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.

SO, this post is everything I got TODAY. I am going to try to do a couple of these posts a month so you get an idea of my routine etc etc blah blah blah. My cart is usually a mix of household staples that we go through fast, a few things that need restocking in the pantry and some new stuff to try.  I would say once or twice a month I get a large amount and then the other weeks are more of a fill in. Today was a bigger haul, so this post may be a little long. Some stuff doesn't need explaining but I will try to tie it all into my meal prep and dinner plan for this week.

Here we go!

*The Usual Suspects*


Eggs - this house goes through tons of eggs. Sometimes I splurge on the pasture raised kind, but sometimes I just need some eggs. I love to keep a pack of hard boiled (or soft) eggs in the fridge for snacks, deviled eggs etc. So I usually buy two packs and prep one that day.
Rotisserie seasoned chicken breast - I just love to have this for snacks. My fave thing right now is pesto and this chicken breast on a rice cake.
Proscuttio - a staple in my fridge. I love it as snack with tomatoes, crisped up in a salad, with eggs or just plain.
Spatchcock Lemon Rosemary Chicken - GUYS. Get this. So good. Spatchcock is just a term to explain that the back bone is cut out so the whole chicken lays flat. All you have to do is take it out of the package and roast for a little over an hour. I LOVE to keep this in the freezer for an easy weeknight main dish. The lemon rosemary marinade is delicious and it goes with so many things.
Frozen Raw Shrimp, tail on - I always have a bag of these in the freezer. Easiest weeknight dinner for one, roast a bag of these and serve with raw veggies and dip. A go to for me and ten times better than pre-cooked shrimp. Please don't buy pre-cooked shrimp. No flavor, so gross.
BBQ Cut Atlantic Salmon - just another great protein to have in the fridge or freezer. This cut has the skin on so it holds up well on high heat, I love to sear or roast it.

-I keep a decent sized stock of chicken, ground turkey, bacon, sausage etc in the fridge as well and pull out as needed.-


Vine ripened pearl tomatoes - these are always perfect, no matter the season, and I have yet to find a Safeway tomato that measures up. I keep at last one pack of these in the fridge to add to eggs, as a snack with basil and proscuttio, on sandwiches, salads etc. Best tomatoes around, especially when it is not tomato season.
Avocados - OK PEOPLE. Buy. Them. UNripe. No, you won't be able to use them that day. But within two days, you will have perfectly ripe avocados for toast, guacamole, salads etc. These are the BEST avocados if you have a little patience. Another tip: if I have more than one left towards the end of the week and they are all just about to go bad, I mash them up with lemon juice in a tupperware and store in the fridge. They will keep perfectly for another few days, and ready to go for smearing on toast or turning into guacamole.
Honeycrisp apples - I don't have a huge sweet tooth but if I am craving dessert, I love these cut up with cinnamon on top. Just a weird thing I can't get enough of and Trader Joe's has perfect little honeycrisp apples.
Fingerling potatoes - SO GOOD ROASTED. I will have to throw a recipe up for these bad boys soon, they are a perfect side dish to almost anything and so cute.
HUGE gorgeous artichokes - couldn't pass them up and they were a super great price!
I also have here: cauliflower, lemons, spinach, mushrooms, onion, garlic, multi colored carrots, grapefruit and broccoli. Just a normal load of veggies/citrus that I like, which means I will use them even if I haven't figured out how yet.

Other stuff:

Cottage cheese - easy high protein low cal snack in a pinch. I grew up eating it so I like it, I know a lot of people don't.
Greek yogurt - another staple in this house. I have to stock up every week. I am a big dip/sauce person and I use yogurt for almost all of them. Greek yogurt is thick, has a great taste, high protein, great probiotics for gut health and is a good replacement for mayo, sour cream, cream cheese....its so versatile. I love it.
Vegan Kale Cashew & Basil Pesto - The title of that product sounds so obnoxious. But this stuff is soooo good and a lot better for you than regular pesto. I love it on top of fish, sauteed veggies, crackers, mixed in sauces, etc. I do buy regular pesto too and Trader Joe's has great versions of both!
Garlic Spread and Dip - If you get one thing from this post, it must be THIS. It is good on everything. Trust me. I hope Joe keeps this stocked forever!
Pecorino/Romano/Asiago blend - I just always have some kind of parmesan-esque cheese in the house to add to various veggies/side dishes and I wanted to try this one with cauliflower.
Whole Grain Dijon - a must for my homemade caesar dressing and a great mix in for sauces. This TJ brand is the best I have found and I don't really buy any other kind now.
Garlic Mustard Aoli - MAKES A GREAT VINAIGRETTE and so good in tuna salad or deviled eggs.
Olive Oil - just ran out and always keep a good olive oil for salad dressings. If I am cooking on a high heat, I use TJ's avocado oil which has a higher smoke point.
Gluten Free Crispbread - these are just really good and full of amazing stuff. I love them as a base for avocado toast, eggs, or piled with any kind of toppings I have.
Chicken broth - a must for a lot of my recipes from deglazing the pan to cooking polenta. I use it instead of water for a bigger flavor.
Coffee - can't run out of that! TJ's has a great machine to grind your own beans before you leave. I have tried a lot of different coffee beans from Trader Joe's but their basic medium roast is a staple in our pantry.
Rice Cracker Medley - just a regular snack in this household that tries not to keep a lot of snacks around. Healthier than the amazing selection of chips TJ's has!

*New stuff to try*

Here are a few things I decided to pick up and try this week, I think they all have been around for a while but I just never had the room in my cart before:

Artichoke Antipasto - a blend of artichoke hearts, seasonings, olive oil and garlic. I thought this would be really good tossed with the black bean pasta I have in my pantry.
Beet and Roasted Garlic Dip - been wanting to try this forever! It is a gorgeous color and full of lots of healthy stuff.
Olive Tapenade - going to use as a mix in for deviled eggs which I have done before and LOVE, but never with this kind.

*Stuff I Needed that TJ's Doesn't Have*

Just a couple things this week: 

ACV - I am almost out and I usually drink a little in the morning to help with gut health and also a staple in a lot of my vinaigrettes. I just prefer this brand over TJ's.
Sambal Oelek - a wonderful, vineger-y, spicy chili and garlic sauce that is good on EVERYTHING.
Kimchi - another thing I eat for gut health every day and I just happen to prefer this brand over TJ's, although the TJ's version is very good!

Ta-dah! That's a wrap. I usually try to shop for 3-4 meals a week. This stuff will stretch me into next week. With each meal I cook, I usually cook for 4-ish people. Then I have leftover for lunches and the nights I don't cook. This week will probably look something like:
*Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with spinach salad and cauliflower gratin.
*Salmon with roasted broccoli, roasted fingerling potatoes and pesto sauce.
*Roasted shrimp with artichoke antipasto pasta and sauteed mushrooms.
*Probably something from the freezer like chicken thighs and those big beautiful artichokes.
*Snacks and Breakfast: avocado on crispbread, deviled eggs, raw veggies with various dips.

That is my week with Trader Joe! Hope this helps as much as I want it too, feel free to contact me if you still have any questions before visiting Joe yourself, OR if you want to see more info on these posts that I've missed. Have fun!

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