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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Trader Joe's Cocoa Dusted Truffles with Toffee Bits

With a couple exceptions here or there, as a rule I don't write or talk too much about my kiddos on here. No particular reason why, except maybe I'm eternally grateful that my mom 'n dad didn't detail all my little kid foibles for all the world to know when I was wee lad. Well, today I'll let you in on a few little verbal treats that my older daughter, M, has laid on me recently. Keep in mind, she's still a couple months away from turning three. When I told her it was time to go brush her teeth: "Maybe you can go brush yo' teef by yo'self and I go hide." When I told her that she was going to wear tights on one particular day despite her protests but could wear pants the next: "Well maybe I will go pee-pee in my tights today so I can wear pants today." One last one, from when I said she would be a good mama one day because of how good care she took of her little sister (Baby B, just a few months old): "No I don't want to be a mama, cuz soon I will turn into a boy and then I will be Daniel Tiger!"

Seriously, that girl.

It was her cute toddler persistence that led us to buy these Trader Joe's Cocoa Dusted Truffles with toffee Bits. Every shopping trip we let her pick out a treat. I can only presume the packaging caught her eyes as she exclaimed "Oooooh I want that one! Pwease?" Of course, she can't read yet, so it might have contained sardines for all she knew. We asked her if she knew what it was. "No, but I like it already!" Well, okay, little love.

Turns out she knows how to pick them. These truffles were quite the hit over several nights at our house. In all, they're pretty basic: a milk chocolate candy shell with a cocoa coating, with rich choco-filling with a little hint of toffee here and there. I apologize for neglecting to take a picture of the actual candy, but for an adult they're pretty much bite sized - for M they were big enough for a multitude of nibbles and face smears. Eh, whatever. They certainly pack a pretty good chocolate wallop, especially with the filling. If the coating were dark chocolate (my general preference) instead of milk, these morsels would probably be too rich to truly enjoy. As they are, we were all usually happy enough to stop at one, maybe two for an after dinner treat.

Still, there's something missing: the toffee. It just wasn't all that present, and more of it would be a welcome addition for helping add a little more flavor depth and textural difference. When I happened across a crumble of it here and there, man, was it good - could just use more of it.

M, though? Loved them. They were her choice for an after-dinner treat every night we had them - "Can we have the treat I picked at Trader Joe's?" she'd ask in the sweetest way. For a little added parental bonus, these truffles were an awesome eat-your-dinner motivator. When asked after explaining to her the point scale, she gave these truffles an earnest five. Could be because that's also her favorite number. Eh, I'll take it. When asked what she liked about them, she exclaimed "Because they taste like blueberries! Hahahaha!" Err, well, okay then. Sandy and I enjoyed them too, just need some more toffee. Still, not a bad treat at all.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cocoa Dusted Truffles with Toffee Bits: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend

It's funny, the ways parenthood changes you. All I've ever heard is "Kids change everything!" Oh, they do. Weekends continually being filled up with classmate birthday parties. Bank account continually depleted thanks to child care costs (seriously, more than my mortgage and car, put together!). Not being able to sleep past about quarter after 6. Having simultaneously more patience than believable, yet less than what is required. And on it goes.

One small thing that's changed: me and coffee. Now, coffee has almost been a morning need since the single bachelor days, especially during the work week. Key word: morning. Now, especially with Baby B making her debut back in the fall, coffee is now a morning and afternoon absolute necessity. Cannot function without. I used to have a strict rule to never drink coffee past about 11 a.m. unless I wanted to be up all night. Now I need one right around 3 or 4 p.m. unless I want my forehead to have an edge-of-desk shaped dent. Don't know which would be worse - the doctor visit or the meeting with the boss.

As you may be able to tell with my lovely cubicle corner and that voicemail I need to check serving as a typical corporate backdrop, Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend has been my work brew of choice over the past week or so. It's probably tougher to tell, but my black mug there is a pretty nifty French press that I use to make my coffee in a single cup size. Pretty nifty.

Now for the coffee, it's not bad. But nothing too unique, either. I drink my coffee black, so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what exactly it tastes like: good, typical coffee. That's not a bad thing. My work has vending machines and pot downstairs that dispense tepid brown water that tastes like depression; this is obviously light years better. I'd agree with the package's assessment of being "mellow and smooth" but I wouldn't go for "sweet caramel notes" and "floral overtones" the write up on the side proclaims. If it's there, to be honest, I don't really taste it. Maybe some cream and sugar help bring those out, but I haven't tried it. I like my coffee to taste like coffee too much.

So, this breakfast blend isn't anything fancy, but it gets the job done. It's hot, it's wet, and it has caffeine, and when I need a change up from the darker roasts I find I'm beginning to enjoy more, this won't be a bad option. The fact that it's organic and fair trade is unquestionably a bonus, too, and I'm presuming that it was one of the lesser-priced TJ options because that's what I tend to choose for work consumption, saving the fancy stuff for at home with the wife. I wish it had little more something to it, but it keeps me awake, employed, and plausibly productive at the job so I can get home and see what those kiddos are going to be up to next. Like my older one likes to sometimes say with a little coaching, you can't argue with that logic.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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