The Grocery Store Rebellion: Here’s What We Ate During Week 3

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Originally published on Nutritional Anarchy

The Grocery Store Rebellion continues…

This week, we didn’t buy much in the way of weekly food. Instead, I invested my money and time in prepping tomatoes for the year ahead. We learned several things this week, one of which is the vast importance of networking.  Very few of us can self-sufficiently provide every bite of food we eat. There are a variety of reasons for this.

Perhaps you don’t have enough (or any) land for growing produce and raising meat. Maybe there are restrictions from your HOA regarding what you are allowed to do in your own yard.  You could be living through a drought or just having  a bad gardening year.

But if you know others who have a surplus, this can help you on your way to breaking up with the grocery store.  By getting to know your local growers, sometimes the stiff regulations laid out by the government can be circumvented legally, without risk to either party. By using your skills to turn other people’s goods into delicious edibles, you can still provide valuable commodities, even if your own garden lies wilting behind  fence. (Find local farmers HERE)

Where’s the beef?

Where’s the beef?  Oh yeah…the USDA has it and they are holding it hostage.

The hardest thing to find outside of the grocery store is meat.  I did find a fellow at the local farmer’s market selling meat that he raises. I purchased a few items to try them out.  This way, before making a huge bulk purchase I can be assured we like the items. I bought ground lamb, grass-fed beef (which we know we love), pork tenderloin, and the most delicious bacon we’ve ever had. I still have a few whole chickens in my fridge, and next week we intend to try rabbit.

The biggest issue with finding local meat is that to be sold, it must be approved by a USDA inspector. This is quite costly and it rules out the sale from most small farmers, unless they dedicate themselves specifically to raising meat animals and sell them in enough quantity to allow for the inspection of a great deal of meat all at once.  Some believe this is for our own safety, while others believe that it is a way to regulate the small organic farmer right out of business.  The added cost is passed on to the consumer, making the purchase of local, grass-fed meat out of reach for most people. We’re talking about $9 and up per pound, and that is simply unsustainable on a tight budget. It blows my mind that CAFO-raised meat, which is far riskier for things like mad cow disease (triggered when cows consume other cows in their feed) and e coli, is perfectly acceptable to the USDA but a cow that grazes in a pasture raises all sorts of “concerns” for our safety. Personally, I’ll take my chances with the cow that eats grass over the confined, tortured animals in vile factory-farmed conditions any day of the week.

Here are the ways around it that I have found (and just so the USDA doesn’t hunt me down, I’m not suggesting that others throw caution to the wind, don dark sunglasses, and make a stealth visit to their local beef farmer):

Check out your local farmer’s market – there are still a few folks who brave the regulations and sell meat

Buy in bulk – when you buy a quarter of a cow or a half of a pig, the price drops dramatically.

Raise your own meat – chickens and rabbits can be raised in a suburban backyard in many areas.

Make friends that raise meat.

Learn who might consider barter as a payment option.

Check out Azure Standard and see if there are drop-offs in your area. The chicken is raised in a much better environment than the poor creatures that end up in the refrigerator case at the grocery store.

Here’s what we ate this week.

Local items, including stuff from my garden, are marked with a star *. Freezer items are marked with an (F). Pantry items are marked with a (P). We went out to dinner one night, and some meals were repeated because we ate leftovers.


Yogurt* with blackberries*

Omelettes* with bacon*, onion*, bell pepper*, cheddar*, and tomato*

Toast (F) with peanut butter (P) and blueberry jam *

Eggs* with bacon *, raspberries*

Oatmeal (P) with raspberries* and walnuts(P)


Bacon (F), lettuce*, and tomato* sandwich (F)

Creamy* tomato* soup with dill*

Black beans (P), rice (P), and salsa*

Zucchini* slaw with leftover chicken*

Lamb* meatballs with oregano*, tzatziki with homemade yogurt*, cucumber*, and garlic*, chard* salad


Roast beef* with potatoes*, carrots*, green beans*

Stir fry with leftover roast beef* and purple beans*

Leftover chicken* sauteed with chard*, carrot strips*, and garlic*

Baked peppers* stuff with leftover beef* and rice*, topped with marinara*

Meatballs made from local lamb* and beef*, marinara sauce*, baked eggplant*


Zucchini candy* (check out how easy this is to make!)

Veggies (bell pepper*, zucchini*, cucumber*) with yogurt* dip seasoned with minced garlic* and dill*

Fruit: raspberries*, watermelon*

Baked goodies from the farmer’s market

Walnuts (P)

Here’s what I preserved this week

A local friend’s father gardens on a scale that I can only dream of. Every few days she calls me and I go to her home and pick up another 20-30 pounds of tomatoes for a bargain price, particularly since these are colorful, juicy heirloom varieties.

This is what 52 pounds of tomatoes turns into (not including the stuff we ate):

canned tomatoes

Thus far I’ve put back 7 quarts of plain sauce, 14 quarts of soup base, 8 quarts of marinara sauce, and 4 pints of salsa.  I have plans for more marinara,more salsa,  pizza sauce, enchilada sauce, and homemade ketchup. If I’m lucky enough to get all of that made before the windfall runs out, I’ll start drying them in the dehydrator.

