When Life Gets Busy- Trader Joe's Edition

Happy October! This month is my favorite for a couple of reasons:

1.       It is my birthday this month, October 7th to be exact

2.       My wedding is this month (AH!)

3.       Fall weather is my favorite-bring on the sweaters, cozy things, and apple everything!

Summer is officially over, and the grind has begun again. When your focus is on work, family, or school, sometimes good intentions about cooking at home can take a back seat. As much as I adore cooking and intend to make all my meals from fresh produce, life happens! I am not going to cancel a meeting or not go to an event just because I want to make lunch at home. When I know I have a busy week ahead of me, I supplement my grocery list with some easy, convenient, and healthful prepared foods. I try and focus on getting pre-made foods that have recognizable ingredients and none of the additives, artificial flavors, and refined vegetable oils. When I get a meal that includes a dressing or a sauce, I don’t use the whole thing at once, and instead put it on a tablespoon at a time, until it tastes good to me.

This week, I wanted to show you what I like to get at Trader Joe’s (the best!) when I don’t have time, or to be honest, maybe don’t feel like cooking at home. I have also included some simple recipe ideas to make in a pinch with some TJ’s staples.

Blueberry Raspberry Oatmeal Muffins:

I love the ingredient list on these oat bran and fruit-sweetened muffins. I like to take half of one of these muffins and a 2% Greek Yogurt on the way out the door in the mornings. The combination of protein and fat from the Greek Yogurt combined with the fiber filled muffin keeps me full and satisfied. I love baked goods and these muffins are a healthy alternative to the regular coffee shop option.

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Perfect Bars

The hype around these bars is well-deserved! I just tried the Pumpkin Spice flavor, so yummy for the fall with a cup of hot coffee or I have half as a nighttime dessert. Do not be alarmed by the high calorie count, these bars are filled with healthy fat and protein from the nut butter, protein powders, and egg powder. There is a fair amount of sugar from the honey, so I get these as a fun treat every so often.

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Cauliflower Tabbouleh:

It is a grain free option of one of my favorite Mediterranean salads, Tabbouleh. I like to eat this with a side of salmon or roasted chicken and a squeeze of lemon.

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Curried Quinoa with Cauliflower:

I love the warming flavors in this quinoa salad along with with the fiber and protein packed into each serving. I use as serving as a salad topper or on its own mixed with chickpeas or chicken. I have also packed a cup of it with some chopped apple slices, dates, and nuts thrown in, for lunch.

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Salad Blends (not pictured)

Instead of getting the pre-made salads, I like to get the bagged Complete Salad blends like Harvest Blend Salad, Broccoli and Kale Slaw, etc. Just throw on your protein of choice and dress as needed. Or I add in more nuts and avocado. These are salads I look forward to having.

Misto Alla Griglia

I like to sauté these veggies and add them to pasta with some Parmesan cheese. I have also used these veggies in sandwiches and wraps with hummus. So flavorful and delicious.

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Cauliflower gnocchi (not pictured)

A lighter, veggie packed pasta option that can be mixed in with your favorite pasta sauce, I like it with pesto, and some spinach and cheese thrown in. Cauliflower is so versatile.

Organic Superfood Pilaf (not pictured)

This is a great nutrient dense meal that can be jazzed up with a protein. I love the sweet potatoes in here, and I typically leave these at the office for a lunch in a pinch!

A couple things I want to try at Trader Joe’s would be some of the soups, the Gone Bananas frozen bananas covered with chocolate, and the cauliflower crust.

What are your favorite Trader Joe’s purchases?