Real Food I Consistently Buy at Walmart

I’m writing a small series of posts to share what groceries I purchase from each of my favorite stores – either online, co-op, or from brick and mortar grocery stores. I recently shared about the groceries I buy from Aldi and groceries I order from Amazon. Today I’ll tell you about the real food groceries I often buy at Walmart!

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I know many people strongly dislike shopping at Walmart. But for me, it is one of two options in my small town. I have the choice of shopping at our one local grocery store (which is quite a bit more expensive and does not always have great quality produce) or Walmart. The produce selection at our Walmart is usually pretty good, plus I can price-match great deals from stores an hour away like Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market.

So Walmart it is, almost every week. Typically I’ve found the quality of their produce to be very good! And they even carry several organic options.

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Walmart

What do I buy at Wal-Mart?

A cart full, you can bet on it. :)

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~ Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

I look at Pricematcherz.com each week and take advantage of all the deals from stores in Lincoln. I get amazing deals on fresh produce this way, and I am so thankful for this!

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~ Frozen Veggies as Needed

Typically I buy frozen veggies from Azure Standard. But since that order only comes once each month, I buy (non-organic) from Walmart in the meantime to fill in gaps.

~ Chicken

Our Wal-mart carries a “natural” brand of chicken at a very reasonable price. I often find it marked down and buy every bit of it when it’s available at the discount. But even if it isn’t discounted, the price is still good. I can get whole chickens as well as boneless thighs and breasts. Boneless thighs are my absolute favorite!

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~ Cream and Half-and-Half

No it’s not organic. Yes we go through a lot of it.

~ Colby Jack Cheese

Our Walmart has Joseph Farms brand that is a great price and made from cows that are not given hormones. I usually buy 2-3 of these four-pound hunks of cheese each month. We shred it all in our food processor and keep it in these bowls with lids to pull out and use as needed.

~ Day-Old Bread on the Mark-Down Cart

I always check this cart to see if their French or Italian bread is available for $0.53. If so, I grab a few loaves so my boys can make Pizza Boats for a quick lunch or so we’ll have it on hand to serve guests. No it’s not very nutritious. But it makes a nice side for an otherwise nutritious meal, and our guests enjoy it slathered in butter!

~ Hormel Naturals Lunch Meat

If we need sandwiches to take on the road for soccer or basketball games, I grab a couple family packs of these.

~ Nitrite Free Hot Dogs

They recently came out with a Walmart brand of hotdogs that I would consider “better for you” and their price is better too. I like to have these on hand for Beanie Weanies once in a while. :)

~ Organic Mixed Greens and Fresh Spinach

The prices on these are great, and actually cheaper than the conventional options! I love how simple these make my life!

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Are you a Walmart shopper? Does your Walmart still offer Price Matching? What do you frequently buy at Walmart?

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Aldi

I am often asked what groceries I buy and where I buy them. Obviously we do not all have the same grocery store options because we all live on different parts of the globe! (And how fun is it that we all connect here in one community!)

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I decided to write a small series of posts to share what groceries I purchase from each of my favorite stores – either online, co-op, or from an brick and mortar grocery store where I actually have to wear clothes and shoes to do my shopping. Not that I shop online without clothes on. I think that might have come out wrong. Well, anyway…

First stop: Aldi

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Aldi

We live just over an hour away from the nearest Aldi. It doesn’t make sense for me to drive there often, even though I love many of the groceries they offer! I make it there only once every three months now, and as you can imagine, I stock up on my favorites while I’m there!

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I’ve definitely found that not all of the food Aldi offers is of the highest quality. But they do carry many real food items that I trust, so I skip their processed junk food aisles and grab their good food options for great prices!

Real Food Groceries I Buy At Aldi

  • Simply Nature Organic Salsa – We go through loads of salsa at our house!
  • Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (knock off) – So I can always and forever make this Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel Dip. :)
  • Simply Nature Organic Black Beans
  • Simply Nature Pasta Sauce
  • 100% Grass Fed Beef – We buy a half-cow every year from local farming friends. But we go through a lot of ground beef at our house so I buy hamburger at Aldi whenever I’m there. It costs about $5.65 per pound which is a great price for the quality!
  • Cream Cheese – They carry this for the best price I’ve seen consistently (only $0.79 each!!), but unfortunately they don’t always have it in stock!
  • Butter – Usually this is priced at $2.50 or less per pound, which is much cheaper than my local options.
  • Brown Sugar – I keep brown sugar on hand at home for baking (since it’s cheaper than sucanat and as far as our bodies are concerned, sugar is sugar!). Aldi almost always has the lowest price.

