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August Garden Harvest and a Month Without Grocery Shopping

 Cucumbers and Basil The Prudent Homemaker

My freezers are packed full of frozen fruit from both our garden and from deals I found earlier this year. There's some meat in there, somewhere behind all the peaches, blackberries, figs, strawberries, and blueberries. There's lemon juice from our lemon trees too.

The garden has started producing Armenian cucumbers. I'm hoping for enough to can pickles this year. I planted loads of them in several places in the garden and the vines have reached the tops of my five-foot trellises and started producing female flowers.

We have Swiss chard, red noodle beans, and green onions in the garden.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The tomato plants are still producing (especially the Yellow Pear tomatoes), though they are winding down because of the heat (they are not longer producing flowers).

I've got butternut squash growing and will have a few to pick this month.

I have 5 zucchini plants. None are producing for me at the moment, but the overcast days in July led to cooler temperatures and I can see a combination of male and female flowers at the base of them. Hopefully, they'll be open on the same days to be pollinated and we'll have some zucchini too!

Bartlett Pears on Tree The Prudent Homemaker 

The Bartlett pears are ripe this month. There aren't many, as the trees have never grown very large in 10 years, but we'll still have a decent number.

The table grapes are ripe (the birds have gotten a number of them though). We'll have some to eat (they have seeds) and some to juice. When they're all done, I'll pick the leaves to cook. They have a lemony flavor and are delicious in all sorts of recipes. I'll stuff some this month too.

Bucket of Zinnias and Sunflowers

The zinnias I planted in the backyard are opening! I know they're late but I'm happy to have them! I have a few small sunflowers too (about the same size as the zinnias).

I've got a decently stocked pantry

And I'm not planning to go shopping at all during the month of August for food or toiletries.

We're having a lower income month along with increased expenses. We're adding life insurance to our bills this month and in September we hope to add some online college classes for my eldest, which will mean tuition and book expenses. These will mean increased expenses every month, so hopefully, our income will increase to cover the difference. 

With an irregular income, I never know what our income will be. I try to plan a month ahead for expenses whenever possible, but that isn't always possible. This month, I'm waiting to see what else will come in. Our first priorities are our mortgage, utilities, and insurance. Should anything come in past that, I'll save it to put toward's September's bills.

Whether or not I'll go shopping in September is yet to be seen. If I do, it is certainly to be a reduced amount. We were very blessed last year to make more money and be able to increase our grocery budget. This year, our income has been lower, and if it continues as it has been, we will make 1/3 of what we made last year (Last year was a blessing! We were able to repair several things and purchase some needed furniture. Before that, things had been much lower, like this year, for the 8 previous years). Consequently, it's possible that I'll go back to a $100 a month budget. I know we can do it, as we have in past years where we've made this amount, and we managed to build our food storage while doing so. It's been nice to have had the money to buy other things we like to eat, including more meat and cheese, but we can certainly eat more soups, oats, rice, and beans going forward. I'm collecting lettuce seeds from the garden this week and I look forward to planting them in my fall garden along with other seeds I have on hand. I'm feeling really grateful that when our income was higher last year, I bought a couple of years' worth of seeds, and that I'm growing almost all open-pollinated seeds, which allows me to collect seeds from my garden to plant every year.

Here's some of what I'll have on the menu this month:

 

Breakfasts:

 

Oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and almonds

Crepes (I still have some eggs and I'll use powdered milk)

Whole wheat waffles with fruit from the freezer

Smoothies and toast with cinnamon sugar 

Bread and jam (I've got homemade strawberry, apricot, and fig jams, plus apple butter on my pantry shelves)

 

Summer Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker

Lunches:

 

Black beans and rice with tomatoes and corn

White bean dip with pita bread, cucumbers, and tomatoes (produce from the garden)

Macaroni and cheese with sliced tomatoes (on the side!) and cucumbers in vinegar

Tomato Basil Sandwiches

Pasta Salad

Leftovers

Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker

 

Snacks:

 

Fig Tarts

Cookies

Peach Pie Popsicles

Popcorn

Grapes

Smoothies

 

Dinners:

 

Black Bean Burgers with Steak Sauce and tomatoes from the garden

Turkey Curry over basmati rice with peas and chapatis

Pork Roast with fig sauce and mashed potatoes, Swiss chard, and butternut squash

Baked Potatoes with a corn and tomato salad

Stir fry with pork or turkey and vegetables from the garden and bean sprouts

Pinto beans and rice with onions and tomatoes

Spaghetti with red noodle beans

Stuffed grape leaves with homemade pita bread

Ham with Rosemary potatoes and red noodle beans

Ham sandwiches with tomatoes from the garden and home-canned dill pickles

 

 

If you're living from your pantry this month, check out my two weeks' worth of pantry meals here.

