snack attack haul: trader joe’s

Confessions of a Snack Fiend:

Look, I’ll throw my hands up and admit it:  I am a serial snacker.

I am an individual of creature comforts and when the cravings hit – well, I’m powerless to resist. (I know, I know. I’m working on it.)

But here’s my feeling folks… if you’re gonna be bad, you gotta be good. Do it right.

I like my snacks to be delicious and nutritious. I like my snacks to be indulgent and nourishing. Basically, I want it all. And with so many different options out there, why shouldn’t I//you//we all aspire to snack so sinfully and yet guilt-free?

Of course, all good things in moderation. But sometimes, you just have to give a little or else risk loss of all self-control in the form of a major binge-day. You know what I’m talking about.

So, as Trader Joe’s are cropping up left and right in my neck of the woods, it seemed only appropriate that I should pop in to check out their snack selection. I should mention – this is not my first time to venture into a Trader Joe’s, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. In college, TJ’s was my go-to for frozen selections. I love the quality for value that this store has to offer, especially for a broke college student.

Well, as life does, my situation had changed since my last visit to TJ’s. No longer a broke college student, instead a penny-pinching post-grad with a penchant for flavorful foods that will fuel my body. So how did this experience differ from previous shopping experiences at Trader Joe’s?

Welp. In short, I was that stingy woman. The one that reaches for a product, carefully reads the ingredients, mindfully places in basket, only to remove said product and replace as neatly as possible on shelf after glancing at the price tag. Move slowly down aisle: repeat, repeat, repeat. Oh yeah, that was me.

But I am pleased to say it was not all for not. I left feeling verily satisfied with my selection & dat price-point. Now let’s get to the good stuff!

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The Good Stuff:

  1. Roasted Plantain Chips // $1.69 // Plantains, Sunflower Oil, Salt
  2. Coconut Water with Aloe Vera Juice // $2.99 // Coconut Water (from concentrate), Aloe Vera Juice (aloe vera inner leaf powder, aloe vera juice with pulp)
  3. Sweet Potato Bisque // $2.99 // Water, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, Honey, Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar (natural milled cane sugar), Sea Salt, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil &/Or Safflower Oil &/Or Sunflower Oil
  4. Organic Ginger Pear White Tea // $2.99 // Organic White Tea, Organic Chamomile, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Lemon Peels, Natural Flavors
  5. Rosemary and Thyme, Maple Toffee Sunflower Seeds // $0.99 // Sunflower Seeds, Sugar, Maple Syrup, Salted Butter (pasteurized sweet cream {{milk}}, salt) Rosemary, Salt, Thyme
  6. Fruit Bar with Flax & Chia Seed // $0.99 // Apple Puree Concentrate, Apple & Pear & Elderberry & Strawberry & Lemon Juice Concentrates, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Citrus Pectin, Natural Flavor, Apple Fiber

  7. Eggplant Hummus // $2.29 // Chickpeas, Eggplant, Sesame Tahini, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Water, Sea Salt, Pomegranate Juice
  8. Organic Gingermints // $1.99 // Organic Cane Sugar, Water, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Ginger Oil, Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Ground Ginger Root, Agar, Gum Tragacanth
  9. Dark Chocolate Honey Mints // $3.99 // Honey, Chocolate Liquor, Oil of Peppermint
  10. Apple + Coconut Fruit Bar // $0.99 // Apples, CoconutsApple + Strawberry Fruit Bar // $0.99 // Apples, Strawberries

The Aftermath:

So there you have it, for just $22.89 + tax I was able to purchase 11 products – not bad! As you will notice, there are some products that are… err, a little “purer” than others. As I continue on my journey of health-full living, I certainly strive to eat simpler, no-nonsense foods. But for where I am at now, I think I did pretty well.

Now, then. What would I repurchase and what could I do without? 

My favorites would have to be the Eggplant Hummus for a salty snack and the Dark Chocolate Honey Mints for the occasional sweet treat. I love that these guys have antioxidant, vitamin-rich ingredients that I can actually pronounce. Simple and delicious. They’re easy picks. What else? The Coconut Juice with Aloe Vera goes great in my smoothies – as of late, I have experienced some abdominal discomfort in the evenings and the aloe vera helps to soothe my talkative tummy. The Sweet Potato Bisque is delicious with roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of coconut creamer as a between-meals pick-me-up. The ginger-based products help to crush cravings and aid digestion. And the Roasted Plantain Chips really do the trick when I’m thinking of reaching for a tortilla or potato chip.

My leave-its are a bit harder to pick out, as I really did enjoy each and every product that I tested. Perhaps most difficult to part with will be the Rosemary and Thyme Sunflower Seeds. It’s the maple toffee bit that concerns me with these guys – sugar + dairy is not a good combination for this girl. So much did I enjoy these little guys, that I’m working up my own little rosemary//thyme//maple trail mix recipe to take its place. May these delicious nuggets rest in peace.

As for the others… the jury is out. In moderation, I think that all of these little guys make for a tasty treat. Overall, I am pleased with my purchases. Let me know what you think! What are your go-to TJ’s snacks?

