Posts tagged Costco
VITAMIX: by michele fordice

  At Christmas time I was gifted the money to buy something I had been wanting to purchase for a long time but just didn't have the chunk of change to make the splurge. What, you might ask? A Vitamix blender. I know, I know, who would dream of buying a blender?! Well, it is much more then just a blender. It can pulverize anything and everything you put inside of it and will literally last you the rest of your life. Our whole family is kind of obsessed with it and we use it a minimum of 3-4 times a day.

I've been wanting to shout it from the roof tops and tell everyone I know to go buy one... however a commercial grade blender is not exactly in everyone's monthly budget.

When I heard how my dear friend, Michele, saved up to by a Vitamix for her family I begged her to share it on the blog.



VITAMIX: by michele fordice


On most days I have about 5 new ideas.

To be honest, very few of my genius ideas actually come to fruition.  Some just weren’t good to begin with.  But most of the time, I just don’t follow through and implement.  I am a constant visionary.  I currently have two entrepreneurial ideas circling my prayer life right now.  And who knows where they’ll go.  My biggest problem -- when I start one project, 5 others seem to appear in the process.  It goes a little something like this:

“Hey, babe!  Let’s paint our room!” (That’s code for, “Jay, will YOU please paint our room?”).

That quickly leads to:

“Honey, should we paint the study too?”

Which, of course, leads to:

“Gee, let’s sell our couch and get a new one. Oh, and we need some new pillows here….”

And so it begins.  Sound familiar?

That’s why I shouldn’t have been surprised when our entire house was thrown in upheaval the second Elizabeth made a small, extremely generous offer.  Preparing for a family trip, Elizabeth offered to let me borrow her Vitamix.  I was beyond thrilled…and a bit surprised.  I mean, really?  Not only is Elizabeth gorgeous and sweet hearted, but she’s kind.  Who lets a neighbor borrow a crazy expensive kitchen appliance?

I had heard a ton of things about this little miracle machine.  But, I needed to see first-hand what all the ridiculous chatter was about. (And my own mediocre blender had just gone belly up.)  A week passed and the only problem I was facing was the fact that the Mossers were on their way home and my kale in my garden wasn’t keeping up with the demands of our smoothie obsession…

…Oh, and that meant my new favorite toy was going to have to be returned.  Visions of us living without the most amazing smoothies and homemade peanut butter and pesto and anything else I could think to blend turned to nightmares.  How was I going to make my post workout green drink or hide kale in the boy’s afternoon smoothies (and not have chunks floating around)?  There was no way we had money budgeted to splurge on an expensive kitchen appliance.

(Elliot finishing my smoothie after drinking his)

And so, my visionary brain kicked in.  And this time I had the nightmares of life without a Vitamix to motivate me.

So, with my husband’s encouragement, I started a “FUN fund.”  I took a long look at our house and began a list of all the things we really didn’t need.  I purged my kitchen, bedrooms, garage and anything that wasn’t functional in our house and decided it was time they needed to find a new home to dwell.  Two months later, thanks to Craigslist, I had sold $800 worth items.

From our “FUN fund,” we were able to buy our beloved Vitamix and put an end to my nightmares of life without kale smoothies.  And, in true Michele fashion, we added a new couch and several new pillows to the mix.  Oh yeah, and a little paint for the bedroom and a bedspread.  (I told you, my ideas always multiply.)  It was like Christmas in July. 

If you are anything like me, the decision to buy something expensive, like a Vitamix, isn’t easy.  Money is tight.  I want to stick to my budget.  I want to honor the Lord with my resources.  But, like you, my heart is also to feed my boys GOOD tasting, GOOD for you foods on a budget.  Foods that we call “GO” foods, not “slow” foods that are going to bring us down.  I saw a Vitamix as a way to help me accomplish that, whipping up smoothies, sauces, peanut butter, jams…and I can’t wait to try some winter squash soup this fall!  And my summer purge helped me make it happen.

(homemade peach and strawberry jam)

Eating healthy and providing a diverse cuisine doesn’t ALWAYS have to be spendy.  It just might take some creativity.  Bringing value to our home and marriage is a personal priority to me.  To show my husband respect and that I appreciate his hard work.  To not spend money flippantly on items that don’t provide a function or purpose in our home.

