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Saturday, October 26, 2013

for the love of Trader Joe's!



When we were house-hunting throughout New England my first question after finding a potential property was always... "How far away is the closest Trader Joe's?!"
At the time there were no TJ's in Texas, so when we would fly up to house-hunt we would always include a visit and I would pack jars and bottles of various goodies home.  We were even known to make out-of-the-way trips to Sante Fe on our drives home from Colorado back to Dallas just to shop at Trader Joe's!  
My much-older-sister Susan, who lives in Austin, just got her first TJ's and my other sister and my niece Jenny, in Baton Rouge, have a TJ's opening at the end of the month!   In honor of this very exciting occasion:) I told them I would write a post with my favorite Trader Joe products!

There are so many things about TJ's that I love.  The first, is the size of the stores.  In my opinion it's the perfect size for a grocery store- not too big, not too small.  I despise going into a regular grocery store the size of four football fields and trying to find things.  I really don't need to see 13 different manufacturers of ketchup, to pick just one.  Too many choices can overwhelm me.  I love that TJ's only carries one, maybe two, types of an item.  I trust the company and trust that what they bring to their shelves is the best and of the highest quality.  I love the amount of organic products that they carry and that they have great prices throughout the store.  They have really helpful employees and I love that TJ's encourages you to try different items-buy it, try it, and if you don't like them, bring it back for a refund.  Smart marketing!

I highly suggest reading their Fearless Flyer- either online, or grab a copy at the door.  TJ's carries a lot of seasonal items that are great.  They can usually be found on end-caps in the store, but there are also many on the shelves that you might miss out on if you don't read about them in the Fearless Flyer..  Since it's fall, pumpkin is king right now, but that will quickly change as we get closer to Christmas.

Below are some of my favorite items, and if you're a TJ's devotee like me, please share your favorite things in the comment section.  I love when products come with a good recommendation.



This is "my" Trader Joe's in Nashua, New Hampshire!




Love the fresh cut flowers right when you walk in the door!




They have great prices on orchids!




These frozen cubes of chopped basil, cilantro and garlic are great to have at the ready in your freezer.




These corn tortilla flatbreads are wonderful as crackers and I also break them up on salads for quick  croutons!




I'm a huge fan of their balsamic vinegar.




I can't tell you how many jars of these sun dried tomatoes I carried home on the plane!  Years ago Cooks Illustrated named TJ's as the best in a taste test.... I agree!




This is my go-to "make dinner quick" spaghetti sauce.  I usually add some of the frozen basil and garlic cubes (above) along with hot pepper flakes and a teaspoon of sugar, but it is delish as it is!  I've tried the marina sauce, but this is our favorite.




A box of Dan's favorite black licorice always makes its way into the cart!  




Love that they carry organic condensed milk and the real whipping cream that is shelf-stable.  I don't often have heavy cream in the fridge, so when you want a dollop on a piece of pie on that rare occasion, this is a great thing to have in the pantry!




So hard to find organic powdered sugar,  but TJ's carries it!




Same goes for organic brown sugar...




Ella is 9-1/2 now, and her vet suggested she take Glucosamine tablets.  She loves these!




Almost as much as she loves her "Charlee Bears"!  We call these "cookies" and at only 3 calories each she can get several a day!  We play a game at night with her we call "Where's Charlee!"  If you ask her if she wants to play she gets as excited as if you asked her if she wants to go for a walk!  Here's how the game goes...  We grab about 6 Charlee Bear treats and then show her to a spot in the house like the living room, the reading room, the pantry, behind a chair in the kitchen, etc., then we tell her to "sit" (sometimes this is done with just a hand signal;  she knows the drill;) and we'll go hide the treats all around the barn room!  We'll then whistle or call her and she'll charge down the steps at full speed (with me yelling "slooooow";) and go on the hunt to find them.  We applaud (yes, we are "those" people;) when she finds them!  At the end we'll tell her "Good Game!" and "That's all!" and she knows the game is over, but will go back around the room to each spot where they had just been- something akin to finding a great find at an antique shop and you keep going back to that same spot like something good is going to magically show up again! 
It's so fun to watch her "hunt"- her whole body tenses and she gets very focused and serious!  She loves the challenge of finding her treats- sometimes she finds them quickly and sometimes the search takes a bit longer, but it's always good puppy fun!




TJ's has really good cards and they're only 99 cents!  They change inventory often which keeps the cards fresh.




Adore these pot stickers- they come in veggie, chicken and pork.  The chicken are our favorite!




And dip them in this Gyoza sauce!  So good!




If you love chocolate TJ's has an amazing assortment of chocolate products and chocolate covered goodies.   I am a fan of their chocolate chips for cookies (as is Dan who is the chocolate lover in the family;)- not a lot of extra added ingredients.




Pop-up sponges.




I use these lavender dryer sheets for our bed linens!




These candles are THE BEST!  They self-extinguish with about an inch of candle remaining.  I have a pair of wooden candlesticks in the barn room that I used to worry about constantly when burning regular candles.  Now, no worries since these go out by themselves!


So, there are some of my favorites!  

Do you have a Trader Joe's?  If so...
please spread the Trader Joe's love and share with us all  your  favorite items!!



201 comments:

  1. We enjoy many of the products that you featured. We also enjoy the mini-cukes, various kinds of tomatoes, frozen green beans (the best!), ciabatta rolls, candy-coated licorice - I could go on and on! It's a wonderful store and luckily, our's is only 20 miles away.

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    1. please do go on Susan;) It's so helpful to hear everyone's favorites!

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  2. I love Trader Joe's too. That is why I wrote a book about cooking Indian food using only Trader Joe's ingredients. It is a wonderful store. It is very popular in CA.

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    1. That is so cool Komali! I found this link on your blog to make it easy for people to read about it..
      http://komalinunna.blogspot.com/2012/08/trader-joes-simply-indian.html

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  3. I miss Trader Joe's! Loved their party meatballs that come frozen. I'd always throw some in any spaghetti sauce.

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  4. I have to agree, Trader Joes is the best! We are lucky to have one only 15 minutes away. A family favorite is their kettle corn! It comes in a pretty pink bag and only around $2! Also, we love their vegetarian Refried beans and oyster crackers for soups!

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  5. Thanks so much for your great blog.
    Try the chocolate croissants at TJ's and at this time of year they have a wonderful gingerbread mix!
    -Lisa in Charlottesville, VA

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    1. After reading lots of the comments the chocolate croissants are a favorite!

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  6. Probably our very favorite product from TJ's is the thin crust pizza "Tarte" with ham and gruyere cheese: a staple in my freezer!
    Also, the Alba mango shaving cream is fabulous!
    Yes, we are finally living near a TJ: like you, I used to go out of my way to bring home the goodies when we lived up North!

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  7. I had to laugh when I saw the topic of your blog post when I checked my email after coming home from town. Asheville recently opened its first Trader Joe's and we just went there today for the first time! I really wasn't looking for anything in particular, but wanted to get a feel for it, and ended up with a few things. I'm glad you posted some of your favorites - I'll know some things to look for. Interested to read any other recommendations.

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  8. Oh, you lucky, lucky ducks. No Trader Joe's in sight since I moved to Alabama from Portland, Or. I miss it so.

    Barbara H.

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    1. Barbara- how far is Atlanta?!!! I know they have TJ's there!

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    2. Barbara - we live in Alabama also (Florence area). We shop at Trader Joe's in Nashville when we are through that area about every 2 - 3 months. We have also visited the one in Atlanta in coming from that direction. We can always hope one to go in in Huntsville or Birmingham. Contact me at ameekperspective@gmail.com if you hear of any closer. Welcome to Alabama!

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  9. Joan,
    We love our local California TJ's...we're visiting our oldest son and DIL and granddaughter in Austin and they are thrilled with the new Austin TJ's. A few of our favorite items is they black pepper bacon, fresh pizza dough for homemade pizza, the broccoli slaw, which we mix in salads and any of their humus with the tortilla flat bread crackers. We shop Costco for our meat and TJ's for nearly everything else. It was fun to see a few items we've never tried, like the Charlie snacks for our doggies.
    Oh, and like Lisa, the chocolate and regular frozen croissant, that you let rise overnight and then bake...a favorite.
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. The black pepper bacon sounds great and didn't realize they had fresh pizza dough- will definitely try those. I always think I am going to make it from scratch and then never do;)
      We love Costco too, and my TJ's is basically across the street from it, so it's always a big shopping day when we go to town!

