Sunday, November 11, 2007

Retail Beat: Yo! Go see Trader Joe!

I didn't intend to be back on the retail beat so soon, but the bub and I went to Trader Joe's on Friday, and I feel compelled to share. Longtime readers may recall that several months ago, I bragged about Trader Joe's tomato-less corn salsa. I bought a new supply on Friday and enjoyed it on a salad for lunch yesterday. I also love Trader Joe's Organic Morello Cherry fruit spread. Butter, the spread, and a hunk of French bread . . . absolutely delightful. NTB.

This past Friday, I found several new TJ items worthy of delight. If you live near a Trader Joe's, you may want to check out the following:

Pumpkin Spice Cake

This bundt-like cake (maybe 6 inches in diameter) retails for $4.99. They were passing out samples in the store (quite generous ones, actually). I managed to enjoy one bite before the bub made a play for it and then polished the cake off. Spendthrift and impulse shopper that I am, I threw one in the cart. Once at home, I spent the rest of the afternoon cutting off "slivers" of the cake and comforting myself with the notion that pumpkin is healthy and that it was more like I was eating bread than an actual dessert. Late in the day, I thought to flip over the container and check the nutritionals, only to find I had likely consumed 6 of the cake's 8 servings, each of which contained 190 calories. NTB. Those of you who feel confident in your ability to limit yourself to one serving (or even two or three) should definitely take this cake home.

Butternut Squash
Obviously, butternut squash is not unique to Trader Joe's. You may recall my recent use of butternut squash in a chili recipe. Peeling the squash was not too bad--thanks to my trusty Cutco peeler--but cutting it was an ordeal. That stuff is hard, and I feared losing a finger as I forced my knife through it. But at Trader Joe's . . . you can buy butternut squash already peeled and cubed!! I can't remember how much it cost, but I'd say 'tis worth it if your knife skills aren't especially strong. I used my squash cubes tonight in a recipe I learned at a cooking class. It was roasted and then served in a pasta dish that also involved garlic, spinach, zucchini, panko bread crumbs, and goat cheese. Even the hubby liked the end product. NTB.

Trader Joe's Spicy Cider
I love me some cider, yes I do. A few times last week, I found myself thinking about cider and, on at least two occasions, I almost purchased apple juice at the Jewel with the thought that I would somehow mull it with cinnamon sticks or whatnot. I am glad I did not bother because there's no way I could top the nirvana that is Trader Joe's Spicy Cider. Its description is right on: "fresh whole ripe Apple juice with a hint of concentrated Lemon juice, spices and citrus." I've been enjoying it hot and cold. Best news of all is that you can get 64 ounces for something like $2.49 (or maybe $2.79). I may simulate a grade-school Halloween party for me and the bub this week, where we'll drink this cider and eat cake donuts. Who knows?

Trader Joe's Handmade 100% Dried Fruit Bar

Like his mom and dad, the bub enjoys his snacks. His favorites are pretty typical for a toddler--goldfish crackers, graham crackers, some fresh fruit, granola bites, and the occasional package of fruit snacks (mostly employed when bribing is necessary, as when, for example, the bub does not want to get into his car seat or his stroller or to leave the park or to sit in the pew at church). As we went through TJ's on Friday, I noticed these fruit bars and, in lieu of the fruit snacks I had on reserve in my purse, opened and offered him one. (I tried to pay for it at the register and the checker told me not to sweat it, nice huh?). The bub loved that thing, and I felt pleased and even a tad self-righteous about the fact that it was 100% fruit. And handmade no less? Damn am I a great mom. NTB. Anyway, the bub enjoyed it so thoroughly that I threw several more in the cart--apricot, raspberry, boysenberry . . . premium fruits no less! Each package costs 45 cents and contains 2-3 strips of fruit. He enjoyed two strips at church today and I ate the third strip (only slightly covered with lint and such from my purse) at my hair appointment. Good stuff.

Finally, I want to mention that Trader Joe's gives out balloons to kiddies at the register. Yet another reason to shop there . . . and no, I am not being paid to write such a glowing review of my recent trip to Trader Joe's. I'm just trying to share news of these worthy finds. Is there a Trader Joe's near you? Any favorites?


Actchy said...

I just wanted to add that the Bub appears to enjoy more than just "some" fresh fruit, as I personally witnessed him sample an apple, two bananas and a pear over the course of an hour on Friday. Not only is he clearly a nutritional super star, but he also has excellent manners, seeing fit to share an only mildly-mangled, semi-wet cub of his 'nanner with his mother's friend, yours truly.

Actchy said...

Oops, I meant "cube" of his 'nanner.

msp said...

i'll pay you to open a trader joe's in hamilton, ohio. lots of money. seriously.

Steph said...

Sadly, the closest one to me is about an hour away (Indianapolis), but I plan to make a run there next time I'm in Indie!

It was fun to visit the Trader Joe's when I was in Chicago - and reading your post makes me want to go have the Indian sauces I bought there for lunch! :-)

M said...

I must say, I feel compelled to dash down to my Trader Joe's only about 20 - 30 minutes away. I've never taken the time to peruse the entire store, I will linger there next trip.

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