trader joe’s suggestions

I threw the question up there on Facebook, then doubled back to the list the next time my house needed stocking. Based on the suggestions of friends, he’s what I plucked.

Trader Joe’s Peach Salsa: I love sweet with my salty, or I’d never have married Phil. When he tasted this salsa he grunted and snarled, then said, “Eh, it’s fine I guess.” Rainin’ on my peachy-keen moment? Not a chance. Forget tortilla chips; I could eat this with a spoon… or over fish.

Trader Joe’s Rice Medley: I’ve had this stocked in our house before. I like that the packets are quick, microwavable. I add this, and broccoli, to creamy parmesan chicken made with coconut milk (recipe from The Wheat Belly Cookbook).

Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers: I made all four, served them on buttered toasted buns with lettuce, avocado, and a hint of mayo. Peach salsa on the side with tortilla chips. Side salad. I like that the burgers are thin and that I can quickly fire them up on the stove, perfect for days when I don’t want to have to think about what to make for dinner.

Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Bird’s Nests: I have yet to try these, and I still haven’t figured out with what to serve them. I do know enough to know that just because something is vegetarian, it doesn’t mean it’s in any way healthy. I suppose I’ll serve them as an appetizer, along with some miso soup (Abigail loves it, and I love that she now loves tofu and seaweed). Last week I made an incredible quick salmon dinner using just fresh scallions and ingredients from my pantry… and everyone, including Phil, asked for seconds. That recipe was from Nigella Express.

Trader Joe’s Gorgonzola Chicken: I have yet to try it.

Trader Joe’s Mini Chicken Tacos + Trader Joe’s Mini Beef Tacos: Haven’t tried them. But as a general rule, I love things with the word “mini” for all things save for the mighty penis.

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Macaroni & Cheese: To begin, let me slam home the point that guilt is useless. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel it, but it is a truly wasted emotion. I try to contain my guilt to specific episodes of regret (like the time I used the F-word while speaking at a high school — I still mildly hate myself for this), but when it comes to eating? Really? No. Never. Seriously. So, I have no problem eating a small portion of the real deal. Still, I’m eager to try this, just because of the raves I’ve heard from others.

Trader Joe’s Paneer: It’s the cheesy ethnic version of Popeye.

Trader Joe’s Lemon & Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream: It’s something of an acquired taste. The lemon zest has a bite to it. Literally, it will wedge its way into your molars, giving you a bitter aftertaste. Or perhaps those were chunks of ginger. I enjoyed the swirls of what seemed like gingersnap cookie dough, but overall, this wasn’t for me.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds: These are way dark, so dark, in fact, that the chocolate coating almost tastes like espresso. Far better, the Almond Bark from Costco.

Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter: I haven’t tried this yet. I hid it away in the cabinet where I store all our peanut/almond/hazelnut butters. I’ve overdosed on sweets lately, so I cannot bring myself to try it now. Tonight, however, is another story. I hope beyond hope that it doesn’t taste like Biscoff spread, which makes me wince. This is one of the most popular items sold at Trader Joe’s, so I will update this post once I’ve done some proper sampling.



  1. Speculoos, “cinimmon spiced Belgian cookies.” unreal.
    Panko bread crumbd, extremely useful.
    Rolled outs, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Everything to make your own granola……
    Israeli cous cous, make the recipe on the back of the box for guests, frequently, and get asked all the time for it.
    Peppermint soap always makes our shower smell nice.
    And the ultimate, Powerberries, dark chocolate covered pomogranite mix something. Amazing for a craving fix.
    And, the cashiers and managers are always nice to my screaming toddler, which surprises me every time, but that also might just be because I know live in North Carolina (not NYC).

  2. Love their whole wheat couscous, dark chocolate covered ginger and four grain oatmeal.

  3. You MUST try the Trader Joe’s chocolate coated chocolate chip Dunkers cookies. They are crunchy, coconutty, chocolately deliciousness, and they are amazing dunked in milk or (my favorite) coffee. I cannot leave Trader Joe’s without them.

  4. Their Greek feta in the white square container is FANTASTIC!
    frozen croissants (same pastry maker as Williams Sonoma)
    shredded gruyere/swiss cheese mix
    Israeli cous cous
    Harvest Blend

    P.S. Molly, my whole family loves those powerberries!

  5. If you have to worry about anyone with allergies, or not, you must try TJs chewy snickerdoodles, which are free of dairy, gluten, wheat, nuts, eggs, soy, etc. I buy them for my son, who is allergic to milk and wheat, and eat nearly the whole box myself. I am not allergic to anything but they are so worth it.

    They also have great Dijon mustard, low sugar fruit preserves (with no artificial sweeteners), frozen organic brown rice (nothing but rice in there), and wheat free frozen waffles that are as close to regular as we’ve found.

    Also, if you are gluten free, their gluten free flour is comparable, if not superior, to the extremely expensive “cup 4 cup” that Williams Sonoma sells.

    Finally, check out their Hold the Cone mini ice cream cones. 70 cal a piece and super yummy!

  6. I will save this list for whenever our Trader Joe’s finally opens in Austin…. It can’t come soon enough! But I definitely second and third the powerberries!

  7. I love their candied ginger…in fact I’m munching on some right now at my desk. If you’re a ginger fanatic, this stuff is VERY peppery and, oh wonderful!

    I also adore their Lavender Hand & Body Lotion. Theirs is very fresh and clean, unlike other lavender lotions that are muted and tinted with other scents. The TJs lotion is pure lavendar heaven.

    Lola, thanks for the tip on the croissants. I could never fathom spending $10 a croissant from W&S.

  8. You MUST try the sea salt turbinado sugar chocolate almonds. Sweet jesus are they good. A tub of those and a bottle of red makes the world a better place.

  9. Peach salsa and mini chicken tacos….delicious! I love Trader Joe’s for what they are and provide…but they do NOT provide a full assortment of grocery items for the week. Still…what they got…is great :)

  10. and as far as Trader Joe’s is concerned: I always buy their frozen broccoli (organic or otherwise) because it is SOOOO much better than any other frozen broccoli. All tree and less stems and whatnot like other brands.
    Also…their jarlsberg cheese is delicious and cheaper than other brands.
    They have good egg prices.
    I love their cat cookies. In the round plastic container. SO delicious. And not that bad for you. Mmmm
    Their frozen tamales are good.
    OH, their oatmeal bread is great, although I haven’t bought it in a while, it is great and not very expensive….just hard to find a loaf with a good date of expiration…
    Oh and their carrot cake cupcakes are good.
    OH! Their apple pie is really good :)
    And finally the Thai Yellow Curry Sauce is really really good :)

  11. My new fave there is the Cowboy Caviar. Its a great black bean and corn salsa with a little spice.

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