I know I talk a lot about Trader Joe’s. I don’t have any vested interest in the company other than buying their goodies. But I promised a Facebook pal I’d post some of my fave things from there, including wine. Duh. Wine is one of the main reasons to make a TJ’s field trip. No permission slip needed.
Late last week, I headed over there forgetting that it was both Fri. and a holiday. Teeny parking lot and an F-150 do not a cute couple make. I bought a case of wine and some essentials like smoked salmon…Some of the items are TJ faves.
- Three bottles of Tres Pinos white – it’s a nice white blend w/ fruit forward, dry, but not too – $6.49/ea.
- Three bottles of Green Fin – similar to the 3 Pines, but less fruit – $4.99/ea. (This is where the TBC – Two Buck Chuck crowd gets it wrong. TBC is actually close to $4 in my store and not very good.)
- Found Object Malbec – I like all the Found Objects I’ve had – Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc and this one – $7.49
- Trader Joe’s Coastal Zinfandel – I don’t usually buy Zin, but this is a nice, inexpensive one – $6.99
- La Finca Tempranillo – Same as Found Object, the Malbec and others are good, too – $5.99
- 3 new reds I can’t recall, one was a Coppola. If you’ve not tried this vineyard, most are great. And yes, it’s the director of GodFather fame. I’ll let you know how they are.
- TJ’s Maple Frosted Shredded Wheat – this is a new one for me but I could possibly live on it.
- Crumbly gorgonzola
- Honey-flavored Greek yogurt
- Dixie Peach juice – I love all their juices
- Dark chocolate covered ginger – a fave
- Frozen pizzas and flatbreads – These are amazing. If someone served this to you after hiding the box, you’d swear it was from an upscale eatery. Try the ham, gruyere and carmelized onion flatbread. Ignore the portion suggestions of 1/3 of the flatbread and eat the whole thing. It’s small. I tried a new pizza – BBQ chicken, red onion and smoked gouda. Wow!
- Seltzer – plain. It’s .79 here and .99 at reg. grocery store
- Organic chicken breasts – Pricier than the pale versions at the big grocery stores, but flavor is better. Probably the absence of formaldehyde or something.
- Maple syrup – What a difference the real deal is from that pseudo syrup stuff!
- Spanish extra virgin olive oil – I like TJ’s prices on oils, salad dressings, etc., although I usually make my own dressing.
I bought a bunch more stuff I can’t recall, but my total was $168. Not bad if you consider that includes a case of wine!
I got an unexpected check this week (from what I assumed was a deadbeat client) which facilitated a long overdue TJ’s trip for staples like dark chocolate peanut butter salty caramel truffles. I also went to the reg. grocery store and stocked up. It’s amazing how much your menu-planning becomes more creative when you have actual food.
I used to look forward to making holiday food like peanut brittle, lemon pound cake w/ lemon glaze, cheese balls, etc. Not really up for it this year, but I did find some raw peanuts from last year. Evidently, I wasn’t up to it then either. Still w/i the use-by date, I think I’ll make some.
My grandmother taught me how to make peanut brittle the old-fashioned way – cooking on the stove and spreading it out on a marble slab to cool. I make it in the microwave. I know how to make other candy-type things like caramels, but it’s a tricky process. You can end up w/ mortar if you don’t watch that thermometer. So, microwave it is.
Here’s the Trader Joe’s bounty:
- case of wine – haven’t been able to afford that in a while. It makes sense because essentially you get a free bottle w/ the 10% discount. BTW, try a Gruner Veltliner if you can find one. Don’t worry if people scoff at your pronunciation.
- gorgonzola – the real Italian version
- smoked salmon – I swear I could live on it
- sea salt pita chips
- fig butter – for that apple pizza I’ve talked about
- garlic hummus
- spinach and kale dip – better than it sounds and low-fat
- rosemary and raisin crackers – ditto
- other stuff I can’t remember
At the reg. grocery I bought:
- 2 lbs. of frozen E-Z peel shrimp – like the salmon, I could live on this.
