Road Trip


I ran out of candles. That is as good an excuse as any for an IKEA roadtrip! Plus of course the crossing songs off our list thing, which I mentioned here last week. River commented that it might be better just to download the songs we want in .flac format. My problem is, I do not always know what songs I want until I hear them. I am bad like that and The Other Half is even worse, so this kind of project is a great way for us to recognise what songs are missing from our playlist.


We stopped at Heatherbrae’s Pies twice on this trip. They are kinda hidden away at the Exeter/Bundanoon exit of the Hume Highway behind Mcdonalds. We first met Heatherbrae’s at their Newcastle location and we are so happy to have them locally.


The reason we stopped twice is because I got a Chai latte on our first stop and it was *incredible*. That may have been the best cup of coffee I ever had in my life, and I have had a lot of coffee. It is definitely in the top 10. So on the way home I said lets stop again and have dinner. I got the bacon, tomato and cheese quiche. I like how they hide the tomato at the bottom.


It is super dry everywhere we go at the moment. We have had very little rain this year. We have been advised that this is going to be a very dangerous bushfire season, and as I type this they are putting out a large fire within Booderee National Park, close to one of our favourite bushwalks. More on that in my Wednesday post this week.


On the way to Canberra there is a large former lake. Actually I don’t know, do you call something a lake if it has no water in it presently? I have not seen much water here for some years now. I remember one time seeing this as a lake, but every other trip it has been grazing land for sheep. And now someone has stuck a bunch of wind farms way out there. One day we will drive to see them, but I have no idea where they actually are or how to get there. :) This is a terrible photo by the way, taken while driving, and the horizon is skewiff. :)


On arrival at IKEA there were swedish meatballs for lunch. The other half chose to have the meatballs as well, and at some point I said, you know this gravy would be awesome in our cottage pie, and I can buy it in a packet mix from the food section here.


Which of course I did. ALLEMANSRÄTTEN is everyone’s right to field, forest, and a fine meal with savory sauce, apparently. According to the packet, anyway.


These Sinnlig candles are very good value at $1.69. I got one of each flavour. Normally I buy the candles at Aldi for $2.99 but these burn almost as long for a smaller price.


I also bought many Sinnlig $2.79 for 30 tealights, which will be dotted in with my cheaper Glimma $4.99 for 100 tealights.


The other half picked this little mini-cactus because it spoke to him. And shall we now tell the fascinating story of my dream mini-farm? It will have mini chickens, mini turkeys, mini ponies, mini pigs, mini cows, mini every possible animal. Plus now I will add a mini cactus farm and a mini garden. One day!


And finally, I got some Frajen bath sheets as a gift for my Mother. These are huge yet quite thin so they dry very fast. I have been using mine all winter and they are great value at $10.99. We dropped in at Costco, grabbing some cheese and a few other treats. It was a very quick stop and soon we were on our way back home. There were kangaroos in the fields everywhere, making me realise that this would become something to watch out for once the sun went down.

We made it to Heatherbrae just after sunset, and picked up a piece of vanilla slice and a custard tart for my parents, the other half got a cream filled donut, I got a cherry and apple pie which I ate the following day for dessert. Soon after leaving Heatherbrae, we met our first wildlife friend.

Happy moments and a fun road trip for us! :) Even with all the wildlife encounters.

Costco, IKEA, shopping

The Final Costco Post This Trip.

Costco can be great value. To get the most out of Costco shopping, you need to know your prices, and you need to know when something is good value.

The numbers thing is pretty easy for me due to the Aspergers, I have a decent memory for numbers especially when it comes to fruit and veg – I can tell you how much I last paid for avocadoes or potatoes or strawberries.

At Costco they had 1.4kg of super decent looking strawberries for $9.99. I had recently given up buying strawberries here for the most part, after opening too many ok looking punnets to find the middle was mouldy.

Then they had 4x avocadoes for $9.99 – I last bought 6x avocadoes for $6.99 at Aldi, so I passed those by.


