I promised a while ago that I would share my crazy-love for Trader Joe’s with a list of favorite products. Here it is!
First, a love story between girl and store:
I had never been to Trader Joe’s before the nearby store opened. As a food blog reader, I knew the store had devoted fans who were in love with the store and amazing food.
I was so happy-excited when West Des Moines opened their store 2 1/2 years ago. I visited a few days after it opened, and the first meeting was a little rough. The aisles were packed with elbow-to-elbow bodies and nobody was watching where they were going because there was so much to look at! Even through the solid mass of bodies, I spotted tons that I wanted to try and grabbed peanut butter filled pretzels and almond butter. (Yum to both.)
Nowadays the crowds have mostly tamed down, and Trader Joe’s is my go-to place for fun treats and awesome kitchen staples. Seriously, every time someone mentions Trader Joe’s, I can’t help but gush.
I thought it would be best to create an award for each of my favorite products and let you know how I use some of them.
In the Frozen Foods Category……
Best-Smelling Freezer Staple:
Fancy Berry Medley
I use this medley (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) all the time! In Berry-Orange Pancakes, in smoothies, on top of oatmeal or yogurt, or as a coffee cake mix-in.
Best Companion for Mango Salsa:
Chile Lime Chicken Burgers are delicious grilled and topped with fresh and fruity mango salsa.
Honorable Mentions in the Frozen Foods Category:
French green beans (great in Zuppa Toscana!)
Chicken and Green Chile Tamales
In the Pantry Foods Category….
Easiest way to health-ify pancakes:
White Whole Wheat Flour
I use this flour to replace all-purpose flour when I want to increase the nutritional benefits of a recipe, and to replace whole wheat flour when I want to keep the texture from being too dense or coarse. The result is great texture and a light whole wheat flavor! I love using this flour for oatmeal cookie pancakes and sweet potato chocolate chip pancakes. It is also great for any bread or muffins.
Best portion-controlled snacks:
Just a Handful of Roasted Unsalted Almonds & Oh My! Omega Trek Mix
These are a pantry staple so that David and I always have a healthy, easy-to-grab snack with some protein. The Trek Mix has dried cranberries, almonds, pepitas, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans. Another great topper for yogurt or oatmeal.
Best Supplier of Pinterest Recipes:
Speculoos Cookie Butter
I’m certainly not going out on a limb when I declare Cookie Butter as truly delicious. Plenty of people agree with me and helped make it the top-selling TJ’s product of 2012. Cookie Butter spreads like peanut butter or Nutella and tastes like spiced speculoos cookies. When I open the jar and take a whiff, it reminds me of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands when we snacked on spicy pepernoten and speculaas cookies. Mmmm… Here are some examples of recently pinned, drool-worthy Cookie Butter recipes:
Sugar Cookie Cookie Butter Bars from Wine and Glue
Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups from Stick Gooey Creamy Chewy
Cookie Butter Brown Sugar Streusel Bars from Averie Cooks
Honorable Mentions in the Pantry Category:
Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips
Cuban Style Black Beans (for this delicious black bean soup)
Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup (delicious as a replacement for enchilada sauce)
In the Fridge Category….
Most Unique and Delicious Nut Butter:
Sunflower Seed Butter
This is always in my fridge. My favorite oatmeal combo ever is still creamy banana oats, topped with vanilla yogurt, with a spoonful of this sunflower seed butter nestled in the middle. If you’ve visited our house in the past year, I’ve probably made you try this.
Great cheese (I’ve only tried 1% of TJ’s cheese selection so I will wait to create a more specific category):
This is a great mild cheese. Another favorite snack — buttered bread topped with butter, raspberry jam, and slices of this Gouda cheese. Trust me, the right cheese and jelly play so well together! You can even add an over-easy egg for really sweet and savory deliciousness.
I’m not totally sure what this tastes like but there’s garlic, tahini, lemon, and soy sauce on the ingredient list. The result is a creamy, tangy and sweet dressing.
Best supporting cast of snacks that are so addictive and delicious that I rarely buy them:
Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Ginger Cats Cookies for People
Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Candy Cane Joe-Joes
Sweet Potato Chips
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
Spinach Artichoke Dip
That’s my list! It was a little painful to leave some other much-loved products off the list. However, I hope I gave you some good ideas to take to the store!
Please share! What’s your favorite TJ’s product?