Sunday, July 31, 2022

Product Review: Costco's Kirkland Raspberry Crumble Cookies

Ah, there it is...the famous Raspberry Crumble Cookie from Costco's bakery. I have read the rave reviews about this cookie that are frequently expressed in a Costco Facebook group. We finally picked some up to try them out. $11.99 for one dozen at our usual Costco. They're a pretty good size, maybe 3" diameter or so. 

These cookies have a shortbread base and are topped with raspberry jam/preserves and posipka (a.k.a. streusel or crumble topping). The finishing touch is a dusting of powdered sugar. 

They are very good. It would be easy to eat 3 or 4 in a sitting. They are approximately 340 calories each though, so exercise some restraint! 

There's not a lot to complain about here. Well, the price could be a little lower. As far as flavor, as I mentioned above, they are very good. But...there's a slight aftertaste that isn't pleasant. It's not strong enough to deter me from eating them, but it's there. It might be because of the palm oil. To me the aftertaste is reminiscent of cookies I've eaten in the past where lard was used in the recipe. But it was probably the palm oil. Maybe it is not a common occurrence. It might have been limited to the batch we had. 

As far as the palm oil goes, we normally avoid products that use palm oil as much as possible. Thankfully, Costco is a member of RSPO - (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). Click on the link for more info. 

The only other thing that I would add would be more raspberry filling! The cookies would definitely be better with a bit more of that! 

Just FYI: I've seen some people suggest heating the cookie for a few minutes in oven or microwave. "They're even better that way!" - Costco fans have claimed. We have exactly one cookie left, so I might have to try that tip out. 

Below are two more photos, just to show you what the cookie is like inside.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

It’s Egg Awareness Day


Just kidding! I just wanted to say something about eggs. 😆 

Unfortunately for us, we are sans chickens at the moment, so we have to buy eggs at the store or from a local who has chickens. 

But I want you to take a look at the eggs above. What do you immediately notice? (besides the cracked egg over there on the top left)

If you said: "Some of the stamps are blurry," then that's the answer I was looking for. 

You might already know this, but for those who don't, the blurry stamps are due to temperature fluctuations, because condensation will form on the outside of the eggs if they get warm. Maybe the store is having cooler issues, or maybe the eggs were abandoned somewhere in the store & were without refrigeration for a while. Who knows? (That's a big pet peeve of mine, because whoever leaves food somewhere that warms or defrosts sucks as a human. All they have to do is hand it over to the cashier if they don't want it. But no. They leave it on a shelf somewhere where it might sit for hours. Food wasters. SMH)

Anyway, watch out for that if you don't already. I had to go through about 5 cartons before I found one that had clean stamps and no broken eggs. (I ended up switching a couple of eggs out anyway.)

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR EGGS BEFORE BUYING. You never know how many might be broken or cracked in there, and it will save you time and money to do that extra little step. 

The eggs that warmed a bit and then cooled again were probably fine, but I like to get ahead of the game on that, just in case.  

It's always a good idea to check the eggs before placing them in your cart. I know not everyone does this, because I have seen people put eggs in their carts without checking them. Many times. 

I had to bring it up, because who feels like driving all the way back to the store for an exchange? Not me. 

Also, if any break or crack in transit, at least you'll know when it happened and you can salvage the eggs (depending on the damage). I'm not going to use them if I buy them without looking and they are broken, but if they break or crack in transit I'll put them in another container as first in line for use. They'll be A-OK for 2 or 3 days in a glass container with a lid that seals well. 

That's my egg tip for the day. Cheerio! 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Product Review: Juan Valdez Instant Coffee - A Game Changer

Look at those beautiful nuggets! 

Instant Coffee? Are You Kidding Me? 

I remember the instant coffee from the past. Sparkling little grains that promised you could get your morning jolt very quickly and still have a great tasting cup of coffee. 


No amount of doctoring could make the instant coffee of the past taste good. It always had either the flavor of a pot of coffee that was held too long on the burner,  or had some other unpleasant aftertaste. Nevertheless, I would drink it if there was nothing else available. Ground coffee was the "go-to" though. 

I don't recall which family member got into the bean game and got us hooked on that, but after that point, fresh ground coffee became the absolute norm. 

Some years later, Central Market opened its doors and we'd go every two weeks or so and get a different roast to bring home. Good times! Good times!  

One day I decided to stop drinking coffee for a while, just to see if I could do it and still make it through the day okay. No problem. I missed the flavor though, so I'd have a decaf every once in a while just for the flavor. That lasted, ohhhhh...about 10 years. 

Eventually I started drinking regular coffee again, but not every day. I can take it or leave it. Certain conditions have to be met: It has to be before noon, and I must have heavy cream, or it's a no-go. 

Finding Juan Valdez

One day I was in the store searching for an instant coffee that I wanted to use in a dessert recipe. There weren't very many choices in that particular store, but the Juan Valdez caught my eye. Gold font, nice. Nuggets of coffee instead of sparkly things with no promise, very nice. Glass jar instead of plastic...sold!

I wasn't planning on drinking it, but I ended up trying it out anyway. Whoa! Fabulous flavor! As a former, (yet not former) bean fiend, it was a real treat. 

