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Epic Bars: Stylish snacking

8 Dec

epicbars

You know what these are. You might deny it, but, come on. You can tell.

Even with the sleek packaging and the cool name promising an “Epic” experience, (though it delivers), you know.

It’s clear even though each parcel is veiled with the requisite hipster labels: “100% natural,” “X g. Protein,” the predictable “Sriracha” and the inevitable, “Gluten Free.”

There’s chicken, because that’s what’s for dinner anymore. And it’s NOT beef. It’s bison, the cow’s sophisticated cousin from the range.

You knew what these REALLY were from the moment you flipped the pretty package over and saw the enticing block of melded meat parts, albeit including cranberries, the tight-fitting plastic wrap clutching the treat within.

These are the next generation of on-the-go meat snacks. But you won’t find them sold at a service station. They rest in woven baskets at gourmet, high-end and unique food stores. They sit waiting for the lucky consumer in bins at the exclusive corner market in Brooklyn, and yes, at our favorite grocery mecca, Trader Joe’s.

Come on. You knew it: Beneath the slick wrapper and trendy words, these are your old friend Slim Jim with an advanced degree in delicious. “Stout James,” you might say.

What the new set of duds and fancy stores really do are take away our Slim Jim guilt. “Look at all these great qualities,” we say, trying to fool ourselves that Epic treats are more energy bar than meaty meat bomb.

We’re wrong, of course. But it’s a nervous, naughty, joyful wrong. When Epic slips out of his pop packaging, this bad boy’s all Jimbo. Healthier, classier, but still. Wink.

And while we’re devouring every speck, we choose to ignore the truth for a giddy glimpse of gas station bliss.

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

 

Happy Pickle Day! Pucker up and let the celebration begin!

14 Nov Pickles from Trader Joe's

Whether you’re feeling sour or sweet, this is a dilly of a day for pickle lovers. And Trader Joe’s is no slouch in offering a tasty array of gherkin goodness.

From traditional …

Pickles from Trader Joe's

The salivation starts here.


 

 

 

 

 

… to sublime.

popcorn that tastes like a dill pickle

Pickle Popcorn, making tastebuds happy since 2015

But you can also find ingredients at Trader Joe’s to make your own fabulous pickles – and what better way to celebrate than with a brine binge?! Check out “A Good Thing To Do With Persian Cucumbers from Trader Joe’s” for a mouthwatering pickle recipe, with step-by-step instructions.

And for facts, history and recipes about National Pickle Day, check out this post from International Business Times.

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Happy Chocolate Cupcake Day!

18 Oct

Celebrating chocolate cupcakes around the world

Guacamole: three ways

10 Aug

In the previous post, I revealed that my refrigerator needed a little cleaning. I found a friend in a single avocado to help me get rid of the last of some cherry tomatoes and an onion:

The meeting of healthy foods: avocados, tomatos and onions

The meeting of healthy foods: avocado, tomatoes, onion

As dip-olicious as the bowl of naked guac tasted, a burst of creativity hit, and I thought of other ways to serve it.

1) My colorful meal could be used in a lettuce wrap:

Guacamole lettuce wrap

Guac wraps: Swaddled in Romaine

2) Cradled in a taco shell:

guacamole taco

Guac tac (also pictured: TJ’s Cheddar and Horseradish Chips)

Or 3) It could be returned from whence it came – from shell to shell – with kind of a “ladies’ lunch” vibe:

Guacamole to share with friends

Gussied guac

I’m thinking, you pair this guac-in-the-shell serving with some homemade gazpacho (my favorite recipe), a basket of Pita Bite Crackers and you’ve got a party going on!

Do you have other ways to serve guacamole? Please share in the comments!

My own private Guacamole

9 Aug

I love avocados. I love cutting them open and eating them straight from the shell. What a well-designed food – it comes with its own serving bowl!

I’ll get TJ’s mesh bag of avocados and go through them quickly, trying to make them last through the week. The other day, I was ready to dig into my last avocado of the bag when I thought, “I’ve got part of an old onion, some withering grape tomatoes … hmm.” Add a sprinkle of salt, and, voila, a makeshift fiesta for one!

The meeting of healthy foods: avocados, tomatos and onions

The meeting of healthy foods: avocado, tomatoes, onion

If I’d been planning to make guac, I’d have had some cilantro on hand, I might have used more spices and even, (why not?), glance at a recipe. But this was tasty to me!

Then I started thinking, what else can I do with this tasty mixture? My thoughts about optimizing guacamole are in the the next post. : )

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

30 Jul

Celebration suggestion: Buy Trader Joe’s New York-Style Cheesecake. Grab three forks and a couple of friends, and dig in.

Ed. note: I learned this through years of experience. It was hard, but I managed somehow. All for your benefit, dear readers.

You’re welcome.

A little cheesecake is the right thing to do

Over-the-top, creamy sweet goodness

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