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. #
    Karla — July 10, 2010 @ 9:31 am

    Ahhh Kale! I’ve had so much in my CSA recently! Last week I ate 3 bunches!
    I have neither Whole Foods nor Trader Joe’s around here! Breaks my heart! I’m actually not a fan of Whole Foods but loved Trader Joe’s when I lived in California! I used to love their prepared salads and Tilapia Citronette! Sooo good!


  2. #
    vanillasugar — July 10, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    umm hello? my nearest whole foods is an hour away and i HAVE TO go every week. regardless of weather or other natural diaster.
    ok, i like TJ, but have gotten sick on their hummus twice now. no hate for them, but i’m kind of weary of the hummus and prooduce isn’t always looking so good. but the sweet & spicy pecans…i buy in BULK.


  3. #
    Ally @ Sweet & Savory — July 10, 2010 @ 9:48 am

    Love this! I could also wander the grocery store for hours….therefore I do not let the husband attend with me, as he is usually cussing, sulking, all of the above.

    Iowa is getting their first Trader Joe’s this fall, I’m very excited. And sadly, we also don’t have any Whole Foods stores….I know, why do I live here?


  4. #
    A Teenage Gourmet — July 10, 2010 @ 10:06 am

    *giggle! <3 love :D <— Dumbest comment ever, but that's my reaction to Whole Foods . . .


  5. #
    Kristina — July 10, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    oh WOW I need to find that Laughing Cow blue cheese asap! I always have at least three rings of Laughing Cow in our fridge… I’ve not yet seen this flavor???

    Trader Joes… have you seen their Wasabi Tempura Seaweed snacks? YUM. and Powerberries… chocolate covered… acai I think… maybe a blend.

    I Love Trader Joes Everything. :) I love Whole Foods also… and I like to shop alone, and I go through every aisle (at least…) once.



    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 10:26 am

      I think it was one of the new flavors introduced in June?


      • Kristina — July 10th, 2010 @ 11:10 am

        now they need to make a gruyere flavor, and a brie. :)

        • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 11:18 am

          You got that right!

  6. #
    Melissa — July 10, 2010 @ 10:20 am

    DYING with jealously that your whole foods has the new laughing cow cheese! Mine says at least another month or two :( Great grocery list though!


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 10:26 am

      Actually, it was at TJ’s! Whole Foods didn’t have it yet.


      • Melissa — July 10th, 2010 @ 10:33 am

        TJ’s is smart to carry the new laughing cow. Now they need to be even smarter by opening a store in Florida!

  7. #
    kay (eating machine) — July 10, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    i love that white bean hummus.
    josh doesn’t, so if i buy it i have to commit to shoving my face with a lotttt of hummus.
    i’m ok with that.
    when i lived across the street from trader joes i was there pretty much every day.

    mostly for wine. wine is a good staple to pick up there. (the TJ’s brand pinot noir is actually really good and cheapppp)


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 10:26 am

      I wish our TJ’s could carry wine!


      • Natalie — July 10th, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

        I wish our TJs didn’t carry wine! I swear half the store is alcohol, so all the food is squished into one little corner, not so fun.

  8. #
    Erica — July 10, 2010 @ 10:33 am

    LOVE TJs – it is such a great grocery store. Their hummus, nuts blends, unsalted almond butter, and spices are a requirement in our house! Josh’s Mom actually ships it to us! I always enjoy food shopping


  9. #
    Matt — July 10, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Great staples! Especially the gorgonzola, bacon, 2% Fage, and the coconut butter. I love all of those :)


  10. #
    katie — July 10, 2010 @ 10:39 am

    I MUSTTTTT FIND THOSE LC WEDGES ASAP!!! i hear they ROCK girl!!!
    I am so jealous of your tjs!!


  11. #
    Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches — July 10, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    I am the same way when I walk into a Whole Foods. I’m like a kid in a candy shop….dopey smile and all! I love that other foodies also act like idiots when they walk into a WF.

    Also, it cracks me up that your fav vegetable is kale! Really???? I would have never guessed that! It’s honestly the only vegetable I don’t like. Is there some magical way that you cook it that makes it taste better? I find it sooooo bitter! Give me spinach any day of the week…


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 10:49 am

      Yes! Kale chips: Heat oven to 350, spray kale with olive oil, top with nutritional yeast, bake for 10 mins, flip, bake for 10 more. Yum!


