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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Trader Joe's Pistachio Gelato

If one having a mustache is "mustachioed," then is one having a pistachio, or pistachio-flavored product, "pistachioed"?

If so, then neither Sonia nor I have been pistachioed in a while. 

We've had plenty of gelato here and there, particularly Talenti, which, incidentally, is the brand Trader Joe's is emulating so obviously with this plastic jar of gelato. We love those jars. Long after the delicious product has been consumed, they can be used for storage, or even for cereal or beverages. So convenient. Like a souvenir cup with every purchase. And once it's outlived its usefulness, right in the recycling bin it goes.

But it's been a hot minute since I've partaken in a pistachio-flavored frozen dessert of any kind. And we're reviewing the food product, not the packaging, right?

Fortunately, the food within the jar outshines the jar itself—even with that sexy, green Starbucks-like emblem. The flavor, to me, is immediately recognizable as pistachio. It's nutty and sweet—but not too sweet. There's a good bunch of pistachio pieces scattered evenly throughout the gelato, and they blend so perfectly, I can't imagine a better nut to dairy ratio.

Sonia thought she tasted coconut just as much as pistachio. If I eat the product with that in mind, I guess I can see what she's talking about. Coconut oil is one of the main ingredients, and coconut and pistachio are actually very similar, dessert-like, nutty flavors if you think about it. They're both right up there with peanuts, pecans, and almonds as far as tasty nuts (and legumes) you might want to throw in a pie...or cake...or ice cream.

And the texture is just what you want a gelato to be—very similar to ice cream but denser, thicker. It's best when you eat it nice and cold, but not frozen solid. It's gotta be riiight when the outer edges of the gelato are getting slightly drippy—right when it's stiff, but slightly pliable, so you can appreciate both its heaviness and its delicateness.

I, for one, think it's a very tasty product and would happily purchase it again. Sonia liked it as well, although she'd like to see whole pistachios in the mix, rather than bits. We're aware TJ's has at least one other flavor of this Talenti-esque gelato...Caramel Cookie Crunch, which was unavailable at the time we purchased this jar. Perhaps that's another review for another day...stay tuned.

Four stars a piece on this pistachioed product.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Trader Joe's Garlic Basil Linguine Pasta, Trader Joe's Mirepoix, and Trader Joe's Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth

Well, this probably sounds familiar: We're busy. Constantly busy. I continually work 11-plus hour days. Sandy works part time outside the house and more than full time inside with our little girlies. Add on top of that our girls, our several nights a week worth of activities like Girl Scouts and dance lessons, normal errands and chores as well as our desire for our house to not appear like we live in squalor, and us occasionally wanting a little down time or God forbid a good night's sleep...we're busy.

And of course ya gotta eat. Even our girls, who take forever. Like our four year old the other night who somehow took over an hour to eat a slice of pizza, a cucumber, and some grapes...which is all food that she actually likes. Ridiculous.

So time is at a premium, but some chilly nights only a bowl of warm homemade (or homemade-ish enough) soup will do. Nights like that call for this trio: Trader Joe's Garlic Basil Linguine Pasta, Trader Joe's Mirepoix, and Trader Joe's Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth.

First up: linguine! Who doesn't like a good al dente noodle? They are the absolute highlight of any chicken noodle soup. I mean, yes, absolutely, you could use these garlic basil noodles as a regular kinda pasta dish - toss with some butter, a little sauce maybe, pair with some grilled chicken, etc - but they work well for soup, too! The herbal aroma is fairly potent when opening the bag and while the final taste isn't quite as potent as initially suggested, there's enough added flavor to to make this TJ's garlic basil linguine a fine choice for all your noodlin' needs.

Life pro tip though: These are long guys. Break them in half if you put them in soup unless you like slappin' broth around everywhere.

Next: TJ's mirepoix, which roughly translates as "lazy American prechopped rabbit food." Nothing magic here, just the classic carrot, onion and celery mix. Open container, dump in pot. No peeling, no trimming, no chopping, no nothing. Convenience all the way. Listen, I actually really enjoy food prep. Few things make me happier than prepping a large pile of veggies and browning meat for homemade's therapeutic and relaxing and all that. But sometimes, it's strictly business between me and dinner, and those times call for mirepoix. It's definitely a product to use within a day or two of purchase, so plan accordingly.

Lastly: TJ's organic low sodium chicken broth. It's real nice for when you don't have your own ready made chicken stock at home. Just, uh, don't forget to flavor it some. The sodium content is pretty low (less salt per serving than Cheerios) which is a great thing...but leaves it all a little bland, as we found out when silly old distracted dad here totally neglected to put any additional seasonings in it before serving up. Kids didn't mind, but we did. Fortunately we had just the thing for a good savory taste. I'll take the vantage point that this makes a great healthy base to flavor as you wish, while Sandy's a little caught up on the inherent blandness.

Well, there you have it. These three TJ toss togethers and some left over chicken combined forces to make a quick, comfy pot of soup in less than 20 minutes that we all happily enough chowed down on our nightly familial pitstop cram session. It feels kinda silly to actually grade them all separately...can I just say they all ought to be regular pick ups, especially now in the middle of soup season? Not bad all the way around.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Garlic Basil Linguine Pasta, Trader Joe's Mirepoix, and Trader Joe's Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

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