Posted in Trader Joes

Trader Joe’s Lately

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Friday night, Hayden and I watched the KC Royals Opening Day game together, and we tried carry out from a new (to us) place. It’s a sushi and hibachi place, and the food was great!

Saturday, we spent most of the day at home, and I even had some time to sit in the pool for about an hour and read. Then, Hayden had a baseball game. They’ve had a great season so far, and keep getting better. His team played the best that they have this season, and they won! It was a hot Saturday afternoon, but fun watching them play. Hayden pitched the last inning and a half and did great. Saturday evening, we got carry out again. (I don’t cook on the weekends!) Then, we started watching Alone on Netflix. It’s kind of like Survivor and pretty interesting!

On Sunday, we didn’t have much going on which was very much needed! I finished the book I was reading, picked up groceries, did laundry, and prepped for the week ahead.

Anyway, I did a Trader Joe’s run recently, and I thought I’d share what I brought home. I go to TJ every other week or so. Sometimes, I will go in between those hauls to just pop in for flowers or something only Trader Joe’s has…but I usually pick up quite a few things on my hauls…some new items and some tried and true faves.

Flowers:

Y’all, Trader Joe’s has the best flowers. I always pick up a bouquet or two and put the flowers in a big vase for the sunroom. Then, I usually put some in smaller mason jars here and there around the house.

Dinner Idea:

We are having this for dinner Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week. Just put the carnitas and salsa verde in the slower cooker for 4 hours, shred the meat and enjoy! I sometimes put it on half of the Southwestern Chopped Salad, especially if I’m trying to eat low carb. The kids and Travis usually put the carnitas and toppings on tortillas or taco shells. I often serve this with Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn (street corn)…which is another TJ fave. We can usually get two nights out of this dinner.

Snacks:

The corn chips are perfect with the Buffalo Chicken Dip. I ALWAYS buy the Havarti Dill Cheese. I love it so much! The kids love the mozzarella sticks for snack or even for lunch some days. I picked up these crackers for the first time to eat with the hummus I also picked up.

Hayden always requests Chomps, and Hadley loves the Fruit Wraps. I LOVE the Perfect Bars. The peanut butter one is my fave. They are pretty high cal for a snack, so I usually split it in half for a sweet treat over two afternoons.

Sides:

I usually pick up a couple bags of risotto and one or two of their different kinds of frozen gnocchi. They are perfect to heat up quickly as a side for dinner!

Dips & Dressing:

I’ve been buying the Buffalo Chicken Dip for a few months. It’s perfect with raw veggies (peppers are my fave) or the corn chips. The Dill Pickle Hummus is a new find for me. I love it. Like I said above, I eat it with the crackers as a part of my lunch or as a snack. I’m sure it’s good with raw veggies too.

I made California Roll Bowls the other night for dinner, and this Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing is perfect on top.

Lunch Ideas:

This is the second time I’ve picked up these Gyro Slices. It’s also the second time I’ve forgotten to pick up pitas! So, I tend to eat these a few slices at a time just on their own.

I love Alouette spreadable cheese from Kroger (not TJ). A few weeks ago, I spotted this cucumber and dill flavor and love it! It was perfect timing because I put a bit of it on the gyro slices, and they are the perfect combo.

I’ve mentioned before that I love summer lunches (and, I guess pandemic lunches) because I have time to cook lunch items. The kids love all of these options below (I do too!). Hadley is the one that mostly eats the mac & cheese, but even Hayden loves it.

Hadley and I usually split the black bean burrito, but Sis could eat her weight in black beans, so sometimes she claims it as all hers! 😂

Desserts:

My sweet tooth is sometimes hard to control, so I only picked up a few desserts this time. Honestly, Trader Joe’s has the best dessert and little sweet options around.

I always pick up the molasses cookies. Always. (We’ve learned our lesson and put them up high now…ever since Homer ate half a box of them a few months ago!) Those cookies are definitely a family favorite.

I’ve seen people share about the Brownie Crisp Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches, so I picked them up this time. I actually got two boxes. Good news is that only Travis and I like them. The ice cream is definitely coffee flavored, so I don’t have to worry about the kids swooping in and eating them all! They are only 140 calories each, and filling enough for a dessert.

This is the first time I’ve picked up the lemon cake mix. I made it yesterday for our Sunday dessert, and it was a hit! It’s very refreshing and a great summer dessert option.

A slice of lemon cake for dessert was a perfect way to end the weekend.

What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s items?? I don’t know that I’ve ever been disappointed in anything I’ve purchased from good ole TJ!

I hope you have a great week.

Posted in Meals and Recipes, Trader Joes

Easy Lunch Idea

Y’all, it’s no secret that my love for Trader Joe’s runs deep! I put together some of my favorite ingredients with my Kroger staples and made this easy and healthy lunch that I now eat a couple times a week.