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  10. We love TJ's! Ours is an hour away, but it is near our physician's office, so we usually work in a visit at TJ's when it is check up time or if we are in the neighborhood.

    Crab Stuffed Flounder, oh my! The chocolate oranges at Christmastime. Lots of other delights.

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  11. much older sister SusanOctober 26, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Joanie, thank you for doing this post!! Trader Joe's hasn't been open long here but seems to be a hit with the neighborhood. The parking lot is always packed! It's on Bee Caves Road in Rollingwood. Walking distance from our house.

    I'll be trying all you suggested! I love their sliced sourdough boule bread. It's better than HEB's. It makes great french toast!

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  12. Our TJ's is only 20 minutes from here - not too far to travel for all the great things they have... and we have a WF right down the road... but TJ's is a different experience for sure. I miss TJ's chocolate mint wafers - they came in a bag like chocolate chips, and they were great cut up into cookies, melted for dipping, or just plain! I wish they'd bring them back. I think they were made for TJ's by Ghirardelli, but they were a lot cheaper at TJ's.

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  13. We have not lived near a Trader Joe's for 3 yrs now... and we MISS it! We will get one an hour away in Orlando soon... in the Spring, so I am happy about that!
    we missed the potstickers, naan bread, gyoza sauce (make my own now), the bread choices, ... well you get the idea, your photos gave me encouragement for my first trip to winter Haven when it opens the store there! LOVE that store! and I missed the food sampling, and dairy and cheese choices... too... Thanks for posting!

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  14. I can NOT wait...we are getting one at the end of this month! Thanks for sharing your favorites!

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  15. Thank you for this entry. I live in Baton Rouge and knew we were to get a Trader Joes, but never been in one. Now I know what to look for. Just recently discovered your blog and have really enjoyed reading it.

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    1. Welcome to the blog! My niece, Jenny, and her husband were up to visit a couple of weeks ago and I was able to take her for a quick tour of a TJ's- she loved it and is so excited.
      p.s. They build beautiful pools in BR, so if you or anyone you know is in the market for a pool, email me and I'll send you their info!

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  16. I live in vancouver Canada and have to cross the border to outside Bellingham for TJ's! Our favourites include Frozen Truffle Flatbread, Virgil's root beer and pulled beef. Everything is good :)
    Sheryl

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  17. Thank you for doing this post!!! Our TJ 's opened earlier this month (Tallahassee, Fl) and I love it already!! I have been a few times to "explore", but I love all the recommendations. Be sure you try the dark-chocolate peanut butter cups!!! They are divine!!

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  18. This is SO great! Love hearing of these new products to try!! Keep 'em coming!

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  19. I feel so spoiled - I live 10 minutes from one TJ's and 15 minutes from another one (depending upon which area of town I need). I love all the pumpkin stuff they've had lately - the croissants are great (and they have pumpkin ones now), pumpkin "pop tarts", the honey-roasted pumpkin ravioli, the pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bars, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin spice ground coffee, pumpkin yogurt... now I'm hungry. Oh - and I love the ham and gruyere tarte and the selection of cheese (perfect for happy hours). When my teenage kids are with me all kinds of stuff winds up in the cart.

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  20. Great post. I love Trader Joe's. My first experience with Tj's was when we lived in San Diego. I fell in love with the store. I too love the size of the store and the products they carry. Since moving to the East coast 11 years ago, I don't get to shop at Tj's that often. There is one in State College and when I visit my parents I go out of my way so I can stock up on my favorite items. I love their oats,almond butter,orange chicken, walnuts, coconut oil, Tuscan bread,and their peanut butter pretzels are the best I ever had. I really wish a store would open in my area but until then I will continue to go of my way so I can enjoy their products.

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  21. We like the black licorice too, then I have some seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Butter (I add a spoon of it to my morning oatmeal) and gingerbread mix. I also like their chocolate chip scones, 3-layer hummus, and trail mix.

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  22. GREAT post! I love TJ's too but ours is 45 mins. away so don't get there too often. LOVE their flowers, cheeses, and chocolate covered anything:):) I will come back to see if anyone shares any other goodies;):)

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  23. We have gotten a Trader Joe's in the last year. My favorite items to buy are their cheeses-MUCH less expensive than the cheese shop in my regular grocery store (Wegman's).

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  24. Inside Out Carrot cookies. Soooo good :-)

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  25. Whenever my sister visits from Virginia she brings me a big cooler of TJ's frozen Indian entrees and other goodies. I love those dumplings too. I take chicken stock and add a squirt of Sriracha sauce or Thai chili paste and simmer the dumplings for a quick and filling soup. Also the ginger candies are great as an after dinner treat.

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  26. Thank you so much for this post. We have a Trader Joe's in West Des Moines, but I never know what to buy there. Your post helps me to know what to look for next time I am there.

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  27. We don't have one, and I am no where near one, so I have never been in one. Thank you so much for giving us a virtual tour. I have said for years that I would love for one to come to our area. I was VERY delighted when we got a Fresh Market that is 30 minutes away. It is always a treat for us to shop there. The next time we are in Atlanta (2 hours away) I will take a cooler and make a stop at Trader Joe's.

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  28. OK...now I'm just plain ol' jealous!!!

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  29. I love their vanilla 21gr protein shakes. It is the ONLY shake I've found with high protein and very low carbs.

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  30. I lived in Paris for many years and I'm married to a Frenchman. All this to say that I KNOW croissants...and TJ's frozen ones are the best! :) Yummy! I also love the lavender sheets which I put between my towels in the linen closet. Oh, and they carry French Basque cheese made from Sheep milk which is divine. And the sales on wine are great. And I agree about the flowers. And now they have pound cake. And...and...and...

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    1. Ana, I'm always a bit overwhelmed by the vast cheese section, so thank you about the French Basque cheese- will try it!

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  31. I remember the day TJ's opened in Fort Worth, TX. I had read all the rav about it from Bloggers in other cities. Well, I went during the 1st weekend opening and have not been back since!! No where to park, no carts, TOOO crowded. I posted about it on my blog. Granted, it WAS opening weekend, so I promised myself to give it another chance. That's been MONTHS ago. Probably almost a year! Your post may have me there tomorrow! :) I'm sure the excitement has died down. And your favs along with others has given me a reason to do so! Thanks!

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    1. I remember that same scenario when Central Market opened in Dallas... yes, it calms down after the opening. Do try it (just maybe not on a weekend;), you won't be sorry!

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  32. My hubby and I visited the new one in Austin last weekend. It is quite small, but I do like the variety of non-perishable items they and and LOVE the prices. We plan to go back and stock up on the shelf foods. Whole Foods Market is still my favorite grocery store since the 1980s. I grew up shopping at the original WFM. Austin is getting 2 more Trader Joe's stores soon.

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    1. I remember the original store from my UT days! It was so hippy dippy then;) We're getting a Whole Foods here too! It will be along my Costco/TJ's run!

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  33. My much younger sister Mary just loves Trader Joe's!!! I am sure she will be trying some of your favorites:)
    Much Older Sister,
    Ruth

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  34. We are fortunate to live near a Trader Joe's. Some of my favorites include the frozen green beans, the party size of fresh salsa, and the Alsace tarte with the ham and gruyere cheese. I buy all of my nuts at trader joes...walnuts and almonds are great for baking or snacking. My newest favorite is their coconut oil. It comes in a jar (around 5.99 I think) or in a convenient spray for baking or pan frying. So much better than PAM!!! I make it a habit to buy at least one new item everytime I go... have rarely been disappointed.

    Carol in PA

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions Carol! Yes, they have a great nut selection.

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  35. I just made the TJ's chocolate croissants this morning, which my family just adores. In fact, that will be part of breakfast on Christmas morning. My all time favorite thing is the Lavender Salt Scrub. I use it every morning in the shower and it makes my skin so soft, especially during cold Wisconsin winters. I buy it in quantity because I give it as gifts all the time. It's the best!

