Grocery Shopping

December Grocery Shopping Plans

Christmas Stockings The Prudent Homemaker

December’s shopping will focus on seasonal deals, including citrus and holiday specials. I also will be stocking up on a few staples.

For an idea of what we have to eat in December, you can check out my winter menu. I don’t follow that menu exactly. I use it to plan meals based on what I have on hand and seasonal sales.

 

Here are my priorities for this month:

 

Fresh Food:

1. Clementines.  I love clementines! I first had them in Lyon, France, and I look forward to them every year. It’s tempting to spend the entire month’s budget on clementines, but of course, that won’t do. I’ll look for sales (the lowest they get is $1 a pound) and buy them only on sale. There are sometimes coupons, too, so I’ll be looking for those as well.

2. Hams. These will be on sale for Christmas. How many I buy will depend on prices (I’m hoping under $1 a pound) how much room I have in my freezer, and how much I have left after buying clementines! Ha!

3. Oranges. These are my husband’s favorite, and they are much less expensive than clementines. I’ll look for sales of .20 to .33 a pound or less and buy 120 pounds. These will last for months in the fridge, and even for a while in the cold garage before I have room for them in the fridge. I’ll buy 3 full boxes of them to get this many. Last year I found them for .20 a pound on sale right before Christmas and I stocked up then. If I find them at this price, 120 pounds is only $24.

4. Onions. I bought 50 pounds in November at .16 a pound. I expect to find another sale before Christmas as a similar or slightly higher price of .19 to .20 a pound. I’ll buy another 40 pounds or more. I will slice a good number of them and put them in my dehydrator to use throughout the rest of the year.

5. Mozzarella cheese. I’ll get this at Sam’s Club.

6. Potatoes. I bought 190 pounds last month on sale, but I usually buy 300-400 pounds in November. I’m hoping to buy more this month for .10 to .20 a pound. How much I buy will depend on the price we see, but if I can get them for .10 a pound, I’ll buy another 100 pounds. You can read about how I store potatoes here. If I don’t see any good sales, I won’t buy potatoes.

7. Apples. Apples will be on sale this month, Right now I see a sale at Albertson’s for .88 a pound on several varities. Food 4 Less has Granny Smith for .50 a pound. I’d really like to get enough apples to make sauce, but Granny Smith isn’t my favorite sauce apple (I’ve used them for sauce before). If I can find any other varities for .50 a pound, I will buy enough to make sauce. Otherwise, I’ll buy Galas for fresh eating only. How much I buy will depend on price. Update: I may skip buying apples at all this month and just buy oranges, since they should be a lower price later in the month.

8. Milk. I will use at least one gallon to make yogurt.

9. Cream cheese. These should go on sale for $1 for an 8-ounce package. This is the time I buy them and stock up. Expiration dates are 6 months out, but unopened, they’ll last a year in the refrigerator. Update: It looks like sale prices are $1.25 each this year, but there are 2 $1 off coupons for Challenge brand cream cheese on the coupons.com site, and each can be printed twice, plus a $1 off e-coupon on Kroger affiliate sites, and these are on sale right now for $1.29 each when you buy in multiples of 4 at Smith’s right now.

10. Whipping cream (maybe, depending on sale prices).

11. Pork roast. This is a huge maybe, but I think I may find some sales on loin roast or shoulder roast. Right now Food 4 Less has shoulder roast for $1.49 a pound. That store is rather far from me, so I’ll probably wait to see if anyone else has any other deals on either of those cuts this month.

Pantry:

1. Oats. We use around 75 pounds of oats a year. Winco carries a 25 pound bag for $14.75. Last year I had just bought some when I noticed a sale on them the next week for $9.80! Winco doesn’t advertise their sales, so I’ll have to keep checking to see if they have this deal this year. I plan to buy 50 pounds this month if they go on sale. If they don’t, I may wait to buy these until next month. Update: These are not on sale right now but I will look again later this month.

