Here is a list of my recommended best value purchases. Several of these have been featured here before, while a few are new. Can you find items of higher quality? Maybe, but you’ll pay quite a bit more. The list below are staples that every household should carry at all times, like plastic wrap and olive oil and extra ink cartridges.
This gentle cleanser is a must for sensitive skin. I feel lost when I run out of it. For its price, it’s the best skin cleanser around.
These pickles are pretty expensive, but they are crazy delicious. I think I may have gone on and on a few times about my love of vinegars and salad dressings, so of course I’ll spend a little extra on pickles now and then. Despite what I just said about this list being a list of must-stock staples, I don’t stock these. I’d go broke since I could easily eat a jar of them every day.
Speaking of salad dressings, here is something I’ve probably mentioned on here far too many times. Good old Penzeys Italian Salad Dressing Base. The picture I found on the Penzeys site looks a little different from how the base actually looks. It’s whiter without so many colorful bits in it.
I just used it a couple of days ago to recreate some raspberry vinaigrette I got at Granite City here in Madison. I’d thought I was kind of ‘over’ raspberry vinaigrette, but theirs was impressive. (Paired with the Harvest Salad, a seasonal specialty. I got mine minus the turkey). Speaking of that salad, I think it deserves to be awarded some carrots! To make my dressing I mixed some raspberry jam with a couple of kinds of vinegar, some olive oil, and my beloved Penzeys base. It didn’t really taste like the salad dressing I’d gotten at Granite City, but it was good anyway. This base can turn pretty much any combination of vinegar, oil, and spare ingredients into a delicious vinaigrette.
A few more staples to keep on hand:
If you ever still use a digital camera, these are a must. Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries. Though more expensive than other AA batteries, they last MUCH longer and will save you much money and frustration.
Estancia is always a safe bet when you’re looking for wine in the $11-12 range.