Coffee Mate –

I use these for drinking tea because it keeps the drink hot but still gives you the creamy flavour of milk added.


Tea Bag Set

These tea bags are pretty expensive in the supermarkets. I have the orange and cinnamon one and love it.


Pork hot dogs

The very same ones you will find at the food court.


Tony Romas Pulled Pork

I know some people love Tony Romas – I have never been, but if you have a craving for some of the pulled pork you can get it here.


Seaweed Snacks


A Massive Bag-O’-Snakes


Dettol hand wash – they had foaming too


Hair, Skin and Nails –

Vitamins are incredibly good value at Costco. I’ve paid this price for 60 capsules or tablets before.



These multivitamins are excellent as well. Just a very large tablet. These are larger than the Aldi ones – I did have some trouble but you can always cut them in half if you wanted.

For Costco to be good value, you also need to be able to say no to things, which I usually fail at but on our most recent trip we had a budget of $500 and we came in $25 under it.

Do You Costco?

I would love to hear about your experiences. :) Leave a comment!

Costco, shopping

Costco Part Four


Now for some random bits and pieces –

There are really big bags of chips.


And huge bags of Cheezels!


Peanuts – 1.13kg for $10.38

Peanuts are not a part of the Paleo diet, which is one reason for all the other nuts listed on the previous post, you can make those into nut butter. ;) Let me just say these Costco peanuts are huge and soooo delicious. ;)


Preshafruit Apple Juice -2 litres for 4.79 great value


American Style Bacon –

Canadian bacon is much more awesome. Costco stock all kinds, including turkey bacon.


Massive Calamari bags, yum!


Sliced lite cheese 3 x 500g packets.


Tasty cheese – even better value.


We love these cheesy pots.

They are frozen, so you can pop a couple into the oven when baking chicken or while you cook up some steaks etc, and have a potato side. There are 10 in a box, so it works out to $1.08 per potato.


Cholula Hot Sauce


Cocoa Butter

Costco, shopping

Costco Part Three – More Nuts.

Now, more nuts. People love nuts, right! :)

Lets take a look at the Almond to begin with.


Almond Milk – Costco – $2.47 per 1 litre pack.


Whole Almonds – 1.36kg for $18.99


Dry Roasted – 1.13kg for $19.49


Smokehouse – 1.08kg for $20.99


Slivered Almonds – 1kg for $16.49


Flaked Almonds – 700g $11.89


Cashews – 1.13kg for $20.89


Mixed Nuts – 1.13kg for $22.48


Unsalted mixed nuts – 1.13kg for $24.68


Next Monday, assorted Costco pics that have not found a home in other posts yet.. ;)

Costco, shopping

Costco Part Two – Paleo

One of the not-great things about eating Paleo is that it can be very costly. So, you want to save every cent you can on buying the essentials that you need. There’s a lot of meat, fresh fruit and veg, loads of nuts, coconut oil and flour.. Plus if you want to sweeten anything, you want to use things like coconut sugar or agave.

When I first tried eating Paleo, you had two choices to source some of the items – online, or via health food stores. I’ve paid truly obscene prices for coconut oil and sugar.

Even though I am not eating paleo anymore I much prefer cooking with coconut oil, and sweetening things with lower GI forms of sugar such as coconut sugar or agave so the prices at Costco are amazingly awesome.


Costco coconut sugar 1kg for $7.59.


Costco Agave – 2x 700ml bottles for $11.59


Coconut Flour – 1kg $5.99


Coconut Oil – 900g for $13.59


UHT coconut milk – 6x 400ml for $7.99


Coconut Water – 12x 330ml for $13.99

Pecans – 908g for $16.99


Pine Nuts – 680g for $30.79


Pistachios – 1.36kg for $24.99


Walnuts – 1.36kg for $23.99

If you are eating Paleo you can save yourself money, even with the yearly membership fees of $60 or $55 for a business and you can source a lot of sometimes difficult to find things in one location by shopping at Costco.

