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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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Puppy-Chow

Editor's note: Here's another guest post from my talented, witty, extremely attractive, and all around awesome wife. Yes, I outkicked my coverage. Anyways, here's a simple recipe using all TJ's ingredients for one heckuva great snack! Addictive. 

One of our favorite stories here is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. M likes to read it fairly often. If you aren't familiar, it's about giving a mouse a cookie and all the things that will happen if you do (he'll want some milk, a napkin, a hair cut...it goes on and on, until he asks for another cookie.) We'll, if you give a preschooler a snack, she'll ask for some milk to go with it. And if she asks for milk to go with it, she'll probably have to go to the bathroom while you're trying to get two kids through a grocery store at nap time. When she gets done with the bathroom, she will notice the papers lining the hallway and ask what they are. When she learns that they're recipes, she'll ask if she can make something. When you find something that she would actually have a chance of eating, you will have to go back through the grocery store to gather all the ingredients. Once you have all the ingredients, you will go home for lunch. After eating lunch, the preschooler will ask for a glass of milk, and chances are, she will want a snack to go with it...

...And that is how we ended up making Cookie Butter Buddies (or puppy-chow.) I don't know if your Trader Joe's has recipes hanging up by the restrooms, but ours has a ton, and there are a lot of good looking things to make! We picked this recipe because it was something fairly simple and kid friendly and approved.
Mmm, doesn't that look good?
First, melt about 8 tablespoons of butter (I chose Kerrygold because I love it, and would pretty much eat it if it were socially acceptable to walk around eating sticks of butter), the cup of cookie butter, I didn't actually measure this though, I just scooped out about half a jar, and the box of Milk Chocolate Mini Peanut Butter Cups, together in the microwave, in about 30 second intervals, until melted all together. In a large bowl, dump out the box of Puffins (M chose peanut butter, but I bet the cinnamon would taste great!) and pour on the chocolate mixture. Stir to coat. This was probably M's favorite part..."Stir! Stir! Stir!" she happily chanted while mixing it all up, leaving me for the "expert touch."

Add in about 2 cups of powdered sugar. I started with one cup, and added from there, until your cereal is coated.
Wimbly's dinner...our our dessert?
Spread it onto baking sheets so that it can cool and harden a bit. It looked so much like dog food when I did this, that it was easy to see where it gets the name puppy-chow.

Once it's set you can put it back into a bowl or into a large ziplock bag, add more powdered sugar, and stir or shake to cover it all. Add in a handful of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds and you've got a cookiebuttery, crunchy, tasty, and very, very, sweet treat.

The consensus at our how was that it was pretty good, except from M, who wanted some random left over Christmas candy instead. We ended up sending a little over half into Russ's work and kept a bowl here, which we ended up taking it to church to share because it was still too much. All and all? It was a super simple, quick snack, very kid friendly, and could probably be adapted to be nut free (you could probably leave out the pb cups and use a different kind of Puffin and just use chocolate and cookie butter to make it nut free)

So, our first cooking with a TJ's recipe gets 8 Golden Spoons.

Oh yeah, if you eat this, you'll probably want a glass of milk to go with it...

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Great story in the beginning of the post- and alarmingly accurate ;)
    I looooovveeee puffins cereal, but for snacking on dry- not in milk.