Monday, December 30, 2013

Costco's Greeting Card assortment: 25 Handmade Greeting Cards

I've posted before about the great greeting card assortments for sale at Costco.  I particularly like the current 25 All Occasion assortment. The box contains 25 cards, at a cost of under $15.00 for the entire box. Since it usually costs me at least $2.50 for one greeting card at the card store, this is a wonderful price.  And these cards are heavy, 3-D cards. The cards come with a warning that postage may be more due to weight. I don't mind an extra stamp given the quality of the cards.

On the back of the box is a graphic, showing each card in the box; and, with the store display, Costco usually has a loose leaf notebook that shows each card. 

The children's birthday cards in this assortment are especially fun, but I like the adult cards also. I love opening a product and finding out it is even better than anticipated.  This happens to me a lot at Costco.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

After Christmas Sales not so good at Costco

I remember the first time I went to Costco the day after Christmas expecting all the Christmas merchandise to be on sale. Costco here doesn't work that way.  Here most of the Christmas items are gone the day after Christmas, and the store has switched over to weight-loss, exercise and storage equipment. 

If you're looking for great after Christmas deals, Costco is probably not the place.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Random News of the Week: Class Action Law Suit, Self Check-out

Class Action Law Suit 

Law 360 reported on December 18 that Costco settled a class action law suit in California.  Costco paid 8 million dollars and agreed to update policies about advancement.

The lawsuit claws that women were not advanced into store management as readily as men. 

Self Checkout

Perhaps news only to me, but some Costvo stores have self check-out. I use these at grocery stores, but I might miss the check-out at Costco, where the checkers know so much more about the store.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

iSi Whipped Cream Maker at Costco

I definitely did not need this isi whipped cream maker from Costco.  But it is fun.

You fill it about half full with whipping cream, set off a compressed gas canister, shake for 4 minutes (I pretended I was exercising), and you have pure whipped cream, without the preservatives.  It's possible to flavor the cream, but I haven't tried that yet. Whiskey flavored whipped cream sounds delightful. I'm sure I saw that mentioned on my "foodie" twitter list.

Here's a photo of chocolate chip/hemp heart cookies made into a sandwich with whipped cream center. (I used the standard Nestle chocolate chip cookie recipe substituting hemp hearts for the walnuts.)

I'm still getting used to the decorator nozzle. Cream comes out with some force. 

Plastic Packaging: Danger to Elder Skin

At times the plastic packaging that surrounds the smaller Costco items is easy to open.  The plastic around the edges isn't too thick, and the packages can be opened easily with a scissors.

But sometimes the packaging is dangerous.

Today, I bought an item with extremely thick packaging, not only sealed on the edges, but also sealed in the middle with plastic dots that made it extremely difficult to open.  Perhaps this wouldn't have been a problem for you, but for older people (like me) it is. We have very thin skin. The more time spent wrestling with sharp plastic packaging, the greater the chance for a serious cut. I've received painful cuts this way. 

The difference between the thick and thin plastic packaging seems to be the weight of the item being sold. The heavy plastic is necessary when heavier items are packaged with multiple parts; otherwise the package becomes too floppy. 

I want to suggest, for heavier items, a box would be better. Even if, for the manufacturer, plastic is cheaper, opening the heavy plastic is not safe for older folks.  As the population ages, maybe the danger from this heavy plastic packaging will be acknowledged. I suppose this is not solely a Costco problem.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: What your grocery store says about you!

The Washington Post reported on a fascinating study done by the Scarborough research group.  Unfortunately, I can't find the report on the Scarborough website, so I'm not sure about the Washington Post's interpretation, which is confusing to me.  They claim the report shows that Republicans tend to shop at Costco or Walmart, Democrats shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and Independents shop at smaller grocery stores like Kroger.

The study, as reported by the Post, goes on to say that consumers with incomes over $250,000 are especially likely to shop at specialty grocery stores.  (I guess this means Whole Foods. Here, in Nashville, we know Whole Foods is where music stars shop. I've seen Keith Urban there myself and heard Alison Krauss complain in a concert that it should be called Whole Paycheck.)