Ingredients:

  • Jasmine rice (Game changer for me. I’ve just discovered this rice and LOVE it) There are three microwaveable bags in this box.
  • Sweet potato (I cut into small bites, drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with TJ Chile Lime seasoning. Then I roast the bits in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes)
  • Black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Feta cheese (I’ve used other cheeses before as well like shredded mozz)
  • Protein (I use this short cut with Perdue Carved Chicken Breasts from Kroger and cut them into bite sized pieces) You could use steak or shrimp too, I’m sure.
  • Sriracha Ranch (or a drizzle of regular Ranch would be good too) Also, I’m not a fan of spicy food, but a little bit of this goes a long way and is delish!)

Instructions:

  • Roast the sweet potatoes.
  • Cook the bag of rice in the microwave.
  • Cut the chicken into small pieces. Then, I warm up the chicken and the beans in the microwave together.
  • Mix rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and protein together.
  • Top with Feta cheese.
  • Drizzle with Sriracha Ranch.
  • Enjoy!
Looking pretty!
Mixed up….how I eat it 😉

When I make this, I can actually get about three meals out of it. So I make one serving in a bowl and divide the other ingredients into Tupperware for other meals. Then, when it’s time to enjoy those, I heat up the ingredients and top with Feta and the dressing.

What do you love from Trader Joe’s?? What are some of your go to lunches?

Happy eating!

Posted in Life Lately, Trader Joes

Life lately

Well, I’m off my Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule because Life Lately included both Travis and myself being sick this week. We are both on the mend and hopefully back to our normal selves ASAP. Thankfully, the kids are old enough to somewhat fend for themselves…but I joke it’s mostly Hadley doing the “fending” for both herself and for Hayden. Who else would warm up Spaghetti O’s for dinner? #Haydenwouldstillbehungry

Trader Joe’s

I stopped in to Trader Joe’s last weekend and picked up some of my regular items, but I also picked up some holiday edition items as well.

  • Chocolate peppermint cake mix (can’t wait to make this!)
  • Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s …I love getting these every year.
  • Jingle Jangle–I’ve heard so many good things about Jingle Jangle and wanted to try it for myself. It’s a mix of all kinds of chocolate-y goodness.
  • Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup
  • White Cheddar Mac and Cheese (We always have multiple boxes of this at our house!)
  • Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad (I love these bagged salads–they usually provide me with two days of lunch at school)
  • ONE bar–gingerbread flavor. I thought I’d give this flavor a try and enjoyed it.
  • Black bean and cheese burrito- I usually buy a couple of versions of these.I usually eat half of one–and give the other half to the kids.
  • Mini chicken tacos- family fave

2nd Christmas tree

For the past 4 years, we’ve purchased a real Christmas tree. This year, as we hauled decorations down from the attic, Travis mentioned that maybe we could bring down the artificial tree, and put it somewhere else in the house. I decided to try it out in our sun room because it’s about the only extra space we have, and we can see it from the kitchen. It was also a good place to put our leftover ornaments. It’s tough to get behind it to plug it in. I remembered Carmel at Our Fifth House mentioning she bought The Clapper for her tree. I found one at Walgreens…two claps and the tree turns off and on!

Homer turned 9(ish) months recently. Since he’s a rescue, we don’t know his exact birthday, but I’ve been taking monthly pics (thanks to an idea from my friend Natalie who does the same with her pup!). It’s fun to see how much he’s grown. Only a few more pics and he’ll be ONE (ish)!

Gingerbread houses

Our elf usually brings a gingerbread house for the kids to decorate. This year, one of our neighbors bought them for all the kids when our families got together last weekend. My kids weren’t there when the others decorated, so they did the decorating on their own on Sunday night. These houses were already assembled (#praisehands), so they just focused on the decorating!

Red

Speaking of our elf, Red is back! The kids still look forward to his return and finding out what he’s been up to each morning. When Hadley saw him, she said, “Mom, he shops at Trader Joe’s too!” I wasn’t sure how to take that, so I said when I saw Red had returned, I realized I had forgotten to give them the chocolate advent calendars.

Southern Lights

Monday night, we made our way to the Kentucky Horse Park to see The Southern Lights. We’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember. The kids (and adults!) love it. It’s fun to see the traditional lights (like Santa playing basketball, Keeneland, and the 12 days of Christmas), but each year they add something new. This year, they had some Star Wars lights that Hayden loved.

What I’ve been reading

At the end of November, I finished One Day in December and really loved it. It’s was such a sweet book.

Then, I started the Winter Street series and have read the first two books: Winter Street & Winter Stroll. I just started the third book, Winter Storms. I now hope to read Winter Solstice as well to wrap up the series. I’ve been enjoying the Quinn family as well as the charming Nantucket setting at Christmastime.

It’s not that I’ve had that much time to read…I technically finished One Day in December in November as we drove to KC. Then, there was the nine hour drive back!! haha. The Winter Street series books are pretty short as well. They’ve definitely been perfect reads for this time of the year.

That’s just a little bit of our life lately. Never a dull moment !

Take care,

Jen

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