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Showing posts from 2018

Trader Joe's Apple Cider Scent Foaming Hand Soap + Trader Joe's Honeycrisp Apple Scented Candle

Happy first day of fall! To celebrate - a non- pumpkin spice product review! Yay! As a side note, if you're overwhelmed by the selection of pumpkin and non-pumpkin fall goodies at TJ's, check out the my fall grocery guide
One of my favorite aisles at TJ's is the home/personal care/non-edibles aisle. There are some seasonal gems, including my favorite soap and hand towels. It's the simple pleasures in life. :) 

Trader Joe's Corn On the Cob Popping Corn

This product would be a FABULOUS example to test out the "try before you buy" policy at Trader Joe's. Really. I can try ANYTHING before buying? How about raw meat? Wine? Hydrolyzed collagen? Dog food? Because this product says "remove from plastic for instructions." And it pops off the cob? But also microwave...soooooo it can't be that novel. Should have requested an in-store try, but whatever, I plopped down $1.99 for the sake of my reader friends. You're welcome. :P 

Trader Joe's Organic Cold Pressed Fuji Apple Spiced Cider

I am not one to rush the seasons. There is something fundamentally not right about pushing all the things we love about fall while the weather is still warm and humid. But I suppose if you're a Californian or a Floridian, it's no problem. So as much as I want to RESIST caving into buying and trying new fall stuff, I can't. It's here (fall Trader Joe's products). It's coming (actual autumn). And it'll be replaced by holiday stuff before you know it (probably in the middle of the October).  We've got to slow down (I'm still trying to catch up on Terrace House y'all). Thus commences the season of reviewing as many non-pumpkin spice Trader Joe's products as possible.* 
*I think pumpkin spice is like the Ugg boot of the food world. I can't deny the contingency of loyal followers, I suspect many of them bandwagoners. Certainly, I can't deny that pumpkin spice, like Uggs, done correctly and in moderation serves a purpose. Both are warm and…

Trader Joe's ABC Bars (Almond Butter Cocoa Bars)

"Man. I really just crave a granola bar." I don't think I've ever said that. Bars are a convenient option to tide you over between meals or provide a quick burst of energy when you're in a rush to get somewhere. I definitely relied on granola bars throughout college and any time that I've had to get up early - nightshift has crippled my ability to be up before 9:00am without some compelling incentive. And while TJ's has a decent selection of their own private label granola bars, I've gotten tired of them over the years and stopped repurchasing, not because they're bad but because they are just okay and I have no need for them anymore. But I picked these up recently for A, who unlike me, reaches for a bar every now and then. 

Trader Joe's Heirloom Popcorn

#InstagramMadeMeBuyIt #DontBelieveTheHype #ItsAllHypeTho #HeirloomWhat 

Trader Joe's Thai Tea Mini Mochi

These days, back-to-school season conjures up grade school memories of school lunch. I know American cafeteria school lunch is quite terrible and blah blah blah, but back then, school lunch was kind of a treat. Social media wasn't a thing, so modern age moms weren't concerned about "how do I make my kid's school lunch more healthy yet appealing so they'll eat it?" Noooope. For years it was the standard sandwich, juice box, and maybe a snack of some sort. Then sometime close to senior year in high school, I started requesting lunchbox (便當) food, as in homecooked Chinese food. No, I don't have some scarring experience of getting weird stares or "ewwwww gross" reactions in the cafeteria because of my "exotic ethnic food" as some of my fellow Asian-Americans have had. Actually, I had some sort of epiphany regarding my ethnic identity* and the fact that even though my mom isn't the world's greatest chef (not a knock on her cooking.…

Trader Joe's Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing

Is anyone else a little offended by the appearance of pumpkin spice in August? STAHHHHP. I'm still loving the abundance of summer harvest and the abundance of food-centered vacations. In our house, you can take a trip somewhere but it's not really a vacation unless there's some really good food involved. Fine in moderation. But I can't live like this everyday. Somebody feed me a salad. 

Trader Joe's Chicken Ramen Soup and Miso Ramen Soup

"Let's take trending, mildly exotic but really the culinary artistic expression of some people's life work and smash it together with America's cultural frame of reference for ramen - instant noodles in a cup! Ramen soup! GENIUS!"
I'm a little horrified but intrigued. What is this marketing. Why. I have so many questions. And six minutes while the ramen cooks to think about it. Is six minutes really "instant?" Hmm...

