Trader Joe’s: To Eat or Not to Eat

Happy Saturday, everyone!

So, my church is right around the corner from Trader Joe’s. Coincidence? I think not. It’s almost like if I don’t go there every week I would be sinning, right?! 🙂

I’ve had a fairly long relationship with the Trader Joseph. And the longer that our friendship goes, the more I’m able to see sides of him that I never have before. Some of those sides are very, very good. Some, not so much. But no one is perfect, right?

Since I’m such a champion of Trader Joe’s (GO JOE!), I feel it is my duty to give you the down-low about what to buy and what to skip. Friends don’t let friends buy yucky food. Although, since Trader Joe’s would let you return anything you didn’t like, this might not be the end of the world…

Anyway. Here we go!

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 8.31.24 PMBest Snack of the Year: Kettle Popped Popcorn Chips

Hands down, this award goes to the Kettle Popped Popcorn Chips. They contain super foods like chia seed, flax seed, quinoa, and sunflower seeds, but they TASTE LIKE KETTLE CORN. No joke, people. Plus, I love that they are chips so you don’t bite down on the unpopped kernels like with real popcorn. AND you don’t get the little popcorn hulls stuck in your teeth. Definitely an MVP in the snacking realm.

SmokedMozarellaBest Cheese for Non-Cheese People: Smoked Mozzarella

I’ve never had a love of the weird cheeses. By “weird” I mean almost all of the soft cheese…basically anything that isn’t cheddar, Colby, jack, mozzarella, or swiss. Recently, I’ve come around to cotija cheese, but that’s as wild as I get. What I love about this cheese is that a little goes a LONG way on the flavor front. So if you’re trying to cut back on cheese, a little dab’ll do you. Plus, its super fancy. I’ve sworn off non-smoked cheese.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 8.20.17 PMBest Chip of the Year: Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

If you’ve been in Trader Joe’s recently and seen a girl walking around with a stricken look on her face, well, that’s me. For a while the good Trader had these chips in stock on the regular, but for some reason they’ve been harder and harder to find recently. I love these chips because they look like Doritos but they are WAY healthier. Plus, the little bit of sweet potato that comes through ads some dimension of flavor to my chips and salsa snacking. Honestly, I could eat them straight out of the bag with no embellishment.

macaroonsBest Frozen Dessert: Macaroons

This year, I tried to broaden my horizons Master Chef-style. I took on the hardest of all cookies – the macaroon. These little suckers are super finnicky. If you under whip the egg whites even a smidge, it’s game over for you. I was able to successfully execute 2 flawless macaroons from my FOUR batches. #fail Luckily, the trader came to my rescue. These are fun to pick up and bring to a party because they are really impressive and festive cookies but you don’t have to play the game of actually baking the little guys. Impressive, Trader. My hat is off to you, sir.

Unfortunately for all of us, not every Trader Joe’s product is created equal. I would not be a true friend if I didn’t give you a “steer clear of” list. So, here we go!

QuinoaWorst Version of a Superfood: Frozen Cooked Quinoa

Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve cooked quinoa many times. I’ve eaten it as an oatmeal-replacement hot cereal. I’ve stuffed peppers with it. I’ve even eaten it in place of rice. I’m a fan of the quinoa (even though every time I say or type that name I think of this). But this version of quinoa tasted terrible. What you gain in cooking time, you lose in taste. A mouthful of this stuff was like dirt. Even recalling it while I write this post makes me squeamish. I tossed the rest of the package in the garbage. #ew

pumpkintortillachipsWorst Application of Pumpkin:
Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

All hail the pumpkin, queen of the season! The pumpkin spice latte. Pumpkin oatmeal. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin cake. ALL PERFECTLY LEGAL. But this chip is neither fully savory or fully sweet. It’s like they took the pumpkin craze to new heights…and then dropped it off at the top of a sky scraper. That might not make sense, but I’m tell you these chips don’t either! I tried them so you didn’t have to. You’re welcome.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 8.25.21 PMWorst Popcorn Flavor: Popcorn in a Pickle

Not even the adorable pun could save this snack. The first few kernels are actually not bad but the longer the eat it the more you don’t want to. In my humble (but always true) opinion, I think pickles belong on sandwiches. Not a fan. And that’s kind of a big dill. (See what I did there?)

The nice thing about shopping at Trader Joe’s is that there are always seasonal or new items to try. I think my next adventure is going to be with these little guys:

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 8.24.10 PM

Happy shopping! XOXO,



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