Here we go again. Salmonella and nut butters recalled for salmonella. That’s enough for me. I’m going to start making my own (and maybe I’ll add chocolate to it like Big Sis does). We are too much a nut butter house to keep having these salmonella scare. My personal jar is not on this list, but that doesn’t make me feel much better about it. I’m guessing that jar is going to cool its heels in the fridge until I get sick of looking at it. Daggone it – details here. Eat well, be well friends.
These have been out for a few days, but if I didn’t have Food Safety News in my FB feed, I wouldn’t have heard about two of them. Granted, I don’t buy those products, but nonetheless I thought I’d pass the info on. I have to say that I have mixed emotions about all these recalls. The optimist in me says:” Hey, it’s really good that we’re catching these problems and keeping them from potentially making more people sick.” On the other hand… insert cursing and outrage about our food industry here. Eat well, be well friends, and check the news once in a while to see if you’re at risk for something gross.
Let me explain. I’ve been a bit out of touch because my brother, who lives halfway across the country from me, has been visiting. I checked out of most of my regular life and spent some wonderful days getting to know him better and watching my children fall in love with their uncle. I’ve missed all kinds of news, including the news about the bag of nectarines in my refrigerator.
In case you’ve not heard, stone fruits are being recalled nationwide for possible listeria contamination. More details follow here. It is important to note that bulk packs, individually sold fruits, and pastry made with fruit are all subject to the recall. I am pleased that my market called me to let me know; I just wish it had happened before breakfast. If they hadn’t called, I probably would have had another before I saw the news today. I’ve eaten several of these. If I complain of flu-like symptoms anytime in the next several months (because apparently it can take that long), please fell free to remind me to see my health care provider.
I will now return to my regularly scheduled activities, including sharing recalls when they come across my wire. I’d encourage you, however to check out the Food Safety News website yourself so you can be informed about the fruit in your fridge. Eat well, be well friends. Fingers crossed.
The first time I went to Costco it was with a neighbor. I told her I don’t do well in large stores with lots of different kinds of things to see. “Let me guess; you freeze up?” Why yes, yes I do. She shrugged and said, “Don’t worry. John does the same thing. I’ve got practice. I’ll get you through.”
I like to think that I’ve gotten a little better at managing my scene at Costco. I no longer need a guide or sherpa. I’ve never been tempted by the vehicles or pianos (although I confess camping gear can get a little dicey). I attempt to take a list, and sometimes I even stick to it (silence in the peanut gallery please). At any rate, through all this increasingly disciplined procurement I have discovered that Costco has some remarkable deals on some healthful foods. These have become staples for me that make it easier for me to plan highly nutritious meals or to fake a planned meal with high quality ingredients. While Costco does offer a significant amount of prepared food, they also have a remarkable number of real food ingredients. If you are skeptical, or still in the frozen stage of your Costco relationship, I thought I’d share my top healthful purchases at our local Costco, so you can guide yourself through the onslaught of offers.
There are a lot of good deals on produce at Costco, although many of them are packaged in ways that I just can’t stomach, so I’m going to focus on the really exceptional, and less poorly packaged, deals here. My favorite Costco discovery is the bag of Power Greens. It has several hearty greens mixed together and is perfect for adding to salads, soups, smoothies, and anything else you would normally add greens to. Don’t forget greens freeze just fine, so the size of the bag shouldn’t put you off. It’s 4.99 for a massive bag of greens that you would normally buy in little piddly amounts in a plastic box. Carrots are also an exceptional Costco score provided you use them a lot. We are carrot lovers and use our 10 lb bag in plenty of time. This bag comes with two bags inside, so it would also be easy to split with a carrot loving friend. Avocados at a dollar apiece? Yes please.
