USA Foods

I’m finally resurfacing after a gorgeous two week holiday in Hawaii with my family. We returned last Thursday night, and I’ve been catching up on a bunch of other things (sleep and laundry. My life, let me show you the glamour), but I did unpack quickly and photographed the stuff I bought over there on the weekend. I’m going to split my posts into four: a food one, a make up one, a places to see/eat one, and a places to shop one.

I went to Sephora, and I went to the outlets, but I have to start with the most important post: food you can’t buy here.

One of my favourite things to do overseas is wander around in big supermarkets and look at all the food they have. Different breakfast cereals, different cookies, different ice cream, different chocolates and lollies. It’s heaven. I don’t buy everything, but I do love to see what their favourite flavour combinations are and what the varieties are like. I went over to Hawaii with a short list of a few grocery items I wanted to bring back with me and I found most of them. Some couldn’t be brought back, so they were photographed for instagram and promptly consumed by my husband and I.

Here’s what I did bring back though!

The jar at the top is Biscoff European Crunchy Cookie Butter. I first became aware of cookie butter a few months ago through Buzzfeed. Specifically, this amazing article. Further investigation revealed that cookie butter is basically like peanut butter, but instead of peanuts, it’s made from crushed up sweet biscuits, usually of the Lebkuchen variety, which I make and love the flavour of. It’s sort of a cinnamon-y, ginger-y, mixed spice flavoured cookie that’s great at Christmas time. So I was determined to hunt some down and bring it home to bake with. I don’t know what to bake first, but I’m leaning towards some nice, gooey brownies or soft cookies. Although, how delicious do those s’mores look? Basically I want to make something where the cookie butter is still all warm and soft and gooey. It’s all about the goo factor here. I haven’t opened the jar yet, but don’t worry, as soon as I do I will report back.

The M&Ms and the Hershey’s Kisses are both special fall Pumpkin Spice editions. They’re mad for Pumpkin Spice over in the States, which we are all aware of, I think. We were in Hawaii in the last two weeks of October, so there was pumpkin flavoured EVERYTHING, and they were gearing up for Halloween, so there were massive 1kg bags of mini chocolate bars everywhere. I’ve tried most of the American chocolate bars at least once, so I wanted to bring something back that was a little bit different. The Hershey’s Kisses are…not good. They’re a pastel orange sort of colour, like white chocolate that’s been coloured. While they’re soft and a nice texture to eat, the flavour is not pumpkin at all. It’s cinnamon and nutmeg, through and through. They’re sickly sweet, the way Hershey’s often is, but more so because of the cinnamon flavour. Disappointing, but about what I expected. The M&Ms are actually nice. They are slightly bigger than normal M&Ms, and solid chocolate the whole way through. They taste just like normal M&Ms, but there is a really, really subtle not-quite-cinnamon taste. These are MUCH, much nicer than the Hershey’s, so I’m glad I bought them back to try. I like that the colours of the shells are orange, green and brown as well. So seasonal. I really appreciate commitment to a theme. Oh, I nearly forgot! Even though I don’t drink coffee, I did try the famous Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. But I was one of those tools who makes it really complicated, so I ordered a cold pumpkin spice decaf frappacino with soymilk. Again, this tastes nothing like pumpkin. It tastes like coffee with a very, very subtle cinnamony aftertaste. I was actually found at the “pumpkin spice” labelling of things completely misleading, because it essentially seems to mean “cinnamon and/or nutmeg flavour.”

At the bottom you can see two Larabars. Now, I had seen a lot of Pinterest recipes about homemade Larabars that are apparently “as good as the real thing!” and I even tried to make one of them without really knowing what a Larabar is. It’s essentially a raw snack bar with a base of dates, and then a couple of other ingredients added in to give it a flavour. I tried the peanut butter and jelly bar over there and loved it so much I had to bring one back. The ingredients are dates, peanuts, unsweetened cherries, sea salt and that’s it. So it really is a great alternative to a chocolate bar to snack on. And it really, honestly tasted like peanut butter and jam – really, truly! If you ever seen these around, grab one to try. At the supermarket near where we stayed, they had a good variety of flavours, some of which were lemon bar, pecan pie bar, peanut butter and jelly bar, chocolate coconut chew bar, cashew cookie bar, carrot cake, and choc chip cookie. They’re gluten free as well, if that’s your bag. There are a bunch more flavours, and they are delicious. Much better than the homemade recipe I tried to create that was so soft it had to be kept in the fridge at all times because it quickly softened and fell apart as soon as human hands and warm air touched it. I’ll try another version of the recipe though, because if I can recreate these I’ll be a very happy lady. I haven’t tried the chocolate coconut one yet, but I’m sure it will completely delicious.

I recently read a recipe that contained something called Cinnamon Chips, which are chocolate chips with cinnamon filling in them. Intrigued, I added these to my shopping list, because I love to bake, especially choc chip cookies. Unfortunately the supermarket near us didn’t sell them, and the Walmart I went to was sold out of them, so I grabbed the Heath English Toffee Bits instead. Same concept, but with toffee in the middle instead, which is a more than worthy substitute. Sugary and delicious, I think these will be yummy in a cinnamon sugar cookie around Christmas time. While I was browsing the baking section in Walmart, which was plentiful and exciting because they also have Thanksgiving coming up, I spotted the Nestle Toll House mint choc chips which I grabbed (after I had a little chuckle to myself because of this). I’m really hoping these are like after dinner mints but in choc chip form, because damn if I don’t I love me some after dinner mints. I made some life changing cookies earlier this year and I think the addition of choc mint chips to it might turn the world on its axis. Am I exaggerating? I would never exaggerate about baked goods, my friends. NEVER.

I also sampled was this Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Another limited edition item that was soooo delicious.

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It’s peanut ice cream with fudge flakes, chocolate and nougat bits, and salty pretzel swirls. To be completely honest, I don’t really get what the salty pretzel swirls were, because I didn’t see a single bit of pretzel in there, but the rest of is was all there and it was heaven. The peanut ice cream wasn’t too sweet, so the fudge, chocolate and nougat gave it a lovely sweetness that balanced it out. I love Ben & Jerry’s, and I really, really wish they would release more flavours here a lot faster. Hear that, Ben & Jerry’s? GET ON IT.

One more thing I tried but didn’t photograph was a big ass bag of Cheetos. One of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to junk food are chips that are really orange and cheesey. You know the kind that makes your fingers orange with flavour and makes your tongue hurt after a while. I kept seeing a massive, massive bag of them on the shelf and contemplating them before walking away. About halfway through our trip I gave in and bought the huge bag. They were divine. Orange, cheesey goodness. Terrible for me, I’m sure, but I had to try them at least once. It was worth it, trust me.

So there you have it. Boring to some, but I adore international supermarkets and grocery items, and even though it seems weird, I can’t wait to try out everything I bought over there.

Until next time,

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