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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Trader Joe's PB&J Snack Duo

Bert & Ernie, Starsky & Hutch, Mac & Cheese, Hobbs & Shaw, Tubbs & Crockett, Batman & Robin, Siegfried & Roy, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Mulder & Sculley, Laverne & Shirley, Salt & Pepper, Salt N' Pepa, Thelma & Louise, Lucy & Ethel, Sonny & Cher, Beavis & Butthead, Bono & The Edge, Burger & Fries, Frodo & Sam, Jack Skellington & Sally, Chucky & Bride of get the point. 

And the point is: There are a lot of memorable duos in this world, but Peanut Butter & Jelly are as epic as duos come. And now it's more convenient than ever. There are six packs with eight peanut butter sticks a piece in this $3.99 box. Math isn't my strong suit, but I think that's about 48 scrumptious, wafery peanut butter sticks. And that's not even taking into account the tasty "raspberry fruit dip."

I'd say the jelly-esque fruit dip is a tad more dessert-like than your average pb&j sandwich jelly. It's both sweeter and a little thicker by my estimation, and there are little dark round things all through it. I guess those are raspberry seeds. They add a bit of extra texture and they look kinda cool, although, I think I would have been a tad grossed out by them when I was a kid.

Other than that, these are absolutely optimized for kids' school lunches. They taste good, they're fun, they're filling, they're convenient, and they're made of decent ingredients. If you lack children like Sonia and I do, then you'll just have to eat them yourselves. That shouldn't be a problem for us.

As for the peanut butter sticks: they're crispy and supple. They're not hard or tough at all. They have a tendency to snap in half when you dunk them in the raz dip. It's a little frustrating, but if you dunk a half a stick at a time or know how to brace the stick with your index finger pretty far down the length of it, near the pool of jelly, you'll be dipping like a pb&j duo pro in no time.

Sonia was surprised how much the sticks tasted like peanut butter. I mean, their main ingredient is peanut butter. In light of that, I was surprised how subtle the peanut butter flavor was. They seem to be a bit sweeter and maybe have a slight vanilla essence, too...? At any rate, we both liked them. We're happy with the stick to dip ratio and the overall value and convenience factor.

We'd definitely consider this for a repeat purchase. Four and a half stars from Sonia. Four from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Trader Joe's Organic Completely Cacao Chips

 Here's one of my favorite videos of all time. The poor kid...the facial expressions...the puffs of powder going's hilarious and it never gets old. As a parent of young kids I can totally see this happening with mine. 

And thanks to TJs I now have yet another way to get 'em on a day I need a laugh at their expense. 

I picked up a bag of Trader Joe's Organic Completely Cacao Chips mainly for my lovely bride, who just loves dark, dark chocolate. The darker, the btter. No milk. No sugar. No...anything except for cacao, in a not so gritty form ala cacao nibs which I've tried and it's a hard no from me. These chips are just smooth little discs, like half a drop of chocolate each, just waiting for someone unexpectedly to take a bite. Sadness may follow. 

It's really interesting how something so small can pack so much taste. They're so bitter that they're almost sour, if that makes any sense. Like, yes, there's a taste *of* chocolate, but they don't taste *like* chocolate. I can do about 90% dark chocolate bars but man, not these, by themselves. Too strong. Too bitter. Too...simultaneously chocolate and not.  

Of course, straight consumption likely isn't the intended use for these. Holiday baking anyone? Use 'em for that! Or if you have something that you want a small taste of chocolate for, use these TJ's chippies. My wife has put a small handful in her morning oatmeal or yogurt and there's enough sugar from those to rub off and make a palatable taste. Peanut butter on a graham cracker is an okay snack for a kiddo but for an adult, kinda meh...unless you add some of these. it's transformative. I even made small, paleo friendly snack just mixing these cacao bits with sunflower seeds, which sounds kinda awful...but it worked. Maybe just like us, the cacao chips aren't meant to be alone. 

It's only $2.99 for the large sleeve of them, which makes the chips a pretty decent value. If you have kids, have 'em try them...I'm still laughing about how mine fared. A good snack ingredient and a laugh is worth at least a double four, right?

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Completely Cacao Chips: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Trader Joe's Mini Spicy Pumpkin Samosas

It's an important distinction to make: these are spicy pumpkin samosas, not pumpkin spice samosas. Pumpkin spice samosas would be weird and maybe even a little gross. Hopefully even you pumpkin haters can set aside your disdain for the fall gourd and consider giving these a try...that is, if you like Indian food.

Because the spice blend here isn't ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and clove. It's cilantro, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Yes, I'm aware ginger is on both lists, but the order in which it falls within the list is significant. It's a background flavor here, not the main attraction. These samosas are a little sweet, too, but they're not "pumpkin pie" sweet, if you know what I mean.

In addition to real pumpkin, Trader Joe's Mini Spicy Pumpkin Samosas have paneer cheese and sweet potato within them, too. To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure if that combo was going to work, but it definitely did. Both Sonia and I were fans from our first bites.

We've always loved Indian food. After Mexican, Indian is probably our favorite type of international cuisine. There's a sweet, spicy, savory curry essence to these appetizers that works oh-so-well and is oh-so-unique. It's a harvesty kinda flavor, but it's also unmistakably East Indian-inspired. The heat level is mild to medium—enough to enhance the flavor but not enough to cause any discomfort to someone who enjoys spicy foods.

Like other Trader Joe's samosas we've tried, the breading here is crispy, flaky, buttery, and delectable. It might be a little on the oily side, but it adds to the richness of the flavor. The only complaint I can think of is that I wouldn't have minded some kind of chutney in a little packet on the side for dipping. I know, I know, I always make that same complaint, but a bit of chutney as uncommon as these little apps might have made them even more delicious.

$3.99 for 12 mini samosas. Four and a half stars from Sonia. Four from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

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