Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pretty tasty (and very cheap) frozen pizza at RT Mart

In a freezer near the O.J. and milk, you can find frozen pizzas for NT$100 each. We tried the salmon/ seafood pizza was pretty good, and I would buy it again.
Sorry, I meant to take a picture of the whole pizza...but it was mostly devoured before I could get a good shot.

German Chocolate Cake at Costco

Just in time for the holidays! Pick up a German chocolate cake at Costco for less than NT$400. What a deal!

Friday, December 5, 2008

York Peppermint Patty Brownies...perfect for Christmastime.

Now that RT Mart sells York Peppermint patties, you can make these brownies at home. I took an old standby recipe and tweaked it. Here you go:

1 cup melted butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar (the Taiwanese brown sugar doesn't work well...use only the stuff you can buy at Wellman's...if you don't have the good brown sugar, just use 2 cups of white sugar)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

24 small York peppermint patties (the generic peppermint patties don't work as me)


Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs till well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Blend well.

Reserve half of the batter, set aside

Grease 13x9x2 inch pan. Spread remaining batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties in a single layer over batter about 1/2 inch apart.

Spread reserved batter over patties. Bake 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50-55 minutes till brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. I sprinkle powdered sugar on top just because.

5. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Enjoy!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mayo, oatmeal, mashed taters, aloe vera, and cheap granola bars at RT Mart

The RT Mart import section is still well-stocked. I saw both "real" and "light" mayonnaise there for a good price. (the bottle is very big)

And the instant oatmeal is so cheap! Only NT$69/ box.

They also have instant mashed potatoes, for those of you who prefer the instant ones to the real ones. (I happen to like the instant)

Now, I had to post the NT$39 can of aloe vera, because if you've lived in Taiwan long enough, you've probably ordered a "green tea with aloe" at least once. That is still one of my favorite drinks, and I am now intrigued by the possibilities of making desserts with aloe chunks.

FYI...I have yet to find cheaper Nature Valley granola can get a box of the oats and honey bars for only NT$67! The maple and nut bars are NT$85, which is still a good price.

Christmas decorations, candy, and gifts at RT Mart

I know there are several great "junk stores" in Taipei where you can find a lot of Christmas decorations, but sometimes it's just easier to buy the new stuff in a less-cluttered store. I was very impressed at the amount of Christmas decorations I found at RT Mart, along with some cute candy gifts. Most things were very reasonably priced.

You can find just about anything here...from lights to ornaments to tinsel .

So get in the Christmas spirit and go to RT Mart for decorations!

York Peppermint Patties at RT Mart!

This deserves its own post. Yes, ladies and gents, you can now find bags of York Peppermint Patties for only NT$135/ bag at RT Mart in the candy section. One of these days, I'll give you my peppermint patty brownie's perfect for Christmastime!

"Perfect every time" Pumpkin Bread

If there's one recipe I've worked hard to "perfect," this is it.
So if you happen to have any extra pumpkin pie filling around, get baking!
This recipe was originally given to me by my mother-in-law, who has made it for years.
I've only slightly tweaked it, and it comes out (nearly) perfect every time. It also makes a great gift and freezes well.

Pumpkin Bread


1 1/2 cups sugar
(I sometimes cut this down to 1 cup, if I'm concerned about the spiked insulin levels of my recipients or making it for Chinese friends who "don't like sweet things")

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup oil
(okay, I know that's a lot of oil...but the bread tastes much better when it's moist. You can try 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce. I've done that, too).

3/4 to 1 cup cooked (or canned) pumpkin
(just depends on how much of a pumpkin freak you are...I always add at least 1 cup)

1/3 cup water

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

chocolate chips or walnuts (optional)

a little butter and sugar for the topping


1. Beat the sugar, eggs, and oil together. (sometimes I use a mixer, sometimes I do it by hand)

2. Add the cooked pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and water and mix well.

3. Stir in the flour and baking soda. (you probably want to blend those ahead of time) Add chocolate chips and/or walnuts. Please add chocolate chips. They make everything better.

