Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade

Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade

Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade

We found a wonderful new (to us) product at Trader Joe’s this week: Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade: Traditional.  We have tried a Trader Joe’s tapenade item before, but it was discontinued last year and we have not found another product to take its place- until now.

This wonderful product (which is found in the refrigerated case near the salsa and hummus) is an excellent version of a tapenade.  There are nice big pieces of olives, pimentos and garlic in this spread giving a lot of flavor in each bite.  This is one of those yummy items to have in your frigid to add some pizzazz to an ordinary meal or snack

Are you familiar with the many ways to use Tapenade?   Here are a few ways we like to enjoy this Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade:

  • Spread thinly on a cracker or slice of bread
  • Tossed with hot pasta and Parmesan cheese
  • Spooned onto a piece of baked fish after cooking
  • As a dip with vegetables
  • But our favorite is in a  cold pasta salad!

This is how we used our container of Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade. We bought all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s as well- So easy and convenient! First we cooked some whole wheat pasta,  then sliced some cherry tomatoes in ½, added a can of garbanzo beans, sliced some green onions and used the Olive Tapenade and some Balsamic Vinegar as the dressing. We mixed everything all together and …. well…. YUM!

The pasta salad was very colorful and all those flavors combined overnight and the next day the  pasta salad was just fantastic!

Do you like Tapenade? Have you tried this item? What did you think?

Trader Joe’s Mini Lemon Blueberry Scones

Trader Joe's Lemon Blueberry Scones

Trader Joe's Lemon Blueberry Scones

Just in time for a rainy day here in Arizona: an afternoon tea party. Yes I know it is HOT here, but…well sometimes you just go with your gut and do something unusual, right?

It is Monsoon time here in Tucson and that means the possibility of about 2 hours of very strong rain any day now….

What it really means is that there are clouds in the sky, and rain in the mountains that surround the city. We will get a daily report about the “chance” of rain today in the city center  (say 30-50%) but rarely does it happen here for us (Hey it’s a desert, right?)

So while we were shopping at Trader Joe’s and the dark clouds were all around the city, we thought we might celebrate and have a little tea party.

OK we really meant to tell you was that we were going to buy these tasty scones and make some tea and enjoy them together. NOT that we were going to invite lots of folks over for a fancy snack or something… Yes it was really just an excuse to purchase these delicious looking blueberry lemon scones:  Trader Joe’s Mini Lemon Blueberry Scones.

Good news: The scones did not let us down. They were full of blueberries, and glazed with a lemony- sweet crust that actually had bits (some were big) of lemon peel visible. The scones were moist and “short” which is a nice way of saying they were a bit crummy…

A Trader Joe's Bluebery Scone

A Trader Joe's Bluebery Scone

Now we would not call these scones “mini”, but rather “just right” they were a nice sized snack, and they would be a nice addition to a larger tea party  selection if you wanted to go all out on your tea with sandwiches, cakes etc….

We wanted to go quick and simple so we just stopped for the scones.  And at 3pm  sat for a few minutes and sipped our tea and nibbled our scones and watched the dark clouds gather up on the edge of town.

Hey maybe tomorrow it will rain?   (That’s OK we have 4 more scones…..or do we???)

Have you tried these scones? What did you think?

How to make Trader Joe’s Waffles

Now, waffles are not usually on our Sunday AM radar at the house. Although we like to eat waffles when we are at a restaurant, (all crispy and golden on the outside) we do not have a waffle iron in  our kitchen yet. Oh well, some day….

Here is the recipe for waffles from the back of the box of Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake & All Purpose Baking Mix:

  • 3 ½ Cups Trader Joe’s Baking Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Water
  • ½ Cup vegetable oil

-Stir all ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your waffle iron to cook your waffles.

-Makes 12, 4 -inch waffles

Variations suggested on the box:

Golden Pecan Waffles- Stir in ½ cup chopped pecans into the batter.

Country Bacon Waffles: Add 6-8 strips of cooked bacon (crumbled) into the batter.

Waffles with Whipped Cream and Strawberries -my favorite! Make the Waffles according to the directions. Top with whipped cream and sliced strawberries- eeks! There is nothing as good as that combination- crispy waffle, fluffy whipped cream and sweet strawberries!

Has anyone tried any “savory” waffle combos that you liked?  We tried a waffle with cream cheese and smoked salmon one time- it was OK but I like my salmon on a bagel.   I also saw a recipe that used a waffle as a base for chili sprinkled with cheese and onions (topped with sour cream). That looked interesting but we have not tried that yet

How do you like your waffles? Drop us a comment and let us know

Trader Joe’s Pancake Mix Directions

Have you tried Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake & All Purpose Baking Mix yet? We love  having all the ingredients ready to go when the mood for pancakes hits us- usually on a Sunday morning, drinking coffee…reading the paper…. You get the idea.

