30 Day Challenge ~ 11 Days In

Well, we're almost halfway through the month of September and here's how it goes thus far.
We've spent $34.29 so far at traditional grocery stores like the commisary or Walmart.  Now here's the kicker.  We've spent $135.15 on local groceries.  That means at farms like Brad's Produce, orchards like Lohrs Orchard and the farmers market at Bel Air.
This past weekend we visited the farmers market because we were starting to run low on things like kale, lettuce, ice cream and milk.
We also picked up one half chicken and one full roasting chicken at KCC Natural Farms.  Let me just say, this chicken was so delicious!  There was a big difference between this chicken and the traditional ones we normally buy.  The breast meat in this chicken was much, much smaller and the meat over all resembled more of dark meat than white meat.  The taste was richer and almost gamey and while the chicken was all over leaner, the drippings that came off in the rotisserie were extremely rich and flavorful.
Later Saturday night I started chicken broth with the carcass and it made, in my opinion, one of the best batches of chicken broth I've ever made.  The only thing I added to the broth was a few spare bits of green onion tops and a bit of salt. 
Now, many people might say "Well all the food at the farmers market is so expensive! I can't afford that!" and yet, look where we are now.
11 days in and we've spent $169.44 and that is for a family of three.  During a normal month the amount we would've spent on groceries would be twice what we've spent now with each grocery shopping spree during the weekend running up to $150 each time.
So, you do the math.
We predict that this next week we won't be spending much at all as our chest freezer is stocked to almost full capacity with meat, frozen blanched vegetables from the garden or the farm nearby and our pantry shelves are bursting with fresh preserved fruits, jams, jellies and salsas.  Plus, I have to admit, I need some down time to just catch up on the basics in the house!

This past weekend we had one bunch of seconds peaches to preserve, one massive sized box of seconds tomatoes to work on as well as tomatoes from our own yard, and of course the hot peppers we received as a gift from our next door neighbor. 
The peaches I simply peeled using a hot water bath, then sliced them up and threw them in the dehydrator.  It filled the house with the most lovely scent.  Who needs potpourri when you have peaches drying!
The tomatoes went into several different recipes.  Some just spaghetti sauce, some marinara sauce, some italian style diced tomatoes and some went into a new recipe that I would have never thought to make. Rotel!

We usually use the store bought rotel quite a bit in chili as there is nothing more comforting and warming than a bowl full of chili and rice with a slice of hot buttered cornbread on the side in mid winter.  YUM!
I found the recipe here at Homesteadroots for the Rotel.

This is really delicious! I cannot wait to see how it tastes after it has rested for a bit. 
Next we used up some of our hot peppers from our next door neighbor in a pepper sauce from the Chef Keith Snow at Harvest Eating.
I cannot believe we've never made this before!
Very yummy but very hot!  Whew! I cannot wait to pass some of these out as gifts as I'm sure they will be enjoyed!
Next week, we will be using up a bit more of our hot peppers and possibly some apples from U Pick at Lohrs Orchard in a Curried Apple Chutney.  I found the recipe at Creating Nirvana that I cannot wait to try out!
You know, that is one bonus to making your own jellies, jams, chutneys and salsas.  You can make jars of condiments and such that you would never see in the grocery store!

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