Trader Joe’s Haul (part two)

If you know me, you probably know by now that I’ve become (ahem) mildly obsessed with Trader Joe’s. I blame my friend Kenna for starting this obsession and Natasha from Trader Joe’s List for furthering it. And also just Trader Joe himself, for having such amazing products.

Anyway. Today’s haul is technically a two-parter: some things that I bought on a trip to Trader Joe’s with my dad two weeks ago, and some things Kenna picked up for me the week before that. Some of the products I purchased were things I’d gotten before, including:

  • Strawberry ice cream
  • Peanut butter protein granola
  • Peanut butter & jelly Frooze Balls
  • GoMacro bars (although I did get all new flavors–everlasting joy, smooth sanctuary, and heartwarming retreat)
  • Enjoy Life sunseed butter protein bites (I eat these almost every night and they’re the best thing in the WORLD–they taste like chocolate truffles, but are free of the top eight allergens and have 8g of protein to keep my blood sugar up for at least a little longer during the night! I also grabbed a pack of the dark raspberry flavor to try, and they were good too.)

Everything else reviewed in this haul was a new-to-me product that I was super excited to try. On the Trader Joe’s trip with my dad, I bought 19 items for $40. Here’s what I thought of each one!

Mini Chicken Tacos

These cute little tacos are gluten-free, dairy-free, and pretty good! I eat them as a meal, but they seem like they’re meant to be more of an appetizer–they’re pretty plain and would be a lot better if you had a dipping sauce, maybe the cashew fiesta dip (which sadly upsets my stomach). Yes, homemade tacos would probably be cheaper and taste better. But I never know when I’m going to feel like eating what, and it’s nice to have these in the freezer if I decide on a whim that I want tacos.

Would I buy again?: Sure.

Joe Joe’s

I thought I’d read somewhere that Joe Joe’s were large, soft sandwich cookies. Turns out, though, they’re essentially just like Oreos. They’re definitely good, but if I’d known I would have probably spent my money on something else. (Although, whereas Oreos normally upset my stomach, Joe Joe’s seem to be okay with me–so that’s super nice!)

Would I buy again?: Not unless I need them for a recipe or I’m trying a new seasonal flavor (peppermint Joe Joe’s, anyone?).

Chocolate Babka

This is a dream come true. It’s flaky. It’s chocolatey. And it’s dairy free! It definitely doesn’t make me feel great and I ended up taking some of it over to my family’s house, but it was so good. And so beautiful–I mean, just look at that flaky goodness. (*has a full photoshoot with Trader Joe’s babka*)

Would I buy again?: My heart says yes. My stomach says no.

Holiday Hash

I can’t have very many vegetables, and I’m getting a little bored of the ones I can eat. So when I saw this hash that’s essentially just butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and herbs, I was totally on board! My favorite thing to do with this is add it to scrambled eggs (with some deli turkey meat thrown in too for extra protein). It’s delicious and makes your kitchen smell amazing. As I do with everything else, I froze most of the Holiday Hash in individual portions.

Would I buy again?: Absolutely. In fact, since it’s a seasonal product, I’m going to stock up next time I go.

Aloha Bar

This was pretty good! It just tasted like your average chocolate protein bar. It did have a lot of fiber for me though (14g) and I’m not sure how I would feel if I ate the whole thing at once.

Would I buy again?: I don’t think so.

Japanese Sweet Potato

I’ve been wanting to try Japanese sweet potatoes for quite a while and I was excited to pick this up. I cut it up and roasted it at 350 for an hour with honey and a sprinkle of salt. It was absolutely delicious! It tasted sort of like a cross between a sweet potato and a russet potato. It was also kind of chewy, but that might have just been mine since I forgot to add oil before putting it in the oven. 🙂

Would I buy again?: Yes!

Delicata Squash

Delicata squash seems to be all the rage among food bloggers and Instagrammers right now. Since I’m able to eat most kinds of squash, I thought I should try it out! I cooked this by slicing it up (which was extremely difficult and frustrating thanks to my carpal tunnel) and then roasting it in the oven for 30 minutes at 425 with olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper. It was good, but it probably would’ve been better if I hadn’t burned it. What can I say, I was in a meeting.

Would I buy again?: If I had someone else to slice it for me. 😉

ABC Bars

For some reason (probably the color of the packaging?), I got it into my head that these were going to taste like Heath bars. They obviously didn’t, lol–but I couldn’t put my finger on what they did taste like. I think the almond butter and fig paste combo was just unfamiliar to me because I’ve never had almond butter before. These were good and I’ll enjoy the rest!

Would I buy again?: Maybe. They were good, but they wouldn’t be my top priority when it comes to bars since they only have 4g protein.

That’s it for this Trader Joe’s haul–but I’m sure there will be another one soon! Have you tried any of these products? What should I get next time? Please encourage my newest bad habit by letting me know in the comments!

