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Trader Joe's Handmade Dried Fruit Bars Ends & Pieces [of Assorted Flavors]

Whenever I travel, I am suddenly endowed with the power and self-control to make better snack choices. I suddenly get somewhat repulsed by the idea of eating entire bags of chips and I reach for moderately healthier snack choices. This certainly doesn't happen all the time in real life. Also a side note, if you happen to give birth at a hospital, it is very nice to bring snacks as a token of appreciation for the NURSING STAFF (I suppose we could share with everyone else too). I really enjoyed those Cheez-Its last night. Thank you. 
Maybe it's related to the fact that A and I tend to take food-centric trips. All the sightseeing, activities, and bum time help pass the time between meals. Snacks then take a back seat, unless we're hiking or something. Then it's all about the snacks. 

Trader Joe's Popcorn with Herbs & Spices

This is one of those snacks I tried when I first started this blog. Then life got busy. Pumpkin spice this and cookie butter that were far more scintillating to blog about, so this got pushed back further and further in the queue until I promptly forgot about it. TJ's recently held a #50YearsofTJsContest on Instagram (I came nowhere near winning but it was fun :P), and I had some lofty idea to use 10 bags of the best popcorn ever.* Of course, pickle popcorn vacates the shelves around this time of year to make way for the onslaught of pumpkin spice (I love fall. But I love to hate on pumpkin spice. And fidget spinners for that matter). 
*I'll be the first person to say that the pickle popcorn isn't objectively the best popcorn ever. It's a very niche product. Highly addictive if you love salty, dill-y, pickly/briny-flavored snacks. Sometimes nostalgia trumps objectivity. 

Trader Joe's Organic Tahini

A is very happy that The Bachelorette is over, because I can stop watching trash and telling him all about it.  It all started as a "I can't sleep, let me watch trashy reality tv (although, considering what trashy reality tv shows air at work...The Bachelorette looks pretty tame TBH). " After watching 10 weeks worth of episodes, I can sum it up with one word - LETDOWN. Seriously. Although some of you might disagree with me on this. Let's discuss further. :P 
Compare that to Terrace House(the more polite Japanese version of Real World on Netflix), which I started after hearing other people obsess about it. It was another show A couldn't understand why I watched...but then he got hooked. WHY? Various reasons, one of which is that it got better over time as we understood more the basis for the show, the commentators, etc. You want to know what this has to do with tahini...not much. I just wanted to plug Terrace House but also state that tahini is an underrated but v…

Trader Joe's Organic Turkish Dried Figs

Figs don't particularly excite me, partially because I haven't had enough exposure to proper figs. When I think fig, I think fig newton. Basically, it's the equivalent of thinking sushi and thinking about the seaweed or the rice and completely missing the point. Whatever, I liked the packaging. It appealed to my inner old lady that collects doilies, drinks tea, and owns a dozen cats. Not that I would ever own a cat. Ever. 

Trader Joe's [Next to Godliness] Fruit & Vegetable Wash

The nice thing about living further away from a Trader Joe's now (there are positive things, yes!) is that I have more opportunity to make the trip with other people. If I'm going to trek 45 minutes to see if Trader Joe's restocked the matcha ice cream (even if they found trace bits of metal in it, BRING IT BACK PLEASE. I NEED TO TRYYYY), might as well have some company. Anyhoo, my neighbor mentioned this fruit & veggie wash and how she started using it after she had her daughter...because if we didn't already know, as A and Ron Swanson would say, the food our food eats is covered in pesticides and chemicals. 

