How I rate these Trader Joe’s products

Let’s talk about this list. Eating Well put out this list of Trader Joe’s customers favorite products. And I must say I’m surprised.

Let’s go through these one by one. I haven’t tried them all, but I’ve tried a number of them and only a few on my list overlaps with this list.

1. Everything but the bagel seasoning
I would LOVE to know how people use this. A coworker tried the 30 day challenge and swore that this is what got her through, but I have tried it on a number of things and just don’t get it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love everything bagels. But I think what I love MOST about them are the bagels.

2. Mandarin Orange Chicken
Now, I can’t speak to this personally. I have NOT tried this item and I will say when I bought it from my boyfriend the clerk was telling us how many times they restock this item in a day and it’s absurd. So it seemed promising. But the boyfriend, who LOVES wings, was just not impressed. He was very disappointed, which surprised me. I think it didn’t have any spice to it whatsoever was part of his complaint. Again—I did not try this item, so I have no opinion.

3. Cauliflower Gnocchi
Admittedly, I do not like gnocchi. It’s one of those things that I keep trying because everyone loves so much and it is just mushy and gross. But I love cauliflower, so I thought it might work. Well, it didn’t. Still just mush and not a good flavor.

4. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
Now, this is the money maker. Yes. Yes. Yes. I love these so much and agree that this should be very high on everyone’s list. I can eat them all. Please hide them from me or offer five at a time, but please don’t leave the whole thing on my desk.

5. Plantain Chips
Have not tried, but certainly interested now. I love plantains in general, so this may be a good snack idea.

6. Nondairy Oat Beverage
I don’t believe I’ve tried this either, but am adding to my list.

7. Avocados
I’m avoiding avocados because of the whole cartel thing. They taste amazing, but this is a problem for me, so I have been avoiding them for the most part, although these come from California, so maybe they’re OK?
8. Unexpected CheddarHaven’t tried it.

9. Scented candles.
Yes, please. I love the honeycrisp apple and plan on buying more of these. Smells like fall and I love it!

I would add these to MY Trader Joe’s grocery list (Note that some are seasonal).

  • Trader Joe’s Winter Wake Up Tea
  • Trader Joe’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Beans
  • Trader Joe’s Rosewater Toner
  • Trader Joe’s Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 15 For All Skin Types
  • Flowers & Christmas wreaths

WW Success!

In just a month, I’ve lost 7.2 pounds on WW. So far, I’ve liked how I can adjust as needed depending on what I have going on that day, week or month. If I know I’m going to be splurging on New Years, I just save up some points for the week by eating a bunch of zero points foods, like fruits, veggies and fish. I haven’t given up my coffee or the occasional sweet, but I have been taking fruit to work every day so that I can snack on an orange or berries instead of desperately searching for something to nibble on.

Last night, I made a cauliflower-crust pizza. The crust was from Trader Joes and I topped it with pasta sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted red peppers and grilled onions. Trader Joes has quite a few frozen foods that are low in points, so I’ll let you know which ones work out well for me. There was a srirachi shrimp bowl that I made on Monday that was really tasty, although it said it was conventional oven safe and then the plastic started deteriorating.

Here’s the first keychain I’ve earned from WW.

One Goal Leads to Another

Reading one of the 12 nonfiction books of the year encouraged me to get the ball rolling on taking a photography class. “Stretch” explains why you should try new things as well as to take all of your different experiences to create new things. At the end of the book, it gives a few ideas on how to become better at stretching, which led me to sign up for a photography class on how to take better photos of objects. I figure since I often need to take photos for Poshmark, it would be good to improve these skills. While I already take photos for the Farmers Market, I find that taking photos outside of colorful objects like produce and food is much easier than say a sweater. The class isn’t until April, but I’m glad it’s finally on the books. I should finish Stretch this evening and it just mentioned the 4-Hour Work Week, which will be my next nonfiction book to read, since I’ve already read about a quarter of it. It’s always fun when one book leads well into another. Hopefully, it will give me some ideas for how to work more efficiently and creatively as well as how to dream bigger.

