Okay, I know y’all are probably going to think I’m crazy since I’ve been on this whole health & fitness journey for over a year now and STILL have yet to get to Trader Joe’s, despite the fact that one of my best friends in the whole wide world goes on and on about how much she loves it. And yeah, I’ve been saying for quite some time now that I REAAAAALLY want to get there and check it out to see what they have. And yes, it’s only 35-40 minutes away from me, not a terrible trip! And yup, I’ve often seen posts of delicious looking products with captions like ‘man, I love Trader Joe’s’. But yet, I still hadn’t gotten there…UNTIL NOW!
Now I can officially say that I have been to Trader Joe’s and it was a very enjoyable experience! It is a bit out of my way, so I probably won’t get there too often, but it was great to be able to stock up on some of the stuff that I use a lot of! And stock up I sure did! Even the cashier was like ‘wow, time to fill up the pantry, huh?’. Yes, Trader Joe’s employee, yes it is.
So in case you’ve never been there before, let me take you on the journey with me and show you some of the AWESOME products that they have available for you! Of course, there was way too much stuff to actually tell you about everything, but I’ll give you a general idea of what you might find there.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to the meat or the fresh produce. There was a decent selection, especially of Uncured Bacon and also of Smoked Salmon! But I really didn’t need any meats and don’t have much room in my freezer to store any and I like to get my produce fresh when I need it (and now that it’s farm-stand season, I’m aiming to get most of my produce fresh & local!). However, I DID get a package of these Smoked Apple and Chardonnay Chicken Sausages…I mean, how could I pass them up?! It was $3.99 for a package of 4 and they came highly recommended by Jen, aka my Trader Joe’s seasoned Pro! I always see similar chicken sausages in different flavors at Costco but have never gotten them because they come in much bigger packages from there and I wasn’t sure if I’d like them or not. So getting a package of 4 to start out with seemed like the perfect solution to trying something new without committing to much to them!! So they were the first thing that went into my basket! And PS there were tons of different flavor combos, from basil & mozzarella to southwestern flavored ones!
While in the refrigerated section, I also made an impulse purchase of these Arugula and Parmesan Raviolis. I know, not the healthiest thing in the world, but I like to indulge every so often! And they were only $2.99 so I felt like I couldn’t pass them up!
And next up was the CHEESE. Oh my God, I would pretty much live in the fresh cheese section of any store because cheese & me just understand each other. We’re kind of in love actually. I’m not entirely sure that life would be worth living if I couldn’t indulge in some cheesy goodness every so often (okayyyy, every day…). So while I could have easily spent a small fortune on cheeses, everything from fresh mozzarella, to flavored goat cheese, to bries, blues and beyond, I managed to escape with only ONE wedge of cheese. This wedge of Cambozola blue cheese to be exact. Holy yum. I could really just end this post right now and not have to go a step further because this cheese was cheese-tastic! And I mayyyyyy have eaten a LITTLE more than one serving when I brought it home. You only live once, right?
So once Jen was able to coerce me to step away from the cheeses, I discovered the next super exciting thing! Seltzer that is flavored with real fruit! I think that these must have been new because they were featured on a lot of the end caps! And I, for one, was SUPER excited about them! I only recently tried seltzer water for the first time and so I happened upon these babies at the perfect time! There were 4 different flavors: Raspberry-Lime, Watermelon, Cucumber and the last one was either Orange or Grapefruit, I don’t remember anymore! But I grabbed a pack of all of them but that Orange/Grapefruit one!
And when I got home I tried the Watermelon one and it was soooo yummy! You really can taste the difference with having fresh watermelon used to flavor it! You can even see it in there since it’s slightly colored from it and as you get to the end of your glass, you can see the little bits of leftover watermelon right in there, which makes me super duper happy! I’m thinking I mayyyy need to make some mixed drinks from these babies over the summer! At $3.99 for a package of 4, they are a little more expensive than regular seltzer, but I think they’re worth it! Especially if you use them as a ‘special occasion’ type of deal and don’t drink them everyday!
Next up I was sooooo excited to come across these awesome bags of 100% Whole Grain, Gluten Free and Sodium Free Rolled Oats…They were $3.99 for a 2 lb bag so I picked up a few bags! Now I’ll just need to start making some overnight oats and homemade granola pretty soon!
