Oh Costco…. how do I love thee?? Let me count the ways…..

I think I feel pretty comfortable in speaking for the group, when I say that Costco is like a place of solitude for me.  It has well priced, QUALITY, (I stress quality because some other big name *cough Sam’s Club cough* suck ass), items that can be awesome to have in bulk supply around your home.  I think everyone is going to put their favorite items found at our local haven. Oh, and their customer service is to die for.

1.) SAMPLES- I mean lets be serious, some people take this as an invitation to bring their grandma and 3 children as an all out lets-suck-anything-free-we-can-out-of-anyone-to-avoid-buying-our-own-meal and free day care, but I still enjoy them.  I also am not a free loader…. my fat ass also will buy a delicious Turkey and provolone sandwich at their cute little deli/cafe place with those little striped indoor umbrellas before making the 45 minute drive home. Don’t forget, I will most likely also be taking a twist fat free frozen yogurt home with me also.

2.) HEALTHY STUFF-  Now if Costco was full of all organic items, I may just pitch a tent in the sheet and towels aisle and call it a day, but they do have a decent amount of really healthy bulk ingredients, and some organic stuff also!

*ORGANIC CHICKEN BREASTS– comes in a 3 pack of breasts that you can throw right in the freezer.

 

* GROUND TURKEY– the boy toy I cohabitate with has ridiculously high cholesterol, so I rarely cook red meat anymore, so instead I use ground turkey for pretty much everything.  It comes in a four pack of around 1.5-2lbs per pack.  Really nice to have handy in the freezer! Got some thawing in my fridge right meow.

*SPINACH-Emily here. So much cheaper than the grocery store. Plus, if we have it we have to use it.

3.) DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED ACAI BLUEBERRIES-  I’ve put down around 3 of these 2 lb bag of blueberries, thinking….”well if I want something sweet, at least they are healthier”.  Yeah, real healthy when you eat them .5 lbs at a time, dumbass.  I don’t even like dark chocolate! But these are amaze balls….. take my word for it, just buy some.

4.) QUINOA, CHIA, AND ORGANIC GOLDEN FLAX SEED-  I can be a little “granolaey” when it comes to my food, (ignore my last post about the spare tire inducing chocolate covered fruit that’s sweetened with more fruit), and I like to have these around in the pantry.  I’m new with quinoa, but its a complete protein, which makes me happy to eat it.  Chia seed and golden flax can be used in all sorts of things, and it doesn’t alter the taste too much.  So if I can add healthy food in other things, I try. (this really goes in number 2, but I’m too lazy to cut and paste, and retype, so there ya go).

5.) FORMULA-  I wish I hadn’t started my little tyke on formula, but when my breast pump and I just couldn’t work out our relationship, I had to.  Of course, I had to start using the most expensive one out there, but luckily, there’s a local Costco! A jug of Similac (regular) powder formula costs $31.99 there, and it makes, I dunno, a shit load of bottles.  We make 32 ounces a day and a jug lasts us over a week.  Now you want to buy a jug half that size at Target for $24.99? Be my guests.  Or be smart, and just use the Costco formula to begin with, which is like, $17.00 ish? for a huge canister.

Emily here. I buy the Costco brand. It is cheaper, the container is bigger, and it hasn’t made a bit of difference in the world for my little guy.

6.) DIAPERS- You need them anyways, so why not buy 400 at a time.  Now I did try the cheaper diapers, and in my opinion, they blow ass.  Huggies and the Kirkland brand were the same cost this last weekend anyways, (size 4), so I’ve always just used Pampers or Huggies. They are worth the extra money.

7.) FETA CHEESE- It comes in a giant container and usually doesn’t expire for a few months! I put it in a lot of stuff, and who doesn’t like cheese around?

8.) FRESH SALSA- I don’t go for preservative-filled pantry salsa, but their fresh chilled salsa is delicious! We buy two at a time.

