August, 2017, $100 Grocery Challenge, Canning, and Menu Plan


The last peaches are in the jars, boiling as I write.  I only wanted to can 21 quarts, as I still have some left over from 2 years ago.  With what’s in the canner, I have 35.  That’s what happens when you are picking peaches and there are a lot of nice ones, and you and you sister keep picking……That should be more than enough with what I have left.  We have done 28 quarts and 9 pints of applesauce so far, and I still have another batch of apples to go.  Then, I picked a box of tomatoes from the garden tonight.  So, the canning is not done, but I’m gaining on it.


The menu plans revolved around the garden produce.  Our garden is pumping out the veggies so quickly that we cannot keep up.  My sister’s garden is, too, and she shared the corn with us.  Rob cooked a turkey on the BBQ at the end of last week.  We had that on Sunday for our family dinner with veggies.  I froze about 7 quarts of broth after I boiled the bones.

We just had sandwiches and leftovers for Sunday night, and there was a peach and ice cream social after church Sunday night, which we enjoyed.

Breakfasts are always eggs, toast, cereal, fruit, etc. in any combination, or we just eat leftovers.

Monday:  We ate leftover turkey and other things for breakfast and lunch, and I went and visited my friend, Harnet, and we ate together up there.  J went with me, and the rest of the family was on their own at home. J was a huge blessing, as she spent a lot of energy keeping Danait occupied while us mamas did errands and talked.


We drove around, doing various errands, and found the preschool where little Danait starts preschool soon.  She was so happy to see the awesome playground!


Then, we ate at an Italian restaurant.  We all had fun there.



Tuesday:  Lunch:  I had salad, others had sandwiches or leftovers.  Dinner: I dealt with the rest of the turkey today.  There was quite a bit left, as it was a huge turkey.  I filled several baggies with pieces of turkey, and froze them for quick casseroles, soups and sandwich filling.  I made crock pot turkey taco soup with some of the broth and some turkey pieces.  I also used some cooked, frozen black beans that Rob discovered in the freezer and some home-canned salsa.  The turkey broth has a smoky flavor since Rob did the turkey on the BBQ, and that went well with the southwestern flavor of this soup.  I made gluten-free cornbread to go with it.  There was a lot of soup, so I sent some home with my sister when she picked up Jake, and there is still some left!!

Wednesday:  Lunch:  Leftover soup, turkey sandwiches, and toast/ciabatta bread for Jake.    Dinner:  Hamburgers.  I have some buns that need using in the freezer, lots of tomatoes, etc.  I may make potato salad, if I get time.

Thursday:  Lunch:  Sandwiches and/or leftovers.  Dinner:  We are going to a party for dinner.  I am to take rice and salad.

Friday:  Here’s the best part!   I am getting away for the weekend with Rob for our 35th anniversary. I’m very excited.  Our times away alone have been few and far between, so it’s a big deal for us.  When you have been raising kids for over 33 years, it’s not easy to get away.   The kids are going to stay with their aunt and uncle, and will eat there.  I will grab some food items from here to take, and wing it!  I will certainly take some garden produce.  We can eat out, cook in our room, buy some groceries if needed, etc.  Rob is going to go crabbing, so maybe we will have crab.

$100 challenge update:  As of last week, I had $17 left from the hundred dollars.  We spent $10 this week, so there are $7 dollars left. We bought 1/2 and 1/2, celery and bagels.     I may need to get a few more bagels, since that is Jake’s preferred food, and maybe some 1/2 and 1/2, since that is Rob’s.  Or, I may not use the $7 at all.  Either way, it’s worked out nicely. We’ve been feasting from the jars of fruit that did not seal (we had 2 jars of pears, and 1 of applesauce not seal–not bad), fresh fruit before I can it, applesauce, watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, snow peas, etc. from the garden.  I was given corn, peaches, and a loaf of bread.  I’ve pulled quite a few items from the freezer, freeing up space for the peaches and berries I’ve put in.  And, turkey.  Did I mention turkey?  🙂  It was a BIG one.


We have used the excess grocery budget money to buy supplies for canning and freezing over the past 3 weeks, but didn’t need to buy anything else this week.  We have so much food on hand, and I love how much I’ve been able to put away for winter. I declare the August Grocery Challenge a success!






26 thoughts on “August, 2017, $100 Grocery Challenge, Canning, and Menu Plan”

  1. Well done on your grocery challenge! And look at all that canning and preserving you did! A lot of work while it is happening, but it’ll be so worth it during the winter months, when fresh produce is so expensive.

    1. Thank you. I agree–fresh produce can be so expensive that there are times I just refuse to buy it and we just eat the home-canned and preserved. We do have some banana-lovers around here, but thankfully they are inexpensive all year, so I usually buy them to go with the peaches, pears and applesauce which make up a lot of our daily fruit intake during the winter.

