Large Grocery Shopping Trip- 11/29/11

Usually I go grocery shopping every 2 weeks, lay out all my purchases on my dining room table, snap a picture, and the describe (either in short or in long) why I purchased the foods I did, why they were a frugal purchase, or a healthy purchase or whatnot.
Today's post won't be like that. First off, I bought a ton of stuff, too much to fit in the table for one picture, so there are a few different pictures for today, with the foods divided into different categories.
Secondly, there are some things that I bought that aren't necessarily the most frugal, and things that I bought that aren't the most healthy. There are a million considerations why to buy things- the point isn't to spend as little money as possible no matter what, all the time, no matter the circumstances, and only buy 100% healthy things. At different points in our lives we have different priorities, and because I'm going to be giving birth soon, I bought certain "convenience" foods for after birth to make my recovery easy, some of which were more expensive (lots!) than what I would typically buy. Because I do have some absolutes when it comes to health, I did buy the more expensive variety with some of these convenience foods, but I see nothing wrong with that.
Also, because I was spending so much money on this after birth healthy convenience foods, I did allow myself to buy some less than 100% healthy, but not anything we absolutely avoid either, because they're cheaper and I was trying to keep costs down. That means, everything we bought was chemical free and soy free, but I did buy some things with sugar and refined flour for my husband and kids... because we need to stick to our budget.

As it is, this shop ended up costing me around 170 dollars. Which isn't so cheap.
Then again, I haven't gone shopping in 3 weeks, and I'm not just going shopping for the next two weeks either, and much of what I bought won't be used for another little while, it'll only be used after giving birth. I plan on stocking my freezer/pantry as much as possible now so I don't have to go grocery shopping, or even cook food at all, for at least 2 weeks, hopefully 3 or 4 after giving birth, and since this food will be going towards that, I view this large grocery bill as partially eliminating my need to go shopping after my birth.

So, what did I buy and why?

A whole bunch of produce!

Green cabbage, purple cabbage, beets, carrots, and fennel were loss leaders at 12 cents a pound.
Oranges and clementines were a terrific price.
Apples, avocados, potatoes, butternut squash, and bananas were a pretty decent price. I got lots of bananas because they're a good, filling, and cheap gluten free starch, and I got potatoes as well for that reason.
Zucchini and tomatoes weren't so cheap, so I only got a little to use for specific recipes I needed.
Onions weren't either so cheap, but I'm very limited in the kitchen without using onions, so I bought a decent amount, but will be trying to use them sparingly.
I bought a pomela for an experiment I'm doing that I'll share at some later point.
I bought reduced bananas and peppers to put in the freezer, bananas for milkshakes and peppers for making it easy to cook meals after birth.

I got 2 whole chickens because they were on sale, and got a bunch of chicken gizzard packages because they're the cheapest meat available here. I plan on cooking up a bunch now, and freezing them for after birth. I also got some cans of tuna and sardines for quick easy proteins for after birth.

I bought broad beans and lentils because they were on sale. I bought corn meal to make polenta and corn bread, cheap gluten free starches. I also bought white rice flour and brown rice flour for my gluten free recipes. I also bought wheat semolina to make hot cereal for my husband for breakfast. Not so healthy, but at least its chemical free and cheap and filling. I also bought round rice for making rissoto, and flax seeds to make some gluten free dishes (I saw a flax seed focaccia that I wanted to try). I also bought white sugar to use to make kombucha.

Here's my "cheats". I bought gluten free, sugar free, dairy free cornflakes for after birth. It's also organic, which made it more expensive than I wanted it to be, but it was the only gluten free cereal I could find. Breakfast is my hardest meal of the day to make, because I usually am lacking energy in the AM until I eat, and its hard for me to have energy to cook food to give me energy when I already am lacking energy. I packed the freezer with some breakfast meals for after birth, but cereal and milk will be my backup plan.
And yes, that's why I got 2 boxes of really expensive shelf stable rice dream. Because even if I know how to make my own non dairy milks, I need some milk to have with my cereal that will be ready immediately, and not need to first be defrosted. Of course, I could have gone with the cheaper (but still expensive) soy milk, but soy is one of our absolutes in this house, and I would rather spend more money on rice milk than get cheaper garbage/poison. No, not regular milk, because I can't drink regular milk- it makes me sick.

I also got three packages of "free" hot dogs. No, they weren't free or even so cheap, but I call them "free" because they're:
Nitrate free
MSG free
Artificial flavoring free
Artificial coloring free
Transfat free
Gluten free
Soy free...
Among much else. There isn't a single objectionable ingredient in there! They'll be quick supper for when I desperately need it.

I also got rice crackers and gluten free spaghetti to use to make rice-a-roni to freeze for after birth.
I also bought date paste to use to make more larabars for after birth.

2 packages of frozen peas. They were on sale, and they're protein.

Yikes. Uh... Cereal. For my husband and the kids for the mornings I really can't make breakfast and they need to eat something. Its a mix of 5 whole grains, mostly corn, rice, and something else, and only a little wheat, so not too gluten heavy. It has sugar, yes, but no artificial flavorings or colorings or other chemicals. And its cheap. Somewhat anyhow.
2 jars of honey- they were on sale. One can of apple juice concentrate, to use as a healthy sweetener. Tomato paste, because that's a staple in this house. Bottled lemon juice, because we ran short. Dish soap because we ran out. Baby corn because it was on sale. Olives because there's a specific dish I want to make with them (a Moroccan millet squash pilaf). I plan on dividing the olives and freezing the leftovers.

Garlic powder, because I ran out. Shitake mushrooms to use for a quick miso soup after birth. Raisin, sugar free dried papaya, sugar free dried cherries, banana chips will be used as a trail mix for during labor to give me needed energy without having white sugar. I also plan on using the unsweetened cherries as a replacement for craisins in recipes.

Ok, I didn't spend as little as I possibly could, nor did I get only supremely supremely healthy foods. But I don't think I got anything way too objectionable.
I have no regrets, and that's all that's important.

Do you think I overspent, or does this look like a good amount of food to get for 175 dollars? How much did you spend on groceries this week?

Penniless Parenting

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

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