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    1. Lavender Salt Scrub... on the list now! Thanks.

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  36. No Trader Joes in England, but I read great things about them on American Blogs. When I lived in Arkansas, the best we got was Kroger!

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  37. much older sister SusanOctober 26, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Joanie, you and Dan are so silly about the cookies for Ella. Who ever heard of such a thing?? Wait--- my two are woofing at me to give them their nightly treats!! Never mind..

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  38. So many things: the coffee bean blast ice cream is insanely good - just glad the containers aren't bigger because I can barely manage to stop before I see the bottom. Frozen organic fruits for smoothies - well priced and good quality. A container of lemon bites disappears instantly here. The choice/Blenheim dried apricots may not be everyone's cup of tea. They are much tarter than the regular ones they carry, and I find them absolutely delish! Nuts are priced really well. Triple Ginger Snaps are spicy and chewy and perfect. Cookie Butter is like a sugar, snickerdoodle and gingersnap dough all mashed up in a jar. California Estate EV Olive Oil is relatively inexpensive and very good (careful, not all of their EVOOs are such a great deal). Oh! I almost forgot - the pesto and the horseradish hummus - oh my yum! And we go through an embarrassing number of the baguettes - both regular french & sourdough. I could keep going...

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  39. I cannot believe no one has mentioned my favorite Trader Joes item: *Triple Ginger Snaps*....They are made with crystallized ginger, ginger puree' and ground ginger. The chewy pieces of ginger are fabulous! I serve them in the fall with a pumpkin dip I made and in the spring and summer with a key lime dip! I also love their pizza dough. I can't wait to try the chocolate croissants that so many of your readers have mentioned!

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    1. 100% agree on the ginger snaps - yum! Can't wait to try the croissants!

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    2. These are the best! I used to hand carry containers of them home to Houston from California trips! They were always my "go to gift" for the office girls and would quickly disappear. You can't eat just one. . .

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  40. Oh, where to start..........My family loves so many things there. You have to try the Strawberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt. Oh my, it is heaven on earth. It is so creamy, real tasting, and not too sweet. On the not so exciting side, the vegetable broth containers are great to have in the pantry for making any kind of soup or adding flavor to things like their great brown basmati rice. Yum! The prices are so reasonable too. Love T.J.'s.

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  41. Love TJ's lite champagne vinegarette salad dressing on greens with fresh pear and spicy pecans. Yummy!

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  42. A few friends shop for groceries at Costco, but I'm with you, I love a cozier store. At my TJ's in Omaha, we love the Sprouted Wheat and Rye breads, High Fiber Penne Pasta, No Boil lasagna noodles, Sicilian Olive Oil, Maple Leaf Cookies (really, these are my favorite thing there), Kettle Corn in the pink striped bag, Multi Grain crackers, 2 Buck Chuck and any of the little clear tubs and bags of candy. Lots of other things as well, it's embarrassing really, but these I grab most frequently.








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    1. The Maple Leaf Cookies.....how could I forget that?? They are tied with Gingersnaps for my all time favorites!

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  43. Joan, You will appreciate this. One of my best friend moved from a TJ's literally blocks from her home in the suburbs of Chicago to north of Dallas. The TJ's hadn't made it to Texas yet and when I flew down the first time, one entire suitcase was filled with hard, deep frozen TJ potstickers, wrapped many times in paper and insulation. When I arrived, everything was still frozen and they wrote nearly a year later saying they were having the last bag of potstickers with hopes that the new TJ's scheuled to open 20 miles away would be open on schedule!
    We still laugh about that today.

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  44. Just discovered your blog and have been fascinated with your project and all of your beautiful things... thank you for sharing your journey! Such a great home y'all have created. I love TJ's having lived in Cali and was excited when they opened in the Atlanta area recently - I always serve their wine, 2 Buck Chuck at parties. It's more like $3.99/bottle now but I still think it's a bargain!

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  45. Yes, TJ's has come to Austin! Yea! I've shopped the Santa Fe store for years and was excited when I heard they were opening a store in Austin. We've been twice. Besides the flowers and cards ( such a deal!) we've found the following to be great treats ~ apple pie, meringues, pumpkin cranberry crisps (seasonal no doubt - delicious and different), and my husband is trying an assortment of the frozen entrees. He gives a thumbs up to the rack of lamb and the beef burgundy. Happy to have a TJ's in town!

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  46. The nearest Trader Joe's is 250 miles away - so the only time I shop at Trader Joe's is when I visit relatives. (They live 500 and 850 miles away and do most of their shopping at TJ's.) I bring home enough Next to Godliness Hand Soap and Next to Godliness Multi-Purpose Cleaner to last a year. They are mildly scented with essential oils (can't tolerated artificial scents.) I dilute the hand soap so it will last longer. The multi-purpose cleaner is great for almost every surface in the kitchen and bathroom and cleans mirrors and windows better than anything else I have ever used.

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    1. Yes, LOVE the green cedarwood and sage Multi Surface Cleaner.... forgot to mention that one in the post. (we don't do perfume smells either;)

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  47. We love TJ's but it's far from where we live so we load up when we are there. Here are a few favorites - their salsas both red and green are delish, Extra Virgin Spanish Olive Oil, sorbate-free prunes (I hate prunes, but these are juicy and tasty), Rainbow's End trail mix, organic peppermint tea, Irish breakfast tea, lavender soap, butternut squash soup...I think I'll go make a cup of peppermint tea now! All the best, Maureen

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  48. We just moved to Austin from Orange County CA, and thankfully Trader Joe's opened within a month of our move. I don't know how I would have survived! I just went today and grabbed one of my favorites. My cousin actually had this as a sample at her TJs and now we make it all the time.

    1 pkg of their refrigerated Lentil beans
    1 carton of their refrigerated Bruschetta
    1 carton of Feta

    Mix together and serve with either their Rosemary crackers (YUM) or Gluten Free Flaxseed and black bean chips. It makes a great appetizer but tonight I had some as a light meal.

    My other favorites are their Cookie Butter (highly addictive), almond-honey bar soap, Rolled Oats, Instant Oatmeal with flax seed (packets), frozen blueberries and frozen mango pieces. I could go on and on. The best part is walking out with a full cart at half the price of the regular grocery store. Thanks for the fun post!

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    1. Pam, that sounds good! I will not put that Cookie Butter in my cart for that very reason;)!

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  49. My pups love their peanut butter dog biscuits! I love their canned Minestrone soup- low cal and delish. Their bourbon vanilla extract is amazing. The mini ice cream cones are awesome, as are the frozen s'more bars. Ooh, and the dark chocolate peanut butter cups! And their sweet tea has no corn syrup! The kettle corn is great too. And the chocolate croissants...can you tell I have been dieting?

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    1. ha! Yes, I can Kristen!! I try to keep my eyes down as I walk the chocolate goodness isle!

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  50. LOVE Trader Joes!! Woe is me that the closest one is 45 minutes away, I have been emailing them asking for a store in my town, so keep your fingers crossed! In the meantime, I will have to pacify myself with frequent trips to Wegmans ;-) lol!!

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    1. I've never been to a Wegman's, but have heard tale they are wonderful!

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  51. I wish we had one here in OKC. I've always heard how good it is. The prices are so reasonable! We just got Whole Foods two years ago and I thought I'd be shopping there but it's too big and too expensive so I rarely go. But I'm so glad it is here because it made local grocers step up their game and start carrying a better variety of products. We have Sprouts also. It's similar to Whole Foods but much smaller and I enjoy shopping there.

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    1. hi Nita, we used to have a Sprouts in Dallas and I really liked it. Whole Foods was in our neighborhood, but like you I always found them to be really expensive and didn't go often. Maybe OKC will be next to get a TJ's!

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  52. Love TJs. We live outside of San Francisco, so Trader Joes are plentiful, thankfully. I am one of those people who like to have appys on hand in case a casual glass of wine on a Friday late afternoon with neighbors turns into a "my husband is back from work and is coming over" type of night. Trader Joes is my "Appys to the Rescue!" place. In the freezer I have Parmesan Pastry Pups for kids, Bird's Nests (my fave...veggies like carrots, zucchini, onion shredded and made to look like birds' nests with a yummy soy-based dipping sauce, Gyoza, Feta and carmelized onion tarts, mini chicken parmesan bites, scallops with bacon, brie en croute, flatbread pizzas...the list goes ON and ON and they are good, good, good!! And fairly priced. And make me look like I've thought ahead, when I really haven't.