How do you bring value to your kitchen or create space for a “FUN fund”?  Buying in bulk with a friend and splitting the goods.  Use coupons.  Have a side business.  Do meal swaps with groups of like minded foodies.  Make homemade baby food.  Purchase portions of cows, pigs, etc.  Buy into a co op.  Preserve summer’s fruits and veggies.

The ideas are endless.

Will you please share your creative ideas?  We can learn so much from one another to be more industrious, creative and frugal!



  • Costco carries them for a discounted price whenever they are having a live demo. Click here to see demo schedules.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond also carries them and often has 20% coupons.
  • They can also be found on Craigslist!

  To me, Whole Foods is a little slice of heaven on earth.

Some women like to window shop and drool over beautiful clothes…

I prefer to peruse the isles of Whole Foods.

(Ok, I love clothes too but window-shopping is not really my thing… I like shopping to buy better)

Anyway… I love to stroll down the isles and dream of new meals to create and flavors to try.

Beyond just shopping there, they have some of the best lunch and dinner meals around. If you have not gone to their Marketplace for a meal, you really need to!

They have EVERYTHING. Mexican, Italian, Indian, Sushi… you name it, they have it and everything is delicious! I know that most of the store is pretty spendy (my husband calls it “Whole Paycheck”) but their meals are really quite reasonably priced.

One of my favorite things to eat there lately is their Teriyaki Salmon Bowls. I pretty much want one all day, everyday so it was time to attempt to make them at home.

Now if I can just convince my husband that he wants these everyday too…





1/4 C Bragg’s amino acids

3/4 C water

1 tsp minced ginger

2 tsp minced garlic

2 T brown sugar

1 T cornstarch

Couple of dashes of cayenne pepper


Heat in a saucepan over medium heat until it boils. Then reduce to a simmer until it thickens. Stir frequently.



Adjust quantities according to how many you are serving



Bell Pepper





*any veggies work!


Thinly sliced salmon

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Minced garlic

Sea salt



Cooked brown rice


Fire up the grill!

Place all chopped veggies in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a scoop of minced garlic.

Cook them on the grill on a high heat until they brown up but still a bit crispy. We cook ours on a grill pan we got at Target and it works perfectly for any veggies

For the salmon, we usually buy the frozen Alaskan Salmon Fillets from Costco and those are really easy to slice in thin pieces. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice and dash of sea salt. Place them on the grill and watch them closely because they won’t take long to cook.


Layer brown rice, veggies, and salmon and drizzle the teriyaki sauce on top. Garnish with fresh basil and green onions for added flavor.





LENTIL HUMMUS: by michele fordice

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Michele posted a photo on Facebook of some homemade hummus she was planning to make. Her pile of ingredients sounded so good that I asked her to share her creation with you all. She is delightful and fun and truly finding cooking to be a beautiful form of art... a women after my own heart!



PS: I will be back next week with a new recipe. All the ingredients are waiting in my fridge... I just need to figure out how to find time to take a shower with two little ones... then I will be back in the kitchen!

LENTIL HUMMUS: by michele fordice

For some families, cheese, bread, or meat may be a staple at the dinner table.

The staple in our home is hummus.

Some would even say it’s become an obsession around here.  With minimal complaints from my 4-year-old son, he eats just about anything you put in front of him. But my 2-year-old on the other hand, he lives and breathes because of his hummus consumption.  For the past two years we have consumed more hummus containers from Costco than one might think humanly possible and we’ve experimented with many hummus recipes.

We have discovered that Trader Joe’s has the best flavor, but because of the amount we consume, we had to switch over to Costco’s more economical version.  In an effort to switch things up now and then, I tried making it myself.

In the end…this recipe has proven to be one of our favorites.

Traditional Hummus is usually blended with a chick pea bean (aka garbanzo bean). For this recipe, I’ve chosen to use a sprouted bean trio of lentils, adzuki, and mung beans. Ok, I’ll be honest. The reason why I chose this group of beans was because of the color. They looked pretty in the store and I wanted to take them home!

Using this sprouted bean trio was a first for me, and despite the initial vanity in my purchase, we really liked the way the hummus turned out. It had a more earthy/hearty flavor.

