Big Mama Blog

Because sometimes weekends are boring

Well.

Our weekend couldn’t have been more uneventful. I mean, we had fun and had some friends over on Saturday night and cooked fajitas, but that doesn’t really translate to great blog material.

I think, truth be told, that we were all recovering from our first week back in the real world and needed some time to just relax. Caroline and I both stayed in our pajamas almost all day on Saturday and Sunday and it was delightful.

On Friday night we met my sister and her family and Mimi and Bops for Mexican food. And at some point around ten-thirty that night I started feeling like I was coming down with some sort of stomach bug. So I crawled in bed and did my best not to move or think about food for the next twelve hours. And I had a real low moment when Caroline decided to snack on roasted seaweed while sitting right next to me.

As it turns out, I guess it was nothing but I still don’t feel quite right.

So since I clearly have nothing interesting to write about (if you doubt me, please re-read the above paragraph about my stomach bug that turned out to not be a stomach bug) and I’m trying to watch the Golden Globes before switching to Downton Abbey in about thirty minutes, I thought it might be a good day to ask y’all a question.

I finally went into our new Trader Joe’s on Friday. I’m not sure what took me so long but I think part of the reason is because the parking lot has been insanity every other time I’ve attempted to go. And I bought the honey mango shaving cream that my friend Paige raves about and a few different types of lotion because I am a sucker for a good moisturizer.

But I didn’t buy any food items. Frankly, I felt overwhelmed and unsure of myself.

So my question is this: What are some items from Trader Joe’s that you and your family enjoy? Any snacks I need to know about it? Cookies? Beauty products? Has anyone tried those lavender dryer bags because I was so tempted to buy them.

Please share your findings. And the next time the parking lot isn’t insane, I’m going to go try them for myself.

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Comments

  1. 1

    Cookie butter. The end.

    • 2
      Michele T says:

      Chrissy Matthews, you speak the truth.

    • 5

      Cookie Butter. Amen.

    • 6
      Marie M.C.` says:

      In case someone doesn’t understand what “cookie butter” is — it’s Trader Joe’s version of Biscoff spread. (Not sure if I’ve spelled Biscoff correctly. Sorry.) It the BEST thing ever! I’m allergic to peanut butter and have tried the almond, cashew butters but, ick. Cookie butter on the other hand is way BETTER than peanut butter. Trader Joe’s here in San Francisco sells it (above the jam section) for about $3.00 a jar (I think?). I always buy three jars at a time — just for little ol’ me. I toast some dark Russian Rye bread that I love, spread on the Cookie Butter (an open sandwich), take one bite, sigh. I’m in heaven. They better be serving Cookie Butter in heaven!

  2. 9

    The milk is about .85 cheaper. I also love the sweet chili sauce over cream cheese with crackers.

  3. 10

    I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s. In no particular order, I like their guacamole, hummus, yogurt (I like the vanilla but my sister swears by the “vanana,” which is banana/vanilla and why for the love of anything you would eat something called vanana is beyond me but she likes it and apparently other people do too because they still sell it), and their whole range of cookies. Especially the chocolate toffee ones whose name I can’t remember. But they’re good. Seriously good. I just can’t remember their name.

  4. 11

    I have lived away from the States for over 6 years and still miss Trader Joes. Just jump in, you’ll like their stuff. Specifically : great variety of cheese, good prices on wine and international beer, love all the snack/trail/nut mixes that include the chocolate!

    Also: those thin ginger cookies, rice bowls for lunch at work, any of the chocolate, hummus, and back in the day they had wild caught Salmon from Alaska with cajun spices. Not sure if they still have it but man it was good. Oh, and the Tomato/Red Pepper soup in the waxy box (what do you call that thing?)

    I miss Trader Joes. I’m sure they have lots new cool things, but these are what I remember.

    • 12

      So much yes to the Red Pepper soup in a box. LIFE CHANGING! Also, the cinnamon bread.

    • 13

      I do the Red Pepper Soup with some of their Jalapeno Chicken Sausages and a bag of their frozen rice blend…a big bowl of goodness soup.

      • 14

        That soup with lentils (I’m lazy so I get them in the fridge section at Trader Joe’s all set to go!) and sweet potatoes — delish! I sometimes add tofu and some zucchini to it as well. My daughter loves it too:)

  5. 15

    I currently have a love affair with their pumpernickel pretzels…And I have been known to make myself sick eating their miniature peanut butter cups (MINI-mini! The size of chocolate chips mini, you can eat them by the handful mini…)

  6. 16

    Good red wines at good prices.

  7. 17

    Oh, Trader Joes. I’m not sure where I should even begin. I LOVE that place and pretty much everything there rocks. My kids love their granola bars. I love their frozen bell peppers that are already sliced up….so perfect for eggs. Their frozen fruit is great for smoothies and also, they sell flax seed oil, which is another great thing to add to smoothies. Their bran muffins rock and so does their dark chocolate. Hope that helps!

  8. 18

    “A Fig Walked Into A Bar” cereal bars, Powerberries, Edamame Hummus, Raisin Rosemary Crisps, frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken, frozen Beef with Broccoli, Charles Shaw Cabernet (for $2.99!!!), the honey mango shaving cream your friend recommends is awesome… These are just several of my favorite things!!!

  9. 21

    Can’t beat the Two Buck Chuck! (tjs famous wine for 2-ish dollars!)

    • 22

      Once upon a time I liked this wine. And then I was in college and having a rough night and someone brought over two bottles of this stuff and let me tell you, just in case you were wondering: NO ONE should consume $4 worth of Chuck in a single night by herself. No one. Not ever.. Now the sight of this makes me cross-eyed and brings back the cool feel of the tile beneath my knees.

    • 23

      I have to disagree. I love a good, cheap wine but every time I partake of Chuck it feels as if he kicked me in the head the next day. And I am talking about feeling like this after one glass. I say pass on Chuck.

  10. 24

    *cookie butter
    *creamed honey
    *olive oil popcorn (sold in bags, near the chips)
    *canned coffee from Hawaii (grind beans in store before you leave) — it’s not always there though, depends on availability I guess
    *ginger cookies
    *lots of great wines
    *tea tree tingle shampoo
    *citrus shampoo
    (I use these alternating with my staple Biolage shampoo… having fine hair I find if I don’t use the same shampoo 2 days in a row I have more body. And these two from Trader Joe’s are great and don’t weigh your hair down. I keep the Tea Tree one in my guest bath also, and friends and family have actually made me take them to Trader Joe’s to get their own before leaving town!)

    Goodness gracious, there’s so much more I love there, this is just off the top of my head. If I think of more I’ll comment again tomorrow.

  11. 25

    Orange chicken, sweet potato tots, any cheeses, pumpkin pancake mix, corn salsa, the peach salsa is amazing, the small chocolate bars, the one pound plus chocolate bars for baking, gummy tummies (my son’s favorite), any of their finger foods in the frozen section, the sweet tea, fresh garlic (for some reason it is SO much better than anywhere else), cream (better price), chicken sausage, applewood smoked bacon, teriyaki chicken, pecan pralines (I can’t buy these anymore because I can’t stop eating them when I do…very sad), nuts of any sort, oatmeal bar soap, olive oil, wine…

    Why yes, I do shop there.

  12. 27

    Soy and flax seed chips. Discovered them house sitting for a professor in college. They sound truly disgusting and normally I hate soy anything but these are great. No replacement for tortilla chips but so good.

