Trader Joe’s PUMPKIN CHEESE CAKE (Fall / Seasonal Item)

(Fall Seasonal Item)

We really enjoyed this Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cheesecake. Especially after our upstairs neighbor gussied it up with some whipped cream when she invited us to her Halloween dinner (hence the black spider napkin holder) and served the TJ’s pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. What I liked about this cheesecake was it they did not over do it in the “pumpkin spices” department, it’s pretty subtle and tasted first and foremost like cheesecake with just a little something extra, with pumpkin. Its very yummy. $7.99 for a rather large cake (30 oz). This could make an especially nice dessert for Thanksgiving, or anytime you can get this during the Fall/Winter season when it may be available. Frozen, defrost in fridge overnight or 4 hours and leave at room temp for about an hour or so. I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s: “We couldn’t fit an entire pumpkin into the box but we did fill it with rich pumpkin flavor…blended into the tangy sweet goodness of cheesecake….perfect for holiday dessert….”




If you are one of those into Trader Joe’s All Things Pumpkin every Fall you may find this interesting enough to check out.

It’s made exactly like they make the Apple Cider Vinegar TJ’s carries, just instead of apples they are using pumpkins. I compared the taste of TJ’s Apple Cider Vinegar and this Pumpkin Vinegar side by side to compare them to each other. Now the Apple Cider Vinegar is something I’m really used to, taste-wise and just find that really really good, a perfect vinegar. ACV tastes just right to me especially as far as acidity and sharpness. This pumpkin vinegar has the slightest taste of pumpkin. It seems to be more mellow than ACV even though technically the acidity in both is the same. Both say “diluted to 5% acidity”. But this pumpkin vinegar seems less sharp to me. So if you want a less sharp vinegar, this may be for you. Me, while I find this “interesting”, it’s just a curiosity item. I’d probably say I prefer my good old reliable ACV. I could see this vinegar as being good for making a milder vinaigrette. Or used to make a shrub (drink with vinegar)?

This is $1.99 for a 8 1/2 oz bottle. I can get a way bigger bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar for just a little more ($2.49). I probably wouldn’t buy this again. Side-note – TJ’s once carried a raspberry vinegar which I actually did like a lot, as it did actually taste of raspberries. I liked that for salad dressings – but sadly it vanished like so many good TJ’s items! (Sigh)

TJ’s says: “Our supplier takes fresh, cold-pressed, organic Pumpkins and ferments them into a cider. Then they add the vinegar “mother” (a culture of good bacteria) and ferment them together to become the seasonal vinegar before you—the very same process that is used to turn apples into our Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. This Organic Raw Vinegar is unpasteurized and unfiltered—giving it a gorgeously cloudy, orange hue—with a subtle pumpkin flavor. Use it to create a unique vinaigrette for your salads or add a tablespoon to give a punch of acidity to chilis, stews, and sauces. Best yet, combine with sparkling water for a homemade pumpkin shrub!”

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spiced PUMPKIN SEEDS (Fall Item)

There are some Fall items that are misses and some that are hits. This is a HIT for me. These are really good. I love them and everybody I offered them too liked them. The added spices and coating is not cloying, it’s just enough but not too much so you still taste pumpkin seeds, and they are really crunchy and tasty (they have butter). $2.99 for 8 oz.

The Pumpkin Greek Yogurt however was a big Miss for me; Didn’t like that taste at all. I would not buy that again.

TJ’s Fresh Cranberries (and RECIPE)

Every year this post becomes the most popular post around Thanksgiving, ENJOY~


To me the greatest sin one can make for Thanksgiving is not making the cranberry sauce from scratch, and just opening up a can.

There is simply no comparison to MAKING YOUR OWN CRANBERRY SAUCE fresh, and no reason not to, as it’s literally the EASIEST thing in the world to make. If you do it this year, I promise you everyone will say how wonderful the cranberry sauce is. Seriously it could not be easier to make. Recipe follows….

If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce and are used to opening a can of that jiggly jelly stuff (ugh) you owe it to your family to make it fresh this year. It will take you about 1 minute of “work” – plus maybe 15 minutes doing its own thing on the stove. TIP: Make it at least an hour ahead of eating so it can be served at room temp (hint, even better do it at the day/night before, it will set up beautifully in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge an hour or so before eating.)

EASY “RECIPE” :  Open bag. Dump berries in a pot. Add one cup water* and one cup of sugar. Bring to a boil. Basically that’s it. When it boils, just lower the heat down to a simmer and let it alone until the cranberries “pop” in about 15 to 20 minutes. When the berries have popped, they’re done so just turn off the fire. DONE! Let it cool for 30 minutes or so. As it cools it will thicken up (cranberry skin contains a great deal of pectin, a natural thickener).

If this easy recipe seems “too easy” for you and you want to get a tiny bit fancier and more creative, here are things you try…  * Instead of water, you can use orange juice. A bit fancier? Grate in a little orange zest. Even more creative? This year I added a tiny bit of cayenne pepper and a pinch of fennel seeds and some lime juice. Ginger can be nice in a cranberry sauce.

Once you try this you will be shocked at how easy it is to make and how infinitely better this fresh sauce is over the canned stuff. At the time of this writing a 12 oz. bag cost $1.99, a decent price. (UPDATE: 2018, a bag was $3.49 at TJ’s) Update 2: 2022, a bag was back down to now $2.29.

You can even buy an extra bag of berries and throw it as is in the freezer where it can keep for a few months if you want it outside of just Thanksgiving. This stuff is great with just grilled chicken breasts.

Once you make your own, you will realize how easy it was to make and and like me, will never buy the sauce in a can again.

 Now go, and sin no more…

#DIY #CranberrySauce

RECIPE VARIATION: Indian Cranberry Chutney. In a saute pan, melt a tablespoon butter, and add some chopped garlic, a quarter chopped onion and saute stirring for 3 minutes. Add a teaspoon of TJ’s curry powder (or more to taste) and cook one minute. Add the zest of one orange and its juice with 1/4 cup of water and 1/4-1/2 cup of brown sugar or Palm Sugar (or more or less to taste). Add the package of cranberries and simmer 25-30 minutes stirring frequently. If you want heat add a few dashes of Cayenne or your favorite Hot Sauce (PeriPeri, Green Dragon.…) to taste.