4. Grease (and flour, if you think that will help) a large loaf pan. Pour the mixture into the pan.

5. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees C, 170 degrees F. (my oven cooks things very fast, so I only bake it about 45 minutes, and I put my temp down to 100 degrees F. )

6. Okay, now here's the part you don't want to miss. When you pull the bread out of the oven, spread butter all over the top of it. (not margarine, folks...real butter). Then, sprinkle at least 1/4 cup sugar on top of that. Wait for the bread to cool, and then pop it out of the pan.

7. Enjoy with a nice cup of hot tea.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

McCormick products at Carrefour

I recently noticed that Carrefour carries a wide variety of McCormick spices, rubs, and powders. They sell curry powder, cinnamon, and lemon and pepper, just to name a few. And the containers are smaller than what you find at Costco, so if you don't cook or bake with spices very often, this is the way to go.

They also sell several varieties of Grill Mates, including Mesquite, Chipotle Pepper, and Zesty Herb. These are NT$68/ package.

And for your Super Bowl party, you can get the Buffalo Wings seasoning mixes for NT$79/ package.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Banana Cream Cheese Bread recipe

I just tried this recipe recently and thought it was a winner. (after I modified it a bit) If you have extra cream cheese and bananas lying around, make this bread. The only thing I might add are some chocolate chips.

Creamy Banana Bread

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream
cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Cream the butter or margarine and cream cheese together. Gradually add the white sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and soda; mix until batter is just moist.

Pour batter into a LARGE loaf pan. (or two smaller pans)

3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

True Lemon and True Lime at HOLA

HOLA now carries True Lime and True Lemon. I haven't seen these products anywhere else in Taiwan. They're quite popular now in the States.
If you don't know much about these products, here is some info. I pulled off their website:
For the first time ever, fresh squeezed lemon and lime taste is as simple as a tear of a packet or a shake of a bottle thanks to True Lemon and True Lime, the original crystallized lemon and lime substitutes, in packets and shakers.True Lemon in packets, which has been available nationally for six months, is now joined by True Lemon in a shaker bottle and True Lime in packets and a shaker bottle. True Lemon and True Lime can be used anywhere you would use lemon or lime juice and make the use of these popular fruits convenient and easy.
The packets are great to take to the office, gym, traveling and when you’re on-the-go, and the shakers are made for cooking, baking and seasoning. Each serving provides:

Consistent fresh lemon or lime taste without any mess, waste or inconvenience;

100 percent all natural ingredients including fresh lemon or lime juices and oils;

0 calories and 0g carbohydrates;

No artificial or natural sweeteners;

No preservatives or sodium; and

Offers 25 percent of an adult’s daily Vitamin C requirements.
Also, HOLA carries a great selection of all-natural cleaning products. I like HOLA, especially during the holidays. They have some nice Christmas decorations for sale.

Monday, November 17, 2008

LEECO Outlet sales

I haven't been very impressed with the LEECO outlet yet, but right now they're having big sales in their B1 level. Ralph Lauren clothes are 80% and 90% off, so if you're looking for jeans, sweaters, or nice dress pants, stop by. The clothes are really cheap at the moment.

There's also a big Philips sale going on, and you can find some great appliances (like blenders, hair dryers, hair straighteners, etc.) for a good price. I've got my eye on a nice food processor....

And there are plenty of other things to buy, shoes, workout clothes, etc.

But don't wait too long! The sale ends Nov. 31.

LEECO is located next to the Neihu Costco. Besides the B1 sale floor, there are at least 4 floors with lots of other name brand vendors. This place is always empty, though, so I wonder if anyone actually shops there...

A new restaurant that looks mighty good...

I saw this sign in Tianmu yesterday for Market Cafe, which is opening in December. I think it will be located on Jhongshan road, and I saw some more information that makes me envision a really big salad bar with fresh foods from all over the world. Let's hope that's the case!

More new peanut butter at Carrefour...and some frozen green beans.

