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Trader Joe’s

Foodie Friday: The AYMB Guide To Trader Joe's

trader-joes

You know those *haul* shopping videos on youtube? This is my version.

Who doesn’t love Trader Joe’s?!?

No. Really. I actually want to know who you are, because I’ve yet to meet someone that doesn’t love that place. I’ve been a loyal customer of Trader Joe’s since about 1997 and I tend to move to areas that have a TJ’s within 10 minutes of my house.  When realtors talk about location, location, location, all I want to know is if there is a TJ’s nearby.

All loyal TJ’s customers have their favorites and I am no exception. I may have relied on their frozen meals and cheap wine (Two Buck Chuck!) back in the 90′s, but now I rely on their organic and healthy products to feed my family.  Trader Joe’s proves that organic, healthy, and natural products do not have to cost an arm and a leg. From a starving college student on a tight budget to a mom cooking for her family, Trader Joe’s has come through for me time and time again. The majority of my grocery receipts come from TJ’s, which should tell you everything.

Without further ado, these are my favorite Trader Joe’s products. Prices are current as of this post date:

Breakfast/Bread

Organic Oats & Flax Instant Oatmeal ($3.29) – when I feel the need to have a particularly healthy breakfast, these individual packets of oatmeal do the job.

8 Plus 2 100% Stone Ground Whole Grain Bread ($2.29) – my favorite bread, made with natural whole grains, soy & flax.

Vanilla Almond Crunch Cereal ($3.99) - this cereal is a favorite in my family. It’s good with or without milk!

Trader Joe’s Low-Fat Cereal Bars ($1.69) – made with organic grains, these cereal bars are perfect for a quick breakfast or healthy snack. I always have a few of these in my bag for when the the Monkey gets hungry.

Lavosh Bread ($1.99) - perfect for wraps or a snack with tahini or hummus.

Condiments

Organic Creamy Peanut Butter ($2.99) – this is quite possibly the best peanut butter I’ve tried. When mixed well, it doesn’t dry out, either.

Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce ($2.49) - this mustard is incredible and works deliciously on anything from a turkey sandwich to grilled sausage.

Garlic Hummus ($2.49) – spread on lavosh or pita bread or dip your chips and veggies in it. This hummus is the best!

Organic Marinara Sauce ($2.29) - I use this tasty marinara for individual pizzas on English muffins or in pastas.

Panko Breadcrumbs ($1.69) – I prefer panko breadcrumbs to regular breadcrumbs and this panko is one of my favorites.

Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals ($1.99) – this fabulous pink salt comes with a built-in grinder!

Taco Seasoning Mix ($0.79) - this is a great alternative to other taco seasoning packs because you can actually pronounce the ingredients. (continues…)

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8

Foodie Friday: Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb

I love lamb.

Lamb is such a great protein and an excellent source of essential amino acids, zinc, vitamins B12 and B3, and is relatively low in fat once it’s trimmed. Can’t beat that! As a huge fan of lamb, I’m always looking for new recipes to try out. I’ve recently adapted a quick and easy mustard crusted rack of lamb recipe from Emeril Lagasse and made a few small changes to make it my own. Since I’ve prepared it a number of times now, I can vouch that it is absolutely delectable.

Quick tip: Rack of lamb can be expensive to purchase however, if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go there first for their excellent New Zealand rack of lamb.  I always prefer organic, grass-fed, and local but, if it comes down to buying a $15 rack of good quality lamb versus a $40+ rack of organic local lamb, you can guess where I’ll be spending my money.

(click on pics for a larger view)

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb, trimmed (about 1.5 lbs) – if you have to trim the fat yourself, make sure to use kitchen scissors
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (I prefer whole grain Dijon for better texture and flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs (I prefer organic panko )
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan (Do not use the stuff in a green canister! Grate fresh Parmesan yourself) (continues…)
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6

Foodie Friday: No-Fail Brussels Sprouts

Winter is almost here, which means it’s the best time for Brussels sprouts!

Yay!!!

Uh…hello? Anyone else with me???

Hey, I was like any other kid growing up – I would push those Brussels sprouts away. I personally believe that boiled and steamed Brussels sprouts are terrible, yet they remain the most popular cooking method.

WHY?!?

The main problem with boiling and steaming Brussels sprouts is that they can easily overcook, which releases a horrible sulfur smell. Not appetizing. So, let me tell you the way that I love to cook those beautiful little cabbages – roast, roast, roast. And for extra flavor and a sure-bet method to get the kids to eat them, add bacon or toasted almonds. I make roasted Brussels sprouts at least once a week. I’m telling you, if you try this recipe out on your family, they will be begging for more.

halved-sprouts

I love buying the Brussels sprouts still intact on their stem (like this). I occasionally see them at places like Trader Joe’s, but your local farmers market might be your best bet. It’s really fun for kids to pick them off the stem. Actually, I really enjoy it, too. It’s almost as fun as popping bubble wrap. If you don’t find Brussels sprouts on the stem, just pick them out yourself. Look for bright green sprouts with no blemishes and squeeze them to make sure they are firm and compact.

Once you cleaned your Brussels sprouts, halve them with a sharp knife. Watch your fingers!

diced-bacon

I know you know what cubed bacon looks like, but I just need to point out one thing: I use my vegetable cutting board for bacon because bacon is considered a vegetable in my home. (continues…)

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