  12. #
    Efi — July 10, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    Such a tasty list! I love hummus as well, usually I eat it with red peppers and rice. Maybe it’s a little bit weird now that I read it :)


  13. #
    Carly — July 10, 2010 @ 11:21 am

    My whole foods must haves….
    Fage 0% in the largest tub possible
    Pumpkin Seeds (roasted and unsalted)
    Peanut Butter Puffins
    365 Flax Waffles (for the husband)
    365 Peanut Butter – creamy and crunchy

    The most dangerous thing is that I work at Whole Foods, which only means that every shift I work I walk out with some purchase!


  14. #
    Meg — July 10, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    Love your staples!! Kale chips are BOMB :D I spend probably most of my paycheck on good groceries…totally worth it.


  15. #
    Lula Lola — July 10, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    I’ve been meaning to try the laughing cow stuff! Apparently from all the comments, it’s on time!
    I love their hummus too! Yummy! I love to toast pine nuts and sprinkle on top with a drizzle of olive oil!
    Since you’re a Kale fan, I remembered these recipes I saw the other day. Thought you might enjoy.


  16. #
    Lauren — July 10, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

    Sigh. Without a DOUBT…my favorite treat are Whole Foods “chocolate chewies”. I’ve tried to make them, but somehow, I cannot produce their perfectly delicious cookies. In fact…as the nearest Whole Foods is 2 hours away? When I go, I literally spend (gasp!) TWENTY dollars on COOKIES! The woman/man at the counter looks at me like I’m an addict that just recently escaped a methadone clinic and needs a fix bad…as I begin shaking just slightly…and you thought YOU had it bad, eh?


  17. #
    Candy — July 10, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

    So far we have neither, but our closest Trader Joe’s will be 118 miles away in about a month. YAY! No Whole Foods less than 4 hrs away. When I go, I walk around in a daze. I could spend an entire vacation and paycheck there. My favorite from TJ’s is the almond butter with sea salt. Oh. My.


  18. #
    Kristen at Batterlicker — July 10, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    I love the dried, unsweetened bing cherries at TJs, and any of the roasted nuts they carry. I used to be hooked on their hummus but started making it at home once I realized how easy and cheap that is. Ooohh … they have these bite-sized feta and caramelized onion puff pastry bites in the freezer section that are dangerously delicious.

    At Whole Foods, I always stock up on kale too. And I buy several of their fresh balls of pizza dough (you can ask for wheat ones too), toss them in the freezer once I get home, and pull one out to defrost a day before I’ve run out of dinner ideas/ingredients. The dough is only $1-something a pop, and easily stretches over a standard baking sheet to make a large pizza for two. Also, I too have a sinful amount of cheese in my fridge, so between cheese and leftover meats/veggies from the week, it’s always easy to throw together a half-decent pizza.


  19. #
    Sherrie — July 10, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    I am totally trying that hummus the next time I am at TJ’s. I tried their raita the last time I was there and I have been obsessed with getting some more ever since!

    I love their ham and gruyere flatbread pizza and we usually stock up on about five at a time.

    I love their biryani, naan, bagged arugula, cubed butternut squash, frozen brown rice.

    They also have the most amazing flowers if you hit it right.


  20. #
    Jennifer@ knackfornutrition — July 10, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    Have you tried raw cacao nibs yet? i just bought some at whole foods yesterday and I love them! They taste like chopped up chocolate chips and work well in baking as well as cooking.


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

      I have not tried them yet! But I would like to.


  21. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — July 10, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    I go to Whole Foods just for their hot/cold bar. It is like the best, most stocked buffet you will find and I swoon just thinking about it, haha. I tried tofu scramble there for the first time and it was DELICIOUS.


  22. #
    Katie @ Healthy Heddleston — July 10, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    From Whole Foods I get my GF waffles, GF tortillas, GF lasagna noodles, and GF english muffins. If I have enough money I get my produce there–always tastes to much better than Wal-Mart (ugh, I can’t believe I shop there). Moving on. From Trader Joe’s I get Better ‘n’ Peanut Butter, chicken sausages, sometimes nuts, and I used to get these chocolate covered pretzels ALL the time until I found out I needed to be GF.