I was excited to use my fancy new Ninja food processor – it made the job go far faster. I never thought I would love another kitchen appliance as much as my Vitamix, but I actually prefer the Ninja. Sorry, Vitamix, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I’ve grown and you stayed stuck in your ways since we got together 14 years ago. I have to confess that I promptly sliced open my thumb on the blades of the food processor when taking it out of the box, despite numerous brightly-colored warnings throughout the box.  The warnings were right – the blades are indeed quite sharp.

Injuries aside, another very real plus to the Ninja is that it is less than half the price of the Vitamix.  I’d strongly recommend either unit if you do a lot of scratch cooking and food preparation.

ninja blender

Here’s what we learned.

This week was a little bit frustrating. We ended up grabbing food out several times this week because of a lack of time.  There was nothing close at hand for a fast meal.  Also, I felt like our protein selections were lacking, and putting together a school lunch, a task I usually enjoy, was much more difficult than normal. This makes me aware that we were relying on processed food far more than I had thought we were.

I need to do more food prep so that we have things that we can grab more quickly for a meal. So, this long weekend, I’ve made (and am still working on) some goodies for the week ahead:

  • Meatballs
  • Roast beef
  • Zucchini “candy”
  • Gluten-free zucchini and carrot bread
  • Homemade vanilla pudding
  • Veggie “chips”
  • Yogurt

We also learned that Swiss chard tastes like lawn clippings – at least to our palates. We tried it uncooked in a salad with a flavorful vinaigrette and sauteed with meat and garlic.  This discovery is particularly unfortunate since it is the only thing in my entire garden that is thriving with weed-like abandon. No nurturing required – we will soon have chard running out our ears.  So the search is on for a way to make it that is, at the very least, acceptable.

I’m not a very good gardener.  I never thought I had  particularly green thumb but in the past I’ve been able to provide a decent amount of food – at least enough to keep us from needing to buy produce in the summer. This year, what I produced in my raised beds might be enough to keep us in veggies for a week, if you added all of it together from planting time until right now. The broccoli isn’t looking very promising, and the carrots and cauliflower didn’t sprout at all. But the good news is, I’m continuing to try. I’m making adjustments, starting replacement seeds, and moving raised beds to more optimum locations. My herbs are finally taking off, and my poor, sad wilted lettuce is rallying.

How was your week?

So, there’s the update for our week.  Even if you aren’t jumping into the rebellion with both feet, did you use some things you harvested from your garden this week?  If you ARE participating in the rebellion, how did it go? Share the details in the comments below.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Your canned tomatoes are beautiful. 🙂

    I feel the same about Swiss chard, but we all enjoy it in soup. Good luck! Hope you fun a way to enjoy it.

    I love this challenge. Thank you for undertaking it and for chronicling it for us. So inspiring!!

  • We mostly prepare swiss chard with potatoes. Cut staples from leaves. Cut potatoes into small dices. Put potatoes into boling water with some salt and herbs, when almost cooked, add swiss chard staples and in the end add leaves from swiss chard. Staples should be cooked only for 6-8 minutes, leaves only 3-4 minutes. In other pan, cut onion in olive oil, fry them for few minutes, cut garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Then mix this with potatoes and swiss chard. You can add a litle bit of pepper and serve with fish. This meal makes girls in Croatia very beautifull and lean 🙂

  • My garden was a bust. Fruit was unavailable area wide in canning quantities. The cherries I was able to get were so overripe it did not dehydrate well. I just froze the small amount I bought.

    There is a local farm nearby. I purchased (a lot of)eggplant “seconds” or misshaped ones by the basket. I cook, scoop and freeze for Eggplant Burtha..a very fast and tasty meal for us. I froze and dehydrated green beans, and froze Broccoli for special occasions. I also cut up and froze individual red peppers. When the cauliflower comes in, I will freeze that as well.

    Currently, cabbage is just for eating. I tried dehydrating the stuff last year, but in my Excalibur, it was fiddly. I also tried creating a cold cellar, but alas, it was only a few months that it kept. This year I am planning on making one batch of kraut, cook cabbage meals and freeze them, and blanch and freeze some. I will settle on one of the two freezing methods and stick with it for next year.

    Currently we are up to our elbows in tomato puree. With the cool summer we have had, the crops are delayed. I had to travel an hour to another farm to order and get plum tomatoes. So far, we have canned 30 qts. We will can a bit more, but the rest will be made into salsa. I keep the puree plain as I spice each recipe individually. The way I look at it, tomato is a vegetable (fruit botanically), and we can have a juice glass full as we did when we were young for special holidays.

    We are reaching the end of the summer crops. Having unwillingly joined the alternate FFA (Failed Farmers of America), we are still hopeful that the butternut squash will be a good crop. Enough was planted for man and beast, but at this point, we will be happy with it nourishing man alone.

    The meat chickens are growing nicely, and our beef order to a farmer was established months ago.

