The nearest Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are about 35 minutes away.

If it were up to me, I would waste the gas and drive there every weekend. But Mr. How Sweet has a wiser head on his shoulders. The conversation usually goes something like this.

Me: I’m going to the store, what do you want?

Mr. How Sweet: Chicken. And steak. And healthy cookies. And chicken.

Me: Chicken. Check.

Mr. How Sweet: Where are you going?

Me: Umm…probably Giant Eagle. But…maybe…Whole Foods.

Mr. How Sweet: Do you need to go to Whole Foods? Why? What do you need from there? We need to save money!

Me: Stuff. I need stuff!

Alas, I make the trip every few weeks. Which is probably for the best, because once I walk into those stores it is like I have never seen food before. I walk around like a complete loon with a blank grin on my face, crashing my cart into store displays. You can’t argue with me – it is foodie heaven.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things that always land in the cart. I prefer to shop there by myself, because Mr. How Sweet has the attention span of a hungry 4-year-old. He doesn’t understand how I can just walk up and down the aisles looking at ‘stuff.’

Tuscan white bean hummus from Trader Joe’s.

This is the hummus. The hummus of all hummuses. Is that a word? It is now. This is the hummus that made me love hummus. That got me hooked on hummus. That began the endless hummus binge. Buy some.


Because at Whole Foods, then only cost one arm and one leg as opposed to my local grocery store, where they cost one arm and two legs.

Trader Joe’s orange chicken.

This is Mr. How Sweet’s (and my brother’s) favorite treat. We buy at least 8 bags at a time – that is no exaggeration. Mr. How Sweet would eat this everyday if he could. I must admit, it is tasty. And since it comes from Trader Joe’s, Mr. How Sweet insists that it is healthy. I love the way his mind works. Especially when he comes home with a tub of ‘healthy’ ice cream from Trader Joe’s.

Coconut butter.

Because I just eat this by the spoonful. If you like coconut, you have got to start riding this gravy train. It is incredible.

Kale. This times four.

Honestly, this is the reason I must go to Whole Foods. Their kale is much better quality-wise than any store around me, and believe me, I have gone to about 6 other stores checking it out. It is always perfectly fresh and crisp. It may sound ridiculous, but when kale is the only vegetable you like, you go to all lengths.


Like this needs an explanation.

Greek yogurt.

I usually get a tub of Fage 0% and a tub of 2%, but Trader Joe’s was out of the 2%. They must not have got the memo that I was going. I also love to get some Siggi’s yogurt, but I also love to be able to pay my bills.

Something trendy.

Can I just tell you that I may have jumped for joy when I found this? Good thing I’m okay with PDA’s.

Nutritional yeast.

I love this stuff. It makes most vegetables edible for me. It is also delicious on potatoes, rice, meats – everything. Mr. How Sweet enjoys it, but doesn’t like to know that he is eating something with ‘yeast’ in the title. Understandable.


I have always loved grapefruits. I usually eat one everyday. So yummy.

Gorgonzola and other miscellaneous cheeses.

We could feed a small country with the amount of cheese in our fridge. It is a sin. I’m sorry. But I would like to eat that hunk of gorgonzola all by its lonesome. Am I grossing you out yet?

To round out the million-dollar grocery bill, I also always get some top sirloin filet’s from Trader Joe’s (they come in packs of 2 – perfect for the Mr.), some organic extra-lean beef, some packaged fruit or veggies from Trader Joe’s (they have the best mixes), loads of bananas, lots of beans, and anything else that catches my wandering eye. We live near a farm that has delicious, local, cheap produce, and also make a stop there. We always buy chicken, eggs, whole wheat bagels or english muffins and rice in bulk for Mr. How Sweet so he doesn’t starve.

What are your favorite treats from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Because, you know, I really need to find some more goodies to spend money on.

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86 Responses to “Some How Sweet Grocery Staples.”

  1. #
    Amanda — July 11, 2010 @ 11:41 am

    I love these fresh, organic and natural ingredients…. great roundup!


  2. #
    Erin — July 11, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

    I am so spoiled to live in southern California with Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods seemingly everywhere. I go to TJs at least once a week… most of my staples are yours too. I’m also addicted to their fruity salsas- Pineapple and Peach are both SO good! I put them on everything from eggs to chicken to tacos to chips…

    Keep your eyes peeled near the holidays for Dark Chocolate Peppermint Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s (read: like Oreos, with peppermint filling, then dipped in dark chocolate and rolled around in candy canes). These are the BEST store-bought cookies EVER (homemade are still the best :D)!

    Delicious food is worth EVERY penny!!!


  3. #
    Jolene ( — July 11, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    I have only been to those places once, when I was on vacation in New York. I was totally in foodie heaven, but I could only buy things that could come home on the plane with me, so I mostly bought nut butters.


  4. #
    Lorin — July 11, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

    Dark chocolate covered espresso beans at Trader Joe’s is really good! I like everything at Trader Joe’s though, I haven’t found a thing I don’t like. I don’t go to Whole Foods because there’s no stores close to me; I go to Henry’s which is cheaper but still good, healthy food. I have literally crashed into a display because I was staring at something as I passed by, a health food store is like a candy store to me!


