If you’re in the US or Australia, don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day. If you’ve been a bit of a procrastinator this year, you can always run by Costco and get a lovely bouquet of flowers and maybe a box of chocolates for your mom. The flowers at Costco are always so fresh and beautiful. Though I will warn you to get there early if you go on Sunday because the flowers are quickly picked over and running out on Mother’s Day, just like on Valentine’s Day. Also, if you’re in the US, Costco’s latest coupon book started on Thursday, so be sure to check it out before you go shopping.
Colgate Plax Non-Alcohol Mouthwash – My ability to floss well has certainly gone downhill as a result of arthritis problems with my hands (RA can really suck sometimes), so this is a firm part of my dental care routine to keep my teeth squeaky clean. My UK dentist recommended it to me over a year ago now and I’m so glad she did because it is amazing how much cleaner it keeps your teeth and how much fresher your breath is all day long and even the next morning when you wake up. When my dentist told me I need the Plax she was quick to point out that I should only use the alcohol-free mouthwashes because the alcohol containing washes can lead to a higher risk of mouth cancer. The alcohol-free Plax is great! I would highly recommend it for anyone that likes to use a mouthwash or can’t floss as well as their dentist would like. 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 does an excellent 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. Of course, I’ve also noticed that even if I use it in the morning that my breath and teeth still feel pretty decent the next morning when I wake up. In the UK I always got the Cool Mint (blue) flavour because it doesn’t seem quite so overwhelmingly minty (of which I’m not a big fan). Of course, I was just glad to see that Costco Australia has the good, alcohol-free Plax. Unfortunately for me though, they did only have it in the Freshmint (green) flavour. After using it now for the past few months, I’m okay with the freshmint flavour. 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 (recent arrival to Australia), your dentist will never give you the flossing lecture again. I’ve been using this combo for over two years now, and my dentist barely had any cleaning to do on my most recent checkup. In comparison to Coles, Costco’s pricing is really quite good too. At Coles you get a 500 mL bottle for $2.99 (though it is usually a whopping $6.49) or $0.60 per 100 mL. At Costco, you get two, one litre bottles for $7.99 or $4.00 per 1 litre bottle ($0.40 per 100 mL), which as you can see is going to be much less expensive than at Coles since you are getting twice as much in each bottle. Just for math’s sake, that means that each 500 mL is just $2.00 at Costco, or $0.99 less expensive than Coles. In other words, for the same amount of Plax at Coles you would pay $11.96 instead of the $7.99 at Costco. 2, 1 litre bottles for A$7.99 (UK: £5.21; US: $8.05). Item #: 10039.
Dofino Sliced Havarti Cheese – I like cheese and I’m not ashamed to admit it, as I’m sure anyone reading my blog for a while has figured out. You’d think I grew up in Wisconsin instead of Kansas, huh? Cheese of all types is one of the things we buy a lot of at Costco. They have so many great cheeses, it’s hard not to take advantage of that kind of selection, especially with the great Costco prices. When it comes to sliced cheese we like almost any of the ones that Costco carries (except the low-fat Swiss, I’m not a fan). This Havarti though, has such a great texture and taste that it’s certainly our favourite. It goes with any deli meat we pair it with, plus it works perfectly on a burger and makes one heck of a grilled cheese sandwich too. To be honest, it is also excellent just on a cracker by itself and that makes a nice little lunch or snack when combined with some fruit or vegetables. Since it is a semi-soft cheese, it is awesome for melting, so any place you are wanting a little melted cheese, this would be a good choice. The Havarti has a nice subtle buttery flavor with just a hint of sweetness. As a result of its buttery taste it’s a little lighter and less pushy than other cheeses can be (you know the ones, they don’t play well with others but are still delicious) and that’s what makes it so great for sandwiches and burgers. Though truthfully, a grilled cheese sandwich is still my favourite way to go with this cheese because it melts so nicely and gives you such pure cheesy goodness. Costco used to have a resealable zip-top bag that was made out of something like waxed deli paper, not the regular plastic and that really helped the cheese it stay fresher longer, even after opened. That was great because it made sure that there wasn’t moisture in the package which is, as I’m sure we all know, not good for your cheese. However, when I bought this here in Australia, it was in a resealable plastic bag, which is okay but not as good as the waxy packaging. If you accidentally tear or maim your bag, or if you just want to make sure it stays moisture-free, you can always wrap your cheese in a paper towel and place it in a Ziploc bag or sealed container. 2 pounds for A$10.79 (UK: £7.04; US: $10.87). Item #: 406340.