Weighed in at WW

I’m down three points as of my third WW weigh-in this morning! I’m super excited about the results, since it hasn’t felt all that hard. Sure, I’ve had to say no to some great sweets at the office and sitting around the house, but I’ve also gotten to enjoy lots of bananas and fat-free Greek yogurt with cinnamon, salmon and vegetables and omelets—all things I already love. I also kept a lot of smoked salmon on hand for when I was hungry, as it’s 0 points on the purple plan and always hits my craving spot. My hardest day was NYE, which I totally blew past all of my points for the day, but since I had saved plenty of my extra points for the week, I still made some progress when it came to weigh-in day. I’m hoping this week will be as successful. One of the things I plan on doing to make the week easier is to take in fruits as snacks. This worked yesterday when the cravings kicked in and I ate a whole container of blackberries, which is no big deal because they’re good for you! We also had plantains as an after dinner treat last night instead of the gingerbread cookies I was eyeing. This weekend, I plan on making some lentil soup to take into work with me for lunches—should be 0-1 points! The recipe is from the Chocolate Covered Katie blog if you’d like to try it out as well: I haven’t tried it, but it looks delicious!

Happy 2020!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday relaxing. Here in Texas, it was overcast and cold, so it was a good day to stay in and cuddle and play cards. It’s always nice to have some calm time before the crazy of the year sets in.

I wanted to get a head start on my goals, so I started filling out my passport paperwork just to find out I was supposed to fill it out with blank ink, not blue! But I did find my passport photos while starting to organize my big closet, so it’s one step forward, one step back. I’ve also started reading Stretch, which goes toward both my goal of reading all the books I already have as well as going toward one of my 12 nonfiction books. I really like the overall message of using your resources in creative ways and not just accumulating for the sake of having more. I hope you’re off to a great start of a new year!

Two more days of 2020

2019 is coming to end this week. It’s been a pretty good decade, which follows right along with my own personal decade from 30 to 40 years old. One of the things I think I’ve embraced this last decade is really trying to do the things I want to do instead of just talking about it, which has included visiting Italy, Iceland, Hawaii, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Santa Fe, New York, Cape Cod and several other places. I’ve also been tracking my reading on Goodreads (excluding 2010), which has equated to reading 222 books this decade, which sounds kind of crazy when I look at it altogether. Some of the things I want to do in the upcoming decade are starting my own business, really focusing on how much I save for retirement, being less wasteful (especially when it comes to food and clothing), being more open, vulnerable and honest with myself and others, traveling more, learning to take better care of plants, having better relationships with those I care about, keeping my environment clean and cleared out and maintaining a healthy weight.

I’m hoping my 2020 goals get me started on the right path to all of these things. I’m already making progress with WW, having lost a few pounds in a week and a half. I cleaned and filed my nails last night, adding a nail strengthener to the surface to try and keep them nice and strong. I printed out the paperwork for the passport renewal, so I just need to fill it out, find my photos and passport and take it into the post office or mail it off. I’ve got a few nonfiction books already underway and I contributed $6,000 yesterday to my Roth IRA. When I look at my list, it seems both very doable and intimidating. I think the two that will be hardest for me will be making the T-shirt quilt and making the cake for the cake show, since the show is in February. Something I can do to make sure it happens is to come up with a plan and idea for what cake to make and draw it out, so that will be my first order of business.

Let me know your plans for the next year or decade. I’d love some motivation!

Vitamin ABCs

My vitamins goal needs to be explained. I not only have bottles of pills sitting around my house, but at least two full boxes of vitamins from Careof. While I love the concept of Careof, I didn’t factor in that I am terrible at taking anything daily. I’m not a great routine person to begin with and then the taste of most vitamins make me gag. So, my plan is to use up all the vitamins I have on hand and then create a plan I can actually adhere to, whether that means taking just one multivitamin or determining the vitamins I need the most. I think I have enough vitamins on hand to last about three months, so around March I’ll be doing an evaluation of how I feel and what I think I’m lacking in my diet. I’ve also added a little grassfed, local beef and chicken to my diet lately, so I may not have as many needs as usual (when I’m limiting my animal intake to fish, milk and eggs). I’m also adding a lot of fruits and veggies already, since on WW they are zero points, so I may not need to add anything like Vitamin C or A. And I think I get plenty of D from the sun. This morning for Breakfast #1 I had half a banana and raspberries and now I’m moving on to breakfast #2 of garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli—all chock full of vitamins and micronutrients! What’s been helping me use my vitamins are to put them in one of those weekly pill boxes distributing them out and then leaving that on the counter next to my toothbrush. I know whether I’ve taken them that day (my memory is not the best) and I brush my teeth twice a day, so I’ll have to ignore it twice daily to forget!