A Few of My Favorite things

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Is there a Trader Joe’s near you?  If not, you may want to move. And no, I’m not getting paid by them to advertise.  I just love finding good, wholesome food choices at great prices and Trader Joe’s fits the bill.

We used to shop there all the time in California and man was I ever happy when they opened a store near us in Salt Lake City and then added a second location in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.  I wish they would put one in Davis County where we live but alas, driving to Salt Lake is well worth the 22 mile journey!

How did Trader Joe’s get their start you ask?  “In 1958, Joe Coulombe took over a small chain of convenience stores around the LA area. These were called Pronto Markets. The whole idea was fast. Pronto – quick, right? And they were convenience stores, before we really even knew what convenience stores were. …After 10 years of running Pronto Markets, the convenience store formula just didn’t continue to make sense. So, Joe, the classic entrepreneur, opened the first Trader Joe’s store in 1967 in Pasadena, California. (That store is still there. It’s still operating. It still has the same parking lot.) The store had a nautical theme and it was run by people who were described as “traders on the high seas.” At the time, Joe had been reading a book called “White Shadows in the South Seas,” and he’d been to the Disneyland Jungle Trip ride, and it all just…coalesced. To this day, Trader Joe’s Crew Members consider themselves “traders on the culinary seas” and are known for their bright, tropical-patterned shirts and for generally being nice, helpful, and well informed.  Trader Joe’s went from their first store in 1967 to 488 stores in 41 states.”

For the rest of the story, click here. And, here’s a timeline of their growth over the years.

I took a picture of a ‘few of my favorite things’ from Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) ‘cuz I wanted to show you just how awesome their products are.  And, the prices are equal to or even better in many cases, then in grocery stores.

 

The arugula is flavorful at only $1.99 a bag. In the summer, I like to add small cubes of watermelon, crumbled feta and balsamic dressing.  Oh so refreshing and delicious!

My favorite BBQ sauce is the organic Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce and Marinade ($2.99).  All the ingredients are organic and there is no high fructose corn syrup or unhealthy oils, which many BBQ sauces contain.  I prefer to make my Quick BBQ Sauce or BBQ Sauce homemade, but when I’m in a hurry, I grab this one and use it in my recipes for BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad and BBQ Chicken Sandwiches or drizzle it on my Stuffed Bell Peppers.

The Red Wine Vinegar is $1.99. which I use for making homemade Italian salad dressing.

The coconut milk is $1.29 and, they offer a reduced-fat version also.  This is another staple I like to keep on hand for my Thai Chicken Curry in a Hurry and just in case I get the urge to make my Coconut Cream Cupcakes.

Bread & butter pickles are $3.49 and I have to say they’re very tasty.  I enjoyed canning pickles once, but that’s not happening ever again.

In the summer, TJ’s has the nicest, fullest basil plants for $3.99, which by the way, is cheaper than buying it at the grocery store in small plastic packs.  I use most of the leaves to make my Fresh Basil Pesto, then plant it on my patio so we can enjoy fresh basil the rest of the summer!  That is if I remember to water it…  Or I use it in my Bruschetta, Asian Pasta Salad, Greek Salad, Italian Harvest Soup, Pizza Margarita, Pasta Primavera or Tuscan Chili recipes.  I LOVE BASIL!

TJ’s also offers tons of fresh, good quality vegetables at great prices:
–  2 lbs sweet potatoes @ $1.79
–  1 lb carrots @ $.79
–  1 lb zucchini @ $2.29
–  Head of cauliflower @ $1.79 each (compared to $1.79 a lb at the grocery store)
–  1 lb Brussel sprouts @ $2.49 (compared to $3.99 a lb at the grocery store)
–  Hothouse cucumbers for $1.29 each (compared to $1.99 at the grocery store)
–  1 lb bag limes @ $1.29
–  1 lb bag lemons @ $1.59

Nuts, dried fruit and other treats abound at Trader Joes. In fact, they have an entire isle dedicated to snacking!  I like the peanut butter pretzels @ $2.49, 1 lb bag raisins for $2.99 and 1 lb bag roasted almonds @ $5.99 to munch on or use in recipes.

Better for us then canola oil cooking spray, Trader Joes carries coconut cooking spray for $2.99. And, it actually smells like coconut which makes me happy when I cook with it.

Bill loves their various preserves on his toast ($3.29) which contain no high fructose corn syrup and taste delicious!

I especially like their spices @ $1.99 each including some nice grinder combos like Lemon Pepper, Garlic Salt (sea salt with roasted garlic, onion and parsley), Everyday Seasoning (sea salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander, onion, garlic, paprika and chili pepper) and so many more!  My favorite is the “Everything But the Bagel” grinder (pictured above).  I put whipped cream cheese on a piece of whole-wheat toast, sprinkle it with “Everything But the Bagel” and for way fewer carbs, I feel satisfied.  It’s also good sprinkled on salads, veggies, eggs and chicken or fish.


The organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup is yummy @ $2.49.  I like to throw frozen veggies in and top with parmesan cheese for a simple lunch or afternoon snack.

If you venture out to Trader Joe’s, I hope you’ll enjoy their products as much as we do!

 

 

 

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