2. Barbeque sauce. I’ll buy this at Sam’s Club.

3. Balsamic vinegar. Our Sam’s Club is no longer carrying this. The next lowest price I’ve seen in Costco, but it’s much higher than wheat I used to pay at Sam’s Club. I don’t have a Costco card, but my mom does, so I’ll have her pick up a bottle for me.

4. Parmesan cheese. I used everything I bought in October to make pesto. Target has a great deal on this right now.

5. Corn syrup. This should go on sale this time of year for candy making and baking. I use some to make pecan pie, and I also want to try making some homemade marshmallows this year. I just want a little bit. 

6. Black beans and white beans. I’ll buy a 25 pound bag of each for $15 a bag at the LDS Cannery.

7. Olives. I will buy a few cans of olives on sale with coupons that I printed last month for .50 a can. Update: Winco has these at .98 a can, so they are .48 a can after coupon.  I had 2 coupons and bought 4 cans. There is a good chance this coupon will be available again this month, and I’ll pick up 4 more cans then.

8. Update: This is a new addition. I just found out that Winco has mandarin oranges for .58 a can. I may add some of these to my purchases  this month when I return there.

 

Non-Food Items:

1. Hairspray. I read that my hairspray might have an unadverstised sale this week at Target, so I’ll check it out. I use Salon Graphix Unscented aerosal spray (I have to use an unscented spray because of my husband’s fragance sensitivites). This rarely goes on sale and I’ve never seen coupons for it. Update: These are buy one get one 50% off through 12/6.

2. Diapers. Target has a gift card deal on these again this week. I buy the Target brand on sale, with coupons, and when they have gift card deals–and often they have all three. I’ll buy 2 boxes this week and get a $15 gift card back. I’ll use the $15 gift card towards some of the other purchases later in the month.

3. Paper Towels. I use rags for cleaning, but I do use a few paper towels to drain things when cooking–especially potatoes. I buy the Target brand on sale with a coupon when I buy them. There is a .75 off coupon right now on Target’s website and an extra 5% off on Target cartwheel.

4. Borax. There’s a $1 off coupon right now on coupons.com. I use this to make laundry soap.

 

Special Treats:

1. Peanut M&Ms. There will be sales and coupons on these, and both Cyrus and my husband requested some for Christmas. I have a Target coupon to stack with a manufacturer’s coupon, plus a Target cartwheel deal. Now I’m just waiting for a sale.

2. Candy canes. I’ll look for a box of 12 for .99 or a better deal, if I can find one. Update: One the 4th, I found two boxes that I had bought on clearance and hid! So, I will wait to buy candy canes until they are on after Christmas clearance.

3. Marshmallows. I’ll look for .99 a bag for a 16 ounce bag and buy them then (some bags are only 10.5 ounces, so I’ll look carefully when comparing sales). Winco had these for this price last year.

4. Hot chocolate. There should be some good coupons and sales for this this month. Target has a sale this week. Update: I don’t get the newspaper, but coupons often come in the mail here. They are usually a smaller copy of the Smart Source. Unfortunately, mine didn’t combine these. More may come this month.

5. Melting chocolate. Sam’s Club carries white and dark melting chocolate as a holiday item. 

 

 Meyer Lemons Square The Prudent Homemaker

 

Right now in the garden I have meyer lemons ripening. I have a variety of herbs, green onions, and lots of Swiss chard. I have radishes and carrots. Later this month my lettuce will be big enough to have salads.

 

This post contains an affiliate link. You can read my disclosure policy here.

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81 Comments

  1. I’m trying to picture how you store such a large quantity of potatoes and onions. I’m also very impressed by the price per pound you found for potatoes, the lowest I found was about .40 cents a lb. Food prices seem to keep going up!

  2. Are you close to CVS? Every few months, they have a single roll of store-brand paper towels for free or close to it. They regularly have sales on the six-pack of Scott brand. With a coupon, those are usually cheaper than the Target brand.

  3. Depending on how you feel about Walmart, you could always price match the pork prices there. You mentioned that the Food for Less store is far from you. Just bring the ad with you to Wally World and price match.

