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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Trader Joe's Chocolatey Cats Cookies For People

The classic Cats Cookies For People have somehow eluded our vast catalog of Trader Joe's brand food reviews these past seven years. Honestly, I've never even tried them. Then there were Ginger Cats Cookies...also, apparently, for people. We managed to avoid those as well, unintentionally, of course. Looks like the Ginger Cats Cookies have been discontinued. I haven't found a definite word on the original flavor, but I must say that I haven't seen them around the store in quite some time.

Then spring of 2014 saw the advent of an even bolder product, Trader Joe's Dog Food...For People. We nailed that review immediately, thanks to an exclusive sneak peak courtesy of Big Joe himself. We're still not sure why the product never launched nationwide, because it was freaking delicious and fun to eat.

But thankfully we're not entirely bereft of biscuits inspired by our favorite furry friends. Chocolatey Cats Cookies are currently in-stock and on the least at all the TJ's we've been to lately. They're low fat, inexpensive, and relatively tasty.

I love how Trader Joe's has to actually put the words "for people" on the label so they'll not be sued for negligent homicide of countless American felines. I'm sure just a single cookie here and there wouldn't kill even the tiniest of kittens, but if people got the wrong idea, it's entirely possible some poor cats would be fed a diet of solely "cat cookies." At $2.99 for the tub, it certainly wouldn't be the most expensive cat food on the market.

And I guess I should insert the following disclaimer here: Sonia and I aren't cat experts. We're dog people. To the core. We've both known and loved a few cats in our day, but we've always owned and adored dogs. We know cat people tend to be thoughtful, creative, and—for lack of a better term—WEIRD. And we are most definitely those things. But we're also emotionally-needy people. We already walk around feeling rejected by countless humans every day, and coming home to an apathetic, indifferent pet would just do us in. Cats are too cold. That's not to say when we completely lose it in a decade or two we won't have a few fuzzy felines around to torment us and our dogs, but as usual, I digress...

As mentioned above, these cookies are low fat. And they kinda taste low fat, but not in a bad way. They're crispy and snackable, but don't feel overly indulgent, which is nice. They flaunt a light, chocolatey, tide-me-over vibe. They certainly won't spoil your appetite unless you eat like half the tub at once. They remind both Sonia and I of some other snack we've both had, but we can't quite put our finger on it.

They pair extremely well with milk or coffee, and they make decent dunkables. You could almost use them as cereal if the bites were just a tad smaller. Also, they seem fairly resistant to staleness, thanks to both the solid plastic packaging as well as their basic composition. 

We'll easily finish this tub in a week or two, but aren't sure if we'd purchase them again any time soon. We could see these being a big hit in families with young children. Three and a half stars a piece.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Protein Granola

Granola. For dinner. Ummm...yum?

We have a busted refrigerator to blame for that. Or, I hope to say, had. Something something was something somethinging the something (or so I understand, as explained by the Sears repair guy and filtered thru my wife) making the bottom of our fridge leaky and pooling water. Been doing it for months, actually, and just got it fixed earlier today...but at time of writing this, we're now on the evening of Day 2 with an unplugged icebox in the kitchen. Been eating down whatever supplies from the fridge all week. Can't restock quite yet. No spare fridge on site. Thought we'd be able to use it by tonight, and already kinda spent our eating out budget at Red Lobster last night... granola for at least part of our dinner. It's what we had. Living the dream.

Granted, evening sustenance and main course is probably not the intended use of Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Protein Granola. As with most granola, it's definitely one of those snack-on-the-go type deals, or an easy morning breakfast with a little yogurt or something. Also never a horrible idea to have a bag tucked away in the desk drawer at work for midday munchie.

But, I'm not convinced this pb granola is all that great. It's not really horrible, either, but there's something a little off about it after a few bites. Tough to explain, but it gets that taste in your mouth, you know, the one that resides in the little pouch between your teeth and cheeks. Bitterswee-tish, almost metallic in some ways. You know that one? It's what I get.

Which is a shame, because this stuff has some potential. The granola comes in all different sized chunks with an appropriate crunch - hard enough to give the molars some work to do, crumbly enough to not make it unpleasant and tastes reasonably like a decent peanut-based product. The rolled oats and pea protein crisps get along nicely with each other for an agreeable bite, if not a bit bland. Seems head scratching to me that there's eight grams of added sugar per would the granola taste if not over 10% bonus sugar content? Doesn't compute. The texture is spot on, but the flavor just doesn't

Probably not a repeat buy. Even as a peanut butter aficionado and a general granola fan, there's just not enough here to make me want to come back. It fills a void and that seems to be about it. Sandy's not impressed either. "Meh" is about all we said about it. Might be more enjoyable with some cold milk...we'll get back to you on that.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Protein Granola: 5 out of 10 Golden Spoons.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Trader Joe's Curry Cauliflower Quinoa Salad

It's official. Cauliflower can join coffee, mango, pumpkin, and cookie butter as the fifth great love of Trader Joe. He's clearly got an obsession.

Cauliflower is a product that has proven its extreme versatility repeatedly, particularly in the past year—plus it's arguably the healthiest of "The Big Five." 

Quinoa is still working on its star status, but it has played some interesting roles in the past, too, generally as a supporting ingredient, but rarely a main attraction.

Curry is...well, curry is usually awesome...and this product is just another great example of its awesomeness.

Throw cauliflower, quinoa, and curry together, and you have this unique creation. I'm not sure why it works...or even if most of you will agree with me that it does. But I devoured this tub like it was going out of style.  Sorry. That's a really weak mixed metaphor. But yeah. I devoured the tub like it was...expiring soon...even though it wasn't. That's a better metaphor. But it sounds even dumber for some reason. You feel me, though? I loved this stuff.

There are a lot of calories in there, for what is essentially Indian-spiced rabbit food. But curry always packs a high calorie count. I guess I'd rather be eating curry powder and canola oil than some goofy trans fats, though. The quinoa and cauliflower were just so fresh and hearty that I just kept craving this salad over and over. It was very filling, and I think you could space this small tub out to even more than three servings, as suggested on the packaging, particularly if you're just having it as a side dish or a between-meal bite. It makes a great tide-me-over, pick-me-up type snack. If you're having it as a stand-alone meal, like for lunch or whatever, then three servings is probably too many to expect from the tub, however.

The curry isn't overpowering. It's there, but there's still plenty of room for the nuttiness of the quinoa and the caulifloweriness of the cauliflower to come through. What is that actually called—caulifloweriness? Gardeniness? Plantacularity? I don't know. But it tastes more like actual cauliflower than many of TJ's experimental cauliflower derivatives, and that's not a bad thing if you're okay with the taste of cauliflower.

Sonia thoroughly enjoyed it as well—like four and a half stars kind of enjoyment, her highest score in quite a while. Her only complaint is the price. $3.99 for the tub. It's not outrageous, but she thinks she can somehow approximate the mixture herself by purchasing quinoa, cauliflower, and curry individually. Seems like a lot of work to save a buck or so. But if you're so inclined, go for it, wifey.

I give it four stars. Again, I don't know if this will have the universal appeal that some other Trader Joe's cauliflower offerings have had—I'm guessing there will be a significant faction of haters on this one, but I'll go out on a limb and tell you that if you think it sounds good at all, you should probably give it a try.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

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