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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?

 

Last modified on
Tagged in: Grocery Shopping

Comments

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 03, 2017

    Dang butter was 5.50 last night. Sadly any baking will be on hold. Will stock up when it goes lower.

  • Marcia R. August 05, 2017

    My one coup this week was stacking a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon to get an almost-half-gallon of ice cream for $1.00 I stick to buying the necessities on sale as much as possible. Was out of breakfast sausage last week and walked past it at $5.99 a lb. This week it was on sale for $2.99 a lb so I got two. I was 10# ahead at one time and stopped buying it for a while. I didn't realize when I used the last one, that it was the last! I buy the spicy sage sausage and we use it in quiche. Husband loves it! In August I am not looking for anything in particular, except peaches. They are expensive but I will be buying them as cheaply as I can at the farm stand. $8 for 14 large peaches this week. I'd like to make a fresh pie and freeze at least one more pie filling as well. I have about 5 or 6 packages of sour cherries frozen already from last year. Didn't buy more this year. Butter here has been high too, but goes on sale for $2.69 or so. I have about a dozen pounds in the freezer so won't buy unless it's a good price. With just two to feed most of the time, I don't need so much. Trying to learn to cut back. Last time I cleaned the freezer this spring, I had about a year's supply of boneless chicken breasts. Not buying more until these are nearly gone. Will stick to non-fruit pies in between the fruit pies as they are cheaper to make. Our schools don't re-open until after Labor Day, but sales and coupons are usually good at that time, so I'll just see what is available--we are fairly evenly stocked right now. Green and yellow beans have been beautiful this year. It would be smart to can several pints but not sure I'll have the time. Still making dr appts for some tests, and want to squeeze in a short (4-5 days) vacation in August to visit the Amish in Ohio. Have to find that many days in a row vacant of appointments first!

  • Becky August 01, 2017

    We are getting ready to leave for a mission trip. So, we've been frantically working on the garden, picking and preserving blueberries and peaches, making pickles, and canning jam and beans. My 21 year old daughter will keep the garden picked, watered, and keep the home fires burning for us. It sounds like her cousins might be coming over a lot, since we have air conditioning and theirs isn't on right now as they are renovating. I think they will have fun!

    During July, I gathered quite a few things to take on the trip. There will be food provided for the group (this is a high-school youth trip, with sponsors), but I am not able to eat some of it, so I packed my own. I bought convenience items that I don't usually buy, such as small packs of gf high-protein mini-meals, diabetic shakes for meal replacements if needed, gf bars, little packets of nuts, etc. So, although less expensive than eating out the entire time, these kind of foods cost more than I usually spend when I cook at home. I'm planning to have fun trying some new things!

    My husband and I agreed that we would go on a pantry challenge of some sort once we get home. I will probably work out the details while I am riding in the van all the way from Oregon to Mexico and back (I expect the van load of teens will keep me well entertained, but they might sleep part of the time! I'll think then:)!)

    As we looked at the garden we were tilling, weeding, and picking produce in preparation for leaving, and cramming more frozen peaches and blueberries into an already full freezer, we figured we had better eat up some more freezer items since we are not done preserving! Because we were between houses last summer, I did not preserve, so I had assumed the freezers would be empty by now. Not so! God's provision is amazing. I am having a lot of fun making jam. I think I was down to about 6 little jars after not making any last summer. This week, I made peach and peach-blueberry. I did a double batch of each, and canned them. I've also done quite a few jars of dill pickles. My dill is not growing well this year, so I am adding a few dill seeds to each jar to intensify the dilly flavor. Some of them were jalepeno dill, and some were plain dill. I've asked my daughter to make sure the cucumbers and zucchini get picked off while we are gone so they don't stop producing, and hope to make sweet pickles when I get back. They take several days, with lots of dumping boiling water over the cucumbers, and other steps, so I didn't want to do that until I had the time.

    So, I will continue to preserve produce as it comes along for the rest of the month. I will get milk and the basics as needed. I plan to use the garden to its utmost, and also produce gathered from relatives. I want to buy Gravestein apples and make applesauce. We ran out of it during the winter and I've had to buy it at the store. It is not. the. same. AT. ALL. I'm excited to get some home-made in the cupboard again. Because we didn't like it much, we didn't eat much of it. So, although frugal, it wasn't an accomplishment:) I hope to keep the August budget low.

