a lovely living

Trader Joe’s Haul

This post feels long overdue, but alas, here it is! For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you are aware that Trader Joe’s is where I do the majority of my grocery shopping. I began shopping there when we lived in Hoboken, NJ and when we made the move to State College, PA seven years ago I was thrilled that they had a store in town. I know that sounds silly, but groceries are an important part of our lives and I was happy that was one thing I wouldn’t have to readjust.

We obviously love the food, but as the primary grocery shopper, I’m drawn to the small store, unique variety of food and the most friendly staff that you will encounter! They are so helpful and courteous and if there’s ever anything you want to try, they’ll allow you to sample it on the spot. You’ll find a few brand names, but overall the Trader Joe’s brand is what fills the bulk of the store.

I always love seeing what others find when they shop here because I tend to get into my regular routine and easily overlook certain items. When Covid19 wasn’t an issue, the stores typically had a sampling station where they’d prepare different foods on a daily basis. I often discovered new favorites when they did this, so I hope that this post can help serve you in a similar capacity.

Pictures can speak louder than words when it comes to food, so I included everything from one of my more recent grocery trips to share with you. A lot of it is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll highlight some of the products that may be new to you.

Gone-Bananas: Chocolate covered, bite sized frozen bananas. The best little treat!
Cauliflower Gnocchi: Jack and I will often sub this for a pasta dish we serve to the kids. It’s also awesome with pesto, grilled chicken and shaved parm.
Vegetable Fried Rice: For a quick meal, we add chicken, beef it up with broccoli and it feeds our family of five.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza: I don’t claim to compare this to a good pizza crust, but in it’s own right, it’s delicious! In a similar fashion to the gnocci, we will crisp up the crust and add diced chicken, pesto, tomatoes, parm etc….it’s incredible!
Brioche French Toast: Pop it in the toaster for a quick breakfast for the kiddos.

Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough: this is a favorite of ours and such a time saver to have on hand!
Bagged Rice: Another time saver is their precooked rice. Three minutes in the microwave and you are set.
Juice: Trader Joe’s has a number of delicious juices and the kids always love when I show up with some!

Bars: All of us enjoy our ‘bars’. Jack and I are big fans of the Quest bars and the kids love any number of their granola bars.
Ezekiel Bread: I love that they offer this in their stores. Once I made the switch from whole wheat to Exekiel Bread there was no going back. I toast their cinnamon raisin bread and add peanut butter most days when I break my fast.
Corn, Pea, Bean and Quinoa Chips: This was introduced to me by a friend or else I may never have grabbed they, but they are delicious! A good alternative to a potato chip with a ton of flavor.

Cooked/Peeled Eggs: Purely for convenience, I love that they offer these!
Fresh Salsa: Our favorite salsa and a favorite for the many friends we’ve served it to. Just, so, good.
Everything But the Bagel Dip: The EBTB seasoning may be one that TJ’s is most famous for, and this dip has to follow closely behind. Use it for veggies or any type of chip or pretzel you desire, so good!

Flowers: Trader Joe’s has some of the most beautiful and better yet, well-priced flowers around. This is the reason I always have a fresh vase of flowers in our kitchen!
Naan Bread: The kids love Naan bread. I know there are many good ways to use it, but I’ll cut it up for dips and make sandwiches out of it if I am able to get it to before the kids devour it.
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning: It’s a must try. Throw it on just about anything! Chicken, steak, tuna, avocado, sandwiches…endless possibilities.
Snacks: We are always stocked with school snacks and TJ’s has a ton to offer. The kids enjoy their bars, fruit strips and a new product, their granola bites that are individually packaged.

For all of you that enjoy those seasonal items, these are a few of my favorites.

Colombia Supremo Coffee: Not seasonal, but ended up in this pic nonetheless, it’s by far our favorite coffee. Not too light, not too dark but just right with a ton of flavor.
Autumnal Harvest Creamy Sauce: In the realm of a vodka sauce but not as heavy, this sauce is a dream and a nice change from a typical red sauce. I stock up every year before the change of season.
Pumpkin Mix: Another item I stock up on to have all year. This mix allows you to bake muffins or bread in no time. Great for after school, breakfasts or serving for guests.

I know I’ve left things out, but at least this will serve as a general guide and hopefully give you a few new things to try out the next time you get in to a Trader Joes! If you have any questions about anything I may or may not have mentioned, feel free to ask!

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