But I have to work on our menu plan because a lot of the quick meals were based on store bought gluten free breads which I was buying cheaply, and for various reasons I can't be relying on them anymore. So now I need to come up with alternative meal ideas using something other than that- maybe homemade bread if I fill the freezer with enough rolls. I have to still figure that out.
Yesterday I went to the market and found some really great deals which hopefully will allow our family to eat well without spending a lot.
Lately, I've been feeling uninspired in the kitchen and can't figure out what vegetable based meals to make for myself; I look in the fridge and it feels so empty, without variety, but then I can't even figure out what I'm missing, what vegetables I need to buy in the store so that I'd feel I had options. (It doesn't help that I don't eat peppers or eggplant or potatoes or cabbage and need to minimize the amount of other cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, and kale because if I have too many of them my stomach starts hurting.)
I bought fruit on Sunday; we had enough variety in the house. I went to the market with the express purpose of buying vegetables I can eat. Since I try to eat paleo I go through a lot of vegetables... The rest of the family eats vegetables as part of their meals but I fill up on vegetables.
I decided to buy zucchini, pumpkin, and Swiss chard (I already had cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and onions at home- plus cabbage which the kids love). I'd seen fennel too, and I love it, since it is so versatile and tastes great both cooked and raw, but at $1.29 per pound I couldn't justify buying it- I try to buy my veggies only when they're 40 cents a pound or less, but will go up to 75 cents a pound if I can't find enough variety cheaper than that.
I saw zucchini being sold for 50-65 cents a pound, then saw one stall selling round zucchinis, usually even more expensive because they're specialty, for 39 cents a pound. I bought 7.3 lbs at that price, for a total of $2.86.
I had seen a bunch of places selling sprouts, all of them were $1.42 for mung bean and alfalfa sprouts and $2.29 for sunflower sprouts which I like better. One stall, however, was happy to sell sunflower sprouts to me for $1.42 so I bought that.
To my surprise I found a place selling a punnet of fennel bulbs for 23 cents a pound so I bought the punnet (too bad there weren't any more)- 2.2 lbs for 57 cents. They were small fennel bulbs but I don't really care- I eat them cut up anyhow.
All the stalls were selling pumpkin for 65 cents a pound, which is better than the supermarket price of $1.16 a pound. But I found one stall selling for 52 cents a pound so I bought 2.75 lbs for $1.42.
I really wanted Swiss chard and though I couldn't find any for a great price, all of them were $1.42 per package so I just bought from the stall whose produce looked most appealing.
But the two biggest buys and the two deals I was most excited about were actually purchases that I hadn't planned on buying. However, they were such good prices that I think it was certainly a frugal move to get them, if not an extremely frugal move.
My kids love bananas. I love bananas. They are so good as the base for many healthy desserts, and my favorite thing to do is to buy overripe bananas and freeze them until further use, whether in smoothies, ice cream, or cake. They have a natural sweetness which means that I don't need to use any expensive additional sweetners; they work as one of the cheapest natural sweeteners out there.
But they're out of season locally now, which means that they are generally being sold for $1.42 per pound, and sometimes as little as $1.03 in the cheap stores. I refuse to pay that much for bananas, so we've just done without.
At the market, I saw a crate of overripe bananas being sold on the reduced rack for 45 cents a pound- not as cheap as I can get them from the reduced rack in season- then I get it as low as 25 cents a pound, but still a great deal. I bought the entire case, 27 lbs!!!! The whole thing cost me $12.30. Of course, having come to the market without a stroller, that wasn't so easy to carry in my arms... but I did it anyhow, and froze the lot when I got home.
Lastly, I bought some turkey gizzards. I love gizzards (anyone who writes a gizzard manifesto obviously has to love them) but buying them at my regular grocery stores is hit or miss. They are typically a great price when I see them, either $1.30 or $1.55; my standard is to buy a few pounds when I see them, as I don't know when the next time I'll be able to find them, and gizzards are just pure meat so pretty much what you pay is what you get, unlike chicken wings and chicken drumsticks, for example, that are approximately half bone. When I passed a butcher stall, I just asked them if they had turkey gizzards, and if so, what the price was, not expecting them to tell me $1.04 per lb! In my life, I have never seen a better price than that for gizzards, and had I had a stroller or wagon with me, I would have bought more.... but I only bought 14.6 lbs in the end, for $15.15.
Grand total for my shop?
I think everyone would agree that for what I got, that certainly was an amazing price.
And now I am completely inspired in the kitchen, with a full fridge and full of ideas!
Have you gotten any really amazing deals on groceries lately? What did you buy and how much did you pay for it and where?
What vegetables do you try to have on hand to keep inspired in the kitchen?