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Friday, November 6, 2020

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Batons

The weather here in the upper midwest has been absolutely gorgeous this week. Highs in the low 70s, lows in the low 40s, not much humidity, and often not a cloud in the's like the fall we didn't have in October, when we saw a week with highs in the 20s and 30s and even an early snowstorm. So we've been spending a lot of time in the backyard.

We put out our lawn chairs, get a campfire going in the fire pit, let the dogs run around. Sometimes we even work out there during the day. I might smoke a cheap cigar or have a beer. Sonia will either have a cider or an insulated cup of coffee. We try to stay off our phones while we're out there. It's a great way to unplug from all the madness—not that we watch any mainstream media anyway, but we still get a good enough dose of the outside world to raise our blood pressure when we're on Youtube and Bitchute or surfing conspiracy investigative research forums.

This week we both sat out with some java and munched on these pumpkin spice batons. I think these are the third or fourth flavor of batons that we've sampled from Trader Joe's. We missed the mango batons in summer 2016, but we've had enough to know what to expect, and in general, we're fans of the crispy little snacks.

Each iteration of baton has had a wafery outer shell that's delicate, crunchy, and lightly sweet. There's also an inner layer of creamy, smooth filling, which is significantly sweeter and provides most of the flavor. This particular variety has a nice pumpkin spice blend that's not overbearing or too subtle—it's right in the middle as far as pumpkin spice intensity, and it's decidedly satisfying.

They go particularly well with coffee and are obviously fairly dunkable by virtue of their long, skinny straw-like shape. They soak up just enough of the beverage to get slightly soggy on the outside, but not enough to become structurally unstable. In other words, you can dunk repeatedly without much fear of half the baton breaking off and going for a plunge to the bottom of your drink.

For only $1.99 these are great for a fall snack or as a pairing for your morning cuppa joe. We're looking forward to a relaxing weekend in our backyard sanctuary, and we'll probably polish off the rest of the canister while we're out there. We'd definitely consider purchasing again next fall. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from yours truly.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Trader Joe's Nantucket Style Cranberry Pie

Writing this in the wee morning hours of a near sleepless night on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday after the first Monday of a November that is (hopefully) nearing the culmination of yet another four year cycle that's been unlike any most of us have been around for, in a year like no other...there's a lot of different ways I could go with this next thought, but none of you are here for that. 

You're here for the pie! 

Specifically, Trader Joe's Nantucket Style Cranberry Pie.

Saying this while knocking on wood, no matter what lies ahead, Thanksgiving is a few weeks away. It's my favorite holiday of the year. It may look and feel different this year - Zoom calls and not card tables and folding chairs and all - but, no matter what, I'd like to focus on what I have to be thankful for. I urge you to do the same. Maybe give this a read if you need a nudge

Anyways, on to the Nantucket pie. Oh the limericks going thru my head right now. Is this a thing up there? Gonna have to check 'em out sometime. 

Do you like cranberries? If so you're gonna love this pie. that's the case with us. Tart, sweet, firm, a little smushy and jelled up - though there's a place in my heart for the stuff from a can, this is the real cranberry sauce kinda deal. Even better, there's a few walnuts sprinkled in. I emphasize a few. That's my only real complaint - a couple more crunchy walnuts would make this pie an absolute winner.

The crust almost makes up for it. Almost. It's not quite shortbready, but it's not plain ol' plain ol' either. I'm not sure what the proper classification is, except tasty. i can live with tasty. Can you? Good. 

It's $6.99 for the pie. Best deal in the world? Nah. but for something tasty and easy to put on the table, it's not awful at all either. Found in the freezer section, you can either thaw it at room temp for a couple hours - previous experience with this method suggests the longer the better - or you can stick in the oven, paper dish and all, for about 20 minutes then let cool to room temp. While not sure if a traditional way to enjoy or not, a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream doesn't seem completely out of line.

As an added bonus, my kids (who I am continually thankful for, despite my thinning hairline and wallet thanks to them) don't really like more dessert for me!

Give it a try. As with most anything else, I truly hope everyone gets their piece of the pie they want and deserve. We'll give this one a good score.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Nantucket Style Cranberry pie: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


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