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    1. Annie, you sound like a really fun neighbor to have!

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  53. Fun post! Being from Pasadena, CA, I have to admit that I take TJs for granted--it has just always been there. This post made me pause and take account of what I love about them. First and foremost--TJs employees are the greatest! Always so kind and helpful(I've heard that they are a great employer). In the old days it was an amazing place to get French wines at unbelievable prices. The wine selection is still outstanding. Things our family loves--the macaroni and cheese, pizza dough, all the cheeses!, eggs--I don't know about elsewhere in the country but for us the price is amazing, Caesar Romano salad dressing, cereal--again, the prices are so good. Well, I could go on and on. Love my TJs!

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  54. You'll be happy to know that Dallas now has a TJ's! It's off of lower Greenville. I live in the Lakewood area of Dallas and it's just a few miles from my home. They're also building another in the UP area. This post is exactly what I needed as I explore our new TJ's. Love hearing what everyone likes to buy there.

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  55. You're so right about TJ's and I've been jotting down lots of ideas from posters' comments. I love TJ's chai tea (powder in a can style); frozen naan; Indian simmering sauces;swordfish steaks; and the California Estate E. V. Olive Oil at $5.99 is just as good as Olio Santo ($29!!!) in my opinion. I also grab a package of crumpets whenever I'm in the store. I've got 4 Trader Joe's in my area, northern VA, the closest being about 4-5 miles away (that benefit plus having Wegman's nearby makes me not want to move away now that we're retired altho' the traffic here is awful).

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  56. Our monthly pilgrimage to TJ's includes many of the same items on your list. I especially find the natural sponges a bargain as well as good for the enviornmeny. Wh en one gets too ugly for the kitchen i

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  57. We have a Trader Joe's here in Carson City, Nevada and we LOVE it! We hit the store at least once a week (sometimes twice a week) and have found wonderful, fresh, organic food that just can't be beat. I always stock up on TJ's frozen Macaroni and Cheese (it has four different types of cheese that will knock your socks off!) and it is just perfect on those fall or early winter days when the days suddenly seem to end so early and there is a chill in the air and no one wants to cook - it's just the best! We've also recently tried their Kefir and found that it is wonderful as well! I go for the plain, but my husband loves the strawberry flavor - great organic goodness that tastes so good and you can't beat the price. We feel very fortunate that TJ's came to our area a few years ago!!

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  58. Just like my fellow Canadian higher up the thread, I'm also located in Vancouver, BC and have to cross the border to shop at the nearest TJ's in Bellingham, WA.

    The shelf-stable whipping cream is a must-have, the vacuum-sealed organic grass-fed ground beef is great (we buy it 10+lbs. at a time and store it in the freezer), the various chicken sausages are great, the dark chocolate peanut butter cups are our favourite (we buy 8 containers at a time - try them frozen... yum), the lavender sachets are fantastic in the dryer and just between your sheets and towels in the cupboard... the apple cider is delicious either hot or cold, and should be in stock now that fall is here... oh, and the spicy Wintry Blend coffee (with cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns ground right into the mix) is heavenly and another item we buy in bulk - look for it around mid-November. Truly though, the list does go on and on.

    Sadly, we're not permitted to bring fresh produce across the border so I don't even let myself look. I did see some intriguing frozen Parisian Carrots in the online Fearless Flyer, however - those might have to come home with me when we head down again next month!

    Thank you for sharing all your favourites, everyone. I've made a list of some new things I'm really looking forward to trying!

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  59. I love T.J.'s~ the store and my 21 yr. old son T.J. Some of my favorites are the same as yours (flowers, garlic & basil cubes) and I also love their gummy vitamins & gummy vitamin C, the mango shave creme, the chocolate croissants. I also love discovering new menu ideas; they have a concoction in the back of the store with all the ingredients you need. I take a photo of the recipe card with my phone. We live in Washington State and my trip to the nearest Trader Joe's is across Fox Island and two bridges~about 30 minutes. If only I could take a boat across the Puget Sound to University Place in Tacoma I'd be there in about 10 minutes!

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  60. Count me as spoiled as I have a TJ 20 minutes from me and haven't been in a looooong time. Your post has inspired me to make a trip next week.

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  61. I recently had the pumpkin ravioli and served it with a bit of brown butter sauce - delish! The kids also love the Jo's O's, and the chicken mini tacos are addictive.

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  62. The pumpkin ice cream is pretty tasty! Just finished a container here at my house.

    best,
    teaorwine


    teaorwine.blogspot.com

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  63. I love T.J.'s some of my favorites have been found through sampling. While I am by no means a vegetarian I do love the soy chorizo and the soy Italian "sausages" so much more flavor and much healthier than the meat variety. I always keep on hand their vegetable, beef, and chicken stock and use the veggie more as it has again so much flavor and is actually healthier than the beef or chicken. One of the samples that I tried was the sweet potato gnocchi and it has become a quick dinner item in the freezer. When I travel outside of Pennsylvania as you cannot buy any alcohol anyplace but the liquor store or beer distributor I always come home with a case of 2 buck chuck and a case of Framboise in cherry and raspberry. Speaking of fruit I also always have T.J.'s frozen fruit in the freezer also. The prices are fantastic compared to huge grocery stores and I really like that they care about the quality of their products. An example of this is the soy chorizo I buy, they didn't have any and it was because they pulled it temporarily off the shelf because their supplier was not up to T.J.'s standards.

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    1. Nathan, I would probably never try the soy sausage, but since you say it is good I will give it a try (just don't tell Dan:) I have a carton of the vegetable stock in the pantry, but haven't used it yet- good to know!

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  64. One of my favorite thing about Trader Joe's is 'talking' to other people about their favorite thing about Trader Joe's! It's fun to learn about new things to try - thanks for the fun post. Your Nashua TJ's was my very first TJ's when we lived in Westford MA about 15 years ago. I now live back home in Upstate NY and have one just around the corner. My fav's are the almond croissants, mango shave creme, hand made flour tortillas, frozen french green beans, ginger/almond/cashew 'Just the Clusters' cereal and in December the 'Jingle Joe' cookies. An important thing to know is that any product with the Trader Joe label has no GMO's, no yucky food dye & no scary preservatives, they don't guarantee that of other products that they carry, but if you stick with the TJ label you know you're getting healthy, high quality products.

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    1. hi Anon- Yes, the Tyngsborough store was my TJ's until about a year and a half ago when they opened this new/larger store in Nashua. It's only a couple of blocks inside New Hampshire, but now they sell wine so that's a good thing! Yes, love the handmade tortillas too. Good to know about the TJ's label- thank you for sharing

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  65. I'm enjoying TJ's pumpkin waffles right now, as I read your post! Delish. I am a newcomer to TJ's. A store opened about a year ago. I had heard so many great things about it, but have been slow to try their products. So far, everything has been great. We enjoyed their pumpkin filled ravioli and butternut squash filled triangular-shaped ravioli for dinner last week (with just some olive oil and parmesan on top). I like their Indian pockets filled with chick peas and spices (frozen section). I wasn't aware of the frozen herbs - great idea. I also have three TJ's orchid plants that I'm hoping will re-bloom. Even if they don't, their prices are affordable so I can buy new ones.
    Claudia

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  66. Love your story of the "Where's Charlee?" game! Ella is a smart pup. The play routines we create with our dogs are such fun, aren't they? I can't believe Ella is 9 and a half! She looks much younger. You can tell her I said so.
    Claudia

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  67. Oh TJ'S!! Our nearest is three (count em THREE) hours away. BUT it is halfway to the youngest's college. SO....I stop there coming and going! Faves...let's see. Def the coconut oil and coconut milk. Youngest son LOVES the frozen Mac and cheese. You would probably like their Dukkah seasoning. Lemon papadrelle Did a whole blog post on it!). Almond butter, Nuts of all kinds. Triple gingersnap cookies. Two buck chuck....better than many 15 dollar bottles of wine! I always wanted to try those little frozen basils...now I will, Thanks girl! Ooooh, and my daughter LOVES their little box of frozen macarouns!