9.) TAKE AND BAKE- I don’t know about you guys, but who wants to cook when you have been grocery shopping all day and have a full house of food? Not this guy! We will partake in some of their take and bake meals on occasion, and haven’t had a bad one yet.

*Cayla said their pesto butter salmon is to die for, I have yet to try, but we did have their salmon pinwheels.  They were OK, not sure I would buy again.

* Their take and bake pizza is SUPER cheap and it’s really good.

 

* Mac and Cheese is kind of hard to mess up, (although I’ve done it with a Pinterest crockp0t recipe, but Emily has a good recipe), but Costco nails it.  It’s super creamy and cheesey and artery clogging and delicious.

10.) WINE-  Seriously, it’s hard for me to find a red that I don’t like, and Costco has a wonderful selection.  The Kirkland brand of Pinot Noir is actually pretty tasty. *Side note, I don’t drink dry white wine, but Cayla and Emily both really enjoy the Kirkland Chardonnay also.

 

I could go on for days, but I’ll let the other girls in on the fun.

xoxo number 5……..

*and a few tidbits by…who am I? Number 3??

*number 1 in my heart Emmy….. just tied with 3 others :)…… errr… make that 5 others if you add the men

Pinterest Recipes: Failure or Success?

Today seemed like a good day for a trip to the grocery store and some Pinterest recipe tests. It is cold and rainy, so why not? I scrounged my pins and decided to purchase ingredients for:

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

http://www.createdby-diane.com/2013/04/key-lime-pie-cupcakes.html

Mexican Sweet Potato Skins

http://pinchofyum.com/healthy-mexican-sweet-potato-skins

Cheery Cheesecake Dip

http://shellythemomager.blogspot.com/2011/12/cherry-cheesecake-dip-easy-potluck.html

And

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

http://www.whatscookinglove.com/2012/01/cinnamon-french-toast-bake.html

 I have made the French toast bake before (it is delicious) and plan to save it for Sunday morning breakfast.

We decided to go to the Children’s Museum in the middle of the day, so I only got to two recipes, and I have to say, both are WINNERS.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes:

Ok, right away, I can tell you wasn’t about to make lime curd, because F that S. So, I bought the Dickenson’s brand, which is usually stocked with the jellies and jams in the grocery store. Also, I decided not to fancy up the frosting, because I don’t care. What I DID decided to do was fill the cupcakes with lime curd, which was a good decision.

They now make a boxed key lime cake and frosting. Done and done. While I was in the baking aisle, I decided to try the Orange Dreamsicle cake and frosting, which I will be baking tomorrow.

I baked the cupcakes and let them cool while we were at the museum. When I got back, I filled a piping bag and tip with the store-bought curd and filled each one. Then, I frosted the cakes, topping each with more of the graham cracker mix that was at the bottom of each cake, per the recipe. Then, I finished them off with a dollop (yes, I used the cursed word) of curd.

Yum. So good, and so much easier than the recipe would indicate.

Mexican Sweet Potato Skins:

Holy delicious.

I didn’t really stray from the recipe at all. I bought the most bulbous potatoes I could find, figuring I would need the room to fill them back in. Then I baked them at 375 for a little over an hour. I used a mixer with a whisk attachment to mix all of the ingredients, which worked well. Also, I only used 2 chipotles in adobo, which was plenty of smoke and heat for me.

Wow. They are freaking good. Highly recommend. They are big enough to be the main dish. I am going to whip up some kale for a side dish, but I am going to sauté it with bacon, which will keep this from being a vegetarian meal. Why? Because BACON.

 

So, I had Pinterest success today. I do love to spend the weekend cooking and putting delicious things in my belly.

“Number 4” Presenting 4 Fab Flicks You May Have Missed…(or haven’t seen yet!)