If you need more bean recipes, check out my post on How to Eat Beans Every Night.

If you're looking for a frugal summer menu, check out a month's worth of summer meals here.

 

Are you planning to go shopping in August? What deals will you be looking to purchase?

 

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Tagged in: Grocery Shopping

Comments

  • S August 01, 2017

    Your posts are always so uplifting! I admire how you always stand by husband´s side and never seem to confront him. You say "our income is lower..." Many would start to blame their husbands if they do not provide as well as they did - despite the economic climate ("his income is lower that it used to be"). Many, if not most, would show disappointment and dissatisfaction. Your attitude, as far as we see it here, is outstanding.
    Many would say a´la we can not afford more children as my husband can not provide enough. I admire how you have went forward and done your part, all of it, the best you can, in faith. Doing so you probably have found opportunities and good changes you never dreamed of having as well.

  • Marisa August 03, 2017

    S,
    I love your comments. One of the reasons I keep coming back to this page. What I have learned to appreciate over my life is a job well done and Brandy does everything, beautifully with poise.

    When I was a single mom I worked in Real Estate (on the finance side) and it is was a huge challenge for me to budget. God took care of my kids and myself. A job opened up in a more stable position and I was able to provide for us.

    This month..we are taking care of some medical bills, so I am going to tighten down the food budget. I am still working on growing food for us, nothing has come in so all our groceries still come from the store. Other than tomatoes..this is my first year..I could not get lettuce to grow...but I will keep trying. Fortunately, the pantry and freezers are very full.

    I found pickling cucumbers for a good price, so I am going to make my family, in-laws, mother and grown daughters enough bread and butter pickles for the year. I cannot believe how expensive the store has them.

    I will cook of Bunch brandy's recipes. My family loves the black bean burgers, spaghetti sauce(We make this without meat, as we are vegetarian). We also want to try the taco soup. We will have broccoli soup, biscuits, smoothies, muffins and salads. I found a recipe for dandelion greens pesto that I am plan to try.

  • Mrs. T August 07, 2017

    I agree, fantastic comment.

  • Annie-Blake August 01, 2017

    I am planning to spend $140 on groceries and toiletries for the month of August, for my family of four. Our priority is our mortgage.

    We will be eating lots of tomato based meals, as they are plentiful in our garden at the moment.

    I have enough meat for the month and we have slowly been decreasing our meat consumption over the year.

    Things I am buying are essentials only- bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, green apples & bananas, cream, 1 roast chicken, cheese & ham. Everything else I have on hand. I will be getting our vegetables from the farmers markets, fresh and very cheap.

    Meals this month:
    Breakfast-oatmeal, oatmeal with chia seeds & grated green apple (left overnight in the fridge), granola with yoghurt & green apple, toast, wheat biscuits. honey and cinnamon as toppings.

    Lunch-leftovers & sandwiches. Plus 1 lunch of sausages, bread, onion and tomato sauce (called a "sausage sizzle"). Budget includes provision for 1 lunch meal of fish & chips (fries) at the beach.

    Dinner-pizza, spaghetti, lasagne, chicken basil pesto pasta, roast beef with potatoes, onion, tomatoes and sweet potato, soups with either quinoa, barley or lentils, beef bulgogi over rice with tomato, chicken burgers with bacon, vegetable curry over rice, pasta with a tomato based sauce, pasta with a creamy tomato based sauce, frittata, tuna rissoles and vegetables. Many meals will include a boiled egg and fresh tomato.

    This dinner list will yield many leftovers and I will be freezing extra spaghetti sauce, lasagne, soup and vegetable curry for September.