  23. #
    Sydney — July 10, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

    I could TOTALLY relate to this. The nearest Whole Foods is a good 2 hours away from me and Trader Joe’s…well, it’s so far that I’m not even sure where there is one. I actually did get to go to Whole Foods a few weeks ago and I too walked around like a total lunatic. People were giving me strange glances as I marveled at the abundance they have regular access to. hahaha! Good to know there are other people out there that get as excited about Whole Foods as I do :)


  24. #
    Moody Food Reviews — July 10, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    I’ve never heard of a Whole Foods before, so we must not have one. I love Laughing Cow Cheese though!


  25. #
    Becki @ HikeBikeEat — July 10, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    We always get the Spicy Ranchero Egg White Salad at TJ’s to add to our salads, and I can’t leave there without spinach for green monsters and a new single beer I haven’t tried. I LOVE that they sell them in singles!


  26. #
    Shannon — July 10, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

    I have a Trader Joe’s trip on the agenda for next week. I am going to look for that chicken. I love their quickie meals and my husband loves chicken!


  27. #
    Alicia — July 10, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    I work by both – I’m a lucky girl to have a great excuse for an after-work Friday night grocery run!

    At Trader Joe’s:
    -crunchy almond butter
    -their General Tso’s sauce (OMG so good)
    -their low sodium soup boxes (black bean, tomato, roasted red pepper, butternut squash)
    -their feta cheese
    -their chicken sausage, esp. the apple variety

    At Whole Foods:
    -their whole wheat linguine
    -365 cashew butter


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

      I just saw the General Tso’s sauce today and was telling my husband about it. I didn’t pick any up, but now I need to!


  28. #
    Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) — July 10, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

    LOL, this post is so ME! Our closest TJ’s and WF is 75 miles away and I would totally make the trip 1 or 2 times a week if hubby would cooperate. ;) It’s like the heavens part when I walk into either of those stores. Endorphins just flood my brain. :)

    I have way too many favorites from both stores. Dang, I haven’t been to either of them in MONTHS. I am so overdue for a trip! Thanks for reminding me. Dustin’s wallet probably hates you now. I’ll be sure to put a steak on top of the cart so he is memorized as he pushes it around and forgets about the upcoming multi-hundred dollar bill at the checkout lane. :D


    PS. Do all husbands sing the same tune? “We hafta save money, honey!” Whateva… just make more instead! :P LOL


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

      I like the way you think. ;)


  29. #

    I love Trader Joes and Whole Foods and do almost all my shopping at both. But I’m a wise shopper and watch sales and for bargains because it can be so expensive.


  30. #
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — July 10, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    “once I walk into those stores it is like I have never seen food before.” = LOL!!!

    you know what i do WITH my hungry 3 yr old who has a better attn span than Mr Sweet? I bring her into WFs and allow her to sample everything they are serving. And as much as i wont buy from the bulk bins, I really dont care what she takes/eats out of them. Have those moth wings w/ your raw dates honey, yum :)

    Nooch. order it from HALF THE PRICE. AVE630 is my code to save you money.

    That Tj’s chicken…I buy that for Scott but it stinks up my house like a restaurant so i do it like once every 6 mos

    Kale and avos…i can tell you have poor options in your area. God there is SO MUCH kale here. I mean huge bunches for 50 cents. And avos are about 50 cents to a buck each but if you smile at the avo sellers at the farmers market, you can get 4 for a buck. Just need to work it for your avos i tell you :)



  31. #
    Jessie (Bites and Pieces) — July 10, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    I totally agree with you about the white bean hummus. It is pretty much my favorite hummus ever! I guess I’m lucky there’s no TJ’s in Florida, or I would be eating that stuff nonstop!


  32. #
    Katie — July 10, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

    I want to come to your house and eat after one of these grocery trips. We don’t have a TJs within 500 miles, but the WF is too close for my paycheck’s comfort. I could spend all my money in the bulk bin section. Trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, coconut…I die.


  33. #
    Lauren — July 10, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

    I get terribly excited about Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods too. I moved from Pgh to Maryland and the first thing I did was try to find the nearest Trader Joe’s. How sad is that?

    In Pittsburgh, I lived 2 miles from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. It was amazing!

    Try the Chili Lime burgers at TJ’s. I love them!


  34. #
    Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibbl) — July 10, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

    Ahaha, my fiance HATES it when I go to Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck)!!

