new finds from trader joe’s

Unfortunately, I live a little more than twenty minutes away from a Trader Joe’s. Coupled with my often lazy approach to weekend grocery shopping, this means that Trader Joe’s isn’t a constant in my life. However, today’s trip made me want to make a rapid change to my shopping routine.

My favorite thing about the store has got to be their produce section. Prior to visiting, I always had this stereotype in my mind: Trader Joe’s is organic. Trader Joe’s is funky. There’s no way that Sarah can afford Trader Joe’s on her budget. She’ll stick to clipping coupons, thank you very much. However, I couldn’t be more wrong! If you’ve never been to a Trader Joe’s, you would be surprised at the prices and freshness of their produce.

First of all, I love things that have their own package that allows the product to retain quality without dirtying a tupperware container. Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix is perfect for my weekly salads — diced slices of broccoli, carrots, green cabbage, red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish, and celery. This rang in under $3 for me. No longer do I need to spend more than that on individual vegetables nor do I need to mess with chopping them on my cutting board. This was perfect! Add this mix with some crisp romaine lettuce for under $1.50 and a packaged box of “Pearl Tomatoes” (think cute little mini on-the-vine tomatoes) for $2 and you’re set. Oh, and one more thing: their Reduced Fat Cilantro Dressing is to die for. Honestly, I even want to marinade with it. Try it!

The freezer section in this store is daunting and quite large. There’s so many different types of products — some that make you think “hmm,” but I managed to find our guilty pleasures (Garlic Fries, Mac and Cheese Bites) and a few new items, too: Tofu Edamame Nuggets, Shells with Brie and Asparagus, and their version of Veggie Sticks (50 sticks per serving – yowza! – and, I swear, they taste similar to McDonald’s french fries). Their Shells with Brie and Asparagus might look like your average microwaveable meal, but it is anything but. Cook it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and it comes out piping hot and bubbly. When I studied abroad in Scotland, they had so many interesting cheeses available at small shops like our Subway or Quizno’s. Brie was available at no extra charge! Now, whenever I see brie cheese, I always think of how delightful (and dangerous!) that must be to be able to pick anything your heart desires each time… on a baguette. Oh, the horror!

Something that I always, always forget until the last minute when I’m at the cash register and have to awkwardly excuse myself for half a second while my items are being scanned is their lovely flower section. My living room table is now home to a little succulent.

What products have you found at Trader Joe’s that have now become a staple in your home?

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