Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Joe Knows!

We have recently discovered Trader Joe's grocery store and are hooked. No only do they have great prices and unique yummy food, but they are all so NICE and helpful. A few weeks ago I met a friend there where she walked the isles with me to show me some of her favorite items.

I am sure I am the only person I know who takes photos of her groceries. It is a great reminder to me of what we buy regularly and it is wonderful journaling and part of me pretending to be a "story photographer", I am not one - I just play one on my blog.

So, here are some of my Trader Joe favorites. Share with us all if you have some of your own.

The Garlic and Herb pizza dough is de-lish! Fast and easy to make. Their pizza sauce is great too.

My girlfriend had this at book club on month, it is a wonderful, fast item to get for entertaining.

if I am not eating two eggs in the morning i have a bowl of this. it has pumpkin seeds in it and for a girl who does not enjoy healthy cereal, it is yum!
If you can't buy homemade tortillas from the cute ladies in Las Cruces, these are the best around.
I love chocolate and orange and these do not disappoint.
I love a good Tamale and anything with green Chile. These are wonderful.
WARNING! these are addictive and wonderful. Be advised if your daughter finds the hidden plastic bucket and takes it outside and leaves it on the front steps, they will all melt together and become on big cup, which you will then have to eat with a spoon, put in the fridge and eventually throw away. My neighbor makes cookies with these as the chocolate chips. they are micro mini!
These are great with a large bunch of green grapes, poppy seed dressing and these cut into chunks - tossed together. Great salad. They are wonderful on their own too.
After Jeff's visit home to San Francisco a month ago, his brother got him hooked on this. We grill it and shred it for fajitas and tacos. Something out of a great restaurant!

The rest of my items I have tried and liked.

***I would love to know what you like at Trader Joes!!***
I have 11.5 yards of lucious ribbon to one of you who share with me
your "Joe Knows" tips.

I emailed the headquarters of the Trader Joes and asked them if they wanted to give away a gift card to one you bloggers and they kindly declined, but were nice enough to entertain the ida.


stacys said...

I have never been and there is not a single one in Texas. How can that be?

The Christian's said...

I went to one a few months ago and picked up a few things. I LOVE your list of things! I love mexican food and want to try the tamales, carne asada, and tortillas! Thank you for sharing...I can't wait to try them!!

Herbinator said...

You have to try the Columbus Peppered Salame (coated with black pepper and gelatin) with Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese on top of wafer crackers. Unbelievable!

Tasha said...

They have chocolate chip dunking sticks. They are like chock-chip cookies, chocolate on the back of them, but they are like 1inch by 4 inches. I think people dunk them in their coffee. I keep them stored in the fridge and eat them cold, or dunk them in cocoa in the winter. They are delish!

Jordan got me hooked on their organic chocolate syrup for making choc milk. Evie likes it and its got no fructose corn syrup.

Rebekah said...

Trader Joe's will be the best thing that ever happened to you! We'll never have on in Utah because of the liquor laws, but I grew up with one in California, and when my parents come an visit me they bring me a box of Trader Joe's goodness.

My recommendations are their simmer sauces (the korma is my favorite), the goat cheese pizza, and the new noodle boxes that they have. I could go on and on...They have great granola, awesome pasta sauces, wonderful bread. Before I could handle real sushi I always bought their vegetable rolls. I love that store with a passion and I'm so glad you've discovered it for yourself!

suburban prep said...

I always walk out with more than I went there for. Their stuff is good and the prices are great.

sista # 2 said...

I LOVE to buy plants & flowers there! I have a tiny topiary ivy that won't die!(that's always good)

I LOVE to get Christmas goodies there for the neighbors -I adore the chocolate covered sunflower seeds!!! Go back right now & get them!! SO cheap too.Yummmm.

I LOVE their veggie/fruit wash. It's a must!

My family in Utah sends me & Lisa a list...before we arrive at their homes for vacation, we Better have Trader Joe's shopping bags full of their requests!!! It's THAT good.hahaha

kristi brooke said...

who know it took bribing with ribbon to get my father in law to comment.

way to go herb! i love it.

Liz said...

I love TJ's! Ever since there was the huge grocery store strike when we lived in CA, I have been a fan. THey have the best prices on milk anywhere!! I love their graham crackers, especially the cinnamon ones. Have you tried their thin crust pizza in the freezer section? Hmmm, Ben and I had one with carmelized onions and chicken, delish!!! I also love to buy flowers there, because they have a great selection and you can't beat their prices on orchids!

I'm glad you found TJ's!

Anne said...

