Seen at Trader Joe’s: Xmas GRUMP TREE


TJ’s has these little Grump trees for sale again right now for Xmas. They are cute and a pretty good deal for just $9.99. These can make a funny gift…. But wait, why”Grump” Tree? I’m guessing it’s for copyright reasons. TJ’s doesn’t want to say Grinch less they get sued by the Dr. Seuss estate. However they can get away with saying Grump and we all get the reference to The Grinch by it’s design (a clever idea just wrapping the tree to a point). If you don’t feel like laying out a ton of money for a Christmas tree ($50-150?) maybe you could get away with a little Grump tree and dress it up really nice with a lot of decorations… And it will last. If you take care of it, it will grow and grow and maybe you can use it for a few years. “Will eventually grow into a large tree. Keep well watered.”

Trader Joe’s “THAI WHEAT NOODLES”


NEW PRODUCT

I was so happy to see these packages of vacuum packed fresh noodles in Trader Joe’s NEW ITEMS area recently. I think sometime in the past Trader Joe’s sold some kind of fresh Asian noodle (rice noodles?) but none I can recall for a few years. Trader Joe’s “Thai Wheat Noodles” are a pretty typical Asian style noodle. Think Udon maybe? As far as these being “Thai” these are as much Chinese or Japanese as they are Thai. They do say Product of Thailand hence the name. These can be used for any kind of Asian dish. A 21 oz package is $2.99. They’re basically cooked and ready to use and come in 3 individual bags of about 1 portion each, ready to use in a recipe. Each bag has about 7 ounces of noodles. To me frankly that makes a skimpy portion of noodles for one and I wish these had just a bit more in a pack, say 8 ounces each for a more decent portion. I found one bag will make a portion for one for a finished noodle dish factoring in the other ingredients you will use. So I definitely suggest you “beef it up” with stuff: veggies, proteins, etc. For my dish (pictured below) I had a a few pieces of cooked chicken tenderloins in my fridge so I topped it with this chicken plus a lot of scallions and slivered cucumbers. I basically used the recipe they have on the box for “Sesame Scallion Noodles”. TIP: Right out of the package these noodles are really stuck together into an almost impenetrable noodle brick. To get them unstuck and loose I really had to work at them using chopsticks and tongs to get them loosened when I added the liquid sauce ingredients. It was not easy to get them loosened up. So I experimented the next time I made them with hot/boiling water first. You can use very hot or boiled water, rinsing them in a bowl / colander. I used my fingers/chopsticks/tongs to get them as unstuck as possible. Then rinsed them in cold water and drained them. That worked better to prep them before adding them to your dish so suggest you try this.

You can of course also use these noodles in any stir fried dish of your own choosing. Some other ideas for toppings would be some grilled pork (Cha Siu?), grilled shrimp, or even just a fried egg on top with some Gojujang. I would say these wheat noodles are basically the same as Japanese “Udon” – so you could use them in Japanese cooking, say you could make “YAKIUDON“. I did a kind of YAKI UDON with these and it worked. The recipe on the box for “SESAME SCALLION NOODLES” worked fairly well when I made it. Another tip: The recipe on the box is for just one package so double or triple the recipe if you are making more than one otherwise you will not have enough sauce. The recipe on the box is a basic recipe that you can modify as you wish. I added a heaping tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter to it, to make it more “Thai”. I also used a little Bomba to spice it up. These noodles are handy and not bad at about a buck a portion, even if they don’t match up to fresh raw noodles you would find at an Asian grocery. One more thing I just thought of, you could say add these to Trader Joe’s GINGER MISO soup and come up with a noodle version of that! I really hope TJ’s keeps these around so check them out so they see they are selling!

I would buy these again.

VEGAN

My finished noodle dish with slivers of cucumber and scallions and topped with some slices of chicken. Very tasty!
Turn on Subtitles (English)

Trader Joe’s Liquid HAND SOAP (Bath & Kitchen)


TJ’s sells these bottles of liquid hand soaps in three different scents. This one is “Pink Pomelo Grapefruit” and it has a really nice citrus-y grapefruit smell. They also have a Lemon version, and that one says “Kitchen Hand Soap”. Not clear on why only the Lemon one would be for the kitchen / hands. Looking at the ingredients they seem more or less the same to me. My wife however specifically told me to get the her the Lemon “kitchen” version, for her in the kitchen. In fact, when I bought this Pomelo grapefruit one home for what I thought would be a nice little variety in our kitchen she looked at me like I was crazy and then told gave me a very clear “No Way” to this Grapefruit one for the kitchen. Why? It doesn’t say “Kitchen” on the label and the Lemon one does. I see the grapefruit one says it has Jojoba and Argan oils which I would think would be good for hands, no? The Lemon one doesn’t include these Argan or Jojoba oils, but then what do I know? Anyway all the 3 kinds of TJ’s hand soaps are good, make lots of lather and smell great. These go for $3.99 each for a large pump bottle (17 oz.). I would buy it again.

