Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ Category

Trader Joe’s – Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal – Food Review

05/23/2018

Trader Joe, cereal, Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal, calories, price, nutrition, reviewMay 23, 2018

Need a chocolate fix in the morning?  This will get it done.  This is an adult cereal.  By that I mean it’s not sweet, even though the second ingredient on the label is milled cane sugar. The almond slivers and the few chocolate chunks in the cereal are inconsequential.  Both are overwhelmed by the cocoa flavor.  Cocoa powder is the 4th from last ingredient on the label.  But it punches well above its weight in dominating the flavor.  For this household that’s a good thing.

Nutritionally, like most breakfast cereals, there’s not much here.  Even though not sweet to the taste, total carbohydrates are 38g per serving size. That’s equivalent to around 3+ slices of sandwich bread.  Since rolled oats are the primary ingredient, there are 4g of fiber per serving.

The calorie count per listed serving size is 250.  However if you visually fill the bowl your serving size is likely to be bigger.  That’s because the “clusters” (if they can even be called clusters) here are very small.  So if you want to keep your calorie count down to the number on the box, weigh this one or underfill your bowl compared to other cereals.  Part of the small cluster size may be from the granola breaking apart during shipping.  Regardless, be aware.

Trader Joe, cereal, Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal, calories, price, nutrition, reviewThis was eaten dry, as a snack, and with almond milk.  Both testers liked the cereal.

Price $2.99 -16 ounce box

Calories 250 per serving (55g)

(about 8 servings per box)

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Trader Joe’s – Pasqua – Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore – 2015 – DOC – Wine Review

05/15/2018

trader joe, wine, review, price, valpolicella ripasso, pasquaMay 15, 2018

The wine has a mild earthy aroma translating to a dry and earthy feel in the mouth. There’s a slight burn as it exits at the back of the throat. It’s a little edgy which some people would call character.  This is a well made wine.  For many people this will probably work better as a food, or table, wine.   For people who like this style of basic old world wine it’s also a good sipper.

Most reviews on the web give this an above average rating and prices to match that.  At $9.99 a bottle it’s a bargain at Trader Joe’s.  If you’d like to expand your experiences with Italian wines, this is a good one to try.

 Price $9.99

Trader Joe’s – Cotswold Double Gloucester Cheese – Food Review

05/07/2018

Trader Joe's, double gloucester cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionMay 7, 2018

A little bit of mold later and I’m still alive.  Some scrapping with a knife took care of the mold before the actual tasting.  That’s one of the problems with storing cut cheese.  Even in a cold refrigerator, it can get a little moldy on the outside.  Of course I was 3 weeks past the “sell by date” on the cheese before I got around to digging this out of the depths of my refrigerator for review.  In the future I’m just going to have to eat faster.

Semi-hard or semi-soft, you decide that.  The consistency is close to an American cheese.  There’s a nice flavor to the cheese, produced by the cheese and the caramelized  onions and chives added to the cheese.  Overall, this is a mild cheese with a good flavor.  The cheese is not quite spreadable, but soft enough to stay on a cracker.  The cheese nicely paired with some wine for part of the review.

The cheese melted easily in the microwave.  The warming also enhanced the flavor.  In fact, the best use may be as a topping to vegetables or a burger.  Just add the cheese near the end of cooking.  The cheese also did nicely in a grilled cheese sandwich, producing a mildly stepped-up experience from the traditional American cheese.

If you’d like to find out how the cheese gets its name, click here.

Price  $9.99 per pound      Calories  110  per ounce (28g)

For a similar and more flavorful cheese, you may also want to try Trader’s caramelized onion cheddar.

Meat Lovers Vegetarian Chorizo Queso Dip – recipe

05/04/2018

recipe, queso, cheese, dip, vegetarian, chorizo

Here’s a vegetarian version of my original queso dip recipe with a vegetarian soy chorizo product substituted for the original Italian sausage.  In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t actually measure the spices.  So vary the guidelines below to your taste.  As is, this is a fairly spicy hot recipe.  However it was always well received at work with repeat requests.

