Sunday, January 9, 2011

Things I'm Loving: Trader Joe's Edition

First and foremost...

If you're one of the unlucky who does not have a Trader Joe's in your area, then I apologize in advance.  Because it's pretty much one of the best things that's happened to me since moving to New York.  If you do have one in your area, then read on!  I discover something new at TJ's almost every week so I hope you find something new and delicious here. 

[NOTE: Not all these things are particularly healthy.  I focus on the packaged goods b/c that's what is Trader Joe's-specific, not because I think processed food is good for you!)

Jalapeno-Cilantro Hummus

I know it sounds weird, but it's creamy, spicy deliciousness and goes perfectly with pita, crackers, crudite, and your fingers.  I LOVE this stuff.

Wintry Blend

Only the best winter coffee blend ever.  Unfortunately it's seasonal, so your TJ's may have already stopped carrying it.  But DO NOT FEAR, it will be back!  I do not exaggerate when I say I've been drinking this stuff for the last 2-3 months every. single. morning.  Also?  I may or may not be hoarding them in our pantry.  (There are currently 6 canisters left.  I'm getting nervous.)  My favorite?  Mixing it with TJ's special Gingerbread blend.  HOLIDAY JAVA GOODNESS!

Mini Mint Ice Cream Mouthfuls

Little bites of heaven!  Seriously, they are minty, chocolatey goodness and end up not being that awful calorically b/c of its small size.  (Of course that's assuming that you don't eat 3 at a time.)

Organic Shells and White Cheddar

I know I know... it's boxed macaroni and cheese.  But unlike the blue box, this stuff is organic and every ingredient in the ingredient list is readable and recognizable.  I don't eat this stuff a lot, but I try to always keep a box on my shelf for emergency meals (like the other night).  I always add broccoli (frozen works great), LOTS of black peppers and a little parmigiano reggiano.  I try not to eat the entire box in one sitting.

Vegetable Masala Burgers
I've already waxed poetic about these.  Bottom line?  Get them.  I know 2 people in my NYC life who bought them after reading my blog, and they are huge fans.

Frozen Organic Brown Rice

It's much cheaper than the Whole Foods version.  It's organic (there's also a non-organic version that's a tiny bit cheaper, but come on...).  It's fast, easy, and tasty, and I always have a box in my freezer.  (I cannot say the same for the organic frozen jasmine rice - it doesn't taste like jasmine rice at all.  It tastes like very mediocre white rice.)

Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins

These aren't TJ's brand, but they sell them at mine, and they are most definitely cheaper there than any other grocery store in the city.  I used to be a cereal-a-holic.  You know, the kind who eats multiple bowls a day, and not the one serving bullshit kind of bowl (I mean, 3/4 cup is NOT a serving), but like the really big bowl with lots of milk kind.  Because of these tendencies, I tend to not buy it.  But I bought a box the other day and have really been enjoying it as a light breakfast or snack.  The puffins are individually sized so perfectly that I only need one for a good bite, and that's how I eat.  One puffin in a spoonful of milk per bite.  Delicious.

Other things I buy regularly that are way cheaper than they are at Whole Foods:
  • fruits and veggies (I hate how TJ's packages some of their produce b/c the packaging is so wasteful and excessive, BUT, I like how cheap the organic options are)
  • organic peanut butter
  • organic raw honey (comes in a jar and is as raw as it gets)
  • maple syrup
  • organic olive oil
  • salt, pepper and spices (limited selection, but CHEAP)
  • Almond Breeze
  • greek yogurt w/ honey (my store carries the TJ brand and Fage - the TJ brand is way cheaper and just as good!)
  • frozen veggies of every variety
  • frozen fruit (for smooooothies)
  • nuts & dried fruit (actually I don't buy these much b/c I don't eat them that often, but this is a great place to get them - huge selection, well-priced)
  • ground flax (they have a version with dried blueberries - it's delicious)
  • pita bread, sliced bread, pizza dough (the dough is fresh, comes in a big mound, and is 99 CENTS, y'all...)
  • pasta sauce (my sister and roomie adore the Organic Vodka Sauce)
  • fresh ravioli (found in the refrigerated section - I like the portobello mushroom one, but am eager to try the others)
I'm sure there are plenty more things I could add, but I think that will suffice for now.  Seriously, I do 99% of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's and then go to Whole Foods to supplement.  My grocery bills have literally been cut in half since my TJ's opened.  Me and TJ?  We are in the middle of a mah-jor love affair, and I hope it never ends...

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