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October's Shopping Plans

 

October Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I took a trip to Sam's Club yesterday with the plan to buy toilet paper, and maybe something else.

I came out with 2 large boxes of toilet paper (on sale for $1.50 off per box, taken off at the register), a 5-pound bag of chocolate chips (I'll make cookies this month, and in the months to come), a lasagna (a splurge, definitely, but we love it and I am fitting it in the budget for the month), and six, yes, SIX, large jars of marinated artichoke hearts. They were priced at $5.01 each (normal price is around $8 or $9 a jar). I've heard that the "$0.01" ending means it's a closeout item at Sam's, and since my family loves them but I almost never, ever buy them as they're expensive, I decided to purchase a few for the pantry. I used some plus the marinade that they're in for a pasta salad today.

I bought some lettuce as well for salads, as I don't have lettuce yet in the garden to harvest. I planted some seeds today as our soil temperatures finally hit 75º, the top of where they should be for lettuce seed germination.

I also bought a 2-pound block of sharp cheddar cheese, a 7 pound 2 ounce container of ketchup ($3.83), and some cajun seasoning.

$127.10 later I walked out of the store, loaded everything in the car, and realized I should have bought milk to go with those cookies I'm planning to make.

So . . .

I'll buy milk at Winco, along with potatoes, apples, possibly squash, and pumpkins this month. I'd like to have some tiny pumpkins in the house if I can find some white ones at a price I'm willing to pay. If I'm lukcy enough to find a green one I may get it as well. I'll also pick up some candy from their bulk section for Halloween; it goes on sale the week before Halloween.

As the weather is starting to cool a bit, the Armenian cucumbers are starting to set fruit. I like the Mrs. Wages Dill pickle quick pickle mix. I'll pick some up to make pickles with my giant cucumbers; I have 5 on the vines right now and that is enough for around 10 points as the cucumbers get so long ; I don't have to brine the cucumbers with this mix and we've been really happy with the taste. I'll add a grape leaf from the garden into each jar; a reader mentioned this trick in a comment  years ago (thanks Marivene!) for making crisper pickles; it really does make a difference! 

1000 Bulbs The Prudent Homemaker

And . . . that's it! I really don't need anything else right now. We're working on eating down the pantry this month, and it's a busy time in the garden, weeding, planting, and tidying the garden. I ordered some flower bulbs in June that should arrive Friday (about the amount pictured above), so I'll be busy digging and planting bulbs for several days. It's supposed to be around 90º this weekend and into next week, so some of my bulbs will go in the refrigerator for prechilling for a few weeks (something needed when your winters don't get cold enough) and some will go into the ground, depending on variety. Update: It looks like I will be prechilling all of my bulbs as the ground should be around 55º, so I won't be planting this month.

Cucumber Pear Salads The Prudent Homemaker

It's also prime planting time for a fall garden here. I'm planting lots of seeds this month in the garden. I'm working on growing a larger number of green onions. They grow really well here and we've eaten quite a few from the garden, leaving me with almost none going into the winter. I'm looking forward to lettuce from the garden again; I have lots of lettuce seeds to plant as soon as I can get the beds weeded and tidied for planting. I'm also planting seeds for radishes (a quick turn around), turnips, Swiss chard, beets, leeks, and snow peas.

I'll harvest and dry oregano and basil from the garden this month, so I'll add both of those plus some pickles to the pantry. We also still have pears ripening in the garden, as well as Swiss chard and beet greens. I'll make some salad as pictured above, with lettuce, cucumbers, pears, feta cheese, and dried cranberries. I'll top it with some homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

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Comments

  • Miriam in Estonia October 05, 2016

    If you live in colder climate, use black currant leaves for you pickles instead of grape leaves. I've heard of using oak leaves, too, but never tried.

  • Angela October 06, 2016

    Hi Brandi, Could you tell me how you know what your soil temp is? Thank you!

  • You need to use a thermometer that goes down to zero. They have one at Walmart for $3.66 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Taylor-Instant-Read-Thermometer/16543483. It's a much cheaper option than a specialized soil thermometer and the probe is long enough.

    In general, I have found that the soil is about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than the air temperature, so that can give you a general ballpark.

