WIAW: Trader Joes Challenges

In addition to appreciating the fun times I had this weekend with my mom, I was also very thankful for a belated Valentine’s Day gift she presented to me; a Trader Joes gift card!

If you don’t already know, I am pretty obsessed with Trader Joes.

I love that they predominantly sell their own brand, bringing down costs, but that their products are still absolutely fabulous and amazingly delicious.

I have my staples that I purchase pretty much every time I make the trip (the closest one to me is an hour away L) but since I had some “free money” to spend, I ventured a bit outside my box to some new items I could not wait to share!

Before I dive right in and gush about my new goodies, I have to pre-face by saying a few of these things are new to me because they are insanely challenging.

I mentioned Sunday that in the spirit of NEDA week I was going to attempt some “super” challenges to help me break free of the hefty ED chains and some of what went into the cart I might place into that category, for reasons I will try to explain.

All that aside, the things Ryan and I picked, at least what I have tasted so far, have been delicious and well worth the discomfort.

On the not-so scary side…

Egg White and Chive Salad

since I do my shopping on a Sunday, I always keep in mind I pack Ryan and my lunches every single day, meaning we need portable, easy choices to quell the midday hunger.

I had just been flipping through the pages of Women’s Health and saw a yummy looking recipe for egg-salad and thought, “I should make that this week!”

I have never had egg salad but for some reason it sounded appealing.

When I saw the egg white and chive salad on the shelf I scooped it up fully anticipating throwing it into my Monday lunch sack.

I was SO happy I did because it was AMAZING overtop some greens, with a few pickles, and a very large spoonful of Tribe Chili Pepper Hummus.

That might sound like a weird combination, but I was seriously kicking myself for not getting a few more containers of this stuff!

Oh well, now I just have an excuse to experiment a bit in the kitchen!

Jalapeno Chicken Sausage

I have never actually had a pork sausage, but I really enjoy the flavored variety of chicken sausages from Al Fresco.

When I saw these Jalapeno links in the meat section I thought they would be perfect to pair with this….


I have been craving Chipotle for days! I absolutely love a good Chipotle salad, mainly because their guacamole is like heaven.

I had tried this Trader Joes variety once when I visited my mom in New Jersey, but completely forgot about it until this weekend.

Since I live in the middle of nowhere and the nearest Chipotle is also an hour away, why not create a delicious fiesta salad at home?!

Jalapeno Chicken Sausage+ Pico-Guac. +Sauteed Peppers + Tobasco Chipotle Sauce = One heck of a dinner

A bit more frightening…

Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins

I love muffins. I really like the Trader Joes Low Fat Blueberry Bran variety, but the Chocolate Banana version is just so delectable I cannot even explain it.

That is why they are normally a no-no in my house.

Not because they are nutritionally all that bad. My brain doesn’t hate the label, but it does hate that they taste so good I am scared I will not be able to just have one.

So what if I had two for breakfast?

I used to have two bran muffins at Princeton on bran-muffin Friday; the only day anyone actually sort of looked forward to a meal at the hospital.

I used to have the two, approximately same sized muffins , milk and a whole tray of other stuff in one sitting, and was absolutely fine; full and mentally a little insane, but I certainly did not die.

So what makes these treats any different?

Probably because I feel like they taste way too good to be true, and the fear of devouring all six at one time just makes me feel so uncomfortable.

Heaven forbid I lost control and ate more of something than my ED wanted.

That would quite possibly be the end of the world in my distorted, wack-job of a brain.

So for this reason I have only ever had these muffins once before, and they were never ever purchased again.

It really is a shame because they are awesome…especially with some seriously cold vanilla almond milk…

Rustic Whole-Grain Bread

This is the first non-diet bread I have actually purchased for myself, in as long as I can remember.

Even from TJ I always got the Light Wheat selection, but with Ryan by my side he picked up this oaty, nuty, amazingly grainy and textured loaf.

He knows me so well because those are all the qualities I use to describe a good bread.

I think I took this loaf out of the cart six times before he finally held it in his arms and said, “THIS IS THE ONE!”

And that was that….the rustic bread was consumed with our dinner that night and thank gosh I have an insistent other half.

We did get a bunch more stuff but those are just some of the highlights, and varieties that were relatively new to me.

Before we embarked on our grocery journey, however, was my first “off the chart challenge” of the week.

What better way to kick off NEDA than being completely, 100% petrified of your lunch?

To say goodbye to my mom, Ryan, she and I decided to have lunch at my favorite little café in our town, which is becoming quite the weekend tradition. (Remember my yummy Sammy I told you about last Wednesday!?)

Last visit when my mom and I brunched at the Timeless Café, she got a meal that pretty much made my mouth-water, but I did not even consider because of some of the ingredients.

Two slices of bread was scary enough, I certainly did not need to add the other things that the entrée contained!

But as my mom was asking me a few things I was craving that she could help me conquer, her lunch popped into my head. Before I knew it my mouth was expressing how much I wanted a bite but couldn’t bring myself to ask out of fear.

Well guess what, I got out of the ED-safe zone, and ordered the;

Roast Turkey, Café-Cranberry Relish and Almond slivers on Multi-Grain toast.

Of course I had a side of spicy Dijon mustard which paired so well with the complexity of flavor and dipped the bread in a bit of balsamic.

I will admit the sandwich does come with a very soft brie cheese that my mom insisted I try. I got it in a little side up and did have a taste but I wasn’t ready to get a whole smear.

Maybe next time because I am already craving this lunch again.

Damn you thief who stole my camera because I wish I could share a good photo of this scrumptious plate!

I hope you all had a wonderful week of eats!

Any particular challenges, or special dishes, you want to share??


8 thoughts on “WIAW: Trader Joes Challenges

  1. Yay!!!! You finally made it to TJ’s….I hope you remembered to pick up a few jars of Sunflower Butter too! Did you go to the Towson one? I’m heading there this weekend. So pumped!!

    • I go to king of Prussia because it’s closer and I can go to whole foods as well. And don’t worry, I definitely have my container of sunflower butter and peanut butter with flax 🙂 jealous of your fun weekend plans!

  2. One of the benefits of living in New York: there’s a Trader Joe’s and two Whole Foods within 15 minutes of my apartment, and yet another one of each just a few blocks from where I interned last year. I used to stop at TJ’s at least once a week on my way home. The lines were five miles long but hey!

    Awesome job challenging yourself. I stepped out of my comfort zone by keeping down chicken noodle soup last night (carbs are NOT SAFE). Unfortunately, my stomach is freaking out today, but psychologically, I’m pretty much okay with it. although that may just be because the people on the floor above my office seem to be throwing their furniture around so hard the building is shaking, so I’m having terrorism false alarm heart attacks every five minutes, which puts a couple hundred calories of noodles into perspective…

    • ha! the long lines at TJ just illustrate how delicious their stuff is!
      That is amazing that you chllenged yourself like that! I am so so so so proud of you!
      I understand about the terrorism heart-attack and putting things into perspective.
      My husband is a MICU nurse and came home telling me how a 30 year old man has a 5 day old baby and is now in his unit with cancer and will most likely die very soon.
      that should make me push hard in recovery, right? I wish!
      I hope your upstairs neighbors stop soon, that would be so frightening!!!

  3. I wish I had a Trader Joe’s near me! Those eats sound delish, yay for challenges! Let’s see…. this weekend I challenged myslef by suggesting to the family that we go to McDonalds for a snack, I happen to LOVE their strawberry banana smoothie! It wasn’t really the smoothie that was challenging, more so suggesting we go eat food, and at McDonalds of all places! I reccomend you try one of their smoothies though 🙂

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