Trader Joe's Lightly Salted Edamame

This isn't so much an exciting new product review as it is accountability - some time ago, I decided for the sake of my health ("but wait- you're so healthy. You don't need to diet!" Uhh..not a diet. Also I try to eat healthy...but yknow. Fake it till you make it :P) that it would be probably good to stop eating entire bags of chips myself. Like entire bags meant for families. Monstrous, I know. Ask me how I'm doing. :P 

Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee Bags

Sometime in the past year, I went from being a "wannabe coffee snob" to "layperson-just-need-some-Joe-any-Joe-to-get-me-through-the-day" and back to "wannabe coffee snob." Why? At some point I realized that I don't even drink half of the coffee that I make. I get up for work, make a fresh cup of coffee, take a few sips on the way in, and leave the coffee mug in the staff lounge where I don't have the time to pick it up again until 3 or 4 am. And do you really want to reheat coffee that's been sitting around for 8 hours? Ew. So instead of wasting money on delicious coffee that I like (that is somehow going to go down the drain anyway because I physically can't finish it all), I started buying the cheap stuff - pre-ground, French vanilla, functional but very plebian. Nothing wrong with that y'all. Except when I realized it was unfit to serve my coffee-bean-discerning friends, I went out [to Whole Paycheck of all places], bought a better…

Trader Joe's Unsweetened Almond, Cashew & Macadamia Nut Beverage

Have you guys ever purchased something online from somewhere like Amazon or eBay, thinking that it's brand name or something legit? Except when it arrives on your doorstep, you discover that it's some doctored up, bootleg cheap thing that looks nothing like the product picture? This is how I feel about every TJ's product that is like the hottest thing since sliced bread on social media, and as it turns out in real life it's just aiite.

Trader Joe's Matcha Almond Beverage

In recent months, I've adopted a pseudo-Marie Kondo mindset toward my TJ shopping - buy only things that I will definitely use and/or things that bring joy. Which is partially why I waited a while to pick this up - I haven't had a particularly great experience with several of the TJ almond beverage drinks. TJ's comes out with different seasonal flavors (eggnog, chocolate, or the worst - pumpkin). They are usually wildly popular, but I just can't jump aboard that bandwagon. Even so, I've been wanting to try this for some time. 

Trader Jose's Mexicali Inspired Salad with Chili Seasoned Chicken

Long time no post, dear reader. I took a break, went to Asia, returned, and immediately went back to work. Of course, I hit up TJ's the next day to stock my fridge except it had momentarily lost some of its allure for me. I'm still thinking about the deliciously sweet mango that you can get at a 7-Eleven in Taiwan ("...why would I ever go to a 7-Eleven?" one coworker asked), the ridiculously cheap bubble tea, and other yummy goodies that TJ's just doesn't have. Still readjusting. Which is how I landed on this salad. Hungry, needing something quick and healthy, and something that won't make me miss Asia too much. Salad. Mexicali Inspired Salad. 

Trader Joe's Organic Mediterranean Style Salad Kit

This post is dedicated to all the fathers out there who against all stereotypes adore vegetables and salads. Sure, dads still grill and feed you things you probably ought not to eat but you can because mom is out of town. But my own father and my father-in-law? Both are very veggie-leaning these days, which works out for me on most days considering that I lean that way myself. And yes, every celebrity chef out there on a crusade to get us to cook more and eat fewer processed foods has lamented over the subpar-ness of packaged salad. Fresh ingredients are so much better! And cheaper!  Except on an average day, I can't be bothered to wash salad greens for the life of me. I imagine that's the battle most of us face - will you pay for health with time or money? 

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

Imagine it's 2050. And every carb you love as been replaced with cauliflower. Do you scream in horror? Do you jump for joy? Or are you a little confused, maybe somewhere in the middle wondering why we have to live life on the extreme ends? No matter where you stand, it's actually 2018. June. And TJ's is conquering the cauliflower world y'all. 

Trader Joe's Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice

These days I can generally lump my TJ's purchases into one of three categories - staples and sustenance, new or must-try-for-the-blog, and favorites. Interestingly, I probably buy the fewest items from the favorites category, for myself at least. Favorites usually consist of dangerously delicious things that I'm probably better off not buying lest I finish the entire bag by myself in a matter of 48 hours. I'm trying to be a responsible adult some on most days. 

Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies

By the time you read this, it's probably June. And we all are wondering where half the year went. How are you doing with your New Years Resolutions? Remember those? I vaguely recall desiring to not eat entire bags of salty crunchy snacks in a day. Or two days. Because ice cream has no pull over me. Neither do brownies, however warm and gooey and inviting they appear at 2am at work. It's always been the salty crunchy. And finally, a new but familiar snack. Spicy cheese crunchies AKA TRADER JOE'S HAS HOT CHEETOS. Shut the front door because I must have them! 

