trader joe’s

As the holidays approach (or pass me by? Thanksgiving at a race track? What?) I find that I am getting behind in everything. Social engagements are starting to pop up, work is getting more intense and I’m sort of struggling to figure out how everything is going to get done. Last week I desperately needed to get my apartment cleaned and some cooking done….but it never happened.

This wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that not cooking meant I’ve had nothing to bring to work for lunch/dinner for the last couple of days. Since I dislike most of my food options near my job, it’s kind of an issue. Luckily, there is a Trader Joe’s a couple of blocks away and I’ve been able to rely on their ability to always have ready made salads available for us lazy/overworked/procrastinator types.

It’s no secret how much I love Trader Joe’s….their food is on my blog all of the time. Not to worry…I’m not being compensated in any way and I buy everything with my own money. I just really like their products! I was excited to find some new salads in stock on Sunday when I ran in to pick up dinner for both my Sunday and Monday shifts.

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Today I learned that when I photoshop pictures, I shouldn’t auto color. These pics looked great in Photoshop on another computer, but on my laptop, they’re horrible….

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On Sunday I had the Lemon Chicken Salad and it by far surpassed my expectations. The dressing was flavorful, the vegetables crisp and the chicken salad itself was actually very good.

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On Monday I had the Brussels Sprout Salad. Brussels sprouts and I have a new found love affair. After years of hating them I’ve reevaluated and decided that they may actually be one of my favorite vegetables. I mean, I have only been blogging for 3 months and they’ve already come up several times. I was a little apprehensive about having them cold, but I decided to have faith. The first couple of bites were a little strange, but I kept eating and it really grew on me. I had never eaten brussels sprouts chopped up like that…I always just half them. I liked it! The dried cranberries were really good in this salad too. That sweet really made the dish.

I really love these new salads that have come out over the last few months. The one thing I don’t like about them is that now they’re calling each container 2 servings. When I first started shopping there, their salads were low calorie and they were marked as only one serving. Now it seems that the same sized salad is for two. Some of the salads are not all that large either….no one is going to eat the brussels sprouts salad as two meals.

Well, at least I’m not!

In addition to the salads on both nights I had a container of greek honey yogurt…

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…and…

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…the sparkling water I nearly shoplifted!

It was an accident! You see, I didn’t grab a basket when I went into the market, so I tucked the bottle under my arm while I was shopping. I wandered around, gathered all of my items, went up to the register and put everything down to be paid for…except for the water. I pulled out my wallet, paid for everything and just as the cashier finished bagging up my groceries I realized the bottle of water was STILL UNDER MY ARM! I put it down on the counter and said, “Oh my god! I just shoplifted!” The cashier laughed, told me she hadn’t even noticed. I sheepishly handed her the buck and some change I owed and headed on to work.

Awkward!

What’s your favorite kind of salad?

If you’re sick of Pumpkin, I suggest that you look away.

For the rest of you, however, I am about to show you something that I found completely amazing:

That’s right, my friends. Yesterday I went to TJ’s to pick up a few items on my way home from work and at the tasting table I found them sampling PUMPKIN cream cheese. I couldn’t believe it! Ok, yes I could. With all of the pumpkin related items out there, it shouldn’t be a surprise that someone made cream cheese. I had just never even thought of the possibility before, so I had to try it.

They offered the sample on a hunk of multi-grain roll and it tasted pretty good. I of course grabbed a container and threw it in my basket immediately, as I am a person that cannot walk away from a pumpkin flavored item.

This morning I tried it out on a TJ’s everything bagel. I was a little nervous, afraid that the good taste had been psychological vs. actual, but it was still pretty good. I’m not a huge fan of flavored cream cheese, as I think they tend to run a little too sweet. This spread, however isn’t all that sweet and has a hint of spice.

After my TJ’s stop last night I had to go home and figure out what to do about dinner. I’ve had this really busy week that involved a lot more eating out than I would have preferred, so my vegetable consumption has been much lower than I would like. I will have more CSA food coming in this week, so I really wanted to start working through what’s left in my fridge.

