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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

  • Eve August 03, 2017

    When my kids were in college, I got the ISBN #s and looked for them at Amazon or ABE Books. You can save money by looking for one of the earlier editions. You can type in the title of the book and go to the publisher's website to find the Table of Contents. If you find the closest earlier edition, you will notice that very little, if any, content has changed. Look at the Unit and Chapter headings and the number of pages. I purchased college textbooks for less than half their going price - sometimes as low as $10. Way better than a $150 textbook! Really this takes no more time than ordering an expensive textbook online.

  • Suzanne August 01, 2017

    Does anyone have any good ideas for keeping the birds at bay with their fruit trees and bushes. The birds have been doing a number on ours-hardly a berry!!! So disappointing:-( Thanks!

  • Juls Owings August 01, 2017

    a friend uses shiney tape through out his trees and bushes,it moves with the wind.

  • Debby in Kansas August 01, 2017

    My friend hangs old cd's in her trees. I guess the breeze twists them around and it looks like something in the trees is moving. She swears it works. Good luck!! I lost a whole tree full of peaches several years ago to house finches. I'd been checking them daily and decided that the next morning was the one to do the picking. Apparently I was right because when I looked out the kitchen window early the next morning, I shrieked. The whole tree was covered in birds!! 6 mos. later, I lost the tree to an ice storm. I guess it wasn't meant to be!!!

  • Marybeth August 02, 2017

    I do this in my garden. It works great.

  • Athanasia August 05, 2017

    Yes, it does.

  • Laurie in AZ August 01, 2017

    Since we had a vacation in July and will again in August when we go to our niece's wedding, I plan on buying very little at the grocery store this month. My husband's birthday is Friday so I may have to buy something for that depending on what he wants to eat, but otherwise I am going to be shopping from the pantry and freezer. Unfortunately we don't have a garden to help us, but I may go to the Produce on Wheels With Out Waste (POW WOW) event to get my 60 lbs. of produce for $10, depending on what they have available. Hope to keep the budget at $125 or lower.

    I have a very full freezer of meat, all of which I have gotten on clearance and shelves full of canned goods, pasta and rice, so I have no excuse!

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada August 01, 2017

    What is the Produce on Wheels...event? I have a friend who lives in Phoenix who might benefit from some help with her groceries.

  • Karen August 01, 2017

    Just sharing our experience homeschooling through high school. Our children took online classes through the local community college and they were free for high school students. We even bought a textbook for a class and each child took the same class from the same professor (in different years). They were all able to use that same one textbook. I had bought it used online for $2. I think it was our biggest college bargain!

  • Marcia August 01, 2017

    I'm really impressed with your garden and how it produces, and the lovely meals you make out of it.

    I never did get anything planted this year. I had wanted to do tomatoes in pots, but time ran away from me. My good friend has a few tomato plants that are taller than she is. She's canned salsa, marinara, tomatoes. She's made tomato soup. I'm very impressed (and her salsa is delish).

    I love fresh tomatoes but we haven't been getting them this summer from our CSA.

  • Anne August 01, 2017

    I am curious about the current real estate market. I haven't been paying real close attention but I was under the impression it was back in full swing and house prices had soared. I'm in California. Is Las Vegas in a bit of a slump or do you foresee us hitting another large housing recession as in '08? I figure that you have been paying close attention to this.

  • Cindy in the South August 02, 2017

    I am not Brandy (lol) but housing prices have gone up in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area. I have also noticed more new builds happening. However, the Recession was so very long (or it seemed that way), that I am happy the economy appears to have recovered somewhat. At one point, every.single.one. of my three son's close friends lost their jobs during the recession. They were in their late teens to early 20's. Also, those with college could not get a job. It was awful. However, it appears in some parts of the country the prices are way out of line and will probably have a correction soon. I am in no way an expert, but I have noticed, and you mentioned you were from California, some prices have soared out there past their pre-recession price. I guess the short answer is that it depends where you live, and my humble opinion is that if we have another housing recession, that will cause all of the apples on the cart to get upset, causing job issues again. I sort of think that will happen not too far away, but again I am not an expert. I really, really, hope I am wrong. I try to keep six months worth of pantry food such as canned goods and rice, just in case.

