I can’t believe another month has slipped by! I swear September just started a couple of days ago. Don’t forget that the US and UK coupon books are still going on through October 9th, so you only have two more shopping weekends left. My mom was really pleased that she was able to still take advantage of the Harmonics flooring coupon in this month’s US coupon book. She had bought 12 boxes of the flooring right before the coupon book started but was able to take her receipt for it to Costco to get a refund of $8.00 per box thanks to the coupon. That makes a nice difference in the price of that flooring too.
Dorset Cereals Toffee & Pecan Good Honest Crunch – Yum! This stuff is delicious! However, it’s not nearly as filling as their other oat and grain filled muesli. I love the little crunchy bits and the texture difference between that crunch and the pecan pieces. The cereal is nicely sweet too, not too much though, it’s just sweet enough to make it really pleasant and eatable. It’s not as unhealthy as you might expect it to be for tasting so delicious though. It’s made with good things like oat flakes and oat flour, sugar (the worst on the list), pecans, crisped rice, sunflower oil, toffee powder, honey, coconut, natural flavourings and molasses. The use of the oats makes it still a good source of fibre with 5.9 grams in a 100 gram serving, which is possibly slightly more than your average bowl of cereal serving size. I wish they would have used more honey and molasses instead of plain sugar to get the sweetness, but all in all, it’s a pretty healthy list of ingredients. Plus, it’s nice that 10% of it is actually pecans, since it is a cereal that is called toffee and pecan. If you’ve ever looked at the ingredient lists for products you’d know that this isn’t always the case. We were looking at a juice recently that was called mango and passion fruit but was almost all apple and orange juice instead with mango and passion fruit last on the list of ingredients – sad but true. In any case, this is a delicious cereal that is a nice vacation from muesli for a few days. The price at Costco though, is a good deal. For a single 375 gram box from Ocado or Tesco, you’ll have to pay £2.99, which means that buying this at Costco can save you quite a bit. You’ll save right around £1.00 buying it at Costco instead of one of the major supermarket chains. 2, 375 gram boxes for £3.95 (US: $6.17). Item #: 0120529.
Kirkland Signature / Zanetti Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio – Normally, I just buy the regular Parmigiano Reggiano that Costco sells in nice little hunks and I’ve always found it to be really good. However, this time I saw this Stravecchio and thought I’d give it a try to see if the extra ageing made that much of a difference. The regular Parmigiano at Costco is aged for 24 months, but the Stravecchio is aged for 36 months. What you can notice with that longer ageing process is a darker color to the cheese; it’s slight but you can definitely notice a more golden color to the Stravecchio. The other difference is the more prominent patches of crystallised amino acids. When you see these patches on the outside of the cheese they look like white spots on the cheese and might be mistaken for mold even, but they’re not anything you need to be afraid of, plus the crystals give a little crunchy texture to the cheese. While you will find this in the younger cheese too, you find more crystals in the older cheese. The big difference that probably most people care about is the taste though. The younger cheese seems to have a sharper flavour with kind of a nutty taste, whereas the older one has mellowed more and lost some of the bite and the nuttiness is replaced by a more fruity flavour. The Stravecchio, since it is more mellow, is excellent served in chunks with fruit. However, I also like to grate it on things the same way I do the younger version. When I’ve grated it onto hot items it melts beautifully and still manages to provide the taste that we all love so much about Parmigiano Reggiano. Depending on what you are serving the cheese with, the Stravecchio might not be as prominent as a younger cheese because of its more mellow flavour, so you kind of need to make sure that you don’t overpower it completely. As you would assume, the older cheese is a bit more expensive than the younger version by a few pounds/dollars per chunk at Costco. If you treat your hunk of Parmesan nicely, it will last you long enough to actually use the large wedges that they sell at Costco. I usually wrap mine in a piece of paper towel and then store it in a zip top bag; you want to avoid exposing it to air because that will dry it out (and not in a good way). If you keep it free of moisture it will last quite a while. 614 grams for £10.80; £17.59/kg (US: $16.88). Item #: 0055515.
