Archive | October, 2012

Halloween pumpkin artistry at Trader Joe’s

31 Oct

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Pumpkins

Pumpkinheads: Trader Joe’s creativity unleashed

Welcome pumpkin

Trader Joe’s is always welcoming. The pumpkin says it all.

Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

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Related Links:

Extreme pumpkins

Pumpkin carving and decorating ideas from Martha Stewart

Virtual pumpkin carving for kids

Halloween at Trader Joe’s: Treat or treat

29 Oct

Of course – of course! – Trader Joe’s is a great place to stock up for a Halloween party! Even without Halloween-themed items, it’s a no brainer, even for a zombie.

But, Trader Joe’s being Trader Joe’s, there are many Halloweenish goodies for your partying pleasure. Cases in point:

Halloween cookies from Trader Joe's

Halloween Cookies from Trader Joe’s

(The picture on the cookies box reminds me of the squirrel that got his head stuck in a Halloween decoration.)

Ghoulie Gummy candy from Trader Joe's

Ghoulie Gummy yummies

And for the thirsty adult…

Dearly beloved red wine

Dearly Beloved wine

I hope that these give you a start in preparing for your Halloween celebration. If you’re on the East Coast, please stay safe this week through Hurricane Sandy. I hope the wind and water subside before Wednesday.

Take good care.

Thank you, Trader Joe’s.

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Please share your favorite Halloween snacks and party treat suggestions in the comments!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

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Related Links:

What’s Good at Trader Joe’s reviews Halloween Cookies

Spark People: No Tricks. Just Healthier Treats

PBS: Food – Halloween: A foodie history

A good thing to do with Persian Cucumbers from Trader Joe’s

26 Oct

I love dill pickles. It has been one of my lifelong dreams to make my own. Well, to research making pickles. I figured, if it was too complicated and required too many unusual ingredients, I would forget about it and make room for other culinary dreams. Store bought pickles are just fine.

Then, while recipe surfing one day, I found a Garlic Dill Pickle recipe on Chow that involved only eight ingredients (water is one of them), and started with, “This is as easy as pickling gets, so there’s no reason not to make your own dill pickles.”

Hello, pickles! The recipe of my dreams.

The kicker, though, came a few months ago when I discovered Persian Cucumbers at Trader Joe’s. These thin, seedless cukes instantly conjured thoughts of canning. They were the perfect size and came seven to a package.

Persian Cucumbers from Trader Joe’s (Don’t they look perfect?!)

So, last Sunday I embarked on the pickle-making journey. I picked up two Persian Cucumber packs and assembled the rest of the ingredients.

Pickling ingredients

White vinegar, Kosher salt, garlic, , fresh dill, mustard seed (I used ground mustard) and a bay leaf. Also, water (not shown).

Chopping dill and garlic

Chopping dill and garlic on the glass cutting board (one of my favorite kitchen items).

After dealing with the ingredients as the recipe instructed, I combined everything in a big bowl, put a plate over the bowl to keep the cukes immersed in the brine and then wrapped the bowl in plastic wrap. It stood for about three days.

Pickles pickling in a bowl

Everything’s in the bowl, the cocoon of pickling. ready to be transformed into garlic dill delight.

Three days later…

Pickles in brine

The plate comes off.

We tasted the pickles … FANTASTIC!!! Maybe a little salty. But good enough that I want to find other recipes and try variations in pickle making.

Pickles in the jar

Pickles in the jar. Beautiful!

Voila!

What is your pickle making experience? Please let me know if you have any tips. Much appreciated!

Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

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Related Links:

All Recipes – Pickle recipes

NPR: Three secrets to crispy pickles

Epicurious: Fast, favorite pickle recipes

Cheese: The best thing since sliced…

24 Oct

Brie always comes in that distinctive round shape. Right?  It’s the traditional party wheel. Which is why my eyes widened unnaturally, and I stopped mid stroll, nearly causing a six-cart pile up.

I may have gasped.

There in the pricier cheese section was a long, rectangular brick labeled: Sliced Brie. What the formaggio?!

Block of Brie

What a discovery! Brie has come down off its round horse and joined its cornered brethren. Cracker Barrel, welcome home the prodigal son; the long-lost dairy daughter; the wayward double-cream kid.

Let the party season begin!

 

Related Links:

How to cook with Brie

Food Network: Brie recipes

Pear and Brie Fancy Flatbread: recipe from Trader Joe’s

The Fearless Flyer: Info that’s delicious and easy to digest

22 Oct

I’m a devoted reader of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, an episodic pleasure pamphlet of tasty treats, vintage graphics and witty writing. When it’s achingly punny, I love it even more.

Let the celebration begin

I see the Fearless Flyer as the Comedy Central of catalogs. The Daily Show puts a humorous spin on serious politics just like Trader Joe’s gives the descriptions of serious food products a literary joie de vivre. It’s a gastronomic comic book where the hero always wins, and the hero is you.

