As we start the month, the garden is yielding lettuce, Swiss chard, green onions, dill, cilantro, parsley, oregano, tarragon, lavender, nasturiums, thyme, celery (mainly leaves; these are from commercial celery where I planted the bottom in the ground), radishes, broccoli, sage, beet greens and beets. Some of my fall-planted snow peas are just starting to ripen, and the asparagus is just starting to come up.
This month lettuce will be able to be harvested more often, as plants grow larger; by the end of the month. The spinach will hopefully be big enough to harvest regularly, and the asparagus will be cut several times a week as spears are ready. (Aspargus goes on sale this month, for those looking to buy some.)
Another garden harvest is daffodils. Over a decade ago, I would buy daffodils in season when they went on sale in spring. These were a part of my grocery budget then, but now I get to enjoy my own every year, both in the garden and indoors.
March is frozen foods month in the United States. There are usually good sales this month on frozen items. I’ll be looking for a sale on sweet peas (also called petite peas) and broccoli. I like Albertson’s store brand and I will be looking for a sale on these.
St. Patrick’s Day means sales on corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage. I usually buy several packages of corned beef and freeze them. I will have to see what price they are before I decide whether or not to purchase any.
If the price on potatoes is low enough (hopefully 20 cents a pound), I’ll buy several 10 pound bags of russet potatoes.
Cabbage is a great keeper. In the refrigerator crisper drawer, it can last a month or more. If you like cabbage, this is a great time to stock up, as prices are incredibly low. This time of year, it is less expensive than lettuce, so you may want some to make Chinese chicken salads, coleslaw, stuffed and cooked cabbage. Another one is homemade sauerkraut. I will get some cabbage for this purpose. I made some last year using this recipe.
One of our grocery stores (Vons) has pork shoulder roast on sale for $1.49 a pound through the second. I will buy several roasts to put in the freezer.
Other items on my list:
Hand-washing dish soap. I use this both for dish washing and hand-washing.
Oats (I didn’t get these last month)
sour cream (I didn’t get any last month, so I’ll keep looking for a sale at $1 a pound)
There is a possibility of whole chickens being on sale, so I’ll keep an eye out for those.
If I find a fantastic deal on onions, I’ll buy some, as the 50 pound bag I bought in fall is starting to get low (we haven’t had any go bad yet!) I’d like to have some more to dehydrate, which we will use during the summer. I’ve increased the number of green onions in the garden, so that has helped me to have enough onions as well, and I am attempting to grow some red onions as well.
I’ll also be watching for any toiletries that I buy to go on sale. I forgot to use my $5 Target gift card when I was at Target last month, so I still have that to use.
I’m also hoping for some ice cream on sale this month.
You may have noticed that there is no fruit on this list. I still have lots of home-canned and frozen fruit from last year in the pantry and freezer that we will be eating this month.
Brandy, I see on your shopping list you have sour cream. Have you thought of shopping at a local Cash & Carry store? I don’t know if you have them in LV, though. We have them here they are stores where restaurants buy supplies and a few years ago they opened up to the general public. I get my eggs, sour cream and some of my other bulk items there if I don’t feel the need to go to Costco.
Since cabbage is so cheap in March, I make and freeze a year’s worth of stuffed cabbage each year.
I love hearing about your garden! I am in Ithaca, NY we still have a couple feet of snow on the ground and are getting another three inches today! I plan on spending some more time planning my garden today. I really want to focus on succession gardening to get the most of our garden space, even if it means just planting a cover crop for a few weeks to put more nitrogen back into my soil.
I planted a spicy mesclun mix and I want to plant some spinach as well indoors. Hopefully, by the end of the month I will have a few fresh greens.
In my organic vegetable gardening class this week, we learned how to make homemade seed tape and planting squares. Basically just using a paper towel or a strip of toilet paper to space out small seedings with a flour water past so that when spring comes you can just put it in the garden and plant it! This should help tremendously for the May planting season, which is always a crazy busy time! This year will be especially crazy as I also hope to add 10 fruit trees, 4 chestnut trees, 24 more strawberry plants, 10 raspberry bushes, 10 blueberry bushes, and 8 pine trees to our property . We have been planning for a year and a half to this, hopefully all falls into place and we will be able to make this happen!
Brandy, I thought you said one of your freezers broke? Did you get that fixed? I was just wondering where you are going to be able to put all the freezer items. Also, I have seen corned beef at $1.99 a pound. I believe that was as low as I saw it here last year, but I am going to wait and see what next week brings.
