There’s no doubt that Fall is really here since American football is on television and I need to wear a jacket every time I go outside. And, Costco is starting to stock Christmas stuff, like the tall artificial Christmas tree we saw in the store this week. I would have liked a couple more weeks of Summer at least. If you’re in the US, this is the last weekend for the current coupon book, so you can’t put off your next trip to Costco if you want any of those deals!
Popchips, Barbeque Flavour – This is the latest American chip addition at Costco. It is a more healthy, though still snacky, choice. I mean, it’s not like it will ever be a substitute for a piece of fruit but they do quite a bit of work to make it a more healthful snack food. First, there are no preservatives or artificial flavors or colors, no cholesterol or saturated fat and no trans fat. But what is really cool is that they are not fried or baked but ‘popped’ through the application of heat and pressure to the potato slices. So, the result is something like a cross between popcorn, regular potato chips, and puffed rice in texture; very light, yet somehow substantial and crunchy still. We really like them. There are just 120 calories per 20 chip serving and just 4 grams of fat, which is amazing for chips. Especially chips that actually have such a good taste and texture. I guess that’s because they only use a little bit of safflower oil in the seasoning process, not the cooking process. The ones they have at our Costco here are the barbeque flavored, more sweet than spicy as per the chip formula of barbeque, so they have a nice amount of flavor combined with the unique texture. I’d love to try some the jalapeño or sweet potato flavours too. If you look at their website, you can find all the details about how they make them, and the many flavours they produce. When you look at the website, you’ll also see that they make tortilla chips too, so now I really want them to get those at Costco too. 311 grams for £2.89 (US: $4.68). Item #: 0126612.
Kirkland Signature Cashews – Who doesn’t like cashews? And if you’re looking for the best price on excellent quality cashews, you just can’t beat Costco. They have that big tub of cashews for a really fabulous price, but it’s the quality that makes it so great. They are big, whole cashews, not little cashew bits or broken nuts. Plus, they are nicely roasted with the perfect amount of salt; not so salty that they give your mouth that burning feeling when you eat them. We always go to Costco for any nuts that we want – cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds – because they are such good quality. And naturally, the prices are really good and hard to beat for the nice nuts that you get. Just a couple of weeks ago we bought a small bag of cashews someplace else, and they weren’t nearly as good but would have been much more expensive for the same amount as the Costco tub. And at Waitrose, I would have to pay around £6 for 450 grams of cashews of similar quality, which would be around £15 for the same amount of nuts that I can get at Costco for just £11.89; a pretty significant difference! We never do anything fancy with our cashews, like put them on salads or pastries or things like that. I always think that I’ll try making Baklava or a similar type of sweet with the cashews when we get them from Costco. But I just never seem to get around to it. We just like to snack on our cashews just as they are because they are so yummy! Why can’t you eat just one cashew? 1.13 kg for £11.89 (US: $19.25). Item #: 0197875.
Sparta Halloumi Cheese – Made from a blend of fresh goat and sheep’s milk this is a really nice halloumi cheese. If you aren’t familiar with halloumi it’s known as the cheese that grills. But you can also grate it onto soups or pastas or just eat it as is. Of course, grilling it is my favorite way. First of all, it is amazingly cool to be able to grill your cheese and get it nicely browned, but it doesn’t really melt. Sure, it melts a little teeny tiny bit, but just enough really to soften it ever so slightly because it does keep its shape quite nicely. When I grill or cook it I like to toss it in a bit of olive oil with basil or oregano in it to give a little additional flavour. The other option is to use a non-stick pan to brown it on all side over a medium high heat. After I grill it or brown it, it is great to add it to pasta with sautéed mushrooms and onions. And as you can guess, since it is grillable you can use it to make a variety of skewers – chicken, beef, pork, just about any vegetable, tomatoes, mushrooms, really anything you can slide on a skewer. I’ve never tried it but it could be good with grilled pineapple chunks too, if you want more of a sweet thing. Or you can just put chunks of it on skewers by itself and grill that, if you’re going to do that I suggest adding some lemon wedges as well because that gives a lovely flavour to it too. For more ideas on how to cook it, check out the back of the package. They talk about battering and frying it to make fried halloumi sticks. Conveniently the package at Costco has four individually wrapped 250 gram chunks, which means that you can use one piece of it at a time, and still keep the rest fresh. 4, 250 gram pieces for £7.49 (US: $12.12). Item #: 0134531.
Rodeo Joe’s Jalapeño Flamers – So, despite the fact that we now live in the UK, we do still like to watch American football each week, especially when the Bears are playing. And if you’re going to watch football, you really need some manly snacks, like jalapeños These are a nice version of a stuffed jalapeno popper kind of thing. These are made with half a jalapeno that has been filled with a soft white cheese and then rolled in a tortilla chip crumb coating. Yum! They don’t specify what the soft white cheese is, aside from saying it is a full-fat cow’s milk cheese. It all goes together to make a really delicious jalapeño treat. They’re not crazy spicy like these things can be sometimes. I don’t know how they do that; perhaps it is a specific mild type of jalapeño. It’s kind of nice though because you can enjoy the taste of all of the parts – jalapeño cheese, and tortilla chip coating – and enjoy it as a whole medley of flavours without feeling like your mouth is going to catch fire. The only complaint I had, was that the cheese had a slightly sweet, honey-like taste. Of course, that is a totally small complaint and didn’t make me stop eating them. Also, Dave didn’t notice the sweetness at all. So, maybe I was just imagining it. Possibly one of the best things is that these are a breeze to prepare. You can cook them right from frozen in just 15 minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Honestly, I’m not even going to go into the nutrition information. Just suffice it to say, you are eating something stuffed with cheese, this is probably not going to be a big hit with with Weight Watchers diet plan. But every once in a while, you can have a little treat, right? If either of us drank beer I imagine these would be good with that too. But as it is, they are a great accompaniment to a night of American football (or your sport of choice) watching. We also picked up the onion rings from the same company when we were at Costco this last time. I’m hoping that they are as good , but unless they too are filled with cheese, I doubt they can live up to the deliciousness of the jalapeño flamers. 1.2 kg for £7.95 (US: $12.87). Item #: 0074332.