  • Mary August 02, 2017

    Our only child is leaving for college soon.... so our budget will be changing. I'm lowering our food budget and putting that to college expenses. We have a pretty high food budget $500. I can lower it a lot if my husband can remember to take his lunch to work and let me do the food shopping.
    I have meats, veggies in the freezer so I should not need to buy those unless I see a great deal. I also have a lot of eggs. Only need to buy milk, bread and fruits every week.

  • Rachel C. August 02, 2017

    You always amaze me with your stories. You have helped my family out in so many ways with your blog and your posts. I have been a stay at home for almost a year now and you helped me when I was having budgeting issues and I was looking at your past posts on it. It's been a tough year but it's been a great year as well. My hubby has a job where the checks vary every pay period. He is paid on a point system where certain jobs are worth certain points and if he only has a couple of jobs one day it might not be a good pay day. We have been working on paying off debt. I will say we haven't accumulated any new debt since I have stayed home. And we are slowly paying it all off. Our food budget for this month is $200 and I plan on trying to stay well below that so I can put the extra money towards debt. The only things I plan on buying this month is milk, veggies, and fruits and only if they are on sale. Last month our food budget was the same. Next month it might actually be lower for us. I have enough food in our freezers and pantry to help us through. I am very blessed to have a chest freezer and pantry with food in them. We get laughed at when people know we have a chest freezer with food and a full pantry. We try to explain to them the reason behind it, for when there is no money for food we will have enough to live off of and not be starving. I even explained when my husband was let go at work last year and had not income for 3 months and we didn't buy any groceries and used what was in our pantry and it saved us from the stress of not having to wonder where our next meal was going to come from. I definitely have price points for all of our food that I don't go above and wait for sales to stock up on. Thank you so much for being honest and helping us out.

  • Rachel from Texas August 03, 2017

    I don't know if you'll read this, but I'm so inspired by your comment. Brandy is amazing and it sounds like you're learning to put her ways into practice. Especially making hay while the sun shines- having a stocked pantry and providing in lean times is so important. And all the while paying down debt! So encouraging- just wanted you to know that you're doing a good job!

  • Ellen August 02, 2017

    Loved the pictures of your garden! I just wrote up a post on my abundance of zucchini. Wish I could share some with you. ;)

  • Jenn in indiana August 02, 2017

    Brandy, have you ever watched jamerrill stewart on youtube? She just had her 8th child. They spend 800 to 1200 per month on groceries. It always amazes me the amount of food they go through. That's why I am so amazed that that you are able to eat from your pantry and garden and able to save money by not going to the store. You are doing fabulous!

  • Most people can't fathom how much 10 people eat and cooking from scratch for that many people every day. It's like Thanksgiving every day, three times a day here :) (sometimes a fourth time for snacks!).

    I have never watched her but what she spends does sound about right. We just eat plenty of less expensive meals! What anyone spends really depends on what they choose to eat.

    I'm looking forward to cooler weather and lots more soups. It's the least expensive choice, nutritious, and delicious! We've done them in summer while living on our food storage, but if I can, I would prefer to have more cold meals when it's 114º out.

  • Elisabeth August 05, 2017

    I was wondering about that! We're only 4 with two kids (almost 3 and 5) and we already need a lot of food.
    I'm really curious about the amounts you cook, that would be an interesting post!

  • Rachel H August 03, 2017

    This week we are on vacation in Texas visiting our son and his family. I know I left the freezer with no meat and a fair amount of veggies. My husband is a meat lover, and I make a meal with meat each night, and a breakfast dinner on a weekend night, and he is fine with just grits and eggs. I stretch the budget as far as it will go. My dad's garden has provided us with peas, which we love, I just have to shell them.

    So, it looks like I will be figuring out August when I get home. Here in Texas, we have shopped twice at Walmart for seven people. Sandwich fixings, burgers and hot dogs for the grill, breakfast foods, and some frozen dinners that feed a family, Stouffer's. Not what I would do at home, but for one week each summer it works. And more time with our four grandsons!

