Friday, January 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Favorite Things

I thought it'd be fun to do some 'favorite things' quick takes sometimes. Each with their own theme, of course! This week it will be some of my favorite Trader Joe's items. We all know I'm head over heels for Trader Joe's, and if you have one near you, you should check out some of these products! They do have a few non Trader Joe brands, but all the things I love (or my top 7) all happen to be actual TJ brand. (In no particular order...)

--- 1 ---

Trader Joe's Organic Hummus: They have a few yummy looking options, but I like this one because of it's price (I believe $1.99), taste, and I do like that it's organic. I like it's flavor and usually I don't prefer "plain" hummus so you know it's good. It does have kind of a strong garlic smell though. We don't mind it, but one day I took it to work and my boss sprayed the office with Lysol after lunch. Oops. This is a bittersweet product for me, because we are going to quit buying it and start making our own, which will be even healthier and cheaper, and will use minimal packaging.

--- 2 ---

Trader Joe's Organic Pink Lady Apples: We generally love and support our farmer's market, but there are some weeks where we just don't have the time (or it's pouring rain) so we just pick up our apples from the store. Not only are these super economical ($2.49 for a bag of about 8), but they are sooo good if you like sort of tart apples (I do!).

--- 3 ---

Trader Joe's shredded cheese: This is technically more than one product since we have tried two kinds and loved both. We've tried the 3 cheese blend and mozzarella. They are both SO delicious and I didn't realize what a difference there could be from regular grocery store shredded cheese until I had this. They both melt really well. I used the mozz on my next favorite item this past weekend for my dad's early birthday celebration.

--- 4 ---

Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: YUM YUM YUM!!!!! I saw it last week and it is, get this, $1.08. I am going to put it to the frugal test sometime soon by making my own, but you almost can't beat $1.08! I bought a $4 bag of mozz and used half, and used half a jar of pizza sauce (probably $2 or so for the jar). If you are counting, that makes about a $4 pizza. Yes, you can get one cheaper at a regular grocery store, but it won't taste nearly as delicious or be fresh. I served 3 people but should probably actually serve 4 which would drive down the cost per serving. The dough comes in a ball so all you have to do is roll it out and put it in the pan with your toppings. It makes for a really delicious and fun, not to mention quick, treat dinner!

--- 5 ---

Trader Joe's Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk: So I'm not supposed to drink cow's milk OR soy milk with PCOS. This left me scratching my head, staring at a bunch of scary fake milks. I tried a few things here or there but wasn't really happy with any of them. Then I went totally off cereal for a while, but it's something I do like to have once or twice a week, so the search was on again. Then I found this product. YUM. It's really affordable compared to other non-milks, and has a nice flavor and texture to it. I do wish it had a bit more protein since it's made from nuts, but it's a winner by a long shot.

--- 6 ---

Trader Joe's Face Wash with Tea Trea Oil: As you may or may not know, acne around the jaw line and chin is a hallmark issue with PCOS. This week, knock on wood, my face has looked normal (normal for me being the many years on the pill with flawless skin). But from November when I went off the pill until about a week ago, you could have played connect the dot around my face. Not comforting to a soon-to-be bride! I switched from my Olay face wash to this and, once I got past the strong smell, I am in love. My skin looks better and I've noticed I'm less oily. Credit is probably owed partially elsewhere, because PCOS acne can't be treated topically, but I do notice a difference for the worse in my skin when I go back to my Olay, which I was doing so as not to waste what I have left, but since stopped since I can tell my skin is a bit less pretty when I use it. (Speaking of personal care products, I can't wait to try their natural shampoo and conditioner which are super affordable! But first I have to use up my giant Suave naturals which should not be allowed to have the word natural on it.)

--- 7 ---
Trader Joe's all natural free range thin cut chicken breasts: So I'm pretty sure that's not what these are actually called, but close enough. I love their fresh chicken because it's all natural, so no added hormones or antibiotics, and free range, which makes me happy for the chickens (though I know sometimes that term can be used and the area is crazy small so it's not much better than cages). I also like them because they are cut thin so you get way more servings for the same amount of money which appeals to my frugal side, and meat isn't the main part of the meal (or is equal to the other things you are eating in that meal) which I like since we try to limit our meat consumption.

Do you have any favorite items that are a must try? 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. I love making my own hummas. It is really fun to experiment with different flavors. Enjoy!