And the stocking up continued when I found the bags of quinoa and brown rice!! If you’ve ever seen the pictures of my dinners most nights, you’ll know that I LOVE COLOR. I love for my plates to be fun and colorful and so finding these multicolored bags of the grains that I use everyday really made my life an even better place. You all should expect lots of colorful sides from now on! I grabbed like 4 bags of the Tricolor Quinoa and the Red Quinoa and a few bags of the Brown Rice Medley that has brown, black and red rice in it. Oh my God, it’s gonna be sooooo pretty to look at! I apologize in advance for how much I’m going to gush over such a silly little thing! Anyways, the Tricolor Quinoa was $4.99/lb and the Red Quinoa was $5.99/lb. Then the Brown Rice Medley was $1.99/lb! So a little more expensive than I normally pay for just the regular colored stuff, but hey, I was on a Trader Joe’s high so life was good. And actually, I’m pretty sure I bought a 3 lb bag of regular Quinoa for around $15 a while ago, so it’s actually a really good deal still for the quinoa!
Thennnnn I went a little stock up crazy with the beans. I got SEVERAL cans of garbanzo beans, kidney beans and great northern beans. I mean, they were organic and .99 cents each! You really CANNOT beat that and I’m kinda kicking myself that I didn’t buy more while I was there! But it’s okay, it’ll take me a while to get through all the ones I did get! So y’all should expect me to be eating LOTS more Greek salads with garbanzo beans and probably making some serious soups & chilis pretty soon! Beans really are an awesome way to ‘beef up’ a meatless meal! I have had Greek Salads for lunch for the past like 3 weeks straight and I add on like 1/2 of a cup of garbanzo beans to the salad and it’s sooooo filling! So really great if you’re trying to save a little bit of money on food!
Jen had told me how much she looooooves their Salsa Verde and I am a HUGE Salsa Verde fan too! And was even more excited to see that there weren’t any questionable ingredients in the Trader Joe’s brand! You have to be careful with salsas of any kind, especially bottled one, because they often have preservatives, thickeners and sometimes even added sugar! So yes, my friends, you do have to be a label reader! Anyways, I snatched up a few bottles of the Salsa Verde and one bottle of the Hatch Chili Salsa! Lots of grilled chicken and fish with salsa verde will be on the menu for me this summer! And seriously, some nights you just need a dinner where all you have to do is open a jar, right?! But if anyone has some recipes using Salsa Verde that are a little more creative than just slapping it on something that was grilled, send them my way! Though I will say that my Crock Pot Salsa Verde Pork Tenderloin is to die for! So that will be getting made soon too! Anyways, the Salsa Verde was $1.99 per jar!
And then we come to my more indulgent purchases (okayyyy, aside from the raviolis and the cheese…)…I grabbed up several bags of plantain chips! Because honestly, sometimes you just need a nice, crunchy handful of chips to go along with a sandwich, right?! And making your own plantain chips is pretty tedious! Especially if you want to make ones that are shelf stable! So for $1.69 a bag, I’m good with just buying some! I got a couple bags of the regular kind, which I absolutely LOOOOOVE to dip in a little bit of Mango Salsa, and then I got a couple bags of the Naturally Sweet kind! Y’all, these seriously are so sweet that you’d swear they were coated in some sort of sugar, but they really aren’t! They use SUPER RIPE plantains to make them so that they really are just naturally that sweet! And awesome way to help kick your sugar cravings without indulging in anything that will make you feel guilty!
And finally, my LAST Trader Joe’s purchase (well, for this trip anyways) was this Chocolate Bacon Ganache Bar…don’t judge me! It just sounded fun! And it was pretty darn good! It really doesn’t taste like bacon, but you do get a fun little smokey aftertaste that I enjoyed! Plus, it’s dark chocolate, so I can never eat more than a little piece at a time or it overwhelms me…solid portion control right there!
As always, any adventure with my Jen is a fun one! When we were driving there, I flat out told her that I needed to remember to take pictures while I was in there to use for this blog post…do you think we remembered to take any pictures while we were actually there? Haha nooooope. BUT I did remember once we got back out to the parking lot, so we had a pretty freaking epic parking lot photo shoot that earned us some odd stares. I mean, don’t mind us, we were just loving life…
So until next time, Trader Joe’s, it was nice to meet you!
P.S. What are your favorite Trader Joe’s finds?!