We decided to be brave this week and try a new Costco where there might be shorter lines at the registers and not some much aggressive cart driving. After I looked at driving directions for a few different locations, I decided that the Watford Costco looked like it would be the easiest to get to, and it is also where the headquarters is at, so I figured it would be pretty good sized. It turned out to be much easier to get to, so I was less stressed right from the beginning. But the store is also much larger so the big amount of shoppers on Sunday had more space to spread out. And, lucky us, the lines were shorter at the registers too! All in all, a good shopping day.
Sweet Potatoes – My mom is here visiting us in London, so I wanted to make sure that I got plenty of things to make dinner for the time that she’ll be here. And when I saw the sweet potatoes, her favorite, I definitely had to get some. I’m not used to seeing sweet potatoes in Costco at this time of year. What is nice is that the bags had reasonably sized sweet potatoes in them too, not the really enormous ones that are too big for one person if you just want to bake them. And at 2 kilos (4.4 pounds) the bag is a reasonable size, as well. All of us really like the simple baked sweet potato with just a little salt, pepper and butter to keep it company. Of course, sweet potatoes are also really good roasted along with other vegetables because they have that little bit of added sweetness to give a roasted vegetable mix another layer of flavor. I’m also a big fan of mashed sweet potatoes with some garlic and butter. Though, I’ve also served them with mashed with chipotle peppers and they were awesome! And I know that a lot of people like them with marshmallow and brown sugar, but that’s just something I’m not a fan of; too sweet for me. If we were going to get really energetic, we could make these into some great fries too. 2 kilograms for £2.99 (US $4.40 ). Item #: 24469.
Natco Coconut Milk – Now, I’m sure this isn’t a staple item in everyone’s home, but if you like to make Thai or Indian food, like we do, you will appreciate that you can buy this at Costco. Dave makes excellent Thai food and I’ve been trying to get him to make some for a couple of weeks now. This weekend we decided that we would get some ingredients and finally make some. We have been shocked by the really high prices that we’ve seen for a can of coconut milk at the Waitrose that we shop at for sure, but it’s even pretty pricey at the various Asian markets. So, when we saw this six pack at Costco for just £2.99 we were ecstatic; that’s just about what two cans would cost us at the regular stores. Yes, that is just £0.50 per can. And it is a nice coconut milk too with a thick, creamy texture. We can go through a couple of these cans quite easily by making a some Thom Kah Gai (coconut chicken) soup, Panang curry, coconut rice, or sweet rice with mango. And those are all some of our favorite Thai things to make at home. And then of course there are the really delicious Indian items that we like to make that also require coconut milk. So, needless to say we are big fans of the bulk coconut milk buying at Costco. This was certainly my favorite find at Costco this week. 6, 400 ml cans for £2.99 or £0.50 per can (US: 6, 14 ounce cans for $4.40 or $0.73 per can). Item #: 102730.
Fresh Garlic Gloves – We are big fans of garlic in our house. We’re always making something – pasta, stir fry, curry, or just plain garlic bread – where we need some garlic, so we like to keep a big stock of it on hand. At the regular grocery stores you can usually get individual heads of garlic or even little bags that will have maybe 3 or 4 in them, but if you use a lot of garlic, that might not last very long. Or, if you’re making a dish where you use like 40 cloves of garlic at once, you’re going to spend a fortune. So, when we can we like to buy the big bags of garlic at Costco. We use a lot of crushed or minced garlic, but another great way to prepare garlic is to roast the whole head with lots of olive oil and make a yummy garlic spread. The roasting is good if you’re looking to mellow out your garlic a bit and draw out the sweetness in it, plus it is great on garlic bread or in pasta. Our favorite lazy, weekday meal is the super simple garlic buttered spaghetti. But it does require quite a bit of garlic or else the flavor just gets lost in all that pasta, and when there are really no other flavors in the dish, you’re definitely going to notice is the garlic is not present either. When I made it this week I used five cloves and that seemed to be a good amount: not too powerful but not too bashful either. I’m thinking that I should use some of the sweet potatoes that we haven’t eaten yet and make some garlicky mashed sweet potatoes this week. 500 grams for £2.49 (US: $3.67 ). Item #: 1912.
Coleman’s Original English Mustard – I don’t know how ‘originally English’ this mustard is, but it is great on sandwiches. It can spice up any ordinary sandwich and make it so much better. But it packs a punch! A big one. We’re talking wasabi kind of burning, if you’re not careful. You definitely wouldn’t want to lick this off the knife after making your sandwich because it needs the bread and other things to make it not bring tears to your eyes. But nonetheless, Dave and I love it. Mostly I like it because mustard can sometimes get pushed around by the other flavors on your sandwich, but this one is stout enough to stand up to anything, and still provide a nice mustard taste. It’s a lot like Dijon mustard, in that respect (which I also love). We had been buying this in the little jars at the grocery store but they’re so small, and apparently we eat too many sandwiches or put too much mustard on our sandwiches because we’ve gone through several of the little bottles since we moved here. But luckily, Costco has us covered with a nice 3-pack, plus they’re in squeezy bottles. And we don’t always put it on sandwiches either. Last week, for instance, I gave my salmon (the rest of the filet we bought at Costco that I had frozen, which thawed perfectly for those wondering) a generous coating of mustard and a dusting of dill before baking it. The mustard and the dill really added a nice flavor to the salmon; it was delicious. Of course, you can also make a nice mustard sauce for your fish, chicken or vegetables. When I’m trying to be quick I use some greek yogurt, mustard and a little bit of milk that I heat for a little bit and add spices as necessary like dill or pepper. On the bottle the suggest putting some in mashed potatoes, which I’ve got to try since that is a new one to me. 3, 150 gram bottles for £2.49 (US: $3.67 ). Item #: 88547.
Border Scottish Luxury Biscuit Collection – What trip to Costco would be complete without getting something good for dessert? In this case, a lot of somethings for dessert. I love the cute little cookies biscuits that they have an abundance of here in London. They really are the perfect little accompaniment to a cup of tea. Or, following dinner. Plus, they are small enough that you can just get a little bit of sweetness too. But of course, these are so incredible because there is such a wide variety. There are eight different flavors: Butterscotch Crunch, Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Ginger, Crumbles, Dairy Butter Crunch, Spicy Ginger Crunch, and Viennese Whirls. I’m not even sure I could come up with a favorite because they are all different flavors and so yummy. The butterscotch ones kind of stood out to me, because you just don’t see a whole lot of butterscotch products anymore (seriously, Dave and I just had a whole discussion about this before we saw these cookies) so that is kind of unique, plus they are delicious. I also like the ginger cookies a lot. And it really is hard to go wrong with chocolate cookies of any kind. It’s been kind of fun to try them out though. My mom and I have had a couple when we’ve had tea or coffee during the day. 8, 150 gram boxes for £5.99 (US: 8, 5.4 ounce boxes for $8.82 ). Item #: 85852.