Random Food Haul

Grains and Chocolate

I stopped at Trader Joe’s yesterday to grab a few items.

Chocolate

Ever since I discovered Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate bars I’ve been addicted. Is it sad that I made a trip just for them? If you’ve ever had a Nestle Crunch bar, this is the same idea — milk chocolate with crispy puffed rice sprinkled throughout — except the Trader Joe’s version is a whole lot better. Made in Belgium with non-GMO rice, the chocolate tastes and feels a lot richer and creamier. Plus, the rice is crunchy and never stale (as was the case with some Nestle Crunch bars I’ve eaten in the past).

One bar may look a little smaller than your average Crunch bar but the Trader Joe’s chocolate bars actually come packaged in a bundle of three for $1.79 so they’re actually a really good value. The bars are also available in plain milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and dark chocolate with almond varieties. I ended up buying two more packs of the Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate bars and one pack of the Dark Chocolate With Almonds. I’m not a big fan of dark chocolate but I love almonds so I decided to give it a try.

You can find their chocolate bars on the shelving columns in front of the checkout section. Highly recommend!

Chocolate

Chocolate

And to balance everything out because I didn’t feel quite right buying only candy on a grocery trip, I also purchased some quinoa and farro. Is it strange that I’ve never tried either before? I’ve eaten other types of grains before — white rice, brown rice, wild rice, black rice, glutinous/sticky rice, oats, millet, buckwheat, barley, etc. — but never these two and they seem to be all the craze these days.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to make a shift towards greener makeup so I’ve subscribed to a lot of YouTube channels lately that feature natural brands and many of these “gurus” also like to mention or share recipes in addition to the makeup they’re using. The two foods that crop up time and again in many of these videos are quinoa and farro, so when I spotted them at Trader Joe’s I decided to finally bite the bullet and dropped both into my shopping basket. I’ve been looking on Pinterest for some recipe inspirations and I’m excited to give them a try.

On a side note I was a little disappointed that the farro’s only available in such a tiny bag for $1.79. To put things in perspective, I can usually get a huge 20 lb bag of white rice for $7.99-$9.99 on sale, so $1.79 for about half a pound of farro isn’t a good value at all especially when you’re trying to feed an entire family. The tricolor quinoa was an even worse value at $5.99 for 1 lb. I could’ve probably found both for cheaper elsewhere but I suspect Trader Joe’s has a higher product turnover rate for quinoa and farro so it’s fresher. I’ve seen quinoa and farro for less at other supermarkets and the packages are literally gathering dust on the shelves and who knows how long long they’ve been sitting there, so that’s why I opted for Trader Joe’s. Health benefits aside, for the price I’m hoping both grains taste delicious because who cares if they’re good for you if they don’t taste good? At least that’s how I look at things. Still, I love my grains so I have high hopes.

Mustard

I also bought a jar of Trader Joe’s Dijon mustard for $1.79 which is comparable in price to most Dijon mustard brands at the supermarket except it undoubtedly contains better ingredients. I’ll probably use it to make salad dressings or slather it on sandwiches mostly but lots of recipes I’ve come across ask for Dijon so I’m sure it’ll come in handy.

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Spreads

And on a much less healthy note, I’m all about spreads these days.

I’m not even a big fan of peanut butter but I’ve been trying different brands and stocking up like it’s going out of style. I guess part of it is that I go through phases for food. When I was younger I loved hot dogs and ate them at least once a week so by the time I hit my teens I was sick of them and couldn’t even look at a hot dog for the next 15 years. FYI: I’m cool with hot dogs now.

Same with peanut butter. Loved it as a kid, then got tired of it, and now I’m back to loving it again. I remember back in the day when I was in elementary school in the late ’80s-’90s that the lunch ladies would make PB&J sandwiches for any child that forgot to bring their bagged lunch or lunch money. I think it’s sad that peanut butter is banned from so many schools now because so many kids have nut allergies. It was such a big part of my childhood.

On that nostalgic note, I made sure to grab some of the PB brands I remember my mother buying for me as a kid, namely Skippy and Peter Pan. Skippy makes a lot of new flavors now including Dark Chocolate and Roasted Honey Nut but they still have their basic creamy and crunchy varieties too. For some reason I remembered really loving Skippy but maybe it was because I was brainwashed by all the Skippy ads that used to run on tv. It turns out I prefer Peter Pan over Skippy but, even more surprising, I prefer Planters PB over both. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Planters is a huge company that’s best known for their roasted nuts that come in canisters. Their peanut butter isn’t as sweet as Skippy or Peter Pan and has a stronger peanut flavor.

I haven’t tried Trader Joe’s peanut butter yet but I’ll get around to it eventually. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the supermarket brands though. If I remember correctly, it’s $5.99 per jar.

I’m also really into Cookie Butter these days, too, ever since I tried Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl a few months ago. It’s really good but it tasted primarily of chocolate and I wanted more cookie flavor so more recently I purchased a jar of Biscoff’s Crunchy Cookie Spread and a jar of Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter. I’m excited to see which crunchy cookie butter I like best. I’m hoping it’s the Trader Joe’s version because it’s a little easier to come by where I live. I had to drive around a lot of stores before I found one (Stop & Shop) that carried the Biscoff brand at all.

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