Brandy, you are very lucky to have such an early spring. I hope your garden grows well this year. I know how important it is to feeding your family. i hope one day when I have my own home that I too will be able to produce enough food in my garden to feed my family. Such a wonderful blessing to be so self sufficient.
When I read about the cabbage going on sale this month, I wondered if you ever made cabbage rolls for your family? I would think they would be rather inexpensive to make from supplies in your pantry, especially if you made a vegetarian version.
I missed my chance on potatoes. Smart and final had 10 lb for $1.49 last week. I did get good deals on oats and dried chickpeas. I bought chicken thighs for $1.88 a pound this week. Those are going in the crock pot.
My work is really precarious right now so we are trying to stick to the budget more than normal.
I lucked out and got free diapers! I just did an enormous grocery shop because all my children are March babies and so I picked up crackers and soda and chocolate on sale so I would be ready with company type snacks and not have to run out and probably spend more. I saved all my grocery points and got 30 dollars off, so the party treats did not come from my real budget. I am hopeful we will have leftovers from the first birthday to carry me through the other two. I put them away so we would not be tempted to eat them before the party.
our onions went bad after our basement pantry flooded so I am looking for onions if they are on sale otherwise it’s dried (from mine own) or none at all.
I am in Ohio under 6 inches of snow today and don’t have a garden in…so ready for fresh food.
I love purple cabbage. Not just for the crunch it adds to burritos, but it’s simply so beautiful. I’ve also noticed that it lasts a month or more in the crisper and have never had any go bad. Ever!
What I stock up on depends on what I find on sale at The Grocery Outlet. I recently stocked up on 50¢ cream cheese, 25¢ packets of turkey pepperoni and $2.49 bags of flour tortilla mix there. I try to not ruin my savings with impulse purchases, but their 33¢ bag of M&M’s tend to make it into the cart as treats for the kids.
The downside of stocking up too much is that food items can lose their flavor/potency by the time you get to the end. Example for me? Baking powder. I had a container from Costco that I’d been using for a [i]looooong[/i] time and finally used up a few weeks ago. I hadn’t noticed that my baked goods were less fluffy than normal, but the first time I made biscuits with the new baking powder was a shocker. Holy cow, they were so tall! And my cornmeal pancaked yesterday? Perfection!
I did buy four loaves of Fred Meyer’s [i]Country Oven[/i] bread yesterday for 79¢ apiece. (I’ve noticed that when it’s on sale 3/$5, they have too many and clearance price miscellaneous ones.) And I do snap up the $1.59 gallons of milk there, also clearance priced, yet never even close to the expiration date. I can’t remember the last time I paid a normal amount for milk.
For fruit I buy the “Schoolboy” Granny Smith apples, as they’re always 99¢/lb. They’re simply smaller than the other ones, which is actually better as it’s a normal serving size and rarely get started and then abandoned.
I’ll keep an eye out for corned beef though. Thanks for the tip!
Here’s a post I wrote about how I refuse to give in to higher food prices:
Brandy, sounds like your garden is doing very well; I’m picking oranges and lemons from my garden. I did my final grocery shopping for February, yesterday. Pork chops were on sale for $1.29/lb., so I bought 5 lbs. (6 chops). I plan to cook 2 for meals, this week, and freeze the rest. I also bought bread and bananas. I spent a total of $71 in February, on groceries (food items only) for 1 person (myself); my budget is $75. I’m in awe of your budget, by the way. My grocery shopping details are here: http://www.bless2cents.blogspot.com/2015/02/february-grocery-shopping-week-4.html
Again, thank you for allowing me to post the link.
The freezer is not fixed. If you notice, I haven’t bought any meat for a while. We have been eating the meat from the other freezers (the above-fridge one and the stand-alone one). I will have room in those. I just won’t be able to stock up on frozen items as much as I used to. We’ll keep eating meat, vegetables, and fruit from the freezer before those sales, too. so that will give me room.
I forgot to say that if you have not tried chipped beef on toast from corned beef, it is excellent. We are buying one this year specifically for that as soon as they go on sale.
What would you put in a vegetarian version? Do you have a vegetarian version that you like?
I have seen rolls made with Swiss chard, too, and I have lots of that 🙂 But the meat part is so expensive that I have never made them. I think that would go over better in my family since my husband prefers cabbage raw, but chard cooked.
Have you tried sprouting at home? Sprouted lentils, mung beans, etc. would be a nice thing to ad to your meals, and not too expensive.
As I have said, this is my first time really planting. I have several types of lettuce-red romaine, romaine, red, butter crunch, spinach, and kale. I’m not sure at what point to start picking the outer leaves. I also have never had success buying potatoes and onions in bulk. I don’t have a cool place to store them so they sprout and shrivel. My niece called me last night and specifically asked me to make my roast with peppers for a meal when our whole family goes camping the end of the month. Of course, the most expensive meat out there right now. At least everyone will help pay for it.