1 pound Clancy’s CheeseMelt (ALDI) or similar vegetarian cheese

1 package (12 oz) Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo or similar vegetarian product

1 – 10 or 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons crushed red peppers

4-8 tablespoons olive oil, or oil of your choice

1 medium diced onion

Add 4 tablespoons oil, oregano, crushed red peppers, basil, black pepper, parsley, onions to a skillet.  Heat and stir for about 2 minutes over medium heat to flavor the oil with the spices.  Remove the soy chorizo from the plastic casing.  Add soy chorizo to the skillet and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until done (see package directions.)  While cooking, add additional oil as needed to keep the soy chorizo from drying out.

Cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes while the soy chorizo is cooking.  Add the cubes to a large microwave safe bowl.  Melt the cheese in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  Remove and stir.  Return to the microwave, reheat and stir as needed until the cheese is soft and fluid.

Add the cumin and diced tomatoes with chilies to the melted cheese.  Add the cooked soy chorizo and spices.  Deglaze the skillet with wine or water and add to the cheese mixture.  Stir together.  Heat the final mixture in the microwave as needed.

That’s it.  The final product tends to be a little too thick for easy dipping.  Spoon over tortilla chips and go at it slowly at first.  Your mouth will be hit with a progression of different flavors ending with the heat.

Trader Joe’s – Dark Chocolate Crisps – Food Review

04/22/2018

Trader Joe's, dark chocolate crisps, review, price, calories, nutritionTrader Joe's, dark chocolate crisps, review, price, calories, nutritionApril 22, 2018

Need a chocolate fix but don’t want to spend 30 minutes on the tread mill working off the calories that come with most chocolate bars, then try these.

Instead of being molded into a bar, this chocolate has been molded into “chips.”  For comparison, think of chocolate Pringles – but without the potatoes.  Twelve chips make up about 1.5 ounces (42g), or 220 calories.  But, it only takes 1 or 2 chips to get a nice chocolate fix.  Now, the calories in 1 or 2 chips are so few, it may be possible to work them off with a nap.  Hmm, this is sounding better all the time.

This is a fine Belgian chocolate. The label lists 57% cocoa solids minimum.  For me, that’s about the perfect chocolate. It’s definitely far from a milk chocolate.  It’s not sweet, but it’s also not so bitter that it’s difficult to enjoy.  Mixed in with the chocolate are very small pieces of the “crisp” (puffed rice).  For my tastes they could’ve left this out.  However the crisp doesn’t detract very much from the chocolate fix.

At $2.49 for 4.4 ounces (125g) of quality chocolate, this is a bargain.  That bargain is further extended by the very little bit needed to satisfy that chocolate craving.

Price $2.49 (4.4 ounce package)

Calories 220 per printed serving size, 42g (about 1.5 ounces)

Trader Joe’s – Indonesian Flores Coffee – Whole Bean – Food Review

04/22/2018

Trader Joe's, indonesian flores coffee, review, price, whole bean, light-medium roastApril 22, 2018

The coffee beans have a medium brown color and are surprisingly oily for the claimed light-medium roast.  Along with the oil, the coffee also has a surprisingly deep flavor and body for a lighter roast.  This drinks more like a medium+ roast than the labeled light-medium roast.  However it doesn’t have the heaviness of a darker roast, nor the bitterness which too often accompanies the dark roasts.

As seems to be true of most of these TJ small lot coffees, by the time you read this it may be gone from the TJ shelves.  If and when it ever returns, it’s a nice coffee for people looking for a medium roast.

Price $8.99 (12 ounce bag)

Trader Joe’s – Spelt Risotto – Food Review

04/20/2018

Trader Joe, Spelt Risotto, price, nutrition, review, caloriesApril 20, 2018

They must have spelt it wrong, because by most standards this ain’t risotto.

Risotto is typically a rice dish.  More specifically it is a dish made from arborio rice.  This product is made from spelt.  No that wasn’t spelled incorrectly either.  Spelt is an ancient grain.   Basically, spelt is old wheat, or more specifically an ancestor of modern-day wheat.

