Grocery Shopping Trip- 10/25/11

I haven't really been grocery shopping for a good 3 weeks, aside for a quick run to the local Mom and Pop's when I got an invitation to relatives and needed to prepare some salads to bring along and had nothing with which to cook them... So today, we did our first grocery shop in 3 weeks, and boy did I come home with a ton of food. Mostly produce. 115 pounds of fresh produce to be precise.
Yea, thats crazy.
You're probably thinking I'm cuckoo. After all, how can any small family possibly eat 115 pounds of produce before it'll spoil?

Well, remember how I mentioned in my previous post about stocking my freezer for after birth? A good chunk of this stuff I purchased is actually going to be chopped up and frozen to be used both after birth and in general. I bought the largest quantities of the things that currently are in season and cheap so that I could be able to use them when they're not in season and not need to pay full price for them then.

So, what did I buy?
All this! (Notice I had a hard time fitting everything on the table at once!)

No, I'm not mentioning exactly how much I spent on my grocery shop because it matters less how much exactly I spent, but what matters more is sharing the reasoning behind why I bought the things that I did. (Ok, and because I did spend a lot of money, and sharing the exact number is a wee bit embarassing, but a- being gluten free and not being able to rely on cheap fillers like I used to makes things automatically more expensive and b- at least I did get a TON of food for my money, which should last us quite a while.)

So, what exactly did I buy and why?

Other Proteins
Peanut butter. Because its a quick easy protein to use, and its pretty healthy (mine is pure ground peanuts and salt, no added hydrogenated fats, or sugar). Its not so cheap here, so I try to use it a little more sparingly.
Cashews. Just a few. A bit of a splurge but not so much, since I got such a small amount. I plan on using it to make cashew chicken stir fry.
Peanuts. A little, to use in stir fries as a protein, and to put in my homemade larabars.
Red lentils. On sale. And they're pretty much the easiest legume to cook.

Animal Products
Butter. Because butter is a heavenly food and makes certain food taste so much better. And its got lots of nutrition in it, lots of vitamins, etc... contrary to what the AHA wants you to think.
Whole chickens. 2 large birds. Because they were on sale for $1.25 per pound.
Chicken gizzards. 4 pounds. Because they are by far the cheapest meat around here, and we've been eating more meat since going off dairy and off gluten.
Chicken carcasses and necks. 13 pounds. I make a lot of bone broths, as they're a good flavorful base for all different foods, not just soup, but it always feels like I never have enough. I saw chicken carcasses with meaty necks attached being sold for 30 cents a pound and said I needed to get some. It just felt like a good deal- because for just 4 dollars I was able to get 2 huge shopping bags filled with stuff to make soup. And yes, there still is meat on the carcasses and necks, so on top of getting lots of broth out of this, I'll also be able to make some meat dishes as well.

Other Foods
Honey. 4 pounds. Honey locally is dreadfully expensive. Usually it is 5 dollars a pound, I saw it for $3.45 a pound. And while its most frugal to just go with no sweeteners if I'm cutting out sugar, I do sometimes want sweet, even just a teaspoon of sweetener in a recipe, so I figured its worth stocking up on honey at this rare price.
Rice cakes. I know these aren't the most healthy food in the world, that the preparation process destroys most of the nutrition in it... but they're gluten free and easy and they're my go to food when I have nothing prepared and I need food ASAP. Fortunately they're not so expensive here, even if they're not the cheapest food in the world either.
Rice noodles. 2 packages. I'm able to find these pretty cheaply, for only a dollar a pound, and they're really easy to make and are a great backup.
Rice. 4 pounds. On sale. A frugal starch. One of the few I'm actually able to eat.
Buckwheat. Raw, untoasted. 4 pounds. To make buckwheat crepes.
Sunflower oil. 2 bottles. I thought we ran out completely, and was delighted to find some at a decent price. Of course once I get home I discover I have 6 more bottles in my stockpile. Oops.
Tomato paste. 3 cans. The cheapest brand I could find. I use this fairly frequently and we were nearly out of tomato paste at home.
Ketchup. Where's the embarassed smiley face? My husband can eat anything with ketchup. I made a healthier version but it got used up. I need to make more, but this is for my husband to use in the meantime. Hey, at least its cheap even if its unhealthy.
Flour. To make my husband the occasional gluten free bread.
Apple cider vinegar. 1 bottle. Because its my go to vinegar now as its rather mildly flavored, and we were nearly out.
Date paste. 1 package. A healthy sweetener. I'll be using them in my Larabars.

