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.