Tag Archives: food

Why Trader Joe’s is My, and America’s, Happy Place

5 Mar This container of candy from Trader Joe's holds a world of kindness

We all have rotten days. Yesterday was one of mine. Or at least, a day where things didn’t come together well, posed more problems than it solved, and just left me with a sad, crummy feeling.

And I needed to go to Trader Joe’s.

So, I tucked my feelings under my hat and went.

Walking around hunting and gathering for my dinner, I smiled at other shoppers and TJ’s staffers. I was OK. But as I walked to check out, I got sad again. Of course, that’s not too weird – feeling better walking around TJ’s, and getting sad as I’m leaving!

The checker Shaun greeted me with, “How ya doing?!” I said, sluggishly, “OK.” He said, “Just OK?” “Yeah,” I said. We continued chatting a bit. He loaded my bag and put it in the cart.

As we waited for my chipped card to finish processing, Shaun asked, “Do you like chocolate? Do you like dried fruit?” I said yes.

He walked to the product pylon by the check out lane, picked up a container of chocolate-covered dried fruit, put it on top of my bag and said, “I hope you have a good evening!”

I was blown away. And this isn’t the only time I’ve encountered amazingly kind behavior at Trader Joe’s. The store’s feel-good culture is an example for us all in how to care and treat each other. Just a little kindness goes such a long way. Thank you, Shaun! And thank you, Trader Joe’s.

A pot of gold

This container holds a world of kindness

 

Chicken Poppers: The Mexican Falafal

9 Dec

I’m not a falafel fan. But when I approached the Redondo Beach Trader Joe’s today, I was hungry.

What I saw was a paper cup with a falafel-looking bite accompanied by guacamole. I was hungry, and I love guacamole.

Tasty taste of Chicken Popper and guac

As I said, I WAS hungry, so that factor could have clouded my falafel-averse tastebuds, but the Chicken Popper bite I had was good enough to tempt me to buy a whole box. Plus the Avocado’s Number Guacamole, which was mighty tasty, too.

Trader Joe's has guacamole's number

I hesitated, though, because the calorie count and fat content were on the high side. The tasting bar-ista suggested they were meant as appetizers, which made me think of the uber delectable Kale and Spinach bites. You can bet that once inside your house, the balls of delight will mysteriously disappear between the time you take them out of the oven to when the plate arrives in front of your guests.

ChickenPopperBox

Instead of saying, “180 calories per 3-piece serving. Box contains 4 servings,” the box should read, “720 calories per serving. Box contains 1 serving.” Psychologically, if you can restrain yourself, you’ll feel like, “I have many fewer calories than I could have!”

The falafel issue
Both the taste and texture of the Chicken Popper were reminiscent of its Middle Eastern cousin. But the crunch in the CP comes from crushed tortilla chips, and the protein element traded chicken for chick peas.

If you don’t like falafel, you may really like Chicken Poppers. If you love falafel, you’ll probably love them.

Suggestion: Perhaps the next time you have falafel, whip up some guacamole to go with it – or just buy a batch from Trader Joe’s.

Cuckoo for Coconut

12 Jul

Three of the many coconut options at Trader Joe’s:

A bouquet of coconut CoconutGreenTea coconutmilk

What’s your favorite coconut concoction?

It’s Brussels Sprouts time, again!

29 Jan

A bag of shredded Brussels Sprouts = good eating ahead!

What’s that you say? You don’t like Brussels Sprouts?! Well, then, feast your eyes on a raspberry tarte or homemade lemonade. The rest of you, come with me to Brussels Sprout heaven.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s does the shredding. You do the eating.

Start by sauteing some garlic and onion in olive oil.

Sauteed garlic and onion

Add more onion and the bag of B. Sprouts. Include the balsamic vinegar and water as recommended on the bag.

BowlOfBrusselsSprouts

When done, I also squeezed some lemon juice on top. I did not use bacon, but that could be a meat-eater’s happy addition.

I separated the batch into four containers for easy access at meal time.

Here’s the official recipe, but be creative and make it your own:

RecipeBag

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

28 Nov
Thank you for following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s! We’re thankful for you!
 
Thankful for good friends and family

Party trick with stuffed grape leaves

20 Nov

My dear friend Sabin taught me this trick years ago. It’s a clever way to keep costs down and gourmet points high.

This is what you’ll need:

  • 1 can (per 3-4 guests) of TJ’s Dolmas/Greek stuffed grape leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • 1 pretty plate

Directions: Select your serving plate (very important step). Open the pop-up can of dolmas – no opener needed. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves on the plate artistically. Slice the lemon. Use one slice for the middle of the plate. Cut a wedge and squeeze the juice over the dolmas. Drizzle the olive oil over the dolmas sparingly.

Serve to your guests like you slaved all day.

Dolmas from Trader Joe's

Greek grape leaves serve up gourmet cred

Tortilla soup, your way

8 Nov

I love going off the beaten path. That’s definitely true when it comes to travel, but also when it comes to veering from any norm: Mix-and-match clothing; home design; cooking.

And when it comes to reconstructing what’s for dinner, my favorite tailor-made dish is soup.

Last night, tortilla soup became palatable to a paleo-dieting friend by leaving out the tortillas. Just as delicious as with.

Tortilla soup. Hold the the tortilla.

Tortilla soup. Hold the tortilla.

I loaded it with chicken, but take away the chicken and it becomes a veggie delight. Leave out the tomatoes and add some white beans, and your acid-adverse friends will chow down.

Here’s what I put in the pot. Take note, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. You can’t go wrong.

Tortilla Soup Recipe – without tortillas

  • 3lbs chicken breast (I used TJ’s frozen chicken to keep the cost down.)
  • 3TBs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock – try veggie stock, plain water, or go a completely different direction with something like TJ’s Butternut Squash soup
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • a whole lot of cumin and chile powder (unmeasured/to taste)
  • A dash of salt
  • Sides: chopped cilantro, chopped onion, sliced avocado, shredded Parmesan cheese, shredded Cheddar cheese, hot sauce

Buon appetito!

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