The Little House Living Show – Episode 012 – My Winter Shopping List
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What’s In This Episode?
0:36 – Introduction
2:26 – Beginning of my list
3:16 – Carrot recipe
4:09 – Another carrot recipe
5:35 – Cabbage and what we use it for
7:00 – Cauliflower and what we use it for
8:55 – What kind of greens I buy in the winter
9: 50 – Fruits I buy in the winter
13:01 – Things that aren’t on my list
17:23 – Encouragement for winter meals
Links Mentioned in This Show
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Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Little House Living show. I’m so glad that you guys decided to join me today and just listened to my rambles. It means a lot that you would come back and listen to this podcast again, as I’m getting it restarted, I have a lot of fun doing this podcast, and I would like to talk more on more topics that you would enjoy hearing about. So if you have any ideas for future podcasts, please be sure. And email me a [email protected]
So today I want to jump into something that I’ve been thinking about lately because the weather’s getting colder and we’re, you know, we’re bundled up more, we’re inside more, but we’re still doing grocery shopping. So I know that there is some people out there, maybe even some of you listening, who prepare all summer and have so much canned food and frozen food put away that you can get by through the winter without having to go to the store at all.
And I think that’s amazing and it’s definitely a goal that we have for our future, but it’s not somewhere where we’re at right now. And so I still go grocery shopping in the winter. I mostly stick to the basics in the winter because I do have a lot of things that I put away for the summer, but it’s not quite the same as my summer shopping lists. So today I wanted to talk to you about my winter shopping list, things that I get every time I go to the grocery store and kind of why I buy those things and what I make with them. So I’m going to start by talking about the different vegetables. Now there’s a lot of vegetables that you can still get in the winter that are in season, or at least still taste good. And they are not that expensive either.
So probably kind of the base of my list is carrots and celery. And the reason that they’re the base of my shopping list is because that is kind of the base of most soup recipes that I make. It’s so easy to throw carrots and celery in a soup and have that, you know, extra vegetable in there just super easy. So since we make a lot of soups in the winter carrots and celery usually go on my shopping list. Celery doesn’t necessarily get on my list all the time. I like to buy those bigger packs of the celery hearts. So they last us quite a while cause they don’t add a ton of it to soup.
Carrots we go through pretty quickly. I like to buy those at least buy the five-pound bag and I will probably buy multiple five pound bags at a time.
We add those into so many different dishes from our really easy coleslaw recipe and to roasting them. And that’s one of our favorite ways to eat carrots is to roast them. And what I do for that, this is so easy. All I do is slice up the carrots into, you know, like finger sized carrots. And then I put them in a bowl and coat them with some olive oil and some salt not too much, just a little bit. And then I put them in one of my roasting pans and stick them in the oven at about four 25 and let them cook for at least probably 45 minutes to an hour. I turn them occasionally to make sure they’re roasting evenly on all sides and all my, they are so good and go with so many different things. And that, I mean, it’s so simple because all it is is carrots and oil and salt.
I have another recipe that I make for roasted carrots and in a bowl, I don’t really have amounts for this, but in a bowl I mix a little bit of parsley and black pepper, salt and garlic. And then I kind of blend that together. And then I do my carrots and the same, you know, I cut them about the size of fingers and put them in a bowl with some olive oil. And then I sprinkle this mixture over the top and it’s so yummy. It’s like, it’s like a ranch roasted carrot. It’s super good. So those are kind of the two things that we do with carrots. And we do those pretty often because they’re just really good. And carrots are really cheap. I try to get them under 75 cents a pound. So that makes a really cheap side dish for our family. And of course, carrots, you can always stick them in the Crock-Pot with a roast. There’s just so many different things that you can do with them. We stick them in stir fry. Like I said, we, we make coleslaw a lot. So we put them in with our coleslaw and there’s just a lot of different things we use carrots for.
So that’s one of my things that’s on my grocery list every week in the winter. Well, every other week I don’t usually shop every week in the winter. It’s harder to get to the store. So about every other week or possibly less than that just depends on if I can get to the grocery store or not.
So another vegetable that’s on my winter shopping list is cabbage and cabbage is kind of on my shopping list year-round. It doesn’t seem to fluctuate in price that much. So I like it because it’s just one of our frugal staples. And we use it for so many things, just like carrots. We shred it up and use it for our coleslaw. We put it in a stir fry. I will put it as part of the base of like a cooked salad. It’s super good. And of course, cabbage is really good for you. So that’s something that I’m always buying. And I kind of, I, I do this thing when I go shopping, I will buy the bags of the premixed coleslaw mix because that just makes it so easy to make coleslaw or certain meals or whatever we’re doing with it. And then I also buy the heads of cabbage as well. And that’s just because the bagged coleslaw mix doesn’t last very long. Usually, when you buy it, it only lasts about a week. Whereas the heads of cabbage will last for weeks. If you store them in a nice, cool environment.
So I like to get both because like I said earlier, I don’t go to the store every week in the winter. So having the heads of cabbage helps kind of prolong our groceries. And so I don’t have to go to the store as often, but we still have that yummy, fresh food to draw from.
