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What to Buy at Trader Joes

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what to buy at trader joesAre you overwhelmed with the thought of what to buy at Trader Joe’s?  A little back story, us North Texans are just now getting Trader Joe grocery stores in our area. Currently, there are 5 open locations in Texas (Plano, Ft. Worth, San Antonio and 2 in Houston), with plans to open several more in the near future.  All that said, Trader Joe’s is totally new to us Texas folk and it’s kind of a big deal. Kind of like when we got H&M and In and Out.

Over the last several months, our family has become huge fans of this grocery store. We’ve bought into the cult. The first time we were at the Texas location, the lady in front of me was telling the cashier over and over how she now can survive in Texas now that they were here. She was from California originally and had missed this piece of home.

What is Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is small grocery store known for their good prices and fresh quality food.

When I say small, it is comparable in size to a Sprouts grocery store or an ALDI.  With that said, there are HUGE Trader Joe’s fans and on the weekends, this wee little store is PACKED.

While you will find name brands in the store, the majority of their groceries are Trader Joe’s private label. Don’t let that fool you! Their food is amazing. TJ somehow knows how to make frozen silver dollar pancakes taste delicious!

What spurred the idea for this post is I have heard a few friends say they don’t get why everyone raves about Trader Joes and that they have no idea what to buy when they do go. I had been to TJ’s before in Nashville and given a guided to tour on what to buy from a friend who shopped their regularly.  I learned quickly that here in Texas, there are SO many people shopping – it so hard to look thru all the choices and decide what to purchase.  Hence, this post.

Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s

We are constantly finding new products at Trader Joe’s that the family enjoys.  Here is a round up from a recent trip on what we purchased.  Hopefully this round-up will give you a start to your grocery shopping list and help you know the best things to buy at Trader’s Joes.

2 buck chuck2 Buck Chuck – Charles Shaw Wine

Trader Joe’s infamous 2 Buck Chuck wine, Charles Shaw.  This cheap wine, only $2.99 isn’t terrible. Don’t expect ultimate greatness, but for the price it works!

Curry Simmer Sauce

The curry simmer sauce is absolutely amazing. The best part? All 6 people in our family will eat it. The second best part? This is so easy to make. I crock pot chicken in advance for 3 meals a week. Just throw cooked chicken in with diced onions into this curry simmer sauce, let simmer for 20 minutes – eat over short-grain brown rice and you have one heck of a meal!

Tikki Marsala Sauce

While you are in the simmer sauce section at Trader Joe’s, pick up a Marsala sauce as well.  We cook the same way we do the curry.  2 jars of the marsala sauce will feed our family of 6 and leave me and my husband lunch the next day.

trader joes flowersFlowers!

Looking for a cheap flower bouquets? Trader Joe’s doesn’t disappoint.  Each time I am there, I pick myself up a $3.99 bouquet. The flowers last at least a week, are always fresh and they offer a great selection that changes often.

Garlic Rice Noodle Bowl

The garlic rice noodle bowls are a staple for quick lunches in this house.  99 cents each – think gourmet Ramen!


Kimichi is something I never thought I would like.  After eating this stuff on a corn street taco from a food truck, I was in love.  Not only is kimichi cheap at Trader Joe’s – it also has a long shelf life.

Organic Fruit

The organic fruit at Trader Joes is extremely affordable and always fresh.

guacamole kit at trader joesGuacamole Kit

Everything you need for guacamole, in a cute little $3.49 kit.


We are big on green monster shakes with kale here, even the toddlers will drink it! In addition to shakes, we love Kale chips and with the kale bagged, they are so easy to make.

Whole Wheat Lavish Bread

The whole wheat lavish bread is great for making hot sandwiches.  This is a flat bread, so just add your ingredients, roll and bake. This bread can also be used to make pizzas!

Wine Country Chicken Saladwine country chicken salad

I am super picky about my chicken salad. Not only how it tastes, but I am always freaked out about freshness.  The wine country chicken salad never disappoints. With chicken, dried berries and walnuts – this makes another meal that everyone will eat.  One container will make approximately 6 sandwiches.

Banana Chips

The 99 cent Trader Joe Banana chips are favorites of the babies. These are one of my go-to toddler staples. They are super easy to store in a ziploc bag and keep in our diaper bag for a snack on the go.

Butter Lettuce

Butter Lettuce – Only $1.99!

A few other faves:

  • Quick Steel Cut Oatmeal (Cooks in 8 minutes!)
  • Chocolate Mochi (Japanese ice cream treat)
  • Rice Pudding (Must not buy each time, but it’s yum)
  • Cookie Butter (My husband is a fan, says it tastes like gingerbread cookie in a jar)
  • Almond Vanilla Granola Bars (Another fave of the toddlers)
  • Rosemary Ham (Perfect for ham and cheese sandwiches)
  • Bananas (Only 19 cents each at TJ’s! With 4 kids, we have to buy at least 4 bunches a week)
  • Frozen Silver Dollar Pancakes (Quick and easy, not necessarily nutritious)
  • Vanilla Whey Protein (We add to our smoothies)

So there you have it. A list of  Trader Joe’s products to buy next time you go grocery shopping.   We live 3o minutes from TJ’s, but with the prices and the great food – we make the trip about twice a month.

Another thing I love, is they use brown bags and have the friendliest workers.  I will say, that it maybe the location we go to – but it’s packed on the weekends with people who are not out to be courteous. Texans are usually super friendly, but anytime I go to TJ’s on a weekend, it’s like Supermarket Sweep with people rushing to get their groceries and get checked out. But again, since there are only a few locations – that totally could be the reason.  That is my only Trader Joes complaint and it isn’t even TJ’s fault.

Are you a Trader Joe’s fan? If so, what are your favorites?

What Are Your Favorite Trader Joe Products?

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Monday 9th of February 2015

Where do I even begin?? I live in NJ and discovered Trader Joe's many years ago. I even worked at my local store for a year and it was the best year ever. There is SO much goodness, so much to try. Every single aisle has amazing treats you just can't find anywhere else that don't have chemicals or artificial colors/flavors. A lot of those Trader Joe's "private labeled" foods are other good brands in disguise. I have no doubt the vegan mozzarella cheese shreds are actually Diaya foods and they are much cheaper than at all the other stores and so delicious. If you eat dairy free, they have a lot of great foods to choose from. My cat will only eat Trader Joe's Tuna for cats. He comes galloping like a horse when I crack a can open. lol I could drop a boat load of money in that aisle. OhMyGod... the ice creams and desserts are decadent. If you're watching your weight, the mini ice cream cones are bite sized and perfect. :) My son is a picky eater and I found that all the appetizer sized finger foods were perfect to get him interested in eating. Now he eats the shrimp nuggets (so good!), mini tacos, bite sized chicken pot pie, chicken parm lollipops and so much more. The Mahi Mahi burgers are amazing as are the chili lime burgers and the crab rangoon appetizers. Try something new each time you shop. If you don't like it, you just have to bring it back and they will give your money back. I'm not kidding. They also introduce a lot of seasonal things. There is always something new. Oh, and the refrigerated aisle... don't pass by the salsa or guiltless guacamole, the fresh ravioli, assorted dips, salads, and wraps. The place is amazing.


Thursday 18th of September 2014

Really hoping your Traders has crunchy cookie butter?! That's a staple when shopping there. Also, the TJ's Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon!! The. Best. :)


Friday 14th of March 2014

If you like tomato soup, you have to try TJ's tomato soup. It comes in a paper box and you don't need to add water or anything. Just pour, heat, and enjoy. By far the best tomato soup I've ever had. And it's like $3!