More nuts next Monday!

Costco, paleo

Costco Part One


Those of you in Adelaide might want to pay special attention to this post – you are getting a Costco soon! YAY! Register to know more about the Adelaide store here.


So we took a little trip to a new Costco location at Crossroads out near Liverpool, in Casula. I think this location is larger than Auburn which is our usual Costco.


Plus it has a fuel station where I saved over 20 cents PER LITRE on fuel. But fuel is super expensive where I live, 98 is normally 1.72 to 1.75. Given that the Polo only needs filling once every couple of months, that was a nice $8 or so saving right there. This may be one of the few gasoline stations in Australia – everywhere else is a petrol station. ;)


Oh, it is that time of year again, peoples..


Given that Halloween is a couple of months away, there are more Carters to buy for the quite reasonable price of $49.98. I said to the other half, why is he backwards? The other half said he thinks maybe Carter got into the Costco alcohol section when the store was closed. I said, but how does he absorb the alcohol? He has no stomach! The other half said he soaks it up into his bones. It is good to know you’ll still be able to get drunk when you are just a skeleton, I guess. :)


There was also a great kids costume rack. There were a lot of mermaid costumes in trolleys. I find what other people are buying endlessly fascinating. :)


But then again, the Halloween stuff might have been there for some time, given we arrived on the last day of August to spot Christmas displays, already. The Reindeers come with a sleigh, for just under $300. There’s a nutcracker statue as well, for just under $55.


The Reindeer and sleigh are very sparkly. :)


There is a huge range of ribbon to buy at ridiculously cheap prices. You are getting 45 metres of wire edged ribbon for $9.79.


And even more ribbons!


And that is a closer look at the ribbon display.


And yet more ribbons, this time a Christmas pack.


You can get obscene amounts of Christmas wrap on one roll – 36 metres, apparently. And it is extremely high quality foil wrap, I have bought it before and used it.

Costco have all kinds of things, including designer bags –


The prices range from $149 for the pink Kate Spade bag up the top, most expensive was $499 for the gold Coach bag on the middle shelf.


So one thing that is useful to know is about the .97 cent special. You can read all about it here at The Loaded Trolley – The Costco ’97 Cent’ Special – one of my favourite Costco websites. Basically it means this is a markdown to clear the item, so if you want to buy it grab it now, it may not be there next time.


Look at all these gorgeous little girl dresses! Here is a closer look –


I have no idea how much these were but they are beautiful.

Also too I will like to shout out to Kimberley from Addicted to Costco, my other most favourite Costco website. Sadly, no Burrata was anywhere to be found.


You will really save some money on chocolates here – they have all kinds from Lindt to Cadbury to Nestle to their own brand Kirkland. These Celebrations packages are selling for $30 in Coles and Woolworths – Woolworths just did a “half price special” this week on the Celebrations for $15. I buy these when I am making up my Christmas chocolate bags for friends and family.

Did all that stuff we bought fit into the Polo? You bet it did. :) Just.


Coming up Monday next week – Costco Part 2, in particular, paleo items and health food items.


Costco Food Court Australia.


Tiki Town at the International Marketplace – sadly this place no longer exists
I took this photo sitting on the ground with my little Panasonic Lumix on a baby tripod at the International Marketplace on Oahu in Hawaii

A big shout out to Pomai – who lives on Oahu – from The Tasty Island. I love your blog, and you inspired this post with two of your posts, specifically –

Costco Food Court: Eat This, Not That

Costco Food Court Honolulu Summer ’14 Update

Here is what we have at the Australian Costco Food Court, roughly 10 hours flying time from Oahu.


Important note – Costco Australia has recently switched over to Pepsi branded drinks – on our last visit a couple of months ago everything was Coca Cola. This greatly pleases The Other Half as he prefers Solo as the drink. I also prefer Solo, Sunkist or Pepsi when it comes to post-mix drinks, I find those a lot less sugary than Coca-Cola. Our visit to Costco is one rare occasion where I will drink flavoured soda drinks rather than plain mineral or soda water.


