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.

Similar Posts


  1. 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.

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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!)

  8. 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.

  9. 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…


  10. 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. 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. Well, this is sort of related. I am working on getting kitchen cabinets, hopefully, this month, either on sale or from the Habitat store. It is hard to be organized with food when half of it is stored under your beds, and hard to prep food when you have no countertops. Now, mind you, I am so grateful to have a roof over my head. However, it would be wonderful to get my dishes out of the bedroom closet, my food storage from underneath my beds, and be able to organize my food.

  13. 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.

  14. 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! 🙂

  15. I did some stocking up this week—went to Sam’s Club with a list and stuck to it–25# each of bread and all purpose flour were the main things, plus some dried onions and a few meat specials. We splurged and had loin lamb chops on the grill for the first time in months!! So good!
    Today was my regular supermarket day, and I hit the jackpot combining sales with coupons. I saved 51% on my groceries and stocked up on some ready to eat canned soups (Progresso) and got an 8# butt end ham for $1.09 a lb. The soups are not a regular item, but only need to be warmed to be eaten–a snowed in emergency food. And an occasional “I’m too tired to care what we eat” emergency meal too. I do make homemade soups frequently, but they are solidly frozen in the freezer when made ahead. In our area, the best grocery deals of the year are between Sept-Dec every year, and that is what I am seeing now. A mailer from the store provided some extra coupons which cover the next four weeks, starting this week. The ham will be baked and then portioned out for many meals waiting in the freezer. There is still one package left from our Easter ham–the second last one went into scalloped potatoes and ham earlier this week. One of our favorite meals. These additional coupons will help with the little stocking up I will still need before cold weather really sets it. Still in the 70’s all week–fully 10 degrees higher than normal average temps.

  16. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Our shopping plans are similar to Brandy’s in that we are eating down what is in the cupboards, vegetable freezer and meat freezer. We are using considerably less meat that we did previously after researching what is the necessary amount to eat in a day for two healthy active adults and I might add it isn’t a lot. We have a lot of meat stored in the freezers so that will probably last until the new year before we have to buy more.

    We have for the last 12 months been eat our vegetables and berries solely from our vegetable gardens here and don’t buy any from the shops, happy days 🙂 . In the freezer we have diced spring onion leaves and bulbs about to harvest more and put in the freezer, sweet potato around 40 kg, turnips around 40 kg, silver beet and spinach around 10kg, pureed pumpkin around 15kg, some corn cobs, 1 large packet of green and butter beans and growing more at the moment, and around 5kg of capsicum. I think that we shall be fine as by the time we run low on the silver beet and spinach which has gone to seed in the garden our beans shall be ready to harvest.

    Last month we topped up on a lot of basics being 6 months worth of cooking chocolate, 12 months worth of yeast for bread making and a year or more’s worth of chocolate topping for milkshakes and ice cream topping, so our budget is substantially reduced for this month after overspending last month.

    Just the basics needed for this month’s grocery shop on the 18th which are –

    – Whole milk.
    – Cheese.
    – Eggs.
    – Instant powdered milk (we drink a 50/ 50 powdered and whole milk mix)
    – Cocoa powder.
    – All purpose flour if one of our food storage containers are empty.
    – Raw sugar if one of our food storage containers are empty.
    – Some tinned fruit if in budget.
    – Some fresh oranges if we can get them at a good price for juicing and storing freshly squeezed juice in the freezer.

  17. Don’t need too much. I will buy staples like butter, sugar and flour as they go on sale and the coupons show up in the paper. We will use a lot of butter over the next few months but according to my pantry list I have 34 pounds in the freezer along with 5 in the refrigerator.

    Need to buy Hershey kisses during the sales as will use them for cookies. We don’t do Halloween so do not need trick or treat candy, but will buy non chocolate candy and gum to put in the shoebox collection for Samaritan and some for the candy jar at home and library. Need Parmesan again. That is on the Sam’s club list and we will go there once before Thanksgiving with relatives.

    Always need the usuals of milk, celery, lettuce. Will get cranberries (10 lbs) and potatoes (another #100) from roadside stands probably this weekend. If we see honey for sale will buy another 5 lbs. Better to be safe than out of it.

