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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trader Joe's Roasted Coconut Chips

Since Hurricane Sandy paid us a visit this week, knocked over some trees in our neighborhood here in the Philly suburbs, and took away our power from Monday night into Tuesday morning, we've been thinking a lot about her Caribbean origins. Her Caribbean origins made us think about coconut. And our thoughts of coconut led to our purchase of a bag of Trader Joe's Roasted Coconut Chips.

It's mature coconuts soaked in young coconut juice. The best of both worlds. No need to choose experience over youth or vice versa. I'm pretty sure young coconuts are greenish and old coconuts are brownish, but other than that, I don't think I could tell you much about them. But I've always liked coconuts and coconut-flavored things, and this bag of snackaliciousness is no exception.

They're satisfyingly sweet, and they're big enough to treat them like bite-size snack chips, yet small enough to use them as toppings on cakes, ice cream, pudding, or what have you. At $1.99 for a bag, I'd say they were a pretty good value. If you're a fan of coconut, go ahead and shell out the 2 bones for something that I think could very well find itself appearing regularly on your TJ's shopping list.

They have a similar texture to that of the shredded coconut bits that we all know and love—the kind that are used as toppings on cakes and other desserts, but these "chips" have properties similar to other chips. They're flat and extremely crispy. They crunch when you eat them, and they have significantly more surface area than a bit of shredded coconut. 

Sonia gives them a score of 4 stars. She wishes the bag were larger, but other than that, she was quite pleased. I agree that in this case, more would have been better, but this relatively healthy snack was tasty enough to garner 4 and a half stars from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The I Love Trader Joe's Vegetarian Cookbook

A while back, we took a look at The I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook. And this year, we were able to take a look at another book in the same series from Ulysses Press, The I Love Trader Joes Vegetarian Cookbook By Holechek, Kris.

Although Sonia and I have often flirted with the idea of going vegetarian, we've never fully committed to the conversion. But we still do an occasional "Meatless Monday" and often enjoy vegetarian dishes, especially from Trader Joe's. As most of you know, TJ's has a pretty good selection of vegetarian items, some of which are very unique and difficult to find elsewhere.

This cookbook not only takes full advantage of the wide spectrum of vegetarian options from Trader Joe's and Ms. Peters' extensive knowledge of them, but it offers 150 ways of combining them that I wouldn't have thought of in a million years—and each recipe, if not already vegan, has a fully-vegan alternate version included.

This cookbook gets creative. One of the recipes takes Trader Joe's Potato Tots and turns them into Texas-style vegan nachos—er, excuse me, "Totchos." Even with limited time and money, there are plenty of simple recipes in here. The three bean salad, pictured right, is delicious! (Though, I must admit, we didn't pickle our onions). But had we chosen to pickle them, there's a recipe for that in the book, too!

Featuring casseroles, beverages, soups, desserts, and more, The I Love Trader Joe's Vegetarian Cookbook flaunts dishes for every occasion—dishes tasty enough not just for vegans and vegetarians, but for your average, everyday omnivores as well.

To learn about the author, to see more mouthwatering pics of her fantastic vegetarian fare, or for some sneak-peek recipes from the book, check out her blog, Nom! Nom! Nom! To order the book from, just click here! It's the perfect gift for all of the vegetarians, vegans, and fans of Trader Joe's in your life.

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