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    1. I looked at the Dukkah on my last trip, but didn't get it :( Sounds fabulous! Just googeled it and found a great looking recipe for Dukkah salmon. Will pop over and find your post! Love that you stop coming and going!!

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    2. Oh...and their dog food is the only thing my Mom's standard poodle will eat! AND their coconut body butter, and lavender! OH...and the dark chocolate speculoos bar. Om my...I need to stop!

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  68. I love love love TJs!!! This time of year especially I have to stock up on all things pumpkin!! You have got to try their pumpkin coffee, pumpkin waffle/pancake mix!! Yummy!!

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  69. We are fortunate to have our TJ's just minutes away. It is the go to store for my son's family as they raise their daughter. Organic s for her! The flowers are the. Best deal ever. As empty nester's I can't tell you how much I love their frozen dinners that my husband prepares when I come home from work! And love your Ella story!

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  70. I wish they'd come to Canada! I've heard so much about that store. Oh, and your official second opinion is Glucosamine is wonderful for dear Ella :)

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  71. Trader Joe's devotee here too. Ours is a 3 hour round trip and a $17 bridge-tunnel toll away, but since there's also a Whole Foods across the street from it, and a Target behind, I make the trip every month or two and stock up. In our TJ's they have wine, and it's cheap and fantastic! Love the dark chocolate bar with almonds, the Almondina cookies (subtly delicious butter cookies with raisins and almonds - just the right little sweet after dinner, good with the rest of your glass of red wine!) The nuts and dried fruits are great, truffle flatbread, chicken sausages with garden veg. and asiago cheese, ginger snaps, etc. etc. Trader Joe's makes me happy, and I rarely feel that way about chain stores (see above for the only other two!) I can't wait to try some of the other things mentioned here - thank you!

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  72. I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who, when travelling, has driven miles out of my way to visit a Trader Joe's!! I live a very sad, deprived life here in Oklahoma City without a Trader Joe's. I've visited their stores a few times and always loved everything that I have purchased. But this summer I accompanied my husband on a business trip to California and was able to smuggle a few Trader Joe's goodies home on the plane. Apparently my luggage looked "suspicious" because when I got home, I found that the contents of my suitcase had been inspected and there was an official note telling me they had done so. Eek! I can only imagine the look on the airline workers face as she pulled jars of salsa and hand soap out of my socks. Some people buy clothes, souvenirs and gifts when travelling, I buy Trader Joe's! And one of my favorite "smuggles" this time was Trader Joe's brand French Lavender liquid hand soap. I loved this soap! I say loved, because it's pretty much gone now. Even though I put it in a powder room that is seldom used and doled it out sparingly, to myself and my closest friends. But when my college son's buddies came over - the soap went into the cabinet and was replaced with an ordinary refillable dispenser of Mrs.Meyer's clean Day. I saved the bottle of this exclusive French Lavender Hand Soap - the one that made my hands so soft and delightfully scented. Someday I hope to visit a Trader Joe's again and hope like heck they still carry this soap!

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    1. Michelle- I think there are many secret TJ smugglers out there! Too funny about them going through your luggage! I'll look for the French Lavender hand soap on my next trip!

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  73. Another TJ-less Canadian here. However, I had to comment as we do a similar "find it" game with Baxter. We just take pieces of his kibble and hide them around the living room and dining room and then tell him to "find it." I've had to get tricky, putting kibble on the bricks on the fireplace face (well away from the actual hearth, don't worry) and carefully balanced on top of the handles on the china cabinet.

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    1. love it Julia! Yes, we are always trying to find new places to hide the Charlee bears too!

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  74. Hello, Joan- Did you know they are building a Trader Joe's around the corner from your old Dallas home? I can't wait! Right at the corner of Walnut Hill and Central. I have been going to the one that has already opened on lower Greenville, but cannot wait to have one in my backyard! Great post! Thanks!
    :)Katy (Prissy's neighbor)

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    1. Hi Katy!! NO, I didn't know! I'm a bit jealous as mine is a drive! I miss Penzey's, do you go there?- my closest one in in Boston. Tell Prissy hi for me!

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  75. I do almost all of my shopping at the TJ's in West Newton, MA and I happened to be in the Nashua TJ's with a friend a few weeks ago for some cheese (best cheese department anywhere, and best prices) to have with wine..maybe I passed shopping!...anyway, one of my favorite things is the Premium Salmon Burgers...These are wild caught and delicious...I cook them in a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet, covered..3 minutes each side with a little rosemary...I add a big handful of baby spinach ...also TJ's...about a minute before they are done...I have a scrumptious little dinner in 6 minutes...Linda

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    1. We could have passed each other Linda:) - my last trip was a few weeks ago! Love salmon (wild caught) and will put these on the list. And, thank you for including how you prepare them- I will try that too!

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  76. Thank you ALL so much for your comments and recommendations! I had no intention of doing a TJ's run today, but now I'm thinking I NEED a trip... so many new things on my TJ's list!!

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  77. Joan,

    O.K., I'm a little freaked out!! Yesterday I was at my husband's family reunion outside of Boston and we started talking about TRADER JOE'S. I suggested that we all come up with a list of our favorite TRADER JOE products!!!! Then, at about 9 p.m. we were racing home to try and catch the end of the Red Sox game when I looked on my I-phone and saw your post!! My husband even agreed it was weird! Sooo....here's my favorite products. I LOVE their frozen vegetable nests (they may not call them that). I buy them in bulk and store them in my freezer for a quick appetizer if friends (or Ruth) come over. They come with soy sauce for dipping. I also love their caramelized onion chedder cheese, rainbow trail mix, petite potatoes (great roasted with olive oil,garlic and kosher salt), Pita Bite multigrain crackers and the list goes on and on! I am incredibly lucky because there's a Trader's about 5 minutes from my house! See Ruth's right, I love Trader Joe's. And I'm still freaked out that you posted this yesterday!

    Mary in Fairfield, CT.

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    1. Too funny (freaky) Mary!! Someone else mentioned the nest above ^ - those are on my list to try now! I'm thinking wine and appetizers and wine;) with you and Ruth would be a hoot!

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    2. I promise Joan ....if you even meet my much younger sister Mary, it definitely would be a hoot!!!!
      Much older sister,
      Ruth

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  78. I live 10 minutes away from TJs, and I appreciate it for it's size, as you mentioned, Joan. Besides the products, all of which I love (seasonal items are especially fun!), I appreciate the employees. They are always kind and helpful, and they are very mindful of the wait times at the checkout lines. I also recall one trip a few years ago when I had major dental work and just popped in for quick dinner ingredients. In the checkout line, the employee was talking to me, and I was simply nodding my head in agreement. I finally had to whisper to him and point to my mouth, which was swollen. "Sorry--can't talk." He called over another employee and asked him to go get me a bunch of flowers! How sweet! It was the nicest gesture.

    And, up until last year, they used to "card" me when I bought alcohol, even though I'm *well* past 21! The last time it happened, I turned to the woman in line behind me and said gleefully, "I'm getting carded!" She was so happy for me, too!

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    1. Now, who would have thought that a comment about Trader Joe's could get me teary... but yours did! That is the sweetest story. Yes, I totally agree about their employees being kind and helpful. Love the part about getting carded too- too cute!

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  79. I love TJ's! Here are three of my favs! The frozen spinach artichoke dip! This is always in my freezer. In 6 minutes, it's a great, hot cheesy appetizer when people drop in. Also, Chicken Teriyaki. It's in an orange bag, frozen. Heat up pieces of chicken and microwave sauce and mix. I use this as an appetizer, but, can easily be made with rice for a quick dinner. Frozen adamame are fantastic. I am a big fan of the store and always find such different and tasty foods!

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    1. Yes, the frozen edamame are great- I have two bags in the freezer! Thanks for the other mentions too!

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    2. Just wondering how you make your edamame? Plain or fixed up? I have some in the freezer and am open for suggestions. Thanks for this post - I have a TJ's minutes away. I like the cereals - the bran flakes (1.99) are way better than other brands and do not get soggy! I actually like the taste and get some nutrition! The Apple Smoked bacon is good too.