Unbeknownst to me, sprouted beans are said to be easier to digest and loaded with micronutrients.  Who knew?  Allowing the beans to sprout (aka: germinate) has been used in food preparation for centuries, and for those who are sensitive to certain grains and beans, this might be a viable option.  Ezekiel bread (hyper link to this website:, is a commercial example of sprouted grain bread.  Most Trader Joe’s carry Ezekiel breads and tortillas.

If you are feeling adventuresome and have never made your own hummus recipe, try it!  It’s actually really easy, nutritious, and a fun recipe to do with kids!  And, if you are not up for cooking your own beans, grab a can of garbanzo beans.  Be sure to rinse the beans in a colander in order to remove the excess sodium that has been put in the can as a preservative.

Put away that Hidden Valley Ranch dressing and bust out a healthy alternative to eating raw veggies!



  • 1 cup of dried lentils or any kind of bean of your choice
  • 3 cups of water (used to boil the beans)
  • 3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 gloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Amino
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Cook dried lentils or beans according to package directions.  If you have cooked canned beans, pour contents into a colander to drain juices and rinse beans of any excess sodium.
  • Pour the rest of the ingredients into your choice food processor and blend.  Depending on your food processor you may need to add a bit of water or olive oil to create a more creamy texture.
  • Serve with fresh vegetables, pita, and or as a sandwich spread.
  • Now enjoy!

This is just ONE of many renditions you can try.  Cook up some spinach and add it into the food processor for some extra micronutrients.  You can also add or delete the amount of lemon juice, garlic and tamari sauce to make it more or less flavorful.

Cooking has become an art form for me and food is the canvas.  I love throwing in a pinch of this or a dash of that and see how it changes the consistency or flavor of a dish.  As you get to know the flavors of the world you really get to see HIS creativity, not just the science behind the food.  He sure is creative!

Hope this inspires you too to get creative!

Love, Michele

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: by becca hardesty

I am taking a break from the blog this week because our Scarlet Ruth Mosser made her way into the world this past Tuesday! She is a dainty little girl already and bringing us so much peace and joy! 

Today's post is from my friend Becca Hardesty and I'm sure we will ALL learn from her practical advice on meal planning, grocery shopping and staying in a budget.



(Chris, Becca, Bennet and baby #2)

Meal planning and grocery shopping can be daunting tasks, especially if you have kids to mind and a budget to stick to.

I am by no means an expert at these things, but I feel like I have a pretty good method (shopping can get quite interesting when you are 8.5 months pregnant and have a spirited toddler!) to getting it all done. I'm so glad that I get the opportunity to share the method to my meal-planning madness and how I keep sane on long grocery shopping days all the while staying in budget.

Some of this may be common sense, but sometimes common sense is what I need to hear the most!

My husband Chris gets paid every other Friday, which are my grocery shopping days. This means that I only need to do big grocery trips two times a month.

I usually head to the store to grab some fresh produce and milk on Sunday for the second week, but at the end of the two weeks our refrigerator is looking pretty darn empty. Luckily, having a menu planned out means that I'm not scrounging around for things to make at the end of the two weeks (always a plus)!

IT'S ALL IN THE PLANNING: It's important to have a binder of recipes you've torn out of magazines, a folder of saved recipes on your computer, a Pinterest board dedicated to meals you'd love to make/your all-time favorites OR all of the above!

While meal planning, I refer to each of these things often but Pinterest is definitely a favorite for gathering and sharing new meal inspiration and also keeping it all organized.


- Take stock of what needs to be used up in your refrigerator and pantry. Plan meals using these things...wasting is never good.

Example: I know I need to use up some sweet potatoes, sour cream and cilantro so maybe I will make sweet potato tacos next week.

-Think about what you'd like to make. Have you been craving warm soup in this rainy weather?

-Keep your menu interesting by choosing a few favorites, a few oldies and a few new recipes...once again, Pinterest has been a lifesaver in the meal-planning department!

-To mind our budget (and our health) I only plan 1-2 meals containing meat per week. This allows us to get more veggies into our diet and actually all of our favorite meals are meatless ones now!

ASSESS YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO (depending on when payday occurs):

- Will you be out of town or having dinner guests over? Do you need to make something quick on house church night?

-Plan accordingly (don't forget to take advantage of that crock can make your evenings/life so much easier)!

-Choose meals, but not necessarily for specific days (this allows you to be flexible) unless you have something special planned, like a big batch of fish tacos for when your friends come over Friday night.