Trader Joe's Shea Butter & Coconut Oil Hair Mask

I preface this post with a disclaimer: I'm no beauty guru. And if there's one area that I really know nothing about - it's hair. I've tried several "5 minute hairstyle" tutorials from youtube. Can't say they turn out quite like the videos, and they usually definitely take at least 20 minutes. Soooo call me low maintenance.

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing

In case you didn't know, Trader Joe's recently released a podcast. Yes, my favorite grocery store released a podcast. Does your grocery store have a podcast? 
Today's post is part two of a three part series (read part one here) on a line of refrigerated salad dressings. Why? Because I intend to finish what I start. Most of the time. Hopefully those of you pursuing a higher education start what you finish...I mean finish what you start. Congrats Class of 2018! 

Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry

It's hard to believe, for strangers and myself at times, that I've been married for almost three years and that this blog as been around for longer than that. And in the past few years of marriage, I am blessed and thankful to say that A and I have hardly ever argued, which is kind of what we both expected given our temperaments. But the one time we did have a semi-serious but mostly facetious argument was about rice. Yes, rice is a very touchy subject in our household. There is only one thing, in A's mind at least, that constitutes rice - white rice. And if there is one thing, out of all the not-white-rices that I like to eat, that is definitely NOT rice - it's riced cauliflower. Please note the distinction between riced cauliflower (an acceptable term in our house) and cauliflower rice (oh no you do not say that in this house...NOOOOOOOO). 

Trader Joe's Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl

These days, in a meager attempt to eat healthier, waste less food, and generally spend less on unnecessary things, I haven't been making it around to TJ's as much (once every two weeks as opposed to multiple times a week LOL :P). So yes, I usually see things on social media before I know to look for them in store.  And when I saw this, I thought to myself, oh no. I can't believe they went there. I can't believe I'm going to spend a good amount of money for a small amount of food. Such was actually the case. 

Trader Joe's Seasoned Kale Chips

I have long avoided Trader Joe's kale chips because the only thing I like more than spending money is saving it. And to me, spending extra on a small 2 oz package of something easily homemade with minimal effort is enough to solicit an eye roll, unless the product tastes better than what I can replicate in my humble kitchen. In any event, these plopped into my hands by way of a friend. Who am I to refuse a Trader Joe's snack? :P

Trader Joe's Gochujang Spicy Korean Style Hot Pepper Paste

As far as Korean or Korean-ish things from TJ's, I've tried Korean-style sausages, Korean-style BBQ sauce, pajeon or Korean pancake, and even kimchi (gochujang almonds too, but I don't really feel like that counts...). Although not all attempts at replicating Korean or Korean-ish/Korean-American cuisine have been particularly successful IMO, I definitely appreciate the attempts. And now the fact that a distinctly Korean condiment has landed on TJ shelves means that the forward thinking TJ's buyers think it's ready for middle America. That's awesome. :P 

Trader Joe's Cheddar Rocket Crackers

I have a confession to make. In the two weeks since a Whole Foods (affectionately known on this blog as Whole Paycheck) opened near my house, I've been there three times. How many trips have I made to Trader Joe's? Zero. And the worst part is this - I don't feel guilty. Is this micro-cheating? Is this the beginning of a Whole Paycheck blog? Noooooooooo. At the end of the day, the only thing I like more than spending money is saving it, so I'd say TJ's still takes the edge. Especially when delicious snacks are involved.

Trader Joe's Falafel Mix

Today, I type this whilst the sun shines, the snow melts, and . Maybe that last part is more imaginative than real at this point. But a few days ago, there was yet another nor'easter. And with that - mass shopping raids at Trader Joe's. I find it fascinating what people buy in preparation for big snowstorms. It tells you a lot about the person, sometimes. Are you about the bread and milk? What's your snowstorm ride or die food? 