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  80. Love my Trader Joe's stores yes we have two in Ventura CA. I try to pick up one new item every shopping trip to enhance my creative cooking and try new things.
    My favorite at the moment is the sweet potato fries. Try this:

    I use a pizza pan lined with a piece of parchment paper,
    spread the fries out, use olive oil in a spray to lightly coat, then dust with Trader Joes spices (Africian Smoke, Cayanne Pepper & Smoked Paprika),
    bake longer than package suggests 20 min. (I bake for 28 minutes).
    Great as a snack, or served with steak and greens, or pork, broccoli, applesauce with cinnamon, or best of all turkey burgers.
    I always buy 2 packages each trip to keep on hand. Great post!

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    1. Sounds great Ideezine! Thanks for the directions!

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    2. love sweet potatoes fries baked that way! I spray again after they come out of the oven and reapply the salt. :o)

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  81. Hi Joan,

    It's been a long time since you've been around your old "FTV network message board" :) I'm Mary/saffron215, and I have 3 TJ's near me that I frequent, right outside Boston.

    My list:

    Tuna packed in water
    California Estate Olive Oil
    All of their vinegars
    Organic Ketchup
    Dijon mustard
    Any dried fruit
    All of my nuts for baking (except chopped walnuts)
    Ditto on the pounder dark chocolate for baking
    Four pack of avocadoes
    Brie
    Chocolate Coconut frozen dessert (in the ice cream section)
    Butter Chicken dinner (frozen)
    Chicken Tika Masala (frozen)
    The tiny package of dark chocolate peanut butter cups (I can't be trusted with the large)
    Frozen Brussel Sprouts (great to use during winter storms)
    Frozen Turkey Meatballs (get raves from family and friends)
    Kimchee rice (frozen)

    I buy and try anything because if I don't really love it, I bring it back. They have a wonderful policy and even without a receipt will let you return things. I live so close by, so it's not an issue for me. They encourage people to try things and return if not 100 per cent satisfied.

    BTW, nice bumping into you... happy to see you again, choppergirl!

    Cheers ~





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    1. hi Mary!! Yes, it's been "years"- back when I lived in Dallas and before the invention of blogs:)! Just last week I used our cookbook to make Carolyn's (southerncook) meatloaf; it's the best! Carolyn visits the blog!. ha- choppergirl was for my love of my knives! :) Still have so many great recipes from the board that I use! So good to see you here, hope you are well!
      Thank you for your list- knowing what a good cook you are I know these all must be great!

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  82. Joan, Dan, and Ella: Trader Joe's..gotta love the store. Some things that I buy there: Dark Chocolate Almonds, Chocolate Sunflower Seeds, Corn Salsa and blue chips, any of their cheese, the everything crackers, and anything else that looks good as I am walking up and down the aisles! Somehow, I manage to walk out with more things than I went in for!
    Great post! Cindy

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    1. hi Cindy- we must share the same TJ's, or do you do to one in MA?

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    2. Hi Joan: I, too, go to the Nashua store. I was happy when they moved from Tyngsboro to Nashua; even though it was a short distance move, it is more convenient and the new store is nicer.

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  83. Finally! There will be on coming to Austin, Texas. I'm so excited!

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  84. Where to begin the extensive list of Trader Joe faves? Hummus, low-salt almonds, dried fruits, raw almond butter, Sicilian olive oil, pesto, shrimp gyozas, veggie samosas, garlic naan, arugula pizza, the list goes on! And, of course, the wine prices are the best in town! Have you tried TJ's orange muscat champagne vinegar? Deeeeee-vine!

    It's worth mentioning too that Trader Joe's has extraordinarily helpful and courteous staff, some of whom walk around with a large question mark atop a pole like a bishop's crook to encourage folks to ask for help. That sold me immediately. Our TJ's in Winston-Salem, NC is a treasure! Best wishes.

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    1. I do have that champagne vinegar and it's wonderful! Yes, the employees are the best. Read up ^ about 5/6 comments for a great story someone told!

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  85. That's our TJ's too! We're always there, love that store.

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    1. Yes, I remember you had an "Ella" sighting there last spring!

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  86. Finally have a TJ in Plano and my son has one within walking distance in Ft Worth. We are always texting pics back and forth of things we are buying. I love the frozen garlic and basil. The chocolate, almond and pumpkin croissants are fabulous as are the pumpkin cereal bars. The tiny chocolate peanut butter cups are highly addictive. I'm a Central Market cheese addict but I am now going to try the TJ selection. My son swears by the wine and the pot stickers. Oh, the macaroons are tasty too. I have made a list from the responses and will be back there tomorrow!

    Pattie

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  87. One opened in Naples, FL about 18 months ago. They had to have police directing traffic all 'season' long! You'd think they were giving things away!
    Denise

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  88. Great and informative post. I don't get there often but have discovered some wonderful things there and their prices are amazing. They have this mushroom puff pastry, almost like a light pizza that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! (Frozen dept) great to have on hand for last minute guests,etc....

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  89. I have been tickled with your post all weekend because I love TJ's too!! You taught me 2 items so the lease I could do is pass you back some too. My husband loves chinese food so we get the frozen bag of Orange Chicken $4.99 and the FROZEN box of Jasmine rice. The rice is AMAZING because it comes out perfect each time in the, wait for it,... MICROWAVE!! Who knew?? The second TJ love is the Dixie Peach juice which is seasonal, it is the most amazing real peach juice out there. The only TJ we had before was at my parents in Columbus, Ohio so we when I would visit I would fill my suitcase with Dixie Peach bottles. I thought I was the only horder, until your post. Ok, so I also hide milk chocolate pretzels in my bedroom because my husband has no clue yet how they taste. I know he would devour them quickly, if he did. Thanks for this post and bringing cheer to me this weekend. BTW, I now live 8 minutes away from TJ in North Carolina.

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  90. Where to begin..... The shortbread biscuits are amazing with strawberries and whip cream, the dark chocolate covered cherries and sea salt dark chocolate almonds, the jasmine rice, the organic frozen brown rice with the ORANGE CHICKEN (think we eat that 1 time a week), the soyaki marinade, their philo dough with their precooked carne asada, homemade salsa, and grated cheese on top making a mexcan pizza. Yummo! Kids love the Jo Jo's of course. The pumpkin bread mix is amazing! My kids love the organic white shells mac and cheese!

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  91. My favorites? All of the jams, orange champagne vinegar - makes the best salad dressing mixed with olive oil and TJ's Fig Preserves, dried wild blueberries -- fabulous in oatmeal, pesto, and totally agreed on the sweetened condensed milk. How hand is that squeeze container? We have to travel to Nashville, TN (2 1/2 hours away), but everywhere we travel we check to see if there is one close and then we stock up! Headed to Louisville, KY in a few weeks and will shop there, too!

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  92. I live in Portland, OR, so Trader Joe's are everywhere -
    Some of my favorite things - love their cheese section. We make fondue every New Years' and they have the best Gruyere and Emmentaler - fabulous bacon and the Cookie Thins are amazing - I think the Meyer Lemon is my favorite. I was just there today so let me think what I bought - oh, Trail Mix! The selection is crazy. Love all of their nuts - I can't leave without a bag of pistachios.
    I too love the Alba shaving cream - both myself and my husband use it - I also love their kitchen cloths. I could go on and on, but there are already so many great suggestions here :-)

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  93. Thanks for the post. One opened a couple weeks ago here in Tallahassee and I enjoyed a few treats from the store. I will bring yours and others recommendations with me on my next trip there.

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  94. You absolutely must try the dark chocolate covered almonds sprinkled with sea salt, but I warn you that you can't eat just a few! I usually eat the whole container in a day or so by myself! I also love their dried apricots, unsalted butter (exceptionally creamy), spinach artichoke dip (frozen) and string cheese. Honestly, I've never had anything bad there! Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions; I can't wait to try everyone's recommendations.

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  95. We share the same TJ's in Nashua although I have been known to scour many in MA during the holiday season in search of the dark chocolate star cookies. I buy them and hide them from my children - they are not worthy of these delectable treats :). And I wonder why I seem to gain weight during the holidays...4 boxes of cookies...

