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November 12, 2007

Hummus Dip & Pita Chips

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item Combo #12: Hummus Dip & Pita Chips (and some carrots too!)

tjs hummus dip + pita pita pita = mmmmm

Every week when I’m shopping at Trader Joe’s, I always remember to buy some of their hummus dip. It’s a simple snack to whip up and not to bad for you as well! I think that it’s also great for last minute get-togethers & unexpected guests. Having a staple like this in your fridge means you can serve someone a delicious snack instantly. Always make sure you have some pita chips on hand too. Carrots & Tortilla chips are great with hummus too.

To jazz it up a little, I pour a little olive oil and sprinkle some smoked paprika on top:

dear hummus

Trader Joe’s pita chips are highly addictive though- just a little warning:

up close in pita chip land

So that’s why I try to balance it out and put some carrots on my plate:

saturday lunch

Red peppers, celery stalks, cucumber slices & cherry tomatoes are some of the other veggies I like dipping in the hummus. You can add cayenne pepper to the hummus to make it spicier (or just buy their spicy hummus dip). They have a lot of great flavors that won’t break the bank!

When you don’t have much time to put together an elaborate lunch for work, this will do just fine!

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November 11, 2007

European Style Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt

Favorite Trader Joes Item#11 : European Style Plain Yogurt

mmmmmm yogurt

I’ve tried almost all of Trader Joe’s plain yogurts. I love their Total Greek yogurt (it’s so thick & creamy-and authentic!). This past week, I tried their European Style Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt. I’m happy to report that it’s wonderful.  It’s very creamy and smooth.

I like to add their sliced almonds & raisins to mine. Top it off with some honey and you have a good breakfast/snack. It’s so good that I will sometimes make a dinner out of it. Oh! You should try putting a couple spoonfuls of pumpkin butter in! Oh lord….

how i like to eat it

I’ve used their yogurt in place of sour cream….I made a veggie dip with it….I’ve substituted it for buttermilk in baking recipes…. It’s been a very versatile staple in my fridge. And because of this, I haven’t bought a flavored/sweetened yogurt in years.

tj's european style plain yogurt

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November 10, 2007

Salt & Pepper Grinders

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item # 10: Sea Salt Crystal Grinder& Black Peppercorn Grinder (aka-Salt & Pepper) (sold separately)

full body shot

When my husband & I were playing around with our wedding registry in early 2005, we could not agree on a good Salt & Peppermill. Because he felt so strongly about a particular one, I gave in and let him put it on the list. What do I really know about peppermills anyway? I know that I like fresh ground pepper-but that’s pretty much it. Fast forward to our wedding—no one fulfilled our Salt & Peppermill order *sniff sniff* Since I’m not the type to spend $40+ on an item that grinds pepper, these little babies have really come in handy!

I think they price at $2.00 or less. Here’s what the result they produce:

the results
I’ll admit that they might not be pretty enough to be set on the table for a fancy dinner party. In the kitchen next to my stove is the perfect home for them. If I had the nice stainless steel ones, I’d be very anal-retentive with the marks my messy cooking hands would make on them.

Maybe one day we’ll get those grinders… So I will have something to put on the table for fancy schmancy dinners!

But for now…these will suffice!

Learn these labels, my friend:

closeup of the labels

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November 9, 2007

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item#9 : Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels (salted)

peanut butter filled pretzels

This really needs no explanation. Peanut Butter + Pretzels = a match made in heaven.

Buy a bag. Hoard them. You can try sharing…but I understand if you don’t. They are just that good! Sometimes I like to eat all the pretzel parts and save the peanut butter fillings. Then I have pile of little peanut butter nuggets and I eat them one at a time….savoring the peanut-buttery goodness. Woah. I can’t believe I just admitted that. Anyways…you’ll love them. How could you not?
get your own

Happy Friday!