  13. 28

    It’s very easy to go overboard at Trader Joe’s and wind up with a BIG surprise at check-out! Those 99 cent and $1.99 items quickly add up. Take your time and cruise the perimeter or pick an aisle (or two) each trip and savor each item and choose the ones that really appeal to you or that someone has told you about. You really can’t go wrong and if you truly don’t like something, I’ll bet someone else in the family will; and if not, just eliminate that item from your shopping list and make room to try something new! Happy shopping!

    • 29

      Actually, TJ’s has always had a deal that if you don’t like something, they’ll take it back no questions asked!! They really do have wonderful customer service and the vibe in the store is just fun!

      We love the bottled enchilada sauce (you can just use a little bit to add to bean dip, for example, and then close it back up unlike a can of enchilada sauce! The boxed mac and cheese is yummy, as are the pita bite crackers and anything chocolate in a plastic tub! Can’t beat the prices on cheese, dried fruits and nuts or, well, just about anything!!

  14. 30

    The cocoa and sea salt almonds are amazing. Thank you to everyone for the comments above my list of things to try just increased.

  15. 31

    so- my first house was 2 blocks from the original trader joe’s (store #1) and for our new house, one of the requirements was that it had to be near trader joe’s – within walking distance. i haven’t shopped at a “regular” grocery store in YEARS…can’t remember when, actually. we buy all our regular food there- a lot of stuff is regional/local- so what we have at my TJ’s, you might not have at yours. that being said- i love the Bistro Edamame Salad. The Chicken Tikka Masala (fresh). The sweet potato gnocchi (frozen) sweet potato fries (frozen) – and then stuff like fresh salmon, cheese, produce, yogurt, almond milk, etc. we don’t buy anything special there- just our regular food! glad you have a tj’s- i wouldn’t want to live without one! Haha!

  16. 32

    Ok well in my experience the parking lot is never not busy but the store always seems to be manageable. My favs are the fresh flowers at crazy prices, their salad dressings the spicy thai and the raspberry gorgonzola so good, their chicken sausages any flavor but especially the sundried tomato, and frozen pot stickers dipped in aforementioned thai dressing. I love love that they have butternut squash fresh and all cut up so you get all the veggie goodness for recipes etc.. without any of the work. Also the organic creamy tomato and roasted red pepper and tomato soup are awesome! Its the only tomato soup we eat in our house now. There isn’t much I don’t like. ha ha…I was not aware of the shaving cream though so I am going to have to give it a whirl. Happy Shopping!

    • 33
      Marie M.C.` says:

      Ditto on the organic tomato and red pepper (in a rectangle package) soup! Amazing. Add a grilled cheese sandwich = dinner or lunch.

  17. 34

    In no particular order: cilantro and jalapeno hummus, frozen Belgian waffles, frozen macaroni & cheese, Power Berries, cookie butter, olive oil popcorn, and last but not least, Two Buck Chuck Wine.

  18. 35

    Love the tub of little chocolate chip cookies, somewhat addicting though!

  19. 36

    I always buy the Brie bites, they are really good! Also, the Two Buck chuck and pumpernickel pretzels! Oh, and the Lacey cookies.

  20. 37

    The little tubs of cookies are really good; Sarah loves the “Cat Cookies for People”, basically little cinnamon graham crackers shaped like cats.

    I love the Cookie Batter Butter, and will just eat a spoon full straight from the jar with nothing else. I have to stop at one or I will make myself sick with it.

    They have these dark chocolate sea salt coated almonds that are amazing. Pretty much all their candy is great, and they have some awesome things at Christmas (make a note to look for the dark chocolate sea salt caramels next year. Trust me.)

    I also buy spices there, and quite frequently they’re less expensive than either HEB or Wal-Mart, and the quality is so much better. I also try to buy bread there, and if I have the cooler in the car with me, I will buy produce and dairy because it’s normally a really good deal. (Our Trader Joe’s is in the Woodlands, and we live in Kingwood, and unless it’s my last stop on the way back, I almost never make it home in a “safe” time with dairy and produce.)

    • 38

      Be careful with their bread. No or very few preservitives so it will get mold quickly.
      The garlic hummus is great and all the chocolates. If you want the special Christmas items buy them in early Nov as they sell out quickly.

      The cinnamon pita chips are wonderful with fruit salsa (basically cut up strawberries, apples, kiwi and a spoonful of jam).

      • 39

        That’s actually why I like the bread, but yes, the downside is it spoils more easily. You can also freeze part of the loaf if you’re worried about that, and thaw it out later.

        I’ve tried several different kinds of their hummus, and it’s all really good. Even better than the HEB stuff, which I thought I would not ever say.

  21. 40

    Wow! I’ve learned so much through reading these comments. Why have I been going to Trader Joe’s for years but never knew about cookie butter? That’s definitely on my list now! We love the dried fruit “Bits and Pieces” (much cheaper than the dried fruit bars and still so good)! From frozen food, we love the orange chicken and the potstickers, we love the honey wheat pretzel rods and many of the chips, hummus is good…I really don’t have many things I didn’t like from there!

  22. 41

    I’m so glad you asked this question! I have always felt the same way. I’m bookmarking this post so I can check back later. Thanks!

  23. 44

    I could go on and on, but before I do, don’t attempt to go on a Sunday evening when the parking lot is less than half full. For they will be out of half the items you need. They must start re-stocking early Monday morning.

    But, here is the list:
    organic produce
    three layer hummus
    longboard corn chips
    small chocolate chip cookies in the round plastic tub – ADDICTIVE!
    chocolate oat bars
    buttermilk pancake mix
    organic marinara sauce

    Enjoy! Start small and just try a couple of things each time – you will be an addict in no time flat!

  24. 45

    Okay, so the first time I’ve ever commented on your blog, but Trader Joe’s is serious stuff! My husband and I LOVE the following items (and their prices!) at TJ’s:

    -Wine- Cheap, good, and oh so cheap!
    -Body Products- especially the hand soaps, and moisturizers
    -Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups- Put them in the freezer
    -Their proof over night and bake mini croissants
    -Their cheeses! Heavens, the cheeses! Inexpensive, and a great selection!
    -Their greens mixes $1.99 for a bag of spring mix! Every single day!
    -Frozen asparagus spears
    -Spanish olive oil. Cheaper by a long shot than most, and great quality.
    -Their chicken burritos
    -The orange chicken. Oh my, the BEST!

    Almost everything we’ve tried from Trader Joe’s has been fabulous. All of their pre-packaged and gourmet items are usually cheaper than a conventional grocery store. Their eggs and milk are too! The best part of TJ’s is their staff are amazing people, who love food, and will help you pick out whatever it is you’re looking for, and give you their honest opinion if you ask for it!

    Hope this helps!

  25. 46

    The frozen veggies, esp corn, Haricot verts, spinach; fresh veggies: brussel sprouts, arugula, southern greens; triple ginger cookies; frozen salmon filets; pizza dough; great pepperoni; every day olive oil; jars and canned goods: sundried tomatoes, pesto, pinto beans, canned corn. And much more! The cookie butter is amazing but I won’t buy it anymore – don’t recommend reading the nutrition information if you want to enjoy it :)

  26. 47

    trader joe’s peanut butter, sliced goat cheese, ezekiel bread, mediterranean salad, pre-packaged chicken salad with quinoa, black bean tortilla chips

  27. 48

    In no particular order: chicken sausage, cheese selection, flax seed chips, my girls LOVE the Parmesan Pups (pigs in blankets) and the chicken taquitos. Any of their relish/spreads – eggplant, roasted red pepper spread, just pour over some cream cheese and serve with crackers! Olive oil, baking soda (it comes in a can with a lid so it doesn’t go bad as quickly as box variety). Probably tons more, but these are at the top of my list when I go to TJ!

