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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Maple Bacon Flavored Stuffies Dog Treats

If your dogs are like ours, they feel left out during fall while humans gorge themselves on pumpkin and maple flavored stuff, while they generally only have normal dog treats available. Well, thankfully now they're in luck. Trader Joe's has stuffed not just pumpkin, not just maple, but also bacon flavor into these unique autumnal snacks for man's best friend.

I tried a bite. Seriously. They're surprisingly flavorful for dog biscuits. You can actually taste maple flavor. I didn't notice pumpkin or pumpkin spice really. There may have been a subtle trace of cinnamon, but that's about it. There's no bacon flavor per se in my opinion, but there is an unusually smoky element. I'm guessing it's supposed to be like smoked bacon or something. "Iiiit's BACOOOON!" added our dog Alfred, or so I imagine he's thinking behind those big brown eyes now popped wide open, staring at the bag begging for just one more treat...

Years ago, we saw quite a few very large, extraordinarily hard dog cookies from Trader Joe's. We had to snap them in halves or even quarters just to make them manageable for our little monsters.

These treats are much smaller and softer, so they're a little more optimized for small dogs. We still generally break them in two, but it's very easy to do so, and I'm confident even a whole piece wouldn't kill them. If you have a big dog, just give him a couple at a time, and I'm sure Rover will be perfectly happy.

Also, some of our older pet treat reviews had quite a few comments stating that Trader Joe's treats made their pets sick—that they'd vomit or have bowel issues after consumption. Our doggies have fairly sensitive systems, but they've never had any issues with TJ's treats. Granted, we only give them one or two at a time, and I think that's key: moderation, even for canines. But if your pups have ever had issues, by all means, drop a comment down below for the benefit of future readers.

Our dogs both loved these. They'd push each other out of the way just to grab the next treat, with Alfred just a little more enthusiastic than Sadie. So four paw prints from Alfie and three and a half from Sadie.

Sonia and I will each add half a paw print because there's a resealable bag, fun artwork on the packaging, and $3.79 for 14 oz. is a decent value. I think this seasonal product might be done for the year. You might get lucky if your individual store has some overstock, but you'll probably have to wait until fall '22 to get your paws on more Trader Joe's Pumpkin Maple Bacon Flavored Stuffies Dog Treats.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Trader Joe's Green Bean Casserole Bites

It's understandable why, when tasked with the creation of the new Trader Joe's Green Bean Caserole Bites, a poofy phyllo pastry shell was chosen. First of all, it's delicious. Second of all, it adds a comforty vibe and a fun twist on a holiday meal classic. Third, it's certainly more than capable of fulfilling the role. 

But...that's not to say it was the best choice. 

I'm thinking BIG here. What's the absolute best thing about green bean casserole? The fried onion crunchies atop, of why not make a shell out of them!?!?!? 

That'd shoot this benign beany bites to legit legume legends in no time flat! Who WOULDN"T love that. There'd be no tenth dentist here...everyone would agree that was an AWESOME idea. 

Oh well. As is, the casserole bites make a decent, and kinda fun little snackbite. The issue seems to be that the phyllo does add a definite puff pastry feel, and seems more dominant than the green bean/mushroom soup filling or the few little onion crunchies sprinkled in. It's too bad because the flavor of the filling is spot on, but with a little touch of cheddar cheese it goes up a notch. There's a little innovation right there, and it's delish.

Will give extra credit for the air fryer instructions on the box. You know your fanbase, TJ's. Still watch them carefully as ours got a little burned even when we cut the time a minute or so short.  

I neglected to snap a picture of the nutritional info or ingredients, so I'll link the TJ's website here for that info. A serving size is one whole box!?!?! Lol TJ's, don't be so greedy and share. 

Not great, not bad. So much potential. As is? Meh. Double threes. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Green Bean Casserole Bites: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Trader Joe's Maple Espresso Black Tea Blend

It's getting to be that time of year when chugging ice cold beverages all the time simply isn't practical. I'll still pound those 8 oz of Red Bull first thing in the morning, but if I go outside for any significant amount of time during these colder months, I'll start to crave something hot.

I'm not really a coffee guy, so tea is the obvious alternative. Wait a minute. Isn't espresso a type of coffee? 30 seconds of research indicates it's actually a brewing method. Don't get me wrong, I have had espressos before, but I would have just described them as "coffees that are fancier than regular coffees with also maybe some froth." Shows how much I know.

As soon as you open up the box, you can smell something mapley. It's a nice rich fragrance. On its own, it doesn't really taste as good as it smells, however. The maple flavor is barely there and the tea packs far less punch than Earl Grey or English Breakfast or any of the other black tea blends I'm familiar with. Doubling up on the tea bags helped intensify the flavor.

The mellowness of the flavor does allow it to be mixed with milk and sweetener for a decent latte type beverage. It's much tastier that way, and the beautiful wifey agrees. I liked adding milk and maple syrup to my makeshift latte for a little extra mapliciousness, while Sonia experimented with numerous additives including half and half, almond milk as well as syrup, sugar, and stevia, but finally settled on honey as her sweetener of choice.

Despite containing the ingredient "espresso coffee" I don't think it tastes much like espresso or any other kind of coffee either, with or without fixins. Nevertheless, $2.69 for 20 cups of warm, mapley caffeination isn't a bad value. Sonia would definitely purchase again.

Four stars from Sonia. Three from me.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

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