    Also, not sure if others do this with onions but when I have a lot in my house, I will slice a bag in the food processor and then cook them (on the stove or all day in the crockpot) to either soft or caramelized point. I let them cool and then spoon them into those snack size baggies. Press flat to freeze. Then I have prepared onions ready to use taking up almost no space in my freezer. It’s great when you don’t want to worry about onions going bad. Plus it’s nice to have on a night when I am tired but want to make a good meal.

    KK @ http://www.preppypinkcrocodile.com

  4. Those prices just Amaze me. Our cheapest potatoes I’ve found are in the big 50lb bags for $20 and sadly many have bad centers….. Apples don’t drop below $1 a lb. Almost all meat is above $2lb…. It’s Scary.

  5. I am, but they are usually out of deals when I have gone there. There is a woman near here who shelf clears and marks her stuff up to sell at garage sales (I see her every year at the neighborhood sales). It makes it hard to get anything there 🙁

    We don’t use a lot, so one package should last me all year.

  6. Those are our usual sales prices, too. Apples have been .99 a pound; this is a more rare sale. Meat is above $2 a pound, too. What I do is look for the rare sales. Each comes seasonally. THAT is when I buy those items. It might only be that price for one week a year. I’ve come to expect that, so I buy a lot of those items when they are on sale that week. If I look carefully, I can find those prices when I know they should go that low. (I usually find apples for .50 a pound twice a year; the other time is April).

  7. I bought potatoes for $.99 a 10 lb. bag @ the Latino Market & granny smith apples on sale. Winco had the marshmallows for $.99. I also got yams at a really good price at the Latino Market (Cardenas’s) Check your local ethnic market for low price on produce. I find great deals at the .99 cnts. store on cream cheese & whipping cream. Don’t drink much hot chocolate but I have bought some @ the LDS Cannery. I drink Pero a hot beverage I buy @ Winco. Thanks for the post! Luv your blog & website. You are a great photographer!

  8. If you find ham for $1 per pound please let me know. We did last year but this year the cheapest we can find is $1.99 per pound. We normally buy 3-5 hams to last for the rest of the year and I really don’t want to pay double what I paid last year for the same amount of meat. Like some of the comments above, we’ve had rotten luck with potatoes and those are a fall/winter staple for us so I’m having to adjust our menu quite a bit to work around the lack of potatoes.

  9. Brandy, I use the Salon Graphix unscented hairspray, too; in my area (central CT), the best price for ages was at Walmart. I haven’t been able to find the unscented there for about a year (not sure if that’s simply the case at my local store, or store-wide). Since that happened, I’ve been buying it at CVS when I’ve got a 20% or 25% off coupon–that at least makes it around the same price I used to pay at Walmart, & if I’ve got Extrabucks, that’s an added benefit 🙂 . At least that big can lasts me quite a while!

  10. I’m surprised you don’t stock up on candy canes in the after-Christmas sales. Here, I can often find the big bags of candy canes for 5 to 10 cents in the after-Christmas sales.

    We’re coming into stone fruit and melon season here – my favourites! In the past I’ve found peaches and apricots for 99c/kilo – watermelon sometimes gets down to around 50 c/kilo. Where I grew up, there was a university agricultural extension centre where they grew tons of watermelon for experimental purposes; they couldn’t be sold, but if you worked there you could take home as many as you wanted; my sisters worked there for a few years so my childhood memories of summer involve watermelon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and I never got tired of it.

    Since we don’t do a traditional Christmas dinner, there isn’t anything special on my December shopping list. For Christmas, we each choose a favourite food and that’s what makes up our Christmas meal. This year it’ll be: lasagne, pepperoni pizza, devilled eggs, and watermelon. I do need to get some birthday candles this month though; mine are past the point of redemption.

  11. I do buy candy canes after Christmas. I still have some left from last year. So I should have put this one at a maybe. I’ll probably buy one box on sale, just in case, and then look for sales after Christmas. I’ve never seen them as low as you found them. That would be fantastic!

