My New Lover

 

 

I am currently having a love affair with Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Jalapeño Peppers. Like some other affairs, this one caught me off-guard and certainly wasn’t planned. My painting buddy Nicole told me about these fabulous peppers, just when I ran out of regular, old pickled jalapeños, and so I picked up a jar and gave them a whirl. Then they gave me a whirl.

 

At first, the sweetness threw me. I wasn’t sure I liked it. The sugary taste was odd on my weekly nachos. (May savory nachos.) But after getting through that first jar, I realized I liked it very much indeed, and swiftly moved on to a second jar.

 

I’ve now lost count of trysts jars and don’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. I’m even trying to figure out how to use the spicy, sweet liquid in a cocktail. If I figure that one out, I’ll let you know.

 

In the meantime, if you have access to a Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend these peppers. And if you don’t have access, well, too bad for you.

Tonight’s Forecast

 

 

I saw this at Trader Joe’s this week and it spoke to me, Beavis. Come tonight, I do believe it will speak to me again.

 

By the way – does anyone else channel random moments from “Beavis and Butthead” in their everyday lives? No? Oh. Me, neither then.

You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important.

 

 

Recently I was at Trader Joe’s and as I walked around the store, I kept passing the same woman. She was pushing a cart with a little girl in its seat. I guessed the girl to be around 3 or 4. The woman was talking on her cell phone the entire time I saw them. I heard the little girl calling, “Mommy!” over and over again. The woman kept talking on her cell. I heard the woman say, “That’s stupid!” into her phone. The little girl aped her, “Das Stupid! Das Stupid!” The woman kept talking on her cell.

 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared my thoughts on the rise of the need for attention in today’s youth. I posture that it’s based on their being among the first generation to have been raised by parents with cell phones. I think the parents’ obsession with talking to anyone but their children resulted in neglect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen crying children being ignored by their caregivers, while the so-called adults gabbed away on cell phones. It’s become so common, I don’t think most of us even notice it anymore. Now that those once neglected children have grown into young adults, they seem to be forever seeking the attention they were deprived of in childhood. Personally, I don’t think they’ll ever get it back. And that’s pitiful.

 

Back at Trader Joe’s, I heard the little girl again yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!” The woman walked away from the cart, cell phone seemingly glued to her ear, saying loudly into the phone, “This is important!” At that very moment, a gentleman around my age walked straight up to the woman, looked her in the face and said, “You know what else is important? That little girl.” As he said it, he pointed to the abandoned child sitting alone in the stray cart. My eyes grew big and I was sporting a grin so severe I thought my face would crack. I looked to the man’s smiling wife, who was standing nearby. She gave me a head nod and I gave her two thumbs up.

 

I’d like to tell you the yakety-yak woman actually heard the gentleman, and that she put her phone away and actively cared for her child. I’d like to tell you that when they exited the store, mother and daughter were talking to each other. But I can’t report any of that as fact, as none of it happened. After the gentleman spoke to the neglectful mom, she kept right on talking into her cell. As she was leaving the store (at the same time as I), she was still on the phone. Even in the parking lot, that little girl was crying, “Mommy! Mommy!” It seemed the child was heard by everyone in the vicinity. Everyone, that is, except the one person she so desperately wanted to reach.

 

Pitiful doesn’t begin to describe that situation.

My Friend, Trader Joe’s

 

 

I heard about some major news in the Denver, CO area: Trader Joe’s has opened there!

 

For those of you unfamiliar with Trader Joe’s, it’s a grocery store. It isn’t a giant store or anything, in fact it’s on the smallish side. And yet one could (theoretically) shop there exclusively, and not be left wanting for anything. First opened in Pasadena, CA in 1967, the store is now known across America.

