I knoooooow. Have been meaning to do this for.ev.er, Sandlot style. Finally.
If you didn’t know, I’m a self proclaimed Trader Joe’s junkie. I could live inside that place. Every time I’m there, I walk around like a total freak, staring at everything like I’ve never been in a grocery store before. It’s so embarrassing and I don’t even care. Over the past few years I’ve shared some random posts about my shopping trips, but one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “OMG what should I get at Trader Joes?!”
Obviously, I could list a TON of stuff. But I’ve scaled it down to a list of basics (hahahah)… if that’s what you want to call it. These are the things that I almost always buy when I’m there, or things that I might even make a special trip for. They tend to be *my favorite* of each item – so when I run out of canned light coconut milk, I much prefer to go get some from TJs instead of buying a can of the Thai Kitchen stuff at my local grocery store. Got it?
I tried to list things in reference to where they are located in the store. Tried being the operative word here. Oh! And I also put the list in the cute little box down there so you can print it and maybe even save it to your ziplist shopping list. (If you’re curious about the recipe box/shopping list, click here.) I also probably forgot some stuff. I’m going to continue to add to this list as life goes on.
Keep in mind that I do quite a bit of cooking (hello understatement of the century) over here in this little life. Because of that, some of the awesome-but-not-practical products didn’t make my list… like their cake or quick bread mixes which are supposed to be phenom. What I really want you guys to do, for mostly selfish purposes, is leave comments about YOUR favorite Trader Joe’s products. That way the next time I shop, I can buy it all. I mean… I can share the list with all my invisible internet friends.
Here are a few of my annoying-but-necessary notes:
1. Pennsylvania is a alcohol-controlled state which means that my TJs doesn’t carry beer, wine or any alcohol. Yeah. For like the first two years when one of you mentioned “two buck chuck” I definitely thought you meant ground beef or something. Hence the lack of boozy ingredients on the list.
2. I don’t buy a ton of the frozen foods because they come in SUCH small serving sizes, and well, when you’re married to someone who eats for four people every single night, that junk just doesn’t fly. It’s not practical for us. Please tell me some of your favorite frozen things that I haven’t mentioned and I will grab them for my next single lady night.
3. I didn’t list much produce since it differs depending on the area and um, an apple tastes like an apple, but TJs has a ton of organic stuff that my grocery store doesn’t. If it looks good, I’ll definitely buy it. It also tends to be a lot cheaper than my grocery store, so again, if it looks good, I’ll buy it. I’ll usually stick to the dirty dozen and try to buy local produce closer to me if I can. In regards to produce that I always buy there because it is cheaper, pomegranates, bananas and avocados top the list.
4. Same goes with their “fresh” meats – I don’t exactly know how fresh they are, and again, that whole having-a-husband-who-eats-like-an-adolescent-boy thing throws a wrench into the serving sizes. The thing I occasionally buy is an organic free range whole chicken to roast.
5. My favorite cheeses definitely tend to be the seasonal ones, like the chocolate cheddar cheese and the syrah-soaked toscano. I grab those before anything else. Otherwise, I’m sort of a slave to the outrageously overpriced counter located in Whole Foods. But I still grab cheese if I need it. I love their selection of goat milk products.
Trader Joe's Shopping List
pre-cut sweet potato fries
sliced and trimmed leeks
mediterranean white bean hummus
mediterranean greek yogurt feta zatar dip
goat cheese medallions
chocolate cheddar cheese (seasonal)
syrah soaked toscano
1% chocolate milk juice boxes
organic sweet potatoes
Chips + Crackers + Breads:
brown rice tortillas
organic blue corn chips
quinoa + black bean tortilla chips
peanut butter filled pretzels
crunchy green beans
pita crisp crackers (whole wheat flax + original)
fresh authentic salsa
super sweet corn
mandarin orange chicken
beef and broccoli
frozen seafood blend
toasted sesame oil
sweet chili sauce
hot and sweet mustard
diced green chiles
pure vanilla extract
baking soda and baking powder
fleur de sel caramel sauce
midnight moo chocolate sauce
sea salt grinder
smoked sea salt grinder
cinnamon sugar grinder
organic tricolor quinoa
harvest grain blend
brown jasmine rice
organic popping corn
lite coconut milk
tomato + roasted red pepper soup
Cereal and Stuff:
strawberry yogurt o’s
ground blueberry flaxseed
pumpkin crunch granola
gluten free cranberry maple nut granola
pumpkin pancake mix
Snacks + Delicious Junk Food!
inner peas (their version of snapea crisps)
sesame coated almonds/cashews
fiberful fruit leathers
mini peanut butter cups
dark chocolate covered pomegranate arils
bright chocolate covered sunflower seeds
toasted coconut cookie thins
frozen bon bons
frozen vanilla 0% greek yogurt
frozen tart greek yogurt
pound plus chocolate bars (great for baking!)
dark chocolate bar with toffee + nuts
dark chocolate bar with caramel + coconut
speculoos filled chocolate bar
coconut body butter
Since I’m so dramatic you know I could list a million more things, buuuut I gotta draw the line somewhere. For once.
[This post will be filed under the Crumbs page, but for future reference and quick reference to this and the other TJs post, click the "category" drop down menu in the right side bar and choose select Trader Joe's.]