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Monday, June 5, 2017

Trader Joe's Fig Walnut Nothing But Fruit & Nuts

Many of the Trader Joe's detractors that I've encountered compare the store to Whole Foods and state that Trader Joe's just isn't as healthy. While the average product at TJ's may be less healthy than the average product at WF, you CAN shop extremely healthily at TJ's if you want to—you just need the willpower to avoid the cookie butter aisle. Apparently, you can find pretty much anything else made of cauliflower now.

And my argument is and always has been that the average product at Trader Joe's is healthier than the average product at an average grocery store. Whole Foods was never an option for me because I don't make seven figures a year...yet. If you really wanted to, you could do the majority of your shopping at TJ's whether you're whole organic, kosher, low carb, low fat, vegan, pescatarian, or whatever—and do it for far less money than you could at Whole Foods.

That brings me to my next point. These little guys might be kinda pricey for some of us at $4 for the bag of only eight little snacks. That's 50 cents per disc. But at Whole Foods, a comparable product would most likely be twice as much. I'm not hating on Whole Foods or their shoppers at all. Just, again, I'm not a rich man and Whole Foods is a rich man's store so far as I can tell.

But regardless of which grocery store it comes from, a product flaunting only two ingredients is usually pretty darn healthy. I guess you could hold out for organic figs and walnuts, but you'd be looking at an even heftier price tag. I know I'd be a lot healthier if everything I ate contained only two ingredients. But enough talk of health and grocery stores and price tags. How do these happy fig discs taste?

Surprisingly...they taste like figs. I guess that FIGures <ba-dum-bum-TSHH>. 

They're very sweet. Figs definitely steal the show here. Walnuts are present and provide just a hint of nutty flavor and crunchy texture, but if you're not a fan of figs, you're not going to enjoy this product. These circular, snackular fruit and nut bites are very soft, very moist, and in my opinion, very tasty.

Sonia likes the taste at least as much as I do, and she likes that they're only 70 calories a piece. She points out that even though they're fairly small, they're very dense and satisfying—more than enough to keep your blood sugar up and curb your sweet tooth cravings. Four stars from her.

Again, I'm mystified that these are imported all the way from Turkey. I guess Turkish figs are, like, really good? I wish there were more walnuts, and I wish they were somehow a little cheaper, but all in all, this is a solid healthy snack. Three and a half stars from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Trader Joe's Mashed Cauliflower

It's funny, seeing the most popular posts on our blog here. There are two product types that, without fail, bring you readers out in droves.

In one corner: cookie butter. Enough said. If there's cookie butter in it, and we review it, it's time for clicks galore. We all love it, and even if you say you don't, we all really know you're just in denial.

The other: cauliflower. Whether riced or pizza crusted, it matters not. Never knew that cauliflower had such a rabid fan base.

Two such opposite pulls...cookie butter and cauliflower....why not put them together into one?

Yes, yes, I know, Trader Joe's Mashed Cauliflower really isn't cauliflower cookie butter. There's no such thing as cauliflower cookies anyways....yet. But it's cauliflower in an easily spreadable form, right? There's at least a somewhat plausible similarity, right?

Well, if the mashed cauliflower were to be marketed as cookie butter, I'm not sure if it'd be more "chunky" or "creamy." It's certainly not "crunchy" but there are various sized hunks of cauliflower all in and through out that require a little jaw effort. I can see this presenting a textural challenge for some. It doesn't help that when prepared as directed with the requisite four tablespoons of water, there's a certain drippy wateriness that kinda brings the word "gruel" to mind.

Mmm, gruel.

The cauliflower tastes alright though. There's a slightly buttery inflection, with a fair amount of creaminess and a little garlic too. For something that's supposed to be mimicking the subtle comfy goodness of mashed potatoes, the dish does a relatively good interpretation. That being said, a good dash of black pepper helped out, and you'll want to season as you wish, though it's already so liquidy that gravy doesn't seem a viable option.

But in the end, mashed cauliflower really isn't that hard to make. Heck, we've made our own, and both Sandy and I were more satisfied with results from our own versus the the TJ's stuff out of a bag here. I can't even make much of a "convenience argument" here, I don't think. The bag cost $2.99 and while it won't be unwelcome in our freezer, I'm not convinced it'll be a usual pick up either. Sandy liked it more than I did, noting the texture could have been fluffier, giving it a four. Sorry, love, but that's entirely too high...if only it were cookie butter.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mashed Cauliflower: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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