  12. I’m watching for a paper towel sale. And a “new” table, Our kids are just wearing the table out. I’m looking for something oak, that can handle our lifestyle better. I want something with less crevices to get full of play doh and crumbs. It would never have occurred to me pre-children that the crumbs and glitter and detritus would be so hard to remove. Anyhow, that’s something we are looking for on craigs list.

  13. If you do get to cvs ask for a rain check if they don’t have it. Mine always does this and they have no expiration. It is very helpful.

  14. I’ve found the trick is to go to K-Mart 3 days after the shops re-open. You miss out on a lot of the more popular items which will sell in the two days after a holiday; but on day 3, that’s when our K-Mart marks everything else down to 5 cents just to get rid of it. I’ve found Christmas wreaths, trivets, candy canes, jump ropes, ornaments, chocolate, etc. all marked down to ridiculously low prices.

    Oh wait, I shouldn’t have said that publically. The trick is to wait until 5 days after the shops re-open. Yeah. 5, not 3. Don’t go on day 3. You won’t find anything!

  15. i don’t understand how to get and combine all those coupons to get the target cheese deal.
    You have the most beautiful blog and i think your an amazing mother and homemaker.
    I look forward to your posts. Thank you, Linda in Nebraska

  16. Have you ever considered making your own hot chocolate mix, Brandy? I use Alton Brown’s recipe minus the cayenne pepper. And add and additional 1/2 cup of cocoa. The ingredients are dry milk, cocoa, powdered sugar, salt and corn starch; all things I already have in my pantry. We add crushed candy canes to ours and it helps to add a little cream or milk to it if you are making it with water (which we do). I just made up a batch today. Also, as others have suggested, the dollar stores and Big Lots have some great deals, but you have to be cautious, because their sizes are sometimes smaller.

  17. Yes, thanks for that suggestion. I make black and white cookies once a year. I only need a third of a cup of corn syrup. You just made my day!

  18. Just a thought. Around my neck of the woods (eastern PA) sweet potatoes are a steal – usually 25 cents a pound. I find they last longer than a white potato in my basic (not climate controlled) pantry. The cheapest I can find white potatoes is 60 cents a pound and it is a gamble whether they are good or not. I also am finding them more versatile as I can use them in lieu of pumpkin in baking.

  19. Check in with the manager to see if you can get a raincheck. Our CVS will raincheck deals – including freebies – with no expiration date on the redemption. Worth asking!

  20. Brandy this is a little off subject but when is a good time of year to stock up on mandrin oranges and what is a good price?

  21. Linda, the sale is buy 3 get 1 free. Then you add the add the printable Target coupon for $1.50 off (she gives you the link to the printable in the post). Then you sign up for cartwheel, which you can use on your cell phone (or if, like me, you don’t have a cell phone, you’ll need to print it). You create a cartwheel account, add the cartwheel coupons to your account, and then take your phone and show the phone for scanning at the register (they explain that on the cartwheel signup) or take your printed piece of paper (made after you add the coupons) to the store, and they scan it. The cartwheel coupons can be stacked with Target coupons (and manufacturer’s coupons, in other occasions, but not in this deal, as it is a store brand item).

    PLUS, Target gives you 5 cents off for every reusable bag you bring with you to the store.

  22. In the past, I’ve always bought them at the case-lot sales that happen a couple of times a year. We’ve been making a point to use less, so I haven’t needed to restock in over a year. Prices have gone up a lot since then and I don’t know what the price will be next time. A few years ago, I paid .33 a can, but the last time they were double that.

    You can also buy mandarins on sale in December and can them yourself.

