Posted in Trader Joes

Trader Joe’s Haul

Well, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s. I do my regular grocery shopping every week at Kroger, but then I got to TJ every other week or so to buy some of our favorites. It’s been a while since I’ve shared my purchases, so I’m sharing some items from my recent Trader Joe’s trip.

  • Pretzel Bagels: These are Hadley’s fave (I love them too) She often has half of one for breakfast with peanut butter on it.
  • Marcona Almonds with Rosemary: I love these almonds. I usually buy two bags every time I go. They are a perfect snack!
  • Chomps: Speaking of snacks, Hayden loves Chomps and often packs them in his lunch box.
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip: I love this dip! I typically eat it as is (cold) with mini peppers or corn chips. One time, the TJ cashier mentioned I should try it heated up…DUH! I actually have a buffalo chicken dip recipe that bakes in the oven, so I should have realized this dip heated up would be good. It is!
  • Black Bean Burrito: Hadley and I both love these burritos, and often split one.
  • Corn Chip Dippers: We all love these corn chips…perfect for dipping.
  • EBB Kettle Chips: Again, theses were a new purchase for me, and if you like the EBB seasoning, you’ll love these.
  • Wraps: I usually try a different wrap each time, and this Cubano was so good!
  • Salads: Like the wraps, I usually pick up a different salad each time, and I loved this Crunch Slaw salad.
  • Brussel Sprouts: I know Kroger has packaged brussel sprouts, but a few months ago, I picked these up from Trader Joe’s that come with garlic and seasoning, and do so every time I go there now. Even Hayden loves them when I saute them and serve them as a side dish for dinner.
wrap and EBB chips for lunch
  • Pizza: This flatbread pizza was a new find for me. I haven’t tried it yet, but I love prosciutto and arugula, so I figured this has to be a winner.
  • Turkey Corn Dogs: A couple blogging friends (Hi! Amy and Sarah) mentioned how good the turkey corn dogs are, and they are delish! Of my family of four, I’m the one who loves a corn dog the most! I served these for dinner one night with baked beans and fruit, and it was a great little meal. (The TJ employee who helped me find them in the freezer section suggested putting them in the Air Fryer, and that’s exactly what I did…they turned out perfectly when I used the “frozen” setting on the AF)
  • Biscuits: Shay shared these biscuits in one of her Trader Joe’s posts, and they are often out of stock when I’ve been in my TJ. They were finally in stock, so I picked them up. Hayden has been having one for breakfast all week!
  • Lemon Cake: I love Trader Joe’s boxed mixes. Hadley does too! I especially love the seasonal ones, and I couldn’t pass up the lemon cake. Most Sundays, Hadley will make a dessert, and often times, she uses whatever mix I’ve picked up from Trader Joe’s.

  • I try to pass up these cookies every time I go, but I can’t. We all love them. Remember when Homer ate half an unattended box last summer? 😆 Even Homer loves them!
  • Of course, you know I love flowers from Trader Joe’s. I just feel like they always have such a great variety, and I love to pick up whatever is in season…mums in the fall, tulips in the spring, and my favorite…peonies in early summer.

What about you? What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s items? Let me know; I love trying some thing new every time I make a Trader Joe’s run.

I hope you have a great day.

Posted in Kids, Life Lately, Trader Joes

Life Lately

Compared to the past couple of months, life has been a little less hectic, and I’m here for it. We’ve gone from having some kind of practice every evening to practice just a couple days a week. We’ve gone from baseball tournaments and cross country meets taking up the weekend to just one basketball game on a Saturday afternoon. Also, with it getting darker earlier, it’s easier to convince my kids to get settled in for the evening.

Even with the slower pace, we’ve still been busy. So, today I’m sharing a bit of our life…lately.

Hayden’s in a 3 on 3 basketball league. Due to Covid, his regular league isn’t having a season (yet?). With this league, the season is shorter, the team is smaller, and they only play half court. That being said, he loves basketball, so I know he’s happy to be back on the court. His team won their first game on Friday evening, and Hayden had six points.

The kids (and Travis) wrapped up the regular cross country season last Saturday with the 5th/6th grade state meet. This was the first time the kids had been in a race with 6th graders, so I think there were a few nerves. It was the hottest day and the hardest course, but both battled to run pretty decent races. Hadley earned a medal, and I know Hayden wished he had placed a little higher, but we were proud of them, of course.

