Tag Archives: Snacks

Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa at Costco: Product Review

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m not the baker in our house. This honor belongs to my wife, so she is much more familiar with baking ingredients than I am. That being said, I have gathered her thoughts about this product, and I can confidently write a product review! I’m talking, of course, of the excellent Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa, which is available in many places, but which we buy at Costco, because it is dirt cheap there, and it helps us maximize our membership and our Executive 2% Cash Back.

Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa

Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa

First, let’s talk about price. This 700 gram container of Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa, when purchased at Costco, costs $8.99. This may not seem significant, but you can buy the exact same thing on Amazon for anywhere from $25 to $35. If you need baking cocoa for cakes, hot chocolate, brownies or anything else where cocoa is needed, then just buying this twice a year can cover the costs of your Costco membership!

Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa Nutrition Facts

Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa Nutrition Facts

My wife uses this cocoa in just about anything, but what she uses it most of all is when making hot chocolate. Using cocoa and sugar, as opposed to a prepared mix, really allows you to control the taste. You can get it as sweet or as bitter as you like it. She likes it bitter, I love it sweet, so we can both get our wish quickly and easily, and for a fraction of the price or prepared hot chocolate.

The baking cocoa is also incredible in brownies and chocolate cakes, which are my wife’s specialty. She doesn’t make them too often, because we would just eat cake until we explode, or eat a whole tray of brownies in one sitting.

Now that I’m saying it like that, and reading over what I wrote, it’s a wonder we’re not both severely overweight.

My dad, who is well into his 70’s and a lifelong fan of decadent chocolate cake, declared a few years ago that my wife made the best chocolate cake he’d ever eaten. It might not sound like a big deal, because you don’t know him, but it is.

When it comes to nutrition, just have a look at the nutrition facts above. I’m not going to bother going through it with a fine-tooth comb, because there is no point.

This is cocoa, not a chocolate bar.

Similarly, the list of ingredients can be summed up in one word: Cocoa. There you have it.

The Rodelle Gourmet Baking Chocolate is not only delicious, it’s also a great deal, if you buy it at Costco. As a bonus, I’m happy to include a picture of the official Rodelle Fudge Brownies recipe, as printed on the side of the cocoa container. Enjoy!

Rodelle Official Fudge Brownies Recipe

Rodelle Official Fudge Brownies Recipe

Bick’s Garlic Premium Baby Dill Pickles at Costco: Product Review

A nice short little review for you guys today, for the simple reasons that I’m reviewing one of the simplest, most amazing products ever sold, at least according to my wife, who is pickle-crazy: Bick’s Garlic Premium Baby Dill Pickles, which can be picked up at Costco or at a million other places. Until researching for this review, I had no idea what an absolute great snack pickles are, so there you have it.

Bick's Garlic Premium Baby Dill Pickles

Bick’s Garlic Premium Baby Dill Pickles

One of the first thing I noticed about this product is that besides the fact that pickles are quite solid, and if dry, would certainly be sold by weight, they are here sold by volume. The jar indicates that this is a 2-liter container, and thus contains a total volume of 2 liters, including both the pickles and the liquid and everything else.

This 2-liter jar cost $4.99 at Costco, and is blessedly free of taxes. This price is very much lower than the competition, as a quick Amazon search will tell you. Of course, shipping charges on a jar of pickles are going to be expensive, so better make sure you want them. They are still much cheaper then the brick-and-mortar competition, and Bick’s is a name you can trust for crunchy, tasty pickles. Like Vlasic.

What about the pickles themselves? This is where the review gets short and to the point: they are delicious. They have just the right amount of crunch, just enough garlic to taste without ruining everyone else’s day, and they are not too salty, which is often the problem with pickles, or other marinated, pickled goods.

One thing I find incredible about these pickles is how low calorie they are; sure, the package says “Low Calorie!” but really, how low can you really go?

How about 3 calories per pickle? That’s right, 3. Three, not thirty, not three hundred. Three.

They might as well say zero, because I get the feeling that if you ate only pickles, you would die of hunger, eventually. You’d probably suffer from high blood pressure by that time, too, since every pickle contains 11% of your daily sodium intake, or 270 mg. Don’t look for vitamins or minerals in there, either, because they have simply been omitted.

But damn, they are tasty!

As long as you don’t go overboard, they really are the perfect snack. They taste amazing, have no calories to speak of, and no fat. Just a bit of salt, like any self-respecting snack should.

Since this is an in-depth review, I will include the ingredients that go in making Bick’s Premium Garlic Baby Dill Pickles. Here you go, in order of importance:

  • Cucumbers
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Dehydrated garlic
  • Calcium chloride
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Seasonings – I guess this is where the ‘dill’ resides

These pickles are made in the USA, and imported into Canada by Smucker Foods of Canada, from Markham, On.

Despite the fact that the jar is huge, and will take a lot of room in your fridge, these baby dill pickles are too good a deal to pass up. Stock up and make sure you always have them on hand for burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or just as a relatively healthy afternoon snack for the kids, or yourselves. I’m going to each one or three right now.

