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Monday, October 31, 2022

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pie Spice

Have you ever sat down to a bowl of plain corn flakes and thought to yourself, "Man, I don't want PLAIN corn flakes. I want PUMPKIN PIE SPICE corn flakes!" I know I have. Mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, green beans? Why not have pumpkin pie spice mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie spice chicken nuggets, or pumpkin pie spice green beans?

There's absolutely no reason you shouldn't have those things if you want them, and that's exactly why Trader Joe's introduced its delectable mixture of pumpkin pie spices all by themselves in a convenient shaker—so you can make ANYTHING taste like pumpkin pie spice.

People were complaining: "Trader Joe's, where are all of your pumpkin pie spice pork products?" "Where is the pumpkin pie spiced mango?" "Why don't you carry pumpkin pie spiced peanuts?" Though normally kind and mild-mannered, the clerks became so irritated by these requests, they asked corporate to release the pumpkin pie spice just by itself.

Now when they get asked, "Hey, where's the pumpkin pie spice tofu?" clerks hand the customer plain tofu and this pumpkin pie spice shaker and say "Make it yo DANG self."

There's no sugar in this mix, so it's not sweet. No nutrition info is listed on the shaker at all, unlike most of TJ's other seasoning blends, so I'm assuming there are no calories, no sodium, no carbs or anything like that. There are just six ingredients, most of which you might have guessed without looking. The only real surprise to me is "lemon peel." I don't generally think of that as a pumpkin pie spice, but there it is. And it works. Just a bit of tang goes a long way.


Most of this review is quite facetious, obviously, but I really do like this product. It's a good blend. I like that they didn't include sugar in the mix so you can make it exactly as sweet as you want. Good for baking and adding extra flavor to fall foods, it's also pretty decent on ice cream and other desserts. I think this one was $2.99 at Trader Joe's, but people are selling it on the online "black market" for upwards of eight bucks per shaker. I guess that means it's seasonal and only available for a limited time. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Trader Joe's Apple & Pumpkin Hand Pies


 Next few months, we're gonna be roughing it here at the Western PA chapter of the WGATJ's team, as we're just starting a kitchen remodel, so that means...we don't have a kitchen! Aack!

So while it would've been lovely to warm up some Trader Joe's Apple & Pumpkin Hand Pies, that just wasn't gonna happen.

Already sold our former stove to make way for the new one that'll be complete with built in air fryer and air sous vide, however that works. Bigger air fryer capacity will be great, as ours is barely big enough to hold even one of these new autumnally appropriate treat. 

So my lovely bride and I...we ate our cold, right outta the package. 

That's alright as it turned out reasonably good. There's lots of nice chunky apple bites along with some pumpkinny bits in a somewhat dry array, with plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon mixed in. It's not quite either apple or pumpkin pie, but a good mix of both, in ways I didn't completely anticipate. The crust is nice and sturdy and kinda rustic, if that's a word that can describe pastry. It's definitely got a good amount of butter in it. There's plenty here to like...

...but man, if we only had warmed them!

Totally delish though, and got me in the mood. Wash down with some apple cider or even a pumpkin beer, if thats your thing. These are nutriitonally decadent enough to only be an every once in a while treat, but get 'em while you can!

Double fours. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Apple & Pumpkin Hand Pies: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


Monday, October 24, 2022

Trader Joe's Organic Maple Vinaigrette Dressing

Truth be told, I wasn't super excited to pour this stuff on a salad and consume it. Intrigued? Yes. Eager? No. If not for the prospect of reviewing it, I might not have purchased it at all.

I mean, I love maple syrup and generally enjoy maple-flavored things. I also love vinaigrette salad dressings. But together? That's an odd combo if you ask me...but not so odd that I'd avoid it altogether.

With a new, iffy salad dressing, you don't want to dump a bunch of it on your greens and beans and potentially ruin the whole bowl if you're not into the dressing. You have to do that thing like when you're trying a new cleaning product on your carpet where you have to "test in an inconspicuous area" in case it's a disaster. So I just poured a teeny little bit on one corner of my salad to assess the product.

And I'm glad I did it that way. I might have wasted a bunch of salad otherwise, because this stuff is gross. Like, it's the worst salad dressing I've ever had. You'd be better off putting household cleaning vinegar and raw tree sap on a salad.

Not only did the maple and vinaigrette elements commingle and clash in exactly the way I was hoping they wouldn't, there was also this unexpected smoky element that made the whole thing nearly gag-worthy. Maybe the dijon mustard? Canola oil? It poured like a medium-thick brown ooze, similar in appearance to a peanut satay sauce but perhaps a tad thinner. Not particularly appetizing.

I'd try it as a marinade for salmon or a drizzle for ravioli as suggested on traderjoes.com but I can't imagine it working better than something more traditional. I'm taking this one straight to Trader Joe's and getting my $3.49 back. Thumbs down from me.

Sonia tolerated it a lot better than I did, but even she admitted it had "a very weird flavor." She's not going to fight me on the return because she knows I won't help her finish the bottle. Two and a half stars from her.

I'll throw out one since I like it when Trader Joe's gets adventurous, and it is certified organic after all.

Bottom line: 3.5 out of 10.