  28. 49
    Laura Stultz says:

    Orange chicken, peanut butter cups, cheese, boxed soup, gluten free pasta, trader os, dipping chocolate chip cookies, two buck chuck,popcorn, never had anything we didn’t love. I drive quite a ways and stock up when I go.

  29. 50

    Well, I am jealous because we don’t have a Trader Joe’s. Yet. It needs to go on my list of stores to actively campaign for. ;)

  30. 51

    Trader Joes, eh, not all that impressed. “Healthy” boxed and processed foods..no thanks. I AM addicted to their Kettle Corn though. Oh my word…it’s legal crack in a bag!

  31. 52
    Julie Smith says:

    Believe it or not, this guy (and his wife, I think) started a blog where he samples and rates every product at Trader Joe’s. it’s “unironically” (as my teenage daughter likes to say) titled http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/. Sadly, there’s no Trader Joe’s yet in Dallas, though I hear one’s coming, but you could check out his site.

  32. 55

    Trader Joe staples: fresh pizza dough, teryaki tofu, hummus, nuts, harvest grain, tea trea oil, shampoo, laundry detergent, lemon yogurt (yummy with their ginger cereal), apple cider (heated up a wonderful treat), soy cherry chocolate ice cream, Joe Joes…. I could go on and on. Lived in CA for many years and regularly shopped at TJ’s and then moved to TX 9.5 years ago and lived without it. Last Summer we were reunited and it feels so good!

  33. 56

    One more thing… There are Trader Joe Cook books available at bookstores that use the TJ products.

    • 57

      Ugh, be careful with them though, I was gifted one for Christmas recently and I was SO excited. After going through it, not only is there not a SINGLE recipe that I will make, I was astounded to find recipes for things like English Muffin Pizza – seriously? Who the heck would need a COOKBOOK for that?? Still love TJ’s though (they didn’t write the book!). I think you are better off looking at their monthly flyers for recipe ideas.

  34. 58

    My family loves their peanut butter filled pretzels – they are wonderful! We also like their salsa.

  35. 59

    They have microwaveable steel cut oatmeal that is in the freezer section. It is like $1.29 a box and so yummy. It comes in a vaccuumed sealed bag that you take it out of, nuke for three minutes and presto you have oatmeal that tastes like you spent hours slaving away over. We don’t have a TJ close by so when I go to one I look like the “Crazy Oatmeal Lady” because I buy like 20!

  36. 60

    What is cookie butter? Is it butter? What do you use it in?

  37. 63

    Re: the lavender dryer bags, i go to TJ’s just for those! Ok, while I’m there I usually buy a bunch of snack food, but for me the lavender dryer bags are the bomb.

  38. 64

    Oh how I love TJ’s

    Wine!
    Steal Cut Oats- frozen or dry
    Bagels
    Edamame- shelled NOT frozen
    Tuna- can’t explain it but its soooo much better!
    Lentel Soup
    Frozen stuff is AWESOME- Veggie Burrito’s, Spanikopita, Pot stickers, fish, Eggplant Parm
    Toffee
    Pumpernickle Pretzels
    Nuts- good price.

  39. 65

    Melanie, this might be the biggest public service you’ve ever performed. (or at least the most helpful one for me, ha!) I recently moved to a city with a Trader Joe’s and I did the same thing on my first (and only) visit. I bought a box of chocolates I heard about on Twitter and went home completely overwhelmed. I’m now taking copious notes :)

  40. 66

    I LOVE the dryer bags! I only use them on *MY* laundry, not the boys and only as a little treat. (How pathetic is my life when dryer bags are a treat?)

    Here’s my list of must haves:
    lip balm (seriously LOVE it!)
    orange chicken and either the cilantro chicken won tons or the pot stickers
    chocolate oat brownie bars (I think that’s what they’re called, they’re in a teal box by the cereal bars)
    cereal bars (for the kids’ lunches, no hfcs)
    rosemary ham (by the deli stuff)
    rosemary raisin crisps (by the crackers)
    Irish cheese (by the fru fru cheeses, eat with the above mentioned rosemary ham and the crisps for a yummy girly lunch)
    mini bagels (these don’t keep well-no preservatives-so eat them in a few days)
    tortillas (see above re: no preservatives)
    beer brats (and buy another beer to soak them in, it’s just a buck!)
    any of the $.99 little candy bars by the check out
    any of the individual servings of pasta, I like the gorgonzola whatever it is frozen pasta (Mommy needs lunch, too and I figure it is cheaper than going out!)

    I think the hardest thing for me when I was first going (we’ve had one here for just 2 years) is that it is ALL new to me. When you to go Walmart your eye knows what you’re looking for. You know that the cereal you like is halfway down the aisle on the left on the top shelf. You know that the box is yellow with a bowl of Cheerios on it so you just look for that. When you go to TJs for the first time EVERYTHING is new so it is a lot overwhelming. Go first thing in the morning once Caroline goes to school (DO NOT take her the first time, trust me!). Just browse, but have a budget in mind! And have fun!

  41. 67

    Let’s see-
    Their cherry preserves are amazing- MY Caroline says she can eat them straight from the jar no toast or biscuit needed
    Organic marinara sauce-it’s cheap and the best jarred sauce I’ve ever had
    fresh pizza dough- really good!
    anything chocolate in a tub- seriously, dangerous stuff
    and as already mentioned by several people, the two buck chuck (charles shaw wine for $2.99) I did not believe that wine that cost $2.99 could be good. I was wrong.

  42. 68

    Blue Corn tortillas and their frozen Roasted Corn. And of course wine.

  43. 69

    OH and in the winter they have Peppermint JoJo’s, which are essentially peppermint Oreos.

    • 70
      Marie M.C.` says:

      I’m not an Oreo fan but at Christmas I stock up on Peppermint JoJo’s. I still have some in my freezer (yes, folks you can freeze store bought cookies) and had a couple last night for dessert.

  44. 71

    Oh how I love TJ’s! We have lived by one in every state until Missouri. They have them in St. Louis and K.C., but not by me. :-(. Here are the items I stock up on every single time I am in a TJ city:

    Kids organic drinkable yogurt
    Salsa verde (the green amazingness) – we use it on everything
    chocolate hazelnut mini biscotti’s
    TJ’s Marinara in a can – the best ever!
    Blondies brownie mix – oh my word.
    Cereal bars, granola bars
    sliced almonds, raw pecans – so cheap and we use them on salads all year.
    four cheese frozen pizza
    pizza dough in fridge section
    Cornbread mix – very sweet, whole pieces of corn. Yum.
    Refrigerated cinnamon rolls in a can. Yeah.
    And in the Christmas season – Candy-Cane Joe’ Joe’s! They are like oreos with peppermint filling and crunchies in the middle. Oh wow. I buy and freeze these. When they are out they are out. Sad day.

    Ok. Now I’m hungry, so I’ll stop! Enjoy your trip! Take a coffee and go during the day, that will be your best time. :-)

  45. 72

    Their cookie butter is divine — it’s similar to the Biscoff spread that’s everyone but is slightly different. I’m also a big advocate of their Joe Joe’s cookies, especially the vanilla flavor. And their Maple Leaf cookies are to die for as well.

    Clearly for me Trader Joe’s is the opposite of healthy, haha.

  46. 73

    Jo Jo and chocolate cat cookies.

  47. 74

    Funny, I asked the same question on Facebook before I went to Trader Joe’s the first time recently. I tried several items that were suggested and found some on my own; the secret is just to keep trying different things until you find what you love. They are very good about taking things back; in fact the clerk told me you don’t even have to return the item but just tell them you didn’t like it and they will give you your money back! Haven’t tried that yet. Here’s my suggestions:

    1. Mandarin Orange Chicken. Several commenters suggested this and it’s seriously delicious. Fix it in the oven on a cookie sheet so it will be crisp.