Trader Joe's Coffee Cocoa Batons

Does anyone else find it rather jarring to see back-to-school sales at the end of June? oh wait. Wrong month. It's July. Almost August. Where does the time go. For today's post, I dig up something I should have posted at least a month ago. Trying to start what I finish...proverbially speaking. I finished these delicious coffee cocoa batons a while ago. :) 

Trader Joe's Organic Gently Gingered Kombucha Tea

I've gotten into kombucha over the past couple of months, much to A's dismay (related to an incident where I didn't have the bottle cap screwed on all the way and the Verizon guy accidentally knocked it over and it fizzed all over the carpet with its sugary fermentedness. At least it wasn't the couch. Clutch, I know. I may or may not have dropped a vial of blood last night at work. I'm on a roll y'all). 
TJ's carries another brand of kombucha, but I recently saw the TJ's brand and picked it up. And yes, the packaging with the modern calligraphy helped. :P 

Trader Joe's Matcha Green Tea Greek Whole Milk Yogurt

I can't get enough of matcha, even when it takes the form of a potentially regrettable dairy product (no need to go into detail about my last escapade). But for matcha? I welcome the lactose intolerance with open arms. It's worth it. :P

Trader Joe's Organic Cold Brew Coffee

Sometimes, I feel like my relationship with coffee is similar to my experience of my new job in labor & delivery. You get into it because it seems like it's a cool thing to drink/do. Do I get the intricacies of fruity notes and smooth finishes and precise brewing methods? Ehhh...I learn a few things along the way but real talk - a lot of it is faking it till you make it, which as a coffee drinker who cares and as a L&D nurse it's living life on the edge (so comforting to the public lol). But I like it. It tastes good/I like moms and babies. I get this visceral feeling that it's right. So I go with it. 

Trader Joe's Brownie Crisp Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches

I'm quite fond of ice cream sandwiches. It conjures up childhood memories of sneaking out of the house when I heard the ice cream truck (sneaking because my dear mother would scold me like crazy for using my pocket change on a bad deal. $1+ for a mediocre vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two really soft chocolate wafers...in hindsight I concede she was right. I could have saved my money by getting it in bulk). Incidentally, the highest rated product I've ever tried/made from Trader Joe's goodies happens to be an ice cream sandwich. This product is right up my alley. 

Trader Joe's Avocado Citrus Greek Whole Milk Yogurt

In case I haven't mentioned it enough, in the past couple of months I've joined the ranks of the lactose intolerant. I'll spare the internet the gory details. Healthcare people talk very naturally about TMI bodily functions in public and over meals without realizing that they're grossing everyone out. :P

Trader Joe's Matcha Green Tea [Unsweetened]

I've only visited Japan once, but one of the things I would like to do one day is witness and take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. With some ridiculously awesome, ceremonial grade matcha for an out-of-body experience. Or at least out-of-body in my head. 

Trader Joe's Ranch Seasoned Crispy Chickpeas

Chickpeas are one of those foods that I've tried tricking myself into enjoying. I don't hate them. I enjoy them when blitzed into something completely unrecognizable, like hummus, but other than that  I tolerate them at best. Yes, apparently you can roast/bake them into a healthier salty crunchy snack. I've tried it before and haven't had success yet. But apparently TJ's did it. 

Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce

Here's another one of those trendy niche market health foods that has been becoming more and more popular. You can allegedly use this instead of soy sauce in any recipe that calls for soy sauce. Skeptical? Curious? Yes? Then I suppose it is worth a try. 

Trader Joe's Organic Lemongrass Spearmint Herbal Flavored Water

In case you live under a rock,  Amazon recently acquired the organic grocery store [that I love to trash talk] - Whole Paycheck. To be fair, there are things that I like about Whole Foods, and there are certain products that I like and have purchased from Whole Foods. I have a certain respect for Whole Foods. I just prefer not to spend my whole paycheck there for various reasons. Anyway, all this means for me is that with a new Trader Joe's store slated to be opening 15-20 min away from where I currently live, I fully intend to double down on my brand loyalty. No, this is not sponsored by Trader Joe's - none of my posts are - but wouldn't it be nice if it were so? 