  23. Thank you for this post. Because of you I have completely changed the way I shop. I will be looking for about 12 hams. One a month for us. We don’t really like turkey. Apples and oranges are .63/lb this week. Fruit prices don’t go as low as yours. I’m still collecting pumpkins for free from friends. I want to stock up on pecans and chocolate chips. Our local park has pecan trees. I collect some while the kids play but need more for baking. I found hot chocolate boxes for .19 a box last year at wal greens. I got enough to last us this winter too. Made my soice tea mix, I drink a lot of that in winter. I need to stock up on marshmallows. My kids love them dehydrated!

  24. Whenever I go to CVS, some of the items I am looking for are already gone (even when I go at the beginning of the week) but I always ask for a rain check on their advertised items and I am able to get what I want a week or few weeks later. They are always really good about issuing rain checks, maybe you can get a rain check next time your CVS is out of something you are looking for.

  25. Food Maxx has red or granny for .39 a pound. … that’s an awesome price, however potato prices suck this year even for november. I am hoping for good ham prices over 1$ isn’t a sale I’m my opinion.
    I’m not sure we will be eating rice as much, consumer reports came out that the arsenic levels as required way above acceptable standards.

  26. Where do you live to get such low prices? I live in San Diego and we have to pay about triple what you are paying. Plus we have to drive so far to do any shopping that the price of the gas to get there just doesn’t justify the trip.

  27. I live in a huge apple growing area and I don’t get apples for less than .88 a lb! I’ll have to recheck the price on half bushels, but they are pretty much at the end of the season now for fresh, so they are all coming out of cold storage. Crispins are available and are one of the last varieties to be picked.

    Potato blight is pretty much a problem around the country isn’t it? That’s what I’ve read—I cut away what is necessary and use the rest. But I sure haven’t seen prices as low as yours there either.

    Last time I saw ham for 99 cents a pound was a week or two before Easter. We do not have a lot of grocery competition in this area–that is a problem with prices. A new superWalmart is opening in the next town in January or February and I hope that this will encourage some price competition. The nearest one now is a 40 minute drive away. I may not shop there but I hope they drive my other stores to lower prices to keep customers. Meat prices are horrible here and I keep looking for deals!

  28. Yes, the last time ham was that low was at Easter. It only goes that low at Christmas and Easter. I only buy it during that time and I buy several and put them in the freezer.

    The less competition you have, the higher the prices will be in your area. We have a lot of competition in our area.

  29. Judy, I live in Las Vegas.

    These are seasonal prices that I don’t see other times of the year. Some of the sales are at Target. You should have the same prices on those. The oranges are only that low at two stores in my area; other stores have them for much higher.

    I just looked up the Albertson’s ad in La Jolla (I don’t know where you are in San Diego so I picked one city for comparison) and they have Halos tangerines (similar to Clementines) in a 3 pound bag this week for $3 a bag. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99/pound. Pork sirloin roast is $1.49 a pound. Bone-in chicken breasts are $1.49/pound.

    Ralph’s in La Jolla has apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious) for .99 a pound this week.

    Your Vons ad looks the same as ours. The only good deal I see on there is grapefruit at .50 each. We have that same deal. It’s twice as high as I paid a few years ago and I am still deciding if I can fit them in the budget or not because I love them. However, your ad being the same means that you should see the same price on clementines and hams there as we we do here, and I usually find good deals on both of those here closer to Christmas.

  30. Use a plastic tablecloth, the flannel backed kind. I have a couple of holiday ones that I got on 90 percent off sales for less than $2 each. One is 12 years old, LOL.

    You can use a regular tablecloth when you have company over to cover up the damaged top.

  31. You might want to check Sam’s for the hot chocolate. Mine sells a huge canister of Swiss Miss. I got it on markdown for about $3.85 in the Spring last year, but I think at full price right now it might still be cheaper per serving than buying the boxes of individual packets. Love reading your blog – you are amazing! 🙂

  32. Last year at Walmart I found a great deal on lifesavers in the after Christmas sales. Every year at Christmas they sell these “storybook” boxes of various candies designed for stocking stuffers. A few weeks after Christmas, they still had some items on sale for 75-90% off, including a bunch of these storybook boxes for $0.50/box! Each box contained 6 full rolls of lifesavers. I bought a bunch and used them to give to my daughter’s class as an end of the year treat (though originally I was going to using them for Valentines day). Everyone really enjoyed them.