Y’all, I always joke that if you see me running, somebody is probably chasing me! haha…so who am I to judge?! 😂Both had an amazing season with ups and downs, PR’s, top 10 (& 1st) place finishes, and lots of miles put on those legs. They had fun with their teammates and supported each other in practices and races which is what it’s all about.

And, I have to give a shout out to Travis. He coaches this team during the busiest months of work for him, and he gives it his all. The kids don’t know how special it is to have this time and these memories with him. I know they’ll look back on these years with fond memories…and will hopefully forget that, according to them, he made them run farther in practice! 😂

On the run!

Cousin crew came to cheer the kids on!

We’ve had really beautiful weather, so I’ve been trying to ease back into working out with some walks every other day or so.

The leaves, even the ones on the ground, are so beautiful. I really do love fall!

There’s a beautiful street in Lex that’s known for their ginkgo trees. Facebook is flooded with Lexington peeps checking out the beautiful yellow leaves. For Tuesday’s recess, we decided to visit the “yellow brick road” and go for a little afternoon walk around that neighborhood.

The leaves are just stunning!

It was such a nice way to spend a few minutes on a weekday afternoon!

On Tuesday, Homer also enjoyed the lovely weather and the sunshine.

I’ve been reading Louisiana Lucky, and it’s such a cute read! I should finish it up in the next day or two.

Over the weekend, I finished watching Virgin River. Season 2 comes out November 27th, so I won’t have to wait long to see what Mel and Jack are up to!

I’d heard many people talking about The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and I decided to give it a try. To be honest, I don’t think I ever would have clicked on this show while just scrolling Netflix, so I’m glad for the recommendation. I’m three episodes in, and I love it so far.

This is a miniseries based off of the novel with the same name. The main character, Beth, is an orphan, and she’s on a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world. She learns how to play from the custodian at the orphanage. Beth is adopted by a couple from Lexington, so there are some Lexington references in the plot. I think the author grew up here? Anyway, I definitely recommend it based on what I’ve seen so far.

And…I’m excited because The Crown is back for Season 4 on November 15th. I was late to The Crown game, but started watching it back in March once life came to a halt! I really enjoy it as well, and can’t wait for this season.

I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, and picked up some of our faves plus a few new foods to try.

  • Chicken nuggets – The kids love these for lunch.
  • Granola bars – I love these for an afternoon snack.
  • Blondie bars– This mix is perfect when you want something sweet. Hadley and her friend made these the other day, so I had to get another box to keep on hand.
  • Black bean burrito– We all love these.
  • White Cheddar shell mac & cheese– Hadley’s fave
  • Turkey and pumpkin mole burrito – This was a new find for me. I thought it was ok.
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning– I was running low on my other bottle, and started to panic!
  • Corn dippers – They go great with…
  • Buffalo chicken dip! – I also eat the dip with mini peppers.
  • Blue corn tortilla chips – I picked these up to mix in with our regular tortilla chips when I made sheet pan nachos for dinner on Tuesday night.
  • Chomps – Hayden’s fave!
  • Havarti Dill cheese – My fave! I eat some bites of cheese with…
  • Salami! – I love a snack plate!

I always stock up on our frozen staples when I’m at TJ’s. We eat the…

  • Gnocchi or Mushroom Risotto as a side dish at least once a week.
  • Mexican style roasted corn is usually a side dish when we eat Mexican food for dinner which is probably once a week!

Most Sundays I try to bake something for dessert. Hadley usually helps me, but she was outside playing on Sunday afternoon when I had time to make Shay’s pumpkin cake.

It was soooo good!

We also took some time this week to celebrate the end of cross country season and report cards with great grades on them! So, Hayden got the “You are Special” plate one night, and Hadley got it the next night!

It blows my mind that my kids haven’t stepped foot in a classroom in almost 8 months! I feel blessed that they are certainly persevering during these times. (Real Talk: I’m also glad they aren’t in primary grades where I know they’d need my help 90% of the time!) I’m thankful that they are pretty independent workers, for their awesome teachers, pod instructor and sitters! It really does take a village…especially during a pandemic.

I hope all of you are hanging in there as well! I know, for us, each day is different. Some days are definitely easier and better than others! And..on the “other” days, I just get in my pjs by 5:00 and count the minutes until bedtime…for all of us!

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Edition!

Take care,

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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