Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Mid-phase Verdict on ...

... gut healing.

Update on Nathan:

Except for a few times he's binge fed himself (behind closed doors .. to my horror), Nathan has made great strides with his tailor made diet.  Since mid summer we've fine tuned his intake and eliminated milk, reduced starch intake by 90%, upping his protein and vegetable consumption, adding daily cups of rich bone stock.  His eczema is gone and the seborrhea dermatitis on his scalp is 80% reduced.

On occasion he is allowed to eat starchy food (toast, pretzels, etc) and the eczema does not flare up. Even the occasional binge eating episodes have not triggered the rashes.

It is our hope to keep him on this modified diet for another six months or longer and to 'test the waters' every now and again to check for gut lining healing.

I have concluded that for years on end his gut has leaked toxins into his blood due to a permeable digestive tract.  This explains why with healing his white blood count has remained in the bottom end of normal the past year instead of to the point of needing to be tested for leukemia.  Health is gaining a foothold where once he had little fortitude and a poor immune system.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Popped Corn at Home

I try to limit boxed snack items.  The exception is hubby's saltine crackers.  

Keeping fresh popping corn on hand makes for a quick, effortless snack.

I don't trust the corn supply in the USA to be non-GMO (although I've read that popping corn is not), I buy organic popping corn .. or popping corn on the cob at our local u-pick farm.  

Pop the corn in a good quality oil.  Of late, I've been using avocado oil as it has a high heat index, and other health benefits.

Place popped corn into a very large bowl.  To the empty hot pan, place a few tablespoons of good quality butter.  The residual heat should be enough to melt the butter.  Add a pressed clove of garlic, if desired .. swirl and pour over the popped corn.  Sprinkle with sea salt .. toss in some dried herbs, and grated aged Parmesan cheese.  Toss well. 

Did you know that October is 'National Popcorn Month'?  Read more about the history of pop corn here.

Chosen Foods Avocado Oil   (best price I've found is at Costco .. about $10 for 33.8 fl oz)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

For now ...

newly remodeled pantry
... we have a three season pantry.

But oh how nice it would be to have a four season garden production and stored goodness.  This link has much to offer for overwintering plants and food storage.  Time .. that's all it takes!  And .. preparation.  Our forefather's had no option .. and it's a good thing to put into practice ... add to your skills .. each year another food storage method.  THE FOUR SEASON PANTRY

Tiny steps taken one after the other, year after year can lend to building your food storage skills.  Beginning with herbs and a few easy to grow crops such as lettuce and spinach can give you the impetus to add more variety the following season.  Then .. starting seeds in pots late winter .. and eventually ending up with some type of cold frame or hoop house for winter greens.

Don't feel bad, I'm stuck at the THREE SEASON PANTRY and have been for quite some time.

I'm happy to have added fruit to our seasonal and canned goods pantry.

Do you have a seasonal pantry?  Extra garden goods stored away?  Overwintered cold hardy greens?

Lumbering Along

... slow and methodically.

Fall is creeping into the North Woods.  Our garden has only had one light frost .. just enough to wipe out the cucumber plants and damage the basil.  We've still got young lettuce plants, green onions, tomatillos, herbs, strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes clinging to the vine.

Our first crop of grapes gave us juicy sweet globes of goodness.  Black currents and a mix of berries were turned into juice concentrate to enjoy this winter with a splash of sparkling water.  Two half gallons of sour cherries are soaking in brandy, sugar and vanilla beans making a wonderful 'Cherry Bounce' liquor for winter ailments, and for sipping around the wood stove on cold, snowy nights.  I've been checking on it quite regularly .. ahem!

Apples were halfway harvested in late September and have been eaten, turned into apple pie, sauced ... with the remaining half of the crop still clinging to the trees turning sweeter and juicier with each passing autumn day.  Soon they will all be picked and some stored away for winter.  Our local wild turkeys enjoyed the bottom limbs of the trees eating leaves and fruit.  We did not spray or treat the trees this year .. and not one apple maggot or scab has been found!

Question to any of you that grow horseradish:  "Our's is hot for only one or two minutes after grating fresh.  Any tips for keeping the heat would be appreciated."

The compost bin is squirming with earth worms .. 

Wasps were not a nuisance this year.