So here is the super easy way to get Pancakes on your table!  (here is the smallest batch directions):

To make 10+, 4 inch pancakes (who measures this stuff, right?) you will need:

  • 1 ¾ Cups of Mix (Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake Mix)
  • 1Cup of Water
  • 1 Egg

What to do:

Whisk water and egg together in a bowl. Add the Mix and whisk until the batter is smooth.

Heat non-stick pan over medium heat until hot, and coat with a small amount of oil or use cooking spray so the pancakes don’t stick to the pan.

Use ¼ cup of batter for each pancake, and bake about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with Trader Joe’s pure maple syrup.

Variations:

Jam (orange marmalade is awesome!)

Trader Joe’s Lemon curd

Applesauce? – This was a suggestion from the back of the Trader Joe’s package that sounded interesting. They suggest you try a ½ cup of Applesauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon in the batter. I think we will try this the next time we make Pancakes- it sounds delish!

Enjoy!

Take a minute and let us know what you like on your Trader Joe’s pancakes…..

Trader Joe’s Wine: Villa Carlotti Prosecco

Trader Joe's Villa Carlotti Prosecco in cool blue bottle

Trader Joe's Villa Carlotti Prosecco in cool blue bottle

So it is July and I thought that it would be appropriate to share a Prosecco I found at Trader Joes.

Trader Joes had a Villa Carlotti Prosecco for around five dollars so I gave it a try. I tend to like Proseccos because, as the label states, it is a “Soft White Wine”. This slightly charged and bubbly wine was just perfect. The apple and pear flavors were balanced with a subtle dryness that made this Prosecco a great Trader Joe’s fine.

The cool blue bottle would make it a great hit for a 4th of July party. Or just a warm evening that you want to celebrate life…

The Prosecco would go nicely with anything you would serve a light white wine with, such as fish, chicken or a salad. I also like to have a little cheese with my white wine so I would recommend brie, smoked Gouda, and/or a little or rich, creamy Port-Salut. The great news is Trader Joes sells all of those cheeses so it can be a one stop entertainment shop.

By the way you will still need to remove the cork with a cork screw. Yes, this does seem strange for a bubbly wine, but these bubbles are not as strong as Champaign or Asti. In fact, there was not even a wire basket to hold down the cork, nor was there a “POP” when the cork came out. Oh yeah…. The bottle also states a certain type of cork screw is necessary, but we used our regular one, and everything was OK.

So go ahead have fun…celebrate life…and all of the wonders of your world,

Cheers,

Delaina

How to Make Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

One of the great things I love about summer is pasta salad. Now we could make them all year long, but there is something about the cold pasta and the different veggies that reminds me of a picnic. I guess I just don’t think about making and serving a pasta salad in November.

Anyway Pasta Salads can be easy to make and rather quick to put together too. Recently we were shopping at Trader Joe’s and we were talking about how many cool things that Trader Joe’s sells that could really make a pasta salad special.

There are a zillion ways to make pasta salad with any number of ingredients that you could add. Main ingredient is of course, the past! We like to use a smallish noodle, but we have also made yummy pasta salads with leftover spaghetti.

Next, we like to think about what veggies we would like to use (either buy or use up) like tomatoes, broccoli, diced zucchini, bell pepper stripes, peas, etc… We also like to include an “onion” item either sweet Vidalia Onions, Red Onions, or Green onions.  Next we think about a full-flavor or “special” item to pull the salad together. This might be pesto, or sundried tomatoes cut in small stripes, or some olives.

Well, all that planning for a pasta salad motivated us to make one today!

Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat pasta (we used those little spirals called rotelle)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (in red and yellow, cut in 1/4)
  • Broccoli (cut up into small pieces)
  • Green Onions sliced thin
  • Trader Joe’s Pitted Kalamata olives (the “special” ingredient), chopped
  • Trader Joe’s Parmesan Cheese (a couple of spoonfuls)
  • Dressing: olive oil

What to do:

Cook pasta according to package directions. About ½ way through the cooking, add the broccoli pieces to the cooking water. Let the broccoli cook with the pasta until the pasta is finished cooking. Drain and rinse briefly in cool water then place in a mixing bowl.

Next add the rest of the vegetables, and toss lightly with olive oil. Season with your favorite spices – we used Trader Joe’s 21 Salute , garlic powder, salt and pepper along with the parmesan cheese.

Variations:

Here is where you can be creative. You can use up some cooked vegetables or add a can of garbanzo beans if you like. Trader Joe’s also sells a large selection of items that would really make a pasta salad special. These include artichoke hearts, tapenade (already chopped up olives)  or even brochette.

We were planning to tell you to leave the pasta salad in the refrigerator until cool but it looked so good that we had to “sample” it right away. Even warm it was just delish!

The next time you are at Trader Joe’s check out the isle with all the canned beans and olive oils and see how inspired you are. If you see anything that you are not sure about, leave us a note and we will try and help you out.