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  96. Yes Yes and Yes! When Trades first opened by us on LI NY I felt like I would talk about it to my family all the time. I know it sounded weird but it really is that good. I love that they have all the lists of food for certain issues. Vegan? (my 15 year old recently went Vegan) Gluten Free, whatever your need is they have a list of food for you. The people are so nice too. Corinne

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  97. The list is extensive, but a must is the Vanilla Wafers...all grown up and good enuf for company! Also, the butter wafer cookies that look like ice cream cones. Soooo good. Frozen leeks, Christmas time truffles, Joe's O's cereal..... I just wish the store was closer than the 30 minute ride! Happy eating! :)

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  98. Triple ginger cookies are awesome, sunflower seed butter, balsamic syrup, candied spicy pecans

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  99. We have a TJ's about 20 minutes away, but I rarely ever stop because I'm usually taking my husband to or picking him up from the airport and the dogs are always with me. I made a list from all the comments and your suggestions. Now I'm inspired to make a special trip. Thanks!

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  100. Sorry have not read all the comments, but most definitely want to sing the praises of their frozen, chopped leeks! In my area of the country, leeks tend to be a bit pricey and TJ offers them already, cleaned, chopped and frozen for $1.49 per bag---what a bargain!!!! Have to mention their dark chocolate dipped caramels, French chocolate covered marshmallows, Brioche appetizer toasts, and Dukkah spice blend--all fantastic products you will NOT regret purchasing!!

    Having lived on the East coast for a few years and visited several TJ in those areas, I can now crow about the Plano, TX location as my go to source. That store is much larger than the ones I shopped in the East, thus an even more pleasant shopping experience :-)

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  101. Here is a tip if you are in the frozen isle and don't know what to try....Anything that is low or almost gone...you can bet that it's popular and tasty!

    Spicy Beef and Broccoli
    Multigrain Blend with Vegetables
    Tikka Masala
    Steel Cut Oats with Quinoa
    Parmesean Pups
    Frozen Blueberry Scones
    Mac & Cheese
    Tarte with ham/cheese
    Meatballs

    Thai Red Curry Sauce
    Cilantro Dressing
    Roasted Onion Dip
    Savory Rice Crackers w/soy sauce
    Carolina Gold BBQ sauce
    Any of the pre-packaged salads/meals
    Almond Butter
    21 Seasoning Salute
    Choc covered Espresso Beans
    Irish Tea
    Cocobon Red Wine

    Go to their website and check out the Fearless Flyer....love reading this...they just emailed me the new edition :)


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  102. Pumpkin butter, cookie butter and the $2.99 bottles of wine are MY favorites!!

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  103. I buy the turkey meatloaf muffins for my 2 year old. They have spinach, mashed potatoes, and ground turky in an individual "muffin" and he eats them up. Also, I LOVE the chicken chili verde burritos. Easy for a quick dinner after a long day at work, or lunch on a weekend.

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  104. Gorgonzola gnocchi. Spectacular!
    Fondly-Lisa

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  105. I will be in Dallas in 3 days...and Trader Joe's is on my list!

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  106. Well, I've only heard how great TJ's is. :( Living in a rural area has many perks but one downfall is the distance of stores like this. My closest one (I just checked the website.) is 2 1/2 hours away and the closest in my state is just under 5 hours away!! My daughter lives close to one though and I know one product she always buys there is their fresh pizza dough. Next time I visit her I might have to put TJ's on my list of places to go. ;) Thanks for the post. :)

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  107. Oh yeah, I loved the story of your game you play with Ella!! :D

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  108. I haven't read comments in detail either, but the cookie butter in smooth or chunky, orange chicken, the French lavender hand lotion, the frozen chocolate and the almond croissants, the already made mini orange and cranberry scones, the whole wheat dough, mahi mahi burgers, and the chocolate covered power berries which they no longer carry were our addiction!! I wish they would return. However, I bought two bouquets of their irises and they never opened! A month or two later, I received two as a gift and they never opened either!! Not a fan of their flowers since then.

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    1. If you had told them about the irises they would have replaced them- tell a manager the story the next time you go in! One time I bought some organic apples that went bad the next day. The next time I was in the store I mentioned it to a manager thinking they would want to know- I didn't have the apples or a receipt. He asked me what kind they were and went and got me a replacement bag! Don't give up on their flowers because of the irises- you'll be missing out!:)

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  109. I think I need to go again. I walk in and look around and walk out. I just don't get shopping like that. It seems too small and very "hippie" . I need to readjust my thinking. :) I am a huge fan of Harris Teeter stores here in N.C. They are very big but you can find ANYTHING!!! LOL

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    1. Dianne- think of it more as a "boutique" grocery store!

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  110. We now have a TJ in Kansas City, about 45 minutes away. The first two weeks it opened, you could not walk through the place it was so crowded and people had these bliss out happy smiles on. Even now it's best to shop on weekdays to avoid a crowded mess. I don't eat packaged/frozen foods, but you are making me hungry for those potstickers!

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    1. "bliss out happy smiles on"..... :):) love that!

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  111. Oh, how I love Trader Joes! I live 5 minutes away from mine and am in there so much it's almost embarrassing . . . . I love your post and have made a list of all the new things I want to try :) Here are a few of my current favorite TJs things I simply cannot live without:

    Edamame Hummus - - especially good with their multigrain pita crackers
    Lemon Curd - - good on triple gingersnaps (or just on a spoon!); great hostess gift for $2.99
    Haberno-LIme Tortillas (the orange ones) - - they make the BEST spicy quesadillas
    Double-roasted Salsa (jarred) and Organic Blue Corn chips
    Ciabatta Bread - - split, spread with butter and bake until golden
    Tuscan Pane - - I always keep a loaf in the freezer for toast; chewy and sourdoughy
    Roasted Corn (frozen) - - great for corn salads
    White Stilton with peaches or cranberries
    Pumpkin Cream Cheese
    Green Fin Red Table Wine - - $3.99 and my favorite (the Table Wine, not the Cabernet)
    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread (seasonal)
    Almond Windmill Cookies
    Curry Simmer Sauces - - easy (and so flavorful) meal over rice; love the green, but all are good
    Arrabiatta Pasta Sauce - - has a spicy kick (I haven't tried the sauce you mentioned, but will)

    Oh my. I could go on and on. Two of my favorites have sadly disappeared - - the flaxseed peanut butter and the raspberry preserves - - but I am hoping maybe they'll bring them back. Thanks again for this post and allowing me a forum in which to gush about TJs :)

    Allison in Athens, Ga.

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    1. thanks for your list Allison and thanks for gushing about TJ's!

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    2. So my list (of new things to try) and I went to Trader Joes this morning and did a lot of damage. My full cart rivaled yours on Instagram. Four full bags later, my pantry and freezer (and me) are quite happy :)
      Allison

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  112. We live out in the country in our seaside dream house. Trader Joe's is an hour to the ferry and maybe two beyond that so we often stop on our way home from visiting friends and family in other places. I love love the Guilt-Free brownie mix and the corn bread mix. I just got back from a wedding and unpacked our Trader Joe's bag. I opted for the dark chocolate covered cherries, but I was a little disappointed in them. The bottle of green chili salsa and their cowboy caviar are just waiting for me to get some tortilla chips.

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  113. Wow! I'm totally convinced. I've always been too overwhelmed/in a rush to focus and try things. So guess what's on my to do list this week now? Lol.

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  114. I love the TJ's brand Coconut Milk Beverage that is in a shelf stable carton. I buy the unsweetened (yummy) but it also comes in vanilla.

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  115. Does anyone know how TJ's selection of gluten-free products is? I generally try to eat naturally GF, but there are some things that are nice-to-have (GF oats, bread, crackers, to name a few).

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    1. The Trader Joe's brand chocolate chip cookies are maybe the best I've had. They are a close tie with Tate's chocolate chip. I buy at least two bags every trip. Their gluten-free products are mixed in with other products by type, rather than in a designated section, but you will be surprised by how much is available if you take your time and look through each aisle.

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    2. hi Lana, I was going to say the same thing. On my last trip I noticed they often mention on the price plaque when a product is GF. Ask a salesperson- I bet they could show you all the GF products they carry.

