I cannot believe that it is already April! The last few months have just flown by, it seems. Maybe that’s just because I slept through about a month of the year. In any case, next weekend is Easter, so don’t forget to keep that in mind for any last minute shopping you need to do for the holiday. The US and UK coupon books both run through Easter weekend and beyond as well, so you don’t need to worry about rushing to get any of those items as well as holiday stuff.
Browns Gourmet Sliced Turkey – With two of us at home for lunch everyday now, we are working our way through sampling all of the possible lunch meats at Costco. I already reviewed the truly excellent Pastrami from Browns Gourmet, which I would definitely recommend to any pastrami fan. The sliced turkey is equally delicious. We had actually tried this first, and I’m finally getting it reviewed (sorry). This is made from real turkey breast that has been basted in butter. The slices are nice and thick, just like if you were slicing up a turkey breast you had made at home, only probably more evenly sliced. They are perfect for making a great sandwich because the thickness of the slices means that you’re not using a whole package of thinly sliced/shaved turkey “breast” for a decent sandwich. I found that the slices are so thick that I really only need a single slice on a sandwich, but if I’m really hungry I might have two. Dave, on the other hand, always goes for two to three slices on his sandwiches. Of course, with thick slices you get lots of nice turkey taste too. There’s enough turkey in a slice that I find I can actually put a piece of cheese on my sandwiches and still taste the turkey, even with a strong Swiss cheese. I don’t know if it is due to the basting or the thickness of the slices, but this is also some of the moister turkey lunch meat that I’ve had. I used it to make nice cold sandwiches, but it also was really good in a kind of grilled turkey and cheese type of thing. I love turkey for sandwiches, especially when it is this good, because it is a good source of protein that is filling but not too heavy on the calories or the fat. For this sliced turkey a 100 gram serving (which is around two slices I think), has 122 calories, 29 grams of protein, just 2 grams of fat, and only 40 mg of sodium. All of that nutritional information makes this an excellent lunch for anyone watching their calories, fat, or sodium. Plus, it is really tasty too. I like any lunch meat that actually looks and tastes like real meat, not that pressed together meat bits that you often find with turkey especially that doesn’t look like turkey and often has that slimey feel to it as well. This will definitely be on our regular Costco shopping list now. 700 grams for £7.99 (US: $13.37). Item #: 0130433.
Kirkland Signature Wild Caught Atlantic Cod - We try to eat fish a couple of times per week because it is such a good alternative to other forms of meat. Our favourites are salmon and cod, both of which we buy at Costco in the freezer section. We like the frozen fish because that gives us the ultimate flexibility about when and how often we have fish during the week. This way we don’t have to worry about going to the fish monger or supermarket every time we want some fish for dinner, because that just isn’t going to happen. The cod at Costco, which is the same bag that you can find in the US and probably most of the Costco locations around the globe, is a really nice quality wild caught Atlantic cod from Norway. All of the pieces are hand trimmed to Costco standards, as well as deboned and skinned, so you end up with a portion of fish that you can actually just eat and not fuss around preparing. Each individual portion is individually vacuum packed, which has the advantage of keeping it from getting freezer burn and means that it won’t stick to the other pieces in the bag. There’s nothing worse than trying to get out two pieces and ending up with just one huge fish-pop. The portions vary in size, from 4.5 to 8 ounces, but are near enough for the most part that they can still be cooked together. I think there were eight portions in our bag but there might have been nine. You can’t cook this from frozen, so you do need to thaw it before you want to prepare it. You can either put it in the fridge over night or at least like 10 hours, or you can do the quick thaw method that takes about 15 minutes. I’ll be honest, we usually end up using the quick thaw method and I don’t notice any difference in the way the fish seems once it is cooked. We prefer our cod just baked in the oven, but you could also sauté it which I have done before and that is great as well. The fish is always really nice and tastes great with just 10 or so minutes in the oven. The one thing I would just point out to UK shoppers is that the instructions on the bag are clearly for the US because all of the temperatures are in Fahrenheit, so you just have to do a little conversion, not a big deal. Also, if it is a concern for you, this fish meets the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) standards for sustainable fishing. 909 grams for £8.99 (US: $15.04). Item #: 0699794.