 

 

early bird mug cake

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Hello again, lovely people of the world! Now that we are all here, let me begin this little entry with a question.

Do you ever have those mornings where it is just slow going? You roll out of bed & no sooner you’re up and moving than you wish you were safely swathed in the downy comfort of a plush, over sized bed spread.

Oh my friend, I know the feeling. In fact, as I write this I am cocooned in my own little nest of blankets and pillows. This little moment of solitude is a much-welcome, much-needed little gift that I have given myself to just… let. it. go. Let it all go. The regrets of yesterday, the pressures of today, the uncertainties of tomorrow. Whatever it is, this is a moment to just feel safe.

We all deserve – we all owe it to ourselves, really – to set aside some time here and there in our hectic lives for some good ole self-lovin’. And what better time of day to take a moment to set the intention to be good to yoself – to be kind, to be mindful – than in the morning with a little treat. A little nutrient-packed, good-for-your-body, good-for-your-soul, delicious little treat!

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But let’s be realistic, you’ve got people to see, things to do – you’ve got to get out that door! So what better way to nourish your body than a quick and easy mug cake? This guy is so easy, breezy and beautiful – you can have your cake and eat it too, all before the rooster crows.

Now, I’m obviously a happy camper, but don’t just take my word for it – try it! The recipe requires only 8 non-dairy, non-gluten ingredients and cooks in a jiffy. See for yourself below.

Early Bird Mug Cake

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon Coconut Flour
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (peanut butter would work as well)
1 Tablespoon Non-Dairy Milk (I prefer vanilla cashew milk)
1 Teaspoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Ground Flaxseed
1 Teaspoon Chia Seeds
1 Teaspoon Toasted Walnuts
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Seeds

Simply combine all ingredients in a small mug, mix thoroughly & microwave on high for one minute.

That’s it! Couldn’t be easier. I tend to enjoy my mug cakes a little less moist and a bit more crumbly. If this is not to your liking, I suggest adding an additional dash of Cashew Milk. The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Feel free to add your own favorite nuts, fruits or spices to the mix, substitute maple syrup for honey, switch up your non-dairy milks… add a few nibs of dark chocolate.

I hope that you enjoy this mug cake as much as I do! I hope that it brings you some comfort and wholesome nourishment as you get ready to the face the day – or even as you wind down from a hectic day.

Whatever the case, this mug cake got your back.

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quinoa//turkey//salsa stuffed peppers

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Hello my foodie friends!

Well, it is officially the 23rd of January and as this first month of 2016 draws to a close, it’s high time that I wake from my food induced coma//emerge from my den of hibernation//& snap the hell out of holiday mode.

And you know what comes next. Oh yeah, it’s New Year’s resolution time.

And my list this year, it’s a big one. Starting this blog//traveling to Europe//living a more health-full life//the list goes on.

But more on this “living a health-full life”.

As we get to know each other, I’m certain that you will receive glimpses into my life (& I yours, I do hope!). For now, I will leave it short and sweet. I was living a lifestyle that just wasn’t working for me anymore. Have any of you ever done that, stubbornly persisted in some old habit//tradition//way of being, even though it isn’t working anymore.

Well, that was me – all of 2015. With graduation upon me and the reality of adulthood finally dawning on me, I stubbornly held onto the things that I knew and trusted. This included old, “healthy” habits, diet and exercise. What has dawned on me since is this: what fuels me is different than what fuels you. Likewise, what fueled my body//mind//soul, perhaps as little as 1 year ago, may be very different than what fuels those things now.

We truly are complex and beautiful little machines. Now then, it’s time for a tune-up. This year, I commit to a diet full of good-for-you fats, low GI carbs, lean protein and…

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Veggies!

Bold and colorful or simple and understated//sweet and crunchy or succulent and savory… there are just so many delicious ways to enjoy a nice, fresh, leafy vegetable.

So I though to myself, why not make it the main event?

Enter: roasted red & green bell peppers.

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If you would like to learn how I made these delicious and nutritious bad boys – stuffed with quinoa//black beans//corn//salsa//&turkey – and the dreamy Cilantro dressing below simply hop on over to The Minimalist Baker for the recipe! There you will find oh-so-many delicious and nutritious recipes, all created with fewer than 10 ingredients//in one bowl//or under 30 minutes. Did I mention the woman behind this lovely site is vegan? So if you’re looking for vegetable-centric meals, this is the place.

Which reminds me, I did make one obvious edit to the original. Before lovingly stuffing my peppers with the filling supplied by The Minimalist Baker, I sauteed 1 lb of ground turkey and tossed it into the mix. For those of you carnivores out there, I found this to be a delicious addition.

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Now, if you really want to impress your friends and family, there couldn’t be a simpler solution. Top it all off with a puree of avocado//cilantro//lime… ohh, it’s real good. Honestly, no words. Make it yourself, taste it, report back.

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And we are off! To a delicious start to the New Year.

And to all the delicious recipes to come.

Cheers!