Grapefruit Soap

Lemon (Kitchen) Soap

Trader Joe’s FLOR DE SAL Portuguese sea salt (great gift idea!)


(Update: These seem to have sold out very quickly!)

Trader Joe’s FLOR DE SAL, like French Fleur de Sel, is a naturally harvested sea salt. This is from Portugal. It has large grains, and is good for a “finishing salt”, something you can sprinkle a few grains on top just before serving, or leave the crock on the table as I am doing. When I saw these attractive crocks, which are only five bucks, I immediately thought, “Perfect Christmas Gift”!

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/portuguese-flor-de-sal-074632

– TRADER JOES SAYS: “Similar to its French equivalent, Fleur de Sel, Trader Joe’s Portuguese Flor de Sal is collected by hand, from a thin layer of salt crystals that form on the surface of the sea—it’s a gentle process, unlike traditional sea salt harvesting methods that use machines. The Salt crystals are small, delicate, and flaky— the name means salt flower in Portuguese. This Salt contains more moisture than traditional sea salt. It’s preserved in a ceramic crock and topped with a cork lid, which helps protect the crystals and keep them from drying out—it’s a terrific vessel that makes this salt tremendously giftable, and also offers countless re-use options once you’ve enjoyed the contents.”

Trader Joe’s BLACK TEA and BOBA NON-DAIRY FROZEN DESSERT


Trader Joe’s seems to have a little thing for “Boba tea” and this is another incarnation of Boba Tea, in a frozen (non-dairy) dessert. Made with coconut milk this has small chewy tapioca pearls (boba) with swirls of brown sugar. More or less like the trendy “Bubble Tea” drink that has become popular recently in the U.S. This frozen dessert tastes like black tea with brown sugar with chewy black pearls of tapioca. Overall I would say I found this OK and interesting. It’s good but I am not crazy for it. However my wife (who’s Asian) liked this very much. She likes Asian style desserts. I said “this is good but I’d probably rather have a bowl of Coffee Bean Blast ice cream”. OK this is not a fair comparison, as this is not ice cream of course, its a non-dairy frozen dessert . So I will say “interesting”. If you want something a little different and want Non-Dairy and love tea, you might give this a try. It improved and tasted better after letting it sit out to defrost a little bit for the tapioca pearls to get softer. So give this about 5 minutes at room temp before eating. About $5 for a pint. We are divided in that I would not buy this again but my wife would, so a its a toss up in our house!

PRODUCT OF THAILAND

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….”

TRADER JOE’S MEXICO “La Laja” Small Lot COFFEE


This stuff is my new favorite Trader Joe’s coffee! I saw it in the NEW PRODUCTS area. I tried it and found this to be a really excellent coffee It’s Mexican small lot, shade grown, 100% Arabica originating from the mountains of Huatusco, Mexico which seems to be between Vera Cruz and Puebla.

I found this to be a wonderful high quality coffee, and I thought it made an outstanding cup of brewed coffee. Now the package says this is a “medium roast” – however I would disagree and say it’s darker than a medium roast. I’ve found Trader Joe’s descriptions (light, medium, dark) really vary wildly from coffee to coffee and are inconsistent. To my eyes, this is a bit darker than “medium”. I would say its on the edge of being a (light) dark roast. Maybe about a “French Roast”? The beans are darkish and even slightly shiny. If you want a “medium” roast TJ’s Azmari Bunni is actually a medium roast or even a shade lighter. So let’s say this lovely Mexican coffee is roasted a little bit into the edge of a dark roast which actually seems perfect for these beans. The brewing method I used was making it in my Moka pot but this coffee will work for any kind of brewing method you prefer (drip, pour-over or even an espresso machine). This is a whole bean coffee of course so ideally of course you will grind up your beans at home just before brewing. In a pinch use the grinder at Trader Joe’s. When freshly ground you get an incredible aroma from these beans. It made a rich dark flavorful cup of Joe that I just loved. I find this coffee is delicious and excellent. I would buy it again gladly. In fact I may stock up a bit as these small lot coffees from Trader Joe’s can go bye-bye easily. TJ’s sells this for $9.99 for a 12 oz bag (whole bean. For this quality I’d say that’s not outrageous and a pretty fair price. PS I also experimented mixing this 50/50 with TJ’s BUUNI coffee, which is a medium roast, and together that was also quite excellent as a blend of a medium and darker roast, Middle American, South America and African coffees!

