Dear Lexingtonians and Lexingtoniennes,
Congratulations on your newest arrival! Trader Joe’s is, like, my favorite place, even though every day at Trader Joe’s is busier than Black Friday at Walmart. I heard that when the Lexington Trader Joe’s opened a couple of weeks ago, the check-out lines went all the way to the back of the store. I hate to tell y’all, but it will probably be like that all. the. time.
Since maneuvering your cart around a Trader Joe’s is like driving the bumper cars at King’s Island, it can be hard to get in there and excavate all of the Trader’s treasures. So I am here to share some of my favorite Trader Joe’s gems with you so you can mine them yourself the next time you brave the madness. In no particular order…
TJ’s cereal bars. They’re just like NutriGrain bars, but cheaper and organic-ish.
Sorry, Sabra, but TJ’s wins the Store Bought Hummus Competition in a landslide.
I like to scoop my hummus with TJ’s multigrain crackers. And shout-out to the single ladies: these crackers also make a particularly perfect one-person dinner. Just add white wine, some sharp cheddar, and the latest US Weekly, and you have the perfect evening.
Oh wait, add this nut mix too. It has big chunks of toffee in it. Score.
I’m not really a maple girl, but my neighbors turned me onto these Maple Leaf Cookies, and they’re pretty awesome. (The neighbors are nice too.)
Eleanora is a big fan of these fancy little pickles that really make you pucker. They’re a great add-on to a charcuterie plate when you’re entertaining. I also like to chop them up and stir them into egg salad.
I love my homemade house dressing, but on those weeknights when I’m crunched for time, Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinaigrette is a really nice substitute.
On one of my mom’s visits, we were wolfing down Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn (watch your fingers) when Mama remarked, “It’s like the perfect balance of sweet and salty!” Mike and I started cracking up because… it says that on the bag. Right on the front. Trader Joe doesn’t lie.
A Hawaiian shirted checkout guy once affirmed my purchase of this ham & gruyere flatbread when he told me, “This thing is our best-kept secret.” Indeed. Crispy, savory, and ready in a 450-degree oven in 10 minutes. Find it in the frozen section. Don’t miss this one.
Eleanora loves these for dinner, but I would totally eat them myself. (I couldn’t say that about Gorton’s.) Frozen section.
You know those weeknights when you’re too tired to cook dinner? (I know. It’s every night at my house too.) Trader Joe is your best friend on nights like that. Lately I’ve been heating up TJ’s pulled pork and serving it on buns with cole slaw and corn on the cob. The next day I use the leftover pork to make quesadillas for lunch. Find it in the refrigerated section.
If you don’t have time to make your own lemon bars, no one will be mad at you for bringing Trader Joe’s version to the party. In the frozen section.
If Baskin-Robbins’ mint chip and Breyer’s mint chip had a baby, it would be Trader Joe’s mint chip. Totally addicted over here.
I even like Trader Joe’s in the bathroom. Their tissue boxes have funny messages on them, and I love the scent of this hand soap.
And some honorable mentions that are not pictured:
- Trader Joe’s Nitrate-free All-beef Hot Dogs. I don’t know what nitrates are, but apparently they’re bad for you. So even though we’re not exactly sure why, we feed Eleanora nitrate-free hot dogs, and she gives them 2 tiny thumbs up.
- Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon. Hubba Bubba is a big fan.
- Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs. In the refrigerator section. I microwave two of them for one minute, and BOOM – toddler dinner. Eleanora snarfs them down.
- Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip. In the refrigerated section near the hummus and other dips. Bleeping AMAZING. In fact, maybe you shouldn’t try it. As I was writing that last sentence, I remembered we had some in our fridge and finished the entire tub of it. Gross. This stuff is gross. Don’t buy it. Don’t do it to yourself. (Do it!)
- Trader Joe’s O’s. Exactly like Cheerios except $1.99 a box. All the time. This Trader Joe must be some kind of sorcerer.
I’m going to force myself to stop there, but here is a pretty neat article about Trader Joe’s from a couple of years ago, for you nerdy types (holla!) who want to learn more about this mysterious Joe and his trades.
P.S. I am in no way connected to or paid by Trader Joe’s. I really wish I were.