Trader Joe’s – Small Bites for the Party

I have something to share with you. 

Yes, it’s easy to have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes with items from Trader Joe’s! But if you have a chance to have a small party at your home, here are some great items for small plates and appetizers and a few sweets

  • Edamame hummus (one of my absolute favorites!) flyer-edamame-hummus
  • Frozen Indian Samosas and Pakora
  • Cheese- they have so many options!  I personally like the Port Salut and the triple Creme but cheddar, blue or the goat is great.
  • Italian gourmet deli selection(great for a charcuterie plate with some cheese)
  • Chocolate caramels(LOVE!)
  • Peanut putter filled pretzel nuggets(LOVE and were sent in by a few friends)
  • Tempura shrimp(pretty good for frozen)
  • Potato latkes(a must buy and sent in by many friends)
  • Pumpernickel pretzels(LOVE!)
  • Trader Joe’s Arancini Bites – (my friend serves them with a side of marinara)
  • Trader Joe’s Camembert Cheese and Cranberry Sauce Fillo –SO YUM
  • Salsa Authentica and Salsa Verde with Organic blue corn chips
  • Reduced fat Cilantro Dressing – use for a veggie dip
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  • Reduced guilt chunky guacamole
  • Organic Corn Dippers
  • Parmesan pastry pups (pigs in a blanket)
  • Mac and Cheese Bites(freezer section)

So, what else do you love?


Trader Joe’s – Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less

I have something to share with you. 

I have been shopping at Trader Joe’s for years but mostly in other cities.  During any business trip to St Louis, Chicago or Detroit, I would stop by a TJ’s to pick up numerous pound plus chocolate bars to bring home to the family.  Plus I would grab a few chocolate covered treats and transfer them to ziploc bags to fit in my suitcase(YES, my bag always came home almost 8 pounds heavier!)

Now that they are all over Dallas, I asked some friends what they buy since I have my favorites list(kind of short).  Below are some of the best recommendations I got from mom friends of mine for getting dinner on the table for the family or just the kids in 30 minutes or less!

  • Start your meal with soup- the organic boxed soups are great!  Tomato soup, red pepper/tomato or even butternut squash.
  • Making a great big salad? Add some jarred hearts of palm
  • A salad needs dressing. Try the Reduced fat Cilantro Dressing –  in the refrigerated section(Thanks JR!)
  • Want Italian?  The Ricotta and Spinach Raviolini(Giant Raviolis) or the Organic 3 cheese frozen pizza (tastes like Italy!) is great with a salad for a quick kid meal!
  • Maybe Asian?  Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken & frozen Jasmine Rice – It’s fun to make Chinese at home and you can do this with or without the sauce!
  • Enjoying the warmer weather?  Hawaiian Style Boneless Beef Short Ribs– They cook in under 10 minutes on the grill and you can serve them with black beans and rice and fresh pineapple. Perfect weeknight meal in a flash!
  • BBQ anyone?  Fully cooked Baby Back ribs in Smokey BBQ Sauce. 10 minutes in the oven and they fall off the bone. Or try their grass fed hamburger patties in the freezer section if you want to fire up the grill.
  • Want to start from scratch?  Try the organic grass fed ground beef or organic free-range chicken breasts
  • Need a veg?  Try the organic baby spinach, bagged and chopped organic broccoli, organic baby carrots or shaved brussel sprouts (just roast them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder).  (Thanks AG!)
  • A super fun side for kids?  Mac and Cheese balls (freezer section)

Of course we cannot forget about dessert or appetizers and finger foods for parties but that will be another post!  Anything else you recommend?


What’s your Wine IQ?

I have something to share with you.

A wine connoisseur I am NOT.  I don’t really drink it too often and I certainly don’t know a lot about it.  (Now is probably a good time to change that!)  I’ll have a glass at dinner if I am on a date with my husband or out with friends.  If I want a glass of Pinot Noir, there are usually two choices on the menu by the glass.  Same with a Sauvignon Blanc.  But when I need to buy a bottle of wine for a dinner or order wine when dining with friends or clients, I struggle.

Let me introduce to you to two wine apps – Hello Vino and Vivino Wine Scanner.

Hello Vino
It’s an app that serves as your wine assistant. You can select wines to go with a certain type of food, wines by type or you can type in a wine from a menu and read about it. Plus you can keep track of your favorite wines.

hellovino3 hellovino1 hellovino2

Vivino Wine Scanner
This app also allows you keep a personal wine profile and snap a photo of the label but it has a social media function to read reviews from others on each wine.  And it gives you the option to pull up a local restaurant and see a full or partial wine list.

vivino2 vivino3 vivino4

I know the folks at the local wine shop are helpful but these are my go-to apps when I am on my own!