Utz Specials Sourdough Pretzels at Costco: Product Review

Gotta love Costco. I mean, I do, but I’m always amazed at the kind of stuff I’ll find there. There’s always something that’s too big, a little outrageous, or just a bit coming out of left field. For example, the 8-foot tall, $230 teddy bear they trot out every year around this time. Today, the catch was this enormous bucket of pretzels; I mean, it’s not a jar any longer. It’s a bucket. Introducing the 1.47-kilogram, ginormous bucket of Utz Specials Sourdough Pretzels, made in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Incidentally, I have today learned that Pennsylvania is the heart of the American pretzel industry, thanks to this overly informative Wikipedia page.

Utz Specials Sourdough Pretzels

Utz Specials Sourdough Pretzels

I’m sorry I didn’t include a specific frame of reference in the picture. Trust me when I say that this bucket of pretzels is truly deserving of the name ‘bucket’. It contains 1.47 kilograms of delicious pretzels, which translates into roughly 3.25 pounds. That’s a lot of pretzels. These will go well with my other snacks.

All that sourdough deliciousness comes at the price of $8.99 at my local Costco. It does feel weird to be buying such an obviously enormous quantity of something. I really felt strange coming out of the store with my massive tub o’ salt.

When it comes to nutrition, these pretzels are clearly not there, unless you’re low on salt, then they’ll do the job admirably. Each 5-pretzel portion (which can be consumed in 30 seconds or less, if you’re in no rush) contains an impressive 19% of your daily recommended salt intake. Just have a look at the pretzels in the picture. They are clearly covered in coarse salt. Yummy! I’m serious.

Here’s a look at the ingredients take make up those delicious sourdough pretzels:

  • Unbleached enriched flour
  • Salt
  • Palm and/or corn oils
  • Maltodextrin
  • Buttermilk powder
  • Citric acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Yeast
  • Natural flavor
  • Vinegar
  • Sodium bicarbonate

I’m always happy to see that Costco is promoting products that do not contain mountains of unpronounceable ingredients; of course, that’s what the members and customers are asking for, but it’s good to see them stepping up to the plate.

As to the pretzels, well, they are everything that a pretzel should be. Crunchy, dry but not too dry, salty with that distinctive sourdough taste. Just try ’em , they’re awesome. I don’t know how long my Costco will carry the Utz Specials Sourdough Pretzels, but I hope they last. If they don’t, well, the tub’s big enough to last me a week or two.

If you’re

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix: Product Review

As far as my wife is concerned, going on a trip anywhere in the car is an occasion to eat snacks. If there are no snacks, it will be a very unpleasant situation for all involved. I kept that fact in mind as I was planning our latest trip, a five-hour car trip to visit family in Toronto. On my last visit to Costco before leaving, I picked up a bag of Kirkland Signature Trail Mix, for $12.99. Here are our impressions.

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix, Item number 34806

As you can see from the picture of the bag, as well as that of the ingredients (just below), the ingredients are peanuts, M&M- brand candies, raisins, almonds and cashews, in that order. I find it quite impressive that the M&Ms are so far up the list, in other brands they are few and far between .

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix Ingredients

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix Ingredients

Of course, when you put raisins, almonds and cashews in your trail mix, it’s no surprise that M&Ms come out as just about the cheapest ingredient, and you put a lot in. That says a lot about other brands, where M&Ms are rare.

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix Nutrition Facts

Kirkland Signature Trail Mix Nutrition Facts

The Kirkland Signature Trail Mix boasts an almost perfect balance of sweet and salty components. The sweet M&Ms and raisins are nicely balanced by the salty peanuts, almonds and cashews, and I can assure you that they are easy to eat by the handful.

When it comes to nutrition, I must admit that I am a little annoyed. The bag is labeled in weight – 1.36 kilograms – while the nutrition information is calculated by volume, in milliliters. Have a look at the fact sheet. There is no comfortable way of calculating how many servings are in a bag, short of measuring out the number of cups of Trail Mix are in the bag, and multiplying by 3. Let’s say that I eat this in 100-gram portions, which means that there are 13.6 portions per bag, and each of them costs 95 cents.

What I can absolutely share with you, is that 1/3 of a cup really isn’t that much, and I can easily eat several servings in one go. That’s kind of the point of driving food. The good news is that you’ll get 9 grams of proteins per serving, and there are no trans fats in Costco’s Trail Mix. Also, there is surprisingly little salt, considering the ingredients list.

The bad news is that there is plenty of both fat and sugar, which is great if you’re out there hiking it out on the trail, not so awesome when you’re driving a minivan full of wife and kids and luggage and noise.

Overall, I would gladly recommend Costco’s Kirkland Signature Trail Mix. Despite its lack of candied fruits, which are a personal favorite, it is composed of expensive, quality ingredients, just as you would expect from any Kirkland Signature products, and it’s made in the USA. You can buy and eat this with confidence!