Monday, February 23, 2015

How I saved over $30 in one grocery shopping trip by buying 8 bunches of broccoli (Veggie Broth recipe included)

When I usually pay at least $2.59 for a bunch of organic broccoli you could probably imagine how excited I was to see it on sale for $2.00. If $0.59 off doesn’t sound like a lot of money to you, think about it this way, that is 23% off! So I grabbed 4 bunches thinking we could probably eat one bunch raw, steam two for dinners, and blanch one to freeze. Then I saw asparagus was on sale too for $2/lb and I almost broke out in a happy dance. My husband and I both love asparagus but it usually costs $3-4/lb and even in season this past spring it was still $2/lb. So whenever I see it for $2/lb or less I buy it because it is 33% off. And it was perfect because I have a soup that we love that contains broccoli and asparagus. So I grabbed 6 bunches of asparagus and went back and grabbed 4 more bunches of broccoli. Crazy, I know. So my new plan: one bunch of broccoli raw, two bunches of broccoli steamed for dinner, two bunches of broccoli for soup, three bunches of broccoli for blanching and freezing, two bunches of asparagus for soup, two bunches of asparagus for meals, and two bunches to blanch and freeze.

Savings so far:
8 bunches of broccoli X $0.59 off= $4.72
6 bunches of asparagus (approx 1lb) X $1 off= $6
= $10.72 total savings


Next to make our Spring Asparagus and Broccoli Soup from Whole Foods Market on-line. (Click here for a PDF version for easy printing). I have to admit that this is not the cheapest soup I know how to make, but we love it and it is super easy to make. To save money we try to make this soup when we find broccoli and asparagus on sale and we use homemade vegetable broth

Spring Asparagus and Broccoli Soup
By: Whole Foods Market
Serves 8

  • 6 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided Free
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, sliced $1
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces $0.60
  • 1 (1-pound) bunch asparagus, woody stems snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces $2
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets $2
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives $0.10
Heat 1/2 cup broth in a large pot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add leek and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add remaining broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in asparagus and broccoli and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside to let cool slightly.

Carefully transfer soup to a blender and purée in batches until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chives and serve.

Per Serving:80 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium,15g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 3g protein

Total cost to make =$5.70

When I make double batches of this soup I store some of it in Pyrex bowls ready to pack in my lunch for work, some in mason jars to freeze, some in small bowls for baby food and I leave the rest in the pot so it is easy to put back on the stove to warm up for lunch or dinner. Since it is a pureed soup it is also easy to put in a thermos and take with me when I am out doing errands, on a road trip, or anytime on the go. A Pyrex set that we use and like can be found here. The best way to get the mason jars is to garage sale or thrift shop them because they last forever, but if you have to buy new we like these.


If you freeze this soup in a 16oz mason jar it is just as convenient to grab one out of the freezer as it is to grab a can of Campbell's chunky soup out the cabinet.
16oz mason jar soup= $1.43
Campbell’s chunky soup= $2
=$0.57 savings per can

Another way I  use this veggie soup is for baby food. When I make this soup with our homemade veggie broth it does not contain salt so the entire soup is veggies and makes for perfect baby food.
After washing and destemming 8 bunches of broccoli and 6 bunches of asparagus you can imagine we had a lot of  “waste” leftover . We compost our food scraps but vegetable scraps we have a greater use for= veggie broth. It is super easy to make your own veggie broth for free! With these vegetable scraps we were able to make 9 quarts of veggie broth for FREE!!!!

Organic veggie broth=$1.83/quart (the best deal I have found at Costco)
9 quarts of free veggie broth X $1.83 per quart = $16.47 savings


How to make veggie broth from veggie scraps

  1. Take washed trimmed ends or scraps from any vegetable and place in a crock pot. It is best to have enough scraps to fill to the top of the crock pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water until the vegetables are submerged. For increased flavor feel free to add chopped carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and/or fresh parsley. If you choose to add fresh herbs we recommend adding it 10 minutes before you finish cooking.  We have also had good results adding dry herbs such as italian seasoning, basil, parsley, or oregano. Feel free to add dry herbs at any time during the cooking process. If you use any spicy peppers scraps such as jalapenos make sure to label your broth as spicy so you know before you put it in your recipe.
  3. Cook on low for 8-48 hours. If too much water evaporates just add more water.
  4. Place a small-holed strainer over a large bowl and pour veggie broth into the strainer to remove all of the vegetable debris.
  5. Pour collected broth into containers to store. Veggie broth can either be stored in the refrigerator or freeze. We like to use quart size canning jars but any container will do.
  6. You can make another batch from the same vegetable scraps by placing them back in the crockpot and covering them with water again. Then re-cook them for another 8-48 hours but realize that the broth will be less concentrated and so less flavorful. For the second running I do not add more water as it evaporates so it becomes more concentrated. Repeat steps 4 and 5.
Helpful Hint: Everyday we prepare vegetables we take all of our leftover scraps and trimmed ends and store them in a container in the freezer until we have enough stored up to make a batch of veggie broth.
****Remember when you use this veggie broth in recipes to add more salt because this veggie broth does not contain any salt like the store bought kind.

Yield: Depending on the size of your crockpot but the crock pot we use makes approx 3 quarts of veggie broth per batch for FREE!

So at the end of the day I saved $10.72 by buying broccoli and asparagus on sale, $4.56 by making soup in mason jars instead of Campbell’s, and $16.47 by making homemade veggie broth.

Total savings = $31.75


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