The Washington Post article also references a study showing that Costco shopping is bi-coastal,  Folks in the rest of the country tend to shop at grocery stores, but on the coasts, it's Costco, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Simply Indulgent Candles from Costco

Last night, we met for a pot luck and gift exchange at Linda's beautiful hillside home in Brentwood. I brought a Costco pumpkin roll and noticed some other Costco products in the pot-luck; pretty sure the Kale salad was represented.

For the gift exchange, Linda gave her yummy homemade toffee, MaryAnne, a wooden tray from the fine jewelry store Hudson Poole in Tuscaloosa (she's related to the owner), and Rose, a great discovery she found at Aldi.  Of course, the gifts I gave came from Costco.

I saw a product very similar to these Simply Indulgent candles at on sale for $19.00 each, so $19.99 for three 12 oz. candles seemed like a great deal to me.  The packaging is attractive and designed to make it easy to split into separate gifts. Every year Costco has some products like this that seem to be designed to split among several friends or coworkers. 

I like the metal containers, and the scents, pear-cider, sandalwood, and cranberry-pomegranate, are lovely.  I think my friends liked them.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Turtleneck Sweaters at Costco for $9.99

I love these Leo & Nicole turtleneck sweaters from Costco for $9.99.  I started with two, green and maroon, and went back Sunday to get black and cream.

The best thing about them is how easy they wash.   I use the machine, throwing them in with other darks, and then dry them on a hanger.  For less than $10.00, these are a wonderful buy.

I wear turtleneck sweaters all winter, but usally wool.  These are as heavy as my cashmere sweaters, but nowhere near as expensive to clean.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Movie, "Reds 2", Opening Scene in Costco

We enjoyed the first Red movie, which is about Retired and Extremely Dangerous secret agents. Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, are among the older stars. (Although Mary Louise Parker, Bruce Willis' love interest, is only 49! Boo, hiss.) 

The second Red movie starts with the same characters, again retired, and now shopping in Costco!  The message seems to be that Costco is the respectable, boring, safe place to shop.  I'm glad they weren't shopping in Walmart or Target. I feel safer knowing our secret agents have the good taste to shop at Costco.

This clip doesn't play on my phone, but if you're not on a phone, here's the official trailer of the movie, showing the Costco scene:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: P to E

Reading stock news about Costco (COST) can be confusing. Some stock analysts say buy, some say hold, some might even say sell.  

One reason not to be excited about Costco stock is the relatively high Price to Earnings (P to E) ratio (26.40 December 6, 2013).  Recently, Motley Fool did a write-up on why, even though the P to E ratio is higher, Costco might be a better buy than Walmart (WMT) or Target (TGT).  If you follow the stock market for any length of time, you learn that P to E isn't everything. Stock prices can float on emotions as much as P to E; nevertheless, for a value investor, P to E is important.  

Motley Fool's point was that Costco's growth is much better than Walmart or Target, so while their P to E doesn't look great, the growth is impressive and is on track to continue, with 36 new stores opening next year.  According to Motley Fool, Costco's membership renewal rate, which provides significant income, is up.  Keep or buy is their advice.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Action Cameras at Costco

One of the popular gifts of this holiday season is the mobile cameras that fits on a helmet, skateboard, bike, or ?? and films as the person participates in a sport or hobby.  I've seen these on the shelves in my Costco, and I've seen the ads on TV (which, of course, never mention Costco as a source), so, as a public service, I'm letting you know that Costco has these.

I saw two types. Costco has the GoPro Silver Hero3 model for $229.99.  GoPro is the one much advertised on TV.

My Costco also sells a Sony Action cam for $189.99. 

I think these would be great for an active young family, and only limited by imagination.  Filming sports, holidays like Halloween or Christmas, I think these could be fun.

Bob and I - probably not action camera material.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dark Chocolate as Health Food (Costco Product Review and Rant)

I've always loved and preferred dark chocolate. Now that chocolates are good for us, here come the weird-ass (I apologize for this language, there's not another phrase that captures my feelings so perfectly) products using dark chocolate as medicine or "health food".

It's true that if you live long enough science discovers that something previously unhealthy is suddenly healthy and vice versa.  We were warned against aspirin back in the '70's and urged to use Tylenol. Now aspirin is good for you and Tylenol comes with warnings. I think. The same thing has happened back and forth with coffee, and now with chocolate.