THE LIST: When I'm doing my meal planning, I first like to find a meal and write it down on the back of my grocery list (or put into my "meals" note on my phone). It's handy to have the list of meals I'll be making while I'm out shopping. After I write down the meal, I take a look at the ingredients and add the ones that I'll need to buy to my grocery list. I then move onto the next meal until I'm all the way through my planned menu.

Speaking of my grocery list, I used to be so attached to my paper lists and would cross out each item as it went into my cart. Recently I decided to try out the Grocery IQ app for my phone. It took a while to get used to, but now I Iove it and don't miss my paper lists at all. The best part is that it's free!

When I'm writing out my list, I have a different list for each store I need to go to. I squeeze three different stores into one morning before naptime so it's important to be organized. (Does anyone go to just one store?!)

SHOPPING DAY: Before you head out, plan your route according to what stores you will be going to and what you need to buy there. Do you need to get a lot of frozen items at Costco? Go there last (or if you are the over-achieving type, keep a cooler in your trunk).

Drive a little farther to get to where you need to go if the stores happen to be closer together somewhere farther from your house. I usually head to Costco first, then park in between Fred Meyer and Trader Joe's since they are pretty close to one another. I do my grocery shopping at Fred Meyer and load it into my car when I'm done and then I walk over to Trader Joe's. This not only saves time and gas but also keeps my toddler happy since he doesn't have to get in and out of the car seat another time.

Speaking of keeping kids (and mama) happy on grocery day, make sure to pack plenty of snacks, water and a sandwich for lunch so you can put them down for nap right when you get home...this will make unloading groceries much more efficient.

Don't forget to have a few distractions up your sleeve (or in your purse) like stickers; and don't be afraid to drop your child off at the play area of the store. I finally tried it out and wish I had done it sooner! My son loves the hour he gets to play as opposed to being stuck sitting in the shopping cart. I'm also able to focus more so we get home earlier and don't miss that precious naptime window!


-A simple solution to getting the most for your budget would be to choose meals that overlap in ingredients. You could even pick a theme for the week, like "Mexican" which would ensure you'd use up all of those corn tortillas and sour cream.

- I  would love to buy all organic groceries if I could, but that's not really realistic on our budget. I always buy organic dairy products, or at the very least I stick to a brand that I trust. I also stick to the same rule when it comes to meat, which doesn't add up too much when you are only making a couple of meals containing meat each week. As far as produce, I try to buy organic if they are in the "dirty dozen". Pretty much this means that if you eat the peel or skin, then you should choose organic since most of the pesticides sit in the skin or peel.

-It's unfortunate that good and healthy food has a high price tag, but keeping our families healthy is probably a top priority for every parent. If you can't afford to buy organic meat all of the time, cut back on meat in general and spend that money on organic produce instead.

Above all, be prepared and focus on the task at hand. It's easy to get overwhelmed (especially if you have kids) but remember that grocery shopping only lasts a short time and it's such a privilege to be able to go out and fill our cupboards with new items every few weeks!


Martha + Mary

Thursday was a whirlwind. I woke up looking forward to the day and with a To Do list packed full.

Duke and I were going to have a morning around the house of playing, working out, getting ready and tidying up.

Then we were headed to make a quick stop by Brook’s new office to say hello.

Then off to my mom’s house so Duke could take a nap there while I went grocery shopping for us and for my brother (his wife had been in Uganda for 5 weeks while they adopted my new niece!)

I was just slightly looking forward to grocery shopping by myself. Not that going with Duke isn’t wonderful… just a bit different of an experience.

I had a two-hour window to go to Costco, Winco and Trader Joe’s and be back to pick up Duke and take John Mark his groceries.

I pulled up to the Costco parking lot with a massive downpour enveloping my car and realized I had forgotten my phone. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but I am 9.5 months pregnant and could go into labor at any moment.

I thought for a minute about going back to get it but then decided to just shop as quick as I could and hope my water didn’t break.

I buzzed through Costco and Winco… getting SOAKED in each parking lot and then headed to Trader Joe’s.

At this point my “relaxing” time of grocery shopping all alone was not feeling the way I had envisioned.

I pulled into Trader Joe’s, got out my list and realized something…

Everything on John Mark’s list was from Trader Joe’s.

John Mark’s list was on my phone.

My phone was at my parent’s house.