Frozen produce is also a good deal with organic sweet peas going for just over a dollar a pound. Our Costco also offers frozen organic corn and mixed vegetables. You can find other great deals on dried fruit at Costco. They offer a wide variety of high quality dried fruit at lower than grocery store prices. Just check the ingredients to find the varieties that do not have added sugar. ;-)
2) Nuts and Seeds
While Costco does not fill my raw cashew needs, they manage to answer all my other nut cravings and requirements, and again they do it at prices that consistently beat grocery stores, even those with bulk bins. Kirkland almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios are permanent residents on my Costco list. We’ve also gotten pine nuts and chia seeds there (prohibitively expensive at the market, and they do keep just fine).
3) Grains and Beans
Organic brown rice at Costco rings in at 1.16 per pound. Costco also sells sprouted dried beans and organic quinoa at better than grocery store prices.
4) Nut Butters While with the nut prices Costco has, I should really be making my own nut butters, I confess that I don’t. This is one place where I let convenience win the day. Kirkland brand organic peanut butter is a staple in our house. We’ve recently been pleased to also find organic almond butter, both at substantially lower prices than I can find them in the market.
5) Pantry Staples
This is the category for a miss-mosh of ingredients that we buy at Costco and that we’ve found to be higher quality, and less expensive, than any of our other local options. Our Costco pantry staples include: Kirkland maple syrup, Kirkland extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, and Kirkland balsamic vinegar.
While we no longer buy most of the packaged beverages offered at Costco, we do enjoy the screamin’ deals on snooty coffee. If you are a whole bean coffee purchaser, you should check their prices out. We also occasionally take advantage of sales on coconut water.
We have had a good experience with whole grain sandwich bread at Costco and have also occasionally enjoyed the gigantic stack of whole wheat tortillas that they sell for the same price as a dinky grocery store package.
8) Better Junk While we typically eschew junk food, the occasional whole grain tortilla chip goes a long way toward limiting the sense of overwhelming deprivation that can consume my kids. Costco has great prices on a few items that I would categorize as better junk. We typically buy one of these for gatherings or vacations and enjoy the leftovers.
So there you have it, the bulk of my permanent Costco list on my phone (which the children now read and manage in a very dictatorial fashion, much to my chagrin). One of the biggest barriers to healthier eating is the cost of high quality ingredients. If you already have a Costco membership, check out these amazing deals. If you don’t have one, but are now tempted, consider giving it a try – or touring the store and doing the personal calculation of whether or not it makes sense for you, or for you and a friend. I am staring at that picture of chips as I write this… I am weak in the face of chips. Hope you are all having a glorious summer and if you are already a huge box store shopper, what are your favorite healthy (or healthier) deals?
Smith’s Country Cheese gouda cheese recalled. Sold under different names, check the details if you gotta gouda.
Sliced, smoked salmon from Illinois (how that makes sense I’ll never know) recalled. Sold in grocery stores far away from Illinois. Check the details if you have some, share it if you don’t – I mean the news, not the fish.
Eat well, be well friends!
Products from the Healdsburg Pickling Company. Limited distribution might be a saving grace on this one. Details here. And as a side note, Healdsburg is wonderful. Eat well, be well friends.
Incomplete processing. That is gross to me in so many different ways I don’t really want to go on about this, but thought I’d share. Please check out and/or share with folks to whom it might be relevant. Details here. Eat well, be well friends.
“Where do you get your protein?”
It’s a question those of us who eschew animal products on a regular basis get with some regularity. And that’s okay – I get it. It is difficult to imagine a satisfying meal that doesn’t look like all the satisfying meals we’ve always eaten. Ask away. I’ll tell you a couple of things. 1) I don’t think we (grown adults) need as much protein as most people think we do and 2) I eat a lot of beans. Beans aren’t my only source of protein, but they’re hard to beat for nutritional bang for the buck and culinary flexibility. Continue reading
Good grief. I look away for a second and it’s recall mania. Hummus and other dips for listeria – see here. Cottage cheese for improper storage(?) – here. And 1.8 million pounds of meat for E.Coli – here. If you don’t use these items, please be sure to share this information with your friends. Nasty business. Eat well, be well.