My husband and I enjoy many “together activities”… 😉 but one in particular takes up A Lot of our time – watching MOVIES! As a new mother of a 1 month old (in 2 days!) this will soon become an enjoyed pastime that is somewhat altered. As we may not be able to hit up our popcorn and Raisinets-fueled, $35.00+ trip to the theater…we always have Comcast On-Demand and Netflix 🙂

With that being said…I’d like to highlight some of our fav flicks that you may have missed, just not seen yet, disqualified, etc. Whatever the case may be…here’s a few to consider or reconsider –

Olympus Has Fallen

120 min‎‎ – Rated R‎‎ – Action/Adventure/Suspense/Thriller‎

Director: Antoine Fuqua – Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Aaron Eckhart, Ashley Judd

When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning¹s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger disaster.
– Plot provided by Google

Perhaps it’s my Massive crush on Gerard, the fact that we live in a suburb of D.C. or a combination of both, that I really enjoyed this movie. It was action-packed from beginning to end, the actors had true talent and the ending didn’t disappoint. As great as this movie was…it did not put out the typical media promotion that most blockbusters do. So…because of this…you may have missed it. If so, go see it…Meow! You’re welcome.

Total Recall (remake of Schwarzenegger’s original)

118 min – Rated PG-13 – Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi

Director: Len Wiseman – Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston

The film centers upon an ordinary factory worker who accidentally discovers that his current life is a fabrication predicated upon false memories implanted into his brain by the government. Ensuing events leave no room for doubt that his true identity is that of a highly-trained secret agent. He then follows a trail of clues to gradually recover more suppressed memories and reassumes his original vocation with renewed dedication. Unlike the original film, the plot takes place on Earth rather than a trip to Mars and exhibits more political overtones.
– Plot provided by Wikipedia

To be honest…I never even saw the original in its entirety but I said “Self! Colin Farrell is in it…it’s worth a watch!” I was pleasantly surprised. Similar to Olympus, this movie delivers fast paced action from start to finish. The futuristic take on society is fascinating while depressing at the same time. I found myself somewhat confused with the plot here and there but wanting more. If my memory serves me correctly (and mind you…I’ve had “baby brain” for the past 9 months…so it’s quite possible that it does Not)…I was also impressed with the accompanying music.

Seven Psychopaths

110 min – Rated R – Comedy/Crime

Director: Martin McDonagh – Cast: Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken

A struggling screenwriter, Marty (Farrell), inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu. He dreams of finishing his screenplay, “Seven Psychopaths” and will get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale.
– Plot provided by Rotten Tomatoes & IMDb

This was my husband’s choice as I was skeptical. However, the promising star lineup won me over. This dark comedy was a refreshing escape from the typical Will Ferrell funnies we tend to admittedly watch…and watch again….and again. The plot of this movie is so bizarre and farfetched but not over imagined. Not unlike this movie, we live in a CrayCray world these days…you Never know what types of people or circumstances you may be faced with eventually! The main character, Marty (Farrell), is dealing with Extreme personalities in an impossible situation. The combination of jaw dropping moments and plot twists makes this a must see.

Looper

119 min – Rated R – Action/Crime/Sci-Fi

Director: Rian Johnson – Cast:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe (Gordon-Levitt), who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self (Willis).
– Plot provided by IMDb

One of 2012’s best movies in my opinion… The storyline mirrored the complexity of Leo’s Inception complemented with a fresh plot scenario. Nothing is worse than a movie that is simply a re-creation of the same shit you’ve already seen (aka Friends With Benefits vs. No Strings Attached…Really!?) Anyways…I digress. I had to watch this one twice to completely grasp the ending. However, a movie that makes you think and you’re willing to watch it more than once to understand (Hello…Fight Club!) makes Looper a movie you should check out.

As I sum up my movie recommendations, I realize that I have been drawn to futuristic action flicks! I am not one to discriminate by genre, but this surprises me. I tend to enjoy the whimsical tear jerkers, can’t-sleep-without-the-lights-on-if Alan’s-not-home horrors or classic comedies jam-packed with one-liners I can repeat…and repeat (right, Mir!?)

