Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Strategize, Optimize, Prioritize


Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #soup

I think that we, as a society, had lost track of the “ize”s over the past number of years. Like a muscle that hadn’t been exercised, it had been fading. A whole generation really hadn’t understood the concepts.

Covid has been taking care of that, necessitating the strengthening of those muscles, introducing the routines back into our lives. In no place more prominently than the grocery store.

And as difficult as food shopping has become, how stressful it’s been to negotiate, I’m thinking this really isn’t a bad thing at all.

Because the “ize”s are, I think, necessary skills not just when it comes to shopping, but to successfully navigating many facets of life.
I don't blame those who are unfamiliar with the concept. Many of us had grown up in (or for many years just lived in) an easier time. Not necessarily easy, a broad brush I can't use, but easier. Something, I might note, we were neither necessarily aware of, nor appreciative of, until everything changed. Covid, the great equalizer saw to that.
It was a time when we just ran out and grabbed what we wanted or needed. Stores, malls, they were everywhere, and in stock. Prices were, for the most part, something we could deal with, especially when it came to food and smaller items. Larger needs we may need to budget for. Until Covid became a universal budget buster. 

And brought back the "ize"s.
 Strategize, Optimize, Prioritize | graphc designed by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #blogging

And one place where it's easy to see both the need and the results is the grocery store, where we're all learning (or relearning) to exercise our "ize" muscles.

Strategize: more than ever it's a time to make a list (and check it twice), look at the circulars for sales, check coupons, be open to trying a store brand alternative to one or two of your items.

But strategy isn't only about price, it can be about convenience or time saving too. There are instances when your schedule, time constraints, stress level, or desire not to be inconvenienced, makes paying a little more worth not having to wait in line to check out your 45 items yourself.
Optimize: when a needed item is not on the shelves, can you optimize whatever may be available? Think on the fly, conceptualize, compromise, come up with a workable alternative?

Truth is, not only is this an opportunity to use your imagination, show that you can adapt, but many times the results can be better than the original idea.

Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #soup
Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup
Prioritize: this is where you have to make some final decisions, especially when it comes to price. Whether you've hit your budget limit, exceeded it and don't want to take out a second mortgage in order to check out, or have just had enough for one day, it's time to weigh the options. Of the items you still have on your list, which ones do you need now, and which can possibly be pushed off to the next visit? Which items already in your cart are impulse purchases, not necessities.

I just want to say here that impulse purchases and small treats are two different things. I'm actually an advocate of self indulgence now and then. We all have days when sitting back, shutting our eyes, and letting one little piece of chocolate melt in our mouths makes all the difference. My advice, find a way to embrace that.

And, although not an "ize," this is also a time to practice self discipline. Whatever decisions you made, can you live with them, commit to not running out for one more . . . something before it's time for your next shopping trip?
Beneficial precepts, all of them, and although they may be brought together prominently in one place, it's a missed opportunity not to realize their broader value.
Because, when it comes not just to grocery shopping but most situations in life, it helps to remember this valuable lesson: 

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .

the ayes ize have it. 
Sorry, not sorry.

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Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup         

Printable Recipe

2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup frozen chopped onion
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups chicken broth
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP maple syrup
1 cup cooked skinless chicken, chopped or shredded

*In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Mix in the onion, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
*Whisk in the chicken broth, then add the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.
*Remove from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Working in batches, carefully pour into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
*Return the blended soup to the pot and return the pot to the stove on medium/low heat. Whisk in the sour cream, then mix in the heavy cream, maple syrup, and chicken. Cook and stir until hot, about 5 minutes.



  1. I absolutely agree! Well said!
    We've needed a course-correction in the 'restraint' department for years. This new reality is forcing us to be controlled. It's sad that we get hammered in the 'food' aisle. But the lessons learned are so valuable throughout our daily life!

    1. The forced lessons are valuable, if only we remember to put them into practice when we walk out of the store.

  2. I tried to comment. It turned into a tirade. Donna

  3. Excellent points, i tried to pass these on to my children, and they are understanding why now.

    1. You built the foundation to their success in difficult times.

  4. That looks like a lovely recipe.

  5. I'm a natural pessimist, and I think that whatever "ize" skills we picked up during Covid, we are going to forget about them as soon as we can. (Here, "we" means our country as a whole and not you or me personally). I think too many people want to put the Covid years behind us in a mass amnesia event. We had it good as far as shortages and inflation (as much as inflation has hurt the average working person here). I think of what the British, for example, had to do during World War II with having to work around their severe food rationing during and right after World War II (and nightly bombings in certain areas). How would have we dealt with something like that? I'm hoping I'm wrong about forgetting our lessons learned.

    1. I think, unfortunately, like everything else, we'll be divided into 2 groups: those of us who have learned something, and those of us who see it only as a forum for blaming and complaint.

  6. Groceries are so expensive now. I make a list and stick to it.

    1. Yeah, I try to stick to a budget. It does give me a lot of opportunity to be creative with what I've got.

  7. With tthe price of groceries you have to use your imagination. I made a homemade chic pot pie and I usually use mixed vegetables (frozen) but all I had was for a stew so I thawed them out and chopped them smaller and they worked perfectly.


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