Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

Trader Joe’s

Do you know Trader Joe’s? I’m sure my American readers have heard of it, but European readers probably haven’t. Trader Joe’s is a chain of grocery stores in the United States that sells a lot of gourmet foods, organic products, vegetarian foods, prepared foods and interesting snacks. Prices are kept low because the chain buys products and sells them under its own brand name. In addition to that, it’s  just a fun place. They often come out with new products so you never know what you’ll find when wandering through the aisles of brightly-colored packages.

Now I must confess that I haven’t actually set foot in a Trader Joe’s in years. J and I wanted to visit one during our last trip and ran out of time. (We almost went into one that we saw in Philadelphia, but we couldn’t find the door. True story). Luckily I have a wonderful friend who likes to keep us well-stocked with Trader Joe’s treats, so here are a few of their delicious products we’ve been able to try recently.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from these Lime & Chile Mixed Nuts. They’re a little scary– look at those chunks of dried chili peppers!

While they do have a kick, they’re nothing that two spice-lovers like J and I can’t handle. The nuts are perfectly toasted and the flavors (tart lime and hot chili) are potent, making this a unique and delicious snack. A little handful goes a long way.

And the dark chocolate-covered edamame? These might just be the perfect chocolate-covered snack. In case you didn’t know, edamame are soybeans, in this case dried and roasted (I think). The edamame are crispy and nutty, less dense than peanuts, and lightly salted under the chocolate coating. I think what really struck me was the quality of the chocolate layer— it’s pretty thick, not too sweet, and just delicious. And look, 7 grams of protein per serving!

One other product my friend gave us (but I don’t have a picture of) was the Chili-Spiced Mango— dried mango slices dusted in a chili spice powder. While dried mango is probably my favorite dried fruit, I wasn’t a fan of the sweet-spicy combination in this snack. However, J loved them and I can vouch for how quickly the bag disappeared!

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This could be a problem

Like most men, J has a pretty hearty appetite. If there’s a food he likes around, he is likely to eat quite a bit of it.  J also works from home, so he grazes the food we have there all day. If there are leftovers in the fridge when I leave for work in the morning, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be seeing them when I get home later. Usually this is fine, as I’m used to it. I’m not territorial over the food in the kitchen… with perhaps one exception.

It all started with the toasted, salted nut kick we’ve been on recently. I  toasted some almonds to chop up and use on salads, yogurt, etc. J discovered that toasted nuts taste a hundred times better than their raw counterparts and said “You know what would make these even better? Salt!” I’d never thought of making my own salted nuts before, but as it turns out, it’s super easy. First I made a batch of salted mixed nuts, then later just salted peanuts, which J loved. That’s how I think I may have gotten myself into trouble.

See, I love peanut butter and eat it every day, but it’s always been just “my thing”, my little American quirk. I have my peanut butter jar(s) and J doesn’t touch them. I go through them at my own pace and, when there’s a spoonful or two left in a jar, I use it as a delicious receptacle for my morning oatmeal.

However, much to my dismay, J came to realize that toasted peanuts are amazing and that peanut butter is just like delicious roasted peanuts, except in wondrously creamy form. As I watched in horror, he pulled my jar of White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter from the shelf, helped himself to a spoonful, and said, “Man, that’s actually really good.” Noooo — what have I done??

I suppose I should be pleased that he realizes that peanut butter is not just some weird American obsession, but a genuinely delicious and versatile food product (because who doesn’t like to say “I told you so”?). On the other hand, I’m afraid I’ll be kissing my (dear, precious, expensive—a jar of creamy Skippy is 3.50 EUR at Stockmann!) peanut butter stash good-bye once we have two avid peanut butter eaters in the house. Sigh. If you come to visit us, bring some peanut butter, won’t you?

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