I have no idea if Panner peanut butter is tasty or not, but it's something new, so it makes the cut. It's still cheaper than Skippy at the moment.

And I finally found big bags of frozen green beans! Most of the O Organics frozen foods are on sale right now, so if you need green beans for Thanksgiving, go here. Don't buy the canned's too expensive and mushy.

Also, did you know that you can find Betty Crocker Pancake mix at Carrefour? I think the Costco version is better, though. (and a better deal)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Homemade Granola Bars- Recipe

(this isn't my picture, but my granola bars look very similar to these)

Who doesn't love a good granola bar? A convection oven and stovetop are all you need to make your own.

And look at all of the extra and unncessary ingredients you DON'T need to add to your own bars...(these ingredients are pretty common in most packaged granola bars or protein bars).

High Maltose Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt, Salt), Wheat Flakes (Whole Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Malt), Palm Kernel Oil, Corn Meal, Fructose, Canola Oil, Yogurt Powder (Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Cultures), Corn Bran, Maltodextrin, Calcium Carbonate, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Honey, Color Added, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Calcium Lactate, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness, Sunflower Meal, Peanut Flour, Almond Flour.

No, thanks! We'll leave the high fructose corn syrup out of our granola bars! Now, my best recipes are created through trial and error, so here is what I've come up with after making quite a few batches:


4 cups rolled oats

1 cup shredded coconut (if you can find it...try Wellman's in Tianmu)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (Jason's Marketplace carries these)

1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup dark brown sugar (go to Wellman's for the good stuff)

1/2 cup honey

1 cup raisins and/or chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla extract

First, preheat the oven to 350F, which is 175C.

Then, mix all of the "dry" ingredients in a big bowl---oats, nuts, coconut, wheat germ, raisins, chocolate chips.

After that, melt the butter, brown sugar and honey in a saucepan and bring it to a small boil for about a minute, stirring the entire time. Turn off the burner and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla.

Then, pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated. Press the granola firmly into the bottom of a greased 11 x 13" pan and put it in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes. Watch the bars carefully...if your oven gets too hot, they make burn on the bottom. Take the bars out when they look golden brown on top.

When you remove the granola from the oven, allow it to cool only slightly before cutting it into squares—but wait until it’s completely cool before removing the bars from the pan.

Other things you can add into the mix:

Kissables (a big bag is only NT$89 at the Tianmu Carrefour)




Friday, November 7, 2008

More great deals at RT Mart

I finally found Scope again! Carrefour is no longer selling it, but you can find it at RT Mart in the toothpaste section.

I almost started jumping for joy when I saw the generic brand of Grape Nuts for only NT$99! I used to buy them at Wellman's, but they haven't been selling them for months. These taste like the real thing, and the price is unbeatable.

And lo and behold, cheap instant pudding is finally in Taiwan. I guess I don't have to bring it back with me from the States anymore. For only NT$29, you can buy instant chocolate and vanilla pudding. Add 2 cups of milk, stir, and you're good to go. Now I can make pudding pies galore!

Great new foods at RT Mart

RT Mart's "imported" section keeps expanding. I found a bunch of new products there, including...

Honey Mustard

Chocolate Chips (waaay cheaper than what you'll pay in Tianmu)

Honey Puffs!

Crispy Rice (another cereal that's hard to find here)

and yummy pasta sauces.
The prices for all the imported foods are really cheap! Where else can you find boxes of cereal for NT$85?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

EEC Filipino Store bargains

Today I found something I've been looking for for several years now---caramel syrup. And now it's here, and it's cheap---only NT$75 at the Filipino store. Can't wait to try it on some vanilla ice cream! Also, have you noticed that peanut butter has really gone up in price lately? The ever-popular jar of Chinese "Skippy" is now NT$169. (It used to be NT$88 when it was on sale at Carrefour). But, have no fear...the Filipino store sells the Planters variety for NT$95. What a bargain!

