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.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why are these recipes on your blog?

As I've mentioned before, I'm taking a class in HTML and CSS. One segment of that class is making a dummy website. (I am deliberately skipping any puns here, and you should too.)

In checking my work, my professor said, "Why are these recipes on your blog?  I thought it was about Costco." I told him that the recipes focus on products I buy at Costco, but I should have told him: Nope, my blog is about me.

Both Addicted to Costco and Costcotuu also focus on Costco, but, when they write about their personal lives, I like that as much or better.  

When my blog slips away from Costco, I try to mark those posts with the heading: "Not Costco Related" for people that don't want to read about my 50th High School Reunion or my fight on Twitter

The blog's subject matter may be a little unusual, and sometimes I wish my blog fell clearly into "mommy blog" or "food blog" or "craft blog" so I could participate more fully in the great support networks of those bloggers.  

I believe that Addicted to Costco, the Costco Wine Blog, Costco  CuisineCostcotuu and I need to form a Costco bloggers group; and, for a first meeting, I suggest using Costco travel to help us book a blogger meet-up someplace equidistant from us all.  Since we are all over the globe, figuring out a location would be fun.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving and Christmas Rolls: King's Hawaiian at Costco

We don't eat white bread.  Usually.  So when I deliberately buy any white flour product, I want it to be everything I imagined.  For the past few years, I've been disappointed at Thanksgiving and Christmas with the traditional southern style rolls.  Something was missing.  If I'm going to eat white rolls twice a year, I want them to match my imagination.

Recently, I bought rolls to serve my book club because characters in the book (Still Life by Louise Penny) were eating warm rolls.  Also, I had seen these King's Hawaiian rolls at Costco and figured if Costco made a point of carrying them, in addition to their own bakery rolls, the King's Hawaiian rolls were probably pretty good.

These rolls taste like the rolls of my childhood. When I imagine rolls, these are the rolls that I imagine. King's Hawaiian rolls are much sweeter than most dinner rolls, and you may not like them.  

My book club didn't mention them, and Bob seems to be able to take them or leave them, but I've found my fantasy rolls.  I will definitely buy these for holiday occasions in the future. 

The airy white rolls cook very fast, just a few minutes at 300 degrees is enough to warm them.  Rolls are 90 calories each and come in packs of 24.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kiolbassa Kielbasa from Costco

My book club met last night at my house. Still Life by Louise Penny was our book.

I attempted to serve food mentioned in the book, and since Kielbasa figured in the beginning scenes, I looked for that at Costco.  I found this beef Kielbasa from the Kiolbassa Company in Texas.

Not being sure how to cook kielbasa, I scanned recipes on the Internet and decided to use a crock-pot.

The Kiolbassa sausage is fully cooked; don't use this recipe with uncooked sausages. My book club liked:

Kielbasa for Still Life

5 fully cooked kielbasa cut in one inch chunks
1 Vidalia onion sliced thin
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar

Cook on low for 5 hours.

I served these with rolls, vegetables (peas, because of the book), and Mary brought a salad with crumbled blue cheese, which was a great sharp contrast to the slightly sweet sausages.

I was surprised by the fat content of the sausages.  We don't eat much meat, and we usually eat chicken sausages from Costco. These had much more fat than I'm used to.

You might not associate kielbasa with Canada but the world's largest kielbasa roadside attraction is in Canada. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Salmon, Postage Stamps

Random Costco news of the week:


You may have heard about the blind taste test of farm raised vs wild salmon conducted by the Washington Post. In this test, frozen farmed Norwegian salmon from Costco beat all the fresh options, farm and wild.  (Other top winners were also farmed - a great surprise to everyone.) Trying to explain this unexpected result, one guess was that frozen fish from Costco might have won because it is infused with salt before freezing.

Which salmon is the more politically correct is complicated. While farms pollute, there is not enough wild salmon to meet demand and sustainability becomes an issue.  Here's an article that summarizes the complicated issues in salmon choice.

