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Friday Q & A

Last Friday, I answered a question that a follower emailed to me. I said that if any of you had questions for me, I’d answer them on future Fridays. Today is future Friday #1.

The only questions came from my dear friend and former neighbor, Lori, who is now living in Tokyo, Japan with her husband, Jonathan. In fact, Lori asked four questions and I will tackle one the of them today.

vento family

Here is Lori and Jonathan with their beautiful daughter, Kylie. I swiped this photo from Kylie’s Facebook page, I’m hoping none of them mind. 🙂   Lori’s question:


“You and I talked about this before. If you were going to take me shopping @ Trader Joe’s . . . . . . what are their top products in your mind, that you use all the time and are consistently delicious and versatile? Basically what are your “go-to’s” that you simply can’t leave the store without?”


That is an easy question to answer but so extremely hard to narrow down. Girl, I could go on all day! We shall start with these frozen garlic cubes. I panic if I don’t have at least 2 boxes in my freezer at all times.


Right when you walk into my neighborhood Trader Joe’s – you run into the produce and cheese area.


In my opinion, Trader Joe’s is the numero uno place to buy cheese. It is inexpensive, it doesn’t sit on the shelf long because everyone knows TJ’s is the best place to buy cheese, so it’s always fresh. And there is great variety.


Two of the produce items that I will only buy at Trader Joe’s are arugula and


Belgium endive.


Raisin Rosemary Crisps. They taste exactly like Raincoast Crisps, but are less than half the price. TJ’s Crisps are $3.99 a box, whereas a box of Raincoast costs $9.99!


Actually all the crackers are yummy and inexpensive.

best aisle

Here’s my favorite aisle in the entire store. It has…


Fire Roasted Red Peppers








Grains and pastas

olive oil

Olive oil, and so much more! And on the opposite side of the same aisle…

dried fruit

Dried fruits and…


Nuts. So many kinds of nuts.


Pints of Heavy Cream. This is the best cream you can buy. It is extra thick and whips up like a dream.

herbs and flowers

Did I mention the flowers and plants? Trader Joe’s has great flowers and live herb plants.


Cubed Pancetta for $3.00.


All sorts of salames and prosciutto.


deli meats galore.




English Toffee! This is the toffee I use to make my famous Milk Chocolate, Pecan, and Toffee Scones.

Seriously, I could go on and on and on!

Another of Lori’s questions next Friday… until then…

Happy Valentine’s Day xoxo

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1 Betsy { 02.14.14 at 9:34 AM }

oh how I love TJ”s too !! Looks like you might go to Scottsdale one– Tatum and Shea for me – and SO glad to hear about the frozen garlic– didn’t know about that -will look immediately !!
Along with disliking frying I also dislike crushing garlic although I do it all the time
Happy Valentines Day to you

2 Linda Hopkins { 02.14.14 at 9:51 AM }

Betsy, I shop at both… but all these photos were taken yesterday at the PV store. Maybe we’ll run into each other there some day! And… the frozen garlic cubes will change your life! They can be found in the freezer case usually mixed in with the frozen vegetables. There are frozen basil and cilantro cubes too. I only use them in an extreme pinch.

Ronnie tried to post a comment but was unable to do so from her cell phone (I know, it’s a problem, I can’t even leave a comment from my cell phone on my own blog – I am working on getting that fixed.)

Anyhow, instead Ronnie sent me a text to share here, she said, “Great blog, I’m adding Salsa Especial and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins to the list of must haves. I freak if they are out of either!”

I hear ya, sister!

3 Marissa { 02.14.14 at 10:11 AM }

Jeff doesn’t believe me that Trader Joe’s is the best — need to show him this post. Everything I care most about — cheese, crackers, mustard, wine and toffee

4 Tram Mai { 02.14.14 at 1:07 PM }

You need to work for Trader Joes’ marketing/ advertising department! Great tips- will have to add some of your favorites to mine! My staples are Ezekiel bread (it’s super healthy even though it tastes like cardboard), frozen & canned artichokes, almond butter, and romaine lettuce. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day! (BTW, I love your Friday Q & A’s! Always learning something new!) xoxo

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