It is a sad fact that Tennessee is currently the 4th on the national list of most obese states (down one from last year, though – yippee!). Perhaps this delightful fact adds to the appeal for potential supermarket real estate and explains why there has been a plethora of grocery store openings in the area this month.
Really though, we’ve had a ginormous new Kroger open (mere feet from its older, smaller version and less than a mile from a competing Food City) and the town’s very first Publix open its doors this month. Lest we forget the Whole Foods and Costco that are set to open in the coming months as well. Our thriving metropolis is growing up!
Perhaps the most exciting and anticipated store opening however, was that of Trader Joe’s.
Holy hell, I love me some Trader Joe’s. Maybe it’s the swanky Hawaiian shirts, the artistic chalkboards, and witty flyers that entice me so but simply going into the store evokes a sense of “what fun treat am I going to find today” adventure.
Limited to the Nashville Trader Joe’s some 180 miles away, it was a necessary stop on the way back home to stop in and grab supplies. This happened once every few months and due to the proximity and lack of a cooler, I was never able to adequately browse the frozen and refrigerated food section for fear of missing out on something super cool that I couldn’t bring back with me.
But now…now, I can browse to my hearts content. I can go without a list and blissfully meander through the aisles, stowing away items in my organic, reusable grocery sack and feel at peace with life.
Maybe this is going a bit overboard with my love of this place – but I don’t really care. Have you ever had their cookie butter? No? Then shut it. I could take a swim in that stuff and happily drown.
If you, dear reader, suffer from the disadvantage of not having a Trader Joe’s nearby, I have gathered a list of all the best (and suitable for road trips) products that you can stock up on next time you stumble upon one:
This stupid stuff is out of this world. If you’ve ever had biscoff cookies, this is what it tastes like, in butter form. If you haven’t, think gingerbread-like awesomeness. My lame description does not do this justice – just pick some up, but beware, once you start eating it straight out of the jar, it’ll be empty before you know it.
It’s sweet, it’s spicy, and its a perfect dip for just about anything – specifically eggrolls.
3. Spicy Chai Latte Mix
Steamy mugs of this spicy chai latte on a cold winter night are heavenly. It’s creamy and delicious and the perfect way to treat yourself (I say treat because its about 200 calories a cup…)
4. Eggplant Garlic Spread
I love eggplant. I really love Caponata dip. What I don’t love is making it and so when I found this, a snatched it up. I like this as a dip for pita chips or even spread onto a piece of toast. So good.
5. Triple Ginger Snap Cookies
These are dangerous. They are called triple ginger for a reason – using fresh, ground, and crystalized ginger. Over the holidays, I sandwiched a cream cheese frosting between two of these bad boys and stuck them in the freezer. Yeah…
6. Natural Dog Treats (assorted flavors)
Everytime I open the treat jar for Bella and Bruin, a scent wafts out pretty similar to fresh baked peanut butter cookies. It’s pretty bad when my dog’s treats make my own mouth water. Yes I’ve tried them…no they don’t taste as good as they smell, but then again, they are dog treats.
7. Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats
You read that correctly – QUICK COOK steel cut oats. So in like, 10 minutes, you’ve got a creamy bowl healthy steel cut oats rather than the 45 minutes it takes for other brands. Thank you TJ for saving me ample time in the AM.
J grabbed this one time on a whim and it’s surprisingly good. It’s sweet and spicy (we like that combo in our house) and goes wonderfully on tacos or by itself on tortilla chips.
This is an extremely limited list, I know, but these are tried and true, quick in and out pick ups probably for around 20 bucks. And they will rock your world.
And what list would be complete with out a bomb?
At the recommendation of an associate while trying to decide between sweet potato chips and the much-fussed about seaweed snack, he encouraged said seaweed snack. Big mistake. It tastes like, well, seaweed. And not the good kind (if there is a good kind). Maybe it’s just not my thing, but munching on seaweed for a mid afternoon salty snack is not only unsatisfying but it smells kind of funky resulting in ornery co-workers.
I’d love to know additional favored Trader Joe products, so spill the beans people. What items can’t you live without?