I've always preferred dark chocolate candy, wrapped around a caramel or butter cream, over a dried fruit or pecan, layered with milk chocolate, candy you might find in a See's candy box.

I've posted about the chocolate covered cherries and almonds in Costco; and, before now, these never had the whiff of health food to me, but now I'm wondering if the chocolate covered cherries and almonds were the scouts for this invasion of dark chocolate health food pervading the store.  

To be more specific, I bought dark chocolate covered almonds last week that I expected would be wonderful and discovered they were infused with such a strong flavor of coconut (which is another currently favored "healthy" food) that I had to take them back. The coconut aftertaste was terrible. I might have over-reacted a little when explaining my return because the woman at the Costco return desk said, "Tell me how you really feel."  I love Costco for allowing returns on products that don't please.  

I should have learned my lesson; but, that day, I bought dark chocolate covered dried "super" fruit, $8.99 for 2 lbs at the West Nashville Costco.  The fruits are Bing cherries, cranberries and blueberries. I still hadn't figured out that dark chocolate is now code for "healthy, like a vitamin supplement", although there is almost no vitamin content according to the package. The dried fruit taste is better than the coconut almonds, no awful aftertaste, but definitely not as good as the Almond Cherry Clusters.

Costco is wonderful at having products at the exact moment, or before, people want them.  I'll be glad when the "healthy dark chocolate" movement is over.

Monday, December 2, 2013

CP Authentic Asia Shrimp Wonton Soup with Noodles at Costco

I almost wish I didn't know about this CP Authentic Asia Shrimp Wonton Soup with Noodles.  I bought this at Costco because Bob likes shrimp and soup, and it turns out we love this product. The broth flavor is delicate; each wonton contains a whole large shrimp.  I even like the thin wheat noodles underneath the wontons.

I paid $12.89 for the Costco package that contains six bowls, which seems expensive for soup, but this is more like an entree, even though each bowl is only 260 calories. 

CP stands for Charoen Pokphand – meaning “Prosperity in Food”. Here's an advertisement for the soup. CP is a Thai company, so that might be the language in the ad, but I'm not sure. The ad plays on my desktop computer, but I can't see it on my phone.

Microwaving takes 4 minutes. I like to eat mine with chop sticks, but Bob uses a soup spoon. I guess this is about as far from locally sourced as you can get.

Costco Pumpkin Rolls (Bakery)

These pumpkin rolls with cream cheese filling, located back by the Costco bakery, come in packs of three. I paid $12.99 at my Nashville store.

Last week, when I was in the Costco checkout line, I was behind a woman buying five packs of these (fifteen pumpkin rolls).  I've given up being shy about asking people to account for the contents of their shopping carts. She told me the pumpkin rolls were wonderful, would freeze, and were loved by everyone. She has a shop and keeps them around during the holiday season to serve to customers and staff.  I had to try them.

Bob and I ate one roll right away. Since then, I've taken one to a baby unveiling at Carol's (her new grandchild from Asheville was visiting), and I have one frozen for later in the holidays.  

To me, the frozen one was even better than the fresh. I froze these by cutting the thick cardboard under the rolls with a scissors to make a "plate" and then making a loose tent over each pastry with foil. To thaw, I placed in the fridge overnight. Too long in the freezer might cause some damage; my package was not completely airtight because of the fancy cream on top.

Transporting was easy because it had its own base. Once at Carol's, it fit on a dinner plate, so plating wasn't a hassle

The pumpkin roll in the picture has already had several slices removed. Most everyone does seem to like these.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Unadvertised Specials Black Friday Weekend

I didn't realize that Costco has unadvertised specials over the Black Friday weekend.  On Twitter I read that @Costco_Insider blog had information on these unadvertised specials.  I'm so surprised that I haven't been familiar with this blog.

The list is valuable, and it's not too late to take advantage of these!  Most of these are electronics that I do not need, but I did need the Photoshop for a class I'm taking next year.  My Costco only had a few, but they were $30.00 off!  

