I can’t believe it is officially Fall now, Summer is gone for another year. This year seems to have flown by to me because I feel like it should just be the beginning of Summer. Maybe that is just wishful thinking. If you’re in the US, don’t forget that this is the last weekend for the current coupon book.
I’ve had a few people contact me or leave comments here that are still having problems with the Costco Photo website in the US after the outage. If you’re one of those people, please drop me an email so that I can pass your information along to the right people at Costco and hopefully you can get your issues resolved.
Slow+Low Lamb Shank in Minted Gravy – I think at this point we’ve tried just about all of the Slow+Low offerings they’ve had at Costco. For the most part we’ve really liked them, and this lamb was not exception. In the box at Costco you get two vacuum packed pouches with two bone-in lamb shanks and a generous amount of red wine, lamb, and mint gravy. The beauty of this is that it is so simple to make and needs really little involvement during the cooking. You snip open the bags and put them in an oven proof dish or pan that can be covered and you are pretty much done. It takes about 55 minutes to cook and aside from putting it in initially, you just need to take it out mid-way through the cooking and stir the sauce and baste the lamb shanks then pop it back in to finish cooking. The lamb was so tender that it just fell off the bone and the gravy was lightly minty, but not in an overwhelming way (which is good because I’m not really a mint person). I was worried because it seemed like there was an awful lot of sauce in the pouches but it works well because that is obviously necessary to really slow cook the lamb to tender perfection. We served it with a not ungenerous serving of the gravy, but there was still quite a bit left in the pan. The lamb shanks are a good size but not huge. They say this serves four and I think that is possibly only true if you have a lot of other stuff to eat. I ate one and half of a second one and Dave easily polish off two lamb shanks. I had served it with some couscous and a vegetable (asparagus, I think). If we had something more starchy, like potatoes, with it, just a single lamb shank might have sufficed. I think the Slow+Low dishes are great for a fairly quick, or at least easy to make, main dish for a weekday dinner. The other good thing is that they always have a fairly long use-by date, so you can keep it on hand for a night when you’d like to eat something decent but don’t have the time or energy to put a lot of effort into it. We’ll definitely be getting this again. These lamb shanks really well be perfect with some potatoes and roasted vegetables during Winter. 4 shanks for £10.99. Item #: 0191150.
Walkers Quadruple Chocolate Cookies – Oh wow, these are so delicious ! Walkers makes the best shortbread cookies, so it is hard to pass up something that combines that with chocolate. Most years I buy one of the giant Walkers shortbread tins at Costco, but I was happy to see this normal sized box of tasty chocolate cookies. These are just as chocolatey as you might guess since they are made with four different kinds of chocolate: dipped in Belgian milk chocolate, with chunks of white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. First, they use a chocolate dough made with (I’m guessing here) the dark chocolate. Then, they have big chunks of chocolate – milk and white – mixed in with them like chocolate chip cookies. And finally, because that might not be quite enough chocolate, the bottoms are dipped in milk chocolate. These are made in Scotland, in small batches with quality ingredients like real butter. All of that chocolate (42% of the ingredients are chocolate) makes for a rich, decadent treat. I think these are the perfect companion to a cup of tea or glass of milk. I think just one or two of them at a time is the perfect serving size because they are really rich so more than that and you are risking a tummy ache. The box isn’t huge and there aren’t a ton of cookies in it either because they are packed so that there is space between them in the little try to keep them from sticking together. There are 18 cookies in the box, which unlike the big tins at Costco, is a reasonable size for a family. I’ve seen these in the US too, but just like here they aren’t available year-round; just around the holidays or when the weather is cooler. I’m guessing they don’t want to chance it that these super chocolaty cookies turn into a melty chocolaty mess when it is warm. 400 grams/18 cookies for £4.29 +VAT. Item #: 0188692.