    We will be canning any meat that is left over from the last order as well as making and canning bone broth that I didn’t get to. We will be reorganizing the freezer.

    I ended up using the freezer more than I wanted to, but canning broccoli isn’t going to work. Maybe I should have considered dehydrating the peppers. I dehydrate onions when I get a good deal as well as mushrooms. I am a bit bummed that I was unable to dehydrate any fruit this year. Sigh.

    There is a Chinese pick your own farm within the same county in which I live. I may check them out.

    • @Me…I’ve often heard the story that canning broccoli makes it strong tasting (it does) and changes the texture (it does), so you shouldn’t do it.

      However, our family loves broccoli soup (dairy based), so we freeze a lot and also can a lot of it. The stronger taste makes it excellent in soup.

      We use fresh raw milk, a quart of canned broccoli (pour off juice) and thicken it up with a can of cream soup…whatever is available in the cupboard…usually cheddar cheese, cream of celery or cream of broccoli. Makes me hungry for a bowl now.

      • We usually get two plantings of broccoli a year…one early and one late. This year, the early planting withstood two late hard freezes, but all but two plants went to seed when an early hot spell hit. The late is soon ready to head up (crosses fingers).

        I don’t know how everyone freezes their broccoli, but we discovered a convenient way. After cleaning, cutting into smaller florets, and blanching, we put the florets in a layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Then put into gallon freezer bags and you can grab what you need to cook. Beats that frozen hunk in individual bags we used to have.

        • That is how I freeze broccoli. It works great. I don’t know if I am going to make broccoli soup. I think we will keep it for special occasions. I will freeze the cauliflower. I make “cheesy cauliflower.” Think homemade macaroni and cheese only with baked (yes, even frozen) cauliflower instead of pasta. It is a very popular meal even with guests.

  • Swiss chard gets sweeter after it has had a few small
    frosts. I do not eat it raw. I cut it into pieces and boil it until it is tender. with a little butter it is great. The stalks can be boiled and eaten too, but they take a bit longer that the leaves.

    I make a casserole that has cooked chard, zucchini, peas, rice, cooked scraps of bacon, and shreded Swiss cheese. If I remember correctly there is some egg in it and spices. The Swiss chard leaves can also be blanched one at a time in hot water and used to wrap around any type of filling you like, sort of like cabbage roles.

  • My chickens love Swiss chard better than any other greens. It makes their yolks so pretty and delicious. So I grow chard as the first step in my egg production…..

      • Don’t forget hunting and fishing–squirrels, rabbits, deer and fish are great lean protein. I stem my chard, saute it with garlic and onions in some olive oil and serve it over spaghetti with Parmesan.

  • Very cool ideas! because our tomatoes, beans and cucumbers this year were very successful, we have plenty to last us all year long.

    My chickens have just started laying their eggs so we are all excited over here about having fresh eggs from the backyard.

    Like you, we are trying to eliminate as much of the grocery store as possible.

  • Daisy, are you saying I couldn’t buy a steer from my neighbor and have it butchered without the government putting their stamp of approval on it?

  • Best meat deal we ever had was an old cow, going to be culled because she didn’t get bred. With a pressure cooker, the stews were tender and delicious, the burger was lean. For the few steaks we ate, we could buy them from the store.

  • just wanted to say it’s another $200 dollars on a electric food processor on the low end to $500 on the high end? really, when & where does it stop? feel like going back to sticking my head in the sand and being a part of the sheeple

    • I hear you Bob! I’ve made myself a list of appliances to buy but plan on getting them over time. Do what you can and don’t expect to make a life altering change overnight! Be kind to yourself.

  • Hi Daisy….didn’t plant much this year due to health issues, however, we have tomatoes up to our neck! For the second year in a row… Amish friend calls them ‘givers’, due to not cleaning out my garden 2 yrs ago, also all the compost I put in.

    I read in a garden book that a gal used to ‘tuck’ her kitchen waste in behind her plants…can’t see the waste, but tomatoes sure come up the next year! Because it works, I will continue to do this. Now I have to go check out more of your recipes. Take care, CC

  • You’ve been an inspiration to me. I’m not ready to give up the grocery store 100% but I have started to shop the farmers market every week and have cut down on the store by at least 1/2. I’ve got a list of things (Like the Ninja) I need to buy and I’m dreaming of canning (ha!), making my own cheese and growing some veggies and herbs inside over this coming winter. I’ve even made some headway in getting my husband to stop drinking so much soda and got him to drink a carrot, celery, apple, ginger and lemon drink! For us that’s a lot of progress in a month or so! Thanks!

    • That’s awesome progress, Nancy! Every little bit adds up! It took me years to be able to invest in some of these kitchen appliances, and actually it was breaking away from the grocery store that left room in the budget for them. 🙂

      • A friend gave me about 30lbs of tomatoes so I made puree that I’ll use to make other things over the winter. Since I do not know how to can yet I simply froze it for now.

        I can’t find any of your weekly posts past the third week… where are they? I would love to know how it’s going.


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