Let us go a little closer –


I always get the Combo pizza these days. This is because if I do not get it, I find myself deeply wishing I had got it on the way home. The ground beef on this pizza is seriously awesome.

I have tried the chicken bake and it was pretty amazing but not *as* amazing as the Combo pizza.


Unlike the USA, we have a pork hot dog. The Other Half loves these. I do not think we have tried the meat pie, and why would we when we can get those pretty much everywhere but you can’t get the awesome Combo pizza anywhere else in Australia, or the cheap hot dogs. ;)


The chicken and avocado wrap is seriously delicious and fresh. I’ve had that before a few times and loved it. I have not tried the mango smoothie or the iced coffee but a lot of people were getting the smoothie and they seemed to be enjoying it.


I have tried the frozen yoghurt before. It does not have that typical tang you get with frozen yoghurt and is more like soft serve. The serving size is way too big for me – I’d need four of me to finish it. ;)

A lot of people were getting the chocolate cherry thing, and that looked awesome as well.


Churro, ew. If this is what churros are supposed to be like, you can count me out. Not a fan, at all. But people constantly buy them, so they must like them. Maybe it is just me!

The coffees are made by a machine and beware, they are very, very hot. If you are getting a “soda” as well, you might want to put ice in your cup and then take one or two pieces out to put in your coffee. No joke.


I deeply wish we had brought home a pizza now because I have a huge craving for a combo slice writing this post.

If you are heading to Hawaii anytime soon, you probably want to add The Tasty Island to your feed reader. Then again, if you just like looking at pictures of food this is also a blog you should be reading! :)

Also, you might want to check out this great post – Costco Made in Hawaii Eats – we used this as a guide to what we wanted to buy at our visit to Costco on our last Hawaii trip and it was great.

What do you eat @ the Costco Food Court?

Costco, food, Linkage

Food Prep & a special note.

Coconut mango chicken in the pressure cooker, cooking?


So far that is all I have achieved today. It was meant to be a big day of cooking but it turned into a huge day of sleeping in because I was so tired from the past 2 days and turning my body clock back around to regular day time – for 2 work shifts this weekend then I go back to vampire mode for 2 shifts from midnight to 6am!

I’m going to make the chocolate chili next, I’ll go and get some fresh meats for that, and see if I can hunt down the cauliflower and broccoli.

If I am going to do one big day of cooking per week, I may well need 2 slow cookers.

On a completely different note. Jo Abi wrote this post today about toilet roll holders. I can understand immediately the problem and it is a problem we once had in a couple of the rental houses we lived in because when you move in you take what is there. Some of these things are more complicated to work than flying the space shuttle, and they train 6 months to do that.

Then we moved into a rental house where they had one like this –



No more hassles! No more thoughts of “it is easier to just let this sit here on top of the toilet roll holder than to try and put the toilet roll *on* the toilet roll holder, so I’ll just put it here”. No more arguments “the roll ran out when you were sitting there so it is your turn!”

And so we never run out of t.roll to put on the holder –


While writing this, I thought I would show you my stash of paper products – t.roll and p.towel.


I have to say it is the most enormous mind relief to buy these products in bulk. There is nothing I hate more than running out of t.roll or p.towel especially as you will usually run out of it in the middle of the night. And not to have to lug this stuff constantly back from the supermarket – one trip, one lug, lasts 6 months or more for us. :)

Costco, food, paleo, prep for going paleo

Long day..

What the?

No, I’m sorry, we need the fuel guzzling turbo section. WHERE IS THE SPECIAL CARPARKS FOR THAT? ;)

We visited both Ikea and Costco. Found perfect sized wire baskets at Ikea for the deep freeze (so you don’t have to be an archaeologist to find stuff) as well as a bunch of great candles on sale..


Then off to Costco, where we spent about 3 hours. And $849. On mostly fresh food as well as a lot of nuts in bulk – without added sugar which is relatively rare, for Costco at least.. We did pick up some frozen stuff as well. Unfortunately I did not get much meat. I think I’ll try to source that locally.