Kirkland Signature Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts – If you can control yourself, a small handful of nuts per day is a good snack and can offer a fair bit of nutritional value as well. We usually buy the big canister of cashews at Costco, but this time I was thinking it would be good to have a little nut variety so we went for the mixed nuts instead. Unlike a lot of companies that have a mixed nut offering, Costco doesn’t skimp and only put in a few of the “good” nuts depending on things like cheap peanuts to fill out the mix. The mix is pretty heavily cashew actually at 48%. And they are big, lovely cashews, not little broken bits. The rest of the mix is: 26% almonds, 10% macadamia nuts, 9% pecans, and 7% Brazil nuts. I’m not a huge fan of Brazil nuts so I was glad that they are just 7% of the mix. I feel like there are a lot of almonds and wish that they would have fewer of those and have more pecans. The pecans in the mix are delicious but there’s just not enough of them. I do like that they have so many macadamia nuts though because those are usually one of the nuts that are more expensive and thus skimped on in mixes. All of the nuts are roasted and salted but it doesn’t seem excessively salted to me. This great mixed nut canister is not the cheapest nut offering at Costco by any means, but it is well worth it I think. If the nuts they used were all broken and cheap, then I’d feel differently, but that’s not the Costco way. This big thing of nuts will last quite a while if you are just having a small little serving everyday too. As always with the Kirkland Signature nuts at Costco, if you have no control over yourself when you start eating them, you should probably try to just walk right by them in the store since they come in the giant canisters. 1.13 kilograms for £12.49 +VAT. Item #: 0331896.
Paul Brassac Organic Sparkling Juice – Neither Dave nor I drink alcohol, but sometimes we like to have something aside from juice or water. And if it is something that fizzes even better. I haven’t seen this before but we liked it well enough that I hope they have it again. You get a three pack at Costco with two bottles of apple pomegranate and one bottle of apple peach. We both thought the apple peach was the better flavour and wish that they would make the mix two of that instead of the pomegranate. The juice is all organic with no added sugars, no gluten, and no alcohol. The base for both is apple which is made from apple juice from concentrate. Aside from the apple juice, there’s water, carbon dioxide to give you the bubbles, natural flavourings, and citric acid. The pomegranate juice also has organic vegetal juice as well. It’s great that it is a juice product that doesn’t have a bunch of added sugar. Fruits have so much natural sugar anyway, I don’t think all of that added sugar is needed to make it palatable. This is really just like a sparkling alcoholic beverage, right down to having a cork even. As I said, the peach is really delicious with a beautiful peachy flavour and really no sign of the apple juice even though it is the main juice used to make this. The pomegranate wasn’t bad, but it definitely couldn’t hold a candle to the peach, as far as we were concerned. If you’re a person that doesn’t drink though, yet you’d still like something nice to have with a decent meal, these juices are perfect, and a great alternative to something like Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice or Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Juice. These would also be excellent for making mocktails or even regular cocktails too I think. Next time I might see how they work with the Langers Mango Nectar that I love so much. If you’re planning a holiday party, these might be good to pick up too for any guests that don’t drink alcohol (even the kids). 3, 750 ml bottles for £3.99 +VAT. Item #: 0188219.
[This item comes from Rick Vanover, who usually writes for IT topics and shops at warehouses in the United States.]
Quaker Soft Baked Bars – Also this week, a new product showed up in the center of the racetrack in my market: Quaker Soft Baked Bars. These bars are the perfect multi-use case snack as they can function as a light breakfast, yet are also a great addition to the lunches that I pack for the family for school and work. There are 24 bars that are split between Banana Nut and Cinnamon Pecan flavors and they are very substantive for a bar. Too many times I feel granola bars or other individual snacks of this form factor don’t do much to address a snack-like hunger; but these seemed to do a much better job at the task. They clock in at 140 or 150 calories; reasonable yet more substantive than some of the 90/100 calorie items. We gave a test with the 9 year-old and they passed her test; which was encouraging as she doesn’t usually care for nuts. The Quaker bars are a good addition to a breakfast, packed lunch or afternoon snack regimen and were priced at $9.99 at my market this weekend. Check them out!