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Aldi…sometimes

  • Produce – Often the Aldi closest to me doesn’t have great quality produce. They have great prices on produce, though, so usually I use their prices to price-match at my local Wal-mart.
  • 100% Whole Wheat Bread – It’s not full of the greatest ingredients, but I do like having a few loaves stashed in my freezer for busy travel days.
  • 100% Fruit Pouches – My boys like their fruit squeeze pouches, which tend to be a little bit less expensive at Aldi most of the time. Sometimes I’ll grab a few boxes while I’m there so we can take them to soccer or basketball games.
  • Sliced Cheese – I often check the quality and price on Colby jack and pepper jack slices if we need them for sandwiches on the road or grilled cheese at home.
  • Lunch Meat or Hot Dogs – Sometimes they have a “Never Any” brand or a nitrite-free hotdog that I’ll take advantage of while I’m there. I’m not a huge fan of these as the quality is still kind of so-so, but if we need them and I want to avoid an additional trip to another store on my way home, I get these.
  • A special treat to take home to the kids – Sometimes I’ll grab a pouch of granola or something else that I know my boys will like. I’ve discovered that my kids are not too old to become excited when Mom gets home from the store!

Real Food Groceries I Buy at Aldi

Do you shop at Aldi? What groceries do you frequently buy there?

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Psst!

Lilla Rose is having a wonderful Fall Sale, this FridaySunday! 40% off retiring styles, and 10-20% off select styles! Check out the gorgeous leaf-themed Flexi, U-Pins, bobbies, and hair sticks for September, “Maple!”
This sale can also be combined with the monthly special of a free large shaped U-Pin with any $50 purchase! Sale starts Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 AM Pacific time, and ends at midnightSunday, Sept. 3.
Sept Sale 2017

That Time I Stopped Buying Groceries to “Eat What We Had” In an Attempt to Save Money

If you look at my stash of food, you might decide, “This woman is crazy.”

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You’d be right, of course. I mean, who buys 24 packs of cream cheese at once? Why do I need 36 pounds of pasta, seeing as I do not own an Italian restaurant? And what is up with the three cases of salsa? The 50 pound bag of oats? An entire shelf full of cocoa powder?

Dude. Never question a woman’s supply of chocolate. This is a necessity, much like water and air.

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Some might think I have a food hoarding problem. Some may be concerned that I have an unhealthy fear of running out of food. But the truth is:

My family eats a lot.

Also? Cooking is one of my very favorite things. It’s also a big part of my writing career – experimenting and coming up with recipes to share here. So basically, I like having my very own grocery store out in my storage room. When I get a new recipe idea, I almost always have the ingredients on hand that I need to work with. And I’ve almost always purchased them on sale in bulk. That’s how I roll. I find a good deal on an ingredient I use regularly, I stock up, I always have it on hand, and I have rarely paid full price.

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Which leads me to the time recently I decided, “Hey. I spend a lot of money on food every month. I have a lot of food already (ridiculous understatement). I wonder how long I can go without buying groceries. I bet I’d save a few bucks if I stayed away from the store. I should try it.”

This resolution lasted for two entire weeks. That’s how long I stayed out of the store. Then I couldn’t put it off any longer. I had to go shopping.

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What happened when I stopped buying groceries

Had we run out of food? Goodness, no. But suddenly I found we were down to frozen meat, several jars of homemade applesauce, and a pitiful can of olives, the brand of which I will never buy again.

I exaggerate. You can be sure we still had bags of rice and wheat and oats. I most definitely had a decent stash of butter in my freezer. But as nice of an idea it was that I use up what I have before I shop again, I learned very quickly that this doesn’t work for me at this season in my life.

Why I can’t avoid grocery shopping longer than two weeks

1. In only two weeks, my stock pile shrunk rapidly.

No, of course we didn’t go through 24 packages of cream cheese in two weeks. But I was amazed at how quickly my supply of food started to vanish and I began to feel uneasy about running out of essentials. Part of this is because we eat a lot. Actually, all of this is because we eat a lot. What can I say?

2. I stock up when the price is right.

If I use up what I’ve bought on sale, then I’ll have to pay full price when I need it again. Wham, bam, no thank you, ma’am. It works much better and saves us a significant amount money if I continue to stock up on needed items when the price is right – before I wait until my stock pile has run out.

3. The fresh produce only lasts so long.

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables in season is one of the main reasons I need to go to the store every week. After I’d avoided going to the store for longer than normal, we were down to two carrots and a few pears in the crisper drawer. I still had some frozen veggies too, but man shall not live on green beans alone.

4. I don’t have time to run to the store every time I run out of something important.

Having a nice supply of all the basics on hand not only saves me money, it saves me time. Running to the store for one or two items here and there is really a time waster for me. I can’t even tell you how nice it is to simply “shop” in my pantry and freezers when I need to make something at the last minute.

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There truly is something to be said about eating up the odds and ends that get shoved to the back of the freezer before they gets wasted. That’s the best part of committing to staying out of the store for as long as possible – it really challenges a person to make do with what she has.

But as for me and my household, I’m going to need to shop regularly and keep a good stockpile of the basics at all times. It helps keep my grocery budget under control and I think we all know I need as much help with that as I can get.

How about you? Have you found that it works well to take some time to avoid the store and instead work on eating up what you have on hand? What saves you the most money?