  2. Becky, I always enjoy your blog. You are so productive. We didn’t get much fruit this year due to a late freeze.. the magpies stole whatever was left but I have lots of canned and frozen from last year. Our freezers are full. We didn’t hire anyone to rototilling this year. Spring was very late in coming and the farmes were 6 weeks late getting crops into very wet ground. I just planted tomatoes and squash and called it good.
    I also have been on a grocery challenge. I admit I am a bit of a food hoarder. Trying to mend my ways, I gave myself a grocery budget of 200.00 a month for 2017. Every month I have come in under and managed to use pantry and freezer stocks. This month was the best at 81.00 for the month for groceries, pet food and cleaning supplies. Yesterday I went to cash and carry for 50# of rice and 50# of new crop Yukon gold potatoes. Now I’m up to 110.30 the dog and the chickens will help us eat the potatoes and rice. I’ve stopped buying dogfood which was costing almost 20 dollars a month. Now every morning I put a cup of rice in the instapot with whatever leftover veggies we have or some yellow squash and cook it. I add some leftover meat or fish to the dogs portion. The chickens get what is left with fruit scraps and melon rinds added. No expense for dogfood and every spoonful of food is used. Right now I’m using up fish from the bottom of the freezer. I hope to get to defrosting at some point. Anyway. Thanks for the inspiration. Hope you have a wonderful trip

    1. That is a really good idea–to buy that huge bag of rice and cook it up for the dogs! It sounds like you are doing a great job using up what you have preserved in the past as well. I feel that I could also just keep storing, storing, storing and never use it up if I’m not careful. Part of that comes from having had so many to feed at once in the past—there’s a part of me that still likes to cook large quantities. The other part is that I love having all of that to use in my cooking during lean times–I can always cook with variety, and have plenty even during lean times. So, I, too, have to consciously work on keeping that stockpile tamed!!! Those potatoes sound really good!

  3. this post just makes me so happy for you. Look at all you’ve got done with your canning and preserving. All this work will certainly pay off in the months to come.
    I’m with you – I love keeping a deep pantry. Mine is leftover from having a big houseful of kids and hubs. So learning to cook just for me has been a challenge the last few years. Keeping my freezers tamed has to be the biggest challenge. The pantry not so much as I don’t have a lot of space in my apartment.
    Same for the garden – I had most of my backyard at my house in beds. i.e. tilled dirt edged with old cedar fence boards – nothing that would have made a photo spread in a magazine but serviceable. And, now, I’m learning to garden in my community gardens just for me.
    But buying staples on sales and gardening has really helped me stay on budget.
    Thanks again for your posts and sharing.

    1. I will say that I am sitting in bed right now, watching t.v., after another long day of canning and watching Jake (with help of course). Rob knows how much I love canning, so he asked me this morning if I was still having fun–since I still had apples to do and ended up picking a big box of tomatoes last night that I had not expected to pick. My answer: Today, it’s not as fun, since this is the 3rd week in a row where I have canned non-stop. However, do I want to can today?–yes!!! I’ll admit, I’m super tired, but it’s still rewarding and satisfying, so I’ll continue. It felt great to know the pears and peaches are done. The last of the apples became applesauce today–7 more quarts and 10 pints. 13 pints of tomatoes were added to the cooling table.

      Tomorrow will be filled with a hair cut, washing and putting away the filled, sealed jars, and Jake, then a party in the afternoon. It will be a nice day, with a satisfied feeling because that canning is done. My canning is my McDonald’s on busy days. I’m with you–it helps the budget so much.

  4. Becky – the canning you do is amazing. You and Rob have servants hearts – you are always giving so freely of your time to bless others. What a great example for your kids.

    1. Thank you. At the risk of sounding corny, it helps me so much to focus on others–it keeps me positive, grateful, and happy. It’s amazing–I start by helping someone out a bit, and end up being blessed beyond measure. It’s hard to explain.

  5. Your peaches look great!

    I’ve been trying to kind of wind down things here. Since we don’t have a place to garden, I rely on purchased produce. I’m deliberately avoiding the farmer’s market.

    1. You know, my husband called to broach the idea of him picking more apples. He said the call went to dead silence:) We decided to wait until later and see if we need any more after these apples were done:) 🙂 I love canning, but am really tired right now. I need a little break, then I will feel like doing more–like more tomatoes, freezing corn and pickled beets–still on my list.

        1. I’m back home from our anniversary vacation and I’m ready to get going on the garden again! Hopefully, I’ve got my second wind for the tomatoes. My corn jumped into the cartons while I was gone, courtesy of my family–doesn’t get any better than that!

    1. Thanks, Jeannie! I’m still so delighted to have now eaten not 1, but 2 watermelon now!!! Whoo-hoo! I’ll take those gold stars:) I’m sure it’s probably the only time it will be hot enough to get any, so I’m fully enjoying the experience.

  6. Congratulations on 35 years of marital bliss! I love all the produce you’ve been canning.
    Great post as always.

    1. Thank you. We really, really enjoyed ourselves. The crabbing was amazing, the weather was sunny, we saw whales twice, had a nice anniversary lunch out, even caught a few little fish.

  7. Congratulations! You did quite well on your grocery challenge! What joy to have canned fruit ready for winter.

    Please drop by and say hello!
    ஐღLaura ღஐ
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    …doing what I can with what I’ve got where I am
    on a short shoestring budget!

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