UPDATE (Dec 1 2022) : Sure enough a few weeks after writing this post, I can’t find any more bags of this coffee in either of my two nearby TJ’s (NYC) ! I really hope more comes in… Please leave a COMMENT if you see it in your local TJ’s (with location)

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC SOY BEVERAGE (SOY MILK)


Trader Joe’s Unsweetened ORGANIC SOY BEVERAGE (aka Soy Milk). This is one of about 3 non-dairy milks (Soy, Oat, Almond) I buy at Trader Joe’s on a regular basis, switching them up as the mood strikes me. I like this soy milk, its pretty good for the commercial soy milk one can buy in a grocery store (My favorite soy milk is the kind I can get fresh in Chinatown, especially from 46 Mott Street for one … and if you ever go there also try the soft tofu pudding with syrup). I would say this Trader Joe’s Soy Beverage is comparable to major brands. One thing I like about this one compared to some others is this one has only two ingredients in it – water and organic soybeans whereas some other soy milks have a number of extra ingredients like guar gum to give it a silky texture (ie, “SILK” brand). In our fridge, we usually have a container of this or TJ’s oat milk or almond milk, all of which are staples. Trader Joe’s Certified Organic Soy Beverage sells for $1.99 for 1 quart (32 oz) and comes in a shelf stable Tetra pack which is convenient as you can keep a few in the pantry.

VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE, LACTOSE FREE, DAIRY FREE, 9 GRAM PROTEIN PER SERVING

Trader Joe’s “Super Amazing Reusuable KITCHEN CLOTHS”


“SAVE PAPER, REDUCE WASTE”

We’ve tested these out in our kitchen and are finding them to be pretty useful. They seem to me like those orange “Chamois” cloths you get at a dollar store. But as my “dollar store” has now gone up to being a $1.29 and up store, these Trader Joe’s viscose cloths are convenient to buy and are not out of line price at $2.99 for two cloths in the package (though I wish they were a little bigger). We’re mainly using them for kitchen counters and the like. These cleaning cloths are strong and quite absorbent. They do absorb a lot even when wet. You just wring them out till damp and they absorb a ton of liquid again. These are useful and “eco”, saving some paper towel use. I would buy these again.

Trader Joe’s CHILI LIME ROLLED TORTILLA CHIPS are finally back!


Trader Joe’s CHILI LIME FLAVORED ROLLED CORN TORTILLA CHIPS – “SPICY, TANGY AND IRRESISTIBLE”.

https://www.eatthis.com/news-trader-joes-discontinuing-takis-snack/

Hooray – they were not Discontinued after all! These very addictive tortilla chips are back on the shelves at Trader Joe’s (NYC)! They were Missing In Action for months….Feared to have been Discontinued by Trader Joe’s but it seems this was not the case and just temporarily out of stock (though it was months). When I saw them last week my heart leapt with joy to learn these favorite TJ items of mine weren’t “disco’d”. I had read stuff on Reddit and elsewhere that they were Discontinued but these reports seems fortunately to have been wrong, like other stuff you find on the ‘Net! So I’m just guessing it was due to some vendor side issue but its not always easy to know if items are really “discontinued” or TOS “temporarily out of stock”. One can ask the TJ’s captain at the front desk to look up and check on any item. This is what I do if I really want to know about an item. The front desk staff usually can tell you by checking on their computer if any item is just out of stock or has actually been officially discontinued (disco’d in Trader Joe’s lingo). If you never tried these before, well they are really something else, but maybe not for everyone. These are Rolled Up tortilla chips that are loaded and we do mean loaded with spices. These are the kind of chips that when you eat them your fingers get stained and coated from the chili and lime seasonings. In this case red. These are spicy and fiery and have a little mouth puckering thing going on too (from the lime). I have read these are kind of like “TAKIS FUEGOS” chips but as I’ve never actually tried TAKIS Fuego chips myself I can’t say how close they are to those. As these are pretty intense with flavors and spices, these may be “a love it or hate it” item. I find these addictive. Spicy delicious, crunchy and pretty much a Wow in the flavor department. I love them. However my wife doesn’t like them. She things they are way too much, but this is OK by me as that means I don’t have to share them. I get the whole bag to myself;)

While I do like eating these right out of the bag I particularly like them matched up with other (blander) items. Like eaten with some cheese or some bean dip or guacamole, or even dipped into ricotta or cottage cheese. Great with sour cream of course too as with something else it balances out the bang a bit so if they are too much on their own try them together with other things. A package is now $2.99.

TIP: As I said as far as finding out if an item is Discontinued I ask a store’s Captain if they can look up an item and check it’s status, and see if it’s just “TOS” (temporarily out of stock) or officially discontinued (“Disco’d” in TJ’s speak). Sometimes they will even tell you a time they should be back and available. Sometimes however its bad news. Like I got a few months ago when I could not find TJ’s Pine Kitty Litter. Argh!!!

GLUTEN FREE – made from corn

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