Personal Concierge Shopping Tips

06

Feb

2013

It probably comes as a bit of a shock when you realise that neither you nor your partner has an appointment that night.  You will be able to spend some time together, at home, in total peace.

How long has it been since you enjoyed that luxury together?

Imagine sitting at home, curled up together on the couch, glass of wine in hand and music playing in the background…

It could be romantic and it will certainly be restful.  As a busy professional couple you need to treat these rare times together as precious and not let anything interrupt them.

Turn off your mobiles.  Unplug your landline.  Turn off the computers.  Turn off the TV.

Let nothing come between you and your partner for the night.

Time alone together is rare and the last thing you want to do is to spend hours in the kitchen cooking the evening meal, but there is something so routine about ordering takeaway that it doesn’t fit the mood of the night.

All you need is some carefully selected canned food stocked in your pantry and you can whip up something simple like this Thai Style Salmon & Noodles from John West.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons prepared lemon grass
  • ½ small chilli finely chopped
  • ½ cup frozen Birds Eye Garden Peas or Sliced Beans
  • 210g can John West Red Salmon, drained & flaked
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ½ x 300g packet hokkien or chow mein noodles cooked following packet directions

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1

Heat oil in a saucepan, add ginger, lemon grass and chilli; stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Step 2

Add frozen Birds Eye Garden Peas or Sliced Beans, drained John West Red Salmon and coconut milk; cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked noodles, heat through for a further 1-2 minutes and serve.

Canned salmon and coconut milk, noodles in the pantry, frozen vegetables in the freezer and jars or tubes of herbs in the fridge – that’s all you need.

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04

Dec

2012

I know a science professor who has commented that in the past, if her young son was invited to a birthday party, the present had to be bought from Safeway or 7eleven or it just didn’t happen.

You can’t get away with that for very long and you certainly won’t get away with it at Christmas time.

For all the fun that Christmas can be it brings with it a lot of stress.  It is hard to find time to shop for food, and even harder to spare time for things which aren’t necessities.  The problem is that Christmas gifts are necessities but they are troublesome about it.

I know that when I choose a gift I like to put a lot of thought into it so that I select something that is meaningful and that the recipient will love.  When you have a long list of people to buy for it can take up a lot of time.

You probably have some idea of what you would like to buy your friends and family.  Just give me your list.  I will find prices, shop for the gifts, buy them, wrap them and even arrange their delivery.

You don’t have to battle with queues or fight over the last product on the display.  You won’t have the sore feet and blisters that you usually end up with, nor will you have the huge headache when you get home.

Instead you can go home and mix yourself a Christmas cocktail and relax knowing that everything is being taken care of.

Just to make it even better, here is a little cocktail you might like to try.  It is called the Chocolate Raspberry Martini and you are going to love it.

Chocolate Raspberry Martini

  • 1 1/2 ounce raspberry vodka
  • 1 ounce white creme de cacao

Chill your ingredients beforehand. Rub the rim of your chilled martini glass with cocoa then pour in the liquids and enjoy.  Drop a fresh raspberry into the bottom of the glass, too, if you like.  It will look as good as it tastes.

So what will it be?  Queues, headaches and stress or home with your shoes off and chilled cocktail in hand?  I know what I would choose.

Merry shopping–free Christmas to you!

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13

Sep

2011

Setting up the pantry can seem pretty overwhelming, particularly when you walk into your local supermarket and there are thousands of items on the shelves; all of which you seem to need.  Well, that’s what the advertising tells you.

What you really need in your pantry at all times are what we call the staples.  These are the basics that form the core of most meals. With these in your pantry you will always be able to whip up something to eat.

Two fundamental items for the pantry are rice and pasta; both of which are highly versatile and can be utilised for the main or side dishes.