Without any real idea of what I was going to make, I went into my kitchen and just started cooking upon instinct, an act that can either produce greatness or just mediocrity. I wound up with this:

I started by cooking up one package of ground turkey. After it was just about cooked I proceeded to add leftover chopped red onion (There was probably about .5 a large onion), a tablespoon of minced garlic and a dash of ground ginger. I let the onions cook up a bit and then I dumped in all of the left over steamed broccoli I had from making the whole wheat penne dish earlier in the week. Then went in a couple of capfuls of low sodium soy sauce, a tablespoon of rice vinegar and a random can of water chestnuts that I found in the back of a cabinet. Finally, I threw in a couple of tablespoons of Hoisin sauce.

I took a taste.

Pretty good!

It got served over a bed of raw shredded cabbage and I sliced up a small cucumber to go with it. I feel bad that my plating wasn’t a little better, but I was watching the Giants v. Phillies game as well as Maya’s real time progress in completing the Katsunuma 10k, so I was a bit distracted!

What was on your menu this weekend?

So around noon I decided I would write a lunch time post, showing you the other new (to me) salad I tried yesterday.

Then disaster struck: I couldn’t find my camera.

Thankfully, when the night manager came in, he had my camera. It had been sitting here all along. After I had taken some shots yesterday afternoon, I guess I left it on the table. One of the employees found it. I was both relieved and kind of feeling awkward about it. On one hand, hallelujah, my camera isn’t lost! On the other hand, ick. Did the employee look through my photos? I mean, admittedly, most of them are of shoes, food and plastic turtles, but still.

I’m one of those people who is really focused on privacy. I always hate when other people do my laundry. I never like other people cleaning my house. I don’t like it when people go through my purse. It’s not so much that anything I have needs to be kept secret, or anything, it’s just the principle.

I’m weird.

Anyway, yesterday I had another Trader Joe’s salad. This one, to be specific:

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Sorry, it got a little fogged up in the fridge…

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And I forgot to take the plastic off.

I fail. Sorry.

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The salad, didn’t, however. It was quite tasty.

Then later I got hungry, so I had a GloBar:

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I liked this flavor quite a bit.

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The dried fruit was pretty darned tasty.

 

Well, now that I have my camera back, I can stop panicking about how I’m going to be able to afford a new camera. I can’t decide whether this makes me happy or sad.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

While I wish it weren’t so, sometimes I don’t have time to pack lunch.

Okay, okay.

That’s a lie.

Sometimes I am too LAZY to pack lunch.

There. I said it.

I want to be honest with all of you.

Anyway, when I get too lazy for lunch I often run into a serious problem. Almost everything down near my office is bad for you. It’s what you would expect of a touristy area, of course. McDonald’s. Burger King. Bubba Gump. Joe’s Crab Shack. Rainforest Cafe. Etc. There is a Subway, but, jeez, how many Subway sandwiches can a person eat? I like them, and I do eat there sometimes, but it gets old.

Luckily, there is another option for me. Trader Joe’s. Sometimes I buy real groceries, like potatoes…then I microwave one and top it with pico de gallo, greek yogurt and part skim Mexican blend cheese. Sometimes I buy edamame and yogurt. I used to buy a lot of their pre-made salads too. Having eaten all of the “healthy-ish” ones a zillion times, I haven’t gone that route in a while. On Monday of this week, however, I took a spin through that part of the store. It was crazy. There were salads I had never seen before! So for Monday’s dinner (I worked the closing shift), I settled on this one:

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Wheatberry? Really? Hmm…

I’ll be honest, although I’ve read about wheatberries on KERF and other food blogs, I had never had one in my life. I stood there in the aisle debating whether or not I could hang with it, but in the end decided that I was going to be daring and try something new. It’s my motto these days. I never used to try anything new. I want to change that. So I grabbed this salad and another one, which I may talk about tomorrow, and brought them up to the counter.

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Looks pretty good, huh?

Well, it was! Loved it! I ❤ you, wheatberries!

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I ❤ you too, Hansen’s!

On a semi-related note, how many of you have a refrigerator at work for you to leave your food in? We have a full sized one here. The only problem I have with it is the fact that my co-workers have no respect. I left a sealed Trader Joe’s Orange Flavored Sparkling Water in the fridge on Monday. I was planning on having it today….and it’s open! Someone drank out of it! Since I don’t want to drink after a complete stranger, I’ve been forced to abandon it. While it’s true that I didn’t put my name on it, there are only 10 people working here. You’d think they’d know they didn’t buy the water, right? Oh well.

Have you ever experienced office based food theft? Did it give you the lunch time blues?