  2. Ah, PCOS - it's lovely isn't it? For me, even BC didn't help my awesome chin acne. Since I went off, I have a prescription for generic retin-A, which really, really helps. I'm also a big fan of Aveeno calming wash & lotion (SPF 30 for the AZ sun). That and metformin keeps me relatively clear. The dr also gave me some antibiotics (Doxycyclin) to clear my face up for the wedding - worked beautifully, but can cause yellow teeth in babies, so I stopped a few days before.

    I drink plenty of cows milk (and eat yogurt, and cheese) and my face is pretty clear - except around period-time, but that's probably because I'm not as good with remembering retin-A when I'm cranky & tired.

    I LOVE Trader Joe's. Also Sprouts and Sunflower - best produce deals in the world, I think.

    1. Kate, I love dairy and don't avoid it for acne as much as I do because it is hormone laden which only further confuses our bodies. I love soy too but avoid it because our bodies read it as estrogen. I do have dairy occasionally as a treat but even then try to have less than a serving size or have it just complement whatever I'm making. I honestly think my acne is so much better this time around because I'm eating so differently. Last time I went off bc, it was bad for months, I guess until I went back on. This time it was only bad at Christmas when I let myself totally slack on food and cleared up once I began eating whole/real again. I'm trying to avoid all meds if I can but we will see! If I need clomid to conceive then so be it, but I want to try it this way first. I appreciate you commenting because its always nice to not feel like the only one you know? I haven't heard of sprouts and sunflowers but it sounds awesome!

    2. Yeah, I feel you on trying to avoid meds. For us it wasn't an option. We had no way of knowing for sure if I could (or was) ovulating. I constantly had symptoms of fertility & BBT's all over the map. Metformin regulates things enough to allow ovulation, so it was the best option for us - NFP wise. Plus, someday we do want to have kids. I'd rather find out that I can or can't ovulate now than when we start TTC, y'know?

      Eating different is key. I was doing so well, 'til a new client brought us some yummy olive oil and super fluffy, super-white, super-refined bagguette. Oh well, only protein, fruits and veggies for the rest of the day.

      Maybe I should try skipping dairy. I've been reading a couple of books & talking to my Dr - but this post is the first I've heard of PCOS and Dairy (though it makes perfect sense). I'm not a fan of soy. I like edamame now and then, but not tofu (Adam wouldn't touch it anyway) or meat replacements, or soy milk or any of that.

      Are you on any supplements?

    3. I totally agree with you! And what works for one person doesn't always work for another; we all have to find what works for our bodies. I hear you on struggling to eat different- my future mother in law's love language is carby/sweet food lol! We currently have a fresh baked loaf of sourdough bread and it is so hard to resist (I usually don't). As for supplements, I want to save up and see a naturopath after we get married, because I know sometimes it can be dangerous to create your own cocktail of supplements. The two I'm most interested in getting more info about are Vitex (chasteberry) and natural progesterone. I'm supplementing cinnamon right now to help my blood sugar not spike and therefore not have so much insulin need to be released... I've just been doing it a week now but I actually have noticed a bit of a difference in the way I feel. I haven't had so many of those 'fake' hunger pangs that you get when your blood sugar is out of wack. How about you? Are you on any?

  3. Taking metformin for me has made dairy a complete no-no (which is sad because cheese is one of my favorite foods!) I do occasionally have cheese (and pay for it) but let's be real, sometimes I just can't resist!
    I was on the same thing as Kate (Doxycyclin) for about 3 months and that helped a lot. I also got prescription cream (don't remember the actual name) which didn't help as much (hence the PCOS acne).
    Being on the pill for a while jump-started my cycle again and helped clear my face. I'm glad I'm not on it anymore but mann I have some terrible periods. (Probably TMI. But whatev)
    I don't have a Trader Joe's around me! But hopefully when I move in May I will! These things look amazing!

  4. seriously a fan of their iced tea/lemonade. they also do great tortillas and their pre-made stuff like greek chicken is awesome.

  5. Replies
    1. Lol here it is 3 buck chuck but but no, the only wine I can even handle is Moscato!

    2. Three dollars? How dare they!?! :)

  6. We went to Trader Joe's for the first time this weekend. We spent about $11 and got 4 lb. organic golden potatoes, 1 qt. kefir, 1 lb. frozen spinach, a little can of sliced olives, a jar of salsa, and a free reusable bag. Not bad. Some of the stuff you mentioned was more expensive here, though :(
    Jeanne G.

    1. I'm glad you had a pretty good experience, but sad to hear that some things cost more! That's weird because usually transplants who have moved here (regardless of where they came from with very few exceptions) say that food here is more expensive than where they came from. What items did you notice costing more?