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    3. Thank you both so much! I've never actually been to a TJs...I think a trip to Nashua is in my near future. :)

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  116. Just had my first visit at TJ's while visiting my cousin in Columbus Ohio. They just opened near my house in Buffalo, NY, but I had yet to check it out. My cousin recommended many of the same things you did, including the Fearless Flyer, so I am currently sampling what I came back home with, am armed with my Fearless Flyer and will be making a trip to my local TJ's in the near future. Glad to see they carry the Glucosamine as I have a soon to be 10 year old English Yellow Lab and a soon to be 8 year old Border Collie. I'll give that a try and will also try the Charlee Bear snacks. I shared this link with my cousin .....it is too funny that we were at TJ's on Friday and you posted this on Saturday. Thank you...and thanks to everyone for their recommendations. Some of her recommendations were the fresh pizza dough, frozen french cut green beans, TJ's strawberry jelly, the White Balsamic ....the fish. Needless to say, I can't WAIT for my next trip to the store!

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  117. Did anyone mention TJ's brie en croute? Unfortunately, it's a seasonal item but it is awesome last min. appetizer for guests. The crust is light, buttery and flakey. My husband and I have been known to devour one during a movie one Fri. night. Great with apples or fig spead. I also love the almond crossiants.

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  118. Love their selection of grass-fed beef. And they have these bags of coconut stips that are a great snack if you want something a little sweet without having a sugar crash. I always get a bag or two of roasted slivered almonds. And I recently found that they carry little 8oz containers of diced prosciutto 'ham' - perfect as a garnish in soups.

    ~JackieVB

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  119. Love love Trader Joes. Try the pumpkin bread mix, corn bread mix, the chocolate salted caramels. Just tried their pumpkin cheesecake and it is unbelievable. Always stock the salted almonds and chocolate croissants. The mandarin orange chicken taste just like PF Changs. Ask an employee to take you around and show you their most popular items. They are so helpful.

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  120. THANKS so much for all your great suggestions! I've made a list on my small legal pad notes and I have EIGHT pages of product suggestions!! I had no idea I was missing out on so much.
    Made a trip the other night and spent more money than ever have!! (photo of cart on Instagram- on sidebar)
    Thank you!
    joan

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  121. The guilt-free macaroni and cheese is absolutely divine. There is no way you feel they held back on a creamy divine cheese sauce. Love their ginger-almond clusters only granola and their microwave popcorn bags are the best ever. They haven't carried those for a couple of months and I miss them. Use to have one a day at work.

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  122. LOVE TJ's! That was my go-to grocery store in Pasadena post-college. When I moved to NYC - I wanted in line on opening day. (20 mins to get INTO the store). Now that I am looking for a future retirement home - I had to check out 3 things - a neighborhood independent market, a neighborhood hardware store - and TJ's. I found all three on the Cape (near Hyannis). I can walk to my market (Fancy's) and the hardware store - and TJ's is 10 mins away in Hyannis.

    My favorite thing - the ham and Gruyere Alsace Tarte. I buy in bulk - but never take the last one.
    Just a little TJ karma. 10 mins at 450* - and it makes either a great dinner with a green salad - or cut it in squares and share with a crowd.

    Wendy

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  123. Their ginger snaps are yummy!

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  124. Joan, doesn't it amaze you how passionate we are about Trader Joe's? Been on your post/comments for over an hour now. Discovered TJs in CA years ago when friend and I traveled from OK for business trips about three times a year. Friend would take an extra carryon to load with all brands of wines. She'd heft that heavy suitcase to the overhead bin; prior 9/11. Didn't see anyone mention sesame sticks, but only half way through the comments. Great post, great blog.

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  125. This is a great post for me - I love going into supermarkets overseas and seeing what weird and wonderful things there are on the shelf. I must say US food has come along way in the last decade since I last had a good shop around. No idea what a pot sticker is - or a pop up sponge - but good to see some Darrel Lea Liquorice! Oh well I'm sure you would all be amused at some of our delicacies like Vegemite and Lamingtons! The prices also look amazing in comparison.

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  126. I can't believe more people haven't mentioned the dark chocolate covered almonds sprinkled with sea salt - they are probably my favorite treat ever. My husband buys them for me any time he wants to make my smile. Also, the Orange Chicken is terrific - I was doubtful despite all of the great reviews and was very surprised by how good it is.

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  127. love Trader Joes! I only shop there or Aldi's!!
    those dryer sheets are the best.
    I love their Bleu Cheese Pecan dip with pita crackers. soooo good. Also, the applewood smoked turkey bacon. very diet friendly but you still get the taste of bacon!!

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  128. oh, Pizza flatbread "Tarte d'Alsace" YUM!!

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  129. As one of 6 daughters in our family, I am surprised that you are still here, alive and blogging after using this in your post "My much-older-sister Susan" . . . and shocked that everyone else just went on . . . just commented on TJs without a whisper of 'OMG' she said that about her sister! lol hey Sister Susan . . . I'm on your side : )

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    1. Ha! That's because they are all used to it Nance- you must be new! If you look up in the comments Susan even comments as "much older sister Susan"! I'm sure much older sister Susan will appreciate your support, but the fact remains that she is MUCH older than me!! hehehe!

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  130. TJs is the only thing (as opposed to people) I miss from "the big city" we left behind for rural VT. We keep hearing rumors of a Trader Joe's coming to Burlington, and even the specific site, but so far, nothing. We, too, fill the car when we're near a store. Sadly, many of my favorite products are discontinued without notice, so I can't stockpile them.

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  131. In Brazil where I live, there are no TJs; but it's one of the first places I go (and buy EVERYTHING) when I am in the USA. A favorite product I don't see on this list of comments is TJ's Israeli couscous/veggie mix. I don't remember the exact name, but it's fabulous and my family loves it.

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  132. I grew up in California, and my first apartment (South Pasadena) was across the street from one of the first TJ's. When I moved to FL - I would have visitors bring a bag of the white macadamia nut cookies (which they stopped carrying about 20 years ago). I moved to NYC the weekend the 1st TJ's opened in Manhattan. I gladly stood in line OUTSIDE waiting to get in like it was the latest and hippest nightclub around. Others in line complained - they had no idea the joy that was waiting them inside.

    I also buy the Alsace Tart (Ham, Gruyere, Onion). Its the perfect dinner (with a green salad) or cut up in little squares as an appetizer. My self imposed rule is I never buy the last one. If there are 8 in the case - I will buy 7. If there are 4 - I only take 3. Call it TJ's Karma - I just know if I do this - there will always be one for me! (Hey - I grew up in CA).

    I am now purchasing my (eventual) retirement home on Cape Cod - and yes - I did a search of TJ's locations to make sure there would be one nearby! I will take my list of suggested items to the Hyannis store when I stock my kitchen!

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  133. The triple Ginger Ginger Snap cookies are THE best! Nice and crunchy and little bits of ginger….great with peanut butter too! I bought them for my Dad all the time, every time I see them I think of him. Also the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup is very good… with a spoonful of Goat cheese

    Love TJ

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  134. i love that you did this post - so true, there are way too many good things about TJ to count. My dogs LOVE the Glucosamine pills too! they eat them like candy every AM. And some of my faves are the Pork Buns, the little mini pumpkin branches at halloween time, their cornflakes, their cilantro yogurt sauce. OMG... with salmon. To die for!

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  135. I am a huge fan of Trader Joes as I love that it has almost everything I need with reasonable prices and within a reasonable space. Remember the days when there was only Cheerios, Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, Wheaties, and maybe 10 others? We have way too many choices now, most of them not healthy options. Grocery stores are often massive, have too many options, and require too much time. As for favorites, Trader Joe's Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil was listed as one of the best olive oils in the Wall Street Journal last month. I love their huge selection of nuts and dried fruits. They have great Dark Chocolate Almonds, frozen Spanakopita filled with spinach, ricotta & feta cheese, and an amazing selection of cheese. They also sell a fabulous Air Therapy with an orange scent. And last of all, they have amazing lavender bar soap.
    These are just a few of the many things I love about Trader Joes. I am fortunate as my Trader Joes is about 2 1/2 miles away and Costco is about 5 miles. Like others noted, I do the bulk of my shopping at these two stores.

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