I love their peach salsa, orange chicken, alphabet cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, fruit leather and truffles. They also stock my favorite bread, Milton's multi-grain (I think that's what it's called, it's been a while). It's so delightful!

I haven't visited in a while, maybe I'll make a stop there today.

Missy said...

I became hooked on Trader Joes when we lived in California, and again in Northern Virginia. It is one of the things we are looking forward to now that we are moving back to Northern Virginia. My favorites list is long, but the stand-outs in my mind - the Halibut is dy-no-mite!! The pecan praline granola is fabulous to make yogurt parfaits with layers of vanilla yogurt and blueberries and strawberries. I became so hooked on their Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip) that I have spent the last couple of years perfecting my recipe to duplicate it! They also have fabulous spiced chai powder mix. And, their lavendar soap is terrific!! OH, and the peach salsa!
I love, love, love Trader Joes! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

Heather said...

Isn't it the best? The flowers there are always a big pull for me. They are beautiful and last FOREVER! Our favorite item has to be the marinara sauce. The kids even like it. Pirate booty of course was a big hit...haven't bought that in a long time......may have to stop there today.

vanessa said...

i know you don't know me but I LOVE the chicken rolled tacos from trader joes OR the sweet and salty trail about addiciting!!! good luck, i would love to hear how you like them!

Amanda :-) said...

I'm out of the loop with this as I don't think we have Trader Joe's here - but I'm all for taking pix of your shopping. What a great record of the packaging. I love looking at old designs, once they've been changed - our 'Marathon' chocolate bars changed to 'Snickers' years ago, but I still love to see pix of the old 'Marathon' packaging.

sec said...

I love their refrigerated brochetta, which I don't know how to spell. Also like their pretzel sticks. They also have carmellized onions packaged that are really good. Love going to Trader Joe's!!

Laurie said...

You just found Trader Joes? Lucky you! We have a bunch around us and I go regularly.

Here are some good finds:
1) bags of cheap organic mini carrots (it's nice to get some organic stuff for cheap)
2) bags of their other veggies - you can pop them in the micro and wa-la!
3) their cajun-style black beans (in the canned section) are excellent with chips
4) their fluffy popcorn (that's what we call it - it's like $1.19) - totally addictive - it's like Pirates Booty
5) bags of cheap organic corn chips and/or the bags of flax seed ones
6) fruit leather
7) their cereal is cheap! i like many kinds, but I usually get the frosted wheat squares
8) oh, but don't ever try the plain organic Joe's Os cereal - BLAH
9) $1 bags of fresh pizza dough in the refrigerated section
10) love the chicken cheese tamales
11) the bags of veggies in the freezer section - they have one with butter that makes you forget you're eating veggies, those that are mixes, organic broccoli - it's all good!
12) pesto pizza (with broccoli and tomato) - YUM
13) bags of meatballs - they're great
14) bags of honey whole wheat pretzel sticks - great on-the-go snack for little ones
15) at some TJs they sell bags of dried fruit strips that are really good, but they don't have them at ours so I don't have a better description - needless to say - another great kid snack
16) their bagged pastas are great - we love the gnocchi with the cream sauce and the one with marinara.
17) the red pepper penne pasta - only for a spicy lover - my husband loves it
18) the chocolate kitty cat cookies are pretty healthy for kids and I think they're pretty good (certainly not an indulgence but the kids think they are getting something good)
19) coconut shrimp - you get a good amount for a decent price and they are oh so good - especially last longer if saved for an indulgence just for mom and dad :-)
20) their pretzels filled with peanut butter are great too - sold with the popcorns and chips

That's a pretty good start. Love the chocolate orange sticks too, the flowers, sometimes the plants, the fruit juices always look so enticing, the samples, the service is great....I'll do a post where I actually show pics and names and let you know when I do. I need to get there in the next few days. My cupboards and bare.

denise b said...

OK here I go on my "why I love Trader Joes" kick...

TJ's is the best for those busy days/nights when there is no time to cook dinner. No more running out for fast food just hit the freezer section of TJ's. Our favs are...the chimichurra rice (if you have extra time add some chicken or flank steak - yummy! We also love the pizza - the spinach and the 3 cheese being our favorites. Just a note...we don't love the 4 cheese pizza, go with the 3. I love the oprganic brown rice (frozen & cooks up in like 3 minute)& we also love the frozen pineapple (great by itself or in a smoothie) and the frozen roasted corn (great smokey flavor and tastes great thrown into soups and other meals)

I always buy bags of sugar snap peas in the produce section and dip them in garlic hummus - yummy treat that the whole family loves.

