September 6, 2014

The Village Mercantile—Knoxville

vill merc A friend of mine recently asked me if I shop at salvage stores as a way to save money on groceries and household supplies.  When I said yes, she told me that I needed to make a trip to a local store in the Fountain City part of town called The Village Mercantile.  She raved about some of the deals she had scored, and she was especially happy to find organic and natural food products available at a fraction of the cost elsewhere. 

I phoned and spoke with one of the owners, Monica, about their store.  She told me a little about their place and welcomed me to stop in when I was in the area.   I did just that last week and, in spite of our 18 month old cutting the trip shorter than I would have liked, I enjoyed my experience. 
candy

What you’ll find—

  • Great prices.  Yes, couponers can score deodorant and toothpaste for free, but I have been finding those deals fewer and farther between lately.  I’m not sure if it is that my shopping habits and purchases have changed or that couponing itself has made a shift or a little of both, but my stockpile of freebies is smaller than it once was.  Couponing is only one part of the grocery shopping equation, and places like The Village Mercantile help to reduce costs when coupons aren’t cutting it.  Baby food for 50cts each, organic cereal for around $1, canned goods for half the price of mainstream grocery stores—I’m in!

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  • Excellent customer service.  Monica and Amy were so helpful.  Since I’ve been finding myself more and more frustrated by the service I’ve been receiving at larger grocery stores, their kindness was refreshing.  Bonus—they never once scowled at me for the baby being super fussy and into everything.  ;)
  • Since the store sells salvage and surplus items, you never know exactly what gems you might find while there.  It pays to visit frequently to see what they offer from week to week.  
  • Some items are slightly past the expiration date, but as many of us who preserve food know, those dates are not hard and fast rules.  If you are picky about expiration and sell by dates, you might want to check products before purchasing.  Things like soap and toilet paper aren’t a problem, and there are plenty of non-food items from which to choose.  If you would like to learn more about sell by and use by dates, ask the owners.  When I spoke with Monica, she was very well versed in the literature about the topic. 
  • You won’t find refrigerated, frozen, or fresh vegetable/fruit items at the store.
  • Their Beanstalk Soy Candles are for sale, and they are a nice addition to your next gift or hostess basket.

owners

To learn more, I encourage you to check out their Facebook page and stop in when you are next in Fountain City.  Happy Shopping!

September 1, 2014

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

muffins

I tried a few recipes before I came up with this one for pumpkin muffins.  Most of the recipes I found in my cookbooks or on the internet came out heavy or tasteless, so I tweaked them and came up with the one listed below.  This one uses mostly wholesome ingredients and was still light and yummy.   I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use soft whole wheat)
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground cloves
¼ t. ground nutmeg
¾ c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. molasses
¼ c. coconut oil
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
¾ c. buttermilk (I use Cruze Farm buttermilk)

Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Mix dry and wet together. Fill greased muffin cups about ¾ full and bake at 400 degrees for approx 15 minutes.