    3. Frozen croissants, either in chocolate or almond. You have to plan ahead with these since they have to rise overnight but when you bake them, it is so worth it. Fluffy, flaky and like they were just baked in a bakery.

    3. Banana bread. Pretty much everything we tried in their fresh bakery items has been wonderful but the banana bread is moist and delicous and better than anything I can make at home.

    4. Blondie brownie mix. Every one of the mixes I have tried has been great but this one is especially good. One reason is that you add a whole stick of butter. How can they NOT be good?

    Just wander and pick out what looks good to you. I’ll be interested to hear what you like.

  48. 75

    I agree with everything above – the cheese selection is fantastic and reasonably priced. Pizza dough is really good (love the garlic and herb!). We buy all of our frozen vegetables there. The cilantro salad dressing and the champagne pear salad dressings are really good. Great selection of dried fruit and nuts. Love, love the cornbread mix – add a little honey to it and it’s fabulous. Love the sea salt brownies and pretzel baguettes. My husband’s not a fan of the two-buck chuck (TJ’s wine), but there’s a really good selection of reasonably priced wines too. Love our TJ’s!

  49. 76

    Their frozen fish is really good! We’ve had the mahi-mahi and halibut. Also love the frozen Belgian Waffles (the mini pancakes are horrible though). The pizza dough is fabulous. I also love the organic apple slices. Perfect for lunches and they don’t turn brown! All of their nuts are much cheaper than buying elsewhere. Honestly, I’m always in shock when I check out at Trader Joe’s because it’s so much less expensive. I’m not even sure I’ve ever gone over $100.

  50. 77

    In the salad/deli refrigerated section:
    Various salads
    Soy chorizo burritos – sounds weird, but they are fantastic
    Smoked cheeses of any sort, or any cheeses of any sort

    Dried fruit section:
    Candied hibiscus flowers – must be a seasonal item

    Freezer:
    Olympiad pizza – Greek style frozen pizza
    Per a fellow TJ customer – avoid the Asian ice cream ball things.

    Pumpkin pancake mix

    Lavender handsoap is great for washing vegetables since it’s pretty dilute.

    My experience is that the fresh meat should just be avoided.

    • 78
      tall blonde says:

      The Mochi (Asian ice cream ball things) are actually quite good. The green tea is our fav. Now I will say the texture is a big surprise the first time – like raw dough filled with small balls of partly melted ice cream. But oh, so, yummy! A great summer treat and kids usually get used the texture quick and adore them.

  51. 79

    Three things that I buy all the time there.

    Pop up Sponges
    Frozen Chocolate Croissants (you let them rise overnight and I swear you would think you bought them fresh from a French Bakery) Yes – they are that good.

    Mediterranean Greek Yogurt Dip. It is fantastic on crackers or veggies.

    Still trying things out, but so far almost everything has been fantastic! I did try some of the cheap red wine (under $8) and sorry to say that it was not my favorite, but they do have some very good wines in the $10-$20 range!

    I still can’t get over some of the prices. Really amazing And the flowers are great!!

  52. 80

    Our nearest Trader Joe’s is about three hours away so whenever we are able to get there I stock up on:
    Martellozzo Prosecco! At seven bucks a bottle you can’t beat it.
    Rosemary Marcona Almonds – great for snacking
    Their bags of dried fruit tend to cost less than regular grocery stores.
    Triple Ginger Snaps
    Honey Almond hand soap

  53. 81

    The majority of my grocery shopping is done at Trader Joe’s which is a shame since they don’t give gasoline credits like the other grocery stores but oh well. Trader Joe’s used to confuse me but I finally learned the layout of the store and do the same “route” every single trip in the same TJ’s. We have several in town. So her goes…some of the packaged ready to eat foods are good, especially the falalfal feast, their fresh pizza dough, hummus flavors, great cheeses, love the different salad mixes, fresh fruits and veg’s except avocados, great breads, tortialla’s, English muffins, cookies, good bacon, free coffee and sample bar (mentally walking my route here),peanut butter and jams, sugar and spices and flour, great canned foods of all sorts, boxed macaroni for kids, pasta sauces (and I”m married to an Italian so that’s a great endorsement), the olive, sunflower and coconut oils, rice and pastas,
    great cracker selection and I love their thick crispy graham crackers, frozen chicken breasts in a bag that don’t stick together and are resealable, chips of all kind especially the big dipper corn chips and tortilla chips, oh ya cinnamon pita chips, organic popcorn in a bag, the eggs, milk, butter and yogurts, especially the kids on in the tube that come in a box, frozen blueberries, have fun in the ice cream/dessert isle and try the frozen macarons oh lordy, frozen pot stickers and frozen Indian food choices, and hurry to see if they have any Peppermint candy Joe Joe cookies left because it’s a holiday only thing, the boxed cookies of all sorts, teas and Smooth coffee bean can with a parrot on it, dog and cat food, Dr Bronner’s soap, tea tree face soap, lOVE the Spa shampoo, coconut hand cream, love the different energy bars especially the Nice brand, sour cherry and grape juice and good wine selection, the jelly beans are better than Jelly Belly and the Valrhona choc bars for baking and cravings. See if they have the stuffed animal hidden in the store for the kids to find and get a free sucker. Their bottled water is good too.

  54. 82

    P.S. Forgot the granola bars the, TJ brand that comes in a green box. It’s as good as a candy bar. The other fruit one’s a great too.

  55. 83

    I have yet to go to a Trader Joe’s since the closest one is a state away. But someone brought a bottle of ChocoVine (from TJ) to Thanksgiving dinner and it was so good! I was a little skeptical about chocolate wine. But in the end, chocolate+wine. What’s not to love? Turns out you can buy other brands at Costco and other places, but my first taste came from Trader Joe’s!

  56. 84

    The dryer bags give your clothes a very light lavender scent and can be used more than once. But if you use them too many times, as I did, they break open and there is lavender all over the dryer! Not sure I would buy them again.
    I do love the Oatmeal soap bar, Spanish Olive Oil, Triple Ginger Cookies and Uncrystallized Candied Ginger. They also have good prices on dried fruit and nuts. Since we live in a state without a Trader Joe’s I have only tried products that travel well.

  57. 85

    How could I forget…..boxed mixes ie vanilla cake and choc pepperment loaf mix, pumpkin bread, any of them! We love the cornbread mix but don’t buy it if you don’t like the texture of whole corn kernels sprinkled in it.

  58. 86

    Love all the comments!! We buy the TJ Organic Vodka Sauce by the case (our TJ is one hour away), the Maragogype coffee, and the little chocolates with almond bits shaped like Pringles potato chips! (among many other favorites)

  59. 87
    Kate Bassett says:

    Soyaki! It’s a soy ginger garlic teriyaki marinade that makes fish, chicken, veggies, beef sing! That’s my fave. I try to stay away from the candy and cookies because they’re so amazing – especially the teeny PB cups!

  60. 88

    I’ve never set foot in a Trader Joe’s, although after reading these comments, I want to. I do have a question for you though. Roasted seaweed?

  61. 89

    Oh Trader Joe’s! Too many to count, I love the garlic naan bread, cheeses, cookies. Try going at an odd time, you will be hooked! I actually wrote a list of my top 100 things to buy at TJ’s, yes I love them! :)

  62. 90
    Sallie Baker says:

    Their thin…..really thin….ginger cookies, and the toasted coconut ones are wonderful!
    and if you like licorice, theirs is amazing!