Trader Ming's Pork Shu Mai

It's definitely been a year since I last tried a Trader Ming or any kind of Trader Joe's Asian food.  To be fair, I think there is a time and a place for TJ's Asian food for a number of legitimately compelling reasons. And aside from a few notable exceptions, I haven't really loved much of what I've tried. Having been blessed to have authentic home-cooking and access to delicious restaurants (that Chinese people actually love) has calibrated my expectations of supermarket frozen Asian food. Here's a question - is America and Trader Joe's nation ready for authentic authentic Chinese food?
Or any ethnic cuisine for that matter? Is "authentic" necessarily better? Does authenticity matter? I've been thinking about food culture, ethnicity, and the American landscape. Thanks, Ugly Delicious. :P




Trader Joe's Tarte au Brie et aux Tomates

The increasing sunlight outside is certainly brightening my mood. But my body seems to think that spring should follow suit. That clearly hasn't been the case. It's still rather chilly for my taste, but I've been longing for more spring-esque food. Y'know..full of fresh tasting veggies and a hint of spring/summer harvest.


Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Avocados

Yesterday, I lost my car keys. Right after I parked it. In a place two hours from my home. Spent the rest of the day looking for it. Didn't find it until A trekked out there and "found it" in the breast pocket of my coat - THAT I WAS WEARING THE WHOLE TIME. If that isn't talent, I don't know what is. So of course, I would also pick up the one package of teeny tiny avocados that doesn't actually say "Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Avocados." Life goes on y'all. 

Trader Joe's Crispy Crunchy Okra

Real talk: I tried this because Mindy Kaling apparently said it was good. Once again, social media has proved so cool that you can do nosy things like stalk the normal-but-not-really-normal-lives of celebrities. And once again, social media easily hypes up things that ought not to be hyped. Like freeze-dried okra. Ugh. 

Trader Joe's Sprouted Whole Grain Pizza Crust

I went through a Trader Joe's pizza phase in college. Not frozen pizzas, no. Like DIY pizza back when pizza dough was $0.99 (It's still cheap though, under $2). Like meal prep. The process from start to finish including rolling out the dough, prepping the toppings, and baking took 30 minutes tops. And the result? Pretty darn good pizza and moderately nutritious too. These days I don't do that as often, but when I do make pizza I've typically made my dough from scratch. As it turns out, homemade pizza dough, the lazy version at least, is as easy as four ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast) and can be as fast as a half hour (speeding up the proofing process by sticking it in a preheated oven to 200F is probably frowned upon). But I don't always want to cook, and TJ's specializes in food for people who like to cook but not that much. And this pizza crust is new and allegedly thin and crispy! Take my money! 

Trader Joe's Organic Peppermint Cinnamon Herbal Tea

Originally, I was going to use this post to rant more about Zagitova/Medvedeva/what's up with US women's figure skating (I'm clearly not over it :P) but tomorrow is March 1st and the world has moved on. OR HAVE THEY. The World Championships are in 3 weeks y'all. I miss the Olympics. Even with all the mess in the world, it's the one time every two years where everyone comes together to witness greatness across multiple disciplines. I mean..even the people that didn't medal are amazing. They did something right to get to the Olympics, and they are heck of a lot more talented than the average person. So if we're continuing with Olympic comparisons to Trader Joe's products...pick any person that you find something admirable/positive about that didn't medal, and consider that person the equivalent of this tea in Trader Joe's world. I'm kidding of course. I'm pretty sure I can find way more things to like about most Olympians than can be said…

Trader Joe's Grapefruit Ginger Sugar Scrub

75 degree weather in February. We've finally gotten our first taste of spring y'all, which means for many humans, sun's out guns out. And if you go against cultural standards of beauty, who cares that your skin is maybe flaky, dried up like dinosaur scales, and hasn't seen the light of day in months? Seriously. Anyway, it turns out dry flaky skin while aesthetically tolerable (hiding under layers of clothing helps), feels pretty uncomfortable, especially on the three days of the week where I wear hospital-laundered scrubs that feel more like parchment or a burlap sack. Ain't nobody got time for 12 hours of that skin irritation, so these days I've been trying to exfoliate regularly and moisturize daily like I'm gearing up for battle.  Hence this beautiful sugar scrub! 

Trader Joe's Green Goddess Salad Dressing

I love watching the Olympics. But more than that, I LOVE watching Olympic figure skating, probably because it's one of those things I wish I could do but probably would never be able to do in a million years. This is the first year where I've been rather invested in all of the events, not just the ladies' competition (which is probably the least interesting competition IMO this year. Barring something catastrophic, it's going to be Russia #1 and #2 and everyone else fighting for a piece of the bronze). What I find fascinating is how these athletes deliver (or not!) given all the media hype leading up to the Games. Case in point - Nathan Chen. What a bittersweet journey of so so so much King Quad hype, two just awful performances, and a 6 quad redemption (yeah I know technically only landed five of them nicely..but you have to give him credit for going for it). Of course, you can't blame his performance ENTIRELY on media hype, but it definitely played a big part.

