my happy place.

I’m kind of obsessed with Trader Joe’s.  I tend to get a little excited for my weekly trip there (tip for all of you – NEVER go on the weekends. It’s mobbed. Always.).  And since I moved to IL at the beginning of September, I’ve only set foot in a “real” grocery store once (and it was for emergency brown sugar during baking).  I survive on Trader Joe’s with the occasional item picked up from Super Target – it’s kind of heaven.
I haven’t always had the luxury of a Trader Joe’s nearby – I grew up in a pretty rural area of New Jersey.  I know what you’re thinking – rural New Jersey?  But yes, it exists, and that’s where I lived.  When I first moved out on my own, a friend tipped me off to the joys of Trader Joe’s and my first visit was pretty much the most exciting day of my life.  Everything was amazing!! And so cheap!!  I came home with a cart full of random goodies and the rest is history.
Now that I’m a veteran Trader Joe’s shopper, I wanted to share some of my fave items with you – I’d love to try some new things on my next trip, so please share any of your own favorites!!

  • Gummy Bears:  Seriously, they’re like no gummy bear you’ve ever had before.  I’m talking the normal gummy bears though – I’m not down with the gummy penguins that you may see in store right now.
  • Garlic & Herb Pizza Crust:  The idea of making anything involving yeast kind of terrifies me.  This is my go to and it has the perfect amount of flavor (I usually make a fresh basil, mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto pizza)
  • Spiced Chai:  My fave morning drink (when I’m not wasting $6 on Starbucks) is a scoop of this chai with a shot of espresso and 1/3 cup of steamed milk.
  • Asparagus Risotto:  I pretty much always have this in my freezer – it’s the perfect “I don’t feel like cooking” dinner.  I’ve also been known to throw in some grilled chicken if I feel like getting fancy.  Top with fresh pepper and sea salt!
  • Frozen Berries:  You won’t find a better price on frozen berries around.  Beware of the “mixed berry” and “cherry” bags though – they sometimes have large pieces of pits.
  • Ready to Bake Sourdough Rolls:  These are the perfect size for me to throw one in the oven and have with “fresh baked bread” with dinner.  
  • Artichoke Parmesan Spread:  I”m not even kidding you, the first time I had this, I ate the entire container at once.  Serve with warm bread or pizza chips and you’re in for a treat.
  • Raviolli:  Every kind I’ve had has been delicious – my faves are the artichoke (with a cream sauce) and butternut squash (with a browned butter & sage sauce).  I also have a package of the lobster ravioli in my fridge right now to whip up for dinner this week.