Also, at my Costco, lots of the toys and the Christmas decorations were on sale.  Don't wait to buy Christmas decorations at Costco. Remember a "7" at the end of the price, like $2.97 or $8.57 means the item is on sale.  Double zero's like $90.00 means the item is an absolute sell-off.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jona Michelle Snowflake Outfit, If You're Shipping:

I bought this Jona Michelle girl's snowflake 2 piece outfit at my Nashville Costco and mailed it to my 4 year old granddaughter.  I'm never sure if what I choose is going to work in the big city. The gigantic hair bows, which looked perfectly normal down here in the South, were horrifying up North and were not a success. This outfit was a winner.  S wore it to school and also to a 4-year-old's birthday party.  According to S, everybody wanted one. (?)

It's hard to tell from my photo or the Costco photo on-line, but both the skirt and the applique snowflake on the top are sparkly, and the skirt is made from many layers of chiffon, like a tutu.

I spent $15.99 for the outfit at the West Nashville Costco and $8.25 for a shipping envelope and postage to New York. I had to wait in line at the West Nashville Post Office for about 20 minutes. The outfit sells at for $17.99, with free standard shipping.  I could have saved time and money with   

Looks like they are almost sold out, so if you want this, buy it soon.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Costco Bibles mislabeled as Fiction creates Point and Shriek Opportunity for Fox News

Bob often despairs about the point and shriek in today's news media.  This week Costco had an experience with the point-and-shriekers.

Fox News got hold of a story out of Simi Valley, California, where a minister noticed that some Bibles were labeled with a sales tag that said "Fiction".  

Reverend Kaltenbach seems to have started it all with this tweet:

His photo clearly showed that a second label had been put over the original label.  No story, right? Wrong!

Fox News confronted Costco, and when Costco replied, we don't do PR and it's obviously just a mistake, Fox News went ballistic: You can't treat us that way!! You have to pay attention to us!  Prostrate yourself before the great and powerful Fox News!

By the end of the week, Costco had figured out the game, humbled themselves before Fox News and was back in the good graces of the point-and-shriekers.  Fox News published what sounded like a self-parody on the incident.  I was appalled that "journalists" did this, seemed to take it seriously, and that it became national news.

The man who started it, Reverend Kaltenbach, is now distancing himself from the Fox News pile-on.  Here's a tweet from Reverend Kaltenbach, this tweet was NOT picked up by Fox News.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Costco Pumpkin Pie

Last night, some friends met at my friend Carol's to catch up. Linda had just returned from Paris, Carol has a new grandchild, Rose had an over-zealous pruning crew, Maryanne feels better, and all of us are looking forward to being with family at Thanksgiving.  Even though not everyone is cooking, we all agreed, if you need a pumpkin pie, the choice is Costco. I'm not sure there has been another subject on which we've all agreed this strongly.

I remember discovering these pies the first year Costco came to Tennessee, I was astounded at the value.  

The pies are large, 11 1/2" in diameter, 58 oz. (3.62 lbs.). The ingredients are healthy, and the pies are freshly made in the store bakery.

At $5.99 for the large pie, the Costco pumpkin pies are almost as good a buy as the $4.99 roast chicken. 

I'm recommending serving with whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Costco Coupons November 21 to December 15, 2013

Once again, the wonderful Kimberly at Addicted to Costco has the Costco coupons in a PDF. Coupons no longer need to be clipped, you can flash the book or the Costco app on a smart phone.

These new coupons have my contact lenses at $25.00 off, so I'm definitely going to get those.  The Perrier is on my list, too.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Black Friday Deals 2013 at Costco

Black Friday 2013 deals at Costco are listed in this pdf. I received this coupon book when I left the store today. I don't know if this will be mailed or e-mailed.  Deals are good November 29, 30, and December 1, 2013.

There are some great buys, the Keurig and the pod drawer are tempting to me, but I have no counter space left. None. And we're not big coffee drinkers. I will definitely buy one of the flash memory sticks.

Also, if you shop Costco on Thanksgiving weekend, you will be given one of the great cookbooks, "Enjoy Cooking the Costco Way". The cookbooks are free just for coming in, as long as they haven't run out. (I have missed them before.) Please don't go before I get mine.