  18. We stuff a lot of our bell peppers. Either with an Italian seasoned filling, or a Mexican seasoned filling and also vegetarian filling for the non meat eaters. Then we wrap them (I use freezer paper), label as to type and put in gallon size freezer bags. I can get 4-5 in a bag, depending on size of pepper. Last year we had lots of small peppers. This year after we thought they were going no where we had a sudden burst of growth and they are quite large. Large enough that a stuffed one would probably be enough for 2 people. My oldest girl has stuffed almost 50 for her family. I have done 29 so far.

  19. Cindy, I wish you the best of luck in finding the cabinets and counter tops you need to finish your kitchen and get it working well for you.

  20. Brandy, your salads look delicious!

    Have you ever tried growing gourds? A couple vines would give you lots of gourds and mini pumpkins for fall decorations. They charge way too much for them in the stores here. They will grow up a trellis too if you don’t want to take away food growing space.

  21. This is not food pantry related, but my oldest daughter wants a grain mill/grinder. Her husband will get it for her for Christmas. I have asked around at work and no one there has one, and I can’t think of any relatives that do, either. Would any of you that have/use one give me recommendations and or beware ofs? I would greatly appreciate the comments.

  22. I have had success with mini pumpkins once, but only once. I have already decided how to grow (i.e. where to put them in the garden) more pumpkins and squash for both decorating and eating next year; I bought seeds this year but squash bugs wiped me out before they even flowered.

  23. Athanasia,

    This is the last year Americans can include candy, gum, and toothpaste in the boxes. Next year we cannot include them. I don’t know if you knew the rules were changing, but I thought I would let you know. I haven’t decided whether or not to include them this year.

  24. 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 🙂

  25. I’d heard about toothpaste and our organizers did not ask for it this year, just brushes and holders. I think toothpaste gets added in at the country of destination. I hadn’t heard about the candy though. But I’m not on that committee. I’ll mention it to some one on Sunday. Thanks for the info.

  26. I read through the info last night…she wants one that is electric and handpowered. It looks like you have one of each.

  27. Jack be littles or wee be littles that most people use for decorations are edible. Cut top of, clean out seeds and bake 25-30 min at 350°. I put a little melted butter in mine before baking and swirl around to coat the flesh. But my friends don’t do anything to them before baking

  28. 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!

  29. I believe it was 65 ounces; it’s quite large. They must be clearing them out; they’re not on their website anymore either. They only have the plain ones in the 33.5 ounce jar (which is $6.92). I had read somewhere that a price ending in $0.01 at Sam’s means a close-out price and I have seen that ending on holiday clearance before. I imagine that’s why they were so low.

  30. Athanasia,
    Thanks for the great idea! We love stuffed peppers and eat them at least once a month. I also always have freezer meals on hand. I’m not sure why I never thought to make the stuffed peppers ahead of time and freeze them! hahaha
    I’ll remember that next year when harvesting peppers and also when I find great deals at the grocery store! Thanks again!

  31. Thank you Athanasia. I ultimately decided to not buy the cabinets and proceeded to put the money into my emergency fund to try to build it back up. There will be other cabinets. Instead of buying the cabinets, I reorganized the food on the free shelving apparatus I was given. I was able to get all the food out from underneath my bed, into the kitchen, and that made me so happy. Plus, I cleaned underneath the bed…..lol.

  32. Cindy, your alternative sounds good.. much easier to see your supplies on the open shelves then under the bed, that is for sure.

  33. I haven’t made our list this month. I’m hoping other than a few perishables (and some cheese substitute) to stick to eating up some of what we have on hand.

    What kind of dishes do you use your artichoke hearts in? I have used them in quiche in the past, but that is all. I’ll definitely be trying pasta salad with them added.

  34. These are the marinated ones, so the liquid they are in is like Italian dressing. We use both the liquid and the artichokes in pasta salad. I’ve had them on a regular salad when I was a child. Mostly we just like them straight from the jar!

  35. I’ve been meaning to ask but will you consider writing a post about your emergency packs – like what you put in it and what you plan on getting? I’ve seen you mention it here and there and I am greatly interested in how one can prepare but in a frugal way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *