Seen at Trader Joe’s: Jalapeños by the piece @ 29 cents!


I like that you don’t have to buy a whole bunch now; Often when I have a lot of them in the fridge, they arent used quickly enough and start to go bad and I just end up throwing out some. Now like Bananas, you can these by the piece. Naturally I will grab the biggest, freshest one I can find too to get the best bang for my buck (er, 29 cents). In fact, other than a banana I think this one of the cheapest items you can buy at Trader Joe’s? Good for the budget.

Trader Joe’s GARLIC SPREAD (with Spinach hack)


If you love garlic as much as I do, then you will adore Trader Joe’s GARLIC SPREAD . I find this stuff to be amazing. In fact, it’s become yet another TJ’s product I must have in the fridge at all times now. I think of it as much as an ingredient as a “spread”. You can use this and add it to a dish to give things an immediate flavor boost, kind of as you would fresh garlic.

A number of countries food culture’s have some type of garlic spread like this. In Lebanese cooking, they have the garlic spread, “Toum” (basically what TJ’s spread is). In Greece, they have a spread called “Skordalia” which is made from garlic, olive oil and potato. In the South of France they have the yummy yellow garlicky mayonnaise called, “Aioli” famously served with Bouillabaisse. Garlic with lemon acts as an emulsifier for the oil giving you a thick spread. Trader Joe’s version like Lebanese toum is an emulsified paste of garlic, oil, lemon juice and salt, traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. They did not skimp on garlic. TJ’s GARLIC SPREAD is so garlicky it’s not funny. True Garlic lovers will want to try this on everything. I came up with a great hack for Frozen Spinach, which you can make into a yummy dish in about 2 minutes with this garlic dip. See my recipe hack down below.

So what can you use this Garlic Spread on? To start with just try it on thin slices of toasted baguette, which will be match well with a salad or soup like croutons or garlic bread. This stuff is especially good for any pasta dish. Just toss in a spoonful into your finished pasta, especially tomato pasta (PESTO ROSSO? Add some of this to jazz it up! Use this instead of butter for cooking grilled cheese sandwiches. Put a little into your tuna or egg salad. Eggs, try some in an Omelet for some kick. Salmon or other fish, for sure. I’ve found it’s fantastic in mashed potatoes to jazz them up. Almost any vegetable dish will be enhanced with a spoon or two of this vegan garlic spread, so it’s ideal for vegans and vegetarians as well as us non-vegetarians. It was amazing on the CHICKEN SHAWARMA. Greek yogurt plus some of this spread makes and instant super easy tasty sauce. Here’s a recipe I came up with using spinach. This is a great tasting spinach dish in under 2 minutes.

SPINACH WITH GARLIC SPREAD HACK – Two ingredients: frozen spinach and garlic spread. Put the spinach in a colander and rinse it with water for about a minute until its defrosted. Shake or squeeze out most of the excess water. Toss the spinach in a pan with a little olive oil (or butter!) and cook for a minute or so till done to your liking (don’t overcook it) Add in a nice heaping tablespoon of the Garlic Spread and mix it in. Grind in fresh black pepper and a pinch of salt and its ready. It will look a little bit creamy and taste absolutely delish.

In fact most vegetable dishes will be enhanced with a spoon or two of this VEGAN spread, so it’s ideal for vegans / vegetarians to give a enormous flavor boost to most things. One thing to remember, it does have some calories as like a mayonnaise, its mostly oil. 2 Tbls have about 150 calories. Its $2.99. GREAT ITEM!

Trader Joe’s “COWBOY CAVIAR” (corn & black bean salsa)


“Corn, black bean and pepper salsa. Smoky sweet with just the right amount of kick” – Trader Joe’s

This is a must try, if you never had it. Both my wife and I really, really love this terrific salsa. We both even think it could be a pick for a TJ’s Top Ten.

“Cowboy Caviar” – You gotta love that name. “Cowboy Caviar” is a typical South Western dish made with kernels of corn, beans (black beans and/or black eyed peas) in a tomato base. Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar is a great version, maybe more in a salsa style with corn, black beans, red bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, lime juice and spices, with some kick to it, from chipotle chiles in adobe which give it a bit of heat plus a smoky undertone. TJ’s doesnt have the heat level rating on the jar. Call it a medium heat? This stuff is soooo good as a salsa, as a dip for chips, like the Corn Dippers, on top of tacos, on top of rice, with eggs, mixed into veggies, alongside grilled chicken, or as a little side dish…. you name it, I think it will perk it up. Its a really good pantry item to have on hand. You can put out some of this with chips or crackers and you can have something in a few seconds for unexpected guests. A jar now goes for $2.99 (13 oz)

I would buy it again.