  • Holly August 01, 2017

    Brandy, if you have a local community or regular college ck there for textbooks...sometimes they let the public have a card and you can order from other colleges...some also carry a shelf in-house of texts that they use for their classes. It's also a good idea to wait until the class has actually started to find out whether a different pub year (i.e. cheaper) can be used, although that might me more difficult with an on-line class.

  • Jenni@DitchingOurDebt August 01, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your budget. We are intentionally trying to cut our food budget even more to pay off our debt more quickly, and I am now trying to spend only $335 for a family of six, which is a cut from our usual $420. Reading this post makes me realize how blessed we are to even have $335 for our family. We have tried to plant fruit trees, but they are still young and one did not make it through the winter. We planted grapes a couple of years ago and had a lot of bunches on one this year and then the squirrels and birds got to them. I told my husband that you got lots of grapes, and we both wondered if maybe there weren't squirrels in Las Vegas :).

  • Cindi August 01, 2017

    Dear Brandy,
    I read and re-read your posts for inspiration. One goal I have this month is to try more of your recipes. I found a bag of dried white beans in my pantry, so your white bean Alfredo sauce will be on the menu for sure.
    We, too, have had a decrease in income this year, and I am taking it as a challenge to eliminate things I don't really need and make the best use of the resources I have.
    Peaches and tomatoes will be ripening this month at the farm where we buy much of the produce we don't grow ourselves, so I'll be looking to get a case of each to can, as well as some zucchini to shred and freeze (like you, I have had no luck with my summer squash this year.) I'm putting chard and collards in the freezer to eat this winter, as well as having them and some tomatoes and lettuce to eat fresh. We have meat in the freezer, though I would like to add some chicken if I find a good sale. When the local farms start digging potatoes, I can often get a 50-lb bag for $10. If I find that sale this year, I will buy 50 pounds and can and freeze some.

  • Cindi August 04, 2017

    I just wanted to follow up on my own post to share a wonderful way God provided for us this week. I did my grocery shopping, but did not buy chicken, as it was not on sale -- even though I have really been wanting chicken. I have other meat in the freezer that we can eat, so we certainly won't go hungry without chicken.
    Yesterday my neighbor, who moved today, brought over a large bag full of everything that was left in her refrigerator -- including a large package of chicken breasts! I had to smile at this answer to an unasked prayer!

  • Marybeth August 06, 2017

    God always knows what we need, even when we don't. I'm glad you got the chicken.

  • J August 01, 2017

    Brandy, this post couldn't have come at a better time. Entering the third month living on a third of what was made. I wake up everyday feeling like a trooper...but trying to make ends meet to get the utilities paid and keep smiling is very tiresome. I have been a reader/commenter here for years, and re-read your posts often, sometimes I think it is why I can smile. Thank you so much.

  • Jessica August 01, 2017

    How resourceful you are! I am learning so much from reading your blog. We aren't in a position that we HAVE to be frugal (for which I am very thankful). But I feel like consistently making good choices about how we spend our money is important - especially if my husband and I chose to have children. Right now, our priority is paying off our mortgage.

    Anyway, we are in serious need of some cleaning supplies. I've run out of furniture polish and the cleaner we use on our hardwood floors. I'm also low of toilet bowl cleaner and cleaner for my glass stove top. The good news is that our pantry is pretty full so it shouldn't impact the budget too much. I go back to work in 2 weeks, so I'm planning on doing some freezer cooking to get prepared. The first weeks of the school year usually mean longer hours for me, so having meals already prepared will be a huge help. I also need toothpaste. I looked for a good sale last month and never saw one.

  • Deb August 01, 2017

    Jessica, for furniture polish try a mix of two thirds olive oil to one third vinegar. Shake well and apply with an old rag. This also is really good for "erasing" minor scratches on furniture and wood cabinets. I put citrus peels in a jar with the vinegar for a couple of weeks so the vinegar doesn't smell too strong....also useful for salad dressing! For cleaning your glass stove top use baking soda and a damp/wet cloth to make sort of a paste. I keep my soda in a jar with a shaker top (old parmesan cheese shaker bottle cap) to use for cleaning my stainless steel sinks and my glass stove top....just sprinkle some on the surface and rub with a wet cloth. Works like a charm!

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