Also, make sure you get your Thanksgiving essentials here. The evaporated milk is only NT$35/ can, which is HALF the price of the same stuff in Wellcome. And you can also get cream of mushroom soup and cheap cream. This is the easy stuff...just chill it and pour it on your dessert. No whipping required.
Two other products worthy of mention: You can now find small tubes of BATH and BODY WORKS lotions, which make any American gal a little nostalgic for the red and white checkered store.

And right now, the store is selling TWO big bars of dark chocolate Ritter Sport for only NT$59.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanksgiving food at Wellman's

Wellman's (in Tianmu) carries pretty much everything you need for a Thanksgiving meal. Some of the prices are cheaper than what you'll find at Jason's Marketplace. So go ahead and get a few things there...but save things like evaporated milk, chicken broth and cream of mushroom soup for the Filipino store or Wellcome.
A 10-lb. turkey is around NT$1,000 at Wellman's. I'm going to price Costco's turkeys later this week.
I'm not sure if you can get French Fried Onions anywhere if you're determined to have green bean casserole, you'll have to buy them here.

Stove Top Stuffing is definitely cheaper at Wellman's. You can get two boxes of it for around NT$200. One box at Jason's is NT$150.

And the pumpkin pie mix is cheaper, too. It's NT$120 at Wellman's.
They also sell a frozen pie crust you can use if you don't want to make your own crust, as well as frozen tubs of whipped cream. But both are expensive, so I recommend attempting a homemade crust and buying whipping cream at Carrefour or Costco.
I think Wellman's also sells Cranberry sauce, although I forgot to look for it today.
If you want evaporated or sweetened condensed milk, visit the EEC Filipino store on Jhongshan Road. It's quite a bit cheaper there.
And you can get chicken broth for NT$29 at Wellcome.
For rolls, try Costco, if you don't mind buying them in bulk.
And, of course, there are the mashed potatoes...visit your local vegetable vendor for the potatoes. If you want sour cream, the best deal is at Costco. You'll have to buy a big tub of it, but it will last you awhile!
More ideas to come...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Almond Butter Recipe

Who is going to pay NT$300 for a jar of almond butter at an import store? Not I! So I've learned how to make my own! First, you need to get a big bag of almonds. I recommend the Kirkland brand that you can find at Costco for about NT$350, I think. This gives you 9 cups of almonds, so it will make quite a bit of almond butter. I've already made 2 batches and still have a lot of almonds left in the bag.

Make sure the almonds are plain, because you're going to roast them in an oven.
So, your ingredients are as follows:
Raw almonds
a little oil (I prefer olive oil)
That's it! How hard can it be? Well, if you have a really good blender or food processer, you're in luck. All you have to do is roast the almonds, throw them in the blender or processor, add a little oil, and you're all set!

For some more detailed directions, check out this link:
That will take you through the process, step by step. I had to add a little more oil than the recipe called for, but that's probably because my blender isn't that great.
The taste of homemade almond butter is fantastic. And if you don't know yet that almonds are really good for you, then do a little googling.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coming Soon...Recipes using food you can find in Taiwan

There seems to be a lack of new products lately, so I'm going to add a new feature to the blog---RECIPES. I'll keep them simple and useful. For example, have you ever thought about making your own almond butter? I tried that last week and it was fantastic. And you can save a lot of money by buying the bulk bag of almonds at Costco instead of buying the little bags at convenience stores. I'll also tell you where to find the cheapest Thanksgiving foods so you can have your own Thanksgiving dinner. Stay tuned...

Pepsi Light at Carrefour

You can find this soft drink near the bread section at the DaZhi store. Doesn't make sense, but that's where it's located. NT$14/ can.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms at 7-11

Get 'em while they're hot!

New breakfast foods

Wellcome is now carrying 'breakfast bars' that you can find in the cereal aisle.

And they have a few more granola bars to choose from. Pineapple and papaya, anyone?

Move over, Special K. Your competition has arrived in "Fruit and Form," the Carrefour brand. Three varieties are available---plain, with strawberries, and with chocolate.