So in closing – I’m asking for you to dedicate approximately 8 hours of your life to watch the aforementioned pictures. Worst case scenario, you’ll be able to identify plots that bore you or actors that don’t do it for ya! But all in all…I believe I’ve presented you with gratifying entertainment options for your viewing considerations.  Cheers!

Amanda…aka Number 4…aka Pex…aka Pexa…aka Mama

Summer Must-Haves

Over the weekend I accepted two last-minute invitations. I was proud of myself, because my son is 10 ½ months old and very mobile, so he is high-maintenance and requires a lot of attention. I realized that I am not even close to prepared for summer and all of the adventures we hope to have as a family. I wanted to compile a Summer Must-Have list for both my son and myself.

For my son:

1. A picnic blanket. I had immediate regret when we showed up for sand volleyball and I realized I brought nothing for my son to sit on. His diaper-changing mat didn’t do much good, since he no longer sits in one place. I have at least four picnic blankets in my downstairs closet, collected over the course of many years from gifts and impulse purchases. At least one will go in the car full-time.

2. Sun protection. I bought Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50. Why? It comes in the biggest bottle, it is the least expensive (at least among the name brands) and it is recommended by pediatricians because it includes zinc oxide. I am also currently deciding on a pattern for a toddler bucket hat and a sun shirt that will match the two pairs of swim trunks we already own.

3. Shoes. He isn’t walking yet, but he is almost there. Since he will be outside more, he needs shoes. I am deciding which pair of water shoes (aqua socks) we will buy thanks to Zulily’s newest sale. I am trying to figure out which ones will go on and stay on.

4. Snacks. Applesauce pouches, Teddy Grahams, yogurt bites, and Baby Mum-mums are my snacks of choice right now. They are portable, do not require refrigeration, and he loves them. I have found the yogurt bites are great for bribery, not only for my son, but for the children of others.

5. Sippy Cup. I will no longer be carting around bottles and formula. I have been on a “perfect sippy” hunt. I have purchased the LollaCup, the Playtex Sipster,the Boon Swig, and the Munchkin Click-Lock insulated. By far, my favorite (at least so far) is the Munchkin. Ben loves drinking from it, it is big enough for him to carry around lots of fluid, and it doesn’t spill. I like the LollaCup, too, but the spills are starting to get out of control.

For me:

1. White wine. Yes, I will be spending the summer with it. I will primarily try as many Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs as I am able for the low, low price of $10. I plan to let Costco be my guide, and I do believe the Kirkland brand will be taking some of my hard-earned money.

2. Anything Maxi. I am going to replace most of my old maxis. They are starting to LOOK old, and they just don’t fit like they used to. I plan to wear them to work, so I will be on the lookout for more appropriate maxis. I also plan to spend a lot of time in maxi skirts. So far I have two, a plain black one and a purple stripped one.

3. Our CSA Share. We purchased a full share of a CSA this year. I am elated. It starts in a few weeks, and I will be scouring Pinterest for both cooked and raw applications for my abundance of vegetables.

4. The Crock Pot. This year will be the first of my adult life where I will have to work in the summer. While I love to cook, I will be damned if I am going to spend my summer nights in the kitchen. I plan to let the Crock Pot do most of the work for me, so I can spend time with my family on evening walks and trips to the park.

5. My Kindle. I have spent the last two summers reading only for graduate school. I am finished with my program, so I finally get to read for myself again. I am in a book club right now, which is perfect because it motivates me to read things I might not otherwise.

6. Sunday night television. Breaking Bad is coming back for its final season, and I am waiting with bated breath. I am anticipating epic things for the end of the series. True Blood will also return, and though I am not the addict I once was, the show still delivers twists and turns that often keep me on the edge of my seat.