  5. #
    Kim — July 12, 2010 @ 8:02 am

    Jessica, Talk a little about the ‘yeast’. What does it do for vegetables? I’ve never heard of using it outside of like bread baking or something like that.

    Please help.


    • Jessica — July 12th, 2010 @ 8:07 am

      It is a deactivated yeast that has a cheesy, nutty, and salty flavor. It is really good sprinkled on vegetables. It also is high in protein and B vitamins!


  6. #
    Shanna @ Shanna Like Banana — July 12, 2010 @ 8:14 am

    Love love love TJs. It has my heart for the following reasons:

    Flaxseed crunch PB, brocolli slaw, whole wheat pizza dough, ginger cat cookies, tofuttis, inexpensive nuts, tons of vino, chicken sausages, cheese (and more cheese), inexpensive flowers, no-pudge brownies, cornbread muffin mix, pumpkin granola, PB Puffins, etc etc etc… ;)


  7. #
    Alison — July 12, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    I really like Trader Joe’s granolas, frozen avocado halves (not great for texture but good for guacamole), and other frozen fruits. Dairy and produce always looks good but is way too expensive. Have you been to Right By Nature in the Strip yet? Surprisingly cheap, especially bacon! And free parking. That might be further away than TJ and Whole Foods though :)


    • Jessica — July 12th, 2010 @ 9:09 am

      I have not been there yet! I need to go.


  8. #
    Katie — July 12, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    I would love it if you would offer up some recipes in which you incorporate kale! It’s so good for you but boy is it overpowering. Any guidance you could provide would be most appreciated!!


    • Jessica — July 12th, 2010 @ 11:29 am

      I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but I only like kale chips! I don’t like kale in any other form. This is my favorite way:

      Heat oven to 350. Spray kale with olive oil and top with nutritional yeast. Bake for 10 mins, flip, bake for 10 mins more.

      I have used kale chips in pasta dishes – that is good too!


      • Katie — July 12th, 2010 @ 11:31 am

        Thanks Jessica! I appreciate your honesty and the recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  9. #
    Kim — July 12, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    THANK YOU for posting this! Iowa is about to get its very first Trader Joe’s and it will be about 5 minutes from me. SO EXCITED! I honestly have no words. So, I’m sure my first visit will involve me inspecting every shelf closely and drooling frequently. I’m really interested in knowing the “must haves” from TJ’s so I can add them to my list for my very first visit. So far I have the peanut butter filled pretzels and the hummus on my list for sure! The granolas and packaged fruits sound amazing, too. Nutritional yeast has me curious as well.


  10. #
    Stephanie — July 12, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    Great post! I didn’t realize you could get that brand of coconut butter at Whole Foods? I only thought it was just available online! Wow, so I don’t have to pay for shipping anymore..woohoo!


    • Jessica — July 12th, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

      You have to check near the oils and vinegars! I used to buy Artisana online too, but then one day I spied it by the oils in Whole Foods. I can’t even tell you how excited I was. I always thought it was near the nutbutters, and just assumed my Whole Foods didn’t have it. Check there!


      • Stephanie — July 12th, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

        Thanks Jessica..You are on it!!! :-)

  11. #
    terri — July 12, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    i am addicted to shopping. grocery shopping is right up there as well. i LOVE going to the grocery but i especially LOVE my trips to whole foods. we do not have one near us, but it’s worth the drive!

    i am dying about the laughing cow blue cheese. yay. i have not seen this yet. this will be a constant in our house!

    oh, and we LOVE cheese here as well. i think the boy at my house is even more obsessed with it, then i. :o)


  12. #
    Sisi — July 14, 2010 @ 12:41 am

    yes, you are definitely right about whole’s hard not to spend an hour or more, wandering about like a complete loon as you say, with their endless selection of the most exquisite products..especially their specialty foods and bakery. mm. my favorite thing is making my own organic peanut and chocolate butter from their butter mixer.omg i could probably lick off the entire machine if i could.. it’s the best organic peanut butter mix you can indulge on. it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every spoonful..


  13. #
    Naturally Single Mom — July 20, 2010 @ 7:52 am

    You went to Trader Joe’s and walked out without any Four Buck Chuck? It’s impossible for me to walk out without that!

    Whole Foods just bought out our local health food store, but it doesn’t look like they are going to transition it into an actual Whole Foods. (At least, not yet.) Otherwise, our closest WF/TJ are 3 hours away in Atlanta. Best thing from the local place is their wine shop (geez, it sounds like I’m a lush) and of course, the bulk bins!


  14. #
    Mimi — July 22, 2010 @ 9:18 am

    I don’t have a whole for or a Trader Joe’s near where I live… How unfair is that? Although it is painful for my soul, it probably is good on my credit card. Those stores are just amazing. When I have the special occasion to visit one, I like to stock up at the bulk bins and also throw a bag (or two) of whole wheat peanut butter stuffed pretzels into my cart.


  15. #
    Alica Hilton — November 23, 2010 @ 1:32 am

    Life is uncertain – have chocolate for breakfast. Thanks for the great post!



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