I hope everyone is fully recovered now from the holidays. We’re actually in Austin this week so I’m hoping to check out the new-ish Costco location in Cedar Park (open just over a year now). And of course, while there I might have to coax myself to also check out the In-N-Out nearby. My mom left London the day before we did, so when we get back to London on Tuesday I’ll have no excuse to not get back to my regular routine. It was great having my mom visit and visiting her in the US, but it’ll be nice to get back to my regularly scheduled program. And maybe then I will truly be able to catch up on the huge amount of email I’ve got in my inbox from everyone here. Holidays are great but the getting caught up afterwards is so hard!
Scotti Italian Superfine Arborio Rice – Okay, I have a thing about rice and pasta of all kinds, so we always have a nice selection on hand. And previously it was all from Costco except the arborio rice which I could never find there. But a few months ago (yes, it has taken me a while to get this review up) I ran across this big bundle of arborio rice and couldn’t stop myself from getting it. If you’re not familiar with arborio rice, this is the rice that you need to make risotto. I love to make risotto because it is pretty quick and you can add in just about anything for a lovely, quick dinner. Sometimes I make my risotto on the stovetop and sometimes I make it in the oven now that my mom told me how to do it without drying it out. And of course, I use my Kirkland Signature Parmesan when I’m making it too. I add in just about anything too, it just depends on what is on hand when I am making it. Recently, we made a nice one with chicken and broccoli. But my favourite is probably mushroom and smoked oysters (sounds fancier than it is since they are fairly inexpensive and come in a tin). I also find that just a plain cheese risotto is a perfect accompaniment to a steak, for a nice change from a potato. I was amazed at the price of this risotto at Costco though because it can be pretty pricey at the regular supermarkets. You get five kilograms bundled together at Costco in five, one kilogram packages. Now, that is definitely not a small quantity of rice, but you’d be surprised how quickly you can go through a kilogram package. Prices at regular supermarkets range from £1.10 to £1.50 for a 500 gram package, so that would be £11.00 to £15.00 for the same five kilograms of rice. Either way that is considerably more than the price of £8.79 at Costco; a difference between £6.21 and £2.21. So, not only is the price really good but the quality of the rice is also very nice and makes for a beautiful risotto. 5, 1 kilogram packages for £8.79. Item #: 0166138.
Kirkland Signature Dark Chocolate Super Fruits – I got these as a gift recently and they are delicious! Hiding under the dark chocolate coating you’ll find cranberries, blueberries, and Bing cherries, all of which it turns out are very tasty with a chocolate covering. If I had to pick one, I think I would say that I liked the cherries the best, but they were all really quite good so it’s kind of a toss up. I added these to some granola for a nice little treat for my cereal in the morning. But the best way to enjoy them is to just snack on a few of them at a time. My mom and I used these to make a great trail mix for our train rides during our Christmas holiday and it turned out to be the perfect snack for our trip. If you’re thinking that you won’t like these because they are covered in dark chocolate and you’re not a fan of the dark chocolate, I would say you should give them a try. I’m not a fan of dark chocolate at all, even when it is covering something or a hot chocolate mix, it doesn’t taste good to me. However, this dark chocolate is not at all bitter and has a really nice taste that will even appeal to those amongst us that are strictly milk chocolate eaters. Also, the chocolate used to make these is part of Costco’s program to create a sustainable and ethically produced cocoa supply (you can read more about the program on the back of the bag). This is good for the farmers because they get paid better for their product and have access to educational programs about farming and business as well as community improvements like infrastructure and healthcare. Plus, it’s good for consumers because you get a great product. 2 pounds for $9.79. Item #: 662583.
Kirkland Signature Milk Chocolate Raisins – I got these recently and was glad I did because when my mom was visiting they turned out to be her favourite sweet treat. These are covered with milk chocolate and the raisins are still really soft and tasty. I have had some really dodgy chocolate covered raisins and was glad that these live up to the usual high standards of Kirkland Signature products. Usually the chocolate covered raisins have a waxy chocolate covering and then the raisins seem strangely dried and gross. But not the KS version, the chocolate is nice and the raisins still taste like raisins and are still tender. This is something that you could also add to a nice mix of stuff with the chocolate covered fruits above along with some other stuff and have a great trail mix. I’m not really sure what else you can do with chocolate covered raisins aside from eat them just as they are, although maybe you could add them to some desserts that I haven’t thought about. In any case, they are quite good and you get a huge container of them for a really good price. 3.38 pounds for $10.49. Item #: 835671.
Joseph Women’s Silk Turtleneck/Polo Neck – It is so hard to find a nice, simple black turtleneck or polo neck as they call it in the UK. I looked for one last year but couldn’t find one anywhere or at least not one that was well made and out of a decent fabric. So when I saw this one when we were visiting my mom in the US, I had to get one and honestly, thought about getting a second one as a backup. I think they are perfect for wearing during the wintertime under shirts or sweaters/jumpers. I also wear it by itself and it looks good that way too. This is a great turtleneck for my purposes because it is a silk knit so it hangs nicely but is smooth enough to wear under a sweater without it pulling and feeling uncomfortable. The knit is someplace between light and medium weight, which also makes it perfect for layering. It has a tailored fit so if you want something more loose fitting, you should probably pick a size up. I haven’t seen this in the UK, unfortunately, because I’d kind of like to get it in another colour. Of course, right after I bought this I found a gorgeous cashmere one when I got back to London which was way, way more expensive than the one at Costco, as you would expect. So, now I do have two and they are both great in different ways. I didn’t bother taking a picture of this because it looks like what you would expect and I couldn’t actually manage to get a photo that did it any justice. $12.99. Item #: 866092.