I feel as though you may all be getting the sense that Jenny is WAY more put-together than I am. I don’t always have the time to put delicious meals together (well, not AS delicious as Jen’s…but not bad!) and when I do I feel as if they just aren’t as grandiose or full of fresh farm ingredients. Not to say I don’t like eating healthy! I am also still living with my parents – so that sometimes makes the refrigerator situation a bit hectic. What I do know is that I enjoy cooking, but right now it’s just on a lower scale. As I was making my dinner (or “Din-Din” as the title would suggest) tonight I noticed that 99% of it came from Trader Joe’s, which just happens to be my favorite grocery store! They have great frozen food options, low prices, and I’m not worried about where the food is coming from. Their meats have a guarantee that they were free range and cruelty free throughout their lives (even though I am not buying meat anymore it is definitely something that I took note of) and they have a ton of vegan and vegetarian options around the store. I figured now would be as good a time as ever to start reviewing some of the food/products that I purchase from TJ’s all the time and spread the word of the great grocery deity.
Dinner: Trader Joe’s Tofu Nuggets with a Spring Mix salad (including mushrooms, english cucumber, shredded carrots and yellow papper).
Sauces: Trader Joe’s Chipotle Mango Ginger sauce, Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinaigrette, Sriracha
The Nuggets: I picked these up on a whim one day as I was going through the frozen food section. I figured it was worth a shot and it looked as if they were easy to prepare and would be good to bring to work. Turns out – they’re pretty delicious! Even Mr. Ian likes them! I put them into my toaster oven for about 10 minutes and they get a nice crispy outer layer but are still soft on the inside, which includes tofu, carrots and edamame. These tofu nuggets are also great because they are really reasonably priced, I think the bag only cost me $3 or $4? I checked the bag for ingredients and noticed that it was certified vegetarian, not vegan though. As much as I wanted this to be a super simple vegan meal for MOFO … I failed. I tried guys I promise!
The Salad: I want to start this off by saying that I wish I had a CSA near me or was able to go to more farmer’s markets. I love the idea of buying local produce and being able to use it all in my meals…but unfortunately I have to settle for now. When I go to TJ’s I usually end up getting a few different bagged lettuces (I know..it’s never really something I thought I would do!!) and they tend to be pretty solid for what they are. I like to get some darker and leafier greens because of their health value and mix it up with just a little bit of butter lettuce to make it a little crispier. This salad only contains mixed greens though! I also LOVE cucumber – so I accidentally cut up more than I originally planned on…woops!
Note: While I normally don’t buy much produce from Trader Joe’s (I find that it’s just not that great in quality and not very extensive so I go to the supermarket closer to my house for all of that) I will say that their cucumbers, yellow/red/green peppers, mushrooms and carrots are all good and delicious. I have never had any weird problems with them in the past and can feel comfortable that it won’t go bad in a day or so (I haven’t had great luck with their apples…).
The Sauces: I love sriracha. I am surprised that this bottle has lasted me this long. I’m pretty sure that I use it for almost everything, and tonight was no exception! The mango ginger chutney sauce seems to be a fairly new product at Trader Joe’s, they has it EVERYWHERE the first time I picked it up. I love all of those flavors so I figured they would be 1) delicious together and 2) delicious on other things. It’s already a little bit spicy on its own, but I wanted more so I added the sriracha for that extra kick. Turns out it was a good choice!
When I was younger I was never really a fan of any other dressing besides ranch…or any other creamy dressing. I think the flavors may have just been slightly too strong for me? Not too sure…but I haven’t had ranch in years because I found out that putting it on a salad is defeating the purpose of a salad! Trader Joe’s (Giotto’s??) balsamic is perfectly tart and savory, and it doesn’t have random floaty bits in it like some other balsamic dressings. Whenever I run out of it I go into panic mode because all of the other salad dressings in the house are mediocre at best.
So I guess it seems that it’s pretty obvious that I enjoy Trader Joe’s…if anyone else who reads loves it too let me know in the comments! If you have a favorite item I might go pick it up and review it here :). Life is too short to not try new things.