Fun fact: I do the vast majority the grocery shopping for the Vargo household. It’s become a bit of a weekly tradition for me to scoop up Lucy at the end of the work day and head to the store. Lucy and I love
running errands going on adventures together, and let’s be honest, my laser-focus gets us in and out pretty quickly. And although grocery shopping may not be Kim’s speciality, she can’t resist when it’s an outing to Trader Joe’s! I’m thinking it’s less to do with the shopping and more to do with the secret longing to bask in the green glow of fresh eucalyptus and (boiling lava hot, ouch!) coffee samples.
Trader Joe’s is great (the best!), but with most of their products being exclusive to their stores, it can sometimes be overwhelming to make purchases without any prior tasting experience. We’re all familiar with 2-buck Chuck (now 3? GASP!), but what about the really, really good stuff? The cult favorites? Some of our personal favorite recipe hacks and quick meals come from TJ’s (many of which have been pinned from a few of Kim’s favorite blogs) so we thought it would be fun to share our favorites here. Enjoy!
Our Trader Joe’s Favorites!
1| Kim’s favorite. Apparently almond granola and almond milk pair well together!
2| Blue corn chips are thinner and crispier than their yellow corn cousins. This makes them a bit tricky for my aggressive dipping style, but they’re still sooooo good, and we always grab a bag (or two).
3| This mix of kale, shredded brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage works as well on tacos as it does in a salad – and atop a burger or anything else that needs a crunch!
4| VFR, as we’ve come to abbreviate it, is an easy lunch or weeknight dinner when time is in short supply. Add a few eggs, extra veggies, soy sauce and sriracha to take it up many, many notches. We often pair it with …
5| … these Chicken Gyoza Potstickers to round out the meal! Another tip: Kim will make a big batch of ramen noodles (like the kind from the crinkly package) and add potstickers, handfuls of spinach and eggs. Top that with chopped green onions and a drizzle of Sriracha!
6|Take my word: The Reduced-Guilt Pita Chips paired with Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip is a combo made in heaven! Have it as a snack. Serve it at a party. Eat it for lunch. Versatile goodness!
7| Cookie butter. Period. (Kim will scoop out a small spoonful as her ‘dessert’ – but you didn’t hear that from me!)
8| Lacey’s Cookies (we especially like the milk chocolate with macadamia nut) are so so good, that we ate almost the entire package before photographing it for this very post. Oops.
9| Milk chocolate peanut butter cups are better when chilled in the fridge, and yes, there is always a container chilling in ours. The peanut butter is creamy, the chocolate is thick, it’s… well, their bite-sized cups of pure magic, really.
10| The Tuscan Pane Italian bread makes for incredible – and huge! – sandwiches. And garlic bread. And toast. And… pretty much anything you might make with bread.
11| We use these Organic Pizza Crusts for DIY pizza nights, and we almost always default to this white pizza recipe. Quick and easy!
12| TJ’s taco seasoning is a magical mix of super spicy spices, and it’s perfection. We buy the pouches 10 at a time and straight up panic when our spice drawer contains fewer than two packets. (Taco Tuesday, anyone?) The directions call for 1/2 pouch per pound of meat, but that’s for sissies. Dump the whole thing in there and sweat a little bit, why dontcha?
13| We’ve recently started using these Organic Coconut Chips in our smoothies, and they add a richness and texture that makes any combination of fruit, veggies and juice as filling as a meal!
14| Kim rubbed an entire container of this on her belly while she was pregnant with Lucy. Not all at once – I mean, that would be crazy talk! It smells so, so good and always reminds us of our little Goose when she was still in there cooking.
15| TJ’s Fruit & Vegetable wash removes dirt, wax and pesticides from (obvs) fruits & veggies. We pour ours in this amber glass pump and keep it by the sink for the daily apple. Gala or Pink Lady or you can just get right out of here!
TJ’s always has the. best. greenery – and on a budget, too! When in stock (it can be a rare find at our store), we grab a few bundles of the silver dollar eucalyptus. Otherwise, we load up on anything leafy, and lots of it.
We also left the Everything But the Bagel seasoning off the official list because you probably already have it in your pantry. It’s an obvious staple! (Right? )
Trader Joe’s has a bit of a cult vibe (in a good, everyone’s included sort of way), and we always love peeking into other peoples’ carts to see what they’re buying. How about you? What always leaves the store with you?! Is there a super secret grocery item that we’ve been depriving ourselves of? Share your favorite TJ goods (and recipe mash-ups) in the comments!