Trader Joe's Gummy Xs & Os

My husband, A, and I recently took a mini roadtrip to New England. In the middle of winter, yes. My consolation? A Trader Joe's trip of course. It's been a tradition that anywhere I go in the United States, if there's a TJ's somewhere, you know you'll find me there. Call it TJ's tourism. Like a kid at a candy store, my eyes lit up at every snack, even ones that I don't even normally like. Hence the candy. 

Trader Giotto's Organic Red Lentil Sedanini

I have nothing against spaghetti squash, zoodles, or carrot spirals. They are delicious and quite healthy, but let's not fool ourselves or anyone else into thinking that a vegetable can actually BE pasta. There is a world of difference between acting like pasta and being pasta. I feel the captain obvious need to point that out in a world of "alternative facts." :P 

Trader Joe's Organic Mango Kombucha, Organic Green Kombucha, & Organic Pomegranate Hibiscus Kombucha

It's the small simple things that bring a lot of joy to my day to day. A cozy scarf. My bed. A nearly deserted grocery store on Super Bowl Sunday. Soft scrubs that don't feel like a burlap shopping bag. That delicious smelling hand soap. Lactaid pills. New kombucha flavors. Hello my pretties. 


Trader Joe's Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage

Not exactly a health food by any means. But sometimes, you just want a bit of salty meat to go with your breakfast eggs. I've found that chicken sausage - yes it's a thing - that I find at the regular grocery store appears...undernourished (Kinda like turkey bacon. I'm not knocking turkey bacon - in fact I like turkey bacon. A, on the other hand, does not. He sees it as a severely inadequate substitute for the real thing). But at TJ's? Never a problem. So I found myself craving chicken sausage and picked up the smoked andouille version.  

Not the cheapest food. $3.99 for like 3/4 pound. But also not the most expensive - this is a pretty comparable price to regular store prices. Plus, they look nice and hefty. 

Everything looked okay except for OH MY CHICKEN check out that sodium count. It could be bad. That's a third of your daily sodium intake in ONE sausage. 
Okay - I'll admit that I probably didn't choose the best method to prepare these sausages. I cho…

Trader Joe's Greek Whole Milk Yogurt Citrus Medley

I caved and bought some Lactaid pills last week. Because what is life without cheese? And I had a sudden craving for greek yogurt, you know the creamy and smelly kind that you open and everyone in the room knows you're eating yogurt. And of course, I've made it my business to try all most of the varieties of Trader Joe's greek yogurt.


Trader Joe's Earl Grey de La Creme Loose Leaf Black Tea Blend

It seems that Trader Joe's has heard my cry for loose leaf tea. If I'm not mistaken, TJ's hasn't released many versions of loose leaf tea. Finally, something "real tea drinkers" (I'm not. Biodegradable tea bags are wonderful) can appreciate. And can I just say America needs to adopt some version of afternoon tea? The British have it. The Chinese have it. We should have it too.

Trader Joe's Mini Greek Spirals with Leeks & Feta Cheese

On the twelfth day of 2018, my true love said to me, "what is this trash doing on the ground?" By trash he meant the empty cardboard packaging of these mini greek spirals. Uhhh...I keep empty TJ's trash around to remind me to write the reviews for specific products. Like a hoarder. And not to be all gloom and doom (though it's hard not to considering the gray and strangely warm weather outside), China isn't taking our recycling anymore. Is my recycling meaningless? Is my TJ's patronage contributing to the destruction of the earth? These are the things I contemplate as I eat my morning cereal. That and...oh yeah these mini greek spirals I had on New Years Day. 

Trader Joe's Smoky Honey Seasoned Kettle Chips

We are well into the season I like to call the annual "Your Best Life Now" reset. Y'know. New year, new you. Something along those lines. I'm not a big believer in resolutions. Goals though with specific, time-sensitive intervention with measurable outcomes? I'll listen. 

Trader Joe's 3 Seed Beet Crackers and 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers

I hit up my dear old Joe yesterday before the bomb cyclone struck (which in our area didn't turn out to be so bad...not as bad as the snowpocalypse that I remember) and before the frantic crowds arrived to raid the shelves for bread and milk (bread I baked and milk I'm lactose-intolerant so I was set :D). It's quite nice seeing the holiday products leave the shelves. Usually you can still find random holiday stuff that didn't sell well or was just in surplus. I'm hoping that these crackers are not holiday items but snacks staying with us year round.