    Snacks-raw capsicum (peppers), carrot and cucumber. Hommus. Green apple, banana. Popsicles (home made with berries picked from the garden), yoghurt, home made cookies (flour, sugar and butter) & home made basic butter cake.

  • Emma Abrahams August 01, 2017

    Over the past few weeks I've been reading through all your old blog posts. I started at your first ever post and just worked my way forward until I got to today. Your posts have been such an encouragement to me, not just in living more frugally but in my desire to raise my children for the Lord. It feels bittersweet to have come to the end, although I know I will still be able to read your new posts as you publish them. It's been such an incredible experience, helping me to reshape the way I approach life. So thank you Brandy!
    And I hope you get many unexpected but welcome blessings this month.

  • PJGT August 01, 2017

    Brandy, you do such a great job planning for your family. I'm a planner and appreciate the ability to do more with less because of planning and forethought. It even makes the surprises go smoother.

    This month will be our first with me living between 2 places. Thankful for my inlaws as my 23 year old daughter is having her wisdom teeth out in August when I am gone and my MIL has volunteered to care for her here with my son and his dogs. She cannot take anything stronger than ibuprofen, so will need extra care. My son is ready to take on more, but I don't want to overburden his system. Baby steps!

    The good news is that at home there is a free food day that I'll get to. I am getting a new bicycle for my birthday (first birthday or Christmas present for me in years...I'm very grateful for the stability) which is a necessity as we only have one car at home now and I'll need it to get around. I'm also getting a bike basket and chose a bike with the ability to hold packages on the back.

    We have to purchase a very nice present at the end of August, so I've been pondering what I could possibly make with what I have in hand...I thought if something. It will be a great deal of work, but pretty much free! If I get going, I'll be able to take it with me and avoid shipping costs as well.

    Using fabric on hand, I've been making shoe bags to pack our shoes in. My daughter will be flying here at Thanksgiving and home for the winter break. And, since I am going back and forth now, I'll need to being shoes too. Even when driving, though I will start to look in thrift shops for shoes to keep in both places...if I can find them for just a couple dollars.

    I am thinking to fill my suitcase with the present on the way west and work clothing on the way back east. Transitions are difficult, but good for my brain. Having some stability with housing, a job and health wise is such a gift from God!

    Still working on getting rid of that winter weight, so keeping food costs much lower. We are expecting 3 days of rain, so I have planned to cook a bit more. I'd like to cook up anything that needs to be used up. We never had this difficulty before when everyone was home! I had to toss the very last of the jam because it spoiled with so few here to eat it. I used to make breakfast for our family and a couple other children that we gave rides to school to since they just didn't have enough. Now one is in film school and the other is pre-med. So happy!

  • Congratulations on the bike! I know what you mean about gifts. I am so happy for you!

    My daughter has been wanting a bike basket. We priced them out and what she really wanted was a more old-fashioned looking wire basket. She found it was cheaper to go to Hobby Lobby last week where she bought one for 50% off. It cost her $9. My husband is going to figure out a way to attach it to her bike, as it is just a metal basket (not intended for a bicycle). It's less than any of the bike baskets we researched and prettier, too!

    Good luck on the present research!

  • Caroline August 01, 2017

    Hey Brandy, you could always use the same or clear colored zipties. You can do that only if there are holes in the basket. It's just an idea :).

  • Rhonda A. August 01, 2017

    I was thinking you could re-purpose a belt (leather or other heavy material) to make straps to attach the basket.

  • Sue August 05, 2017

    Love this idea--it's the way bike baskets were attached to the handlebars and handlebar stem when I was a kid. It will keep with the vintage feel she's after.

  • Melissa August 01, 2017

    Hello from Utah. I'm not sure what insurance you are adding but I have liberty health share that every Dr takes and has a very low deductable of 1500.00 per family. They cost I believe 450.00 a month. My husband is in the same field as yours and this is our best choice for insurance. We didn't have insurance for amost 8 years by choice. Also I just finished the pathway program put out by the church which gives you the ability to continue your college classes though byui online for very very cheap per credit hour. Look it up. If your oldest is 18 they can go through it. I start my classes through byui this fall and can take as few or as many as I'd like, no requirement.
    Melissa

  • We're adding life insurance.