Trader Joe’s Haul

I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was literally the most exciting thing that’s happened to me all year (#2020 lol). The nearest Trader Joe’s to me is about 35 minutes away, but I happened to have a doctor appointment at the end of September that was just down the road. So I had to swing by! I did hours of research beforehand on the best products at this magical place, and I was so excited about everything I got. I spent $66 (not counting three items purchased for friends) and got 17 items. I can’t wait to tell you about them, so let’s get into my reviews!

Murasaki Sweet Potato Chips

I’d heard these were good, and they were! They’re just sweet potatoes, oil, and salt, but I could eat the whole bag in one sitting. However, I won’t buy them again because they’re high in fiber and sent me into a mini flare-up (I follow a low fiber diet to manage my pain, nausea, and early satiety/extreme fullness).

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Protein Granola

Lately I’ve been really enjoying KIND peanut butter granola clusters. This is essentially the same thing, and it’s delicious; coconut yogurt with a handful of this is the perfect bedtime snack. I’m going to stock up on this next time I’m at Trader Joe’s because the KIND granola is normally out of stock at Walmart.

Maple Leaf Cookies

I broke into these on the way home from Trader Joe’s and they were delicious–I definitely regret only getting one box! They’re similar to Oreos, but shaped like maple leaves, and the filling is slightly maple-flavored. They do tend to make me nauseous, but most of the time they’re worth it!

Coconut Shrimp

I wasn’t planning to buy this, but I love shrimp and it looked like a good freezer meal to have on hand. I’ve been wanting to try it for weeks now but haven’t felt well enough yet and didn’t want to delay this blog post any longer–so stay tuned for my thoughts!

Cold Pressed Pineapple Juice

This was really good, but it had a lot of sugar and fiber–which are things I try to stay away from, at least in large amounts. I enjoyed it but won’t buy again.

Vegan Mac

I was excited to try Trader Joe’s dairy free mac-n-cheese. Unfortunately, the vegan mac didn’t really do it for me. It had a flavor to it that seemed familiar, but I just couldn’t place (butternut squash is the third ingredient, so maybe that?). I divided it into individual portions and put it in the freezer. I’ll probably eat the rest eventually, but I really don’t prefer it. (Although it does have a lot of protein–9g per cup!)

Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

I have had so much trouble finding a plain vanilla ice cream that’s dairy-free. Until Trader Joe’s, I couldn’t find one anywhere. And while I prefer other flavors of ice cream, there are times when I’m eating a brownie or some other dessert and I really just want some vanilla ice cream to go with it! So I grabbed this to keep in my freezer for those times.

Non-Dairy Strawberry Frozen Dessert

I got two of these, but I should’ve gotten three. Or five. Maybe ten. This is absolutely HEAVENLY. Everything about this strawberry ice cream is perfect. I got some waffle cones at Walmart and put the ice cream in there, and it got even better. It was so good I literally wanted to cry with happiness. Not exaggerating.

Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

These are delicious, as expected! I don’t like them quite as much as the peanut butter cups I make at home. But I feel like when it comes to peanut butter cups, half of it is about the experience–and it’s fun to have a chocolate candy that I can take out of a bag, unpeel from the wrapper, and eat.

Chile Lime Chicken Burgers

I’ve been enjoying turkey burgers from Walmart recently, and I’d heard so much about these chicken burgers that I figured I would branch out and give them a try. I like them a lot!!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a really good food for me. But because of my carpal tunnel, I struggle with peeling and chopping them up. So I think this is the most genius idea I’ve ever seen! The potatoes are frozen into small coin shapes. Drop 8-10 coins into a saucepan, add a few tablespoons of water, and you have mashed sweet potatoes within five minutes. Brilliant!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Frooze Balls

I should have looked more closely at the nutrition facts before picking these up–they have 9g of fiber, which is too much for me. I probably won’t be buying them again, but it was fun to try them once! They tasted a lot like date balls.

GoMacro Bars

I got two flavors of GoMacro bars: protein purity (sunflower butter and chocolate), and protein pleasure (peanut butter chocolate chip). They were good, but not $2.29 good, and I doubt I’ll get them again (although I did feel trendy eating them, lol).

Vegan Banana Bread with Walnuts

This was great! Nothing special, but a solid loaf of banana bread. I sliced it up and put it in the freezer to eat piece by piece (with peanut butter on top to add more calories and protein).

Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix

I’m going to make this boxed pumpkin bread mix sometime later in October when I finish the banana bread. It looks good!

Sadly, Trader Joe’s didn’t have any Enjoy Life sunseed protein bites–which is, ironically, the entire reason that I’d originally wanted to go. But I stocked up on those from Enjoy Life’s website, so it’s all good. 🙂 Don’t even get me started on how decadent and perfect those are–it’s beyond me how something made from tapioca syrup and pumpkin seeds can literally taste like a chocolate truffle (with 8 grams of protein!).

