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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Trader Joe's PB&J Bar

Trader Joe's isn't quite as adventurous with peanut butter and jelly as they are with say, oh I don't know, MANGO perhaps. But they have done some interesting things with the classic sandwich combination in the past, including Greek yogurt and chocolate bars. And quite frankly, this is by far the best PB&J product I've tried from TJ's thus far. Plus, it has the added benefit of being gluten free, by virtue of it being made with oats and oat flour instead of typical wheat flour.

Unlike the previously-mentioned PB&J chocolate bar, which featured raspberry jelly, TJ's went with strawberry jelly in this particular snack. I'm not sure what they have against good ol' grape, but strawberry has always been my second-place choice for pairing with peanut butter, and it totally works here. The bars flaunt a very nice balance of peanut butteriness and fruity jelly sweetness, although I wouldn't say they taste like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches precisely. I think using wheat flour and grape jelly might have helped push them in that direction. As they stand, there's a definite breakfast bar/cereal bar vibe about them—but I, for one, would certainly not hold that against them.

There's plenty of sugar in them, but if you're having them for breakfast like I am, it's easy to justify: you've got all day to burn it off. Plus, there's eight grams of whole grain in each serving and the ingredients look relatively natural and healthy to me, but then again, my English and film degrees didn't require a whole lot of food science when rambling on about the "healthiness" of various ingredients, I should always put forth the following disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. 

But my taste buds don't lie, and furthermore, I have a very sensitive system. And I can confidently state that these bars made me feel happy, energized, and properly-nourished. And yes, they're tasty. Not exactly like a PB&J, but certainly PB&J-inspired.

I give these bars four and a half stars. Four from Sonia, who adds that they're not too sweet and not too dry, although she wishes they made a version with almond butter instead of PB.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Do I even have to say it?

Yes, it's 100% mango-free.

Thank God.

Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce has a lot of other things in it, though...namely, bourbon, which adds a nice earthy, smokey, maybe even slightly oaky little flavor flair. It's a little more noticeable in this saucy incarnation, then, say, the apple bourbon barbecue sauce. This particular baste-worthy bastion is also noticeably less sweet and more strongly BBQy than its applicious compadre. The ingredients list pineapple (not all that strong) and caramelized onions (oh yeah) as well as the usual spices that make a strong, layered, yet not overly complex sauce that was welcome to the wide spectrum of flavor palettes around our usual dinner table. Not too spicy, not too sweet, not too anything one way or another...instead it straddled the line just right for all.

Although we've only made pulled pork with it, I'm under the strong impression that this is a versatile enough sauce for a variety of needs. Burgers, ribs, chicken, fries...I just got a craving to start dunking a bunch of onion rings in here. We may have our summer sauce of choice right here. For $2.99 for a large bottle, it's an absolute must try.

You can check out the nutritional stats here.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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