  63. 91

    I like their stuff, but beware their meat. Just spent 15.99 on a fully cooked prime rib that had a sell by/freeze by date of 10 days earlier. This is in Houston on Shepherd.

  64. 92

    We loooooooooove Trader Joes. To the ridiculous extent that we drive nearly 3 hours to get to one (2-3 times a year) and buy an embarrassing amount of food in one trip. :)

    My daughter loves their Banilla Yogurt, their granola bars, their applesauce/pearsauce/fruitsauce and their squeeze fruits, their Honey-O cereal (seriously just like Cheerios but cheaper, their “Trader Joe’s O’s” are just like regular Cheerios but cheap!), and their cheese sandwich crackers. My husband will eat just about everything in their frozen ethnic food section. Their frozen fruit (especially pineapple) is awesome and the only ingredient listed is the fruit (yay) instead of all the preservatives. Their canned soups are great so are their tortilla chips. Their cookies are good too – we really like the cashew caramel ones especially!

    Seriously, anything you normally eat and like try their version – we have yet to strike out! So good!

  65. 93

    cat cookies, orange chicken, greek yogurt, bags of pre-washed and chopped kale ( great for smoothies ) mini chocolate chip cookies, organic white corn tortilla chips, kettle corn, frozen french green beans..the list can go on and on :-)

  66. 94
    Melanie L. says:

    I love TJ’s too! They have chocolate chip cookies that are dipped in chocolate on one side…so amazing! I love their salad tomatoes, pepper jelly, peanut butter filled pretzels. I don’t so a lot of shopping there but am planning a trip after reading these responses. I need to increas my fish consumption and I’m not a fan of frozen fish but I’m going to try the salmon. Great post!

  67. 95

    OOoops…..nuts (especially pine nuts for pesto with their fresh basil and garlic) honey and spices, too. The rainbow pepper corns are fab dry pan roasted in a cast iron skillet until they begin to pop a little and the aroma kicks in. Let cool and put them back in the grinder they came in. Makes a real difference in flavor. Family actually requests it for Christmas presents!

  68. 96

    Thanks for the tips! Trader Joe’s is coming to Colorado. So excited!!!

  69. 97
    Marie M.C.` says:

    Good gracious! Just one thing to recommend is IMPOSSIBLE! I’m blessed because I have a Trader Joe’s only 10 blocks away. Not only do they have interesting, good tasting stuff — the prices are great. I try to buy all my dairy products from them because not only is the taste is outstanding the prices are significantly less than my local supermarket. I stopped eating eggs years ago because the eggs I bought from Lucky’s were yucky. I buy eggs, butter (Kerrygold butter from Ireland, divine), milk, half/half, sour cream, cream cheese (block and whipped) — OMG the taste is so superior to the supermarket brand. My list could go on and on. You can try something and if you don’t like it just bring it back. NO hassle whatever. They have a coffee bar and you can try different coffees. I found one I love that way. Always having taste testings of something. Melanie, try it, I promise you will become a devoted TJ customer.

  70. 98

    I love TJ’s. Here is my short list of must haves

    Organic Tomato Basil Soup
    Frozen Orange Chicken
    Frozen Brown Rice
    any of the TJ versions of Oreos..I forget their name
    Spicy Pecans
    Almond Butter w/ flax seeds
    Tomato Paste (in the tube)

  71. 99

    Love TJ’s! Peanut butter granola bars, protein oatmeal, Bar-b-que sauce (y husband loves!), chili sauce, pizza sauce, marinara sauce, great price on the fat free feta, bag of provolone and mozzeralla chesse (green lable), love their veggies (bag of 3 romaine lettuce hearts, red beppers, red onions, avacados, berries), fresh salmon, frozen salmon, nuts/trail mix, great prices on wine, salt and pepper chips are the BOMB! and whole wheat honey pretzel twists, 0% fat free greek yogurt, price on organic milk is good too! My husband also likes the Santa Maria Tri Tip, and TJ’s Hot Sausage. The bread/bagles are yummy too!
    Plus, their policy is…if you don’t like it bring it back with your receipt for a refund! How great is that! I have never tried this cookie butter others speak of…must try!

    • 100
      Marie M.C.` says:

      My TJ’s doesn’t even require a receipt. Their return policy is the BEST I’ve ever seen. They want to encourage people to try different items and if you don’t like it — bring it back — with or without a receipt.

  72. 101

    Try TraderJoesfan.com
    They have recipes, reviews and favorite foods, by people that shop there, not the store chain itself.

    Some of our favorites
    Flax corn chips
    Salsa verde
    Frozen nain bread
    Trader Joes battered fish nuggets (better than it sounds)

  73. 102

    WINE! Great wine at VERY reasonable prices. I don’t think I’ve spent over $9 for a good bottle and most of the time it’s less. Here’s my list (below) and now I need to try the dryer bag things and the cookie butter. Thanks for posing the question!

    Sweet & Salty Trek Mix – by the nuts
    CHEESE!
    English Toffee
    Hummus
    Spicy black bean dip
    Too many good items to list!

  74. 103

    Although you all have given me a LOT of new things I now want to try…..can’t believe I have not seen on the list are:
    Bruschetta (Both Tomato and Artichoke) !!!

    I live in Ohio and before our Trader Joe’s came in…when I would go to Indianpolis, would stock up on these…great! I have also seen them in our grocery store under a different label but the exact same product for double the price!

    LOVE Trader Joe’s

  75. 104

    The lemon kitchen hand soap is lovely. Not sure if they still have it. Joes-Os are pretty good (even though I’m gluten free now I remember them well lol). The sea salt dark chocolate covered almonds are to die for. Any of their chocolate bars. The mashed potatoes are awesome. They’re real potatoes but sooo easy. Um, if you know anyone gluten free, their gluten free pasta is the cheapest I’ve ever found. Their olive oil is fantastic and the best priced in town. The Wisconsin sharp cheddar is great and phenomenal price too. (I’m sure that everyone’s suggestions are just as overwhelming as wandering in the store). If you like sweet wines, Joseph Handler Sweet Red is amazing and only 5$ a bottle.

  76. 105

    Trader Joes makes a tomato-less corn salsa – sold in a glass jar near the salsas. It makes an awesome dip when you mix it with a can of black beans, drained. We love their pumpkin bread mix, their pretzels, all the salsas, the bean dip, they have great deals on plants. They also sell a chewable melatonin, peppermint flavor, if you (or Caroline) need help sleeping :)! Those thin chocolate chip cookies in the round plastic containers are addictive.

  77. 106

    I’d definitely check the chocolate covered power berries!!! They’re in a light blue bag and generally kept above the freezer items on a shelf. AMAZING!!!
    Also, the chipotle salsa. Oh boy. As for snacks- We love (and forgive me because I dont’ know what they’re actually called) the Veggie Sticks. All of the above= super addicting! I also love the vanilla creme yogurt/blueberry cream yogurt. They come together in a yellow and blue package. So good. Any of their trail mixes are going to be great too! I also love their lemon sparkling water. Hope that helps! Good luck on your next trip!

  78. 107
    Cindi in Boston says:

    -Precooked edamame in a pod
    -bon bons (strawberry is my favorite)
    -frozen minced garlic cubes. (best invention ever!) they also have cilantro and basil.
    -strawberry licorice
    -tea tree essential oil
    -Ice cream sandwiches
    -mini ice cream cones
    -3 buck chuck (wine)

  79. 108

    Ginger Cats
    Dark Chocolate
    Charles Shaw Cabernet

  80. 109

    Okay, there is a Trader Joe’s about a mile from my house, which in WA equals walking distance. We have two children, two and eleven months, so we eat quite a few carbs. Here are a few of our favorite things: rosemary raisin crackers + goat cheese (add some red wine and you’ve got at home date night!0, New Zealand white cheddar + 12 grain mini-snack crackers, we like their golden roasted flax seeds on our oatmeal, they make a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich that is excellent, candy cane Joe Joe’s are a seasonal cookie at Christmas that is delicious, their bacon is great, their price for organic chicken breast is generally cheaper than or the same price as our QFC. Their pot stickers, pizza, and mandarin chicken are good freezer items. They have good frozen vegetables. And good prices for rice, olive oil, peanut butter, hummus, cheese, wine.