Wattle Valley Chunky Dips – We recently picked these up at Costco because they sound so delicious. At Costco you get two containers of dip packaged together, with one each of the Basil and the Chili flavours. The dips are really thick and chunky, thus the name. The Basil dip is made with cashews and Parmesan and seems an awful lot like pesto. I will admit that I actually did think it was pesto originally and was what drew me to it. I figured it would be really great, and quick, to use on pasta for an easy sauce or topping. But it is really really thick and clearly more like a dip. However, I have used it on pasta and it works quite well and gives a nice depth of flavour. The Chilli dip is also made with cashews and Parmesan. I like that you can actually see big chunks of cashews and the dips have a really rustic texture to them. That thick, chunky texture makes them great for putting on crackers or crisps/chips of some variety. Both of the dips are really yummy on crackers, I must say. The Chilli dip isn’t really spicy hot but there’s a bit of bite to it. As I mentioned, I’ve used both of these to liven up pasta dishes, as well as a little scoop on a baked chicken breast to give it a little more pep and flavour. It’s also a pretty amazing sandwich spread. I just realized that these might be a perfect little spread for a grilled cheese sandwich; I’ll have to try it and see what that tastes like. So far I’ve only used it on regular, non-heated sandwiches and it worked really well because it has so much flavour. Though, because of the chunky texture you have to make sure that your bread is hearty enough to stand up to it, and that pretty much means that you need some variety of roll. It really did a number on my sliced white bread that was thick cut, so I can’t even imagine the carnage on a thin sliced soft white bread. The dips also make great bruschetta topping. Both of them are really tasty and I don’t have a favourite because they have such different flavours that it really depends on what you are eating them with, I think. 2, 350 gram containers for A$10.99 (UK: £7.17; US: $11.07). Item #: 16909.
Brown & Haley Almond Roca – I just can’t help it, I have a total weak spot for Almond Roca and have since I was a kid when my mom would buy it for me for Chritmas. The first time I tasted that buttery, crunchy almond toffee center that was wrapped up in delicious milk chocolate rolled in little ground chunks of almond, I was hooked. How could you not be? Dave’s not a fan and I just don’t understand how he doesn’t love it too. But that just means that I get the whole can to myself then. Yes, I realize I probably don’t need the whole can but it isn’t like I sit down and eat it in an hour or anything. Each little log of the butter crunch toffee is individually wrapped in gold foil and they come in a nice tin, so you don’t have to worry about eating them quickly or anything. Actually, Almond Roca is the first confection to be sold in a tin to ensure a long shelf life, and making it perfect for buying at Costco. Since 1927 Almond Roca has been sold in its signature pink tin with J.C. Haley, the creator, thinking that if a tin was good at keeping coffee fresh then it would certainly be able to do the same for his Almond Roca. Packing in the tins also made it perfect to send to troops during World War II. Unfortunately, it does seem that most Costco locations only carry the Almond Roca around the Christmas holidays, though I noticed there was still some on the shelf when we were last at Costco here in Sydney. I wish they would sell it year round so that I could always have a nice tin of it ready for a quick nibble. I really like to have two of them as a little treat and that keeps me happy until the next day. It’s totally not healthy, well maybe the almonds are, but the rest of it is all the bad stuff like butter and sugar. Of course, that is what makes it so delicious. Did you know that Almond Roca has been to the top of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary? Though here is my favourite Almond Roca fact pulled from the Brown & Haley website: “In one memorable event (during World War II), American generals would not turn over responsibility for an occupied country to other Allies until three railroad cars of Almond Roca confection could be taken with them”. How awesome is that? Clearly, I’m not the only one that loves their Almond Roca everyday. Oh yeah, if you’re Jewish and have a bit of a sweet tooth for this kind of thing too, you’ll be happy to know that Almond Roca is certified Kosher! I bought this a while ago, like January or February, and have just gotten around to writing about it, sorry for the delay. 822 gram tin for A$9.59 ($11.59 – $2.50 coupon) (UK: £6.26; US: $9.66). Item #: 343405.