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I am from Arkansas, the land of WalMart and nothing else. HA! Just kidding, we have other stores but when it comes to grocery shopping WalMart and Kroger are pretty much all we have. Of course we have Whole Foods and Fresh Market but I find those stores to be a little more “fancy” than what I’m used to so typically I stick with WM and Kroger. I remember the day I was driving in Ohio with my bestie and we passed a Trader Joe’s and I made her stop so we could shop. She didn’t fully understand my obsession with “just a grocery store” that I had never been to but once we were inside she understood.
I went in to my first Trader Joe’s with one sole purpose, Cookie Butter. I had been hearing about it for forever and had seen it on blogs and social media so I just had to try it. It’s kind of funny now because I don’t even buy Cookie Butter anymore but I am thankful my sweet tooth led me to one of my most favorite places on the planet, Trader Joe’s!!
Trader Joe’s isn’t just a grocery store, it’s a grocery store + flower shop + wine shop + so much more! They have incredible prices on all of their items and if you want to try something you just ask and you can try it, seriously they will open up anything in the store so you can try before you buy! I have purchased some of my very favorite wine from TJ’s at super cheap prices and my favorite hand soap comes from there too. Plus, if you are local their fresh fruits and veggies and freezer section looks amazing and you can’t beat their prices for fresh flowers. I’m telling you, it’s good stuff!!
Since I’m not local I usually only buy pantry staples from Trader Joe’s. The TJ’s on Lover’s Lane in Dallas is my FAVE store!! They have an amazing selection of spices, cereals, chips, noodles, crackers, coffee, etc. I will try anything once but of course I have my “must buys” too. Today I am going to tell you all about my top 5 must buys from Trader Joe’s so here we go!!
ONE. EVOO. Remember a long time ago when the Real Housewives of New Jersey came out and they were actually fun to watch? Teresa was paying for everything in cash to “boost the economy” and flipping tables and actually wrote a pretty decent cookbook. I was pretty obsessed with her at the time and bought said cookbook and surprisingly she actually had some really good recipes, tips and trick in there. One tip of hers that has always stuck with me is how she shops for her olive oil. She said to make sure the bottle/can has all the olives coming from the same place because if they are from all over then the taste may be off and you don’t know how fresh it is. You really want your olives to all be pressed ASAP and from the first press so do your research when purchasing your EVOO!! I LOVE this EVOO from Trader Joe’s because it tastes good, the price is right, all of the olives are from he same place and it is a first press.
TWO. BBQ Rub. I have mentioned on here that I eat a LOT Of chicken. Well chicken can get pretty boring after a while so I am always looking for new recipes and ways to spice it up. I discovered this BBQ rub a few years ago and always stock up on it when I see it in stores. It’s only available during the summer months so if you are obsessed like me then grab a few every time you go! They are only $1.99 each and they actually last a while.
THREE. Salsa. I am somewhat of a salsa snob, I don’t like it chunky at all and I like a lot of flavor to it. Good salsa in a jar is just hard to come by so when I discovered this one you better believe it in bulk. Ok, maybe not in bulk but I def get 5-6 jars every time I go and you can beat that $1.79 price tag!
FOUR. Everything but the Bagel Spice. This is a recent discovery of mine but I love this stuff on everything!! I put it on hard boiled eggs, as a topping for deviled eggs, on avocado toast, in guacamole, by itself…LOL!! It’s really good and the flavoring is fantastic!!
FIVE. Vanilla. If you aren’t in the kitchen much then you don’t understand the high cost of spices, especially vanilla. Sure, you can get imitation vanilla flavoring for pretty cheap at any grocery store but once you’ve had the real thing you can’t go back to imitation. I got spoiled on real vanilla after a friend brought me back a bottle of Mexican Vanilla from a trip and haven’t been able to use the imitation stuff since. I bought this vanilla a Trader Joe’s a couple of years ago and have been hooked ever sine, plus the price is pretty reasonable!
And of course there are a few honorable mentions including these fantastic pink and white cookies. I always forget how good they are until I try them. It’s a good thing I forget how good they are or I may buy/eat more of them!! I also discovered these Crispy/Crunchy Broccoli Florets and they are seriously addicting!! I literally ate the whole bag on my drive home from Dallas, LOL! Good thing the whole bag only has 250 calories! HA! I also love these new spices I got to try, if you love spices and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them you have to go to Trader Joe’s!!
So there you have it, my 5 Trader Joe’s must buys and a few super yummy honorable mentions. If you have never shopped at a Trader Joe’s then you seriously don’t know what you are missing out on. And if you live by one I am super jealous!!! LOL!!
Do you shop at Trader Joe’s??
What items are must buys for you??