  81. 110

    Oh, I also learned recently learned that Trader Joe’s brand products are GMO-free. http://www.traderjoes.com/about/customer-updates-responses.asp?i=4

  82. 111

    I love the cilantro salad dressing, the kimchi fried rice, the pot stickers, dark chocolate covered cherries, breakfast granola bars, wine, ok maybe I should make you a list of what I don’t like…the plain fried rice was meh, the chocolate covered blueberries aren’t that great….that’s about it – I have loved almost everything I have ever bought there. Surprisingly, I find it cheaper than our normal grocery store.

  83. 112

    Tea Tree Body Wash – it’s good for what ails you!

  84. 113

    Oh Trader Joe’s – what a fantastic store! Here are some of my favorites:

    - Do I even need to say it – cookie butter! – that is apparently a favorite of many people
    - Triple ginger thins (SO GOOD!)
    - Little pirouette type cookies, I think they are called cocoa snaps or something similar
    - They have a really good salsa called “salsa authentica” or something like that
    - The chicken potstickers and mushroom ravioli in the frozen section
    - Italian orange soda
    - Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels
    - The mango and peach flavored yogurt cups
    - TJ’s chocolate chips
    - Olive oil packed albacore tuna

    Now I need to go to Trader Joe’s ASAP because I am craving their food : )

    • 114

      I forgot the veggie sticks and the 12-grain mini snack crackers – they are the most delicious and healthy crackers you will ever eat!

      ok, I just need to stop now ; )

  85. 115

    We have had a Trader Joes for a little over a year now, and I like you was very intimidated at first. But now…LOVE!! Anything I have ever tried from there is delicious!! Very good prices too. We love the Raisen Bran clusters, the cereal bars, the fruit, the pizza sauce, all the cookies. I could go on and on! But if you see something that looks interesting and you might like it, I suggest getting it, especially anything that looks seasonal. Because when it is gone, it is gone :( Have fun!

  86. 116

    So many good things to try.
    Some of the ones I love:
    peanut butter filled pretzels
    Fleur de Sel carmel sauce (great on ice cream, or waffles with bananas!)
    chocolate covered pomegranate seeds
    chocolate cheese (not sure if they have it all the time)
    Orange chicken (Freezer Section)
    Spinach Artichoke dip (Freezer section)
    Edamame (Freezer section).

    Let us know what you end up trying and what you like!

  87. 117

    Chili Lime Chicken Burgers….in the frozen foods section.

  88. 118
    Jennifer Schmidt says:

    I love their Orange Chicken (frozen), Maple Leaf Cookies (so yummy!), Sweet Potato Chips, Popcorn with Herbs & Spices, and so many other things. :) Trader Joe’s is such a fun place to shop!

  89. 119

    Hope your “funkiness” goes away and you feel better really soon, Melanie! :)

  90. 120

    Their fresh pizza dough, which I freeze. The lavender dryer bags are great, in fact I wrote a whole blog post about them one time. Vanilla joe joes, citrus shampoo and conditioner, nuts., par baked bread, salami, frozen appies, white cheddar and shell macaroni, TJ brand roasted tomatoes and pesto.
    Their florals! Fresh basil in the summer. Rosemary plants. Orchids. And if you’re having a wedding or party they are happy to order in what you need.

    Their wine, which I use a very scientific method to choose and purchase… Look for the almost empty shelves, if everyone else loves it, you will too!
    Frozen mangos in my smoothy every morning.

    I do NOT like their mint marshmallows or their version of good and plenty candy.

  91. 121
    kacey korting says:

    Ok so my ‘go-tos’ at Trader Joes are … The Mediteranean Hummus!!!- Oh my word, the bruschetta – (but the refrigerated one not the bottled kind). We love the sparkling lemonades, we love so many of their appetizers in the freezer section – lemon grass or coconut chicken spring rolls, the puff pastry with onion and cheese, so many options – I just buy and keep in freezer for friends coming over. There is also a triple layer cheese torte with pesto and sundried tomatoes – yum. I always buy the vanilla meringues and their pita chips. So much fun – happy you will get to try so many yummies too!

  92. 122
    Kaitlin L. says:

    Cookie butter, definitely! They have a ton of great stuff, but the “flat banana” that I bought one day, when I was feeling adventurous, was not our family’s favorite. Also, my husband says that the frozen bebimbop (sp?) was not one that I needed to buy again.

  93. 123

    Oh TJ’s!! How I love thee….
    dark & milk chocolate almonds, frozen (small) family sized brown rice (awesome and microwavable for when you are in a hurry!) frozen edamame, puffed corn snacks that are just like Pirate’s Booty, Corn Relish you mix with salsa TDF, pumpkin bread mix!!!, and individually packed trail mix! LOVE TJ’s and they are always so dang friendly!!

  94. 124

    My husband and I LOVE Trader Joe’s. We are the weird people who would leave the airport on vacation and look for the nearest one. Now we have them in Texas! Still a trek from Aggieland but its something we do to get:

    Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels (Oh My Goodness they are addicting!)
    Wine!
    Hummus
    Cheese
    Naan Bread
    My boys love their Chocolate and the Peanut Butter Fiber Bars
    Olive Oil
    Coffee
    Lacey Cookies
    Fruit Leathers

    I like to try one or two new things each trip and just sample my way through the whole store.

  95. 125
    Judy in MI says:

    ~Grilled chicken strips (frozen section) – perfect for salads, pasta dishes, etc.
    ~~Balela Salad (love). I might be spelling that wrong – it’s in the refrigerated section near the lunch meats.
    ~Lunch meats (specifically the ham slices for 2.49 – great for sandwiches, but I heat and fold in half and put them on my version of the egg mcmuffin for the offspring
    S~pices – most are 1.99 which is a lot cheaper than the grocery store. They don’t have everything, mind you, but they have a pretty good selection.
    ~French milled soap
    ~Cheap chocolate bars (their box of 100 calorie light or dark chocolate bars are delicious)
    ~Joe-Joes – any flavor. I’m kind of partial to the mint ones at Christmas – so partial I didn’t bother buying any this year because I eat most of them.
    ~CHEESE
    ~Their caramel sauce. Have spoon, will dip. Double even.
    ~Bread and butter chips and their dill pickles. Yum.
    ~Vanilla
    ~Peaches when they’re in season. They are ugly cry worthy. So good.
    ~I make a great salad with their baby spinach, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and orzo with a lemon/olive oil salad dressing. Get in my mouf!!
    ~Their raspberry jam (not the organic one – I’ve never had that one) with their kerrygold butter on their sourdough bread toasted.

  96. 126

    I love Trader Joe’s. Thankfully, Louisville got one of its very own about a year and a half ago. That’s right, I can now drive 3 miles and get my own tub of Peanut Butter Cups (the milk chocolate ones) anytime I want because they. are. fabulous. Really, I go for Trader Joe’s for those. Everything else just plays second fiddle.
    I’m going to have to hunt down this cookie butter that everyone speaks of because HELLOOOOO, it sounds ah-mazing.