Stress level rising.

To make my long day shorter…

I ended up getting home at 8:30 that night , putting Duke to bed, eating dinner after 9  and falling exhausted into bed as soon as Brook got home at 10.

Needless to say, my day didn’t work out the way I’d planned.

Instead of feeling accomplished and satisfied at the end of the day, I was exhausted, frazzled, and wishing I had been able to finish my laundry, sweep my floor and cross everything off my list of things to do.

Yet this morning I awoke earlier then usual and God had something waiting for me.

I opened by Bible to Luke 10 and the story of Martha and Mary jumped off the page to me in a whole new way.

I have always resonated with Martha and am certainly a woman who gets wrapped up in tasks. In fact, I often enjoy the tasks. Yet, I can get consumed by them and lose sight of what else God might have for me in the day.

Jesus says:

Luke 10: 41

Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

This verse sums up my Thursday. I was worried and bothered instead of choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet.

My floors will stay clean only until my husband and son come running down the halls, filling our home with laughter and joy.

My To Do list will always have something new to be added as soon as something old is crossed off.

My laundry will be finished for a few fleeting moments before Duke spills lunch on his t-shirt.

My grocery shopping will be complete until I get home and realize I forgot bananas.

Yet these are the very things that give my life meaning and purpose. They show that my life is filled with people… and people are so much more important then tasks.

I am speaking from a place of weakness and asking God to give me strength. Will you ask Him to the same for you?

In the passage immediately following, Jesus speaks to his disciples about prayer:

Luke 11:9-10

"So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock; and it will be opened to you. For anyone who asks receives; and he who seeks, finds; and him who knocks it will be opened.”

Often His answers are different then what we would picture.

They may not come in more time to accomplish tasks.

They may come in the form of more interruptions that seemingly create more tasks.

But may we remember to sit at His feet, first. Asking what His will is for today.

From a mom who is learning,


PS: In light of what God is teaching me this week… I’m taking the time to enjoy my family this week and rest a bit before we add a new baby girl.

But I don’t want to leave you empty handed in the recipe department so I wanted to link you to one of our favorite treats on these stormy days. ENJOY!


“Keen-what???” That was my response the first time someone asked me if I had ever tried quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah). It sounded sort of strange to me but it did peak my curiosity enough to give it a try.

It is now a favorite in our house and we eat it several times a week. My husband prefers it to most grains so we use it in place of brown rice most of the time.

Due to its flavor and texture, it is very versatile and tastes great with just about anything added to it. I am always looking for new ways to cook/eat it and that is how today’s recipe came about.

Here are a few ways we like to eat it:

Mexican: we use it as a base for mexi bowls or a side dish for tacos. As well as in this weeks recipe.

Asian: we also use it as a base for stir-fry’s with veggies and chicken or salmon

Mediterranean: it tastes great with veggies and some feta and olives tossed in.

For Kids: Duke is somewhat of a picky eater (more on that in future posts) but he loves quinoa with black beans and avocado.

Salads: I use leftover quinoa in salads for lunch. It adds a great texture and bulk to any type of salad and is a great way to use up leftovers.

A bit of interesting information about quinoa:

  • It is naturally gluten free
  • It provides all of the eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein!
  • Although most of us think if it as a grain, quinoa is actually a close relative to leafy green vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard. Thus making it one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom.
  • Costco sells a 4lb bag (it lasts us forever!) of organic, rinsed quinoa for $10. This is the best price I have found so far.

So… if you haven’t given it a try, you should! Today’s recipe works great as a side dish or main course and the leftovers are perfect for lunch.



PS: I’d love to hear your favorite ways to use quinoa and what you have been making lately!




  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa (rinsed)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 can rinsed/drained black beans
  • 1 C corn (I used organic frozen corn because it has no added salt or preservatives)
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 1 C chopped red onion
  • 1-2 jalapeños
  • 1/2 C patted down chopped cilantro



  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


Cook quinoa in vegetable broth (or water) according to the package instructions. I cook mine in a rice cooker but the stove works great too. Allow it to cool completely.

Add black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, jalapenos and cilantro and stir all together.

In a bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder and salt and stir well.

Add the dressing mixture to the quinoa mixture and you are done!


Serve cold as a side dish or main course. Garnish with sliced avocado and cilantro if desired.