Thursday, September 6, 2018

Trader Joe's in the Hood

Ring the bells! Sound the trumpets! The Trader Joe's finally opened in my neighborhood!

And it's been glorious - indeed a reason to celebrate and discover new (or new to me) products that are extra special.

Here is what I find in my cart as of late:

Seltzers With A Splash - These low or no cal beverage options remind me of Spindrift Sparkling Water with their hint of real fruit juice. Zippy and refreshing, they are a great way to shake up your sparkling water routine (except please don't actually shake them unless you want to be humans with a splash).

Blueberry Vanilla Chevre - An easy and decadent snack or essential component to any cheese board spread. The tangy and creamy goat cheese is cut by the bright acidity of blueberries. Slice a round onto a wafer and it tastes like cheesecake. Plus, the berry color is just gorgeous - ignore the bad picture and trust me!

Spatchcocked Chicken - Yes, the name might induce a giggle or two, but this is such a brilliant way to produce an evenly cooked and flavorful chicken - and they've done all the dirty work for you. The lemon rosemary packed more flavor than the BBQ version, but I think if you threw the latter on a grill, it would amplify the seasoning.

Cruciferous Crunch Collection - It's a bagful of greens that on their own, get a bad rap. They are just so darn healthy, how could they also be tasty? Well, in this combo they most definitely are. Enjoy as an extra crunchy side salad or use it as a base for a more elevated coleslaw.

Neapolitan Joe-Joe's - I'm not even a Joe-Joe fan (I know, LuRuSo=weird), but these cookies make me happy. Why choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry when you can have all three? They capture the dreaminess of that classic ice cream cone flavor all wrapped up into one little cookie confection.

Newton's Folly Semi-Dry Cider - We started with a beverage, so let's end on a beverage - this time for the adults. Not too sweet, not too sour, just enough fizz. To me, this may be the perfect hard cider; delicious at any time of year.

As for some TJ Trivia, did you know you can taste test in-store any product that is ready to eat? Go ahead and ask a crew member to open up a package that you are curious about.

Or if you opt for the purchase without trying it and find yourself disappointed, Trader Joe's will refund you the amount without any hassle. This policy makes it an easy decision to try something new and unknown.

Rather than copycat products, many Trader Joe's items are made by the same brands you know and love, only in disguise and at a much lower price point. For example, in Minnesota you can imbibe the Trader Joe's Art of the Still Organic Vodka and be drinking Prairie Vodka for $4 less a bottle. Or munch on popcorn that is just as addictive as local darling Angie's - because it is one and the same. Have you uncovered any hidden brand names amongst the Trader Joe's shelves?

With the downtown location being a short jaunt for me, there are sure to be more Trader Joe's-themed posts to come. Until then...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Over the Rainbow in the Water

I love floaties. I love rainbows.
Therefore, I doubly love rainbow floaties. 
Truth be told, I don't have a pool or lakeside property, but I still have this urge, no - need, to own at least one rainbow floatie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Loving Lilac

I've always avoided pastels. I'm more of a bold, gem-hued kinda gal. But when winter trudged on into the months of March and even April, I began to be drawn to the shades of lilac popping up in various products. Perhaps a bit of purple pastel is needed in these grey times?

Here is a sampling of lilac colored accoutrements to give you a spring outlook until the actual blossoms fill your senses:

LuRuSo and Baby B Amongst the Lilacs

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Crack

If you are like me, you have a slight obsession with Cadbury Mini Eggs.

I mean, such a beautiful sight!

Every year I can't resist buying a bag - like, a big bag - and then I spend the rest of the season dreaming up ways to eat them, like HERE and HERE.

Well, this might be my favorite mini egg-themed treat thus far. I call it: Easter Crack. I know, that name sounds...wrong...but believe me, it's oh so right.

If you haven't had "crack" (well, dessert crack - the other crack is WHACK, ya hear?), it's basically saltine crackers or matzo with a layer of caramel followed by melted chocolate. Once it is all set, you break it into random bite sized pieces. And it is soooooooo addictive. Hence...crack. It can be jazzed up in all sorts of ways. The star of my Easter Crack is, of course, Cadbury Mini Eggs, but I also added pretzels and kettle corn for that perfect salty/sweet combo. 