Do I Buy Everything Organic?

Happy New Year!  I figured we should begin 2015 with a little chat about vegetables and butter.  Good idea, don’t you think?

After seeing some pictures of my grocery store purchases a few weeks ago, Nancy wrote:

Do I see that you don’t buy everything organic? Your butter and cheese are not. I struggle because as much as I have changed our lifestyle, make so much on my own, and buy so much organic, I cannot afford for the butter to be (organic). With the amount we consume in a week, my husband would need a second job!   :)  Your ministry continues to be a blessing. Thank you!

Second job, indeed!  I was excited to see that our grocery store is carrying organic butter now, but at almost $5 for a tiny little 1/2 pound, that’s awfully hard to take in – even for a butter lover like me.  :)

My short answer is, “No, I do not buy everything organic.”  And now the long answer…

From meat to milk and fruits to vegetables, organic truly is best.  But you know what’s also best?  Staying within our budget and taking the stress out of feeding our families whole foods.

I used to be super afraid of anything that wasn’t completely clean – so much so that if a food item wasn’t organic, I simply would not buy it or feed it to my family.  This became very stressful, mostly because it was practically impossible and very limiting.  Because I live in a small town without many organic resources (and can only get food from a food co-op once per month), fresh fruits and vegetables were rare around here at that time.  Wow, were we missing out.

Here’s what I do now:

  1. I strive to fill our table with as much variety of whole food as possible, especially fruits and vegetables.  Organic or not, this is my first priority.
  2. If an organic option of the food we want/need is available and within our budget, I am very happy to buy it.
  3. If an organic option is not available but the food will nourish us, give us variety, and is within our budget, I am still very happy to buy it.

I prefer organic, free range, locally grown, and sustainably raised versions of every single food – I do.  I’m so thankful for every bit of meat, dairy, fruit, vegetable, and grain I can get my hands on that has been produced with care.  This really is best for us.

But I no longer feel guilt or anxt about eating whole foods that are not organic.  I know that God is bigger than pesticides and that doing the best we can with what we have is a more important focus.  Our bodies crave nourishment, so I’ll continue to work on filling my family with goodness in any form I can find and afford.

One final thought:  Just because a fruit snack or cookie carries an “organic” label, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nourishing.  I’d rather have a non-organic peach than an organic cheddar bunny.  Just something to chew on (literally).

How about you?  Do you prefer organic?  How much of the food you feed your family is organic?  What’s your stand on this topic?

Menu Plan for the Week – Plus This Week’s Grocery Pictures

Here we are, beginning Thanksgiving week already! We’ll head to Kansas to spend time with family later this week, thus the abbreviated menu plan below. Since my side of the family won’t be together again at Christmas time, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas all in the same weekend.

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Home-canned goodies make great gifts!

Here’s a picture of this week’s grocery store run. See that nine year old boy hiding behind the groceries? He was on sale, and I couldn’t resist.

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We’ll be enjoying the special treat of Chex Mix over the holiday.

Our Amazon Subscribe and Save order came this week. I got such good deals – and they are all over my storage room. Not only have I not had time to put them away, it’s freezing in there! I’ll do it….later. ;)

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My new Menu Planning Notebook is proving to be soooo much fun – and super helpful too. Do you have yours put together yet? As you can see, I shared my work space with cookie cutters. Malachi and I were getting cookies ready to take to Kansas. :)

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Here’s what my menu plan ended up looking like for this week:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

  • Pears
  • Applesauce
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Petite Carrots
  • Clementines
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Romaine
  • Raspberries
  • Fresh Pineapple

What are your Thanksgiving plans this week?

Getting Food Prepared for Company

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I love having these Raw Cookie Dough Bites from The Nourishing Home on hand for snacking. 

We are very excited to have two different families coming to stay at our house – the first for a few days beginning this weekend, and another next week, staying for three whole weeks!! The boys are looking forward to playing with their buddies, and I am looking forward to catching up with great friends I don’t get to see nearly often enough.

So that I can enjoy our visits and not spend all my time in the kitchen, I’ve tried to get a little bit of cooking done ahead of time. Here’s what I’ve made (or plan to make tomorrow):

One of our guests this weekend needs to eat gluten free, and then the following week, one guest has a peanut allergy. As long as I don’t get my weeks/guests mixed up, we should be just fine. :)

Our local Farmer’s Market hasn’t had much to offer yet in the way of fresh produce. We’ll get there, it’s just still early in Nebraska! Thursday night, I was able to get some fresh greens and two heads of broccoli. We ate all of the broccoli at lunch today. So good!

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I got stocked up at the store tonight on loads of fresh fruits and a few veggies, plus a few treats to share with our guests. I love all the fresh produce available this time of year. (And no, not all of it was organic. This is all I have available to me right now, so I’m cheerfully going for it!)  Hopefully by the time company comes, we’ll still have some of this available. I mean, when there are fresh peaches in the house…

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What are some of your favorite meals to feed guests?