Depending on your food preparation and cooking skills, and your taste preferences of course, other essentials include things like:

  • Cooking oil and olive oil
  • Sauces; tomato, soy, sweet chilli and satay.
  • Herbs and spices; Italian herbs, curry powder and various other mixed and individual herbs and spices all make your meals taste nicer.
  • Packet Mixes; a small sample is fine, like Chilli Con Carne, although many dishes can be created without packets.
  • Tins; vegies (corn, carrots, mushrooms, beans and pulses) are handy for adding to dishes, and tinned tomato is versatile and highly useful.  Don’t forget good old standby’s like baked beans and canned spaghetti.
  • Bread and toppings like Vegemite.
  • Cereals
  • Instant noodles are great for late night snacks.
  • Other; tomato paste, fish or oyster sauce, tinned or tetra pack (long life) cream are also handy essentials to have.

If you’d like a printable list to help you when you shop you can visit Grocery Lists and download a good little shopping list to keep on your fridge. (http://www.grocerylists.org/ultimatest/ )

There you have it; stock up on your basic staples and you’ll be able to whip up a meal even when you haven’t managed to go shopping.

Can you suggest other essentials for your pantry?

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02

Aug

2011

Food shopping is usually split into three categories:

  1. Fruit and vegetables
  2. Meats
  3. Other; including bread and milk, your pantry staples and other meal ingredients.

Depending on whether you’re sticking to a strict budget, or you prefer to do your shopping at the one place only will determine where and how you shop.

Whilst supermarkets have the convenience of having it all there, they can be more costly for meats, fruit and vegetables. Markets and warehouses are better options for price for these items.

Other very important things to consider are the longevity of foods. This will determine how often you shop.Fruit and vegetables, stored correctly, can last a week to 10 days. Bread and milk have short life-spans, although they can be frozen. Meats can be stored in the fridge for a few days without a problem, and can be frozen and still good anywhere from 3 to 9 months.

Ideally, you want to shop from a list; work out what staples you need (including meats), and what foods you’re going to use to accompany them. You might want a separate list for the green grocer if you’re going more regularly.

Stick to the list; this’ll make sure you get what you need, and not end up with fourteen boxes of something you don’t. It will also make food preparation much easier when you have everything you need.

There’s also nothing wrong with buying in bulk, if you have the room or grabbing stuff when it’s on special, to save on your grocery bill cost. Just make sure it’s something you need.

Finally, here are a few secrets you’ll need to know:

  • Shop for meat at the end of the day when prices are marked down.
  • In most cases, homebrand basics are as good as the more expensive brands.
  • Most supermarkets have a market day when they have special prices on fresh produce.
  • Eat before you go!
  • Know what you are going to cook for the week and ONLY buy for that.

Don’t forget to check the catalogues to see what is on special, too.  There might be a good saving just waiting for you.

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14

Dec

2010

A Personal Concierge is so much more than a human word processor. Sure, being able to type up documents for you may be high on your list of job requirements, but it pays to consider what other tasks you can delegate.

The first thing you need to do is compile a comprehensive to-do-list. List tasks in priority order and include a due date. You can work through the list together or delegate particular jobs.  Your Personal Concierge may have an area that she specialises in, having qualifications or experience that she can bring with her.  Make sure that you find out what she likes to do and is good at before setting her the work.

Important birthdays and anniversaries are a good thing to delegate. Give your Personal Concierge a calendar of events. a budget and suggested interest for each person you need to buy for.  They can buy and wrap gifts for you, buy cards and arrange postage if required.

A Personal Concierge can research information and pricing on products that are hard to get, too.  Don’t waste your time trying to track down that one-off item when your Personal Concierge can do it for you. She can arrange quotes and even carry out purchases for you when you have made your choice. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have someone who can go shopping for particular items while you work and save you the stressful last minute dash around?

If you are thinking of travelling, your concierge can seek out the best value flights, hire cars, book accommodation and fill out a comprehensive itinerary for you.  How much easier is that than trying to do it yourself?

A Personal Concierge can source any other required services for you, book appointments and restaurants and tickets to entertainment events. The list of possibilities is only limited by your ability to delegate!

Call me – delegating is not painful you know – you’ll end up wondering how you have gone so long without doing it!

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