Summer is a wrap ... onward into Autumn splendor!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Date Day .. On the Cheap!

Bikes, helmets, water, flashlights, jackets, food .. CHECK.

Today's date began when we left home at 9:30 AM .. and headed across the state line into Montana to pick up the Route of the Hiawatha 'rails to trail' bike ride.  We probably used a few gallons of gas in the truck.  Trail tickets $10/each.  Food ~ scavenged from the pantry and garden (cheese, grapes, teardrop tomatoes, dill pickles, crackers & peppermints).

The trail is well groomed and every so often, a trail guide would be available in case of an emergency or to answer questions.  I found some wild elderberries!  Date days don't have to be expensive.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A 'New' Read

Today a friend sent me this lovely organic blog site to peruse.  They work with their community in such ways as to offer help to all searching for better ways to grow, eat and deliver organic produce to the local folks.  Recipes and photos abound.  Enjoy

The Homestead Organic Farm - Peachland, British Columbia,  Canada

Friday, September 05, 2014

Trying Not To Be .....

Today's standard of NORMAL usually includes massive DEBT!

How we saved  $$$ on a beautiful, very personal meaningful wedding.

After all, this blog is about thrifty living.

First and foremost, we are a very (old school) traditional family  (think ...Ma and Pa Walton).  Family is high on our agenda.  Right below our relationship with Christ.  Going into debt is foolish .. even more so when parents of bride are retired.  We saved beforehand.

The average cost of a wedding in the U.S.A. is about $30,000.  The average cost of a wedding in Idaho is just over $16,000.

How we pulled off a wedding for $2,500.
  1. Prayerfully
  2. Set a budgeted goal
  3. No credit card involved .. unless used on-line and the $ spent was deducted immediately from said budget
  4. Local resources.  Family and friends helped.  Such as having a friend as a retired florist, having a friend that is a wedding planner in training, family friend photographer
  5. Being organized
  6. Being reasonable
  7. Inviting only those that were important to the bride and groom.  (That meant my list of invitees was minimal) .... total in attendance 65.  We rented 60 chairs and had a few picnic table benches placed in the back row.
  8. Borrow items (such as tables from the church, table cloths, decorations)
  9. Rent items (such as a portable enclosed toilet, chairs, large capacity coffee maker, china plates)
  10. Keep it simple
Cost breakdown:
  • Mother of bride took engagement photos (free)

  • Wedding dress (off Etsy) $280 (custom fit .. ordered online .... staying out of a tempting big $$$ bridal shop saved TONS of $$) ... and paid for by the bride.
  • Veil (family heirloom.... and free)
  • Venue ~ our property (free)
Wedding alter ~ made from wood pallets, burlap, thrift store finds

  • Rentals (chairs, plates, 20x10 tent, etc.) $480

  • Flowers $150 (at cost .. labor was a wedding gift to bride and groom).  Table and isle flowers were grown in the garden .. (free).
  • Food $225 (juice punch, coffee, croissant sandwiches from Costco, salsa/bean dip/chips 'bar', fruit platter, veggie platter, nuts, mints, sparkling cider for toasting) NO ALCOHOL
  • paper goods/plastic toasting glasses/cute paper cake plates/forks/cocktail napkins from the dollar store $25
  • 3 homemade wedding cakes (bride and groom tiered cake, 1/4 sheet cake, Texas sheet cake) $25
  • Hay bales $63 (a country wedding must)
  • sound/music guys $300 (from church)
  • professional photographer $800 ... family friend
  • Wedding invites and postage $55 (designed by a graphic artist friend, printed and assembled at home)  If you were local, it got hand delivered.
  • Thank you favors $60 (small decorative boxes filled with pistachio nuts and a printed note of appreciation/thanks from bride and groom)
  • Misc.  $5  (incidentals ... from thrift stores, candles, lace, etc.)
The groom took care of the minister fee, wedding license fee and his purchased clothing.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen paid for their clothing .. discounted on-line and at J.C. Penney's on sale.

The bride paid for her dress.

Rehearsal dinner was at a lakeside pizzeria ~ no host 

Without the pressure of cost and deadline to reserve a venue, the bride and groom were able to plan, strategize and orchestrate in a short four months.