It's quite silly saying this is a recipe as it takes almost no effort, but here ya go:

Easter Crack
1-2 sleeves saltine crackers (depending on pan size)
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 package chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet, but you do you)
Cadbury mini eggs, smashed
Mini pretzels*, kettle corn, or whatever your little Easter heart desires

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange a layer of crackers so they fill your baking sheet. In a saucepan, heat the butter and brown sugar, stirring until boiling and slightly thickened and then remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour the mixture over the crackers, using a spatula or back of spoon to spread evenly over the crackers. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and as it cools, melt the chocolate chips (whatever your preferred method). Spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle any chosen toppings evenly over it, making sure they are settled into the chocolate. Cool for 2 hours in the fridge and then break into pieces. Enjoy!

*The only thing I would change is the shape of pretzels - the sticks easily popped off the surface when I broke it apart. Regular mini pretzels broken up or those round shaped ones would probably fare better.

Let's recap in pictures:

I would say how to store it, but honestly - this crack won't last. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

It's time to say goodbye to 2017.
 Bolinas, California

Each year has its unique hills and valleys, but 2017 seemed to be a particularly crazy rollercoaster ride for many. I think a lot of us also looked past personal issues and widened our circle of involvement and concern to include society and the world. That can be a heavy weight to take on. But we did it, and we got through it together.

And now it's time to say hello to 2018.
 Minneapolis, Minnesota

As always, the 1st of the year gives the illusion of a clean slate, a fresh breath, and a renewed purpose. I love being given that chance and I have such grand hopes for 2018. I was talking with a friend on New Year's Eve about how 8 is a version of the infinity sign. This compelling symbol represents so many powerful and healing qualities that I want to tap into as we journey through another year: balance, connection, and the dynamic flow of energy. So that even when we hit lows in 2018, we are able to have the clarity to find highs filled with infinite joy. 

Happy New Year to each and every one of you.
Meditation Mount - Ojai, California

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

12 Days of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Tis the season for holiday shindigs, and it seems that these days they are all Ugly Christmas Sweater themed. Remember when you wouldn't be caught dead in an unflattering, kitchy jumper? But now it is a "thing". No longer do you have to hunt down a Goodwill or beg Aunt Margie to let you raid her closet. Now Target has an entire section dedicated to them. The more pom poms, glitter, embroidery, animals, and puns, the better. Oh, and of course - lights! I remember my mom being ahead of the trend when she purchased a sweater in the late 80s that lit up "Happy Holidays". The battery pack alone weighed a pound. She wore it to a work holiday party and was asked to switch it off. I wonder what those coworkers would think of the options today?

If you are handy with a glue gun, you could always fashion your own:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Feels - Volume VIII

I feel like I am zigzagging to and fro for quick getaways or weekend stays quite often during this busy time of year. Wit & Delight's weekender bag fits everything I need for a couple of days away - check out the bottom compartment which is perfect for separating shoes! It's designed with a combo of utility and style. Now off you go!

2017 has been a gut punch right up until the end. It will definitely be a year to remember, eh? With the #metoo movement gaining momentum and revealing some crushing realities about men that we may have even looked up to, I surveyed my friends to see whose downfall from bad behavior would be the biggest blow. The clear winner? Allen Bauer, himself:

I've heard only good things about Lady Bird and now that I've seen that other little art house movie (hint: rhymes with car doors), this will be my next film outing.

And I've watched enough talk show rounds with the leading lady to finally know how to pronounce Saoirse.

THIS couldn't be a better story (along with the accompanying and always classy Page Six photo).

Why are dogs just the best? A statement hoodie that reads my mind.

Thanksgiving may be over, but these super savory and sage-forward salt bombs keep the thanks a flowin'. It's one of those novelty items that actually work.

Not sure how long this product will be on the shelves after T-Day, but if you missed them this season, you know what to add to your shopping list for next November.

Might not be the perfect pairing for the above, but the release of Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 is upon us. Fruity and affordable, I enjoy this wine year-round, but there is something festive about uncorking the new vintage this time of year.

Isn't this just lovely?

I realize you could buy a plane ticket to Cancun for the same price (and I advise you do that and buy one for me while you're at it - Vitamin D is important during the winter months!), but the delicately crafted wreath is just so darling and magical and Christmas-y. I even spot a dachshund! It puts me in the holiday spirit.

Are you full of Christmas cheer yet? If you are struggling to find some merriment, watch this clip from a past Billy on the Street episode featuring Amy Poehler. It's become an annual viewing tradition for me. I promise you a few fa-la-la-la-las and a lot of ha-ha-ha-ha-has.