I wish I could buy Trader Joe’s stock but I can’t. They know how unique and fabulous they are and want to keep it that way by staying privately held. Sigh. In the meantime, I shall just continue to be their number one fan instead of a shareholder.
I’ve never met another person who loves their neighborhood TJ’s as much as I do. It’s the greatest grocery store around. Over the past 20+ years, I’ve discovered items there that other grocery chains just can’t seem to compete with, be it on flavor, price or overall fabulousness (I’m having a silent moment of gratitude right now that a zombie apocalypse is not a real thing, as I don’t know what I’d do if I could no longer safely enter my TJ’s store).
Friends and family frequently ask me what’s worthwhile to purchase there and I’m always happy to talk TJ’s. I admit, though, it was once a challenge to know what to look for without the mainstream brands guiding my way. But have no fear. I’m happy to save you time and effort this week by sharing my Top Thirteen – a list of my 13 favorite products (in no particular order).
I hope this helps make your shopping trip a bit more pleasant this week, and you even more popular in your family’s eyes! Drumroll please….
Best Easy-to-Pack Snack
This Trek Mix bag of 10 individual snack packs is a family favorite. Whether it be an easy snack that makes it through airport security in your purse without incident, saves your child from starvation upon discovery at the bottom of their swim team bag, or cures your hunger pangs while (gasp) actually walking on a trail, this trail mix medley of almonds, cashews and chocolate ROCKS!
There is no more cost-effective bag of fabulously fresh organic baby spinach I’ve been able to find. I put spinach leaves in everything, including sandwiches, enchiladas and pasta dishes. And the deliciously fresh bag of english peas will make your dishes look and taste as if a professional chef made them (yes, peas can be that amazing). So chef away!
These items are awesome fruits that transport well. The bag of dried pineapple pieces frequently finds its way in my car for a quick snack in between activities, and the value sized bag filled with small organic apples are always found to be crunchy and delicious – just toss into lunch or work bags and move on. As for the bananas…they’re just 19 cents each at my local TJ’s! How can anyone not think this convenience snack from nature isn’t the bomb?
The selection of refrigerated convenience meals at TJ’s is to-die-for. There are quite a few salads I love, and I’ve tried many. My all-time favorite is this Five Spice Chicken and Asian Style Noodle Salad. What’s yours? The Turkey Chili with Beans is also a favorite easy meal, which tastes great either at home right off the stovetop or while on the road in a thermos.
When the kids come home from school starving, these tasty pigs-in-a-blanket heat up quickly in the toaster oven, and taste great either dipped in ketchup, mustard or your favorite BBQ sauce. And, in my humble opinion, this mango yogurt is beyond delicious. Snack on!
Great Playdate/Study Group Treats
For any parent out there who has received the last-minute call from a child saying the playdate or study group is headed over to your house – these two items are the tried and true treats I keep on hand in my freezer/pantry. Kids always love the ice cream sandwiches (they taste like you just stopped off at that cool ice cream sandwich place that recently opened downtown), and the warm blondie bars (just 30 minutes in the oven) can turn any study session into a fun time.
A Unique Bread
These pretzel bagels make the best sandwiches, especially salami. Just toast, smother in mustard and add your favorite salami and toppings. Delish!
So there you have it. I hope you find these items as fabulous as I do.
But alas, I know many of you are wondering – there must be something about Trader Joe’s I don’t love. Well, yes, actually there is. The only negative I can think of about TJ’s is their parking lot – it bites. It’s so hectic during rush hour times (especially around noon on weekends) that it sometimes seems as if that zombie apocalypse has indeed taken place. I’m afraid Mildred from your book club can frequently be seen scratching your new car door after parking too close, retrieving her runaway cart from the fresh dent in your bumper, and jettisoning away without leaving behind a courtesy note. But rest assured – karma will handle all that. In the meantime, my advice is to simply park on the outskirts of the lot and enjoy some exercise while walking the extra distance to the store entrance. Your cardiologist will thank you.
Happy shopping, my friends, and let me know if you have other equally fabulous items to share. I’d love to hear from you! Perhaps I’ve missed something along the way?