Johnny’s Garlic Spread and Seasoning – I had heard about the Johnny’s Garlic Spread before, years ago when we were still in the US actually, but I hadn’t ever tried it until we saw it recently here in the UK. But now I’m totally a fan. Funny enough, I think we have tried it on everything but bread, which is seems to be the big intention for the mix. The mix is a dry powder comprised of powdered garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, parsley and other mystery spices, and some things to keep it from clumping. When you open the lid you have no doubt that it is super garlicky though because it has that really strong garlic scent; which I love but realize not everyone is such a fan. Their suggestions on the package are to mix it with butter and spread on bread or use to bake prawns in for like a shrimp scampi type of thing. They have a recipe for dressing where you mix it with buttermilk and mayo. Or, you can use it for a dip by mixing it with sour cream and mayo. I had thought we would use it to make garlic bread, but we just have’t gotten around to that yet. I do add it to my pasta all the time for a great garlic flavour with either some olive oil or butter. I even add it to the water while I’m cooking it too so that it is really flavouring the pasta. This seasoning mix also works really well to flavour mashed or jacket (baked) potatoes. We also use it to flavour vegetables, this works especially well with steamed vegetables because of the moisture from the steaming process. It really perks up the flavour of our broccoli. I’ve also added it to some creamy chicken soup that I made a while back and that was a nice quick way to add flavour. The bottle also suggests trying it on meat, chicken or fish, which we haven’t tried but I might sprinkle some over fish or chicken the next time we’re making some. I think I might try using it to make a dip sometime for fresh vegetables, like carrots, celery, or broccoli, that I like to have for lunch or a snack sometimes. You can definitely use this in any way that you would use garlic or garlic powder. Though, you do have to remember that this does have a bit of salt, so you just need to take that into account when adding any other seasonings. I usually don’t add salt if I’m going to use this, just to avoid any overly salty outcome. 510 gram jar for £4.69 (US: $7.85). Item #: 0313810.
Mikasa Lucerne White 24 Piece Dinnerware Set – Dave and I aren’t into getting new dishes and stuff all the time, but we did decide that it was time for a bit of an update. Currently, we have two different sets, both of which we have had for years and years (well over ten years for one set and probably more than 15 for the other set). While both sets were really high quality, at some point, you’re just sick of seeing the same plates and mugs and bowls. For me, apparenly more than a decade is that line in the sand. I had been very casually looking for a nice set of just white dinnerware for a while, but wasn’t too active in the search. But then, I saw this set of Mikasa at Costco and decided it was the perfect set to have for the next decade or more. One of our existing sets is Mikasa, the oldest set we have actually, and it has held up so well that I felt really confident buying another set from Mikasa. This new set though is bone china, which sounds more fancy than it needs to really. I like it because the bone china is lightweight, yet durable and strong, surprisingly. I always think of bone china as being only for the “good dishes” and not something you should be using everyday. This set though is an everyday set and is chip resistant and able to be put in the microwave and dishwasher. The style is very simple with clean lines and a very white finish. It is perfect for everyday use, but wouldn’t look ridiculous if you were having a nice dinner party (if the Queen is coming for tea you might want something fancier). The mugs that come with the set, are the one piece that definitely has a more casual feel to it simply because they are bigger than some dainty little coffee cup and without a saucer. The mugs hold 14 ounces, so they are quite good sized and perfect for everyday cups of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. The overall look of the set though is quite sleek and contemporary without being too fussy or looking like something that will be dated by next year. The set at Costco is service for four with 24 pieces. You get four each of the following: 11″ dinner plate, 9″ salad plate, 6.5″ bread/appetizer plate, 6 ” 24 ounce cereal bowl, 4.5″ 8 ounce fruit bowl, and 14 ounce mug. One of the things I really like about the set actually is the big mug and the fact that they don’t waste a piece on having a saucer that I will never, ever use. I haven’t found the set anywhere but at Costco here in the UK, where it is really a great deal, I think. I ended up getting two sets of it because it is so nice and the price at Costco was terrific for such a quality dinnerware set. I know that in the US, you can get a 20 piece set direct from Mikasa for the staggering price of $249.99! Yikes! I believe they have this set at Costco in the US as well (at least my mom felt like she had seen it), but I’m not sure. It definitely isn’t available at Costco.com though, unfortunately. However, my guess is that if you can find it at Costco US, the price would be much, much better than Mikasa since I paid less than even half that price here in the UK. 24 piece set for £49.99 (US: $83.64). Item #: 0149151.