    Your groceries look positively droolworthy. Yum.



  35. #
    Kailey — July 10, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    Have I ever told you you are extremely funny? Every time I read one of your posts I always laugh! I love your sense of humor.

    P.S Muffins were delicious :) I’m the only one in my family that likes cooked fruit.. aka I’m the only one inhaling the muffins. Ah!


    • Jessica — July 10th, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

      Thank you!


  36. #
    Wei-Wei — July 10, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

    This is an awesome post. It is not so awesome, though, for the fact that I have no access to TJ’s or Whole Foods. That is definitely on the top of my to-go list the next time I visit the States!



  37. #
    Lisa @ bakebikeblog — July 10, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

    What a wonderful bunch of products!!!


  38. #
    Brynne — July 10, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

    I really believe that better quality food is worth the price tag! In the long run, your health is the ultimate payoff .. along with the lack of medical bills. Thanks so much for sharing!


  39. #
    Paige (Running Around Normal) — July 10, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    I had no idea Laughing Cow made blue cheese wedges! That’s fantastic! Now I’ll be on the hunt:)


  40. #
    Erin — July 10, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    Alas, no TJ’s or Whole Foods anywhere near me- TJ’s closest store is in New Mexico, and I live down at the tip of Texas! Nearest Whole Foods is four hours away. SIGH… it’s probably for the best, I don’t think I could afford all the yummies they have to offer!

    My Grandma LOVES Trader Joe’s and my mom sometimes goes there as well- when I visit them in August I’ll definitely have to request a stop there!


  41. #
    Cara — July 10, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Whole Food = Heaven on earth.
    I only wish they more of them in Canada.
    I have been to one only twice in my life…best time ever; could have spent hours upon hours going up and down all the aisles.


  42. #
    Blond Duck — July 11, 2010 @ 3:57 am

    I heard that Laughing Cow put out Mexican cheeses…like Queso Aserado. Those could be awesome.


  43. #
    Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) — July 11, 2010 @ 4:11 am

    I’m afraid to even start with coconut butter. I just know I’ll love it and have to buy it…haha. :D

    I’m the same way with looking at “stuff” at whole foods/trader joes. It makes for an entire day and I love it. :D


  44. #
    CaSaundra — July 11, 2010 @ 6:43 am

    All of your grocery finds look great!! I love hummus too,
    I have been making a lot of it from scratch at work lately.


  45. #
    Kath — July 11, 2010 @ 6:55 am

    I generally don’t buy frozen meals (Lean Cuisine? forget it!) but I do like Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala. Here’s a review that sums it up:


  46. #
    Abby — July 11, 2010 @ 7:08 am

    I LOVE Fage yogurt. Seriously, there is nothing better. I coudl go on and on about it’s large serving size, low calories, tons of protein, no added sugar, only two ingredients… blah blah blah. Siiiiigh.


  47. #
    Mo'Betta — July 11, 2010 @ 7:26 am

    Could totally relate as well….nearest Whole Foods is an hour away in one direction, while the nearest Trader Joe’s is a hour away in the OPPOSITE direction. Oh, how I wish I had regular access to both! I’m like a kid in a candy store!! I feel like such a country bumpkin, pointing out all the fabulous things my grocery store doesn’t carry! (everything good and healthy gets clearanced at my local stores b/c they are not good sellers…this tells you the health and mentality of my community :P )


  48. #
    Low — July 11, 2010 @ 9:25 am

    I really want to find coconut butter, but I can’t anywhere. I know I would love it!


  49. #
    Tina — July 11, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    I think Peter would divorce me if I shopped at Whole Foods regularly because I would bankrupt us. Luckily Trader Joe’s is a fair compromise. Not quite as foodie heaven, but still better than the local Kroger.

    And I am so jealous you found the Blue Cheese Laughing Cow. I want to try it so bad! A way I am allowed to eat blue cheese during pregnancy? And in an easy spreadable, portion controlled way? Yes, please!


  50. #
    nancy k — July 11, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    Yikes, I have two Whole Foods in my town, one TJ’s less than a mile away and three others within a 10 mile radius so stopping in for a needed item is easy. I have discovered that different TJ’s stock different items…what you can find at one may not always be at another. I love their edame hummus and also TJ’s teeny peanut butter cups. I have added them to chocolate cookie dough and they bake up really well.



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