Seen at Trader Joe’s: PINEAPPLE PLANTS (baby so cute!)


Just to give you an idea of how small it really is, the cute little pineapple growing on the stalk is about the size of my thumb. It looks so cool and adorable.

Full name of the plant is PINEAPPLE BROMELIAD. See the link for info on care and growing.

TJ’s was selling these for $15.99

Now have you ever wondered why you see so many pineapples in depicted in design, old buildings and architecture? There is a reason: it showed wealth and hospitality.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-hidden-history-of-the-housewarming-pineapple

Trader Joe’s SELECT HARVEST CURATED COFFEE


NEW PRODUCT

This is a very good “curated” blend of two single origin coffees from Central America, specifically from El Salvador and Nicaragua. It’s a 50/50 mix of both, each roasted differently, one to a Medium roast and one as a Light roast, to bring out the ideal flavors of each. I found this coffee to be very tasty, smooth and delicious. Its $9.99 for a 12 oz bag of whole beans. I think if Starbucks or your local coffee high end shop was selling this kind of “curated blend” they would charge almost double that.

I would buy this again.

TIP: The best way to buy coffee is like this, as WHOLE BEANS. Why? Coffee has a ton of volatile oils which are best ground right before you want to use it. You get the maximum flavor if you grind up some beans just before you brew it. Now, if you don’t have a grinder at home, use the grinder at Trader Joe’s. When you get home, put the bag of ground coffee into a freezer bag, seal it and keep it in the freezer. You can put a few days worth of ground coffee in an empty air tight jar to keep it fresh.

Trader Joe’s SALSA DE CACAHUATE


“A Southern Mexican inspired salsa made with guajillo chiles and peanuts”

“A peanut based salsa with a unique mix of creaminess, nuttiness and peppery heat. Versatile. Enhances food from burritos to shrimp.”

(summer 2022) New Product – SALSA DE CACAHUATE. I found this to be just terrific, pretty much a “wow” new Trader Joe’s product.

This is bit of an unusual and atypical (regional) salsa (for us at least in the US) which originates from Southern Mexico. It’s a peanut-based salsa. Cacahuate is “peanut” in Spanish, based on the Nahuatl word (you pronounce it : kaka-wa-te). I found this new salsa to be really, really good. It’s unusual compared to more typical tomato based salsa’s at Trader Joe’s due to fact it’s peanut based and creamy. The salsa has a huge depth of flavor. It’s definitely got a kick (med. hot spicy!) and its thick and creamy. Be sure to stir it. This salsa was really tasty on some tortilla chips. It was also delicious with some spinach and cheese quesadillas I made. But it is not “just for Mexican food”. This can be great with lots of things. This can be a great sauce or ingredient for many kinds of foods as Trader Joe’s suggests. For one thing, great with chicken. It is fabulous on chicken, say grilled chicken breasts or thighs. Pork too, it was delicious on some TJ’s CARNITAS cooked into “slices of pork loin”. I also like the idea of trying it with shrimp as TJ’s suggests. It would even be great with TOFU. I will experiment with this, and you should too. It’s excellent! Definitely worth trying. Trader Joe’s indicates this is a summer / seasonal item so if this sounds interesting I would not wait too long to grab a jar to try out (or two). $2.99 for a 12 oz jar.

“If you’ve ever sampled the cuisine of southern Mexico, you’ve likely come across a version of salsa de cacahuate, a savory, often spicy, peanut-based sauce that’s used on a remarkably wide range of dishes, from street tacos to roast chicken to grilled shrimp, and more. Etymologically derived from a Nahuatl word for peanut, salsa de cacahuate has a unique mix of creaminess, nuttiness, and peppery heat that makes it an uncommonly versatile condiment—just the kind of sauce that cries out to be put on everything.

In tribute to this southern Mexican staple, we’re proudly offering Trader Joe’s Salsa de Cacahuate for the summer. And just like the namesake sauce that inspired it, this rich and flavorful jarred Salsa is almost endlessly versatile. Aside from enjoying as a dip with your favorite tortilla chip, you can use it to enhance everything from burritos to burgers to breakfast fare. It adds an extraordinary depth of flavor when served over salmon, steak, or stuffed peppers, and brings out the best of a sizzling plate of fajitas. For a true treat, try spooning it generously over a plate of sliced pork loin.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/salsa-de-cacahuate-073992

Trader Joe’s Organic Sparkling Ginger Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage


My wife loves this and told me she’s “addicted” to it. I tried it, liked it too. Very refreshing. Mild ACV taste/tingle. Made with organic apple juice and no added sugars. It’s $1.69 for 12 oz and only 35 calories. “Healthy soda”!