  • Ellie's friend from Canada August 04, 2017

    Brandy
    I enjoy reading your blog and get lots of ideas from it. The bargains I found this month include finding online a used Cuisinart yogourt maker (just like new) for $45 Cdn when it usually sells for $130 Cdn new. Now I will easily make my own yogourt. It probably makes too little yogourt for people with a big family but should make plenty for me and it has a cooling feature so I don't have to be around when it finishes. And of course one can make yogourt without a machine. I bought a prairie-hardy apricot tree for $30 (usually $65 but on sale because of its shape). A friend gave me a lift out-of-town to pick up the yogourt maker. It was right near a u-pick farm. I bought her lunch there; she bought me half a basket of sour cherries. I bought lovely green veggies, a zucchini for $1 (my friends will bring me more). On our way home, we stopped at our local farmers' market to see if the pesticide peaches were in but have to wait another week or so then I will freeze a case. I will be freezing the sour cherries. I might freeze them in pies but I only have the freezer above my fridge. When I bought the fridge I bought the model with the largest freezer compartment with less fridge space.
    The single mother who helps with the gardening brings me fresh greens from her garden. And my neighbour's husband gave me a bag of frozen fresh green chickpeas. I had never had them before but they were great. I didn't cook them. All in all a good few days. I don't plan on going to the grocery store for a month.

  • Athanasia August 04, 2017

    I have never made a menu plan. I have a running idea in my head of what I need to use that is in the garden or refrigerator and that has always worked for me. (Plus we keep a detailed log of what is in the deep freeze) My husband is the breakfast maker as I am slow in the morning just with managing to get myself ready. This time of year we have a lot of plain yogurt with fruit on it and granola, or he will make pancakes with fruit. Saturday breakfast is always a bigger deal with eggs and hash and potatoes..that kind of thing. Sunday is always a coffeecake and hard boiled eggs made on Saturday night. Lunch is sandwiches with a variety of fillings that I make, like egg salad, or tuna salad or sliced meat and cheese. Also we eat leftovers for lunch. I pack my lunch and take to work, my husband eats at home at noon and I usually make him up a plate of food when I make my lunch. When the weather is nice he eats out at the pond while he fishes. Depending on the youngest daughter's schedule she eats at home or takes lunch with her; she handles that all herself. Dinner this time of year takes advantage of what is in the garden. Tonight I am trying a recipe I found for crispy baked zucchini rounds and we'll have corn on the cob, cucumber salad, pickles, some of those marinated cherry tomatoes, baked fish, and berry cobbler (using the last of the berries I canned last year with advice from ladies here). We have been in the 60's and raining for 2 days so I am getting a lot of baking in.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada August 04, 2017

    When you have a moment could you please share the recipes for the crispy baked zucchini rounds?
    thanks!

  • Athanasia August 05, 2017

    Ok. It was from the cooking blog Closet Cooking: Cooking in a Closet Sized Kitchen from July 28, crispy lemon parmesan zucchini chips. You could fry or bake. We baked and they were good.

  • Athanasia August 04, 2017

    Oh, I just clicked on your recipe for rosemary potatoes and I think I will add that. We will be 7 at dinner as I've invited our tenants and my daughter has a friend visiting for the weekend.

  • Nancy August 05, 2017

    I really enjoyed how you included meals that you would be using on a tighter budget. You're such an inspiration to bring beauty wherever you reside...no matter the circumstances. Thanks to your blog...im enjoying whatever the garden gives.
    . Made a pot of black beans to freeze.
    . Made black bean dip like your white bean and homemade chips several times.
    . Eggs for. 37cents dozen. Made 10 quiches with homemade crust for freezer.
    . Was able to give 2 quiches to a family with a tragedy.
    .worked in my flower garden several hours weeding..cutting back. This gave a clean look.
    I could use fresh rock around them but the tidying up helped a lot.

  • Sandie August 13, 2017

    Hi Brandy! You really do have this 'food thing' down. It's a talent!! I've been struggling with grocery bills for so long now that I sometimes despair that I will never get a handle on this aspect of our household budgeting. To be sure, thanks to websites such as yours, I am much, much better than I used to be and I am thankful for that, but I still don't have it down anywhere near as well as you have done. I will soldier on, however. I feel inspired to try harder, thanks to you. You are an inspiration.

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