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February 2015

February is the month of waiting.  There wasn’t a lot of great produce sales and we wanted to do our yearly shopping when the tax refund came in.  It came last week so we spent the weekend shopping.  Almost everything we had went to stocking up food.

In my food journal, I tracked Bountiful Basket prices.  I want to have a good understanding of the prices as we move into 2016 (I know that seems a long time coming).  I don’t, currently, know what makes a price good except what I can remember from years past.  I’ve been tracking all the prices.

Every year, we make a Costco trip with a budget of $1000.  This is our once a year shopping but I haven’t been great about keeping track of how much we buy vs how much we use each year.  We did inventory the items we know we buy and then guessed.  So this year, I wrote it all down – how much we had at home, how much we bought and what it cost.  That way, next year, I can buy only what we need and maybe a touch more.

This is the last year we will have such a large refund so I want to prepare for the future.

The only produce we bought in quantity is asparagus and oranges.  It was a busy weekend and an equally busy week so we’ll be canning those this weekend.  It might actually be pushed to a March activity.  We’re not doing anything special with either one.  I haven’t decided if I will pressure can the asparagus or pickle it.  The oranges will be juiced for jelly.

Because February was, sort of, a preparatory month, we took time to clean out our freezer.  As you know, we cleaned the fat and made two batches of soap.  I put the remaining cleaned soap in old sauce jars and set them back in the freezer.  I will be making more soap soon so that we don’t have extra items in the freezer.

We, also, pulled out two 1 gallon bags of apricots and dried them.  Oh, and I bought another dehydrator.  We found one similar to the one we currently use that has 9 trays (ours has 4) on craigslist.  We’re so excited to play with it.  Because it is similar to the one we already have, we aren’t worried if it dies before we believe it should.  The trays will sit on our current model.  However, I’m not worried about that.  I just can’t wait to play with it.

Speaking of dehydrated foods, I have purchased several containers of e-prep foods – milk, butter, sour cream, corn, olives, peanut butter and cheese (all dehydrated).  These are ones I didn’t feel I could do myself and I want to start putting together “instant” meals for emergencies, camping and those days we have no idea what to cook.  Once the last shipment comes, we’ll start the experiments.

Speaking of experiments, we’ve been doing some with the crockpot.  Not so successful that we feel like we have some great things to share but we’re picking at it.

Now that we have a fully stocked pantry and the weather is improving, I expect that we’ll have a lot to share next month.