Postage Stamps

Micah Solomon wrote an editorial on Forbes about Costco's consistent customer service message. He points out that even Costco can't negotiate better rates with the US Post Office (I thought they had).  The discounted stamps ($45.75 instead of $46.00) at the check out are a loss leader to leave you with the message, Costco will do everything to get you the best prices. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mysterious Geshmak Cucumber Salad at Costco

I've been seeing Geshmak Cucumber Salad in the refrigerator case at Costco and making myself wait until we finished our gigantic glass jar of dills.  Finally, I have the Geshmak.

The taste is slightly sweet, with garlic and dill. According to the label, 1/2 cup is 50 calories.  I paid $6.99 for 54 oz. at Nashville Costco.

After spending time decoding the label, I learned that the pickles are kosher. (The U inside the circle means kosher. I thought maybe this had something to do with Underwriters' Laboratory, although that seemed like overkill for pickles.) The pickles also say Kosher Parve, which means kosher for either dairy or meat. Geshmak is yiddish for "tastes great!"

The BPFoods symbol on the label was mystifying; I could not find BPFoods anywhere on the Internet.  The website that the label references does not exist.  I tried looking up Geshmak Foods but didn't make any progress. I called the phone number on the label. After many rings, an unidentified voice asked me to  leave a recorded message. No company name was given; it sounded like someone's personal voice mail.

I like the pickles, I like Costco.

I think these are a little mysterious.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alamo and Costco FTW

For me, renting a car always seems to be fraught with extra charges and salespeople who are trying to up-sell me insurance. I hope I won't jinx myself by relating my positive car rental experience through Costco.

I decided to rent through the Costco travel site because I write this blog.  I was pretty sure I knew how to get the best deal from discount travel websites, and I didn't believe that Costco could beat those, but I decided to experiment.

First, I signed into my Costco account on-line and went to travel; on the left side, one of the options is "rent a car". I entered destination and dates.

Aside from the great rate, renting through Costco involved an automatic upgrade.  Usually, I rent the absolutely smallest, cheapest car, a car so small, that fitting Bob's and my luggage into the trunk would have been a problem. Alamo gave me a Chrysler 200, and while it wasn't luxurious, it was comfortable and had only 6,000 miles on the odometer. I enjoyed driving into my reunion at the Grove City Country Club in a car that wasn't teeny tiny.

The rate, $12.06 a day, couldn't be beat.  Not knowing the Pittsburg airport area, I opted to buy the automatic prepaid refill on 1/2 tank of gas.  It was just luck that I happened to use almost exactly 1/2 tank, so this worked for me - no madly looking for gas stations at the last minute, or paying the outrageous fill-up price if I didn't return the car with the gas tank full.  I would have been bothered by wasting money on that.

I haven't rented from Alamo before, so I don't know if the ease was Alamo or the Pittsburgh airport. In and out couldn't have been simpler, Alamo gave me the key in the airport, I walked to the car, drove off, returned the car three days later, handed them the key, and was on my way. No waiting in line, no schlepping to a distant off-site location. 

The easy car rental is a compliment to the Pittsburg airport, but not entirely. Folks renting from other car companies didn't seem to be having the same easy time I was. I will definitely rent from Alamo and go through Costco for car rentals again.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cranberry, Pennsylvania, Costco

Cranberry, Pennsylvania, Costco had a mix of food that let me know we weren't in Nashville any more.

I had to stop myself from buying since I was flying. If we had been driving, I would have filled up the cart. 

Things I would have purchased: sauerkraut, thin spaghetti (I guess it's not PC to call this vermicelli anymore), canned pumpkin.  

Cranberry Costco had almost an entire aisle of pasta choices. I get that different ethnic groups make for different food choices, but canned pumpkin?  Not sure why we don't have that in Nashville.  I'll look again just to make sure.

Cranberry had more warm clothing than Nashville, and I did buy tights which aren't available in Nashville.

I thought this special order cake fridge in the Cranberry Costco was snazzy.

Monday, October 7, 2013

50th High School Reunion: Good Friends, Bad Teachers, and Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee (Not Costco Related)

I attended my 50th High School Reunion in northwestern  Pennsylvania this past weekend. I've only been back one other time in 50 years. My parents moved the summer I graduated. 

It was great fun to see old friends; many returned for the 50th.    

