Tag Archives: alcohol

DIY Bloody Mary – when you need it now (recipe)

14 Jul

Sometimes the hankering for a Bloody Mary possesses you when you’re not prepared. Sometimes you just have to make do.

The inspiration hit at the beginning of the 2014 World Cup Finals. A friend tweeted a photo of a refreshing glass of Bloody Mary that looked very tasty. I remembered that I had an unopened bottle of TJ’s Bloody Mary Mixer gathering dust in the pantry. I dug it out and discovered that the expiration date was months past. Since it contained clam juice, I thought it was best not to take a chance with it.

when you're not in the mood to DIY

TJ’s recipe for a tasty Bloody Mary

I took a look at the ingredients on the bottle – a key reason I buy and love TJ’s Mary mix. Not a lot of ingredients with chemical names. It’s mainly tomato puree (tomato paste + water or tomato sauce). I decided to try and make my own!

Sadly, I didn’t have a few ingredients I really like in a Bloody Mary. I also tweaked the idea in a few ways, including substituting Gin (my preferred Bloody Mary Mix mixer) for beer, a twist on the refreshing Michelada.

Makeshift Bloody Mary Mix

Main ingredients

A makeshift Michelada

Beer Mary

Here’s what I came up with – and it worked VERY well. Tasty, relatively low cal and a minimum of preservatives:

Mix in a bowl:
1 can tomato sauce (includes onion and garlic powder)
1 can water

Per glass ingredients (Suggested amounts, but per taste):
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon green Tabasco sauce
A jigger of vodka or gin, or beer as directed below

1. Fill glass with ice
2. Add per glass ingredients
3. Fill glass 2/3 full with tomato sauce/water
4a. Add vodka or gin, or
4b. Fill remainder with pilsner of choice, like a can of Oranjeboom from TJ’s
5. Garnish with olives and/or celery and lime wedge
6. Enjoy!

How to Make a Killer Sangria: A Trader Joe’s Shopper Shares Her Secret

10 Jul

Michelle Walton knows good sangria. She spent $100 mixing a batch from a South American recipe. But with a bottle of Maria Ole Sangria from TJ’s, Michelle now impresses her friends for a fraction of the cost. Take 30 seconds to listen to how she does it. She makes it seem so easy! Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

Pancake happy hour

3 Jun

It’s been a while since I could drink white wine without it burning. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinto Grigio – all lashed flames on the way down.

Recently, I discovered a white wine that tasted really good and didn’t burn. It was a little on the pricey side – for special occasions.

I received a dinner invitation and decided this was a good $$ wine event. Explaining my predicament and discovery to the cashier at the wine shop, she said that most likely the problem was with the acidity of one-grape wines, and the solution was getting a mixed-grape version.


My next step was to go to TJ’s, explain the situation and see if they might offer a non-offending white wine. The kind and informative Joe had a good suggestion:

Pancake white wine from Trader Joe's

Pancake time

Joe said that the flavor rivaled the $$ wine I liked. As we talked, he said, “Well, it’s not exactly the same. But it’s pretty close.” And, as with all TJ’s items, Joe reminded me that if I didn’t like it, I could just bring it back.

He was right that it wasn’t quite the same as the $$ wine. But, I did enjoy a glass that went down smoothly and painlessly! Cheapwinefinder.com describes Pancake’s Big Day White as a “Tuesday night wine.”

Give it a try. It’s only five bucks! And it’s summer.

Trader Joe’s: It’s safe to drink Bloody Mary mix, again!

22 May

I’ve been a Bloody Mary mix fan for a long time. But one in-flight look at the ingredients made me put the mix down and step away from that drink option. Until now.

What I found in the most common Mary mix was high fructose corn syrup. Yes, I can make my own mix which is the best way to get your favorite flavor and leave out the offending ingredients. And I thought, for those reasons, that would be my only option, until discovering Trader Joe’s version.

No high fructose corn syrup in this spicy Mary mix.

