Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Trader Joe's Turkey Kit


 Editor's note from Russ: We have a special guest blogger today - my wife Sandy! Yes, she exists, and not just when I make fun of her mercilessly. Enjoy!
 
I love Pinterest, and I’ve spent a lot of late nights pinning away. Recipes, sewing projects, cleaning tips...you name it, I’ve pinned it. Now, if you’ve ever actually read half of the blogs that are most often pinned, you’ll notice that most of them are by stay at home moms with a bunch of kids and they all somehow live in spotlessly clean houses, and are able to get a three course meal ready for dinner, while still having time to be elaborate crafters and top notch photographers.

I’ve recently joined the SAHM ranks. It’s been exactly three months since I’ve left my job. My house is not spotless. Russ is lucky to get a hot dinner with some frozen peas (M’s favorite) when he gets home. And, with my new birthday gift of a craft table, I’m working on the elaborate crafts, and you’ve all seen my photographs - well, they're better than the ones Russ used to snap with his crappy phone. I have a board of projects that I’ve actually tried out and most of them have been successful. One of the things that I have not ventured into is cookie decorating. M loves watching cookie decorating videos with me at night. These ladies that we watch are amazing. I’d love to figure it out, but it’s just not going to happen. That’s where our good friend Trader Joe comes in, with his Turkey Kit.

Oh Joe, you’re going to help me make my preschooler’s dream of being a master cookie decorator come true! This kit contained everything that we needed for this adventure, without having to turn the oven on!



Sprinkles, gummy fruits, ‘buttons’ (non M&M’s M&M’s) and icing...sugar. What, no little piping bag of premade frosting? Simple enough to make though - box of sugar, one egg white and a bit of lemon juice if it wasn’t sticky enough.

We’ve watched enough videos that I could tell that it wasn’t going to be thin enough to flow, so I added the tiniest bit of water to get it to what I thought would be the right consistency. “Hey that looks like a piping bag!” M exclaimed as I filled the bag up. We laid all of our pieces out and got to work.


Even with my slight thinning down, it was fairly hard to get the icing out. I started with the base and even though I don’t believe that you have to do things the way the box says, I thought that it’d be easiest to put all the non-pareilles on the bottom. M happily sprinkled away...only to have most of the sprinkles fall off. Russ started helping and they got quite a few on, but nothing like the box shows. I outlined the rest, while they worked on the sprinkling and then the turkey body was assembled. “Let’s move on” I told M, and she happily told me where to put dots of icing for her to add on the gummies and buttons. We of course had to sample them to make sure they were good. 

 
The buttons were similar to M&M’s and the fruits, which we thought were fruit snacks, were actually a fairly decent gummy. M’s only complaint was that she wanted to put more fruits on and there weren’t anymore. We ended up supplementing with some Costco fruit snacks we had on hand.


Here’s our finished turkey cookie (M pretty much says the word turkey just like cookie. We try to make her say turkey cookie all the time). I’m pretty sure this is meant to be a decoration, but how do you tell a three year old they can’t eat the cookie they just made? M wanted to eat the head, I grabbed a foot and Russ grabbed a bit of tail feather and we all took a big bite. Umm, I now know what fluffy, gingery cardboard tastes like. I think we know why…


We didn’t make a gingerbread turkey, it was a ginderbread turkey. The rest of the box was right, I wonder how they missed this one? Does anyone else’s box have this typo?

All in all, this was a pretty fun family project, worth the $7.99 price tag. In fact, we’re planning on getting another one to take back to Russ’ folks and make with M and her bigger cousin C for Thanksgiving. M gave it a five. I give it a 4, for the gummies and the family fun factor. If it weren’t for that, it would rate much lower.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Turkey Kit: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons

7 comments:

  1. What a cute idea for the holidays! I don’t have kids of my own, but I could totally see myself doing this on a night in. :)

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    1. Hey, why not? Was definitely fun for all us kids, young and, well, not *old*, but...lol

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  2. This looks adorable! Great to bring to a family with kids. Or, you know, for a Friday night with wine as an adult.

    Just started a blog about Aldi products and recipes, inspired by this blog. They have such similar products and there's not much info out there!!!

    http://whatsawesomeataldi.blogspot.com/?m=1

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    1. Haha, awesome! I'm beginning to become a fan of Aldi's, too and *thought* of starting a blog about it - you beat me to it! Will be sure to check it out.

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  3. Too bad there's no icing! But I can't find it anywhere!!! Wanted to make it with the baby. Booo that'll teach me to not buy limited edition TJ products ASAP!

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    1. There is the sugar to make icing, but you have to mix it up yourself. TJ's has a very similar-in-concept gingerbread house kit which I would think would be available still. Still, yeah, we were bummed when we wanted to get another one or two just to ind out they were gone :(

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  4. These things were made in Germany which maybe explains the spelling typo. Anyways, we had fun making it, but I must say that the Gingerbread itself tasted horrible and was like cardboard. None of the kids or us liked it. Definitely NOT a 9 out of 10 if you're going to factor in taste, but still a great activity for the kids.

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