My least favorite teacher was in the crowd, and I thought about confronting her about the mean things she did to me, but what would have been the point?

She was my 9th grade English teacher. I had just moved to Grove City from Japan where my dad had been stationed. I sat in class terrified and intimidated, and she made a special effort to criticize me for my "know-everything attitude".  She would ask questions up and down the rows, sequentially, and deliberately skip me.  

At the reunion, she seemed proud and happy and acted like everyone's favorite teacher. So. Good. Thank God the other teachers in Grove City High School were better.

People had memories of me that are almost definitely not true.  I was the first of our group with a bikini?  I heard lots about slumber parties at my house and would think this was apocryphal, but I found this photo. These look like slumber partiers to me.  

On the way up from the airport, we stopped at the Costco in Cranberry. I'll write about that later. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Random Costco News of the Week: Locations and Stock Prices

Most Costco news this week concerned new locations or the stock price.

New Locations

Costco continues to expand both in the US and internationally .  For a review of what's coming, Kimberly over at Addicted to Costco has great updates.

Costco stock

Stock advice varies from analyst to analyst with Buy or Hold being usual.  I have not seen Sell. Analysts think the stock will go up.

I want to make it clear. I don't own the individual stock; and I'm  no expert in stock prices.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Three Varieties of Pink Toddler Boots at Costco

My Nashville Costco has three different types of pink toddler boots!  This seems like an unusual abundance of one kind of product.

The Miss Kitty Boots are rain boots selling at my Costco for $17.99.

The Khombu Boots are snow boots, have a warm lining and look water resistant. Those are selling at my Costco for $16.99.

The tiny pink Kirkland shearling boots are selling for $21.98.  

Not sure why toddler boots get this much floor space.  

Olay Total Effects Moisturizer SPF 15 at Costco

A long time ago, before she retired (I'm so old all my doctors are retiring), my previous dermatologist told me to wear sunscreen: SPF 15 in summer and 50 in winter.   I never found a 50 that I liked on my skin, but I've been good about the SPF 15 year-round.

What made it so easy is Olay Total Effects SPF 15 sold by Costco.  I wore this before finding it at Costco, and was thrilled to find it there.   Costco's price is good,; and, often, you can buy it with a coupon to reduce the price even further.  At one point, a few years ago, Costco stopped carrying this with the SPF, and I had to purchase it at the drugstore, where the price was almost double.

I've tried more expensive moisturizers and less expensive creams; this is the only cream that feels right on my skin and doesn't smell weird.  On the label, Olay Total Effects claims to be fragrance free; not sure about that, but the slight smell (which might be only in my imagination) disappears quickly.

Does it work? I do occasionally get compliments on my skin. Usually after spending $$$$ at my new dermatologist's. I don't think the sunscreen hurts.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Costco Coupons October 3, 2013 to October 27, 2013

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

Kimberly has a great review of the coupons here, and she finds lots of things she plans to buy. The only thing in the coupon book that I know I will buy is the Olay Total Effects moisturizer, which is a product I use every day. The coupon is for $6.00 off!

Smokeless (Electronic) E Cigarettes at Costco

Admit it. Whoever developed smokeless cigarettes is brilliant.  I guess technology is at the point where anything can be miniaturized and mechanized.   

At least one smoker I know is resistant to trying these.  I think he's choosing the devil he knows rather than the devil he doesn't.  So many new inventions turn out to have side effects worse than expected, I think he's waiting for more research.

The research isn't in, but some public health officials think electronic cigarettes are almost definitely better for you than the real thing.  While quitting entirely is best, health professionals believe that reduction of harm is better than nothing.  In other reduction of harm products, gum or patches have substituted for nicotine; in the case of electric cigarettes, a vapor is inhaled into the lungs. I understand not wanting to experiment with this.

But, I had pretty bad asthma as a child; and I wonder, if my mother, who smoked, had used smokeless cigarettes, would my asthma have been any different?

If you are interested in trying these as a consumer, the Costco product is probably not for you. What Costco sells is intended as a display for retail sales - an nJoy rotating stand with a variety of e-cigarette types, menthol, 3% and 5% solution; 27 packs for $139.99, with a suggested resale price of $7.99 each.