-Emily

Summer Beer…. just in time for snow

This beautiful weather we have had lately has REALLY gotten me in the mood for my summer beer selection.  You will learn, quickly, that one thing us fabulous five have in common, is our love for all things related to alcohol.  I won’t go as far as to say that we are alcoholics, but functioning alcoholics is so much different.  (Emily, sorry for the horrid punctuation…. I know you are probably sitting there with a glass of vino right now, just shaking your head at me).  Any hooters, here is a little list of my favorite summer beers, currently. ( I’d like to add that I do not discriminate seasonally with these beers, they just really sound even better when its nice and sunny out.  OH, and ABV is alcohol by volume…. pretty much, how messed up this beer is going to make your world after 3…. or 8.

In no particular, but sort of particular, order…….

1.) Blue Moon Belgian White…. Let’s just get this started right by saying, there is no better beer created…… EVER.  Ladies, I know this also reminds you of better times….. say, Joe’s Place, Pool, Darts, and a little Brade music selection on the good ol “juke box”.  Anyways, this Belgian-style witbier is served best with a big old fat orange slice, (preferably with the juice squeezed in, and the insides thrown out.  Pulp makes me want to stab my own eyeballs out).  Even though I could drink more of these than I’d like to admit, something about all of these microbrew-wheat-fruit beer concoctions makes me also want to stab my eyeballs out from the nasty hangovers, so drinkers, beware.  164 calories per 12 ounce serving, 5.4% ABV.

2.) Leinenkugel Summer Shandy.  This is a delicious combination of lemonade and beer.  Not a really sweet lemonade, however….. whatever it is, its just amazing.  Pretty much anything this company brews can be found in our bar fridge at all times, but especially this one.  No fruit needed in this bad boy. Keep it classy and drink straight out of the can.  130 calories per 12 ounces, 4.2% ABV

3.) Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat.  This beer would probably be number one on my list, if it wasn’t for the outrageous calorie content.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re just going to be swinging back a beer or two, these are a wonderful choice.  However, if I’m going to be hammering back 7 or 8 of these things with friends around a fire, I might as well save myself what calories I can.  Or at least save them for beer munchies later.  Anyways, this is another one of those orangey-fruity-magnificent beer concoctions, but the best part is the fruity pebble aftertaste.  It doesn’t taste like fruity pebbles…. just the aftertaste, and it’s awesome.  Adding an orange, (again, sans pulpey puke inducing pulp) is always a great idea for me, but this beer is sweet enough it doesn’t need it).  165 calories per 12 ounces and 4.8% ABV.

4.) Bells Oberon.  I can’t say that I am a die hard of this beer, but I know Emily likes it…. and so does the boy toy I cohabitate with.  I definitely like one with dinner or something.  Could add fruit, but it has malt added, so it’s kind of a weird combo for me.  Anyways, most beers by Bells are quite delectable (Pex, insert movie quote here).  Anyways, it’s a wheat style ale, and it’s good.  Check it out.  174 calories per 12 ounces (jeeeeeeez) and 5.8% ABV.

5.) Bud Light Lime…… before all you beer junkies jump down my throat, let me just say this is the only “domestic” beer we keep regularly stocked in this house.  Let alone a Bud product… but its delicious, so judge away.  Its beery, and limey, and sweet, and I love it.  It’s probably the only one of these beers, (besides Summer Shandy), that I can drink when the whole point is to just cut loose.  Perfect example, IOWA TAILGATING!!!!!!! (we are all die hard hawk fans, so if you don’t like it, get out)….. (I’m only kidding all fans are welcome)…..( Ok I’m not kidding…. GTFO).  116 calories per 12 ounces and 4.2% ABV.

 

Understand, I could talk about beer…..(and vodka…. and wine…) for hours, but lets be serious….. no one wants to read a blog post that long.  So judge and comment away my friends! I’d love to hear what other beers people can’t live without.

 

You stay classy San Diego…….

xoxo number 5….. also know as…… Mir 🙂

 

Again, Emily….. sorry about my general grammar and punctuation 🙂