Grocery Shopping Just The Beginning Of Great Food

by Alexis Ferguson Shopping Just The Beginning Of Great Food 
• Limited to the market and kitchen proves a perfecet combo during quarantine.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved Trader Joe’s, but since quarantine, my love has only grown stronger. With many places closed, I seemed to find myself at Trader Joe’s whenever I
had free time.
I used to walk in with my grocery list written in order as I ventured through the store, and I was out within 15 minutes. Now, the employees are begging me to leave. I browse the store slowly and look at every item. I am truly a kid in a candy store. They have the most fascinating products, and I want want to throw all of them into my cart.
Here is a tip: Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, especially at Trader Joe’s. I assure you that you will buy half the store. Since I go to Trader Joe’s more often than I should, I find a variety of new products to try. With the seasonal items and my new finds, I have many amazing recommendations.
I compiled some of my new favorite products from Trader Joe’s, so you too can create a deeper bond with this grocery store. Holiday products at Trader Joe’s may be the thing that saves 2020.
Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix
I have always been hesitant about pancake and waffle mixes. With such simple ingredients, it is hard to get myself to buy the mix, but I will make an exception for this mix. This is the easiest breakfast to have during the school week. I usually make a batch of batter on Monday, and throughout the week I scoop the batter each morning and cook the pancakes on a skillet. I have tried cooking all the pancakes at once and reheating them throughout the week, but there is something great about eating them straight off of the griddle.
These are the fluffiest pancakes I have ever tried from a box mix. They are so pillowy and have an amazing pumpkin flavor. I love everything pumpkin flavored, but even if you aren’t a huge fan, I still recommend these pancakes. They are warm and comforting with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. You can even add chopped walnuts or pecans and chocolate chips in the dough for a pumpkin bread pancake.
One of my new favorite ways to eat these pancakes is with plain or vanilla yogurt on top, a sprinkle of the Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice, and a drizzle of maple syrup. It is such a filling breakfast that keeps me full until lunch, and gets me in the mood for fall.

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
We all know and love sweet pumpkin desserts, but savory pumpkin dishes need more recognition. I have been eating this ravioli for years, and it is the easiest dish to make for a quick dinner. This ravioli is sold in the refrigerated section, but I love to freeze it so it stays fresh longer.
All you have to do is boil some water, add the frozen ravioli and cook it for a few minutes. While the pasta is cooking, I make a tomato sauce to go on top. Marinara sauce from a jar will always do the trick as well. I start with some olive oil and saute minced garlic. To that I add fresh diced tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes. I season with a bit of salt, pepper, and red chili flakes, and it is good to go. I love the salty tomato sauce with the sweet and savory pumpkin filling. This is truly an underrated product that makes for a delicious and simple meal.

Pumpkin Ginger Hold The Cone
I have always been a big fan of the chocolate and vanilla Hold The Cones. This year, I discovered that they sell a seasonal pumpkin ginger flavor. If I am being honest, it sounded disgusting at first. I imagined a strong spicy ginger taste and sweet pumpkin ice cream, which did not sound appetizing. I came across a review for these treats on Instagram and it was rated a 10/10. I commented and asked if they were spicy, and I was informed that they had a mild ginger flavor.
Since I love everything pumpkin flavored, I thought I would give this dessert a chance.
My expectations were pretty low, but I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t let the description fool you because they are divine. The best way I can describe these is if a pumpkin pie and a gingerbread cookie had a baby. The cloves and ginger flavors pair so well with the pumpkin spice flavor for a perfect fall blend.
Take my word that these taste way better than they sound and stock up before they are out of season.

Cacio E Pepe
As a vegetarian, pasta and I are best friends. Marinara, alfredo, cacio e pepe, you name it and I eat it every week. I was intrigued by frozen cacioe pepe.
I mean how good can frozen pasta really taste? Let’s be honest here. The pasta sauce and pasta are separated and all you need is a splash of water. The sauce is so creamy and the pepper flavor is strong and so flavorful.
This pasta dish is so easy to make when I am in a rush and is the perfect comfort food in this cold weather.

Organic Pumpkin Bread
When the pumpkin items came out, I rushed to Trader Joe’s and picked out a loaf of this bread. I love all their other pumpkin bread mixes and bagels, so I figured this had to be good. I wish I were joking when I say I ate this whole loaf in less than a week. It is speckled with cinnamon and pumpkin seeds and has the perfect amount of sweetness. I ate this bread alone or with butter and cinnamon sugar for breakfast or a snack. I had never heard of this bread before, so I like to say I found a hidden treasure of Trader Joe’s.
Hopefully it stays a hidden treasure so it doesn’t sell out too quickly.

Roasted Cauliflower
and Cheese Ravioli
I’ll admit that when the pandemic hit, I stocked up as though I were hibernating for six months. Although my pantry was overflowing, I discovered this ravioli as I grabbed all the vegetarian raviolis off of the shelves. If you asked me for my top ten items from Trader Joe’s, this would definitely be on that list. I cannot describe how deep my love is for this pasta. You may think I am crazy. To that I would say that you are correct.
However, I would ask you to try this dish and rethink what you just said. I never would have thought roasted cauliflower and cheese would be a good combo, but I don’t think any other ravioli can compare. I love eating this pasta with a butter sauce or a tomato basil sauce.
The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower is the perfect match for the salty cheese and acidic tomato sauce. If this pasta ever is sold out, it is probable that I bought all of them.

Soy Chorizo
Since I am a vegetarian, I do occasionally crave meat. I try not to eat fake meat, but I will make an exception for this soy chorizo. I heard from a friend who is not vegetarian that it was amazing.
I knew I had to try this chorizo, even though I am not a huge fan of actual chorizo. I made chorizo tacos with onions, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes and it was incredible. I could not tell that it was fake meat. From the texture to the taste, Trader Joe’s nailed this chorizo. I love to add it in eggs, on salads, in tacos, etc. This chorizo is so versatile and is great for anytime I crave meat.

Sparkling Honeycrisp
Apple Juice Beverage
Along with turkey and mashed potatoes on the table during Thanksgiving, there is always a bottle of sparkling apple cider.
No holiday in our house is complete without sparkling apple cider. I read about this drink on Trader Joe’s website and bought it a few days later.
Although it does taste very similar to Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, I enjoyed this one more. The apple flavor tasted real and was not too sweet. I also enjoyed that it was not too carbonated. The small individual cans are a great choice for entertaining during a pandemic, and the packaging is cute per usual. I would recommend stocking up on these drinks before Thanksgiving for the perfect drink for kids.

Cocoa Peppermint Flavored
Almond Creamer
I am a vanilla creamer girl year round except when fall arrives. I love pumpkin spice creamers and I was fascinated by this cocoa peppermint creamer. I was also excited that this creamer was made of almond milk, as I prefer to drink non-dairy milks.
The cocoa and coffee flavors pair smoothly together and the peppermint is subtle, but adds a nice refreshing taste. I love this silky creamer in hot or cold coffee and it makes me so excited for Christmas!
Trader Joe’s is the best place to get groceries during the holidays. They carry countless presents and have everything you need for a spectacular Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I hope that my recommendations make you hop in your car and drive to your nearest Trader Joe’s to try these products. I wish you a safe and happy holiday!

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