Grocery Shopping Trip, April 24, 2012

Last Tuesday, I got home from the hospital with my daughter, Anneliese. The fridge was nearly bare as I hadn't gone grocery shopping in two weeks and my family had eaten lots of produce in the two weeks prior. On top of that, our pantry was missing a lot of our basic staples. Tuesday is my typical day to go grocery shopping, but I was absolutely wiped out from our hospital stay that there was no way on earth I'd be venturing forth to the grocery store, so shopping got pushed off another week. We made due with the bare minimum (and a lot of boring repetitive meals and not enough vegetables, honestly) and held out until today when finally, finally I went to the grocery store, in the hopes of getting some "Tuesday sale prices".
I shouldn't have bothered.
There were no sales today.
The prices were disgusting.
I almost wanted to go run on home and eat nothing.
But we needed food...
And so I went shopping...
Even though I was dreading the bill...

I tried to keep this shop as frugal as possible, which wasn't so easy, given the high prices of everything. Which by the way, is why I'm not sharing how much this shopping trip cost me. My point is just to show you what types of foods I by and why, and the thought process behind my various purchases.

So, what did I buy and why?

2 packages (relatively) healthy gluten free hot dogs- for quick suppers.
8.5 pounds chicken gizzards- because they're the cheapest meat I can find.
5.5 pounds chicken wings- because they're the second cheapest meat I can find.

Dry Goods
5 pounds of cornmeal- to make polenta. As an alternative gluten free starch. At 85 cents a pound, it's one of the cheapest I can find, only a little more expensive than white rice (61 cents/pound) and cheaper than brown rice ($1.20/pound). 
8.5 pounds of sugar. We had none left in the house, and while I'm trying to not use any white sugar, it's a little difficult to do 100% of the time (not to main mention very expensive). I need it for my kombucha.
1 1.2 liter can of apple juice concentrate syrup. I use this as an alternative sweetener in some foods. Its the cheapest of all the alternative healthier sweeteners I can find.
1 package black tea. Yes, its Lipton brand. No, I don't specifically buy brand name. It happens to be that that was the cheapest black tea being sold. I use it for kombucha making.
2 pounds of date paste. I use it to make my larabars. Its just pure pitted and smashed dates.
1 bottle apple cider vinegar. To use in certain recipes, as I don't use synthetic vinegar, and kombucha vinegar doesn't work for everything.
1 2.2 pound jar of honey. To be used sparingly because its the most expensive sweetener locally (ok, maple syrup is more expensive), but still needed in some recipes where date syrup or apple juice concentrate won't cut it.
1 liter bottle of lemon juice. I wish making my own lemon juice would be cheaper, but unfortunately it's not.
3 pounds of dried black beans. Cheap. Yummy. Protein. Healthy. Needs no further explanation other than I was really craving rice and black beans the other day!
2 large packages of rice cakes (each a triple package). Frugal gluten free fast food, basically. Because I can't just pull out a few slices of bread and make sandwiches when I'm in a rush.
1 pound of whole grain tahini. Protein. Calcium. And because it tastes really delicious on sauted greens and I want to do some foraging soon.
1 4 pack of tuna. And yes, that's Starkist. And no, I don't do name brands on purpose, but this happened to be on sale and was the cheapest tuna I could find. 
1 small package dates. For snacking. (Not shown.)
1 small package prunes. For snacking. On sale. (Not shown.)
1 small package pistachios. For snacking. They were on sale. 
2 pounds raw buckwheat. So I could sprout them and use them as another gluten free carb. (Not shown.)
1 jar date honey. Cheaper than regular honey, healthier than sugar.
1 pound instant mashed potatoes. Because my bulk stuff is finished, and this is the perfect back up when I have no time to make supper and people are hungry immediately! And according to my experimenting, its actually cheaper usually than making from potatoes.
1 pounds of brown rice flour. For my gluten free flour mix. (Not shown.)

55 pounds of bananas. No, that wasn't a typo. See them piled up in the back there? I got the bananas from the reduced rack. I don't find them there often. When I do, I stock up like crazy and fill my freezer with bananas to use for homemade ice cream, for smoothies, for pancakes, for cakes, etc...
6 pounds of peppers, green, red, orange, and yellow. Also from the reduced rack. I plan on chopping some up and freezing so they don't go off before I finish using them.
30 pounds of apples. From the reduced rack. I rarely see them for this good of a price. I'll be making lots into compote and freezing it, lots eating plain as a snack.
3 small eggplants. These weren't so cheap per pound, but honestly, none of the vegetables were cheap, and since these were light, they didn't end up costing too much.
1 package carrots. I had 2 packages already at home, but since these were the cheapest produce other than cabbage, I figured I needed to buy at least one package.
2 heads cabbage. The cheapest veggie I could find. It doesn't agree with me so much, so I really need to make it into sauerkraut or kimchi. That's what I'll be doing tomorrow.
3.5 pounds cucumbers. The third cheapest veggies there were. These keep on spoiling at my house because I don't get around to eating them fast enough- this batch I'm determined to make into pickles so they don't spoil.
12 pounds oranges. The cheapest fruit I found. High in vitamin C. My kids go through these quickly. (Ike has been known to eat 4 in one sitting.)
2 heads of broccoli. One nice thing about veggie prices being icky in general is that the more expensive veggies aren't that much more expensive by comparison. I usually don't get brocolli as its expensive, but now it was practically the same price as the rest of the veggies...
1 8.5 pound sack of potatoes. If they were cheaper I would have gotten more. Only they weren't so cheap. Unfortunately. So one sack it'll be.
6.5 pounds of beets. I have plans for borsht. And beet kvass. And all sorts of other goodies.
8.5 pounds of onions. I can't survive without onions, so even though these weren't so cheap, I needed to buy. I think I put onions in every dish I cook. Nearly.
4 bulbs of garlic. No explanation needed.
3 pounds of zucchini (or 4 large zucchinis). For soup. Price wasn't terrific, which is why I only got 4.
5.5 pounds of tomatoes. Price was relatively ok...
1 large head of celery. All soups taste better with celery (in my opinion.) I don't need a whole head of celery each time. I'm chopping it up and freezing it in small containers so I can get out as much as I need for each pot of soup

So, that's it. I hope I can push off grocery shopping for another three weeks. We have lots of beans and some grains in the pantry, and I want to be using lots of that...

How have grocery prices been by you lately?

Penniless Parenting

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

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