Jordans Frusli Bars – These are way better than I thought they would be, honestly. I was expecting them to be more in that tasteless and dry cereal bar category, but was certainly pleasantly surprised. At Costco you get four boxes with three different flavours: a box each of blueberry and red berries, as well two boxes of raisin and hazelnut. All of the flavours are quite good, but I do like the raisin and hazelnut best; which is good since there are two boxes of them. The bars are made of wholegrain oats and a whole lot of fruit, at least 25% fruit. I like that there are no artificial flavourings or colourings, just lots of healthy ‘real’ stuff. For such a little package, you do get almost 1.4 grams of fibre and 1.7 grams of protein per bar for 117 calories. All of that is quite respectable for a quick snack like this, I think. They are nice and chewy with a little bit of sweet and you can really taste the fruit and berries too. They’re pretty satisfying for not being that huge, as well. They really are a perfect quick snack either in the morning or the afternoon, especially when you’re running out the door. Unfortunately, they don’t travel well in your purse since they are so soft. I took a couple in my purse when we went on a trip recently and ended up smashing one of them flat in my purse by the time I pulled it out. It did stay together and was still edible, but was just really flat. But really, that’s not much of a complaint, just more of a warning if you buy these. 4, 6 bar packages (24 bars total) for £4.65 (US: $7.27). Item #: 0066858.
Tranquil Nights Microfiber Sheet Set – You know what no one tells you when you’re moving abroad? That if you’re bringing your beds from the US they are not the same size as beds in the UK or Europe. So, what that unpleasantly means for me is that I can’t buy sheets here. Since I only thought that we were going to be staying for a year, I originally just brought a single set of sheets for our California King bed. I was worried about space and figured that I might not have so much spare room to store multiple sets of sheets and usually I just wash them and put them right back on the bed anyway. This would have been fine except for the fact that my giant sheets and my little tiny washer/dryer didn’t seem to make a good combo. The dryer ended up kind of cooking part of my sheet set making it fairly imperative that I get another set of sheets. Thankfully this happened right before we went to Dubai where they have stores selling American sized sheets (yippee for Pottery Barn and their overpriced sheets). But I decided that since I now know that I have storage, I would get a couple more sets. Luckily for me, my mom was nice enough to act as my delivery person for two sets of new sheets from Costco on her recent trip (I’ll talk about the other set of sheets next week or the following week). The Tranquil Nights set was the first set that I decided to try because they are super soft and lightweight. Since it has been rather warm this week, I thought starting with the light sheets would be smartest. Of course, once you feel them you can’t help but want to try them out. They are made from microfiber – which totally means polyester no matter how you try to jazz it up – that has a brushed finish on both sides for this sort of suede-like feeling to the sheets; its awesome. The sheets are made to fit a fairly deep 17″ mattress, so you shouldn’t have a problem with your pillow top mattress most likely. They fit quite nicely on our bed. One of the nice benefits of this sheet set is that it includes four pillowcases for all bed sizes – Cal king, king, and queen. This is great because we always have four pillows on our bed and now I don’t have to worry about needing to get an extra set of pillowcases that match. And the matching would be an issue because every other set of sheets I have is snow white in color and these are ‘vanilla’. I really, really wish they came in white though. The vanilla color is just different enough from the white that you notice it isn’t the same, but not so much so that it looks like a different color. Against my white duvet, they just look kind of dingy, which isn’t my favourite look for sheets. But they are really soft so I’m overlooking that little issue. And it’s not like Martha Stewart is coming over for a slumber party and going to critique my sheets. The other kind of odd thing is the size of the pillowcases: they’re huge. Not just king sized in length but width too, which seems odd to me. I have big fluffy down pillows that get a little lost in the big pillowcases, honestly. So, they’re not my dream sheet set, but they could be with just a few tweaks. Of course, you cannot beat the price for a set of sheets that feel this nice. The whole six piece set was just $32.99!!! Yes, that’s right, not $132.99 but $32.99! This is so unheard of for even the cheap, horrible, crunchy Cal. King sheet sets that I thought it was a mistake when I saw it on Costco.com originally. If they came in white I would have ordered two more sets and I still would have paid less than I have for other sheet sets in the past. The sheets are made in China, so I’m sure that somewhat accounts for the price, as well as the fact that they are polyester microfiber instead of Egyptian cotton. But honestly, it’s about how they feel and they are very soft and that feels good. The lightweight nature of them also makes them very good for summertime. The Egyptian cotton sheets that are nice are often rather thick and can be kind of uncomfortable to use when it is really hot. I’ve washed these a couple of times and they didn’t instantly disintegrate, so I’m hoping that they will hold up well too. If you’re interested in getting a set yourself, you might be able to find these in the warehouses for even less than the price that I’ve listed here since at Costco.com they also include shipping. Even if you can’t find them locally, you can definitely find them online at Costco.com. Also, you can get them in different colours: Vanilla, Green, Taupe, Ocean and Espresso. Just not white. 6 piece Cal King sheet set for $32.99 (UK: £21.11). Item #: 11619511.