  97. 127

    You are too popular to read through the 113 comments ( I think it originally said 111, but by the time it took me to scroll back to the top to check, I am pretty sure 2 more people commented) to see if someone has already mentioned what I like from Trader Joes. I desperately enjoy the oatmeal raisin cookies. Let me take this second to state for the record, if you’re keeping – I do not care for oatmeal with raisin. However, these are delish! They come in plastic tub that I always feel is worth saving and re-using, but never do.

    I don’t know you, although I wish I did. I want to blog daily ( I don’t currently have a blog or a fan base big enough to support a daily blog), and when I read yours I find myself saying outloud ” hey I would word that like she just did!!” I don’t often talk to myself or relate to bloggers like I do you. Your blog is on the side of a friend of mines blog. Maybe she knows you? Maybe she is lucky.

    I have never commented before, but I feel like I should introduce myself.
    Hello, from Ohio!

  98. 128

    I buy chicken and vegetables there, but the BEST things are Chocolate Croissants and they are in the freezer section. You thaw them for 9 hours and BAM! Yummy, buttery, chocolatey goodness. Their everything bagel chips are great too!

    • 129

      Yes! Croissants. The almond and plain mini ones are also fantastic. Truly taste like you just went to a bakery (a really good bakery!). The only downside is that I often forget to put them out the night before :( but when I remember – BLISS!

  99. 130

    I don’t think I’ve ever had something from Trader Joe’s that I didn’t like. I recall having a sample of chicken breakfast sausage while in the store that was delicious. This was a huge surprise to me since I don’t care for ground chicken or turkey in any form. Of course, I stampeeded to the section where the sausage was sold to get a package or two. I’m not a wine drinker, but their “Two Buck Chuck” has won many awards so I bought that to have on hand for cooking. I don’t frequent this store nearly enough and can’t say why. The closest one to me is next door to a HomeGoods, and I go there all the time. Thanks for reminding me to check it out again.

  100. 131

    I love their Mint Creams, especially when they are in the freezer! I also like their powered Chai, Dark chocolate almonds covered in sea salt and Turbinado sugar, peppermint Jo-Joes at Christmas and their pumpkin pancake mix. We have really liked everything we have tried and it is fun to try one thing new every time you go! Enjoy!

  101. 132
    michelemybelle says:

    My friend sent me a salt grinder from TJ’s except no salt but Coffee beans, sugar, and chocolate all in one. Amazing in coffee, on ice cream, oatmeal, etc.

  102. 133
    Rachel R. says:

    We love the JoJo’s (like oreos), especially the peppermint ones at Christmas time! Also, chocolate covered raisins, blue corn tortilla chips, the kids’ squeezable yogurt, milk, eggs, frozen quiche, fruit leather, kid’s vitamins, all of the hummus and dips, crackers and most of the cereals. So glad they are finally in San Antonio!!

  103. 134

    GINGER SNAP COOKIES!!!!! HELLOOOO!!!!

    Brussel Sprouts on the stem!

    Blueberry Goat Cheese- serious. Not even kidding. SO amazing!!

    Scones-Choc Chip or Blueberry

    Any of the chocolate covered stuff. The dark chocolata, sea alt almond are CRAZY good!

    Green Tea mints are GROSS!

  104. 135

    We love Trader Joe’s! Orange chicken, meatless meatballs, edamame nuggets, nuts, almond butter, cereal bars, dunkers (different flavors), wine, pumpernickel pretzels, olive oil popcorn, various cheeses, frozen roasted corn, dog treats, just to name a few favorites. Our store is always crazy busy.

  105. 136

    I like Trader Joes’ and we’re within two miles of two different ones. It’s pretty crazy wonderful and I enjoy a lot of their stuff, but here’s a different take on what NOT to buy there:

    Meat. Unless you’re getting the bacon, sausages or deli meat. Since they don’t have a butcher on site it’s all brought in on truck on you can taste the difference.

    Bread. The poster who mentioned the lack of preservatives in the breads and baked goods was not kidding. Make sure you check expiration dates and if you’re not going to eat it right away, I’d keep it in the refrigerator. I’ve had stuff get moldy in about 24 hours.

    Green beans in a bag. once again, check the expiration dates. For some reason I can get the spinach in a bag and be fine for a week, but the green beans in a bag will go bad within a day or so.

    Pasta: I’ve had bad luck with the brand of pasta they sell there. It always turns out gummy and hard.

    Things I love: frozen mac and cheese, beer, milk, juices, granola bars, lollipops, dried fruit, trail mix, pasta sauce, coffee, bananas, fresh flowers, applesauce

  106. 137

    Melanie I am so with you. I have been leary of TJs – I just get overwhelmed. I only go in if I’ve tried something at a friend’s house — “Hey, these chips are great! Where’d you get them?” I’ve started a list from all these comments. It has bolstered me to try a new shopping venue! Thanks for the push!

  107. 138
    Sheryl in WA says:

    In the froen section they have a pretty good selection of appetizers. I always buy a few boxes to keep on hand in case someone drops by or I head to a girlfriend’s house for an impromptu wine night. Easy and really delicious. And yes, the dark chocolate almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar. I have 2-1/2 boxes of them in the cabinet and they are totally healthy – dark chocolate & almonds!! Health food! They have a yellow label and are up above the coolers in the freezer section. Don’t buy just one tub. And the Organic Reduced Sugar Strawberry Preserves. Yum! We go thru a lot of it and it has no HFCS. There are a few different flavors. Their shave cream is amazing and I really like the “…next to Godliness” cleaner. It’s green and located near the shave cream which, incidentally i bought for myself and now it’s all my husband uses, too. We went thru 3 boxes of the peppermint Joe Joes at Christmastime and now Oreos are a total letdown. Their arugula outlasts any that you’ll find in the grocery store – all their produce is pretty amazing. Great trail mix, too. Definitely go without Caroline the first time. I try to always go without my children. Good luck. I’m gonna go have some almonds…

  108. 139

    Keep a jar of cookie butter hidden and when you need something sweet in the later evening, just get a spoonful. If you need a bit of chocolate, half the spoon with some Nutella.

    The dryer sheets are lovely! Worth it cuz even after 5 or so loads, I cut open the bag (since its getting thin and holey after about 5 or so loads) and keep a small bowl here and there of the buds that are still smelling pretty good.
    I go in for a few things and come out with a cartful, can’t say anything really let me down. Get the Flyer, it gives interesting tidbits about the products.

  109. 140

    On my always get list….

    Hummus (refrigerated section)
    Falafel (frozen)
    Fried rice (frozen)
    Tom yum soup (frozen)

    Best place to buy orchids. Cheap cheap but last forever!

  110. 141

    I made my very first trip to Trader Joes this weekend. A new store just opened in Sarasota, Fl. so we took the drive over from Tampa and learned very quickly just how popular TJ’s is. The parking lot was NUTS! My new favorite treat–Mochi (pronounced ME-KAY-WAH-YA) Japanese Ice Cream Balls—OMG! OMG!! I bought some of the cookie butter also but haven’t tried it yet, sounds like I’m in for a treat :)
    Blessings to you, praying that your book will be a HUGE success,
    pat

  111. 142

    Dark chocolate covered coconut mango bites. In a little green and yellow bag. Not too sweet. Serious yumminess!!!!

