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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trader Joe's Kettle Cooked Chicken Soup

I'd say "just like Mom used to make," except my mom never did much cooking due to chronic illness. Incidentally, the date I'm composing this blog post is the one year anniversary of my mother's memorial service. 

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but the past couple weeks have been one of those stretches in life that calls for some home-cooked (or at least home-cooked-esque) chicken soup for the body as well as the kind for the soul—just in time for my annual spring cold, too. We bought this soup before my little bug set in, and it's almost like my body got sick on purpose just so it could be soothed by this kettle-cooked container of chicken cheer.

I'm not sure about the logic of using a plastic tub for this product, as opposed to a can or a glass jar of some kind. I'm not complaining. It just seems unusual to me, especially since they're going for that home-cooked angle. At any rate, it's unique. As you open the packaging, little globs of chicken stock stick to the plastic safety seal under the lid in a rather unappetizing way. But once you get past that, what lies beneath seems much more inviting.

At first glance, the soup looks nice and chunky. There are decent-sized pieces of both white and dark meat chicken—and not like weird disc-shaped pieces or perfect cubes either, as one may find in other "chunky" soups. These little angular pieces of chicken look like shapes that might have actually been carved by human hands. Or maybe TJ's is employing robots that can realistically imitate the beautifully imperfect slashes and slices you might find in a cauldron of homemade soup. Either way, I like it. Also, there are plenty of carrot, parsnip, celery, and onion bits, too—with an emphasis on the carrots.

The broth is nice and sea-salty, but not overly so. It's flavorful, and it blends well with the other ingredients, although it could almost stand alone as a soup just by itself. A delicate medley of herbs, including garlic, parsley, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, rounds out the taste of this impressive down-home delicacy. I wouldn't have minded a little more chicken in the soup, but honestly, compared to any other chicken soup I've ever had, this product delivers at least as much of the palatable poultry. So no complaints here. Four and a half stars from me. Four and a half from Sonia, who adds, "This is like really good deli soup." She's not wrong.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Trader Joe's Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits

Being an adult is great. I mean, aside from bills and responsibilities and stuff. But otherwise, it's a pretty good deal. You get to whatever you want whenever you want, and in a childhood dream come true for me, you can eat whatever you want when you want. Want to eat three breakfasts a day? Go for it. Pizza for breakfast, tacos for lunch, ice cream for dinner? Why not? I mean, your cardiologist may disagree, and it'd be prudent to mix in a salad, but that's not what I mean. I mean: you can do that if you want to. No one can stop you. That, to me, is awesome.

So, conceivably, you can have cookies for breakfast. But maybe to feel better about it, we can call them something else. The little lies we tell ourselves to get through, I guess, or maybe, if we're spotted crushing cookies down the cram hole by the stray child , we can say, "Oh these aren't cookies. These are Trader Joe's Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits."

Yup. "Biscuits" is what they're going with here. Bwahahaha. No way. These things are cookies through and through. I mean, they're even sold right alongside all the other cookies, and not in the energy/breakfast bar area.

These cookies biscuits  morning-minded munchers are pretty tasty, though. For its basic concept, think of a more granular oblong graham cracker, and thant's fairly close in both taste and texture. There's a little something extra, though, and it's not the blueberries. Vaguely familiar, tip of tongue, couldn't quite place it till scanning the ingredients - rye flakes. There's a pretty hefty dose - not enough to be offensive or anything, but it definitely adds a blueberr-rye dimension. The berries themselves are of the typical dried variety, and intermittently and unevenly sprinkled through out - some wafers were sans berries, others where blue enough from berries to look almost like a flattened Smurf.

As you can probably see, these are some fragile biscuits too. I did nothing to those pictured except the normal rigors of a morning commute to my desk, and I got left with a pile of pieces. So, they're probably not the best for on the go, like while driving, unless you don't mind brushing a dusting of vaguely greasy crumbs off your shirt.

And don't count on them for a full breakfast. A good morning snack, or part of a healthy breakfast, with some yogurt perhaps? Sure. The biscuits were a welcome addition to my usual apple and coffee workweek breakfast, but despite all that fiber, I was still hungry for lunch not all that much later than usual.

Anyways, the wife and both like them, as do our kiddos when we let them have a munch. Save the morning cookies for the adults, kids. For only about $3 or $4 for a fivepack each with four in there, it's not a bad deal, either. These aren't my favorite things ever, but they're good enough to warrant a repeat purchase already, and I'd love to see these expanded into different, say, cherry? Sounds delish to me. Matching 3.5s.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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