Trader Joe's Dried Mango Chokanan Variety

To understand this post, I'm assuming y'all have a baseline knowledge of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. By that, I mean the interpretation where she looks for that bowl of porridge and the bed that is "just right," not the one where she crashes an innocent (are they really innocent though? Maybe they should have paid more attention to the ADT guy who came soliciting while they were trying to watch their Netflix in peace) bear pad, eats their food, breaks their chairs, and ruins all their stuff like an entitled princess. Where does this variety of dried mango sit with me? In the "just right" zone. 

Trader Joe's Carrot Spirals

What could be better and better for you than noodles? Fake noodles of course. I ain't knocking fake noodles. In fact, I've contemplated getting a spiralizer for some time to encourage more veggie intake around here. 

Trader Joe's Sweet Plantain Chips

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Some people like The Power of Positive Thinking (which I have never read and likely never will). Sure, I'd like to be an optimist on most days but at the core, I'm a realist. C'mon. The closest star is the sun, which makes the moon closer, so if I shoot for the moon and fail I will either land in the dark abyss of outer space or get burned through the earth's atmosphere.  And why should I shoot for the moon in the first place? There's nothing there and it's not even inhabitable. Yeah...my motivational posters would read something like, "the grass is greener on the other side. Until you get over the fence and land in a pile of geese poop." 

Trader Joe's Unsweetened Golden Oolong Tea

Every now and then, an under marketed product slides in under the radar while everyone else is going gaga about cauliflower pizza crust. This tea is the jam y'all. 

Trader Joe's Pepperoni Pizza Mac & Cheese Bowl

I tend to like healthy food. So much that people think that I'm "healthier" than I actually am. But can I be real? As much as I espouse kale and fiber-rich, bowel motility-enhancing foods, anyone who knows me knows I can go ham on a bag of chips (particularly of this, this, this, or this [sadly sadly discontinued] variety). Any day. Or night for that matter. Working nights has made me particularly susceptible to that. Thank God for the divine fruit of self-control (which y'all know does not come me). And a husband that hides the chips really well and promises not to give them to me even when I beg. :P 

Trader Joe's Matcha Joe-Joe's

MATCHA MATCHA MATCHA YOU'RE BACK. I had to try these. It fits my brand. :D

Trader Joe's Scallion Pancake (Pajeon)

I tried these a long time ago, and they recently resurfaced at my house, courtesy of TJ's-loving friends. Why make something yourself when you can pay someone else to do it for you? This is what people make of us millennials. :P

Trader Joe's Sriracha Seafood Potstickers with Shrimp & Crab

This post is dedicated to my mother, who taught me how to fold dumplings, and my mother-in-law (MIL), who taught me recently how to make the most bomb-diggity wontons (no Trader Joe's wonton, potsticker, or gyoza has anything on that of course). Those kinds of foods are best made with fam, for the fam, and in ridiculous quantities for freezer stock. But seeing as TJ's products tend to cater to those that might like to cook a little but not too much, that might not happen here. Instead, I got sucked into the matching sriracha packaging seen here and here and the fact that TJ's trips are now far and few between. And I didn't want to miss out (MO) something potentially good. (There's no fear of MO here. Just MO). 

Trader Joe's Kimchi

This is one of those foods that elicits one of two distinct responses from most people. "YAAAAAAAS. LIFE." Or if you can't stand the fermentedness, the sourness, or the spice - it's a *stink face.* I'm trying not support the deterioration of English language to mere emojis, but c'mon. Stink face is pretty darn appropriate for some. And while yes I like to categorize people and things, I acknowledge that you could be indifferent. Or uninitiated. Either way, you can't deny its presence. This is the lifestuff stuff of an entire people. 

Trader Joe's Nutritional Yeast

I've been meaning to try nutritional yeast for a long time. I've encountered it on various food blogs, especially vegan-oriented ones. Apparently nutritional yeast, aka "nooch," is the cheese-less cheese-tasting Christmas miracle. For awhile you could only get it at health food stores, some of which ironically don't even sell actual food, but TJ's has finally caught on. This discovery, however, still begs the question - is this even a food??

Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar

After I graduated and moved back home, I discovered that one of the wonderful things about suburbia is that in order to keep up with your friends, or catch up with long-time-no-see friends, you might have to drive 45+ minutes one way to meet halfway between you to hang out for a couple of hours. So the question is this - if Trader Joe's were a friend, would I be willing to drive 40 minutes one way to hangout for like 20 minutes? If so, how often am I willing to do so? And if I'm willing to do it weekly (let's be honest. No.), or biweekly, or triweekly, am I willing to do that to see friends? Oh how revealing. :P 

Trader Joe's Cold Brew Latte Dessert Bars

I haven't been to a Trader Joe's in a month. A MONTH. It feels strange and wrong. It wasn't just a summer fling. I'm pretty sure what we had was real. And now that I'm farther away, it's just not the same. I miss you, TJ's, every time I walk up and down the aisles of a different store. All of the cliches   hold true. I would walk a thousand miles. You don't know what you're missing until it's gone. Actually you're not gone. I'm smack dab between two TJ stores. It's a matter of taking a 20-30 min drive. I guess I don't have any excuses after all. :P 

Trader Joe's Dark Coffee Squares

I'm starting to feel the pain of those who don't live near a Trader Joe's. Now to be fair, things could be worse. I could be living in Canada (no TJ's in Canada!!! Not that living in Canada is bad. But there's no TJ's there!!!). I suppose you could pay double or triple the price for something off of Amazon or eBay (beware of those darn scalpers). But even if you manage to get your hands on some TJ's goods, it's just not the same as navigating those aisles and stumbling upon hidden gems yourself. The journey is half the fun! 

Trader Joe's Matcha White Chocolate Bar

Matcha matcha matcha. I love matcha, and I hate* white chocolate. This should be interesting. 
(*Hate is too strong of a word. By hate, I mean I very much dislike white chocolate and have a horrible tendency to turn up my nose at any consumption of such, and I personally believe in the gospel of dark chocolate. Maybe not like 85% cacao like some of you out there, but maybe I'll count myself a convert to that one day when my desire for the sweet in bittersweet ceases.) 

Trader Joe's Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad

This most recent salad pick was the result of me spending like 15 minutes deciding which salad to try. It required re-circling the store a few times like a vulture as to not hover over the TJ's crew member restocking the salad case. Isn't it kind of weird when you're trying to do your job and this petite Asian lady stands over you for 15 minutes? 

Trader Joe's Kona Coffee Cookie Mocha Swirl Ice Cream

Ima be honest. I find it difficult at times to rave about ice cream when there's evil and ridiculous stuff happening in the world. I don't consider myself a crier, but I've cried at least a handful of times in the past week from news. Wut. I suppose that makes me human. Or hormonal. Life under a rock looks pretty good right about now, but that ain't no way to live y'all. Bring on the ice cream. :) 

Trader Joe's Mahi Mahi Burgers

A few weeks ago when my fridge was bare, I hangered* for a protein that wasn't chicken or steak. Which landed me somehow on frozen mahi mahi "burgers." Not sure how that happened. 
*Hanger: "A lethal combination of hunger and anger, the result of waiting so long to eat that your blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels impairing both your mood and judgment." Here I have used it as a verb. 

Trader Joe's Sliced French Brioche

"THIS IS LIKE CRACK." No it's not (but it certainly could be), but A says that's how I tend to overhype stuff. The funny thing is that I know I overhype a lot of things, so I actually try not to overhype it. Because I don't want to proclaim, "THIS IS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER TASTED" about everything I try. But sometimes I can't help it, and the overhype spills out. Anyway, this is my meager attempt at NOT overhyping this bread (because it is pretty good actually and you should give it a try but I'm trying to restrain myself). 

