Sorry about skipping my regular review post last weekend, but it was my birthday and I decided to give myself the day off (well, actually the whole week really). It was great to be lazy for a while but now I am hopelessly behind in my stack of email that I need to respond to. So, if you’ve sent me a question and I haven’t responded yet, I’m almost caught up, I think. If you’re in the UK, don’t forget that this is the last weekend for the current coupon book. Also, if you are in the US or Canada, your Costco locations will all be CLOSED on Monday for Labor Day.
NutriGrain Strawberry Cereal Bars – I forgot how much I like the NutriGrain bars, but they’re really good. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve bought NutriGrain bars. So, when I saw them at Costco I decided that I should pick some up for a change from things like granola bars. The NutriGrain bars are made with whole grains and real fruit, and no high fructose corn syrup; so it is pretty healthy. I like the gooey strawberry filling because it gives a whole lot of flavour to the cereal bars. Often, cereal bars are somewhat bland flavour-wise, however, all that strawberry really makes the bars delicious. And the sweetness makes them more palatable too, of course. Each bar is 37 grams and has 133 calories with 1.5 grams of protein and fiber, with 3 grams of fat. There’s quite a bit of carbs at 26 grams, with 12 of those being sugar. So, that isn’t super healthy, but sometimes it is good to have a little hit of carbs. What is good though is that you get 25% of your RDA for pretty much all of your B vitamins and calcium, and a little bit less (17%) of your RDA for iron. All in all though, I do think that these are a pretty good alternative to some other cereal or granola bars, not to mention most other snack options. I have these usually for a snack in the afternoon since they are quite filling for not a huge amount of calories. Plus, there’s something about having something with a little bit of sweet that can really stop that late afternoon munchies feeling. At only 133 calories, I don’t think these could replace my regular breakfast, but if you team it up with fruit and a hard boiled egg or a handful of nuts, then it would certainly be breakfast appropriate. The good thing is that if you want these, Costco is the perfect place to get them since you can get the big 28 bar pack. At Costco, you’ll pay £0.29 per bar but at pretty much all of the other supermarkets around here you’ll pay £0.37 per bar; quite a savings. 28 pack for £7.99 (US: $12.66). Item #: 0131766.
Cilento Mozzarella di Bufala Campana – I love fresh mozzarella! It is probably one of my favorite cheeses. And this is the real stuff, the real-deal mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk and imported from Italy floating in whey. It is soft and creamy with a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth taste and and the slightest hint of salt. The center is so deliciously creamy and wonderful, it is just perfect for eating fresh. This is the cheese you want if you are planning a nice tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad. However, I also like it on garlic bread with just a slight melty texture. Or of course, just by itself with some fresh veggies that aren’t tomatoes is also great. Sometimes, I even toss it with garlic buttered spaghetti for a little something extra. I can totally just eat it without anything else though because I like it that much. I should probably try to come up with some new ways to eat it so that I have an excuse to buy it more often. As with all cheese, it really is best if you let it sit out and come to room temperature. This not only improves the texture, but really makes the flavours more robust. With this fresh mozzarella, you can also speed up the process by putting it in hot water for a few minutes, but don’t make the water too hot or it will get melty. 4, 125 gram balls for £4.99 (US: $7.91). Item #: 0045459.
Spanish Tortilla with Onion – Well, this is imported from Spain, so I’m sure they know how to make it properly. However, it’s not nearly as good as I had hoped or expected. For those of you not up to speed on what a Spanish tortilla is, it is like a very thick omelet with lots of potato and diced onions. I found this heavy and bland which made it rather unappetising after about two bites. I really thought this would be a nice idea for lunch alongside a salad but was wrong. I felt like it was missing something to give it some flavour or taste, like maybe some spices or cheese. I used the oven to heat it up a third of it (I thought that was a decent sized portion for my lunch) which gave the egg a nice texture and it looked really good but it didn’t taste as good as it looked unfortunately. It’s possible that this is just something that would never appeal to me, even though this is a perfect example of a Spanish tortilla. It might be good if you paired it with really flavourful things like olives and Serrano ham and a good cheese, but I’m not holding out much hope. I usually like things like this because I really like potatoes and eggs, so you’d think it would be perfect for me. I might try it with some grated cheese to see if that makes it more tasty. In any case, I won’t be buying it again. 2, 500 gram tortillas for £3.89 (US: $6.16). Item #: 0128599.
Colgate Alcohol Free Plax Mouthwash – 3, 500 ml bottles for £4.49. Item #: 0103194. I picked this up because my new dentist here suggested it since I can’t really floss very well because of arthritis problems with my hands (RA can really suck sometimes), so this is supposed to be part of my dental care routine to keep my teeth squeaky clean. However, she said I should only use the alcohol-free mouthwashes because the alcohol containing washes can lead to a higher risk of mouth cancer. So, to tide me over I picked up a bottle of the alcohol-free Plax until I could get to Costco, and it is about £1.60 – £2.30 per bottle when not purchased through Costco. However, at Costco you get a three pack where the price per bottle is just £1.50. The alcohol-free Plax is great! I would highly recommend it for anyone that likes to use a mouthwash. It doesn’t burn or sting when you’ve got it in your mouth so you can actually stand to use it for the whole suggested 30 seconds. It also seems to do a really good job of keeping my teeth and breath clean and fresh all day long. Colgate says that it works for 12 hours and I really think it does. That amount of time also means that if you use it before bed, you are good all night long, and will wake up with your teeth and breath not feeling so yucky in the morning. Unfortunately, Costco was slow to get the non-alcohol Plax, and I’ve had to buy it at the regular supermarkets for a year. But finally Costco has gotten in the good, alcohol-free Plax, even in two different flavours. I like the cool mint variety but they also have regular mint too. But no matter what flavour you prefer, you will be amazed at how super clean and plaque free your teeth will remain, and how fresh your breath will be using the Plax. And if you team this up with the Oral-B ProExpert toothpaste, you dentist will never give you the flossing lecture again. I’ve been using this combo for over a year now, and my dentist barely had any cleaning to do on my most recent checkup. 3, 500 ml bottles for £4.49 (US: $7.12). Item #: 0103194.