 

Anyhoo, when my Colorado love-bugs told me about the Denver stores, they asked what I buy there. I mentioned a few things during that phone call, but have been thinking about it for a while now. So in the interest of helping very specific people in the mid-west, here are a few Trader Joe’s items – in no particular order – I absolutely love…

 

  • Pound Plus 72% Dark Chocolate – I keep this giant bar on hand and use it more than one might think. Because I’m not a fan of milk chocolate, this is my go-to most of the time when chocolate is called for in a recipe. And a single cube makes a perfect dessert for me.
  • Buttermilk – When I need it, this is where I get it.
  • Half and Half – I don’t know why I love TJ’s Half and Half so much, but I do. More than others. It doesn’t have to make sense. It simply is.
  • President’s Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is my workhorse olive oil. Yes, I have others that are used for special needs, but this one is my everyday oil and I go through it faster than I should. I even use it in cakes and brownies. The olive oil flavor is something I happen to like.
  • Tomato-Basil Marinara Sauce – This simple sauce serves as a base most of the time when I need red sauce. I jack it up, down and sideways – and always to lovely results.
  • Dijon Mustard – I’m a mustard junkie, and this dijon is my fave.
  • Unsweetened Soy Milk – Who needs sugar? This soy milk does its job without causing cavities.
  • Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar – This is another product I turn to again and again. And like Olive Oil, I go through this faster than you can believe.
  • Balsamic Vinegar (Jug) – This giant jug of Balsamico is more handy in our kitchen than I can say. I often make Balsamic reductions, and this baby is the vinegar for that. Salad dressings, marinades, sauces – you name it. Jug Balsamico rules.
  • Balsamic Vinegar (Small Bottle) – This Balsamico is aged just enough to give it a bit more quality than the jug. I don’t cook this one, as it’s better than that. And while I do own Balsamico that is so precious as to be dispensed from a dropper (I kid you not), this one serves most of my finer Balsamico needs.
  • Olive Oil Spray – This is another of those oil products that I use, regardless of the flavor. It doesn’t add so much olive oil flavor as to impact baked goods, so I use it all the time.
  • Brown Rice (All Varieties) – I don’t know why I love TJ’s Brown Rices so much, but I do. They’re yummy and consistently good.
  • Sourdough English Muffins – I’ve tried other Sourdough English Muffins, and for me there is no contest. These are the best and I love, love, love them.
  • Creamy, Unsalted Almond Butter – Peanut Butter does exist in our house, but it’s rarely used. Almond Butter on the other hand, is consumed regularly. And this one is primo.
  • Cheese – I’m a cheese whore, y’all. And I do occasionally buy cheese from swank sellers. But most of my cheeses are purchased at Trader Joe’s. There’s a good variety and the quality is consistent. Their Parmigiano-Reggiano is top-notch. Their Cave-Aged Gruyere makes me close my eyes in gratitude. When they carry a special item (usually seasonally), I get it while I can.
  • Instant Chai Latte Mix – I don’t drink this too often, but I do love it. The flavors are lovely and it’s sort of like a dessert for me.
  • Pesto Sauce – In season, I make homemade Pesto. But when that’s gone, I turn to TJ’s. Happily.
  • Jalapeno-Stuffed Olives – These bad boys are too yummy. And in a dirty martini, well, let’s just say Mikki is a happy girl.
  • Cornichons – Love these little French pickles. They add so much to a dish, be it Tuna Tartare or homemade Tartar Sauce.
  • Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract – This quality Vanilla Extract is top-notch. Please don’t use “Imitation” Vanilla Extract. It’s the little things, Kelly.
  • Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts – This package contains individually wrapped breasts, so I can pull out one at a time and keep the rest frozen. This chicken is high-quality and convenient.
  • Black Forest Bacon – Well I mean really, it’s bacon. Of course it’s good! But this one is flippin’ awesome. For me, pig-meat equals love.
  • Select Produce – I admit I don’t buy a lot of produce at TJ’s. This is because I’ve not had the greatest luck with some of it. The list of what I do buy includes Persian Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes, Bagged Avocados, Green Onions, Fresh Herbs, Lettuces, Blueberries (in season), Meyer Lemons, Shallots, Bananas, Gold Potatoes and Basil (when not growing it myself). And these items are trusted.

 

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, as I am wont to do. But when I tell you Trader Joe’s is a regular stop for me, I am not lying. I’m talking every single week, people. And I’ve not even mentioned the friendly staff, or the terrible parking, or the fab music. I love Trader Joe’s. I hope the folks of Denver will come to love it, too. Across America, there’s a lot of love for this store. And that’s a beautiful thing.

 

Whether or not you know TJ’s, here’s a little video put together by another Trader Joe’s fan. Enjoy.