I was wondering what everyone buys at Trader Joe's - best deals, must-haves, whatever you feel like sharing.
I ran in for the first time yesterday and was surprised at how affordable it seemed to be. It's about 15 minutes away, but beats the 45min away that Whole Foods is.
I buy a lot at TJ's, I try a lot at TJ's and it tends to be hit or miss. They're always sampling and that helps, you can even ask to sample something that's not open, they'll open a box of crackers for you etc. And you can always return anything, no questions asked.
I like the Ezekiel bread and it's affordable there. The specialty cheeses are moderately priced compared to Whole Foods (the honey chevre is excellent!). The produce I find more expensive than Sunflower Market, but the fresh meats are good. A lot of their frozen stuff is actually good, we like the Fancy Chicken burritos to have on hand for a lazy weeknight.
OOH, and the almonds, get the almonds, the one pound bag, they're the best! They taste fresh to me, not dried up and stale, but sweet and moist and crunchy.
I get some of my supplements there as well, not sure of the quality but I haven't had any problems with them.
Trader Joe's is about the cheapest place to shop here. I've been trying to cut back on grocery spending and now I'm doing all of my shopping at TJ's and costco.
I love their selection of dippy things -- the smooth and creamy hummus is really good and they also make, I think, a chunky olive hummus that's great; great refrigerated salsas (I haven't tried their jarred ones), tzatziki (sp?), pecan gorgonzola dip, and, omg, if you want something a little junky, the carmelized onion dip is really yummy. They have a great applewood smoked bacon that you can get in normal thick slices or "ends and bits" that's great, no nitrates, etc. Pear gorgonzola dressing in the refrigerator section by the lettuces. Around thanksgiving they have this totally addictive cranberry salsa.
My kids love the vanana yogurt, but I'm irritated that it's lowfat (why can't someone make a good not too sweet full fat yogurt???). It is really yummy, though. They have that really good Irish grass-fed butter... never can remember what it's called, but it's wrapped in foil and I feel great about feeding it to my kids.
They have a good frozen teriyaki chicken that the kids love. I like it, too, actually. Super easy for dinner.
Love their organic blue corn chips! They have a lot of good snacky things, like kettle corn, organic frito-like chips, honey wheat pretzels, roasted seaweed.
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
There's not one near where we currently live, so when we go buy one we usually just duck in for a case of Two Buck Chuck. Though here in Chicago it's more like Three Buck Chuck.
Apartment Farm - the chronicles of my cooking, gardening, crafting and other such things.
jellies sweetened with fruit concentrate (not sugar)
big jug balsamic vinegar
variety of vinegars
sea salt & Himalayan pink salt
Organic chocolate syrup
jarred roasted peppers
chocolate pound plus bar (I love really dark chocolate in the red package)
chocolate covered espresso beans
high fiber bread
handmade whole wheat tortillas
pitas (love the mini whole wheat ones)
white whole wheat flour
I'm another one that shops primarily at TJ's and Costco. Costco is most of my dairy, meat, fish, eggs, bread products, coffee, quinoa, cereal, peanut butter, olive oil, eco laundry detergent, recycled TP, pet food and some produce. I also get an organic produce delivery every other week. One of my main complaints about TJ's is I wish they had a larger selection of rice and that they carried various types of dried beans, I always need to go to the regular store to stock up on medium grain brown rice and dried beans.
What I will by at TJ's:
high fiber spaghetti
rice pilaf mix
woven wheat crackers
sprouted wheat bagels
frozen indian foods
frozen shrimp tempera
chicken breakfast sausage
full fat yogurt
canned tomatoes and paste
some fresh produce (I don't like their packaging)
Joe's O's (cheerios)
flour and other baking supplies
seasonal baking mixes
sauces like soy sauce and hot sauce
sesame ginger dressing
honey wheat pretzels
organic popcorn kernels
maple agave syrup
snap pea crisps
canned black beans and chick peas
wine and beer
french vanilla ice cream
mini filled ice cream cones (perfect for little kids)
gummy omega 3 vitamins
chewable vitamin C
fish oil capsules
tea tree oil face wash
eco dishwasher detergent
I will buy their dairy, eggs, meat and bread products when I need to
Skip all the bread products. We've never had luck with any of them.
Skip the fresh produce- it is mostly packaged in several layers and isn't the best quality.
frozen fruits (mango, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc) for smoothies.
Yogurt- plain and vanilla. I don't know what happened to their lowfat strawberry.
Seeds and nuts
Beer and wine
and I also like the dark chocolate english toffee. So good. But I only buy that when I don't have kids with me because I don't like to share!
Me. With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.
Some things I've found to be cheaper at TJ's:
-organic yogurt squeezers
-nuts and dried fruit
I see TJ's as the place to shop for snack foods-- like stuff for after school, etc.
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
I buy everything at TJs, I love that store. I feel like I get so much more for my $ than at the supermarket. My kids like a lot of the frozen food they have there, so I keep a lot of frozen fruits and stuff which saves me a lot.