Next time I go to Trader Joe’s, I’ll definitely be stocking up on frozen mashed sweet potatoes and strawberry ice cream (I’d love to get more boxes of maple leaf cookies too, but I don’t know that I’ll make it back soon enough to snag more seasonal fall items). And I also want to to buy more chili lime chicken burgers, sunflower butter cups, and peanut butter granola.

As far as other things I’d like to try, these products are at the top of my list for next time:

  • Cheese-less cheesecake
  • Joe Joe’s (sandwich cookies)
  • Organic garlic naan crackers
  • Mini chicken tacos
  • Coffee cake mix
  • Almond chocolate bar
  • Raspberry star cookies

Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? Have you tried any of the products I reviewed? And what other products should I look for next time? Let me know in the comments!

September 2020 Monthly Wrap-up

Much of September was spent in preparation for the final week of the month–getting ahead on work, doing research and paperwork, etc. Before we got there, I had five or six medical appointments; a voice lesson; and two tap lessons. Kenna and I had a fun evening at Menchie’s and the park; Andrea and I went to lunch; Brooke came over for brunch; Kenna and I went to dinner; Brooke went with my family to an apple “house;” and my dad and I went to lunch at a WWII aviation-themed restaurant.

The last full week in September was crazy–it honestly felt like a whole year in and of itself. I took off work the whole week (which weirdly made it feel like Christmas break). The first couple days, I had some medical appointments–including a pretty big one that I’d been waiting for for months, where we learned some important and helpful things. (And I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time, which was way too exciting.)

After that, we went to the beach Wednesday-Sunday. We’d been planning for months to go to Gulf Shores. But that fell through because of Hurricane Sally–so we threw together a very last-minute trip to North Myrtle Beach. We had such a fun and relaxing trip walking on the beach and picking up shells; playing Yahtzee with a view of the ocean; and making fresh chocolate chip cookies every afternoon (a beach tradition).

This month I’m…

Reading: Archenemies, Supernova, and Cinder, Marissa Meyer. Falling Free, Shannan Martin. Traitor to the Throne, Alwyn Hamilton (reread). Dream Things True, Marie Marquardt. The Next Right Thing, Emily P. Freeman. The Scars That Have Shaped Me, Vaneetha Rendell Risner. Welcome to Camden Falls, Needle and Thread, Tis the Season, Best Friends, Coming Apart, September Surprises, and Keeping Secrets, Ann M. Martin (rereads). The Geography of Lost Things, Jessica Brody. The Wish Granter and The Shadow Queen, C. J. Redwine (rereads). 18 total (I also apparently read a book called Magic, but I have no memory of this and no idea who the author was??).

Listening to: Peter Frey’s Living With Hope podcast. Tuck Everlasting. Acoustic hymns. Honeybee, The Head and the Heart. Surround Me, LEON. Hopeless Wanderer and Mountain Sound, Mumford & Sons. Peer Pressure, James Bay. Heather, Conan Gray. Alive, NEEDTOBREATHE. Let Me Move You, Sabrina Carpenter. Ugly Heart, G.R.L. Living on the Last Hope, Saint Mikel. Maybe Don’t, Maisie Peters.

Watching: The Frey Life, Elli Feingold, and Trader Joe’s List on YouTube. Boy Meets World season three. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Eating and/or cooking: White chocolate chip blondies. An anniversary meal for my parents–chicken piccata, green beans, bacon mac n cheese cups, mango mousse, and Oreo cobbler. Trader Joe’s cashew fiesta dip, cinnamon rolls, and maple leaf cookies. Enjoy Life sunseed protein bites. Chicken sausage and butternut squash. Nature’s Bakery raspberry fig bars. Ben & Jerry’s nondairy Netflix and chill flavor. Whiting. And at the beach: Cracker Barrel biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, apple cake, and candy corn.

Writing: I was able to work on my book some during the time I was off work, which was really great. I also wrote and mailed 42 letters this month and received 26.

Buying: Autumn washi tape. Stationery items from Shein. Lots of exciting food at Trader Joe’s (full haul coming soon). Green sweatpants. A whole case of Enjoy Life sunseed protein bites. Two mugs and a shirt from Myrtle Beach. A cute autumn pot holder and a scented sachet from Cracker Barrel. A new floor lamp and some mini pumpkins. And a Hobby Lobby fall mug because I can’t resist.

Learning: 1) Sitting still is okay. But also, you’re never really sitting still–you can’t help but keep moving forward in life. 2) Even if something in life isn’t the way I thought it would be, it is still good. 3) The importance of receiving life as a gift rather than pursuing novelty or change in an attempt to satisfy myself.

Grateful for: Being asked to be a bridesmaid for the first time! My dance teacher building in time to stretch during our lessons, because she knows I have heart rate issues. Kenna leaving me scones in her mailbox. And literally everything about our vacation.

What did you do in September? What are your plans for October?