8 [More] Awesome Trader Joe’s Products

My love for Trader Joe’s is still going strong. So strong in fact that I wake up at 7:30 am on either Saturday or Sunday to grocery shop there. While the getting up early part is not fun at all, the ample parking, clear aisles, and stocked shelves are enough to keep me going.

A few months ago I wrote a post about 10 awesome Trader Joe’s products. Looking back, those are some of the more basic things I purchase on a weekly basis. Since then, I’ve expanded my list of awesome products. Things that are too good not to share!

8 [More] Awesome Trader Joe’s Products

1. Fig spread. This is now one of Vishnu’s favorite condiments. He loves it in his turkey and Muenster cheese sandwiches, and I love it in my egg and cheese sandwiches. This sweet spread pairs so well with savory ingredients.

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2. Coconut oil spray. LOVE this stuff. While I still like to use an olive oil spray for more savory dishes, this coconut one is perfect for baked goods.

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3. Masala burgers. These burgers deserve a post of their own. They taste like samosa filling and are the perfect substitute for patties in Ragda Patties.

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4. 21 Seasoning Salute. This is another recent purchase that we’ve come to love. It includes traditional spices like garlic, black pepper, onion, etc., as well as things like carrot, orange peel, and tomato granules. I’ve used it in both a stir-fry dish and a vegetarian chili.

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5. Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa Pasta.  While we still love the Brown Rice pasta I mentioned in my previous post, the texture of this pasta is better.  And again, even Vishnu loves it, so you know it has to be good!

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6. Light Champagne Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.  I prefer homemade salad dressings, but on the days I don’t want balsamic, this dressing is perfect.  It has a slight tang that goes nicely with raw/roasted veggies and tofu.

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7. Organic Stone Ground Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.  These chips are amazing!  They have a rich, nutty taste and the perfect amount of salt.  LOVE!

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8. Corn & Wheat Tortillas.  My mom found similar tortillas at their local Sprouts and raved about how much she and my dad loved the flavor.  These obviously aren’t the same as the ones she bought, but we too love the corn and wheat combination.  They don’t fall apart like corn tortillas and don’t have a doughy texture like flour/wheat tortillas…essentially, this is the perfect tortilla!

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What are some of your favorite grocery store buys (Trader Joe’s or not)?

“Co-owning” a Calendar With Your Spouse

I recently discovered [for myself] the magical [free] tool that is Google Calendar.  You guys!  I freaking love it.  In fact, I’m a little obsessed at the moment, especially with color coding everything.

So the back story (because there always is one!) goes a little something like this.  When I first got my iPhone over two years ago, Vishnu convinced me to download and use the Gmail app.  And at the time, it was all the rage.  So for the past two years I was solely using that.  And don’t get me wrong, it’s a great app.  But it doesn’t have a calendar feature.  Even that wasn’t an issue because I used my work Outlook calendar as my personal calendar as well.

Then earlier this month it dawned on me – I wanted to share a calendar with Vishnu so that we could map out his shifts at the hospital as well as his upcoming interviews and all of our upcoming travel.  And I couldn’t do that with my Outlook calendar.  I turned to my trusty friend Google for a solution.  And of course, Google told me about it’s very own tool!

I got really excited and started reading guides on how to to ensure your Google calendar syncs with the calendar on your phone.  After deleting the Gmail app and tinkering with a few different settings, it worked!  Everything was showing up just as I wanted on my phone.

The next step was to invite Vishnu to “co-own” this calendar with me.  And because I couldn’t contain my excitement, I shared it with him that very day.  I also named our calendar “ParVish.”  Creativity is my middle name…what can I say!?

When we saw each other later that night, I told him all about what I had done.  Let’s just say he wasn’t as excited about this discovery as I was.  NBD because I was excited enough for the two of us.  In fact, when he mentioned something about one of his interviews, I told him to put it on the ParVish calendar.  This wasn’t enough to generate action…just a head shake.

Well, this past Saturday Vishnu experienced the beauty of having a joint Google calendar with his wife.  He was on his laptop, when all of a sudden he turns to me with a confused look on his face.

Vishnu: Why did I just get an alert about this volunteer event that starts in 30 minutes?
Me: Oh that’s my thing.  You’re seeing it because of our joint calendar!  Cool, huh?
Vishnu: I don’t really want to see all of your things.  Is there a filter?
Me: Absolutely not!  That’s the whole point.  Just ignore it if it doesn’t apply to you!
Vishnu: Well, at least put all my stuff in one color, so I know what’s for me and what’s for you.
Me:  Ok, will do.

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Fast forward to earlier this week…

Me: Oh, just FYI…I color coded our calendar so that all of your stuff is in bright red!
Vishnu: Bright red?  Red signifies danger.
Me: [Silence]

I can’t win.  But at least he’s kind of on board with the idea!

Weekend Stuff – Friends and Food

Vishnu’s done with all of his exams!  Next up…residency interviews.  But for now we’re going to focus on the fact that he’s FREE from his books!!!

To be completely honest, it was a little weird to see him just hanging out all weekend.  Weird and of course nice!  He even came to Trader Joe’s with me at 8:00 am on Sunday. 

Let’s rewind a bit because the weekend officially started at 5:00 pm on Friday.  Vishnu and I spent the evening at home eating butternut squash mac n’ cheese and drinking wine (ok fine, it was mostly me drinking the wine!).  I have zero pictures of dinner (or the wine), but it looked very similar to this recipe.  We used Gruyere, Monterrey Jack, and a little bit of Gouda in this version.  Delicious and even better the next day!

On Saturday I went for a run…that didn’t go as well as I wanted (I blame the wine!).  We also cleaned and lounged around for most of the morning.  I attended a volunteer event in the afternoon, and Vishnu relaxed at home. 

The absolute highlight of our day was dinner at Michael’s Genuine with our good friend Rohit.  This is a farm to table type restaurant that serves incredibly unique and fresh dishes made with seasonal ingredients.  We’ve wanted to try this place for a while now, and because a lot of the dishes are heavily meat focused, I figured it would be a better experience for Vishnu to have a fellow meat eater with us.  And I was right!  He and Rohit shared a number of dishes, and if I remember correctly, the pork belly dish was his absolute favorite.  Actually, I know I’m right because we talked about it for five minutes on our way to TJs!

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My favorite was the butternut squash arancini appetizer (rice balls filled with cheese) – perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.  YUM!

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And the sweet potato sundae wasn’t half bad either!  It tasted like Thanksgiving in a glass!

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There was no shortage of good food and good conversation!  We can’t wait to hang out with Rohit more now that he’s a Miami resident again.  In fact, Vishnu’s already planning their next meat filled dinner date!

As I mentioned, Sunday started with a trip to my favorite place – Trader Joe’s!  Speaking of my beloved grocery store, I think it’s time I do another “Favorite TJ’s products” post.  Lots of great finds this week, including tortillas made from both corn and wheat. 

On Sunday afternoon I met up with ROBIN!  I hadn’t seen her since June due to our crazy schedules, so it was wonderful to catch up on each other’s lives.  I miss her so much!  We spent almost two hours at Starbucks talking away.  I’m crossing my fingers that we end up near her for residency!  That would be incredible!

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And of course Sunday evening was filled with the one and only…football!  I also made a delicious veggie filled stir-fry and Gina’s zucchini bread – both of which I will share in an upcoming notable meals post (I’m bringing it back!). 

Happy Monday, everyone!

Who did you spend time with this weekend, and more importantly, what did y’all eat?