    I have had much more success with seed germination since using a thermometer. If I plant too early, none of the seeds germinate, and I am left having to plant again. a few weeks later. It can be too early in fall because the ground is too hot, or too early in spring because it is too cold. The thermometer takes the guess work out of it. Right now it is borderline for me; soil temperature is between 75 and 78º. It would be better around 70º, and our temperatures are dropping for a couple of days and then going back up. I'm taking a risk in planting now befoe the weekend, when soil temperatures will go back up.

    My fall garden page gives germination temperatures for cool season vegetables to help you have better success in your planting. For a fall garden, you also need to consider your first frost date. If it's two months away, you have time to grow lots of things. If it's one month away, you can grow some fast growing plants. Row covers and cloches (jars work) can keep your plants protected from a light frost. Some plants will make it through winter depending on the plants, varieties, and your climate.

  • Angela October 10, 2016

    Wow great advice! Thank you

  • Mariana October 06, 2016

    I am also trying to make most of our meals from what we already have in our pantry. Some items are close to their expiry date and I definitely do not want them go to waste. What I am shopping for this month is milk, fresh produce and chicken breast. Seems like we have everything else. :)

  • cindi October 06, 2016

    October must be the month for pantry eating, as this is what we are doing as well.
    I have never tried the Mrs. Wage's mix -- will have to give it a try next year.
    We had our first snow this morning, which means the end of my flowers. The raspberry vines are covered with green berries, but I'm afraid they are a loss as well. We ate the last zucchini last night. This weekend will be devoted to cleaning out flower pots and adding mulch to beds.
    I'm really hoping to not buy anything this month and put the money saved toward a bill we have coming next month.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher October 06, 2016

    I love your food forest! How much do you think growing your own food has saved you this year? We're remodeling our new house right now, but soon we'll need to start creating our own garden. We plan to do raised beds while eliminating all grass on our lawn! Our water company gives good discounts if you replace turf with gravel or drought-tolerant plants. so that's what we'll do eventually.

    I have to say, we ate a lot from our pantry this week and it's really made a difference in our grocery bills! It's all about being resourceful and planning ahead of time. :)

  • Heather in L.A. October 06, 2016

    We too are in the process of putting in our fall garden. We are also putting our home on the market as well. Our oldest asked why would we go through the trouble of planting if we were planning on moving. Our response was we have no idea how long the home could be on the market. We live in a hot sellers market now and plan on pricing competitively, but one never knows and just like de cluttering and deep cleaning, a fully planted raised bed fall garden can only be a selling point!! We already have the seeds so it is not costing us anything and if for some reason the home takes a few months, we can at least enjoy the lettuce and radishes.

  • Margaret @approachingfood October 06, 2016

    I think everyone has had the experience of walking into a store to buy one or two items, and then finding such good prices on a number of other items, that you walk out having spent a whole lot more!

    I was able to pick up a lot of butter at $2.79/brick this week, so I've replenished my stock in the freezer. I'd like to get some more sugar and icing sugar when I see good sales, and as it's almost Thanksgiving here in Canada, I expect to see it shortly.

    I'm also working on eating out of the pantry for a bit. I have so many root vegetables and other items that I stocked up on when they were at good prices, that I want to eat those first. So lots of lunches of salads with pickled beets, and lots of potatoes in various incarnations for dinner! (Tonight is loaded baked potato soup, made in the slow cooker. Can't wait for dinner!)

  • Allyson October 06, 2016

    I would love your recipe for loaded baked potato soup in the slow cooker! Would you share? :)

  • Margaret @approachingfood October 06, 2016

    Sure! I got the recipe out of a slow cooker e-book but saved the recipe as a screen shot and unfortunately can't remember the name of the book or the author, so I can't attribute it to someone. But here it is!

    2 lbs potatoes (recipe says Idaho, I use whatever I have in the house)
    6 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided (I've also made this just with regular onion, chopped)
    5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (I've used two cups and been fine with that)
    2 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning (I just googled a recipe and made it myself, but you can buy it too)
    bacon bits/chopped cooked bacon to taste

    Put all ingredients in the slow cooker, except for green parts of the onions, the bacon, and 2 cups of the cheese. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 1 hour. Blend with an immersion blender. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with green onion, cheese, and bacon bits.