  112. 143
    tall blonde says:

    If you ever get brave enough to take C – have her hunt for the “treasure box ” (ask at the front what their version is), to keep her busy and amused. They hide a treasure box somewhere in the store everyday. The kids who finds it gets to go up to the front counter, and gets to ring a bell and talk on the loudspeaker – and gets a sticker! Makes my 8 y/o distracted enough to stop asking me for all the yummy stuff they sell there. They also often have sample foods in the back corner – so stop by. Wine and beer tasting is pretty regular too, so you can test out the cheapo wines before you buy. Its pretty much a lot of convenient not so bad food and bad food, made slightly less bad, as they get rid of the stuff we really shouldn’t eat. And then some healthy stuff thrown in to make us feel better. But I still love TJ’s, just wouldn’t do all my shopping there. You’ll learn to integrate into your shopping rotation, I am confident.

  113. 144
    tall blonde says:

    PS: They sell roasted sea weed there too – my girlie loves them, thanks to TJs!

  114. 145

    They also have chewable melatonin in a relatively low dose. For those kids who have a hard time swallowing the pills. Mint flavored!

  115. 146
    Donna Small says:

    Believe it or not…canned tuna-their brand. It is the best canned tuna anywhere. We don’t have one so when I visit my son I buy a ton of canned tuna!!! LOL

  116. 147
    Marie M.C.` says:

    Years ago when I’d go to a dinner party all we’d talk about (after politics, religion and sex) were our cholesterol counts (we’ll all old farts) and how much our houses were worth. Now, after the requisite politics, religion and sex (yes, I’m joking about the sex!) — the conversation turns to Trader Joe’s. What did you buy there recently you’d recommend? It’s a cult following. When I leave Lucky’s I have smoke coming out of my ears because something has made me furious. I leave TJ’s and I’m smiling from ear to ear. Wonderful products, pleasant experience every time.

  117. 148

    Since leaving California, I’ve desperately missed Trader Joes. Had NO IDEA it was now in San Antonio. On my next visit home, you may have to step over me at T.J. as I lay prone on the floor, crying tears of joy.

    My favorite was the house blend coffee…

  118. 149

    Two words….

    COOKIE BUTTER!!

  119. 150

    We LOVE the Mandarin Orange Chicken. Add a little rice and it’s a super easy, cheap dinner on a busy night. We also like the JoJo Cookies (similar to Oreos) and the White Cheddar corn puffs.

  120. 151

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned them but the frozen chocolate croissants are amazing. I put them in a cold oven to proof overnight and bake them up fresh in the morning, saves me a trip to La Madeleine and money ($3.99/4). I haven’t tried the mini regular croissants yet but hear that they are just as good.

  121. 153
    Donna Dear says:

    Truffle Cheese!!

  122. 154

    I’m a little late to the party–but I LOVE their toasted coconut chips. I also love their pumpkin butter (in the jam section).

  123. 155

    Oh My Word! We had a Trader Joe’s in MD and I loved it. Then we moved to the Bahamas and sadly there is not a Trader Joe’s. Poor me. Seriously, I might have to check if there is a Trader Joe’s before we move back to the states.
    I don’t have time to read everything above, but I’ll tell you we bought{all these things are cheap and delicious} cheese, milk, yogurt {all very good and less than the regular store}, cookies, crackers and breads {the ginger snaps are amazing} and all of their frozen foods are excellent {you can pronounce all the ingredients}. The meats and produce were fine, but I wouldn’t go there specifically for them.
    I promise you’ll be adicted in no time at all. OH and the wine {if you live in an area where they sell wine at the grocery store} good and inexpensive wines there too!
    I ! Love ! Trader Joes !

  124. 156

    I basically do all my grocery shopping there. Favorite items: tomato basil hummus, chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, vanilla yogurt, mango mochis (frozen dessert section), frozen pizza (so many yummy varieties), frozen Mac n cheese (the 4 year old could eat her own weight in that stuff), lasagna (in refrigerator section — yummy quick lunch for two), dried mango, tea tree tingle body wash (bless you, Boomama, for recommending it — we don’t use anything else now), Hawaiian BBQ chips (my mother-in-law takes several bags home on the plane with her when she visits;), etc etc etc
    It is a great place to try new things and just experiment — I get something new on every trip. Yesterday it was kale chips:)

  125. 158

    Here is what we buy at Trader Joes:
    Dishwasher detergent – good price with no sulfates etc.
    Eggs & milk
    Organic juice
    trail mix
    chicken nuggets – kids love them
    letter cookies – so yummy!
    cereal bars – all flavors are great
    dark chocolate toffee almonds – little package by the checkstand
    flowers – their prices are great
    frozen burritos
    frozen vegetables
    hash browns – great price

    * I also bought the insulated grocery bag and it works great. It fits a 9X13 pan and I use it to take cold/hot caseroles to parties.

    You will love having a Trader Joes!

    I bought

  126. 159
    Christine says:

    A few days late to the TJs party, but oh my word! The honey mango shave gel would be my very first thing, but you’re already onto that. I love their tear free facial wash too. And the citrus shower gel. I absolutely can’t survive without their Green and White Tea with a Hint of Mint. SO AMAZING!! The blue cheese roasted pecan dip is fabulous with salt and pepper chips, as is their salsa especial and pico de gallo. I mix them together and it’s the perfect purchased salsa! I’d be hard pressed to say we tried something there that we didn’t absolutely love! Mine is within walking distance of the house and honestly I do virtually all my grocery shopping there. For staple items their prices are unbeatable. Their prices on rice, pasta, cheese, dairy, breads – you name it! They make their money on the stuff in that enormous center aisle with all the frozens, but really their basic grocery stuff is outstanding and the prices are fantastic. You’ll love their frozen grilled chicken strips – way cheaper too!

  127. 160

    Chocolate.
    And everything else.

  128. 161

    LOVE Trader Joe’s! Here’s what I always buy there:
    Peanut butter. They are like Adam’s (all natural, just peanuts and salt) but they are WAAAY cheaper.
    I like their French Village plain yogurt. I use it a lot in cooking and eating.
    They have some really fun vinaigrettes that are so much lower in fat! I recommend the champagne-pear one. Delicious on spinach salad with some pear and bacon and red onion and bleu cheese or gorgonzola sprinkles.
    They have really good prices on brown Jasmine rice too. Also whole wheat pasta.
    Only $2 for Himalayan pink rock salt!
    Always free samples!
    I get chicken broth there too. Free range, low sodium, fat free goodness.
    I love their tortilla chips. They are thick and hold up well to sauces and being put in an oven under layers of chicken and sour cream and cheese.
    Candied ginger! Kalamata olives! marinated artichoke hearts! Sundried tomatoes! All these things are affordable and yummy.
    I guess you get the idea. The thing about t-j’s is, their stuff is affordable enough to try. Oh they also have lemon curd (you can make tarts to eat whilst watching Downton) and seville orange marmalade. AND fig jam! Pour it over a wedge of Brie. So good! And if you don’t like something, chances are good you only spent a couple of bucks instead of 8-10 at normal stores.
    Oh at Christmas they have advent calendars from Germany for $1. And they have the best prices (for normal sizes, not counting Costco) on olive oil, real maple syrup, whole wheat flour, etc.
    Shutting up now.

  129. 162

    Omg, the triple-layer hummus is the bees knees!

  130. 163
    Heather Young says:

    I too have been holding off on venturing into the new Trader Joe’s.(SA, Quarry) I just haven’t been sure if it was worth the trip, and from the looks of it on the outside it seems kind of small, no? It seems worth it though based on the overwhelming response! Looking forward to spending a small fortune on all these delicious sounding items!

  131. 164

    I made my first trip to Trader Joe’s and I’m now a HUGE fan… Bought the Cookie Butter and am thoroughly convinced that Ill be wearing stretchy pants for the rest of my life.

  132. 165

    Jo Jo’s (TJ’s oreos) and UFO’s – The most amazing, dark chocolate, mint, disks. Best when frozen :)