- brownie bites
- green beans – I steamed them for me and the pup. Maybe eventually we’ll just eat the same diet. No comments, I’m kidding, people.
- booze – I’m not a booze drinker, but I wanted a coffee liqueur for the occasional after-dinner drink and rum for a hot-buttered rum recipe I love. (see above holiday “food”)
- other veggies and fruit
- almond milk – it’s better than soy and I had a coupon
- other boring stuff I can’t remember
Hey, if anyone is interested (and why wouldn’t you be? I’m an artist, too!), I’ll design you a SPGL tote like the one below. Just send me your nutty grocery list (leave a comment and we’ll go from there) and I’ll design a tote for you. How fun is that? Well, you probably have more fun than I do, so it’s relative. This isn’t about trying to monetize my blog, I just like to make the totes and they’re really affordable.
I posted last week about my adventure into a higher level of coffee-snobbery. As a quick follow-up before returning to foodstuffs, I had to order a new coffee grinder for the Chemex. My old one wasn’t cutting it – literally. The grind was too uneven and it caused the Chemex too much anxiety. Let’s put it this way, if you bought this coffee maker something for Valentine’s Day, it better be from Tiffany’s. It likes nice things. So, a burr coffee grinder is en route.
I’m still on my austerity, lower-the-food-budget program and trying to be good about using up what’s in the house. I am feeling a little cheese-challenged as I’ve been out of blue and Brie for too long. But I did make another apple pizza with the last of the Gorgonzola and feta. It’s my new fave tasty.
Maybe because I’m feeling deprived of gourmet cheese and treats, I’ve been shopping online for bargains. The best score so far is my Vera Wang p.j.s from Kohl’s. You have to see a visual to fully appreciate this find.
Are they not fabulous? That’s the pocket on the top. Okay, normally I wouldn’t choose purple and blue faux leopard clothing items, but it was the last color available in my size. Originally $50 (I know!), I got them for $20. The material is kind of a shag fleece.
When it warms up, I might sit out on my porch in these babies. Out here in the country, there are no fashion police so it’s cool.
Ha, that title will reel them in! I just made the apple/gorgonzola pizza I said I was going to make Super Bowl Sun. Nothing will replace pepperoni, but this pizza did turn out pretty cool and tasty.
I have to give a nod to Southern Living because the original recipe is from their Nov. issue. It was in the “I’m so sick of turkey, what can I eat?” section of the mag. I changed it up to include stuff I had on hand.
I used a Boboli whole wheat pre-made crust. “He Who No Longer Inhabits” (heh – sounds like Voldemort) used to foof over the crust and make his own. Not me. Here’s the rest of the goods:
- 1 granny smith apple (I used another type), sliced thin
- 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1/3 c. fig jam (I used Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, which surprisingly has no fat.)
- 4 oz. of gorgonzola (the recipe used goat cheese, but I mixed feta w/ the blue because that’s what I had and I wanted more of a salty taste.)
- Sprinkle of Italian shredded cheese blend
- 1/3 c. toasted chopped pecans
- 1-2 cups arugula
- Salad dressing of your choice (I used my own balsamic vinaigrette.)
Saute apple and onion in olive oil until soft and a bit browned. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread fig jam on crust and top with apples and onion. Sprinkle cheese over apples. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese has slightly melted. Sprinkle pecans over the top. Let cool a minute. Toss arugula w/ a little salad dressing. You don’t have to use dressing, but I wanted a salad-type topping. You can serve w/ the arugula on top of pizza or I put it on the side.
(Not my pizza – too busy eating it to grab a camera.)
It was really good. The salty feta and gorgonzola balanced out the sweet apples and jam. I’m going to do some other variations of this pizza, too. A friend once served a fig and olive tapenade w/ goat cheese. I’m going hunting for that baby. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Oh yeah, serve w/ a red table wine, a bold white or something fancy. I had a Spanish Jumilla w/ it – a bit on the pricey side for me – it was $12.99, but it was worth it. Bon Appetit!