash up over the window. This tricks the eye into thinking the kitchen is even loftier than it is. The recessed lighting is also a nice touch!

The wood countertops were a DIY project, too. Is their handiness making you sick yet? Just kidding, of course. Those countertops are awesome.

Since we’re on the hunt for barstools right now, they seem to be in the forefront of our minds – we notice them anywhere and everywhere. My side of my and Ash’s style equation is industrial, so it’s no question that I’m really digging these wood and metal barstools.

Like most of our Reader Renovations, it’s so hard to choose, but Ashley said her favorite part of the kitchen is the painted lower cabinets and the glass upper cabinets. Mine would have to be the fact that the cabinets were a DIY project. That’s crazy! How about you?

For more information about this kitchen renovation, including a budget breakdown, visit Amanda’s blog here. If you’re looking for the entire kit and caboodle, check out all of her posts about their kitchen renovation here.

Do you have a home project, house tour, or DIY project you’d like to have featured? Email your submission to [email protected] Along with your photos, include a description and important details (paint colors, materials needed, instructions, budget, etc.). By sending us your submission, you are giving us permission to post it on the blog. Don’t worry, we won’t post your email address or any personal information. Please Note: Not every submission will be published. If we decide to publish your submission, we will send you an email letting you know when it will be on the blog.