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!

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)

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.

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

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


November 5, 2007

Brown Sugar Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #5: Brussels Sprouts

washing em up!

I never really had brussels sprouts until 4 years ago, when I ordered a chicken dish at Luna Park that had brussels sprouts & roasted butternut squash as a side. They were heavenly! It made me wonder why I had always heard such awful things about brussels sprouts. They seemed to be put on the disgusting list with things like tuna casserole (which i have yet to try). Ahh….It was love at first bite. I almost asked them for seconds! I knew had to recreate this at home! I tried some different concoctions and came up with this one.


ingredients for brussel sprouts

  • 2 bags of TJ’s Brussels Sprouts
  • 3/4 stick of butter (more if you are feeling frisky)
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped (more or less depending on your love for onion)
  • 3-5 tablespoons of brown sugar (this usually changes depending on how bitter the sprouts are)
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Take sprouts out of their packaging. Soak in water & rinse. Cut the ends off all the sprouts & quarter the sprouts. Set aside. Place 1/2 stick of butter in a pan on medium heat. Stir in onions & garlic. Cook on medium until onions are translucent. Add sprouts & toss them in the butter/onion mixture. Let sit- stir occasionally. At this point, you are working on steaming them. When the sprouts are softened (about 10 minutes), add brown sugar & remaining butter. Turn the heat to high and brown the sprouts. The brown sugar & butter help caramelize them. Put the little beauties in a dish & serve.

This dish has the power to change someone into a Brussel Sprout Lover. You’ll see……

Closeup of Packaging:

trader joes bagged brussel sprouts

A Perfect Dish for Thanksgiving:

perfect side dish

Sink your fork into it:

up close & caramelized

Try them. You’ll love theses little babies:

cut them in quarters

***note: I used three small onions for the dish above- one large one will work out fine!***

November 4, 2007

Uncrystallized Candied Ginger

Favorite Trader Joes Item #4: Uncrystallized Candied Ginger

uncrystallized candied ginger

candied ginger

I was walking around my local Trader Joe’s one day and found a whole row of Uncrystallized Candied Ginger.  I love ginger…but usually don’t like the crystallized version for some reason. I picked up the package and gave it a squeeze. I was excited to find that they felt like they’d be chewy and have the perfect bite. When I got into the car, I immediately opened them up (this is a typical occurrence). They were exactly what I’ve been looking for!! Not tooo sweet….Not toooo spicy. They were the perfect consistency! I think the crunchiness of the crystallized version is what puts me off.

I’ve used them in baking (made some pumpkin ginger muffins).

I’ve put some in my tea (it made them so plump).

I’ve introduced my coworkers to them (they love them-One coworker wants me to pick him up some!).

I’ve hoarded some in my pantry (you never know when you might need more).

after all….the package says they’re sweet & smooth…..

November 3, 2007

Granny Smith Apple Rings

They may look odd, but they sure can cure a snack craving…..

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #3: Granny Smith Apple Rings

trader joes granny smith apple rings

what's for breakfast this AM

Put some in a bag…carry around with you all day long. Devour when you are sitting in traffic. Grab a handful and watch a movie. It’s the perfect sweet fix when you’ve been eating too much chocolate lately. You won’t feel guilty because you’ll be eating more than an apple a day!