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November 8, 2007

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #8: Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix

So Tuesday night I was trying to figure out what a Trader Joe’s product was called, and I ended up finding this website thru Google: www.traderjoesfan.com

After spending a short amount of time searching through the recipes, I found this one for Chewy Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread. I read the recipe and got excited because I had all the exact ingredients in my pantry. Don’t you just love when that happens? It’s like the stars aligned just for me. And I thanked those stars by whipping out something delicious from my oven.

Two of the main ingredients needed from Trader Joe’s are:

A box of Pumpkin Spiced Bread & Muffin Mix:

trader joe's pumpkin bread & muffin mix

A can of pumpkin puree (only 1 cup is needed though):

organic pureed pumpkin

Here’s the work in progress:

mixing the oatmeal in

I immediately whipped it out and tada!! The only part that takes awhile is the baking time. I guarantee that it will make your house smell like Thanksgiving!

I’ve had it for breakfast the past two mornings. The oatmeal makes it a very hearty bread with a nice crunchy/chewy crust. I think tomorrow I might toast a slice, put some cream cheese on top and then a dollop of my Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter. Wait- maybe I’ll do that tonight?

Here’s their recipe in case you don’t feel like moving

Chewy Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s Organic Canned Pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you might want a bit more)
  • 1 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins (i made my 1/4 cup a HEAPING 1/4 cup)

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, oil, eggs & pumpkin puree. Stir in the Pumpkin Bread mix. Add the oats & raisins. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour & 15 minutes. You might want to cover the top with foil (I did this when there was 30 minutes left) to prevent the top from burning.

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November 7, 2007

Sausage Soup with Spinach & Beans

Favorite Trader Joes Item #7: Sweet Italian Sausage (or any of their sausages for that matter)

sweet italian sausage

Meat is usually what makes my grocery bills sooo high. This package of sausage was only $2.99 for six sausages. We got about 2 1/2 meals out of this soup between my husband and I. Not to shabby!

Here’s one of my favorite sausage soups:

sausage soup

Sausage Soup with Spinach & Beans

inspired by this recipe from Everyday Food

  • 1 package (12 ounces) sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 16oz. bag of frozen spinach from trader joe’s (item not pictured-sorry!)
  • 2 cans Trader Joe’s cannellini beans
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large pinch of red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 32oz. container of chicken stock

Place chopped onion & mashed garlic in soup pot & sautee in olive oil. Take sausage out of its casings and break off bite sized *meatballs* Add this to onion mixture. Cook sausages on medium heat for about 4 minutes. Your goal is to make sure there’s no pink left on the outside of the meat. Now add chicken stock, beans & frozen spinach. Simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Make sure there’s a very low boil going on. Before you serve, add the red-wine vinegar (it will give it that extra zing!). Season with salt & pepper. Enjoy.

I’m actually eating a bowl of this soup as I write this post. It’s really good for a cold autumn afternoon. I recommend making it on a Sunday afternoon while your spouse is watching football. Not only will make your house smell wonderful, you will be sneaking a heaping portion of vegetables into someone else’s diet. I like to pair it with crusty pieces of bread and butter…mmmmmmm…….. My husband & I like to save the sausage til the end. It’s the best part!

Sometimes I use the following Trader Joe’s Sausages for this recipe:

Garlic Sausage

Wine & Cheese Sausage

Hot Italian Sausage

(All of them produce a great result)

See closeup if you don’t have any meat aversion:

yummmmm inducing

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November 6, 2007

Creamed Honey

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #6: Creamed Honey

trader joes creamed honey

There’s just something so magical about being able to put a knife into a tub of honey and spread it on a piece of bread.

digging in

You don’t have to tip a little honey bear over and wait for the honey to drip out. Although they are cute as hell, those little guys can be stubborn when your container is half full.

the lid is where the knife rests

You just put your knife into the sweet/creamy goodness and smooth it on top of a piece of toast.

almost reminds me of brie

So thick & creamy… you’ll think you’re smearing dulce de leche on top.

up close....creamed honey

Perfect way to spend start a Sunday morning (we did just that this past sunday!)

tell me that doesn't look good

Enjoy*