Saturday, October 19, 2019


This is my weekly compilation of news and other links about Trader Joe's.

Best candies at Trader Joe's

6 new Trader Joe's items that are underrated

Ranking of Trader Joe's pumpkin-spice stuff

5 dietitian-approved lunches to buy at Trader Joe's

15 copycat Trader Joe's recipes

Why I stopped shopping at Marshall's and Trader Joe's

How to use Trader Joe's dukkah

My 92-year-old grandma showed me her favorite things to buy at Trader Joe's

8 Trader Joe's buys to add to your healthy fall shopping list

How to shop at Trader Joe's without overspending

Best tweets of the week:

And finally...nothing. It's been another sad week with nobody posting pictures of cute cats in Trader Joe's grocery bags.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Special post: My five favorite things to make

Two years ago, I did a post with a similar title, except "two" instead of "five." I now have three more main dishes that I like just as much as the two described there, and they all feature Trader Joe's ingredients. Numbers 1 and 2 are the two described in that earlier post. I still make them frequently, with no change in the recipes.

3. Soy Chorizo chili, as described here, with link to the recipe at the end of the post.

4. Tacos. I use Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Mix. In that same post, I said that TJ's taco shells would be my first choice. They were so only briefly. I soon thereafter discovered Old El Paso "Stand 'n Stuff" shells. Their clever design, with a wide base, conveys two big advantages. First, they can stand up without falling over. Second, you can stuff a lot more filling into them with no risk of cracking. I won't buy any others now. Really, once you try them, you can never go back to regular taco shells. (I once tried the version with a "hint of lime," and didn't like the flavor at all. Too salty.) I use Gardein's fake ground beef, Fresh Express Green Leaf Shreds, TJ's tomato sauce, and whatever shredded cheese I have on hand, with TJ's Organic Shredded 3-Cheese Blend being my current favorite. Most recently, I've started adding TJ's Organic Spicy Taco Sauce as the finishing touch.

5. Pasta. I'm not picky about the pasta itself, but my two principle choices are TJ's Winter Snowflake Pasta when I can get it, or TJ's Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti when I can't. But the thing that has really moved pasta from a safe but boring meal choice to one of my favorite foods is discovering the synergy between TJ's Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce (which I buy in bulk in the fall to last all year) and TJ's Italian Sausage-less Sausage (thin-sliced and lightly browned in oil). For some reason not subject to rational inquiry, that flavor combination sends dopamine across all my pleasure center synapses.

Drop in for dinner someday, and there's about a 99% chance that you'll be served one of these five things. As favorite things go, they're right up there with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Trader Joe's Baby Cauliflower

To start with, I think--but do not know--that this is simply ordinary cauliflower harvested earlier than usual. Nina thinks it's a different cultivar. She might be right; after all, Trader Joe's sells "baby broccoli" that is actually broccolini. But I can't find anything online that says that "baby cauliflower" is something biologically different from cauliflower.

All that aside, I wasn't impressed with this. The stem:head ratio is way too high. I ended up throwing away about half of the weight of the package because I didn't want to eat so much of the thick stems, and cut them short.

What was left was nothing special. It didn't strike me as especially desirable in either texture or flavor. In fact, if anything, it had less flavor than my usual cauliflower. I tried it with butter, then again with lemon juice, and both times I felt that I was tasting the condiment far more than the vegetable.

Will I buy it again? 


Monday, October 14, 2019

Trader Joe's Spiced Pumpkin Madeleine Cookies

These are very soft cookies--to the point that they stick together. There is some actual pumpkin in the recipe, in the form of "pumpkin flakes," but you'll be hard-pressed to detect it. The flavor is dominated by the standard blend of "pumpkin spice": nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and clove. It's pleasant enough, but all just boring and predictable.

Will I buy it again? 


Saturday, October 12, 2019


This is my weekly compilation of news and other links about Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's announces recall of certain chicken products due to possible contamination

11 Trader Joe's items for people who don't have time to cook

13 of the best Asian foods you can find at Trader Joe's

17 Trader Joe's pumpkin spice products

5 sweet new Trader Joe's items that taste like fall

10 ways to use Trader Joe's pumpkin butter

10 of the best breakfast foods to get at Trader Joe's

16 editors on the one Trader Joe's product they cannot live without

Best tweets of the week:

And finally...nothing. No cute cats in Trader Joe's grocery bags were posted this week, and it's very, very sad.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Mozzarella Piccolo (Little) Pizza

I was at Trader Joe's yesterday intending to get a Woodfired Sicilian Style Pizza. I didn't find any. Maybe that item has been discontinued. But while looking for it, I spotted this, which is apparently so new that there is nothing about it online, from Trader Joe's or from anybody else.

The box says it serves two, but I thought it looked a little small for that, so I bought two of them, since I was having Nina over for dinner. I was right. One of these would not have been enough for both of us. But two of them was too much; we both left about 1/3 uneaten. So they're an awkward size. The side of the box promises, "just the right size." This is mistaken.

Nina and I shared roughly the same general impression: The toppings are lovely, and the tomatoes in particular survived the freezing and reheating process surprisingly well. But the crust is too thick, dry, and bready.

For once, the bake time suggested on the package (10-12 minutes at 425 degrees; I used the full 12) worked just fine.

To add a little zip and protein, I had browned some thinly sliced Italian Sausage-less Sausage beforehand and added it to the top of the pizzas before putting them in the oven. This turned out very nicely, and I recommend such an enhancement if you're going to try this item.

Will I buy it again? 

Probably. But a thin-crust version would be better and an enthusiastic yes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bisque

The first taste impression you get from this soup is sweetness. It is, in fact, the sweetest soup of any kind I've ever tasted. There's no added sugar, but honey is the third ingredient, after pumpkin puree and water. I actually enjoyed eating it, but with every spoonful, the sweetness consciously registered as out of place and excessive.

Note the genuine Mason jar used as a container. Nice touch.

Will I buy it again?