  33. Thanks for the reminder, Michelle! I have been wanting to compare two two when coupons are involved. In previous years I have gotten the boxes with 8 packets for .19 a box with coupons and sale, so I stopped buying the big container. Looking at the current deal of .69 a box with coupons and deals, here’s how it breaks down.

    Serving size on the individual packets is 1.25 ounces

    Container at Sam’s Club: 58.4 ounces for $7.28 = 12.5 cents an ounce, 15.6 cents a serving
    Box at Target: 10 ounces for $.69 = 6.9 cents an ounce, 8.6 cents per serving

    If I could find it on clearance in the spring at the price you got it for, the big container would be 6.6 cents per serving. I’ll keep an eye out for it going on clearance!

  34. I would speak with the CVS store manager and let him know that you miss out due to this shelf clearing lady. Ask for a raincheck for any deals that you miss. I teach a coupon class and always tell people to be kind to others and not do this type of activity. Actually reselling this stuff is against the law due to sales tax issues. She obviously is using several Extrabucks cards to get that many since most of the deals are one per customer/card. This is not fair and a very inconsiderate thing to do to others who would just like to play by the rules.

  35. Could you do a tutorial on dehydrating? I recently got a dehydrator but still not feeling confident in using it for onions, bananas, apples, potatoes,etc. Any suggestions/help would be much appreciated. I have learned so much from your website and blog. Wish I lived closer to be able to come to see your beautiful garden. Weather and life in central Kentucky is a bit different than in Nevada. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and lovely photography.

  36. Will you be spending your whole budget at one time? I can’t remember if you said in the past what your monthly budget is for groceries and non-food items? It seems like it was $100 a month but I could be wrong. Do you think that you will be increasing your budget for 2015 due to rising food prices?

  37. I find your shopping list inspiring me. I love Clementines. I like Oranges too. But I often find I get oranges that are dry or lack flavor – even in season. I’ve stopped buying them because of this. How do you find Oranges that have flavor? I’m in the midwest and wonder if this could be the issue.

  38. Aldi has clementines for less than a dollar right now. Ham is $1.50 a pound. Cream cheese less than a dollar too. Jewel is advertising .091/2 cents per pound on potatoes this Friday only. I believe Jewel and Albertsons are on in the same. I really like these posts. It’s good to have a price reference when looking for the best deal. I’ve been trying to stock up so that I don’t have to shop this winter… seems impossible, food goes so quickly. I keep trying though.

  39. Very helpful discussion fostered on price points, thank you. Aldi has had hams for $1.59/lb for the past few weeks, but now I know to hold out for lower!

  40. …..I’m laughing at this a little because we have shelf clearers here too. When I really want something I go first thing Sunday morning, and yes rainchecks…..I remember seeing this lady one time at two stores on the same day, I was really trying to find the sale item….she had a cart full the first store, so I left went to the next one and she showed up and we were sizing each other up. It was hilarious!!

  41. I noticed that Rite Aid has 12 count boxes of candy canes 4/$4 this week and you get a $1 UPR. So net price is 4 boxes for $3. Good thru tomorrow 12/6

  42. Our Fry’s, a Kroger affiliate, has Challenge brand cream cheese as part of their Mega sale this week. That makes them $1 each in multiples of 4. You can purchase other Mega sale items if you don’t want 4 cream cheese, or purchase more than 4 in multiples. There are also mfg coupons available for $1 off, making the ones you use coupons on free. I have had good luck finding candy canes on sale for really cheap at Walgreens or Target after Christmas with really long expiration dates. I sometimes glue them together to make a heart shape for a fun Valentine treat.

  43. I printed those coupons hoping for that deal! I will double check the Smith’s ad (our Kroger affiliate) and see if Challenge cream cheese was part of the deal.