Maclaren Strollers at Costco

I was surprised to see Maclaren strollers at the Nashville Costco. I wouldn't even know about Maclaren strollers if my daughter didn't live in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  In Park Slope, an extravagant (to me) stroller is part of life. Perhaps it's because of all the walking. Here, if you go to the store, you ride in the climate controlled car, but everywhere there involves a walk outside, and the weather is different. Protection from the elements can be a big issue up north; and the Maclaren has a little roof.  

Also, up there, lots of places are not handicapped accessible, and you have to be able to carry your stoller up steps. I was surprised at the lightness of the Maclaren. It reminded me of a well-engineered, upscale bicycle. 

Still, at $339.99, to me, it's expensive, and I wonder how well these will sell here in Nashville.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Thanksgiving, Costco Crowd, and Bear Day

Costco has been getting lots of props this week for staying closed on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why this is considered such a good thing. To me, it seems the normal way of doing business, but I guess that's changing?

One of my favorite Costco news items this week was this editorial in the Seattle Times, a Seattle doctor gives his opinion on the Costco Crowd.  Dr. Letterie talks about the fun of shopping with the diverse folks at Costco, and draws parallels to the larger society.  I'm with him; I get this same happiness wandering around Costco.

Finally, here is a cute image from a celebrate Bear Day tweet from @CostcoToday:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ocean Spray Cranberry Fiesta Salsa at Costco

Ocean Spray Cranberry Fiesta Salsa at Costco

I usually make whole berry cranberry sauce with chopped walnuts and celery for Thanksgiving, but I admit this spicy Cranberry Fiesta Salsa from Ocean Spray would be just as good and maybe better. I might add celery and walnuts, but neither the spicy, sweet taste or the chopped berry, apple and tomato texture require tweaking.  

If you would rather make your own fresh cranberry salsa, I found a recipe from Ocean Spray. The "home-made" recipe doesn't have apples or tomatoes, so I'm guessing the sugar content of the "home-made" would be higher than the "store-bought", because the "store bought" would benefit from the sweetness of the apples and tomatoes.

I paid $5.39 for a 40 oz. jar at Costco. According to the nutritional label, a serving of two tablespoons has 40 calories.

The cranberry salsa goes well with chicken and salmon; reminiscent of the Costco Mango Salsa, it has a similar bite.

For most times of the year, I would prefer the Costco Mango Salsa; but, for November, the cranberry salsa seems fun and festive.

In researching this, I discovered some customers are very mad at Ocean Spray for using genetically modified sweeteners (GMO). Ocean Spray seems to use them only in some beverages.  GMO's are not an issue in the fiesta salsa, as far as I know, but if you are boycotting any company that buys GMO, then you won't want to purchase from Ocean Spray. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hemp Seed Cookies (Hemp Hearts from Costco)

Perhaps you've been slightly irritated that the stoners from your past are experiencing the (recently discovered) health benefits of hemp.  At last, we know what has kept all those old rock and rollers alive all these years.

Now, it's possible to experience the health benefits of hemp legally. Costco sells cracked hemp seeds, marketed as hemp hearts, for $14.89 for a 28 oz. bag.

The seed hearts taste like mild black walnuts to me, so I used them in a black walnut cookie recipe. Unfortunately, I'm sure all the sugar and butter negate any positive health effects, but the cookies are good.

Hemp Heart Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup turbinado (or brown) sugar
2 eggs
3 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup hemp hearts

With a mixer, cream together the butter, sugars and eggs. Add the flour, salt and soda. When mixed well, stir in the heap hearts.

Shape and roll dough into a 2 inch diameter cylinder and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I skipped this step and made drop cookies with some of it, and that worked fine.) When ready to cook, slice in 1/2 inch rounds. 

Cook in a 350 degree oven until done, about 15-20 minutes. For smaller cookies, cut in quarters and reduce cook time to 8 minutes.

Bob said that these were good, not great; but he would have eaten another.  Bob is not a cookie person, a cookie person would like these.  

The slogan on the packaging is "Hemp and Happiness."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Washi-Tape at Costco

Costco has Washi-Tape! I can say that with authority now, although a few days ago I had no idea what Washi-tape was. 