I have to find cauliflower and broccoli tomorrow as they did not have much in the way of that. If I go to Aldi super early I might manage to find some decently priced. With all the tourists down here at the moment it goes very quick.

Probably you will ask why go all that way to buy fruit and veg – the fruit and veg available here is not good and it is costly. The apples at Costco are twice the size of the ones sold here. In the trolley below the capsicums you see are 6x 3 different colors for $5.99 – you would pay $5.99 for one orange one here. You can get green ones cheap sometimes. The massive thing of 1kg baby spinach for $9.99 – you’d probably get 200g for that here unless you lucked out and found it at Aldi.

Here are some trolley shots. Yes, we had two trolleys in the end. How it all fit into the one originally I have no idea.




I’d like to have taken some more here it is at home shots, but I came home with a shocking headache so I’ve had to invoke the Forte. Panadeine Forte, that is. I did manage one.

Going to catch some serious zz’s before the big cooking day tomorrow.

Costco, IKEA, prep for going paleo, shopping

Desserts & Substitution

When you visit Costco, there are usually people giving out samples of the items of they sell. Sometimes they are awesome, sometimes not so great..

Today I found something awesome.


More about Smooze!

This is going to be the perfect summer treat for me. It is basically coconut milk and fruit juice frozen. Under 70 calories per serve and you only need one. With some of the fruits (seasonal fruit for example) being rated at 76 calories, this is a great one to swap.

A pack of 35 Smooze was $14.69 at Costco which works out at 41 cents each. I saw them today in Woolworths for $4.99 for a pack of 10 which is not quite as good value but still worthwhile.

On the slightly more high calorie dessert front – going in order of low to high calories – the good thing about both of the options I am about to mention – you can eat half and then put the lid back on and back into the freezer for another day.

Gelativo Frozen Yoghurt

Tangy, zingy, good for you and your internals.. this is a decent option. More about Gelativo

I forget how much these cost me unfortunately – got them from Woolworths a few weeks ago to try and still have not got around to eating them though I have tried a spoonful from each to get an idea what they taste like. Honey = 138cal Strawberry = 132cal there are other flavours as well.


Found this one at Costco as well – there are 9 of them in the packet, it was really good value at just over $13 for the box, and hello, made in *Italy* the home of gelato.

Quite high at 201 calories and extremely rich, this will be a once a fortnight kind of treat I think.

Costco was quite an expensive trip this time – The Other Half got himself a tent which was incredible value and I found a lot of things there which fit in with substitutions. EG a big pack of 4 different kinds of the same kind of wafer crackers you get on Lite N Easy for $6.69. They were sampling these with tuna which had been mixed with tabasco sauce – awesome stuff and something I have already replicated here at home.


JM mentioned it here in this blog post – Substitutions, Weight Loss & Lite N Easy – substitutions are not cheating. It is a perfectly ok thing to do and in some cases is quite necessary – eg food allergies.

Unfortunately Lite N Easy do not cater for people who have food allergies. I’m lucky because the two things I have unpleasant reactions to if I have too much of them – tomato and chili – can easily be swapped out.

There isn’t much chili in anything I have eaten so far and when they gave me sweet chili sauce I just went without the sauce.

There is a lot of tomato included in the diet but this is easily swapped out – so far I have swapped it for avocado, pineapple, tuna and beans. The chooks get to eat the leftover tomatoes. They are a huge fan of this!

I’m still looking for gluten free options – I bought a bread mix to make gluten free bread today which I will try this week. The gluten free bread which you can buy in the supermarket is *so* expensive. :(

There are some fruits missing from Lite N Easy which I miss – strawberries, bananas, mango.. I am always happy swapping a fruit for a different fruit. I also miss mushrooms a lot. I would like to add more mushrooms in – I guess they can be swapped for tomatoes too!

Costco, lite n easy, shopping