Trader Joe’s keeps it real

My recipe:

A glass of ice, add three olives, the juice of half a lime and fill with Bloody Mary mix. If you’re so inclined, make it an adult drink with some gin or vodka.

A glass of Bloody Mary mix made to order

A merry Mary

And enjoy!

Finding relatives in strange places

13 May

Charles was my mother’s older brother. Not Charlie, never Chuck – Charles.

Charles married Sara Bertha – Sara B. to all who knew her.

They were born in Mississippi, but ended up living and raising their family in Memphis, Tenn.

Charles was a joker from way back, my mom would say. He and mom had that red-cheeked smile that percolated quickly into a roaring laugh. Another family trait: Their eyes sparkled with mischief when they were happy, even if they had no intention of getting into trouble. Tears rolled down their faces when they laughed too hard, which was often.

Mom told many stories about teenaged Charles’ pet monkey Pete. The two would go for a car ride, and when Charles hit the gas too hard, Pete would bang on the seat until he slowed down.

Sara B. loved to cook. She wasn’t strict, but she maintained an air of disapproval to keep up with her husband’s teasing. I remember she wore flowing, long lounging dresses. Sara B. had that classic, indelible Southern hospitality gene. “I just made a pitcher of lemonade. Y’all come sit and I’ll pour you a cold glass.”

Just as Charles was ready with a joke or rib, Sara B. was ready to shake her head and roll her eyes. Smiling, eventually.

One of my last memories of Sara B. was after she passed away. Mom and I were going through the family home in Memphis with my cousin Rosebud, Sara B.’s daughter. She opened the medicine cabinet, and there was a barely used bottle of Estée Lauder perfume. “Beautiful.” Rosebud said, “That was Mom’s favorite.” Now, I think of “Beautiful” when I think of Sara B. And I think of Sara B. when I come across that perfume.

I was stopped in my tracks recently going through TJ’s, when I saw this:

Sara Bee wine at Trader Joe's

If my Aunt Sara B. had a wine named after her, it might look like this.

After seeing that, I turned and saw the pylon of Charles Shaw wine crates stacked across from the boxes of Sara Bee. Here’s a sample:

Charles Shaw wine at Trader Joe's

Three-buck Charles

And I realized – there’s my aunt and uncle memorialized in wine across the aisle from one another at Trader Joe’s. A light white wine and a hearty red.


Galluping into the New Year

28 Dec

Trader Joe’s creative labeling is as much a feast for the eyes as the food and drink are for the lips!

I found some wine selections that offer a trifecta of tasty reds. In the race for New Year’s festive libation, you might want to pony up for one of these:

14 Hands

14 Hands: The front runner?

Wild Horse

Wild Horse on the inside

Dark Horse or crowd favorite?

Dark Horse or crowd favorite?

Have a safe and fun weekend! Cheers!

Thank you, TJ’s.

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

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

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

Lifting up a glass of good cheer! Wine: The label says it all.

7 Nov

At the start of the holiday season, decorations will be hung, presents will be bought and bottles of wine will be selected based on taste preference … maybe. For me, the message on the label often trumps the wine in the bottle.

If you’re a label shopper, too, Trader Joe’s should be your first stop. Usually, I find a label for every emotion and occasion on the TJ shelves.

I offer three message-filled libations as proof:

A warming, festive smile…

Happy WIne from Trader Joe's

Put on a happy face: Oreana Happy Face Syrah

Popping the question mark…

Question mark wine from Trader Joe's

Wonder-ful wine: The Numbers, part Syrah, Cabernet and Mouvedre

General happiness and celebration…

Jubelale beer for celebration

Ale, yes! Jubelale for beer loving revelers.

Thank you, Trader Joe’s! Cheers to you!

And cheers to you, too! Thank you for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

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:

30 creative and unusual wine labels

Trader Joe’s Wine Guide

Trader Joe’s Wine Compendium


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