Washi tape is a beautiful, textured, semi-transparent Japanese, patterned tape that is used for craft projects. I'm not sure how I'm going to use it, but Pinterest has more than one  Washi-Tape idea board.  In my Costco, this was in the Christmas toy aisle rather than in the office supply aisle where most craft supplies are located.

I paid $19.99 for the dispenser, and 20 rolls of tape (2 sizes of tape).

Warning! My Nashville Costco looks almost sold out, so I would buy this soon if you want it.

Win 100$ Gift Card from Addicted to Costco!

Addicted to Costco, the great independent Costco blog, turned six this week.  Not only has Kinberly has been blogging about Costco for years, but she's carried on her blog through moves to several foreign countries.  Currently, she's in England.

To celebrate the anniversary of her blog, she's having a contest and giving away $100 gift cards. 

Good luck!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Vitarain Class Action Lawsuit

Random Costco news of the week.

Vitarain Law Suit

A law suit accusing Costco of misrepresenting Kirkland Vitarain, a bottled drink sold at Costco, was thrown out for the second time. The judge felt that a reasonable person would not conclude that the product was made out of rain and that there was no evidence the plaintiff read the nutritional label.  

This product is similar to Vitamin Water, and is sold back in the water section. It doesn't seem particularly healthy to me, but neither does Vitamin Water.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Udi's Gluten Free Bread at Costco

Udi's Gluten Free bread showed up in the bakery section of my Costco.
I don't fully understood "gluten free", but this bread is good - tasty and solid. It's dense, but not in a bad way. Each slice has 105 calories compared to 89 calories a slice in the Alpine Valley. I paid $6.79 for the 30 oz. Udi's loaf compared to $6.39 for two 24 oz. loaves of the Alpine Valley. 

Since we're still enjoying Alpine Valley, I won't change to Udi's for our regular bread, but I'm glad I tried it, and, if you're a gluten free fan, or have food allergies, this is a wonderful product.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Elliott Lucca Wristlet at Costco

I'm loving this new Elliott Lucca Wristlet that I purchased at Costco to replace a larger wallet.

This wristlet holds all my necessary cards, has a bill holder and a change holder and holds my phone.  Unfortunately, my phone with the Otter Box is big and clunky. I might have to purchase a more streamlined case just so the phone looks better in the wristlet. Ever since shorting out an iPod when it fell into a pedicure chair, I've been choosing the maximum case.

I don't use a handbag; I hook my keys onto my wallet and make the wallet my key ring. I'm looking forward to the day when my phone can start my car, draft my bank account and hold all tickets and identification, but, until then, this wristlet is as close as I've been able to get.

What looks like an identical wristlet is available at Nordstrom for $48.00.  I paid $24.99 at Costco. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kirkland Paper Towels at Costco

I've posted about the controversy over Costco paper towels and the efforts that some have made to encourage Costco to make smaller, more environmentally friendly paper towels. My Costco now has the type of towels that people requested.

The previous towels were 85 sq. feet and 80 sheets; the new towels are 85 sq. feet and 160 sheets.  On the new towels, the word towel is in green.

I paid $14.99 for 12 of the new style, making the cost for these $1.23 a roll.  Comparing that to similar towels from Amazon, these are slightly cheaper.  

I'm using these now and trying to get used to the option of tearing off a smaller towel. It's all in the wrist.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Greenhouse Gas, Phone Apps, Stock News

Random Costco news of the week:

Greenhouse Gas

A report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) pinpointed Costco as a major source of greenhouse gas emission, because of the refrigerator cases. When I first read this, I thought this report was from the EPA, but subsequently realized it was the EIA. The EIA is a small advocacy organization headquartered in London.

It seems they pinpointed Costco because Costco belongs to an organization of retailers that have pledged to reduce greenhouse gasses.  It appears that other companies, such as Kroger that has over 2,000 stores compared to Costco's less than 700, were not included.  I'm guessing this press release was trying to raise awareness of the issue, and not truly an indictment of Costco's practices. Grocery stores with multiple sites in multiple towns in multiple states must be larger culprits than retailers with a smaller number of stores.

