World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans!

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Our tiny home on wheels

People are always shocked to hear how much we love Costco!

They don’t expect us to benefit much from a warehouse store membership because we live in a tiny space (and travel full-time) and we eat very few processed foods.

So, are we the “World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans”?! Read below about the 2 reasons we think we might be…and YOU be the judge. 🙂

Reason #1 –

People are surprised we shop so much at Costco because we are passionate believers in the idea of living simply.

IMG_0811We personally own very few things. We live and travel full-time in our tiny campervan – literally everything we own fits in here and travels with us. We don’t have a storage unit full of stuff anywhere, and we sold our home and property years ago.

Because we own so few things, we only own things that we LOVE! And so many of our very favorite things were purchased at Costco because we love the savings as well as the quality of the products they sell (not to mention their awesome return policy!).

Here are a few of our favorite purchases from Costco…

christy with camera

Me and my Canon 70D

While traveling, we’ve developed a passion for nature and wildlife photography (and documenting our travels, too). All of our photos are taken with the Canon 70D camera that we purchased from Costco. Our nature and wildlife gallery is on display at www.ChristyP.com. These photos allows us to earn some income while traveling since we are only in our 40s and nowhere near retirement age.

My eyeglasses are a Costco purchase that I use all day, every day.

And, of course, we make use of the savings on gasoline – one of the most critical things we need for our travels! We try to run out of gas anytime we’re near Costco’s awesome gas prices!

Our GoPro video camera is great for recording our adventures, and we’d literally be lost without our Garmin GPS that we use every day (also a Costco purchase)!

We love our Bem portable speaker for listening to music during the day, but we especially rely on it for listening to white noise at night since we’re always sleeping in new places with unpredictable noises.

Thanks to the Braun cordless razor (which we got a great deal on at Costco), we’ve both switched to dry shaving since we live with limited amounts of water on board our RV; and this razor works WAY better than others we’ve tried!

We were super excited to find the Smart Works Pop-Up Organizer at Costco, which we use every week when we do laundry. For nearly a year, we wished someone would invent a collapsible laundry basket. We even scoured the internet looking for a space-saving solution. Then, one day, we spotted this amazing item while walking through Costco! YES!

Needless to say, with our adventurous lifestyle, we track a LOT of dirt into this tiny little space. So we needed a powerful vacuum that we could store conveniently. We tried out dozens of options, but there was no contest once we discovered the Dyson DC 44 stick vacuum at Costco!

And, since we’re on the road full-time, it’s great to have peace of mind knowing that we can fill our van tires to the recommended tire pressure or jump start our rig anytime if necessary without finding someone to help when we’re in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the jump box we found at Costco, these things are never a concern for us – plus, we can air up our own bicycle tires in a snap, too.

Reason #2 –

People are surprised we shop so often at Costco because we are natural foods advocates.

kitchen

A glance at our kitchen

We eat a natural, additive-free diet; and we make a living teaching others how to shop for and prepare natural, additive-free foods at www.CompletelyNourished.com.

Until I tell them about it, most folks have no idea that Costco sells so many natural and organic food items…and at great prices! The savings on these foods alone literally more than pays for our membership fee!

kitchen cabinet

A peek inside our pantry 

When we moved into our camper van, I assumed I’d be kissing my Costco shopping days good-bye. But, actually, we can squeeze a surprising amount of goodies into our van as you can see by this snapshot of the inside our our pantry.

(The fridge is packed, too, with all sorts of meats, fruits, veggies and eggs from Costco…but I had trouble standing back far enough to get a good picture. LOL!)

I like to think that if we can eat natural, additive-free foods and benefit from the savings at Costco with our lifestyle and our teeny kitchen and limited storage space in our less than 150 square feet of living space, then anyone can find ways to eat more natural foods!

Some of our favorite natural foods that we are still able to purchase at Costco are:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Organic eggs
  • Organic and grass-fed meats
  • Cheese
  • Organic salsa
  • Olive oil
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic peanut butter
  • Natural almond butter
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Coffee
  • Organic lemon juice
  • Organic quinoa
  • Wild-caught canned salmon
  • Organic raisins and other dried fruits
  • Almonds
  • Larabar snack bars
  • Organic bread
  • Organic tomato paste
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Sea salt, black pepper and other dry spices

Of course, when we had a full-sized kitchen and more storage space we were able to benefit from even more of Costco’s products…and I still encourage others to do so by sharing all sorts of recipes on our website.

We love Costco for all sorts of products that are not specific to our businesses or lifestyle, too. Even with our tiny living space, we still find room to store other bulk goods and household items from Costco like paper plates, paper bowls, parchment paper, foil, plastic wrap, feminine hygiene products, Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap, etc.

So, what do you think? Are we the “World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans”? Do you shop at Costco? Are you intrigued? What are YOUR favorite Costco goodies? We’d love to hear from you below!

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our blog if you’d like to stay up-to-date on our tips for natural health and happiness! 

 

How the Food Industry is Destroying Your Health & What YOU Can Do About It

accentIn the video presentation below, I explain many of the sneaky tactics used by the food industry to disguise toxic chemicals in our food.

I also explain how such additives in food cause and exacerbate a wide variety of health problems, and I share a little bit about my own personal struggle with chronic pain and fatigue (i.e., Fibromyalgia).

If you are living in more pain or with less energy than you would like, please take the time to watch this video and share it with anyone it may help!

You will learn why food additives matter and how to avoid them when shopping at the grocery store!

(If you’d like some help getting started, grab a copy of my “Eating Additive-Free” book that I mention in the video. It’s jammed packed with natural recipes and the grocery shopping guidance you need to get started avoiding food additives!)