    Is yummy! :)

  • Leticia Cinto October 07, 2016

    Hi Margaret and all! This recipe is very similar to a traditional Portuguese recipe: "caldo verde" (something as "green broth or green soup"). The original one is a little bit diferent, but I make a simplied version that is what you do but, in the end, I add some greens, as kale or something like that. I blend after adding the greens but some blend before the greens. On the plate, I add a little olive oil and, with some homemade bread, it is a hit with my little family (just me and my husband). Have a nice weekend, everyone :)

  • Roxie October 06, 2016

    I am watching the sales right now to restock on butter and sugar. My pantry is low on these items. I have not found my low price yet.

    I am excited to say a Costco is going to open soon near me. I like Costco more than Sam's Club.

    This month is going to be a big 'budget' watching month. We have 2 large bills due so I am cutting our grocery budget where I can.

    No plans to buy anything extra unless I find a deal. I am watching for the hams and turkeys to go on sale. I have 1 of my 2 chest freezers empty. (I am cleaning it well and moving it to my sewing room) The other freezer will stay in my kitchen, it is a big chest freezer and I could not move it into any other room except the garage if I needed to. I want to get it cleaned up too.

  • Erika October 06, 2016

    My shopping plans (more like tentative ideas) for the month started actually with me thinking I'd be taking another trip to the U-Pick Farm for beets and carrots. Then my husband got bronchitis last month, my frozen shoulder set in resulting in two doctor's visits and all of the medications and stuff that goes with it and suddenly I'm like, "Yeah, that's not going to happen". Bright side is I found our local Safeway carries jars of pickled beets for a decent price and if I wait for a sale they will be downright reasonably priced. Unfortunately the beets did so terribly with all the rain and slugs this year what the local stands want for beets makes me out and out cringe as it is WAY out of my budget (my beets never stood a chance between the birds and the slugs, unfortunately). So, buying from the store it is.

    I'm trying really hard to just stock things here and there in with my normal grocery budget after one more "big" shopping trip on Amazon this month in the hopes to cut my grocery budget back to 50.00 a week again for the winter months. It's hard to do, but I have some pretty big dental bills that need to be paid before the promotional periods end or we're looking at interest charges and the balances rolling over to be more like traditional credit cards, so I'm determined to get those paid off ASAP.

    The rest of my list can be found here...

    https://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2016/10/monthly-shopping-goals-october-2016.html

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 06, 2016

    Finally got around to trying your balsamic vinaigrette, and it was a hit! (I did cut the sugar to 1 Tbs.) Son decided it was especially good on the ratatouille I made for dinner the other night. Anything to get that boy to eat more veggies. :)

  • Allyson October 06, 2016

    That sounds like a great deal on artichoke hearts! I wish we had a Sam's Club nearby. I bought a small jar of them for $2.50 at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago, but I'm sure the jars at Sam's were much larger. We like them on pasta and pizza.

    We are also trying to eat out of the freezer and pantry this month to make some room for holiday sales and to put this month's grocery budget toward paying down our home equity line. I know that soups are great budget stretchers, but my husband is getting tired of them, and they are hit and miss with our three year old. Does anyone have ideas for casseroles to do in the slow cooker? I have a load of bell peppers and green beans that I'd love to use in some way.

  • How about using them in a stir fry over rice?

  • Laurie October 06, 2016

    How long will they last in the fridge after opening? I've seen that jar. It's pretty big.

  • I know they can last quite a while opened (my mom had jars for months in the fridge; they're like a marinade), but I'm pretty sure they could be gone in a day or two around here if I don't dole them out :) Half the jar is gone already and I used 1/3 in the salad; the rest was eaten by family members.

  • cathy October 08, 2016

    How large is the jar? We generally buy marinated artichoke hearts @Costco. It's $9.79 for a 2-pack, and each jar is 33oz. Just wondering how that compares w/ Sam's. My solution to stretching them is to cut each half or quarter into much smaller pieces. You still get the flavor, but they last A LOT longer!

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