Flax Seed Chips are great - love them better then regular tortilla chips and eat them with tTJ's salsa - green and red.

Our TJ's used to have Mint Meringue Cookies that were the best and way too addicting. I have not found them at our local store and wonder if they have discontinued them :( If you find them - try them.

To end this already way too long post I have to mention my newest TJ's love that I discovered 2 weeks ago...corn salsa. It comes in a jar and I think I found it by all the other salsa. I wish I still had the jar but I plowed through the stuff so fast the jar is long gone. It has corn, peppers, onions and spices - the jar says something one thr front about being a non tomato salsa. Seriously, so good. I would describe it as more of a relish then a salsa but what ever you call it just try it. I put it on grilled chicken. I used it on my breakfast Mcmuffin - whole wheat english muffin, veggie sausage, sliced tomato and corn salsa.

OK I have taken far too much of your time Kristi - sorry. I just love this store!!

Kristine said...

prelWe love Trader Joe's! It was one of our favorite places to get "specialty" items...especially from Italy (where my DH served his mission!!)

My favorite things:
Buffalo Mozzarella (packed in water)
Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread...if you haven't tried's a MUST!...lovely on Ritz crackers.)
Real Maple Syrup
Pesto sauce for pasta
Oh, and my dad has sent us lemon curd that is delightful too.

I'm glad you found it!

denise b said...

Another post...sorry

Whenever I go I check out the customer/store recipes in the back corner of the store. I found one of my favorites recipes of all time there - Bulgar Salad. I thought I might not like it but went ahead and tried the recipe and loved it. Now I check the recipe board whenever I'm there. I assume all TJ's have it - all the ones around us do.

Kristen said...

I'm sold! I will for sure get there this week...can't wait!

sec said...

Just remembered something else at Trader Joe's: you can buy frozen basil and garlic that are 1 tsp. portions in the freezer section. Awesome when you cannot get fresh basil at a moment's notice, and to have crushed garlic handy is great as well.

StacyD said...

pineapple salsa, blue tortilla chips, organic milk--$2.99 gallon!, lowfat spring rolls, fresh pizza dough, shrimp stirfry, energy bars galore, Kiss my Face soap, cat cookies, all the fresh produce, I could go on! I *heart* TJs!

Kristy said...

I love Trader Joe's and am excited to get back to it.

-We LOVE their Nuts over Rasberries and Chocolate Trail Mix. Nuts, dried rasberries and chocolate chips. Yumm.

-The Kashi TLC crackers are also a favorite and are cheapest at TJ's.

-They have really yummy spinach and artichoke dips in the freezer section that are a piece of cake to make for company (microwave...that's it).

-Chocolate chip pistachio cookies

-It's the cheapest place to buy good olive oil and spices, too!

Kari said...

YUM! That's all I have to say! I especially think I'd like the cereal and the almonds (I'm a nut lover!!)

I have only heard nothing but GOOD about Trader Joe's! I wish they'd build one in Denver!!

Jenni said...

I don't know how I found your blog, but this is my all time FAVORITE place to shop. I love everything there. The chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels are really good, Fage greek yogurt with honey is divine, the shredded wheat cereal, the dried mangoes and pineapple are amazing, the shaved parmesan cheese is lovely, the lemon cookies with chocolate, olive oil, challah bread, guacamole, Joe's O's(better than Cheerios!) Pasta any and all of it, fruit leather, the frozen vegetables and asian dinners. I really could go on and on and on and on, but it would fill your comment box. I really haven't had a bad thing there!

Anne said...

So I went to TJ's at lunch today because it was "conveniently" located right next to the running store where I was looking for a water belt. I discovered the most incredible treat of all time there, peanut butter and chocolate covered malt balls. They are divine! They were also sampling the chicken quesadillas with guacamole. They were also quite tasty! I also picked up whole wheat mini-pitas and hummus for lunch. I have never seen mini-pitas before and they are absolutely perfect for dipping.

katherine said...

As I was reading this post I had in my hands (and my mouth) my box of Pad Thai instant noodles from Trader Joes. I love Thai/Asian food and these noodles are cheap, fast to make (two minutes in the microwave), and are sooo satisfying. I am definitely a Trader Joe's girl!

Michelle A. said...

I love trader joes too! But it's been awhile since I have been in one - so my best advice would be to eat before you go - you'll spend less money and everything won't look so good.

Rachel said...

I sure wish we had a Trader Joes here! Your gorceries are making my mouth water! Yum! Carne Asada tacos!

Stephanie said...

