With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I thought I’d share some of my favorite grocery store items, some of which could be a great addition to your Independence Day feast! My husband, who does more than half the grocery shopping, is an H-E-B man. He gets most of our meats there and name brand things like Diet Coke and coffee pods for our Keurig. But I love the easy access, the selection of organic fruits and vegetables, and the private label foods Trader Joe’s has to offer. For me, it’s like a Central Market or Whole Foods (meat excluded) without the luxury prices. There’s always something new and different!! So for my once-a-month shopping adventure, I love the smaller store, the helpful staff, the unique items, and the fact that I can be in and out in 30 minutes or less.
I’ve read that all of Trader Joe’s branded products have no GMOs, MSG, trans fats or artificial coloring. With all their private label items and so many specialty choices, I have become one of their many cult-like followers! What are my favorites when I shop there?
With the low prices of Trader Joe’s flowers, I always pick up a bunch for myself! They have whatever is in season, and they’re always fresh. I bet they’ll have some special red, white and blue ones for the Fourth.
Julie from the Lovely Little Kitchen is a fan like me. She’s discovered that buying live potted herb plants is less expensive than the ones in the plastic container at the grocery store, and they live so much longer!!! Now that is all I do.
As you know, I am totally obsessed with cauliflower rice! I buy two different types here. The one in the produce section I think is better mixed with things to make sauces. It gives more volume to food, so I like to simmer it in low-sodium chicken broth with rosemary and Italian seasoning and then add Trader Joe’s cut-up heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, their roasted corn, or any other vegetable I have on hand. I’ve found their sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, shown in the background, tastes better than regular salt for seasoning this. This is great as a side or mixed with my skinny noodles.
The frozen version has an amazing texture, and I think it tastes more like rice when you are making it. I use this for all sorts of fried rice recipes, like this Cauliflower Fried Rice I shared recently. In the past, it was hard to find, and they put limits on the quantities, but now it is always stocked – Yay!!!
They have a great selection of packaged organic vegetables, fresh berries and fruits at great prices!! For me, I love the washed bagged things – easy breezy! Tip though: always check the dates!
Although we get our lunch bread at H-E-B, we have a few favorites I always get when I go to Trader Joe’s! The thick cinnamon swirl bread, the bagels with everything on it, and the artisan bread with rosemary and olives, so yummy!!!!
I got this tip when reading the blog Kim’s Cravings and decided to try it out. I was having people over, and these seemed like healthier alternatives to my typical fair. I purchased two types of hummus (the Mediterranean is my fave), Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip and Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole.
I served them with different veggie options and some Quinoa and Black Bean Chips and everyone ate them up! They all were great, but the reduced-fat Chunky Guacamole was especially addictive!!!!!! Easy, healthy appetizers that could work well for a July 4th get together!
I don’t like their fresh meats, but they do have some yummy options from the freezer department!! I buy the frozen boneless chicken breast (which grill more tender than others I’ve tried), and their shrimp, scallops and swordfish are divine! I first heard about how great Trader Joe’s was from my sister-in-law who lives in California. She had the biggest, most plump, fab shrimp dish for us when we were there!! You can grab her to die for recipe for Grilled, Sweet and Spicy Shrimp with Mint Dipping Sauce here! Since then, I’ve always gotten my shrimp there.
This was a new try for me! We love fish, shrimp and scallop tacos, and this would be fantastic as a garnish!!! Especially with homemade Baja sauce!!!
My daughter Kirby makes an amazing Baja sauce that we paired with corn and shrimp tacos. So Yummy! Grab the recipe here.
This reduced guilt popcorn is one of the best tasting low cal ones I’ve had!! John likes the kettle corn one, but they were out of it on my last shopping trip. I typically mix them half and half to cut the calories for our late-night movie watching binges. It gets stale really quick, so transfer any leftover mix to an airtight container to keep the salty-sweet treat fresh!
I bought this French Market Sparkling Limeade for a photoshoot at my house, mostly because I loved the packaging. Light and fresh in taste, I keep it out on a tray in the bar all the time and have also purchased the pink versions for themed parties!! The red French Berry variety on the right would be perfect for Independence Day!!!
Mixed with lime and ice, I turn to these as a wine alternative when I get home from work! I love the way they look mixed with the limeade bottles too.
Bar none, Trader Joe’s has my favorite wine department! Well priced, every wine is labeled with a detailed description of its characteristics. That, coupled with the knowledgeable staff, allows me to try new wines in every price point. The Liberty Pinot Noir and the Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay are around $10 each, and they’re excellent wines. The Revelation Chardonnay is beautifully packaged, pretty good, and only $5.99 a bottle! I can’t wait to pop open the rest of these and see what I think!!
All I can say is don’t buy this… it’s impossible to have just one piece!!! Trader Joe’s does not have this in stock very often, so when they do, I can’t resist. This Danish bread has been made in Wisconsin since 1949! Interestingly enough, if you order from the manufacturer directly, they charge twice the price!
Top Picks from Other Trader Joe’s fanatics!!
Below are some items that top reviewers and cooking bloggers rave about from TJ’s. I’m adding these to the list for my next shopping trip!
This is a new try of mine that I read about on The Daily Meal. They gave Cookie Butter a 10 out of 10, and I must agree!! I tasted it on its own, but they say put it on a cookie and words fall short!!! I am not sure I can trust myself with this combination. All their nut butters also got wonderful reviews.
Another top pick of theirs is this cookie you bake at home, receiving 9/10 points. I’ll have to try this for a special treat when the kids are over!!!
This cake mix received 10 points – a fantastic option for taking a cake or cupcakes somewhere or when you’re in a crunch for time.
Kim’s Cravings says the Chili Lime Chicken Burgers are incredible grilled or prepared in the skillet. Great healthy alternative to the typical burger fare!
She also thinks these refried black beans are tastier than any other of canned beans she’s tried, perfect for Taco Tuesdays!
Their salsas get rave reviews on every blog, with Salsa Verde coming out as number one!!!
These two picks, the left from Kim’s Cravings and the right from The Daily Meal, are both going to be in my basket on my next trip! I’ve heard that this veggie patty comes extremely close to matching the real thing.
I hope you find this run-down on Trader Joe’s helpful! There are 400 stores, but half are in California… Hopefully you can find one close to you! Let me know your favorite picks so I can give them a try!! Have a great week!