Trader Joe’s Buys Vol. IX

The calendar says fall but like much of the country, DC is firmly planted in the high 80s and 90s for a few more days so it’s been a little tough to fully start embracing my favorite time of year! Based on my past Trader Joe’s posts, it’s no secret that I’m always excited to try their seasonal items and this is already shaping up to be a great few months. Some of the below are fall-ey and some aren’t–I have a feeling there will be another TJ’s roundup sooner than normal since I have yet to get my hands on some of the other new arrivals that are sold out and see what lands in stores in the coming weeks!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I started a Trader Joe’s highlight on my Stories to document my finds! I’d typically been sharing them on a one-off basis but these are some of my most popular blog posts and I always tend to have some fun DM conversations on IG when I post about these items, so figured it would be nice to have a designated highlight. Check it out if you feel so inclined!

Please share any of your own favorites below! The best way to discover new TJ’s finds is word of mouth :)

Hot Cocoa O’s: I joke that these are one of the most controversial TJ’s seasonal items because I love them but so many people think they’re gross! I convinced Meg to buy them a couple of years ago and she still stands by how nasty she thought they were…so maybe don’t trust me, but I’d be remiss not to include them since they’ve become one of my favorite seasonal items! (Full disclosure: I did a poll on IG and over 60% of the people who tried this said they weren’t a fan…but I stand by.) Having them with some kind of milk is key–I usually do almond–and they’re definitely in the “dessert cereal” camp so I’ll have a small serving after dinner or as an afternoon snack.

Almond Dip: A staple in our house! J loves to aimlessly snack when he’s home so we try to keep some healthier options on hand, which includes this dip. It has a decent kick, but I don’t usually like spicy stuff and can still handle the amount of jalapeno here. We usually eat it with crackers or plantain chips.

Frozen Brown Rice (microwavable bags): This is probably one of the more boring things I’ve included in a grocery roundup but we’ve been keeping their frozen brown rice on hand for the past few months and it’s been a weeknight dinner game changer! We do have an Instant Pot but tend to reserve it for weekend use (in part because it’s stored inconveniently in our small kitchen, so taking it out is a bit of a process that requires moving a bunch of things around) so it’s nice being able to have a grain that’s literally ready in three minutes when we want to throw together a quick dinner. There’s an organic and non-organic version–we’ve tried both!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese: I included this in a roundup two years ago (and was tempted to repeat the pumpkin cinnamon rolls again, too!). I’m confident that it’s hands down one of the best things that TJ’s has ever produced! The serving size is generous so I’ll usually have J and I split it for lunch along with a couple smaller things, or it’s a nice heartier meal for one. You can’t really taste the squash but it still has a really good fall flavor…it’s tough to explain but trust me–this is 100% worth stocking up on if you can find it!

Cheddar Gruyere: I can’t believe this hasn’t made it into one of my roundups! I’d never seen a cheese like this before but count on TJ’s to perfectly combine these two favorites! We buy it with charcuterie and it’s probably one of our favorites to have on hand, plus a go-to when we’re entertaining.

Everything But The Bagel Yogurt Dip: This dip sold out immediately and we only got ahold of it because we happened to be at a well-stocked location north of downtown DC! TJ’s turned their legendary EBTB seasoning into a dip and it’s unsurprisingly really good! It probably won’t be your cup of tea if you don’t like yogurt-based dips since the Greek yogurt presence is quite heavy, but we’ve been enjoying it with sliced mini cucumbers and crackers. It’s a nice “healthier” alternative to some of the indulgent dips out there and I think it’d be great on sandwiches and with chips (tailgates or football Sundays!), too.

Organic Hot Cocoa Toaster Pastries: I bought these on a whim two or three years ago, I think, and have been picking them up every since. Toaster pastries have been a vice for me since I was a kid and the TJ’s hot cocoa ones are so good! I always eat one at a time (vs. the serving size of two) so think they’re a nice post-dinner treat. I always heat them up in the toaster oven–it 100% takes things to the next level!

Apple Cider Jam: I was really excited about the new Cinnamon Bun Spread but unfortunately our store was sold out! This jam was on the same shelf so I picked it up on a whim and was really impressed! If you like warm spiced apples, this will be your jam (no pun intended :))–I’ve honestly just eaten it straight from the jar so far, but it would be great on a variety of breads, waffles, pancakes, or even bagels.

Apple Cider Donuts: Apple cider-everything is something I first really discovered when I went to college in upstate New York and now it’s something I look forward to each fall. (I don’t think it wasn’t really much of a thing when I was growing up in Texas–at least for me!) While nothing can beat a fresh apple cider donut from the orchard or harvest fair, TJ’s gave it a good attempt and if you’re craving the flavor, these will probably tide you over! They’re definitely best served warm and don’t them get too stale…I made this mistake last year. TJ’s also makes a seasonal glazed chocolate donut this time of year and it’s also delicious if you’re into the cakey texture.

P.S. One thing that didn’t make it onto this list is their new Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix–we bought it on Sunday but ran out of salted butter, so will be making them this coming weekend! I have a feeling the cookies will be as delicious as they sound so you can probably expect to see this mix in an upcoming roundup.

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