We love Trader Joes at our house too!! They have a jar of Bruschetta that is to die for. Put it on a toasted baguette and it's delish. Also, the Trader Joes Brand Multi-grain savory cracker($1.29 a package) are very tasty. Put some mozarella cheese and bruschetta on them and you have a tasty appetizer. My husband loves Joes O's (They are trader Joes version of Oreo's.) He says they are better than Oreo's. They sell a pizza dough ball in a bag that is cheap and good. You have to make the pizza crust at home. There is a marinara sauce they sell that is very good also. It is in a can. I can't remember the name exactly. I am so glad you discovered Trader Joes. You will not be sorry!!

amy w. said...

I could go on and on about Trader Joes. I am especially a fan for their snack items for my kiddos. I feel like even though I'm still given them goodies, they are better choices--with no fructose syrup and bad fats. My favs that I can't live without: TJ Meatless Corndogs (my children have no idea they are not real hot dogs they are that good), TJ lightly breaded cod sticks (kids think they are chicken), Kashi TLC crackers, TJ Chicken chowmein (frozen section), TJ salted torilla chips (4 grams of fiber/serving which is awesome), TJ Mango Organic Fruit Spread (serve it with butter on toasted TJ Multigrain Sourdough Bread), TJ Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa (I put this on my torilla chips with a little melted mozerella cheese--tasty and lowfat), Joe Joes (like oreos but better) and TJ yogurts (bananas and cream my fav) . Like you, I am also a big fan of thier dough and Tamales. Okay that is it for now. As you can see--I'm a little addicted.

Lori said...

I am so jealous you have a Trader Joe's by you. Every time I go to California or Arizona, I make a point of stopping. I usually get peanuts of various flavors, I love their shortbread cookies, their french breads and I can't remember what else I've had. Mostly snacks because I'm always traveling.
Find the Flattened Banana for something funny.

Jennifer said...

Two of my favorites-although there are so many-1) frozen, microwaveable, fully cooked brown rice-this cooks up perfect in minutes and tastes steam fresh and 2) the TJ's shave cream is a favorite of my brothers with sensitive skin-works GREAT for legs too!

annalisa said...

I'd never even heard of Trader Joe's until blogging.

JENNIE! said...

I love the beef taquitos and chicken tacos..... SO GOOD! My husband gets so excited when we have them (and there's no work for me!)

Barb said...

Wow, nothing like a contest to bring in the comments, eh? (a little Canadian slang for ya)

I don't have a Trader Joe's and I've never been to one, but here's a post I read awhile back praising Trader Joe's and some of the products there:

Jordan said...

Don't even get me started!!! Okay, do! I have that carne asada in my fridge-yum. The TJ's frozen mac and cheese is some serious comfort food--the best, better than homemade. TJs lemon yogurt--so smooth, tangy and the kids love it. Their olive bread, the rosemary loaf...all their crusty breads are a must. TJs sparkling juices--the blueberry and apple are the best! Perfect for a hostess gift or bring-along to a party. TJs jarred tapenade, artichoke dip, roasted vegetable spread, lemon curd...and so many more. Don't forget their version of Cheez-its--so much better and better for you. Their fresh flowers are the cheapest in town...and such a great variety. Tasha mentioned the chocolate syrup (no High Fructose Corn Syrup--we try to keep that evil stuff out of the house). Janae mentioned the chocolate covered sunflower seeds--they come in sweet colors, too! Oh, and the kids frozen meatballs for a spaghetti topper. The asparugus risotto--so quick, so yummy. Well, honestly I could sit here all day and gush about the wonder that is Trader Joes...but I won't. My mom says, if she had one in Utah she wouldn't cook is tempting to just live off of their goodness. Hooray for your new discovery!!!!!

SHERI said...

Ok- I love Trader Jose's Traditional Salsa with their corn chips. They have a great frozen shrimp stir fry and orange chicken. My kids love the orange cream and blueberry cream yogurt. Who am I kidding I love the yogurt too! I also love the pizza dough- and it makes great bread sticks too. I have also had a great mango salsa from there too.
Oh- I also use the face products- cleanser and moisturizer. I don't think you can really go wrong. My Trader Joe's is 5 min from my house- gotta love that!

Jill said...

Apparently Trader Joes is a hot topic, who are all these people?

I guess I'm missing out, I've never been there before.

Price Cream Parlor said...

