Trader Joe's

Sunny Sunny Spring

It’s GORGEOUS in Portland! For the last week or so it’s been sunny and warm and yesterday it was 80 degrees. Thank goddess! I am so over icky gray rain.

Over the weekend we worked in the garden a bunch. It was nice just being out in the sunshine. Every day after work we’ve eaten dinner on the deck. Logan immediately wants to go outside and play when we get home from daycare. It’s just so nice! I want to soak it up. The downside? My allergies are TERRIBLE!

Wednesday I went for a nice run in the sun during my lunch break. I’ve been running the waterfront loop downtown about once or twice a week depending on the weather. Pre-run I had my apple and string cheese for a snack, slathered on the sunscreen and headed outside.

It was perfect outside and not crowded yet!

This time I went across the Steel Bridge first then ran down to the Hawthorne Bridge. I like to switch it up periodically so it doesn’t get boring. I’m thinking that if I get a little faster I might be able to extend it to the new pedestrian bridge and make my run a little longer but I’m not there yet.

The waterfront wasn’t busy when I went out, which was nice. Unfortunately, I had to take a lot of walking breaks. I have no idea why. My legs just felt like lead. The first mile was great. I felt good, had energy, but then I started to slow down.

After my run I walked the last block to cool off then went to the gym in my building to stretch and foam roll.

Lunch was shredded Thai chicken I made in the pressure cooker with kimchi. My afternoon snack was plain Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, walnuts and some low sugar granola. I’ve been REALLY really hungry lately and the normal stuff hasn’t been satisfying my hunger, so I added the walnuts and granola in hopes that it would tide me over better.

Dinner was Trader Joe’s carrot “noodles” with spaghetti sauce, meatballs, fresh parmesan and garlic bread. I like the carrot noodles better than the zucchini noodles. I felt like the zucchini ones cooked down to nothing. But the carrots kind of hold their shape and are a little al dente. They feel more like you’re eating pasta.

Very delicious, satisfying and filling dinner. We watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain (Southern Italy) and then crashed in bed early. On days I run the waterfront I am CRUSHED by bedtime! I was hoping to get in an epsom salt bath but I had no time. Oh well. Next week!

QUESTION: What is your favorite way (besides salads) to get more veggies into your meals?

Grocery Bag

I go to Trader Joe’s once a month. Generally I skip a lot of the produce there because it’s really expensive and nothing special. I just don’t see the worth in it. I can get similar organic produce at my Fred Meyer. And during the summer I usually buy my produce at a local farm stand by the house.

But Trader Joe’s is the perfect spot for specialty items.

I generally buy most of my cheese at TJ’s. You can try tons of different kind of fun flavored cheeses and it’s not that expensive! Definitely my favorite go-to cheese spot. And if I’m craving Indian food, I love the TJ options.

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Some of my favorite TJ finds that I get every time: 

  • The Vegetable Masala Burger (these veggie burgers are DELICIOUS!! and only 140 calories)
  • Kefir
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (great for on top of steaks or in salads)
  • TJ smoked Gouda slices (great for snacks and only 100 calories)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cubed butternut squash (because I’m lazy)

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  • The fingerling potatoes are super cheap at TJ’s and delicious with breakfast
  • A big bag of kale
  • Chocolate
  • TJ pizza dough (I buy a bag every time I go and throw it in the freezer for the next time we want homemade pizza)

New to me this trip:

  • Riced Cauliflower – after hearing about this for like a year I finally decided to buy a bag and see what all the fuss is about
  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Cinnamon instant oatmeal
  • Tri-colored carrots (I know they’re just regular carrots, I got taken in by the purple ones–what can I say?)

So after my grocery visit I whipped up lunch while Logan took a nap. Roasted butternut squash, sliced apple and a slice of Smoked Gouda cheese. It hit the spot on the gray, rainy day.

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Portland was hit with some stormy weather this weekend. I was glad I went out in the morning to get my grocery shopping finished before the wind and rain got really bad. (The so-called storm of the century never really hit, by the way.)

I was craving some comfort food. After a week of being sick and the rainy Fall weather, all I wanted was some soup and biscuits. I made the buttermilk biscuits from Trader Joe’s and then this soup:

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The mixture made a ton of food! But that was good for lunches for the week. And I froze a ridiculous amount. Seriously, make this if you have to feed 10 people!

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Yes, I did use the “good” wine in this recipe! The only change I made to the recipe was using spicy sausage instead of mild. Because we always like spicy more than “mild”!

Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits:

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Damn, these biscuits are to die for.

I ended up leaving out the zucchini at Michael’s request. After eating the soup I agreed that the zucchini would be a weird addition, even though it called for it.

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I don’t know that I’m a good critic of this soup because I’ve been sick with a head cold turned sinus infection turned bronchitis…I asked Michael what he thought of the soup because it tasted “bland” to me…and he was like “um it tastes like fire”…so yeah. 😉 Not a good gauge. But I will say that it felt very hearty and filling and healthy. And the biscuits were the perfect addition!

What are your favorite must-have Trader Joe’s items?