What I Traded From Joe

I think this post may be my number one requested, and I am FINALLY doing it. I am a self proclaimed Trader Joe's professional. I go once a week and buy about 90% of our household groceries there. I religiously go before 10am...no later. I have even set my alarm before. THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE ADVICE - GO EARLY. You will not regret it. Stop at your favorite coffee shop on the way, carve out a little "you" time, enjoy the empty store, newly stocked shelves, friendly employees and the awesome classic rock they usually play (at least my store does). It is worth getting up early on a Sunday, especially when you realize what a mad house it turns into after 10am.

Best Vinaigrette Ever (and a Winter salad to put it on)

I almost always make all my own salad dressings. After doing that for a while, I can hardly stomach bottled versions. It's super easy, there's no fake weird stuff going in there, and you can adjust based on your own tastes and preferences. This is my go to salad dressing because it is good on almost ANY kind of salad you can think up, even pasta salad! It is super easy, and I also love that the ingredients are things I almost always have in my kitchen.

Pecan Pesto

I LOVE pecans. Hate walnuts. So weird, right? I also LOVE, love, love the smell of fresh basil. Trader Joe's often carries big basil plants for less than $5 and I buy them all the time! I have black thumbs, but can usually keep them alive long enough to get a few months of use out of them. I think that's worth the investment, yea? I came up with this recipe when I had to trim quite a bit of basil off of a plant. All I had was pecans in the house and they added a surprisingly distinctive nuttiness to this recipe that I loved. As always...maybe more than ever... EVERYTHING is eyeballed. No exact measurements here. I will give you a rough guideline but do what feels right according to your own personal tastes. This is super easy, no cook time, and delicious on everything from pasta to sandwiches.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This is one of my absolute favorite dishes to whip up. Tabbouleh has a lot of bright flavors, and is traditionally made with bulgar. Quinoa can be a little easier to find and packs a lot of great protein and vitamins...plus I usually have it in the pantry. This is great to food prep for lunches, pack for a picnic, or as a side dish to a main course like chicken or fish.