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Friday, June 3, 2022

Trader Joe's Cocoa & Sea Salt Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal isn't the most exciting food in the world, but I've never minded it. I've never exactly adored it, either. You just have to jazz it up a bit, you know? Add some fruit, maple syrup, or maybe
some pickle seasoning and you're in business. It's simple, nutritious, and filling, even if it lacks fancy colors and fantastic flavors, it's still a staple for many people around the world, including most Americans. In short: don't despise the small and common things like oatmeal in this life, and if you—or Trader Joe's—does something to make it magically delicious, then all the more power to you and your gourmet-ish breakfast.

Cocoa and sea salt? Not the first combo I'd think to throw in my bowl of oatmeal, but I must admit it works. I tried a wee bit of the mix before heating it in the same way I might lick the batter off the mixing spoon before baking cookies. Yeah. No. Don't do that. It's not the same thing. It's gross. All I could taste was the salt. It was a little bitter...and extremely salty.

After a brief spell in the microwave, however, cocoa was indeed the dominant flavor. The sea salt was still detectable but much more subtle. There's still that ever-present wholesome nutty oat flavor that always seems to accompany oatmeal, but the cocoa flavor made it even more pleasant.

It's not over-the-top chocolatey, either. It's not like a dessert or even like a kid's chocolate cereal. There's just a moderately sweet cocoa essence and a touch of saltiness, appropriately balanced against the oatmeal's intrinsic graininess. Sonia adds walnuts to hers for protein and even more nutty goodness. She says she likes it more and more with each bowl she has.

I like it too, but maybe not quite as much as the beautiful wifey. Of course we make ours with milk. Or in the absence of cow's milk, we use almond milk, or possibly some mixture of half and half and water. If I were TJ's marketing guru, I'd call it Trader Joe's Cocoatmeal, and there would be a chocolate vampire or cuckoo bird on the box. Even though it's not really aimed at sweet-toothed children, the box is a bit boring and doesn't do the product justice in our opinions.

$2.99 for 10 packets of oatmeal. Good value. Will buy again. Four and a half stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Trader Joe's Seasoning in a Pickle


Pickles! Love 'em? Well, here's definitely something for you - Trader Joe's Seasoning in a Pickle. Make anything taste like a pickle!

This is one of those items I swear has been around for ever...but if it had we surely would have reviewed it by now, so it must not be...but I swear it must not be new....even though it apparently is....I guess it's just one of those things that made way too much sense to not exist that it's presence is taken almost for granted. 

I mean...TJ's Popcorn in a Pickle was a big dill, er, deal way back in *checks notes*....2015? That's like a lifetime ago! Last year brought us many things, but thankfully one of them was TJ's Chips in a Pickle. Now, finally, in 2022, this? This is one slow developing trilogy here. 

Anyways, want to make anything, not just not snack food, taste like a pickle? You're in luck! If you've previously procured those pre-mentioned picklish products, imagine the same taste in a seasoning blend. That's precisely what we got going on here. There's plenty of salt, naturally, and vinegar and dill and a wee touch of garlic and everything. I hate to use the same words as the packaging, but "bite" and "tang" really do sum it up well. It's everything a pickle can be minus the liquid part of the brine and cucumber. Plenty potent - just a dab will do ya, so sprinkle on with care. 

My only qualm is questioning its utilization. I mean, I like pickles aplenty, but I don't necessarily want everything and anything to taste like one, sure. Could put some on some veggies, I guess, right? And of course, there's always popcorn - thanks, TJ's for that idea. But what else? I'm sure my pickle-obsessed kiddos can come up with some ideas, but I'm not sure how many of them would actually be good ones...for some reason I can hear them saying "oatmeal" and that's a hard no from me. Maybe I'm struggling creatively right now and y'all can fill me in. 

Grab one if you feel so inclined. I'm not 100% on this, but I'm pretty sure it's in the $3ish range. Dillicious. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Seasoning in a Pickle: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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