Bride's engagement ring was set using a heirloom/family diamond for the center stone .. both meaningful (as it came from her grandmother) and cost effective as groom had to only purchase the 'empty' ring setting.  Groom's ring is made from tungsten .. which is durable and less expensive than traditional gold.

Not to say this was an 'easy to pull off' wedding .. it was a lot of work .. but work that was heartfelt and shared by those that love the bride and groom.

A thrifty wedding in the woods ... at a price 1/12th the average cost in the U.S.A.  A couple on the road to having a successful marriage not straddled with debt from the get-go.  Their wedding .. their way.  A good thing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Oh Happy Wedding Day!

A Wedding at Home

The wedding was held this past Saturday ... Our baby girl is now with her husband in their new home.
Ann and her Father
 My what a blessed day!
Giving her our blessing
May the good Lord bless their wee nest.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
Irish Blessing

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Letting Go

Handmade wedding alter

... of my baby girl.  This is the last week before her father walks her down the isle (er ... side of home and a makeshift isle on our lawn).  Having a wedding is exciting .. and having it at home is hectically exciting and busy.  She's had some help ... but the majority of work has been done by her.  She's got a country sign saying just about anything needing explaining.

We're praying for a God centered marriage; a good foundation to build the start to their family.

Last night I gave her the 'last' ... 'I'm you're mother, so do what I say' command.   Ann had been on her feet all day, was in a bit of pain from a previous vehicle accident, when I told her to just 'sit down and relax .. and no, you can't run to the store.  Whatever you think you need can wait until tomorrow' ... 

Soon she will leave her father and mother and form her own family unit with her new husband.

Monday, July 07, 2014

GAPS & Paleo Blueberry Jello

GAPS & Paleo Blueberry Jello

This sounds good to me on this hot July afternoon.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Lewis & Clark Cookbook ~ A Book Review (Rave)

We are enjoying the bounty of mixed greens from the garden .. including edible weeds (lambs quarter).

 Today's harvest was turned into cream of sorrel soup and a lovely mixed green salad .. accompanied with chicken patties (similar to crab cakes).

The Youngin' ate four plates of salad .. he's still a growing teen.

The soup recipe came from this book, The Lewis & Clark Cookbook .. picked up yesterday at a neighbor's garage sale for 25 cents.  Ha, if you look at the price on Amazon at over $3,000 .. one might think I got a great bargain.  Someone either made a mistake .. or just doesn't want to part with the cookbook.  Ebay sells it for about $12.    The book contains historic recipes from the Corps of Discovery & Thomas Jefferson.  First published in 2002, the book is delightfully woven with hand penned notes written by Lewis and Clark.  Wouldn't it be fun to host a meal and use just this cookbook?

Sunday ~ the clouds roll in and out.  Right now it's clouding up and wanting to storm.  Yesterday there was a break from the rain .. and the neighborhood was abuzz with lawn mowers.  Today the Mr. is trimming.

Time to scoot and clean up the kitchen.  Then I'll put on a nice old fashioned movie .. boy meets girl .. prairie romance.  

What's up in your world?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Revisiting Pizza

Alternative Pizza Pie ~ GF
I've been experimenting with wheat free pizza.  Even bought a bag of gluten free mix you can use to make pizza dough.  It didn't fare well with the youngin' .. made his stomach extremely bloated.  So back to the drawing board.

Fiddling around in the kitchen one day, I came up with a delicious 'crust' for his pizza pie.

For a 6"x 9" glass baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350F.


Crust ~
2 eggs.
1/3-1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
1/3 cup cheese

Toppings ~
1/2 c marinara sauce
fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup browned sausage, or cooked meat
diced red onion
sliced mushroom
extra cheese for topping
(whatever you like to put on your pizza)


Grease the baking dish.  Add the two eggs and cooked brown rice, stirring until mixed well then evenly spread.  Bake in preheated oven about 8-10 minutes, until eggs are set.  Remove from oven and top with 1/3 cup of grated cheese.  Return to the oven for another minute or two until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and top with marinara sauce and toppings, using the extra grated cheese for the final topping.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 10-12 minutes until bubbly.  Let pizza set for a few minutes before scoring with a spatula and removing slices from the pan.

