Saturday, October 30, 2010

Azure Standard Co-op

As my Facebook friends already know, I joined a co-op this week.  I've been very excited because I was able to purchase a case of organic Honeycrisp apples for a fantastic price!  We've just discovered these gems this summer and my husband is now hooked.  My family goes through apples pretty quickly around here.  Slather on some natural peanut butter and they are a well-balanced snack for anytime.

I've had several people ask for details about this co-op.  I've been googling for one for awhile to no avail.  I finally read in a blog somewhere about this one.  (I wish I could remember whose that was so I could give credit). This co-op is like Whole Foods on wheels.  The name is Azure Standard and you can visit their site at  Once you sign up you can view their prices.  If your family eats a lot of organic, this may be the jackpot for you!  We eat some organic items, but I focus most of my efforts on non-processed foods.  Maybe I'll be able to make more of a switch?

Here is a picture of what I received (I had also ordered canning jars but they were not shipped)

Here is the breakdown on cost:

4 oz. pumpkin pie spice $2.30
1 box green chai tea, organic $3.85
3 small avocados, organic $3
1 cauliflower, organic $2.05
20 lbs. Honeycrisp apples, organic $26.40 ($1.32/lb.)
5 lbs. oat bran, organic $3.65

The total was $41.25.  There is no tax, but there is a shipping fee of 8.5%, which is just a bit less than our local tax.  It's a fair trade-off to me.  My total after shipping was $44.76.

A lot of my money went into the apples.  One of the nice things about this co-op is that you can split cases with other members.  There are smaller and larger sizes of many things available, but obviously the best pricing is for the bulk items.  Also, it is recommended to place an order of $50 or more, but it is okay if your order is smaller.  If it is smaller, there is a small-order fee, which I do not know the amount for.  My order was originally over $50, so I did not get charged for a smaller order due to them not sending my canning jars.  I do not know what happened to the jars and I guess this is one of those things I will learn more about as I go.

I guess something else you might want to know is that the orders are placed about every 4-5 weeks.  There is a pre-designated schedule, so you are not winging it month-by-month.  There is a cut-off for orders and then the orders will come a few days later.  A big semi delivers to a drop point and unloads everything.  Being the "cooperative" type, everyone pretty much makes sure that everyone else gets their boxes.  Pretty cool!

Feel free to add comments and let me know what other questions you may have and I'll answer them the best I can.  Or just sign up online and learn as you go, right along with me. :0)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Exciting Find!

Okay, so most people would not get that excited about this, but I'm not most people.  I have had a Silpat mat on my Amazon wishlist for awhile now, but hadn't brought myself to chalk up the money to buy one.  Yesterday, I was browsing Costco's kitchen gadget section and stumbled across these:

MIU nonstick silicone baking liners

I was SO excited because #1)there were three of them in the box, #2)the price was only $19.99!, and #3)I had a Costco gift card begging to be used!  I snatched them up without any hesitation and promptly made a bee-line to the register. 

The box includes: 2-half-sheet pan liners (perfect size for cookie sheets) and 1-toaster oven sheet liner.

What great deals have you been excited to find lately?

Pumpkin puree

My husband has always told me how difficult it is to make pumpkin puree.  Based on his (not-so-great) experience, I had since avoided trying it.  However, my love for pumpkin finally inspired me to overcome my trepidation.  Lo and behold, this is a very simple thing to do!!  Here's is what I did.

Cut one pie pumpkin (3-4 lbs) in half horizontally.
Using a sturdy metal spoon, scoop out all of the seeds and strings.
Place the pumpkin in a deep pan, such as a roast pan or broiler pan.
Add about 1/2 inch of water to pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour, or until super soft.
Remove from oven and cool for several minutes.
Peel skin away from flesh.
Place flesh in food processor and puree until smooth.

I am completely addicted to this!  I can eat this as readily as my DD10 eats applesauce.  So far I've pureed two pumpkins and have found this: a 3-lb. pumpkin yields about 3 cups and a 4-lb. pumpkin yields about 4 cups.  That's easy to remember!  I would venture to guess that approximately 2 cups of fresh pureed pumpkin would be equivalent to a can of pumpkin.  So far I've only made my favorite healthy whole-wheat pumpkin pie pancakes, but I have great plans for muffins and soups and more.