Trader Joe's Organic Pea Soup

This post represents all the things I have done instead of pack for the move. Tomorrow. (A and I are moving across town. Away from Trader Joe's. Minor detail. The shock hasn't hit me yet. Ask me in a month. :P) Wash the dishwasher. Do tricep pushups. Read How to Hygge. Have a cup of coffee. Ponder organic pea soup. Anything but pack. 

Trader Joe's Caramel Flavored Coffee Granola

There was once a time where I was astonished at coffee drinkers - how can you consume something so dark? So bitter? With nothing??? Needless to say I converted eventually (because coffee can make your day go like THIS), and I guess someone up in the TJ's invisible hierarchy decided more people should too. They've spiked sausages, almonds, pecans, chocolates, ice cream bars, etc. with ground coffee and other coffee-esque-flavored delights. Considering that the next International Coffee Day doesn't happen again until September 29, it looks like TJ's created their own coffee mania in a scheme to take my money. And your money. All the monies. 

Trader Joe's Sumatra Coffee Brownies

Curiosity, my friends, is the name of this particular game. Sometimes, curiosity leads you down a rabbit hole to a magical world of possibility. Other times, it leads you down a path toward mediocrity, because it turns out our human standards for perfection are inevitably subjective. Yes, I got these because a TJ's blog that I follow and respect rated these as 10/10 perfection. Curious indeed.

Trader Joe's Raw California Walnut Baking Pieces

Over my years of patronizing Trader Joe's, I've become quite loyal to the baking section. They don't have the largest selection, but they carry most essentials (except plain white sugar...that is far too processed and un-organic. :P) at a reasonable price. Of course, they carry all of those alternative baking ingredients for those who adhere to vegan and gluten-free diets, which is great compared to Whole Paycheck prices. I, however, am not about shelling out $5-$8 for a tiny bag of coconut/almond flour that I won't use. I do plop down proverbial cash (millennials don't carry cash y'all) for good ingredients - white whole wheat flour on occasion, vanilla extract (TJ's carries my fav), and nuts for the times I decide a recipe is worth excluding those with nut allergies. 

Trader Joe's Old World Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds

St. Patrick's Day is coming up. I know almost nothing about it except that you should wear green unless you want to get pinched by a bunch of elementary schoolers. And that it happens to be the same day as Match Day. Either way, lots of celebration or potential crying coming around the corner. Hopefully tears of joy. 

Trader Joe's Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea

Admittedly, I initially wrote off this product as too "granola crunchy" for me. Keep in mind - I lean sympathetically towards the crunchy-anti-Ron-Swanson side. However, I draw the line at trendy turmeric lattes (it also doesn't help that *TMI* I'm becoming lactose intolerant. Ish. Especially with cheese. WHY CHEESE. WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT CHEESE). Anyhoo, a mere mention from a friend that this was actually pleasantly interesting dispelled most of the doubts. 

Trader Giotto's Organic Marinara Sauce

I'm reeling from a weekend of overdose on spaghetti sauce and all things tomato. The sight of a jarred marinara sauce currently makes me gag. Which makes this the perfect time to review a jarred sauce. *shrug*

Trader Joe's Mixed Nut Butter

I may or may not be eating this out of the jar with a spoon as I write this post. In my mind, it's a little more acceptable than licking the knife. :P 

Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

Every once in a while, there comes along something we never knew we were missing from our lives. When my friend AMOOSE became the first of my friends to get an iPhone, I thought to myself, "why on earth would you need an Apple phone? That's so dumb." Shortsighted, I'll admit. I jumped on the bandwagon eventually. Who knew that this would go from something we were missing to something we would want and onto something that we need? It's not really a need, if we're honest. I can go on breathing without a smartphone, although it's hard to say that about other people. But has it been revolutionary? Certainly. The smartphone has permanently altered our lives, for better or for worse.
As for this seasoning? I'll let you be the judge of that for yourself. As for me? LIFE-CHANGING.