I made a super deluxe baking pan, double this size, for company last week ~ it was a GIANT hit.  If you like cold pizza the next day, this will satisfy your craving.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekend Reads ... And Thinking Outside The (Cereal) Box

In the ongoing gut healing process, after eliminating 95% of our grains, one has to think differently about the 'champion of breakfast' choice of food. Today's fancy was in the form of a quickly assembled Italian style STOUP (Rachel Ray's slang for thinner than stew ~ thicker than soup meal).  With the garden producing cool weather crops .. spinach, bok choy, kale, herbs .. the dish was easy to assemble.  On hand in the freezer I keep cooked chicken meat packed in broth and jars of chicken broth as fast food.  If you're going to eat soup for breakfast .. just set out the frozen items before bed.

Our forage into the garden produced beautiful yields of vitamin/mineral/enzyme rich goods.  One secret to help keep the enzymes active is to add them at the end of the short cooking process .. leaving them somewhat tender~crispy.  Remember .. the meat has already been cooked.

To a large stock pot I added the thawed chicken meat and broth, bringing both to a slight simmer.   Carrots were added to give a little extra cooking time.  Mineral rich sea salt and pepper were added .. then half of the freshly picked/chopped herbs and some freshly pressed garlic.  A cup of leftover cooked brown rice was added .. then the chopped fresh greens (spinach, bok choy, kale, etc.) with a brief simmer of 1-2 minutes max.  Before serving I tossed in the rest of the chopped herbs and topped each serving bowl with a squeeze of myer lemon juice.  The chicken meat and little bit of rice made the meal satisfying and filling.  Gelatin rich chicken broth can resurrect the dead!

Measurements ... not an exact science .. perhaps 1 cup of chicken meat and 6-8 cups of stock.  1-1/2 quarts of chopped greens .. salt/pepper to taste.  1/2 cup of diced herbs such a dill, thyme, common oregano (mild), marjoram), 1 cup of cooked brown rice ... splash of fresh lemon juice .. a piece of peel for the pot .. 2 cloves of garlic.

Soup for breakfast ... now we're talking!

What's your favorite non modern-traditional breakfast food?

Weekend reads: ( cooking with chicken liver, heads and feet and the many health benefits) .. oh, my!

Getting A Real Education ~ Rural Revolution

16 Things That affect Your Gut Bacteria/Marks Daily Apple

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Wheat?

I know the newest fad diet is going gluten free.  Our special needs son seems to have benefited from eliminating gluten AND limiting starches in general from his diet.  GONE are eczema, seborrhea dermatitis, excess bloating, headaches and the moody blues.  He did not test positive for celiac disease .. but with having so many colon and gut surgeries, he suffered from, perhaps, a permeable gut with some leakage .. causing havoc with his health.  On Thursday, I will officially be his legal guardian and can obtain his latest medical records to take a peek at his white blood count.  In years past, it was seriously low, not from cancer, but from 'unknown' factors .. he was labeled as having leukopenia.  Last year's count was finally at the bottom end of normal .. hoping for improvement once again.  

Having changed our diet to almost zero processed (manufactured) foods, increasing fermented foods, supplementing with magnesium and cod liver oil .. has boosted our immunity.  It has not happened overnight .. but has been an accumulated effect over the past several years.  Trial and error .. adjusting this and that .. eliminating processed foods .. and finally one day waking up without aches and pains that require this and that medication.  If you're on the fence about changing your diet to include less processed .. and increasing more fresh fruits/vegetables, organic meats/antibiotic free ... thinking they are more expensive, think again at the cost of having to ... down the road .. fuel ill health requiring prescription medications.  Food for thought.

Disclaimer:  Do not take this as personal medical advice .. this is what is working with our family ... I am not a medical doctor.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How Cooking Can Change Your Life

Well ... Here's a great video from Michael Pollan about the benefits of home cooking.


Mrs. Mac

Sunday, June 22, 2014

After Months Of ....

glitches with my Windows 8 using IE and Firefox, I switched to Google Chrome .. and it's working great.  Prior to the switch my browser would stall and stammer for a bit.  Has anyone else had such a problem?  What browser do you use?

Summer Time

I'm still writing .. just in a different format.  I've joined two organizations that keep me busy with reports, newsletter articles, minutes and meetings.  That leaves my mind 'spent' for everyday blog writing.  We are under full sail with wedding plans ~ invites get mailed out this week. 