I am working on a very similar post to this one, and my March list of sales to watch is nearly the same as yours. 🙂 I wanted to mention that in my area, Albertson’s has been offering 10lb. bags of russet potatoes for .99 (limit 2) every couple months. I hope they offer that everywhere around St. Patricks! We actually have that price right now, but I only bought one because I still had quite a few potatoes from the last time they had the sale. If the limit is a problem for anyone, just send family members to different lines, stop each time you go past the store if it’s on a path you travel, or price match at WalMart (along with buying at the store with the sale).
Pick the outer leaves when they look big enough to eat!
asparagus is 99 cents here in indiana. .. wrapping in foil before putting in the fridge seems to stay fresher, longer.
I would think that vegetarian cabbage rolls filled with lentils, rice or a lentil/rice mixture would be really good, especially topped with tomato sauce. I have had grape leaves filled with seasoned rice, and they were delicious.
I am super jealous of your daffodils! Mine were just starting to come up when we got hit with 3 snow storms that added up to a total of 17 inches of snow. Now they are buried under piles and piles of snow. We have also had a few nights where the temperature got below 0*F (very rare for Central Virginia). I hope the daffodils are still alive!
Just a thought, but maybe you could use your black bean burger recipe in place of the ground beef in a cabbage roll recipe. I frequently use that recipe to replace ground beef in my stovetop lasagna recipe. Just fry it up, breaking it apart as it cooks until the pieces are crisp. Might be worth a shot.
I’m afraid I’ve never tried a vegetarian cabbage roll. I thought you may have made them as you make a lot of vegetarian dishes. I did try a google search and there were multiple recipes, all with varying ingredients. I guess you could choose one that you already have the ingredients on hand. This one reminded me of the types of things you often list as having in your pantry or garden:
Perhaps this might be something new to try. If you do, I’d love to hear how they turn out!
I am a bit conflicted. I spent March’s grocery budget on Friday and then on Saturday received a flyer from a local grocery store offering whole chickens at $1.69/lb. With that price, they are also offering $3 off $25 meat purchase and I could add an $8 off $50 total purchase. This is a really good deal to stock up on the chickens – and if I did this – I wouldn’t need to purchase any more chicken this year. Other than that – with spring planting season soon starting (end of March/beginning of April), we have greens in the freezer to be used- after that the only thing that needs stocked is the TP.
I will be headed next store to the grocery later this week – so I am going to take this time and see where I can make this work.
It is a weird feeling not to jump on a sale immediately – but it is important I save on gas where I can for a bit at least.
We make vegetarian cabbage rolls all the time. I am at work so don’t have access to the recipe but I could put it on this evening. I usually make a batch of each at the same time…I actually prefer the veg ones.
I would love that; thanks!
Hi Brandy. I’m not sure of the prices in America but in Australia shower gel can be cheaper than dish liquid. I use the shower gel and dilute it to use in foaming soap pumps for hand washing. I did a blog post on this last year and many readers have tried it with great succes. http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/foaming-hand-wash-savings.html Some even use shampoo because it’s so cheap.
Did you know that Dollar Tree tales coupons? I used some coupons to buy Bounty paper towels (something I am going to use in a house warming gift basket) for .35 cents a roll. Also Scott toilet paper. I got it for .50 a roll. I was able to get some dish washing liquid and some Purex laundry soap too. All with coupons.
I finished my post. It is here is anyone wants to see. 🙂
Your flowers are so beautiful! Funny enough, I rarely see corned beef here (Canada). We love cabbage in our home. We sometimes cook it up with garlic and onions as a side dish, add it to meat and peppers to make our fajitas go further or my husband will make it into curry. If we ever have left over coleslaw we add it to some warm rice and any meat we have left over to make a lunch meal.
Faith, try cutting a small amount off the stem, place in tall container (pitcher?) with an inch of water. I have two bunches in the fridge now from three weeks ago and they are perfect. I bought four bunches at the time.
There isn’t one here. I aim to spend $1 a pound on sour cream. Usually the bulk places are more than that in the 3 or 5 pound containers. I get the 1 pound containers on sale at the local grocery store. Lately the price has been $1.25 a pound on sale, and they had it for that last month, but I’m hoping for $1 a pound this month if possible. If not I’ll buy it again when it is $1.25. In the meantime, we’ll go without.