Phone Apps

I have trouble reading the Japanese Costcotuu website because I have to read it in translation, but I think she announced that she has an iPhone App!  Looking for it, I couldn't find it, but my app store only carries apps in English. I did see that Costco Wine Blog has an app!

Look for the Grandma Fifi app soon!

Stock News

Costco just announced $.31 cents per share quarterly dividend; this is the same dividend as in April and August of 2013.

Richard Gallanti, current Chief Financial Officer of Costco, sold over $1,000,000 worth of Costco stock in the last few days of October.  He has sold stock at regular intervals this year.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quiche made with Costco Ingredients: Figure Out Your Own Dough

Well, I just had a very depressing experience.

Hanging out with all these food bloggers and attending the Music City Eats festival (which was just rated one of the top food festivals in the nation) gave me delusions of grandeur.

I was trying to re-create a crust that I saw Nancy Silverton make at the festival. I had a clear mental vision of how my cute mini cherry turnovers would look.

But, instead, I had fragments of dough all over my kitchen.  The jam leaked out of the turnovers and burned. The taste wasn't horrible, but my dough didn't look or behave anything like Nancy Silverton's.

I ended up patching it together and using it for a quiche shell. 

Quiche Filling (figure out your own dough)

1 cup chopped cooked broccoli (I buy the frozen, organic at Costco)
1/2 chopped Vadalia onion, sautéed in olive oil until translucent 
1 cup shredded Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese from Costco
3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream

Put broccoli and sautéed onion in quiche shell, mix other ingredients, and pour over broccoli mixture.  Bake about 30 minutes in 350 degree oven until set (knife inserted off center comes back almost clean).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sweet Kale Salad at Costco

Because Kale is everywhere, I've been avoiding the Sweet Kale salad in the refrigerator room at Costco. But, since winter vegetables aren't my favorite, and other salad veggies seem a little pekid at this time of year, I decided to experiment.  

The Sweet Kale salad has kale, but is not actually a "kale" salad.  Broccoli is the main ingredient, followed by Brussels sprouts and green cabbage. Kale is the 4th ingredient. The taste is similar to the fresh broccoli salad Costco used to carry.

The package contains two envelopes of dressing and a bag of dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. One cup of salad equals 140 calories; the bag contains about 9 cups. 

I paid $4.99 for a 28 oz. bag. The dressing is sweet, but maybe necessarily so to offset the bitterness of the veggies.  We liked it, and I will probably buy this again.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Costco Coupons October 30 to November 20, 2013

Kimberly at Addicted to Costco has again posted a .pdf of the new Costco coupon book, composed of coupons that are good from October 30 to November 20, 2013.  She's been moving but has settled into her apartment in London, so she'll be posting more regularly now.

I was astounded by one of the coupons.  I've been posting here about trying to decide on a camera and maybe wanting the new Samsung mirrorless camera rather than a more old-fashioned DSLR. Well, last week, I finally decided and actually purchased my new Samsung from Costco.

In the new coupon book, I found a $300 off coupon.  I'll be taking mine back for the better price

Friday, October 25, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Salmonella, E Coli, More Organic

Random Costco news of the week:


Costco recalled massive amounts (40,000 lb.) of rotisserie chickens and rotisserie chicken products from it's El Camino Real store for possible e-coli contamination.  This is part of a large Foster Farms chicken salmonella issue that has been going on since March.

E coli

The Costco in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, recalled 383 lb. of ground beef due to an E coli scare.  One person has gotten sick.

More Organic Items

My Costco has begun using green price labels for products that are organic.  My daughter-in-law in Michigan told me her Costco had more organic products than before, and I believe this is happening here as well.   The photo doesn't show the green very well, but in the store, the different color is easy to differentiate.

Schadenfreude and Costco

Schadenfreude is taking delight in someone's misfortune - a German word, it's common English usage now.

Sometimes, when I see articles about Costco taking delight in troubles, I wonder if the author isn't experiencing a little schadenfreude.

Costco is a successful company that delivers a quality product with good customer service, and Costco's employees make a living wage.  For all these reasons, Costco engenders envy and jealousy.

When Costco sells a product that is recalled, news articles proliferate. When Costco is sued, it's big news.