And for even MORE great tips about living a “Completely Nourished” lifestyle, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our site, and we’ll send you a message when we post new goodies here! 🙂

Chewy Grain-Free Cookies

CHECK OUT OUR RECIPES PAGE FOR MORE GREAT RECIPES!!!

These cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free…and egg-free! And they are chewy and delicious!

(Psst….If you enjoy this recipe,  be sure to get yourself a copy of our additive-free cookbook & grocery shopping guide, “Eating Additive-Free“! It’s stuffed with 150+ more tasty recipes!! Your satisfaction is guaranteed…or your money back!)

Makes about 12 cookies

Chewy Grain-Free Cookies (egg-free)2 (click photo to enlarge)

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
1/2 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1 – 1 1/4 cups almond meal* (See note below!)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

*Check out our Grocery Shopping Guide for our tips on selecting the most additive-free versions of every ingredient used in our recipes.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350F, and line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.Melt oil and honey together in a small sauce pan.

3. Meanwhile, combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

4. Remove oil and honey from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.

5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Dough will be more the consistency of brownie or cake batter than cookie dough, but that’s just fine. 🙂

6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto parchment paper. I literally use a TBSP measuring spoon for this step. Especially if making the thin variety, don’t place more than 6 cookies per sheet because they spread out a LOT!

7. Bake one sheet at a time on middle rack for about 8 minutes, until edges just begin to brown. Watch carefully in the final couple minutes, as ovens vary and these turn quickly from “done” to “burnt”!

8. Slide cookies (w/ parchment) onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or allow to cool completely for about 20 minutes, and enjoy!

*Almond meal note:
For thicker cookies (shown in the photo above on the left), use 1 1/4 cups. For thinner cookies (shown in the photo above on the right), use just 1 cup almond meal. Both varieties are equally chewy and delicious, but Chad and I prefer the thinner ones!! Also, I’ve only tried these with Trader Joe’s brand almond meal, not almond flour, so I’m not sure how these would work otherwise. I did also try with my own homemade almond meal, but I needed to use 1 1/4 cup of that to get the thinner version (instead of the just 1 cup needed with the store-bought variety), and I didn’t try to make the thicker variety with my own almond meal. I assume the difference is that the store-bought variety is drier??

CHECK OUT OUR RECIPES PAGE FOR MORE GREAT RECIPES!!!

(If you enjoy this recipe,  be sure to get yourself a copy of our additive-free cookbook & grocery shopping guide, “Eating Additive-Free“! It’s stuffed with 150+ more tasty recipes!! Your satisfaction is guaranteed…or your money back!)

 

 

“Additive-Free” Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

Summer is coming to an end, and this is the time of year that questions start flying about how to pack healthier (i.e., more natural) “kid-friendly” school lunches!!

I hear from so many parents who are willing to put the time and effort into making lunches for their kids to take to school each day….but they inevitably run out of ideas.

Over the next few weeks, I will be compiling here all sorts of ideas for parents to use when packing lunches this school year – ideas from readers, from other blogs…from anywhere I can get my hands on them.

Hey…perhaps you have an idea or two (or suggestions for posts/articles on other sites that I can add to the list below)? Please share your info/ideas in the comments section below, and include as much detail as possible. You’ll be helping SO many other parents. Trust me! 🙂

Alright, so here’s what we’ve compiled, so far. But check back frequently, as we hope to be adding to this list daily! (Please note: I have not personally tried all of these products or recipes; this is simply a compilation of ideas from readers and the Internet. Also, links outside of CompletelyNourished.com likely contain some recipes that are NOT additive-free, so read carefully!)

RECIPES & MEAL IDEAS

STORE-BOUGHT SHORTCUTS

  • Cooked Shrimp (at places like Whole Foods Omaha, you can even find a couple seasoned varieties on the Shrimp Bar that are additive-free and ready-to-eat!)
  • Rotisserie chicken (again, at Whole Foods Omaha, you can find chickens in the deli area that are ready-to-eat and very simply seasoned – and ingredients are labelled!) Of course, you can roast your own chicken, but this can save you in a pinch if you’re short on time…or energy!
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers brand pretzels
  • Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • Dried Fruit – Look for varieties that contain no added sugar, oils, or sulphur dioxide. Trader Joe’s carries a pretty good variety, as do many natural food stores.
  • LaraBars
  • Foods Alive Flax Crackers
  • Trader Joe’s Olive Oil Popcorn – Contains just organic popcorn, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt
  • String Cheese
  • Raisins
  • Fresh Fruit (Tip about oranges: The rind on clementines is thinner and easier for small kids to peel themselves! Tip for fruits that brown easily – sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning.)
  • Carrot sticks and other fresh veggies
  • Frozen veggies
  • Plain potato chips or corn chips – Definitely not a health food; but perhaps a “compromise” choice if you can at least find a brand with basic ingredients
  • Canned fruits or applesauce – Some stores (especially health food stores) carry brands with no added sugars or preservatives. Look for brands that contain just fruit (and possibly fruit juice). Pineapple chunks are usually available at most stores.
  • Nuts – Look for raw (not roasted) or dry roasted. Only ingredients should be nuts (and possibly salt). These are generally available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, so don’t panic if you don’t find any in the snack nut section. Nuts are great to combine with raisins (and perhaps the chocolate chips listed above) for a homemade trail mix.
  • Organic/no-sugar-added apple sauce from Trader Joe’s.
  • Trader Joe’s carries a variety of grass-fed cheeses.
  • Some stores carry hard-boiled eggs (yes, already cooked) in the produce or deli department.
  • Prepackaged Snacks for School (from “100 Days of Real Food” blog)

EQUIPMENT:

MEAL PLANNING & GENERAL TIPS

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