    I was thinking to try Walgreen’s for the candy canes on clearance this year. Target is usually sold out of them when I go. I wonder how many days after Christmas I should wait before going. . . any suggestions?

  44. We’re so lucky to have a Cash & Carry (Smart and Final affiliate) up here. I can get 50# bags of potatoes for under $.20 several times a year. I bought 100 pounds last month (50 red, 50 russet) and hope to buy another 100 next pay day while they’re still $5.99 for the 50lbs! I’m going to try storing them in a container in our garage – it’s cold enough. I also bought 50# all purpose flour, and 25lbs of granny smith apples at 3.49/5# bag

    I bought 25# bread flour and 50# of sugar at Smart and Final. I’ll buy another 50 – 100 pounds of sugar next pay day if it’s still on sale. I also found Crisco (48oz) cans for $3.49 – so I bought 4 instead of one of the store brand

    I also bought 20 pounds of Fuji apples at $$.40/ lb for some applesauce (I need something to can in the jars my in-laws gave me for my birthday.

    I’ll look for good prices on butter, sweet potatoes, ham, powdered sugar and chocolate chips to stock up. My husband is on call the end of November and first half of December giving us an extra $125 a week so I get to invest a little extra in stocking up (as well as Christmas).

  45. My (very frugal out of necessity) aunt used to make the best hot chocolate, and she taught me how she did it, back in the 60’s. For each cup of cocoa, she measured out one heaping teaspoon of cocoa and two of sugar directly into a saucepan. She added just enough water to make a thin paste and then heated it until it began to get bubbly. This, she told me, was to get rid of the starchy taste of uncooked cocoa. Then she added in the milk (a cup for each up of cocoa, of course) and continued to heat it. Depending on how many of us were sitting around her table, she could quickly make one cup or 15. Through the years, I have altered her recipe depending on my own likes and dislikes. I like it with more chocolate and less sugar, and with a little Sienna cinnamon and cayenne. Since I’m vegan now, it’s either almond or soy milk that I use. However, the method is still hers. I do find that it works best if there is at least a little fat in the milk as otherwise, it tastes like warm chocolate water.

  46. I wish you had access to an Aldi. Your produce prices are much better than they are here in TN but we do have an Aldi. They carry so many seasonal things this time of year. The mandarin oranges are always .59/can year round. They also carry the white and chocolate dipping chocolate this time of year.

  47. I have a meyer lemons tree as well. Can you please tell me how long it will be before it produces lemons or the lemons turn yellow? I have a small tree i bring inside we live in tn & it gets very cold for the tree. It is about 2 yrs old. It had 1 very green lemon so I left it on the tree about 1 yr but it did not even turn. Not sure how long it must be in the tree. Any info you can give me would be most helpful. Thank you

  48. Hi!! Your blog has changed the way we purchase food and use our money daily. I was wondering do you use your monthly budget for food all at the beginning or do you spread it out over the course of the month?

  49. FoodMaxx in my area has both Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples on sale for $.39/lb. I’m not crazy about either one of them for making applesauce, although the Granny Smith at least make good apple butter and pie filling. I’d like to get a bushel of Granny Smiths. I will get a few pounds of Red Delicious for eating.
    Pork butt roasts are $1.49/lb; I’d really like to get a few roasts, not sure how big they are since it states “single pack bag”.
    Russet potatoes are $.99 for a 5 lb bag and there doesn’t seem to be a limit. I’m not sure how many I can store right now, but I’d love to get at least 25 lbs of potatoes. We had a mouse problem in our garage last year, so I’m trying to figure out a solution for safely storing them (the apples too) out there where it’s cool. Galvanized trash cans with tight fitting lids?

    I *think* FoodMaxx is owned by the same company that owns Food 4 Less, but I don’t know if they will have similar sales. Might be worth a check!

    Sprouts Market has clementines for $1.98 for a 2 lb. bag. They also have red grapefruit (which my daughters love) for 48 cents each and bananas for $.48/lb. I will try to get over there to pick up the fruit when I go to the thrift store this weekend.