And then the next thing I have on here is cauliflower. And that’s something that I buy fresh year round too. I don’t particularly like frozen cauliflower. We will eat it if that’s what I’m able to get on sale or is all we have. But I like to get the fresh cauliflower. It’s generally pretty expensive. I like to stay under $3 for a large head and you can do so many things with it. One of my favorite things to do with cauliflower and this sounds really simple and kind of silly, but all I do is kind of chop it up, like make the florets kind of smaller and cut it all off the head.
And then I add a little bit of garlic and a little bit of turmeric and a little bit of salt. And then just kind of, I don’t know if fry is the right term, I cook it in a frying pan, but just kind of slowly. And so some parts of it get a little crispy and as is so good. I can’t have regular potatoes. And so I’ve been kind of eating this when the, my husband and the kids have been eating potatoes and it’s just really yummy. Like the flavor is super good. I call it my yellow cauliflower because the turmeric turns it yellow, but it’s really good and really easy, easy side to make. And then we also like to make roasted cauliflower or grilled cauliflower as well in the summer. I put it on the grill in the winter. I will cook it kind of similar to how I cook the roasted carrots, but not so much olive oil on it.
I just put it with a little bit of salt and just a little bit of oil in the roasting pan and roast it until it starts to get a little crispy. And it’s super good. I didn’t include broccoli on this list. It’s not something that I buy fresh in the winter, so it’s not on my regular grocery shopping list, but we do still eat quite a bit of broccoli. It’s just frozen. And I like to get that, you know, whenever I can find it on sale. So that kind of goes with like, it’s really similar to cauliflower, but we don’t buy it as much as we buy cauliflower because I’m not buying it fresh in the winter.
And then the last thing I have under vegetables for my winter shopping list is any type of greens. So I’m not a big fan of lettuce, like regular lettuce leaves, but I love spinach and kale and Brussels sprouts and all those kinds of greens.
So we always try, when we go to the store to buy some kind of greens that I feel like will last a long time, usually spinach lasts quite a while. Kale lasts pretty well, too. All of those lasts a little bit longer than like the regular leaf lettuce. So when we make salads or cooked salads or things like that, I use any of those greens that I buy. It kind of varies from week to week, but I always try to get those greens cause it feels like that’s kind of what we’re lacking in the winter. We have a lot of canned foods that we’ve put away. A lot of things in our pantry, a lot of things in our freezer. And so adding in the greens, even if it’s just like a little side salad or something with your meal, makes it feel like you have a lot of fresh food at the table, even in the winter when that’s not as available.
So then I wanted to talk about a couple fruits. I definitely don’t buy as many fruits in the winter as they do in the summer. And that’s for a couple of different reasons. But first I’m going to talk about what we do buy. We buy a lot of apples. Our family eats quite a bit of apples. I mean, we’re eating apples every single day. The kids love them. Just cut up for a snack. We love to cook them for a side dish. I’ll slice them up, put them in my Dutch oven, add a little bit of cinnamon and a little bit of maple syrup and just kind of cook them until they’re tender. And it’s super good. It like is the taste of fall and winter in a bowl. It’s really yummy. So we eat quite a bit of apples in the winter. And the good thing is apples are relatively inexpensive year round.
So that’s a really nice fruit for us to have the other type of fruit that we buy often in the winter is oranges. I usually stick with the little light Clementine type of oranges that you can peel because my kids like to eat those for snacks. So it’s a super easy way for them to get some extra vitamin C in their day. And we’ll also use the little sections of the Clementine oranges to put in like a simple fruit salad. I’ll mix some of the canned fruits that I have with some of those oranges and it tastes really fresh. And then the last fruit that we buy quite often in the winter is bananas. And again, that’s because the price doesn’t tend to fluctuate very much. So bananas are pretty inexpensive you’re around and they can be used for a lot of things, the kids, and he has been like to eat them for breakfast or for a snack.
We can of course use them in banana bread or banana cake when they get a little bit more ripe. But that is just something that’s always on my shopping list in the winter because they’re inexpensive and everybody seems to really like them. So like I said, I don’t have a lot of fruits on my list and that is because I have a lot of canned fruits in my stockpile of things that I can for the summer. So it’s just, it’s one of my big goals of canning for the summer is to put away as much fruit as I can, because I know that in the winter, I’m not going to be able to get it for the price that I got it for in the summer. And it’s definitely not going to taste as good as it was in the summer for a lot of our fruit, we will draw from like the canned peaches and the canned pears.
I’ve got some canned pie fillings. We use those for pies and for crisps, that makes things really easy. But yeah, we have a lot of those canned fruits this year. I even canned blueberries. I can cherries anything that I could find that was a really good price. I tried to put away because I just knew that fruit is something that’s not as available to us in the winter. So that’s something that’s not on my list is a huge variety of fruit. But like I said, we still go with our basics, the apples and the oranges and the bananas, and then just fill in from there with the canned fruits we have, I occasionally have some frozen fruits, but we don’t use them very much. I will use them sometimes to make crisps, but we’re not big smoothie people. So we don’t use them for that.
