Trader Joe’s ROLLED OATS (recipe: overnight oats)


All Natural. WHOLE GRAIN. GLUTEN FREE. Loaded with fiber. What’s not to like?

Trader Joe’s ROLLED OATS are good. Among other uses, I use these to make OVERNIGHT OATS which make a terrific breakfast. Need a no-recipe recipe? Here you go: Put some rolled oats into a container and cover them with your favorite ‘milk’ (I use TJ’s Oat Milk) and add some Kefir or yogurt. Stir, cover and leave the the container in the fridge overnight. Options? Maybe add a hint of a little natural sugar, some dried fruits: raisins or cranberries. The next morning you will have yummy but not mushy Overnight Oats ready and waiting for breakfast. These DIY ones are better (and way cheaper) than the prepared overnight oats TJ sells already made in the refrigerator, which for me are way too mushy from having sit “overnight” for a few weeks (!) To Serve: top your Overnight Oats with some fruit, sliced bananas perhaps, and maybe something crunchy, like cereal or Granola. Maybe some chia seeds too! I tried TJ’s “toasted rolled oats” but I didn’t taste any toasted notes any different from these oats (those say organic and cost more of course. So I stick with buying the bag of these rolled oats. This large bag of Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats is $3.99 (for 2 lbs, or $2 per pound). Of course you can cook these oats up for hot oatmeal. Personally I do prefer the texture of TJ’s Steel Cut oats for oatmeal and buy those as well. Use these oats for baking, and cooking too. I mix these into meatloaf for the binder.

GLUTEN FREE of course.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC CHIA SEEDS


Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seeds

If you aren’t eating chia seeds by now, you probably should be.

You’ve no doubt heard about what a superfood chia seeds are and all it’s health benefits. These tiny powerhouse seeds are packed with protein and Omega 3’s and other goodies. When soaked in liquid the seeds swell up into a gel. So they are great for adding to cereal, smoothies, yogurt or pancakes. They can be used as a thickener. The seeds are really tiny so be careful as if you spill some they have a tendency to go everywhere. Rather than pouring them out of the bag, I keep some in a jar so I can pour them or scoop out a huge tablespoon every day which I mix into oat milk and kefir. They take a little while to swell up and absorb liquid so I wait 10 minutes af so. A 12 oz bag of them now sells for $5.49. Trader Joe’s sells a number of superfood seed items, chia seeds, flax seeds, a mix of chia and flax, and hemp seeds. All of these tiny superfood seeds are good for you and things you can incorporate into your daily diet, especially I think at breakfast when you can eat a few tablespoons easily in cereal, yogurts, and smoothies.

Trader Joe’s carries a few superfood seeds: CHIA SEEDS, FLAX SEEDS, HEMP SEEDS. I saw a whole “smoothies section” featuring these seeds plus other products good to make your morning smoothie

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chia-seeds

Trader Joe’s STONE GROUND GRITS


“There are grits and then there are stone ground grits.”

Up here in the Yankee North of NYC, most of us are probably not as familiar with grits as folks in the South are. I tried these Trader Joe’s Stone Ground Grits and guess what? This damn Yankee loves me some Grits! Maybe its not such a surprise as I have always enjoyed and made Italian Polenta, and let’s face it grits are almost the American version of polenta, right? OK not exactly as grits use a different kind of corn.

Anyway these TJ’s stone ground grits are much better than commercially mass produced grits you see at the supermarket kind which are not stone ground. Stone Ground Grits are milled from the whole kernel of corn including the healthy tasty germ. They have a coarse, varied texture, as you can see in the picture and have more corn flavor than the supermarket kind. Think of these as “gourmet grits”. Grits take about 25-30 minutes to cook, stirring them every 5 minutes or so. You can just follow the recipe on the package and you will get good grits. I like to cook them using more milk (half milk/half water) which makes them even creamier. Shredded cheddar cheese at the end makes them even better if you like them savory (Unexpected Cheddar perhaps!? Oh yeah). I like to use grits as the Base for a dish, such as the base for sautéed GREENS or especially the base for SHRIMP AND GRITS, which is terrific and typically Southern. You can even do it a super simple version of Shrimp and Grits: just grill up some red shrimp with lots of seasoning and serve them on top of cheesy grits with the pan juices. Yum!

Cook grits low and slow in a thick bottomed pan and stir them often so the bottom doesn’t burn. They may be even better with another 10-15 mins of cooking (ie 40-45 minutes total). If they get too thick, just add a little more water. TJ’s Stone Ground Grits are $2.29. Grits are GLUTEN FREE of course.

TIP: Double up the recipe when you make some grits; then you have leftovers which you can use to make pan fried grits, kind of the way you might make pan fried polenta, which I just love.

Here’s a few recipes for shrimp and grits:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/lemon-garlic-shrimp-and-grits-recipe-1973610

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/the-best-shrimp-and-grits-7448205