This post thrilled me to no end! Honestly! I LOVE TJ'S!!! We grew up with it in Southern California and I haven't lived by one until 4 years ago! I am in heaven!
Here are my favorites!
*Fruit and Vegetable was is a Must! I have given these as gifts!
Seriously, don't just wash your fruits and vegies with water - you must have this! 100% natural, non toxic and rinses clean!
* Their breads are delish
* Joe Joe cookies are amazing! Especially their chocolate chocolate ones - better for you than a nasty oreo! Grab some milk and you will be in heaven!
* LOVE their Maranara sauce
* wheat pasta
* Bourbon vanilla - rocks!
* cinnamon spice is the best
* Granola bars
* Kid's vitamins in the honey bear container - my kids love those
* chocolate covered pretzels
* Truffles - heaven. You must suck on them...slowly
* Trail mixes
* Hawaiian potato chips are our new fav. Salt and vinegar or just salt. YUM!
* Blue corn ships - salted
* great salsa
* Olive oil
* Organic milk is the best price there
* pizza dough
* Artichoke dip - yum
* water crackers
* vanila granola is fantastic
* simmer sauces
* seseme sticks - great snacking
* Organic Jasmine rice in the freezer section - fast and so good!
Purchase their big freezer bag and keep all your other TJ bags in there for your trip. By bringing your own bags - it saves the environment and you can also enter to win a $25 certificate EACH time you do this and ship. WIN WIN!
I think that I can go on and on...I better stop. Trader Joes is a wonder! Best time to go is Monday morning when it first opens!
So glad that you found this wonder! Loved the photos! Totally cracked me up!

Price Cream Parlor said...

*SHOP* not ship! argh!

carlo said...

oh TJs is a pleasure I enjoy so much. Right up there with my Starbucks...

Best place for fun finds and party foods. Hostess gifts. Many a TJ canvas bag has been given as gifts, filled with treats and sweets. ALways a hit

ok, i haven't read all of the comments left but here are my faves:

*chocolate covered mini cheesecake squares. so great.

*small, but usually fun, and always changing, greeting card selection

*fab flowers and herbs. always a must stop prior to my parties or invites to parties for a wonderful hostess gift.

*lemon drizzled with chocolate cookies

*pretzel thins and the peanut butter stuffed pretzels are a fave with my girls.

YUMMY post, kristi!

Jenny said...

No cornbread in the basket? It is to die for really.

Elizabeth said...

I have some older Trader Joes grocery posts also so I remember what to buy when I am on the mainland or when a sibling calls and asks what they can fill their suitcase with. We bring suitcases full back with us when we visit. Greatest store ever.

Elizabeth said...

I love their brown jasmine rice and their carrot zucchini bread. Yum.

Elizabeth said...

I didn't read the other comments so I don't know if this has been mentioned, but they have great organic fruit leathers for cheap. The ones with the bright tropical labels are the better ones.

melanie said...

I've never been to one although with all the blogging talk, I want to get to one. My kids love the Trader Joe's stuff that is like Pirates Booty. My SIL brought some to our house and the kids (me too) ate it all up. I want to visit one now too but now I fear addiction like all these other people!

Annie said...

May I suggest the Green Tea Muffin Mix from Trader Joes. Yummy morning goodness.

Amanda said...

I bought that exact same cereal last week and have been eating it those nine grams of fiber per serving!

Rachael said...

Love this post because I go there but never know what else to buy besides my standard items. I love the Honey Whole Wheat Pretzel Sticks! I really like the Joes Ohs (cherrios-sp?) cereal. I use to LOVE the tortilla's that you pictured but got hooked on the Costco raw tortillas and can't go back. I have been taking notes on everyones favorites and can't wait to go and shop!

amy m said...

I've never ever heard of trader joes before.

lisa h. said...

the frozen spinach pizza is great and garlic hummus (even my 2 yr old eats it). I've been shopping there a few months now as well!

Ann said...

Mmmm... most of the things on your list are great! We also like their French Cream Line yogurt. It tastes as good as Brown Cow Cream Top, but is lots cheaper. We are in food heaven where I live because there is a Trader Joe's just blocks away from the Whole Foods market. This is not to eat, but we also buy the lavender scented packets that go in the clothes dryer from Trader Joe's.

SalGal said...

Oh me, oh my, OH JOE!

I LOVE TJ's!! I have a collection of their reusable bags that I take to my regular grocery stores to shame them into getting some also. I'd shop at Joe's more often if it were closer, but alas, it is not. I make it there about once a month.

I recently tried the frozen Gnocchi with a red sauce. YUMMERS! I also love the banana crisps (not chips, crips) because they are so thin and light, unlike the thick chips, I Love them!

I love that the eggs are cheap and so is the Pirate's Booty.

I should stop now. This could turn into a whole post on its own! I'm so glad you found Trader Joe's!!!