So that’s not something that’s on my list very often. And then I wanted to talk about a couple other things that aren’t on my winter shopping lists. And that’s just because they’re in my cold storage, so I don’t have to buy them in the winter, but they are something that we eat quite a bit of in the winter. So I felt like it fit with this list and that is onions, winter squash and potatoes. So I do still buy sweet potatoes through the winter because I can’t grow those. I have tried and they didn’t turn out very well, but I am going to try it again next year and then winter squash and onions or something. We, a lot of in the winter, of course, onions, flavor, a lot of different things, but they’re very easy to grow and they’re very easy to store. So it’s something that we have in our cold storage and then winter squashes.
Well, I, in previous years I have purchased winter squash in bulk and then put it in my own core cold storage because the price of it tends to increase as the winter goes on. So if you buy it in the fall, sometime that’s going to be the best price that you get on it. So it’s best to buy it in bulk and then just store it. But we like to grow ours. I have a weird knack, I guess, for growing winter squash of all types. So we have a large stockpile of that, that we grew this summer. We just keep it at a good temperature and it lasts for a really long time. So we always have a good acorn squash that we can pull out for a side dish for supper. Or this year I grew blue Hubbard squash, which got up to 15 pounds.
They were huge. And those are really good for replacing pumpkin and recipes. So there’s lots of breads that we make with that. And of course, pies and stuff like that. You really don’t, you can’t even tell the difference and then potatoes, I can grow regular potatoes. So those will stay at our stockpile. You can usually find the best price of those in the fall anyway. So if you’re wanting to have them through the winter, they can be purchased in the fall and then stored in some kind of cold storage, but potatoes are generally inexpensive anyway. So even if you don’t have cold storage, that’s a pretty inexpensive item to add to a shopping list. Those are kind of the main things that I get when I go shopping. Those are pretty much on my list. Every single time I go to town. So I’ll get my carrot cabbage, cauliflower celery about once a month, any kind of greens, I can find apples, oranges, bananas.
Those are the basics of my shopping list. And it might seem kind of like a small shopping list, I guess, but mostly what I’m after in the winter, is that fresh? Anything that tastes fresh, anything that adds a freshness to our meal? I do not include any like pantry items on this list. And that’s because I generally don’t purchase them in the winter. I like to purchase them in the summer or fall and just kind of have them in my stockpile. So it’s not something I have to buy later, but if you don’t have that stockpile then basics for the winter would be just those basic pantry, staples like rice and beans and pasta flour for baking. Since there’s a lot more baking and a lot more comfort foods going on in the winter, of course, those are good staples. But like I said, I didn’t include them on this list because they’re not on my regular shopping list.
It’s something that I already have just stockpiled up. So the things that I mentioned before, those are the things on my list. I hope that I gave you some ideas on how to use those different things. We’re pretty simple when it comes to the recipes that we make and what I cook, I very rarely go out of a cookbook to make my stuff, unless it’s of course like a mix or a baking recipe or something, but as far as like main dishes and side dishes go, I like to experiment. I like to try weird combinations of things together. And most of the time it ends up coming out. Okay. I have had some stuff that’s tasted really nasty, but that is on very rare occasions. Usually, there’s always something that you can add to something else that will make it taste better, but it’s just been an experiment for, you know, our family’s favorite easy way to eat carrots or a favorite easy way to eat cabbage.
And I mentioned those all at the beginning of this show. So I hope that that kind of gives you inspiration and encouragement that you don’t have to make something fancy as long as your family is full at the end of the meal. And they’re getting healthy foods, that’s really all that matters. And of course, if you have little kids, it is hard to get them to eat things that they just decide is yucky one day and is good the next day, keeping it simple and keeping it to the basics. That seems to be like a good strategy for us in the winter and in the summer when planning our meals. I’ve talked a little bit about the difference between winter and summer meal planning that I do in previous podcast episodes, but I’ll just touch on that briefly before we’re done here today. So in the winter, I try to plan to go shopping every two weeks.
Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. And most of my food is based off of these basic inexpensive items that I know I can pretty much get all winter long or things that I have in my stockpile. Whereas in the summer my meal plan, I only plan one week at a time because we try to go off of what we can get from our garden or what we can get from the farmer’s market and that stuff can change from week to week. So that is a little bit more difficult to plan. And I don’t plan as far in advance, but winter meal planning and winter shopping is so easy and can be so basic because like I said, if you kind of have this list that you can go off in your head of, okay, these are the foods that I can get inexpensively in my area all winter long, then you can kind of plan around those things.
There’s not a lot of variation in what’s in season and stuff in the winter. So these are kind of good basics to stick with and then plan out your meals from there. And like I said, get creative with it, try to find new ways to use the same old things, put combinations together that you might not have thought of before. And that makes it a little bit more interesting. So I hope that this was helpful to you to hear my winter shopping list. Like I said, in the beginning, if you have any ideas for future podcasts for me, please email me at [email protected] I love to hear from you and hear your feedback on these episodes and on any future episodes. And I hope that you will take the rest of this week and just keep on making the most with what you have. We’ll talk to you later.