Brandy, have you ever tried making Runzas this time of year? A friend of mine from Nebraska taught me how to make them. Apparently they are a staple there! They are simple, cheap, and yummy. A Runza is a great way to use cabbage. It’s just cabbage, onions, and meat (any kind!) wrapped up in bread dough. They also freeze well. Here’s a recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/runza-80204
Armenian stuffed cabbage rolls. Serves 6
1 lg cabbage
1/2 c olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup raw rice
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup raisins (I use golden)
1/4 cup pistachio nuts
1/4 cup tomato paste + more
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt ( I use less)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock + more
Prepare cabbage leaves Saute onion in oil slowly until golden. Add the rice and cook covered over low heat for 1/2 hour. Stir occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients except cabbage and broth. Cook five minutes longer.
Strain any liquid off into heavy kettle. Stuff cabbage leaves with rice mix. Arrange the stuffed leaves into kettle and weigh down with an inverted plate (loosely fitting) Add enough broth (and the rest of tomato paste) to reach the rim of plate and simmer until done about 30 min. Add more broth if needed.
I always double recipe . There will be enough cabbage in the one head. Recipe is from an old New York Times cookbook .
We make these too. We dip them in catsup and horseradish. You could probably use seasoned lentils instead of ground beef.
My husband makes stuffed cabbage a lot. I did not know you could freeze this. Please post how you freeze them.
I chop and freeze mine.. In the gallon size freezer bag you can get 9-10 cups in them. Then all I do is take out just how much I need at the time.. Works great 🙂
I have priced corned beef here in the Puget Sound from 2.99-10.00 /lb. So expensive. I am tempted to buy Haggens for 2.99/lb but will opt not to as I have already spent this months food budget and stored more food for this next year. A couple of weeks ago I did buy a large chuck roast for 3.99/lb and divided it into 1/3rds. I usually never buy meat for this price, so I tried to make this purchase economical for us. I used 1/3rd sliced very thin for a pepper steak over rice meal that lasted 2 days. I will use 1/3rd for stew meat, and 1/3rd that I will try to doctor up as our St.Patty’s meal. I will cook this with pickling spice, garlic, bay leaves, onion carrots and potatoes.. We will “make do” this year. What is the highest price you will pay for corned beef?
Love your daffodils and garden pictures.
Patty from the NW
I don’t want to pay higher than $1.99 a pound, which means I won’t be buying any this year. I posted yesterday on Facebook about my decision to make some changes to this month’s shopping, which includes not buying corned beef (it’s $2.49 and $2.99 here) and buying strawberries instead to make jam. If you want to head on over there you can see my plans for what I have left this month.
I would LOVE to head over and see your beautiful garden. Unfortunately I am too far away 🙁 You have so much to enjoy from your garden at this time of year. Our soil is now getting to 40 degrees so I can finally plant several veggies with out concern from a freeze ( I hope) There have been years where we had snow in April! The daffodils have bloomed early for the NorthWest. We usually visit the Skagit ValleyTulip Festival in April, but they will bloom a couple of weeks earlier this year. If you look at this Festival on the web site, you can see such beautiful fields of tulips… so beautiful.
My friends have planted their seeds for peas a couple of weeks ago ( with 30 degree soil), but I chose to wait until the soil was warmer. I love your pictures, the garden seems so peaceful with it’s beauty. How long have you lived in your home and have worked on your garden? We are going on 2 years now here and there is so much to do in our yard. I have many plans for this Spring and Summer and you inspire me with your planning and garden creations. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
Blessings , Patty
The best price I have seen on cabbage is .48/#. I am hopeful our Fred Meyer will have it on their ad which comes out Sunday. Would love to get some to roast 🙂
I sometimes find sour cream & cream cheese $1.00 @ the 99 cnts store & a good brand. When I do I stock up til next time. I’m blessed to live close to different grocery stores. And when I go to Costco, Winco I plan my errands. The only grocery store that is far is Vons but there is one on my hubby’s way from work & he stops & gets me whats a loss leader.’
I went to the store today expecting corned beef for $4.99 a lb for flats, as advertised, but noticed they also had points for $3.69/lb. I chose one of those instead. It’s only on our menu once a year, as my husband isn’t fond of it. I will see how it turns out–I’ve done them before and found them just fine. Carrots were 2# packages @ $1.29 BOGO so I have 4 lbs. of fresh ones. I’ve never seen them BOGO before and usually get the 5# bag for about $3.69 or so–not cheap but never on sale, either. I had enough cabbage on hand and potatoes also, so I have only to make a loaf of Irish Soda bread ($3.99 a loaf in the grocery store.) and our dinner is set for St. Patrick’s Day.