There is a trick to it though. Stir, stir, stir! I just listen to the cup. Listen to the pitch as you stir (metal spoon required for this step). It gets higher and higher and finally dissipates. That's when you know it's ready to drink. 

A couple of years ago I tried a Central Market version for comparison purposes. Beautiful nuggets, but the taste was not as robust as the Juan Valdez version. Also, the CM version was packed in plastic, and the humidity ruined the last 1/4 of the bottle. Not so with Juan. I can skip for weeks and that does not happen. I haven't had a "hankering" for a least a month now, but the coffee is still A-OK, nice & dry, waiting for the next time I might want a cup. 

Try it! You won't regret it. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Quick Tater Tip

 Well, it's getting a little rusty in here, so I thought I'd better drop in for a quick visit. 😁

Let's talk potatoes! I don't often use a microwave to cook them (we didn't even have a microwave for years after the last one went out). We finally did break down and get another microwave and I'm glad we finally did, really. They aren't entirely evil. Vegetables cooked in the microwave retain more nutrients than other methods, so there's that! 

But back to the taters! Some of you might already be doing this,  but here it is for those who haven't: Instead of poking the potato before placing it in the microwave, make a cut down the middle of it, but don't cut it all the way through. Leave a bit of it uncut, (like 1/4" to 1/2" or so). Think potato "clamshell." 

Then put it in there and blast as usual. It works great, and if you are planning on making a recipe like, say...."Cheater Twice-Baked Potatoes," it makes things quicker & easier. (Now there's a recipe I'll have to post soon. )

Even for a regular microwave baked potato, it is a good idea. You can still rub it with oil or butter & roll it in salt if that's your preference. It just makes it a little easier to deal with after cooking, because you don't have to worry about steaming the heck out of your fingers when you cut it open. 

Anyway, give it a try & let me know what you think about it. 

Happy Eating! 😊

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Product Review: New York Bakery Breadsticks


I have two words for this one: Utter Disappointment. 

I don't normally buy products like this anymore, (although I used to buy their Texas Toast once every month or two in the past), because making garlic bread at home is far superior, even if you opt for "quickie" garlic bread with garlic powder instead of minced garlic). 

It was late, I worked all day, and I just wanted a little bit of garlic bread for a meal. I talked myself out of going to a fast food joint, because I knew it would give me misery and it just wasn't really appealing even though I was hungry. So I decided to pick up some fresh pasta (Rana), a salad, and some garlic bread. I already had homemade sauce at home. 

Texas Toast was rejected out of hand, I couldn't deal with the frozen slab of oil and garlic on top of the bread. It's soooo bad. Plus, no room in freezer for excess slices. So...hey, why not try these breadsticks? The breadsticks can't be as bad, right? They can't screw up breadsticks, right? 


It looked like they might be okay. Not as much of the oil & garlic topping: Great! Short baking time: Good! Slap 'em on a pan, throw 'em in the oven (definitely at a lower temp than recommended), and all is well. 

And so it was. Prep time was short; good meal in about 20 minutes. Waaaaay better than going through that fast food line, which would have probably taken the same amount of time, since Whataburger,  (which is what I would have chosen), is so busy at later hours here. (Small town.) 

So what killed the possible enjoyment of the breadsticks? Sugar. ADDED sugar. Why, why, why? Bread does NOT need added sugar,(beyond the amount used to feed the yeast in the dough), unless it is the type that is supposed to be sweet (like Hawaiian Bread, etc.). 

Sweet garlic bread? Are you kidding me? In what dimension is this acceptable? 

I hate to waste food, so the next evening, I made a garlic spread with fresh garlic & real butter. Cut the remaining bread sticks in half, and spread it on. Finished with a sprinkle of Kosher salt. (Yes, they already had an abundance of sodium, but it was necessary to help kill the sweetness.) 

I popped them in the oven for a light toasting. After that, they were at least palatable. 

Breads off the shelf have more sugar these days. You really have to watch for it. Read every label. Reject breads that have added sugars (unless it is the type that is supposed to be sweet). Consumers can turn this awful trend around. 

Is it a trend? Seems to be. Remember that companies invest a lot of money in research and development to manipulate your tastebuds so you'll get hooked on the flavors and continue to buy their products. That's no secret, but not everyone is aware of it. 

New York Bakery's Bread Sticks are: 

Baked in Ohio by the T. Marzetti Company, (whose owners moved to Ohio from New York many years ago and have had a passion for bread making that allegedly stretches back 90 years, according to the box info), and turn, under the umbrella of The Lancaster Colony Corporation. 

Are they baked in Ohio though? The box isn't clear. It just states "baked FOR T. Marzetti," (with the companies address). It doesn't say baked IN Ohio for T. Marzetti. So that's up in the air. They might be baked in another state. I looked for the info online, but I didn't go down that many rabbit holes to find the true source. It wasn't on their page or the Lancaster page. 

Anyway, here is my recommendation: 

DO NOT BUY. If you do, be prepared for disappointment. Unless, of course, you are a fan of SWEET garlic bread. Ugh!