Here’s what Trader Joe’s says about the product: “What can’t apple cider vinegar do? Some folks use it in marinades, others use it to pickle produce, some even use it as a cleaning agent. As it happens, you can now add “use it to make a remarkably refreshing soda” to the list, with the introduction of Trader Joe’s Organic Sparkling Ginger + Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage. This tart and tangy sparkler combines pleasantly pucker-y organic lemon juice and bright, bracing organic ginger with (you guessed it) organic apple cider vinegar to create one curiously cool and crisp drink. Best enjoyed nice and cold, our Organic Sparkling Ginger + Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage at once offers all the thirst-quenching qualities of a lemonade, the exhilarating bite of spicy ginger, and the playful mix of juicy and tangy that only apple cider vinegar can supply. It makes for an especially delicious anytime drink, though we find that its unique flavor profile makes it especially amenable to pairing with rich or spicy foods.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/organic-sparkling-ginger–lemon-apple-cider-vinegar-beverage-064431

Trader Joe’s HASH BROWN POTATOES


Trader Joe’s sells these frozen hash brown shredded potato patties. They are pretty good. I see a lot of people buying them. Maybe because they kind of resemble MacDonald’s potato patties? Basically these consist of three ingredients, potatoes, oil and salt. You can bake them as suggested on the package. A toaster oven will work for that too. It doesnt say this but you can make them on the stove in a pan, which is what I did. I added a tiny bit of oil to a non-stick pan and cooked them on low until the first side was golden brown, then flipped them, about 15-20 minutes in total. I would say you want these as crispy as possible. Now I don’t have an Air Fryer but I’ve seen other people report you can cook these in and Air Fryer and they work well getting nice and crispy without adding more oil.

The patties were pretty tasty, especially with the fried egg I had them with. I gave them a good dusting of black pepper and that improved them too. I can see you using these at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Things they match well with include ketchup, eggs, bacon, sour cream, or of course pretty much anything that would go well with potatoes. There are 10 patties in a package which now goes for $2.29. Trader Joe’s also sells frozen shredded hash brown potatoes in a bag, that is not in patty form just loose, the way you would normally make hash browns. Those would be good for adding things in during cooking such as some chopped onions and peppers, so also useful.

Trader Joe’s UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGE


I was pretty impressed with these new sausages, called UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGE. In fact I’m going to say these sausages are the bomb. We are talking really juicy & flavorful. The overall flavor of these sausages is terrific. Ingredients include chicken, cheese, caramelized onions and red bell peppers. Personally I really like the snap of the natural pork casing*. FYI, they didn’t drip or ooze out cheese, if that’s what you are are expecting. I guess the cheddar just melts in and gives them a lot of flavor and obviously some juiciness. They are just delicious and we both really enjoyed these when we ate them for dinner, as a dish with sautéed veggies. These can be served in so many ways. Want super easy? Just grill them up a bit and put them on a good bun (brioche?) with mustard and sauerkraut. I did a “german style” dish with sauteed potatoes. I grilled the sausages on the stove. Along-side the sausages, I made some sautéed vegetables (potatoes, onions, peppers and some cabbage). The sausages and veggie combination was really good. We ate it with TJ’s MARBLE RYE bread with some DIJON MUSTARD and some of TJ’s excellent SAUERKRAUT.

These sausages are already fully cooked however I think browning them up is a must IMO. I just learned you should not prick sausages as we’ve been taught, they stay juicier if you don’t. OK one of them burst a tiny bit but it was fine. One sausage has only 160 calories, and while they are not low in sodium, they are not super high either, these sausages have a bit less sodium compared to TJ’s Andouille Chicken Sausages.

I think these CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGES are a terrific addition to all the other chicken sausages that Trader Joe’s carries. In fact for me, these are so impressive I’d say these go right to the top of my list of all of TJ’s chicken sausages. I would buy these again. These are $4.49 a package (12 oz) PS – * I love the snap of a rea casing but if the pork casing turns you off, one reader writes he just removed the casing.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/unexpected-cheddar-chicken-sausage-074048

Seen at Trader Joe’s: RUBBER PLANTS (Ficus Elastica) for sale


As the owner of a by-now very spindly 20 yr old rubber plant, I was pretty impressed at how robust and thick these Ficus Elasticas at Trader Joe’s were. They’re beautiful. $12.99

(PS the next day I didnt see any. Sold out?)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus_elastica

https://www.houseplantsexpert.com/rubber-plant.html

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