Snow Day Smoothie

I love the blog world – it is chock full of support, encouragement, friendship and great ideas. Recently I stumbled upon Erica’s blog, For the Sake of Cake, and discovered that there is a Trader Joe’s cookbook! How did I not know this?

My fingers quickly traveled to amazon and within a few clicks the I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook was en route to my house. Today I was blessed with a snow day, which meant I could snuggle up with my heated throw, a large mug of coffee and sift through my new cookbook without a care in the world. Cleaning and lesson plans can wait, thankyouverymuch.

After reading the acknowledgments and introduction (a sign that I really am a food blogger), I began planning my next shopping trip to my favorite destination. Hunger struck about halfway through the delicious looking recipes  and I decided to whip up my own Trader Joe’s creation.

When I visited my friend Veronika last spring I discovered the wonders of Trader Joe’s tart plain non-fat yogurt and how it turns an average smoothie into an epically delicious treat. When our Trader Joe’s finally opened this fall I immediately purchased a container.

Into my magic bullet went the tart yogurt and other Trader Joe’s finds: frozen wild blueberries, half a banana, and a splash of almond milk.

Added to the mix were a few frozen hand-picked strawberries from this summer, a dash of vanilla bean paste, and some spinach* for good measure.

*also from Trader Joe’s

Mmmm, ugly but delicious.

Snow Day Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 cup Trader Joe’s tart plain nonfat frozen yogurt

1/2 banana

1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/3 cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice)

1 cup fresh spinach

Directions

In blender, food processor or magic bullet, add all ingredients and blend until you’ve reached the desired consistency. If you’re using a magic bullet, add everything but the spinach and blend, then add the spinach and blend again.

What is your favorite Trader Joe’s staple?

Welcome to Spokane Trader Joe’s!

On Friday, October 28th Spokane welcomed its first Trader Joe’s! I seriously contemplated taking a personal day to attend the grand opening celebration. I decided not to spend the night in freezing temps, and instead waited a full 24 hours before running up the hill to buy out the store.

We were greeted by drummers.

I danced, I have no shame.

I went with my friends who have twin two-year-old boys, we told them we were going to the zoo. But a different kind of zoo, the kind that keeps food in cages and the people are crazy.

The store is around 10,000 square feet, which is in line with the normal Trader Joe’s intimate experience. And aside from the opening weekend crowds, the size didn’t make me feel too claustrophobic.

Beautiful murals of Spokane parks line the walls, this one of our Red Flyer wagon in Riverfront Park is my favorite.

The fact that my favorite mural is above the two buck Chuck section of the store is not lost on me.

Check out was a breeze, as every lane was open. I did damage in the $150 range, and walked out with lots of favorites.

After starting to load the car, we regretted carpooling.

It may look like a ridiculous amount for an in-town purchase, but the store is located on the opposite side of town. It took over a half hour to drive there (1 hour+ round trip), with no traffic.* It is actually located in my old neighborhood, which is the only reason I didn’t switch doctors, dentists, or optometrists when we moved. I now have an excuse to go to Trader Joe’s whenever I have a medical issue. Maybe I’ll actually go to the doctor when I have a cold from now on…

*This is, however, still 4 hours less than it would take me to drive one-way to the nearest Trader Joe’s prior to Friday.

They were only out of one item on my must-purchase list: Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. Items I was able to purchase include:

  • Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzles
  • Dark chocolate sea salt covered almonds
  • Australian licorice
  • Trader Joe’s brand 2% Greek plain yogurt
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • Tea tree oil face wash
  • roasted garlic hummus

I’m hoping the popularity of this store, and the number of Idaho, Montana and Canadian licenses I saw in the parking lot, are indication we will have a second Trader Joe’s in our future. Preferably on the north side of town. 🙂

What are your must buy items at Trader Joe’s?

Do you have a Trader Joe’s in your town? If not, how far do you travel to get your fix?

Safe and sound on the Left Coast.

A full Minneapolis foodie re-cap will be coming, but until then, I shall leave you with a very brief scene:

Ali buys me a well-known favorite treat at Trader Joe’s: Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels. I get very excited about the fact that Trader Joe’s has a location near Veronika and Stefan. Veronika promises to take me to Trader Joe’s.

Ali and I enjoy a bottle of Cab, pregnant Veronika cannot partake. I ask if we can go to Trader Joe’s before getting frozen yogurt…

Two containers of hummus are purchased.

Two containers weighing 8 ounces each, 5 ounces above the legal carry-on liquid limit.

Ali and I get creative.

Hummus makes its way past security, and is happily consumed by me.