Trader Joe’s Favorites

I ❤ Trader Joe’s!

It is no secret among my friends I love Trader Joe’s. I had heard about Trader Joe’s from my friend Andrea who used to shop there when she lived in Chicago but had never been myself. In 2009, I went on a service trip to Atlanta with a group of students. While they went out to enjoy downtown ATL on our free night, I hit up Trader Joe’s. Yeah, you read that right – I spent my free night in a grocery store. It was fantastic.

Since then, I’ve been hooked. Every time we go to Atlanta (or near Atlanta) or any other city with a Trader Joe’s, I have to stock up on my favorites. While I know a lot of their products are just other brands repackaged, some of their items are exclusive to Trader Joe’s or a lot cheaper (or just taste a whole lot better for some reason). Here are some of our Trader Joe’s favorites:

Just Clusters Ginger Granola – I love this on yogurt with blueberries for a quick breakfast. It is seriously the best cereal/granola ever.

Garlic Pasta Sauce – the garlic flavor is spot on. This makes a great quick dinner tossed with pasta and some sautéed veg and chicken sausage.

Two-Bite Biscotti – the prefect, small, sweet bite.

Ginger flavored Cat Cookies – a not too sweet treat with a gingery bite. And yes, they are shaped like cats (which is a little weird).

Unsalted Almond Butter – it’s cheaper than other places and the texture is my favorite among almond butters.

Speculoos – this yummy cookie butter is good on waffles, bananas, ice cream, etc. It is cheaper than Biscoff and has a slightly thicker texture.

Pumpkin Butter – a seasonal treat. So good on oatmeal or baked goods. You have to time your trip to TJ’s just right to find it in stock.

Cornbread Mix – easy to whip together and yummy. Especially smeared with pumpkin butter or honey and served with a bowl of chili on a cold night.

Cinnamon Almonds or Honey Sesame Cashews – a great addition to salads or on top of oatmeal. The Cinnamon Almonds are also good as part of the crumble topping on an apple crisp.

Fruit Leather Ends and Pieces – a good afternoon snack. I don’t ever want a whole fruit leather, but I can eat a few end pieces. Plus you get all the different flavors mixed up.

Lentil Puffs – they sound weird but taste good when I’m craving something salty and crunchy.

Ciabatta Bread – lower in calories than other breads, it is light and doughy and perfect with a smear of butter (so much for being lower calorie…).

Coffee – it is tasty and less expensive than elsewhere. They have a lot of varieties we like including the Smooth and Mello Blend, House Blend, and Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend.

Honey – it is cheaper than other places and I really like the flavor of the Desert Mesquite honey.

Vanilla Greek Yogurt – I’ve never driven back to Tallahassee with frozen or refrigerated items, but I did get a Greek yogurt as a snack. It was so good – creamy and thick with a light vanilla flavor and not too sweet. Wish I could get these here for breakfast.

We often throw in other items to try, like salsas, sauces, salad dressings, or unique grains.

I’ve heard Trader Joe’s has some good frozen options but I’ve not tried to make the 4 – 5 hour drive to Tallahassee. I’ll just have to wait until we get one here to try them… (I’ve heard we are getting one in about a year. They recently opened stores in Naples and Sarasota. Hooray!).

So there you have it. I’m not sure all of these are the exact names, but they give you the general idea. It might seem ridiculous to crave groceries from so far away, but after a good trip to TJ’s, we might go weeks without buying anything but dairy and fresh produce from our local Publix. Any time I am near a TJ’s, you can bet I will be stocking up on some or all of the items above.

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