04 September 2006

Five Trader Joe's convenience foods I've convinced myself are economically worthwhile or are healthy for my kids

In: Mealtime

A tribute to Merlin Mann's 5ives.

1. Peanut butter-filled pretzels

2. Fresh herbs, minced and frozen into mini-dice-sized portions

3. Jars of stir fry-ready garlic/ginger puree

4. Pirate's Booty

5. Breaded chickenless nuggets

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Oh man, I love TJs. I don't have one nearby, but my dad does... and he frequently has to send me heavy care packages! I love:
1. pineapple salsa
2. blue corn chips
3. TJ's bruchetta in a jar
4. PB pretzels
5. Charles Shaw wine (not for the kids... for lovely skillet cooking!)

Oh, only 5? We are addicts!

1. unsalted organic peanut butter on the Milton's wholegrain bread we also get there

2. frozen potstickers (especially the chicken ones)--6 of those, some peas and grapes and you've got a happy, full toddler and you can feel decent about it

3. cheese sticks (duh)

4. microwave in bag green beans

5. trail mix, trail mix, trail mix

A big TJ's favorite (one of many, to be sure) in our house: TJ's Three Layer Hummus -regular, spicy, and cilantro layers. So good with pita chips, your favorite crackers, as a sandwich spread, whatever. Hell, I've spooned it up like its a freakin' parfait. (Shhh. Don't tell the wife. She says "Are we out of this already?"about once a week. I shrug my shoulders convincingly and say "I know, isn't it amazing!")
Looking forward to trying some of the other suggestions above...

1. Crushed wheat bread
2. Whole wheat torillas
3. Whole wheat bagels
4. Whole wheat British Muffins
5. 3-Cheese Pasta Sauce

Love TJ's!!!

Pirate's Booty... you can feel even better about Veggie Booty: it's green!

It was one of my son's first finger foods.

Dude, Pirate's Booty rocks!

Also, try the chocolate-covered soy beans!

Those TJ spinach nuggets were one of my son's first and favorites... and they're always out!

Oh, Lil' Duck LOVES Pirate Booty!

I agree. The following items are vital to my sanity, and I won't let anyone convince me otherwise.

1. Frozen vacuum-sealed individual portions of Salmon. For less than $3, and about 20 minutes in the toaster oven, I can have a delicious piece of fish, (when everyone else at the table demands fish sticks.)

2. Fresh personal-sized pizzas. 10 minutes in the toaster oven, everyone gets exactly what they want.

3. Frozen Orange Chicken. Brown the chicken, add the sauce, you're good to go. Dinner in less than 10 minutes.

4. Baby Spinach salad (premade in the deli area) with raspberry vinegrette, dried cranberries, candied pecans and feta. Just toss and enjoy. It keeps me from grazing at lunchtime.

5. The friendly staff in the aisles. If I'm not sure about a product, I always ask one of the employees. They almost always have opinions on the products, and if it's something they're not familiar with, they'll find someone who is. I've not been lead astray yet by their recommendations, from microbrew beer to fruit juice.

My husband's list would have anything chocolate-covered, but here's mine:

1. Green chile chicken burritos (mmmm!)
2. Vacuum-packed Indian food
3. Tamales
4. Dried Mango
5. Chocolate-covered espresso beans

My personal favorite is their vegetarian egg rolls with Spinach and tofu. My 2 year old absolutely loves them!

Also, their flax seed tortilla chips and soy pretzels are very good snack options.

Frozen fruits and veggies - somehow TJs frozen veggies are way way better than the regular supermarkets. and Noah loves the frozen mango, strawberries, peaches, and blueberries!

My personal TJ brand faves:
-whole wheat baking mix
-chickless nugs (love em)
-whole wheat crackers
-roasted pepper dip (also great on pasta)
-mini whole wheat bagels
-frozen French petit green beans

Peanut butter pretzels
Organic peanut butter
Fresh raspberry preserves
Frozen orange chicken
Frozen vegetable fried rice (great for lunch with leftover chicken, pork, etc.)
Frozen roti bread (great with those vacuum packed Indian foods like Palak Paneer)
Alphabet cookies
Dark chocolate pistachio toffee
And my newest favorite: bean chips
Mmm...

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