Recently, a woman in the Imperial Valley, California, Costco managed to get locked inside Costco at night. Admittedly I don't know the facts of the case. I did read that she wasn't a Costco employee but was employed by a vendor with a kiosk in the store. After two hours, she pulled the fire alarm to be let out, and the police log notes that she expressed anger that Costco didn't apologize.

Perhaps this story got picked up by the news media because of schadenfreude; people liking to read about Costco making mistakes? 

But, maybe not. Maybe it's newsworthy because spending the night in Costco sounds like fun to many people.  The story reminded me of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler", a children's book about a girl and her little brother, who run away, hide, and live for a while in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city.  That always sounded like great fun to me; getting locked up in Costco sounds pretty good too.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hegemony and Schadenfreude

Recently I've  had to look up two words that kept popping into my mind about Costco. The first is hegemony, an old graduate student word that was always used pejoratively. The second is schadenfreude, not a word we admitted to in graduate school, but a word I learned somewhere along the way.
Hegemony implies cultural hegemony, uniformity of taste. Sometimes when I'm in a Costco far from home, I wonder about cultural hegemony.  But, whether I purchase at Kroger or Costco, my paper towels look the same.  I'm not throwing my support away from my local region by buying a better and cheaper paper towel at Costco. It's not clear to me that it's a plus for the regional economy for consumers to buy from a gigantic grocer rather than a gigantic box store.

In the past 10 years I've increased my support of local producers; I buy local produce and meat and local arts and crafts.

Schadenfreude, tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cut Flowers from Costco

I should buy more flowers from Costco. I've finally figured it out.

My Nashville Costco has three types of bouquets: Premium Floral Bouquets for $14.99, 24 Stem Rose Bouquets for $16.99, and Garden Bunches for $8.99. In the past, the large bunches have overwhelmed my house. I tried dividing the bouquets and making four separate arrangements out of the mixed flowers, but so many different small bouquets looked disorganized and busy. My house is busy enough without adding more.

The smaller $8.99 garden bunch is usually one variety of flower; which I thought might look odd, but I tried the spikey yellow chrysanthemums.

I divided the chrysanthemum garden bunch between two low, hand-blown glass vases on my dining room table. Because the flowers are one color and shape, the look isn't busy, and the simple addition of fall flowers makes the table more warm,welcoming, and seasonal.

The chrysanthemums have lasted ten days; they're almost over now. I'm going to try to keep this look going by grabbing a different garden bunch next time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Soda Stream at Costco

I've had a Soda Stream for several years (before Costco carried them).  I don't usually drink soda, but I like sparkling water, and I use mine for that.  If you've got a favorite soda, I don't think this will replace it, but if you like to add sparkling water to wine or fruit juice, or drink sparkling water by itself, this is a great product. Costco is selling this for $99.99.

I've heard that some people have trouble finding replacements for the fizz container (my Brooklyn daughter).  I've never tried to do that, so I don't know how hard it would be.  Mine has lasted a long time, but I don't use this product regularly. According to the Internet, Walmart and Williams Sonoma carry the replacement canisters. Wonder which would be cheaper?

I think if Costco carries the product, they should carry the replacement canisters.

Mesh Ribbon at Costco

Before Pinterest I had never heard of mesh ribbon, but last year, looking for ideas to decorate my front porch, it seemed that every design incorporated mesh ribbon.  This Christmas Nashville Costco has mesh ribbon in packs of two rolls, 20 inches wide by 10 yards each, or $6.49 for the pack.

For directions of how to use this in decorating just search on Pinterest for "mesh ribbon".

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: GM, Takei

Random Costco news of the week:


Costco announced association with GM that will allow Costco members to benefit when purchasing GM cars.  Costco members can now receive the supplier price and a $500 gift card to Costco. Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick are included.  This limited time offer ends January 2, 2014.


George Takei posted this poster referencing Costco on his very popular Facebook page, which has over 3,000,000 fans. The poster references the iconic "Trouble with Tribbles" Star Trek episode, in which the cute little tribbles reproduce uncontrollably.  I've felt this way occasionally trying to find space for more Costco items in my tiny kitchen.