Saturday, May 26, 2018

Five Essential Trader Joe's Items

Okay, so by now I have already proclaimed my undying love for Trader Joe's on this blog. And I will continue to rave about it. Seriously, the obsession is real. One of my favorite pastimes is going to Trader Joe's. (Oh no she did-inttt honeyyy, thoughts understandably blasting errwhere on the interwebs.) Quite frankly, there is nothing like marching a few blocks to TJ's on a you-can-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-degree day and then waiting in a snaking line for 30 minutes to purchase a bag of their Movie Theater popcorn. It is an experience unlike any other.

So, without further ado... here are a few of the Trader Joe's items that I always keep around...

1) Instant Powdered Coffee

I'm no coffee snob, but I do enjoy the convenience that this coffee provides. I've been buying it since I moved into my Boston apartment last September. Now I still do while I have been in the city. It is powdered so all you do is mix it with hot water, and voila, coffee! I drink mine black shortly after waking and before I go for my morning jog. It perks me up (yay caffeine!) and you can't beat how quickly you can make a cup of joe with this. No brewing, waiting for a machine, etc. Also, a quick trip to the kitchen vs. a quick trip to Starbucks; kitchen wins. I cannot discern the taste between different types of coffee, so I cannot attest to whether or not it might be a person's coffee flavor "type" or not. But for someone like me, who drinks it just for the jolt of energy instead of being nit-picky about the flavor, I like this a lot. I just purchased a new bottle of it because I am nearly out of my previous one. Bonus: an entire bottle costs less than a cup of coffee from Starbucks and lasts for at least a few weeks (at least for me, and I use an ample spoonful of it each morning).

2) Apple Cider Vinegar

Along with my instant coffee, I also like to drink distilled apple cider vinegar (acv). Previously, I would mix a few tablespoons of acv, drizzles of honey, and squeezes of fresh grapefruit juice with 8-10oz of water. The concoction ends up being a sweet and tangy drink that is highly refreshing. Also, there are apparent health benefits to acv and grapefruit juice that make it a two-for-one win. Great tasting and healthy! A good alternative to the high-fructose-sugary-filled store-bought juices, and definitely easy to make. Although now I forego the honey and grapefruit juice (I prefer to eat grapefruit as it is... peeled, of course, haha), and just mix acv with water, I still enjoy the tart taste of the drink. The ratio of acv to water is important to be aware of. Too much acv, too little water, and it becomes too acidic to gulp down. I like to put more water to be on the safer side. Also, I used to drink this before, when I lived in Boston, and then stopped for some reason. But my mother may or may not have influenced me to get back to drinking this. She has been on a major health kick and kept telling me to buy bottles of acv when I first moved here... so I listened and now I drink it daily. Love it. I keep a bottle of it in my fridge at all times.

3) Movie Theater Popcorn

I go through bags of these, and way too quickly. I will actually buy a bag, come home, open the bag immediately, and then snack away. Although not as satisfying as fresh, piping hot, extra buttery (extra extra extra for me, please) movie theater popcorn, the flavor is absolutely wonderful. Just the right amount of saltiness, and the buttery taste is just... yum. I am a big fan of their cheese puffs (I prefer the sour cream & onion flavor to the original) and their herbs popcorn (super tasty), but I find myself buying the Movie Theater popcorn regularly. I should buy multiple bags of this at a time... even though I know how dangerous it would be for me to do so because I definitely have no self control when it comes to snacking on this. I am one of those people who tries really hard to eat a portioned out bowl of snacks (popcorn, chips, etc.) but I end up just eating straight out of the bag and next thing you know I am grabbing the little bits of crunchy, salty, buttery goodies with baby dinosaur hands until the bag runs out. It is what it is, though..... I love my popcorn and I will not shy away from that. Hashtag pop. Hashtag corn. Hashtag popcorn. Hashtag popcorn lover. Hashtag hashtags.

4) Coconut Oil

It is kind of unsettling to me that the average temperature of my apartment completely liquifies my coconut oil. I don't feel as though it is that warm in my studio, but it must be warmer than normal because my entire bottle is filled with melted coconut oil. I kept a bottle of this in my medicine cabinet back in Boston and not once was it in this state... even when the heaters were on in the winter. I had to use a spoon to scoop out the coconut oil when it was more solid, or if it was more pudding-ey, I just scooped a bit out with my fingers. Oh well, it still works the same. Yes, you can use this as cooking oil, but I use the coconut oil as my makeup remover. (I also usually do not use oil when I cook.) I've tried numerous kinds of makeup remover (wipes, oils, creams, etc.) from the drugstore or from higher end stores, but I find that coconut oil works the best to dissolve makeup, even waterproof mascara/long-lasting foundation. This is also super affordable at under $10, and lasts for a loooong time. I prefer when the oil is in a "cream" state so that I just scoop a bit and rub it around my face with my fingers (not completely solid, not completely liquid), but I can't control that right now since it has remained liquid (if I put it in the fridge, it'll be too solid to work with). Instead, I dip cotton pads in it and wipe away. I usually do two wipe-throughs of my face for a more thorough cleanse. After, I'll use a towel soaked in hot water and squeezed until damp to wipe my face again. I also usually do that twice over... the steam from the towel feels great and it removes any remaining residue. I had bad breakouts before, and although this may just be a coincidence, but after switching to coconut oil instead of makeup wipes, my skin has become noticeably smoother, more hydrated, and clearer. I also use this as a hair mask from time to time (must wash off thoroughly, otherwise hair ends up being greasy) or leave some on my body before showering to soothe dry skin. It really is a wonderful multi-tasking product!

5) Mediterranean Hummus

What is there to say? I just love hummus in general. This one is flavorful and goes well with anything. Well, that describes almost any kind of hummus I come across. But I have this in my fridge right now and also really like their roasted garlic hummus. Hummus is so unassuming of a food, but I can top it on such a wide variety of other foods that it is one of my favorite things to eat. When I had a food processor in a former summer apartment, I would make my own hummus from scratch. Super easy and you can adapt the flavors to your own liking. For now, I will stick with TJ's.

Those are five of my essential TJ's products, but I always grab things I haven't had before and test those out, too. Recently I had their honey butter chips and their truffle chips. I'm not a big chips person (hot cheetos... guilty, I am the biggest fan of those though), yet thought these were tasty. I wouldn't get them again, but it was good to try them. Some other items that I love: cheese/green chile tamales, mac&cheese bites, frozen mango chunks, potato latkes, sweet potato gnocchi. So many delicious foods, snacks, and sweets at TJ's! Must visit again soon...

xo, I