Cooked and on the plate, the spelt in this product looks like small puffed wheat.  Unfortunately the spelt cooks up to a very firm texture which takes away from that nice creamy feel associated with traditional risotto.  Think of a creamy rolled oats oatmeal versus a steel cut oats oatmeal.  I even added another 4 minutes in the microwave to try to soften up the spelt.  No luck.  Reheated the next day, everything was even firmer.

Trader Joe, Spelt Risotto, price, nutrition, review, caloriesThe sauce has a bacon-like aroma and flavor, even though there’s no bacon in the product.  While not especially cheesy, the sauce had a nice flavor.

This is far from the best risotto I’ve had.  It’s rather disappointing. But considering I recently paid about $16 for a restaurant risotto which wasn’t much better, you’re only gambling with $3 if you’d like to try this and see how your ancient ancestors lived.

Price $2.99 per frozen bag (about 2.5 servings)

Calories, 200 per serving (175g)

Trader Joe’s – Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola- Food Review

04/13/2018

Trader Joe's, gnocchi al gorgonzola, review, price, calories, nutritionApril 13, 2018

This takes mac and cheese to a whole new level. Awesome sauce, that’s the only way to describe the gorgonzola based white sauce. It’s a beautifully flavored cheese sauce, rich in cheese flavor.

Like the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina reviewed earlier, in the bag are the frozen gnocchi and thin rectangular frozen pieces of sauce. A two-step cooking process in the microwave fist thaws and partially heats the two separate components. A quick stir blends both components together. Then another turn in the microwave completes the heating process.

The gnocchi varied from perfectly chewy to some that were a bit rubbery. The few that were rubbery may have been caused by a little over cooking in the microwave as a microwave tends to cook things on the edges of the container more than those in the center. Or there may have been some freezer burn from being in my freezer a bit long.

Trader Joe's, gnocchi al gorgonzola, review, price, calories, nutritionRegardless of chewiness, all the gnocchi did their job which was to provide a place for the sauce to adhere and keep the sauce in the mouth for as long as possible where the tongue’s tiny taste buds were temptingly tantalized to tear the tasty tidbits of sauce from the twirling gnocchi. This is a sauce that deserves to be savored as long as possible.

Price $2.99 per 16 ounce bag

Calories 250 per serving (about 3 servings per bag)

Grifone – Chianti Riserva DOCG – 2014 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

04/13/2018

trader joes, chianti, docg, riserva, 2014, grifone, review, priceApril 13, 2018

This is a medium-bodied wine which seemed a little harsh at first, but smoothed out once opened for a while. Mild tannins leave a mild earthy feel in the mouth.  Compared to the 2010 Grifone Chianti Riserva, this one is a little disappointing.  However, while not as good as the 2010 vintage, this is still a good red table wine pairing well with food.  It’s an acceptable sipper also, although there are more enjoyable ones, but not at this price point.

Price $5.99.

Trader Joe’s – Loacker Quadratini Dark Chocolate Wafer Cookies – Food Review

03/31/2018

March 31, 2018

Little squares, that’s what quadratini means.  But these are really little cubes.  That would be six squares in a cube, if anyone’s counting.

These are just like sugar wafers in the US, except they’re different.  The typical sugar wafer is a five layer combination of  light wafer cookie and relatively sweet creamy filling, most often in the shape of a long rectangle.

The Quadratini are a similar layering of a light wafer cookie with a creamy filling between layers.  Except in this case there are nine layers in the finished product.  And instead of a rectangle, the cookies are cut so that the length and width of the cookie roughly equals the height of the layers leaving a nine layer cube of around 3/4 inches (19.05 mm) to a side.  This creates a very bite-sized, very dainty and very light cookie.

The other difference between this and the US variation, is the sweetness.  These are not very sweet.  There’s a very European feel to the chocolate wafer and chocolate filling.  The taste of high quality cocoa predominates, minus much of the sugar that makes cocoa into chocolate.  Now, if this flavor isn’t for you, there are 10 other flavors available – but possibly not all at Trader Joe’s.

Price  $3.69 per 8.8 oz. bag

Calories  150  per 8 cookie cubes


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