The bride-to-be and her fiancé

My folks just left after visiting for a week. 
Peony bouquet from the yard ~ 2014

Yesterday we had a family BBQ complete with grandkids, uncles, grand and great grandparents.  A delicious baby .. and an active seven year old.  Badminton on the front lawn.  Oh, and the most deliciously moist Texas sheet cake for dessert; the bride-to-be would like it served at her wedding! 

My heart will always yearn to blog .. and so I leave you with this tidbit .. peek .. into a life lived to the fullest. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Here Comes Summer

... and a wedding!

Our youngest daughter, Ann, is getting married on an upcoming August evening ... on the front lawn of our home.  She's hustling and bustling of late with invites, maps, yard signs, check lists, etc.  Has never stepped inside a bridal shop .. but instead has ordered off Etsy.  Dress arrived perfectly sized.  We opened my sealed wedding dress storage box to inspect my veil .. it's what she wants to wear!  This girl knows how to be thrifty minded. 

Of late you can find her father and I planting flower bulbs, trimming this and that, turning over the garden soil, trapping wasps early in the season to avert last summer's scenario of the pests. 

We're excited for her .. she has chosen a wonderful young man.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Horseradish .. Use 'er Up

It's late spring in the North Woods.  Not quite full swing in the garden, but there are nibbles here and there that can be put to good use.  Tonight I'm making another soup that includes an invasive 'weed' ... otherwise known as horseradish; you either LOVE it or HATE it.  We happen to LURVE it with a passion!  (Garden tip ~ keep it in a designated area and you will be blessed.)

Here are a few tips for using horseradish.  Add:

  • a little to homemade mayo
  • to cream of broccoli or mushroom soup
  • mix with sour cream or plain whipped cream as relish/sauce for roast beef
  • mix with sour cream as a topping for baked potatoes
  • mix mayo, mustard and a little horseradish for a yummy sandwich spread
Do you have a favorite use for horseradish?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Repeat Worthy Post ~French Sorrel Soup

French sorrel

Originally posted in May, 2012, with French sorrel abundant ... this is a great repost.

Three years ago I planted French sorrel, and for the first two years it was a bit neglected .. not used except for a little in Caesar salads to add a lemony punch of flavor.  It comes back each year without replanting in early spring, is drought tolerant and can be used as an herb or green.   For dinner I made its namesake soup for the first time.  It was better than I had expected.

French Sorrel Soup
serves 4

1 quart washed and diced French sorrel
1/2 cup thinly sliced and diced leeks, wild onions or ramps
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 Yukon gold potato peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk 
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks, beaten

French sorrel soup
Heat the butter in a 4-6 quart sauce/stock pan.  Add leeks, cover and cook on med-low for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.   Stir in flour until mixed in .. cook about a minute.  Slowly add the chicken stock and whisk to prevent lumps of flour.  Add milk, sorrel and potatoes.  Simmer until the potatoes are soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Blend in the pan to a puree with a stick blender.  Cook another few minutes on low.  With a fork, stir the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl ... and slowly add a large ladle of hot soup mix (keep stirring) to temper the eggs.  Add the tempered eggs to the soup pan but don't let the soup come to a boil.  Just stir well and continue to heat on low for another minute before serving.  This soup is very flavorful .. tasting a bit like lemony spinach.

Tonight was our second meatless dinner in a row.   We enjoyed sorrel soup, followed by baked yams in their jackets with a little salt, pepper and butter added upon serving, corn oysters, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, and stewed cherry rhubarb.  Hubby noticed we've had a rhubarb treat three times this past week .. very observant ;) ... it's rhubarb season and we're trying to eat what the garden produces. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Snow Free For Weeks

The land is slowly showing signs of spring. 

Robins have returned ...tom  turkeys are trotting and dancing for their mates
Gobble-gobble.  Look what I spied yesterday out my back door.

 ... rhubarb is emerging and it's nice to have more sunlight each evening.

 Living in the North Woods our winters scrub the landscape turning annuals into mushy pulp, lawn into straw colored mat, puddles and mud holes galore .. and the sight of a dwindling woodpile all are reminders that the seasons march on. 

