Oh, the days when I lived half a block from Trader Joes…what a wonderful, beautiful time. If you know me, you know I would rather go grocery shopping than to the mall. I love discovering new products and deciding what recipes I’ll make in the upcoming week. Living so close was great because I could go every day, and get just what I needed for that day. While I’m a big advocate for shopping the perimeter of the store (where all the fresh fruits and vegetables are located), venturing into the middle aisles in Trader’s results in some delicious discoveries. They have so many cool products that seem geared toward millennial foodies (for example, the magic elixir that is Cookie Butter). I love this store so much that when I was apartment hunting (1x a year for 5 years), I chose based on how close they were to Trader’s.
Below are my absolute favorites, that I bought almost every time I went there.
Organic Wild Arugula
I always buy organic when I can, and a huge bag of this was still only $2.99. I used to do a 50/50 mix of arugula and spinach for my salads (with goat cheese, lemon vinaigrette, nuts, dried fruit, apples, homemade croutons). You can also toss it with hot pasta and a sauce to add some extra vitamins.
Goat Cheese with Honey
I bought this one every single time- use it for Salads (see above), Pasta, or just to dip with Crackers (see below for my cracker recommendation)
If you’re like me, you always need to have a selection of cheeses in the fridge. Trader’s was the perfect place to buy cheese because it’s cheap, has interesting flavors, and carries a lot of the same brands sold at Whole Foods for a lot less $$. One of my favorite things to make for dinner is a “snack plate”. It has a little bit of everything, always cheese, maybe some sliced tomato with salt, some cantaloupe, crostini, and sometimes some smoked trout or something similar. It’s like a french inspired picnic for dinner. I’ll have to remember to take pics next time I make one so I can share with you guys. The cheese below always made an appearance at one time or another.
Vanilla Almond Granola (Just the Clusters)
Perfect for morning yogurt bowls, these aren’t too sweet and the sugar content isn’t terrible.
Omega Trail Mix
I always put some on salads for some extra protein and crunch, and always in my beloved greek yogurt bowls for breakfast. You can add this to cookie dough (recipe coming soon) or just eat it on its’ own as a snack.
Sunflower Seed Butter
You’ll never go back to peanut/almond butter again. Add to yes, yogurt bowls, eat as a snack with banana, put it on top of waffles, dip a sliced honey crisp apple into it, etc.
Almond Beverage Original (Almond Milk)
I’ve tried a lot of different brands of almond milk but this one is the best. It’s not too sweet and not thick.
Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Perfect when kept in the freezer. Am I the only one who likes their chocolate really cold?
I used to make pizza 2x a month with this dough- it fits perfectly in a jelly roll pan. It’s great to buy ready made dough but please make your own sauce (see below).
Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
These are the real deal, and a lot cheaper than what you’ll find at Whole Foods or Treasure Island. Use these to make soups, stews, pasta sauce, or pizza sauce. To make the best no-cook pizza sauce, blend one can of these with 1/4 c. of olive oil and 1 clove of garlic.
Fage 2% Yogurt
I don’t like flavored yogurt. It always taste fake and sugary, which is why I buy this one. It has a good fat content, so it will keep you full for a while. Buy a big one so you can make a ton of yogurt bowls for the week.
Organic Creamy Tomato Soup
Make homemade croutons (cut up baguette, toss with olive oil and salt, and bake at 400 F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown) for topping along with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Heavenly.
Use this as an ice cream topping- trust me. There’s also an entire Buzzfeed article with recipes that use cookie butter. There’s a gourmet foods store (Epicure) in Antigua that sells this stuff for $10 or more.
Fig & Olive Crisps
Perfect for any cheese plate with a great balance of sweet/salty.
Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
Without a doubt, these are the number 1 item everyone should buy. They’re amazing, delicious, sinful. Don’t try to share these either, because it’ll probably result in a fight over who is taking bigger bites.
Cinnamon Graham Crackers
The only kind of graham cracker I had tried before were the ones we use for s’mores. While I still like those, these beat them by about 1000%. They are more cookie than cracker, and are a perfect dessert or ice cream topping or use them as a substitute for those cardboard store-bought graham cracker crusts.
Did I miss any? What are your favorite Trader Joe’s products?