I liked TJs before (chicago area, but they didn't open until I'd moved and closest to my family was a bit of a trek anyway...ontop of my already long 16hr drive. blech) but they FINALLY opened some in my neck of the woods. Huzzah!
I've changed how I shop and I bought a ton of beef from a butcher, bread from local outlet and freeze it, and i'd say about 80% of my daily grocery from TJs. I'm a stones throw away from a tom thumb so I've hit it a few times for speed, but I've pretty much only been buying my soda there and things I can't get at TJs.
and I just bought a freezer so I went bonkers and stuffed my carts to full with frozen foods, veggies and fruit, etc and I think ONCE got past 120 bucks. my kids are nuts for nearly everything we've tried now, and I love how a cart full that would normally run me 300+ at TT or kroger is barely making it to 100, often less.
I started a blog even, to track my purchases and what we did/did not like.
I've only had a few duds and i've been buying anything that looks good or has reasonable reviews elsewhere.
kids were not fans of the banana chips, but LOVED freeze dried variety
I bought some green olives that have an odd flavor, but there are several sorts so i'm going to try again
kids almost rioted over the pumpkin pecan oatmeal
and the WORST product i've tried are the laughing cow type brie triangles (not to be confused with tiny tub looking ones) oh god. vile.
but I think i've seriously bought and tried around 150 items now. LOL.
I've returned the items we didn't like, which for a picky eater like me makes me much more apt to try new foods.
my kids, esp the older one, are getting peer pressure now at school. my younger one has the "meh, who cares" attitude of his very rock n roll self, but my older one is very concerned about what others think/say about him despite my efforts to change that.
they went NUTS over the edamame, and I've got probably 6 or more bags of shelled and unshelled in my freezer and I'll often pour some of the shelled ones into lunch for them and it thaws by the time they eat lunch.
They would eat that daily if I let them, honestly. hehehe.
I asked my son "do the kids tease you about eating weird food?" and he looked at me and said "ehh...I don't care. they are delish...they just don't know"
and I was very proud. :)
I just need to find something good to use all my phyllo I stockpiled up on :)
I only recently started stopping by TJ's on the way to or from a doctor's office, since it's otherwise out of my way.
I have been buying these things:
* Dried mango slices
* Dried pineapple (the one without sugar, just pineapple, is amazing)
* Pasta sauce
* Canned tomatoes
* GF pasta I needed for a dinner party
* Cookies - we have tried the cat cookies and the gingerbread people
* Canned beans
* and I love the lavender lotion/face wash
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"
I really love Trader Joe's. Things I go there specifically for are:
dried mango - crazy expensive at my natural food store.
kerrygold butter - butter from grass-fed cows that is crazy expensive at stop and shop.
nuts - really excellent prices, especially on organic.
cheeses - lots of interesting cheese at good prices. I like trying a different kind every time I go. A staple is their New Zealand grass-fed cheddar.
organic chicken! which I can't get anywhere else around here.
snack food - my husband is addicted to crunchy things. we mostly get the organic corn tortilla chips. sometimes I get stuff for snacks for school for my daughter, like apple sauce cups or kid's cliff bars.
horseradish hummus - yes, I could make this easily myself, hummus+horseradish, but theirs is so good. there is a picture of a horse made out of a root on the tub which is adorable.
peanut butter cups - I need to stop buying these. they are so good and so cheap and I eat them all way too fast.
organic olive oil and coconut oil
chocolate chocolate chocolate - they also have these chocolate sea salt covered almonds that I was all about when I was pregnant.
tom's toothpaste and deodorant
ezekiel bread - sesame and cinnamon raisin
other stuff too, but this is off the top of my head.
Bought some plain pita chips and devoured, bought a flavored variety this time and havent tried yet, and ive bought the olive oil cooked potato chips a few times.
I think when i was preg 9 yrs ago i read ice chewing is sign of needing iron, and i suspect the same is true with chips in many cases. My body doesnt process iron very well. I could eat only steak or take 4 iron pills a day and id still test as boarderline anemic. Even kids vitamins with iron constipate me terribly, so it was no fun being pg and taking prenates!
Id take them for 5 days or so then stop until my body purged, then again... Etc. after 5/6m with both kids id give up the cycle. Even the prenates with colace did it.
My siblings have same issue, must be irish in me. Potatoes i can do, iron seems a struggle! Lol
I love TJ. I get a bunch of meats there along with all of our veggies and salad fixings. I buy yogurt, cheese, and my milk there. Cereal and snacks for the kids. I love their french breads. I also love their chicken taquitos. And I always get myself a bouquet of flowers when I'm there!
Oh I will say one thing I've noticed about TJ that I can't stand.....every single time I buy a bunch of bananas there they are bad a day or two later. It doesn't matter if they are still green when I buy them. I don't get it.
Weird. My toddlers eat 2 bananas a day so I buy a bunch at TJs and they've never gone bad
I hadn't made banana bread in YEARS because they never sat around long enough to start getting mushy. my kids would eat them all!
I think it was just TJs way of saying "hey, you deserve delish banana bread. you're welcome" !! lol.