One example, the first paragraph in the description of Organic Brined Whole Chicken:

“In theory, roasting a whole chicken is a simple enough venture. You put the chicken in the oven, wait a while and you have a roasted chicken. Reality, though, is a bit more complex. You want flavor, You want moist, tender meat. And you want it to be easy. Trader Joes Organic Brined Whole Chicken gets you everything you want … in a chicken.”

It’s no wonder that each new edition of FF is a highly anticipated event, as exciting as a “free chocolate” promotion or the launch of a new Apple device.

Table of fearlessness

Thank you, Trader Joe’s. I can’t wait for the next mouth-watering edition!

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Are you a Fearless Flyer fan, too? If so, what are some of your favorite lines?

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

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Related Links:

Fearless Flyer online

Club Trader Joe’s likes Fearless Flyer

How Trader Joe’s uses content marketing to keep customers coming back

Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate: Cocoa heaven

19 Oct

It’s Friday, and it’s time for the best drink of the week and of the season: hot chocolate. TJ’s offers a delicious selection. I mean, I am wowed!

Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate

Back story: I’d just tried another store’s hot chocolate, and I wasn’t a fan of how it tasted. So, I was scared that TJ’s version might not connect with my taste.

I was also a little worried that it would be overly sweet because sugar was listed as the first ingredient. The directions ask you to put three tablespoons of chocolate in heated milk, and then said to add more sugar, if needed. That sparked my curiosity. More sugar?

The milk was heated. The cocoa added. I sipped. Wow! Delicious flavor on the lighter side, yet rich and full. And not too sweet! I can see how someone might want to add more sugar, but for me, this was perfect.

NOTE: It’s meant to be a small, thick drink. Check out the photos in the sipping chocolate review below, under “Related Links.” However, I used a full cup of milk with three heaping spoonfuls of chocolate and loved it. So, enjoy it how you like and make it your own.

Trader Joe’s, thank you. Really. Thank you.

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Have you tried Sipping Chocolate? If so, how did you make it, and what did you think?

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

Sipping chocolate review

Nutrition information

Sips of the season: Pumpkin potables from Trader Joe’s

17 Oct

It’s comfort drink season!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Pumpkin Spice Rooibos, an hearbal tea

Pumpkin Spice Chai

Pumpkin Ale

Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Have you tried any of these pumpkin products? If so, what did you think?

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea: Review from Club Trader Joe’s

Recipe: Pumpkin Buttered Rum

Drink recipes from Trader Joe’s Fan

 

 

 

 

Get your Autumn drink on: Trader Joe’s Apple Cider

15 Oct

Welcome to beverage week at Things I Love at Trader Joe’s! TJ’s has rolled out their selection of Fall faves you can enjoy through a straw, in a mug or straight from the beautifully labeled bottle.

Our Monday selection is apple cider, TJ’s style.

Trader Joe’s Apple Cider: Makes up in flavor what it lacks in fizz

I was caught a little off guard, actually. This cider is smooth and full of apple flavor, however, there’s no sparkle, and I love the sparkle.

However, as I kept sipping, the flavor was so full and rich that I thought it was recommendable. And I know there are a lot of carbonation naysayers out there who will appreciate the lack of bubbles in the cider. So, there you are. Enjoy!

Thanks, Trader Joe’s.

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Have you tried TJ’s Apple Cider? If so, what did you think? Also, do you have a recipe for baked goods using apple cider that you could recommend?

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

Easy hot apple cider

Emeril’s hot apple cider with rum

Recipes: Cooking with apple cider

A snack for all seasons: Roasted Plantain Chips

12 Oct

I bought a package of Trader Joe’s Roasted Plantain Chips as part of my travel snack kit for a trip a couple of months ago. I was trying to pick healthier items. I rationalized the health benefits as:

Plantain = fruit

Baked = not fried

Chips = CHIPS!!

(Two out of three isn’t bad.)

Roasted Plantain Chips from Trader Joe’s

Unfortunately, though, the little bag didn’t fit in my suitcase, so it sat in my kitchen, unopened. Until this week.

I hesitated trying the chips for so long because I was afraid that they might be a little sugary. They might hold a hint of sweetness, and I’m a salt fiend.

I finally decided to open them, and to my salt-loving surprise, they are delicious! Almost too much so. No hint of sugar. The small bag can be easily snarfed in a sitting, so the chips do require a modicum of restraint.

And here they are, this week’s Friday recommendation.

We have Trader Joe’s to thank for that. Thanks, TJ’s

And thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

What’s your favorite snack at TJ’s? Have you tried Roasted Plantain Chips? If so, what did you think?

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related Links:

What’s good at Trader Joe’s? Review

Favorite things at Trader Joe’s

Nutrition information

A meditation from Trader Joe’s

10 Oct

A mid-week moment to contemplate inner peas…

Zen and the art of Trader Joe’s

Thank you, Trader Joe’s. I feel much better.

And thank you for sharing that moment with me. Now, back to our regularly scheduled snacking.

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

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