Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trader Joe's Products

Hello everyone! I have something special for this post ... Well, actually WE do! Fiona came up with a great idea to review some products from Trader Joe's! ... Now, personally, I have only been to TJ's a couple of times and hadn't even gotten a chance to pick up too many things during those visits, but it's such a great store with a wide variety of products ranging from fresh fruits/vegetables to frozen products! Some of our favorite products are Trader Joe's Brand items, so we thought we'd do reviews about those.

The following products were purchased by Fiona and the everything was written and photographed by her:

Trader Ming’s Chicken Shu Mai

Trader Joe’s carries a variety of their own international creations, including a line of Asian inspired quick eats known as “Trader Ming’s.” One of my favorite Chinese morsels is their chicken shu mai, which is a type of dim sum. Dim sum refers to a style of bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates, and is often times brought to your table on carts pushed by servers. These dumpling wrapped delights are stuffed with a variety of meats and vegetables, and can be eaten as a quick snack, appetizer, or a side dish with rice for dinner. These are found in the freezer section. After 2 minutes in the microwave, they are ready to eat, but I prefer the traditional method of steaming them for 7 minutes. Chicken, green onions, carrots, ginger and garlic infused into a meatball texture… mmmm! A soy sauce packet is included, but they are simply delicious on their own. A serving size is 6 pieces and only 160 calories. Hungry yet?

Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Butter

Love peanut butter? A tasty alternative to try is Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter. Made from specially selected roasted sunflower seeds, its creamy goodness can be spread on all your favorite baked goods, pancakes, apples, celery or wherever you would traditionally use peanut butter. While it contains about the same number of calories and fat as regular peanut butter (2 tablespoons = 200 calories, 16 g of fat), it’s a great alternative for those who are allergic to nuts! The possibilities are endless. For a special treat or snack, I like to make a sunflower butter and nutella sandwich. If you prefer the texture of crunchy peanut butter, you can customize by adding whole or chopped sunflower seeds to the sunflower butter to your liking. Fun fact: when using sunflower butter to bake cookies, the cookies turn green as they cool down due to a chemical reaction with baking soda… perfect for St. Patrick’s day! A great recipe for these cookies can be found here:

I know Fiona is a big fan of this store and had quite a few recommendations for me to try out, and here are the products that I purchased for the review:

Trader Joe's Raspberry and Vanilla Cream Bars

Can I just start by saying: YUM! Okay then --- YUM!! ... As seen in the picture, Trader Joe's Raspberry & Vanilla Cream Bars boxes come with 8 bars that are individually wrapped and are what I consider a perfect personal-sized portions (or fairly small, depending on your love for ice-cream) with a calorie count of 80 per bar! They are split in half and provide for a sour/fruity flavor from the raspberry portion and a sweet flavor from the vanilla cream! I actually really liked these anddddd I may or may not have already had three by myself since I bought the box over the weekend! =/ Needless to say, I'd definitely definitely recommend this product! The only other flavor that I saw at the TJ's I went to was a coffee and vanilla ... one that I may have to pick up the next time I'm there!

Trader Joe's Vegetable Panang Curry

The first time I had Panang curry was at a Malaysian restaurant that I went to with my aunt in California and have been searching and searching for a bring-home product ever since. Well, I am SO SO glad that I finally have found one! Trader Joe's Panang curry with rice is quite delicious! If you've ever had Panang curry you know the general taste- it's a spicy peanut-y coconut-y curry! Traditionally, it is usually slightly less spicy than most other Thai curries and is made from dried chili peppers, lemongrass, coriander root and seeds, garlic, salt, peanuts, and cumin seeds, and has a base of coconut milk. I, personally, am not a huge coconut person, but hands down, this product is one you must try even if you do not like coconut! ... The cooking instructions for this item are very easy too - you just remove the tray from the outside package, make slits in the portion with the curry and in the portion with the rice, and heat for 4-5 minutes on high. Spoon curry over the rice and enjoy! ... If I had to state a "complaint", I'd say that this product needs some chicken or another protein in it, and that it was perhaps lacking a balance between vegetables and curry. Too much curry, not enough vegetables. Even so, I'd give it all the stars for flavor and will be going back to get some extras of this to have in my freezer!

So tell me, was that inciting enough for you? Would you like to try out some products from Trader Joe's? Well here's your chance! Fiona is generously donating TWO $5 gift cards to this store and you could be one of the lucky winners!! Here's how to enter:

E-MAIL ME at with your name and response to this question: What is your favorite product at Trader Joe's? ... If you haven't ever been, you can say that you haven't been there yet, and maybe pick one of the items that we featured as something you'd like to try!

This giveaway will run from now, when this blog post is published till Thursday, March 22nd at 11:59pm. I will then use to draw two winners and post them on my Facebook page by Friday, March 23rd at 11:00am PST! You must be a fan of my Facebook page to enter! Good luck!

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