  50. In case anyone is like me and is using up odd things in the cupboard… I’ve found that both cane syrup and beet syrup (I’ve found this at IKEA) work very well in place of corn syrup in many recipes. I’m not sure how well they would work in marshmallow recipes, but the cane syrup is a similar viscosity to corn syrup. Beet syrup is very nice in a caramel corn recipe — it makes the caramel coating light and crisp!

    If you have no corn syrup at all, you can substitute 1 cup of corn syrup with 1 1/4 cups sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water, using either white sugar or brown sugar depending on the preferred syrup color.

  51. I’m glad to see you found the cream cheese!
    I’m not sure when to tell you to look for the candy canes. It is usually a bit after Christmas when things are deeply discounted—75-90% off, and I have found them in shopping carts marked 25 cents and 10 cents each. Maybe friends can help watch, like they did for the butter :-).
    For you and your readers in the U.S., You might want to find a reputable “deal” blogger who is local and can alert you to deals and events in your area.
    I love the way you and your readers make such a friendly, helpful community encouraging one another!

  52. Wow, that is some wonderful prices on apples. The best I am seeing is .88/#. My son loves apples so I would be stocking up 🙂

  53. Brandy, you mentioned that you canned olives recently – was it unsuccessful that you’re buying more or does your family just happen to love olives? 🙂

    And I look forward to seeing what sorts of treat you will be making.

  54. I do both methods . I make up a large amount of the instant. It fills 4 half gal canning jars. I kept one for myself and sent one each back with son and wife, daughter and husband and one with the brother and sister who live together. This year I added mini marshmallows that I bought at Amish bulk store.

    I like to make a kettle from scratch if more than just one or two are having cocoa.

  55. I like to shop early Saturday a.m. when they have all the sample out . When they start sampling oranges that means they are good. I took a chance and bought a bag before Thanksgiving and they were a little anemic. We ate them and the peels were nice so I candied them.

  56. The plan was to can the olives, but when my computer ended up with adware/virus problems, I left the olives in the lye solution too long while I was fixing the computer for three days. They were too soft to can. Instead we will keep them a few months in the fridge. I’d like some olives to use throughout the next year, so I’ll need to buy some. I’m hoping next year I can do better with the olives. This was my first time and it has been a learning experience.

    Also, to answer your other question–yes, my family LOVES olives!

  57. Thanks for the update Brandy! Sad about the olives not working out but I’m sure things will work out next time (fingers crossed!). In my neighborhood, the residents are mostly Asian so even though there are many olive trees, no one really bothers to pick the fruit because Asian cuisine doesn’t include olives so they don’t care for the taste…myself included haha. If only I could pick them and ship them out to Vegas for you!

    I’ve read another blogger’s way of pickling olives and it doesn’t include lye so maybe you might find it easier to do her method? http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2012/09/foraging-olives-homemade-pickled-olives.html

  58. They can be done without lye (our neighbors crack them first, and we tried that method, but the bitterness never left–and bitter olives are nasty) but for canning, you need to use lye. We can still eat the olives, I just can’t can them. There are PLENTY of olives trees to pick from here but the time is now past for doing them. We will just need to eat more olives now 🙂 That’s fine; next year I’ll try to get more done and get some canned as well.

  59. Yes, we picked up a few pound of Granny Smith and Red Delicious today at FoodMaxx for 39 cents a pound.

    And we found a 10 pound bag of potatoes at 99 Cents Store for, you guessed it, 99 cents.

  60. This is a late for this year, but for next Year’s planning: Riteaid (if you have one in your area) has HUGE discounts on candy after Halloween. I was able to get 4 seven lb bags of snickers, m&m’s, peanut m&m’s, starburst and skittles for a total of $11. This will be the only candy I purchase until the after valentine’s day sales.

  61. Clementines are right at $1.00 lb. this week. However I am going to wait until we go down to Florida next week to see if I can get them cheaper. I think I am going to try to can some while they are in season.

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