Pears. They were one of the cheaper fruit in the store.
Apples. They were one of the cheaper fruit in the store.
Oranges. Great price- only 23 cents a pound! I bought 9.5 pounds!
Overripe bananas. From the reduced section. Only 12 cents a pound. To be frozen for smoothies.

Onions. They were loss leaders at 12 cents per pound. And because onions are a staple here- I rarely ever cook anything without onions.
Yellow string beans. 1.5 lbs. Not ultra cheap, but they're very lightweight, so you get a lot per pound. We go through a lot of frozen string beans here, and these string beans fresh cost approximately the same as the frozen beans do, and I'm sure the frozen include a decent amount of water weight, making them actually more expensive. I plan on blanching, chopping, and freezing (and comparing to see how much I get, so I know what actually is cheaper.)
Green string beans. 1.5 lbs. Ditto.
Bean sprouts. 1 package. For some dishes I wanted to make.
Green peppers. 1 pound. Because they add an amazing flavor to lots of frugal dishes.
Corn on the cob. 5 ears. Because they're a gluten free starch that is easy to make and that I enjoy.
Eggplant. 7 lbs. These are some gigantic, basketball shaped and sized eggplants nearly. Ok, just a drop smaller. I can't wait to use these for some eggplant parmigiana or some other similar eggplant based dish.
Celery. 1 head. Not the cheapest, but not too expensive either. I use it in all my soups to give them flavor. Some will get chopped and frozen.
Swiss chard. 1 package. Its healthy, its yummy, its not too expensive. Why not?
Carrots. 6 pounds. Some to freeze, some to use fresh. They were 12 cents a pound. Yay!
Beets. 10 pounds. They're yummy. They're frugal (the first 4 pounds were 12 cents a pound, after that was 40 cents per pound). 
Cucumbers. 3.5 pounds. They were 25 cents a pound. I didn't get more because last time I got a lot, they spoiled before I could use them up. This time I plan on making them into pickles immediately.
Tomatoes. 21 pounds. They were on sale for 18 cents a pound. I got 4 pounds of green tomatoes to pickle, a few pounds of red tomatoes to use fresh, and the rest I'll be chopping and freezing for use in cooking when tomatoes aren't nearly this cheap. 
Cabbage. 1 head. 12 cents a pound. Will be making this into sauerkraut because unfermented cabbage doesn't agree with my system, I've discovered...
Zucchini. 2. They weren't so cheap, nor were they so expensive. I use them for soups.
Butternut squash. 6 large. At my local mom and pops, these were on sale for 23 cents a pound. I stocked up and will be freezing some. 
Pumpkin. 15 pounds. This huge hunk of pumpkin was being sold for relatively cheaply. We're pumpkin lovers here and I wanted to be able to freeze some to have for later when the pumpkin prices go up. 

Spices and Seasonings
Hot peppers. 2. For a health tonic I saw and wanted to try.
Horseradish. 1 small chunk. For that health tonic.
Fresh ginger. 2 small pieces. For the health tonic and other culinary uses.
Dried ginger.
Dried dill.
Dried mint.

So, what did you buy lately?
What's the most produce you've ever purchased in one go?
Do you think the amount of food I got is crazy, or totally normal for a family our size?
What produce is cheapest locally now by you?
Would you purchase chicken carcasses and necks if they were only 30 cents a pound, or does that seem like a waste of money to you?
And lets hear your guess- how much do you think this shop cost me?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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