Trader Joe's Honey Butter Flavored Potato Chips

The moment I laid eyes on these new chips, I knew I had to try them. Not because I would like them (far from it. I'll take it on a sweet bun or dessert or something but I can't stand that sweet savory combo), but there was something strangely familiar.  Yes, it's new to TJ's but where had I seen them before? 

Trader Joe's Supersweet Filipino Carabao Mango Chunks

I have a track record of lampooning TJ's attempts at recreating ethnic foods.  There are some that frankly deserve that while others are actually a modest nod at the real thing. But I can only lampoon the foods that I've actually had the privilege of having out there in the real world. Is TJ's not real food? Yes and no. Can I honestly expect a fair comparison between frozen aisle meatballs dunked in a jarred sauce against an Italian grandma's meatballs in slow-simmered marinara? Of course not. But how many times, much to A's displeasure (turkey falls low on the meat hierarchy for him. It's down there next meatloaf. A wannabe meat), have I fallen back on those trusty turkey meatballs? Authentic or not, real people flock to TJ's for real food that gets them through their days. TJ's does a decent job of scouring the globe for interesting and perhaps unfamiliar foods, packaging them in cute and sometimes irresistible packaging, and exposing them to the mas…

Trader Joe's Tart Cherry, Chia & Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal & Strawberry Raspberry Oatmea

I used to hate the idea of boring. Where's the spice? The adventure? Feelings are great and all but like the icing on top of the cake, they can be fluffy at times and ultimately need to be founded on something a bit more solid if you're going to be in it for the long haul. Perhaps I'm becoming more grandma or that for me, simple acts of service go a much longer way than a box of chocolates. Life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you gonna get. Which is great. We need that. But sometimes we need life to be like a bowl of oatmeal where you know exactly what you gonna get. Especially after that disaster

Trader Joe's Honey Walnut Shrimp

To think. I was going to save this to eat with my honey for Valentine's Day. Barf. On multiple levels.

Trader Joe's Matcha Green Tea

Dear reader, you may notice in the coming days that there are changes coming to this blog. Not nearly as dramatic, controversial, or dlfjepotigfjad;lkgjadsf (for my readers not as fluent in internet speak, that was a keyboard pound of frustration) as say, the government, but changes nonetheless. Mostly because there is coming a day where I will not live within a stone's throw of a Trader Joe's store. A sad sad day. But probably a good day for my wallet. :P 

Trader Joe's Battered Fish Nuggets

Ever have one of those days where you get up feeling like a battered fish nugget? Like waking up from the twilight zone, where you ask yourself, "what happened? where am I? what am I doing? who am I?" Perhaps the night before, you were out swimming with your fish friends and having a good ole time. And then you wake up after a night of intense fun or several nights, or a week, or three years - don't know how much time as passed exactly except that it has passed - hardly recognizable, battered, and ready to be eaten.  Like when you finally consciously realize what stands before you, perhaps in a not-so-sunshiny kind of way.

Trader Giotto's Oven-Baked Cheese Bites

Lest we be tempted to live under a rock - I must declare this. Cheese is the best, most miraculous food in the world. Eating nothing but cheese everyday promotes glowing skin, weight loss, cancer prevention, a clean house, and growth of my money tree. How thrilling it is to live in a world of "alternative facts." 
I jest. As much as life under a rock doesn't look so bad, we must continue to live in the light. As salt and light. With cheese preferably. 

Trader Joe's Fair Trade Malawi Coffee

There is nothing like drinking a cup of bitterness to start your morning. I love drinking bitterness in the morning. It gives that energy jolt and puts me in a productive, contemplative state. While I consumed physical bitterness, I would contemplate all the reasons why I should not allow myself to be consumed by bitterness. Toward people, the world, life. We have many reasons not to be consumed by bitterness people! And many reasons to consume bitterness in the form of a steaming hot cup of coffee!