We've had six family birthdays in six weeks time.   Being a generational family, all living in close proximity to each other, hubby and I treat the entire family to a night eating out to celebrate all the birthdays at once each year .. it's a tradition.  Our youngest son turned eighteen last week.  This week our grandsons have birthdays two days apart. 
Nathan's birthday 'cake' .. his choice.

Living in a four seasons area really makes the approaching seasons longed for ... like experiencing a rainbow (spring), sailing on the high seas (summer),

bundling up smelling smoky campfires (fall),

and sitting by the fire with hot cocoa (winter) each distinct and anticipated.

How are you embracing the changing of the guard?  Or are your seasons not distinct?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Last Tidbit

I've just posted my last 'tidbit' over on the Scarf Sister's blog.  I hope to return to regular posts here soon.  Get a tissue if you visit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Having a Plan ...

Uber busy day.  Baby cakes this AM .. and leaving just past noon to pick up Nathan; he needs an official evaluation for his disability case as he transitions to adult services.  Yesterday .. much the same with stopping in to get him on the 'list' for vocational rehabilitation for when he turns 21 in three years (that's how long it takes to get services at the proper age).  Stopped at the pediatrician's office as well to get his annual physical scheduled before he turns 18 and I'm no longer his parent authority.  That means we are also timing the process of guardianship so when his birthday arrives he's in line for legal services to hear his case before the court so we can obtain legal guardianship.  As a parent you really need to stay on top of this, and timing is everything.  Oh my, prayers appreciated that no major medical event arises between now and the court hearing.  My mind is spinning!   The HIPPA law has certainly confounded being the parent of a handicapped child transitioning into adulthood! 

Saturday, March 08, 2014


I'm posting on the Scarf Sister's blog today.  Forget-Me-Not

Friday, March 07, 2014

Entertaining Spring

We're having a rapid meltdown this week.  The raised garden beds are visible as snow retreats revealing straw covering strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus.  Mucky and yucky!  The house has stayed warm overnight (in the high 60's) without burning much wood.  Hubby has ditched his thermals of late, I did that a month ago ;)

I hear the robins have returned to town.  Not here in the foothills, but soon.

Saturday I plan on planting some seeds indoors for my mini greenhouse. 

Oh my .. and with the time change this weekend, won't it be nice to have sunset and hour later?

Mama moose, spied out my bedroom door recently.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Just Wondering ...

... if I'm the last one on the planet to get a salad/lettuce spinner?
Smallish in size .. salad/lettuce spinner.
I make salad twice a day and need washed and dried lettuce quickly, especially for our son's packed school lunch.  To me these gadgets seemed to be a big space waster.  But after being the recipient of one for my recent birthday, I'm a happy camper!  The model I received can have tap water running through it while the lettuce spins; which really doesn't work that well at actually washing, but it does an awesome job of drying cut/washed lettuce.  Bye-bye wet-soggy salads! 
A quick rinse and the spinner is clean enough to put away.

Changing Shopping Habits

Gone are the days of loading up two carts at sprawlmart or Costco.  Why?  Because we don't buy processed foods in boxes.  Instead, our grocery shopping revolves around a weekly trip to town to buy organic produce .. and a monthly trip to Costco for items such as paper goods, coffee and cheese. 
Garden tomatoes are canned

We also purchase from Azure Standard once a month.  This shipment usually contains organic potatoes, boxed apples, dried beans, popcorn, dried fruit, canning supplies, etc.  Meat, eggs, milk are from local sources that are picked up seasonally (meat) and weekly (milk). 

Once your garden beds are in, the rewards of fresh produce are endless.

At the beginning of the month I work out a budget for cash and non cash items.  Groceries are cash .. the utilities, insurance, etc. are non cash.  I start out with all of my grocery money for the month after the budget is finished.  Cash is put in an envelope and has to last until the next budget.  This method takes a few months to become second nature .. but it does cut down on spur of the moment buys when you know you have a limited amount to spend each month.

Now that the Mr. has retired and we've been living on a budget for the past four years, it's much easier to live on retirement income.  Planning and restraint in spending are necessary to live within one's means.  Maybe the gov. could take some tips from retired seniors, ya think?

If you want to get out of debt and live on a budget, check out Dave Ramsey's website.