    BYU Idaho is where she wants to go. They won't allow you to start classes online until you're 17. We started her in school early so that she could start college early. She is going to take BYU independent study classes (no age limit) that will transfer to BYU Idaho. Not all of them will transfer so we have spent quite a bit of time researching which ones will transfer and count as G.E. classes. Then when she has 24 credit hours she can apply to attend BYU Idaho as a transfer student. She can stay at home while she takes classes now and leave when she is 17.

  • J August 01, 2017

    This is a great plan for your daughter's classes. Very wise. I'm really glad to hear you are getting life insurance, even though it sometimes feels like throwing money out the window. I have a few friends who died in their 30s without insurance and it left their spouses and children in difficult situations.

  • Eve August 03, 2017

    Brandy, I don't know if you have checked into AP or CLEP tests. My boys graduated from home school high school early as well. By the time they started college, they had 15 hours of tests which gave them 15 hours of college credit at the state university. I believe they allow 15 hours of CLEPs to count toward college. My oldest son had his AA in less than 1.5 years.

    AP's are a little different; we found the CLEP tests followed our home studies more closely. A credit is a credit.

  • Heather in L.A. August 04, 2017

    My daughter did something similar. Our school systems will pay for college classes for high school students as a dual enrollment program. When she graduated high school this May, she had accumulated enough hours to start her freshman college years as a Sophomore. With the combination of her scholarship and our states college funding program(TOPS for us in Louisiana) now paying 100%, she is making over $1,400 a semester that is $$ in her pocket to invest. She uses her part time job to pay for books and supplies.This is come in handy when she starts her student nursing rotation next year and will need to use the $$ to supplement her income as she won't be able to work as much. My advice is to also not look at just the college they want to go to. This is not her first choice. Her first choice offered a two year program for RN, but when we got out our calculators, the four year university cost less, offered her more $$, and she could graduate debt free. It does no good to save a couple of years if you have to spend those years or longer paying students loans.

  • Erika August 02, 2017

    I actually bought a wire basket and zip ties from dollar tree for my daughters bike and it worked out great, and cute to!! But until you can afford or save for a better one this might be an option.

  • Sandra August 01, 2017

    As always, your pictures are such a treat for the eye. We're heading into our hottest weather yet, triple digits for the next week or so. I make salad dinners most nights. I use lots of vegetables, herbs and greens from the garden, homemade salad dressings, and a small amount of protein. I am still canning plums and the tomatoes are coming on so fast now that I will start canning them shortly. I really appreciate having my cupboards full of home canned tomato products. Not only do I put them up as cooked tomatoes, marinara sauce, and salsa, but I also use them green for chutney, salsa verde, and pickle relish (both sweet and dill). Tomatoes are so versatile and in our climate they produce abundantly. Aside from stuffing your grape leaves, do you have other ways that you prepare them?

    After reading your post about your husband shopping for new insurance, I did the same and found almost $400 in savings for our homeowners policy. The car insurance will stay with the same carrier. The car insurance policy is only written for 6 months at a time so I get to shop it every six months, but it remains a best buy. In any case, $400 is a significant savings and I am grateful for that.

  • Marybeth August 01, 2017

    Brandy have you ever hand pollinated you zucchini plants. Just take a small paint brush and gently rub it inside a male flower and then go to a female flower and rub it in there. If the flowers are not open at the same time, take a q-tip and rub inside male flowers. Put it in a ziplock bag until female flowers are open. There are a ton of YouTube videos about how to do it. Its worked for me. Good luck.

  • I have hand pollinated them before. What usually happens is I only get male flowers and no female flowers. I tried a couple new types this year and instead I am getting only female flowers! And I only get maybe three open flowers a month, and never at the same time. Because of our heat, most squash doesn't even flower (it doesn't like temperatures in the 110º and up range). So I usually have to wait until temperatures come down in October before I can get any summer squash. That's when it drops below 90º and the plants start to flower.

  • Mable August 01, 2017

    I assume you know that any male squash blossom, not just summer squash, can be used to pollinate a female blossom. Any seeds produced cannot be saved for next year, as it won't come back "true to type" but it will get you a crop this year. So if your zucchini get only females but your winter squash gets males, cross-pollinate. (Apologies if you already know this, but many gardeners do not...)

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