Archive for the ‘Contests & Giveaways’ Category

And The Winner Is…

First, let me say a big THANK YOU to all of you whom entered The Giveaway!!!  Whether you win or not, I hope those of you who have never been to Trader Joe’s get in to shop there soon.  You won’t be disappointed!

I heard feedback from quite a few folks whom don’t have a Trader Joe’s anywhere near them – and my sympathies go out to those poor folks!  TJ’s really needs to have an online-shopping option.  Are you listening Joe??  Anyway, because of this there are a limited number of entries, so I was able to handle the drawing the old-fashioned way.

I put the names…

into a hat.

I did bring in some help to handle the drawing.  He closed his eyes and picked a winner.

(drum roll please)

Everybody please join me in a round of applause for BRENDA!

I swear there was no fix, but I have to say that my boy was quite pleased with himself for picking his own Grandma!!!

Brenda – Congratulations and I’ll bring your prize when I see you on Labor Day.   

Nikki, Maureen, Tracy, Andrea, Kelly, Joanne – Thanks again for stopping by and entering!  I hope to see you back here again soon! :-)

Why I Love T.J.’s Giveaway

First, I think it’s important to tell you that this post is in no way sponsored by Trader Joe’s.  I just love shopping there and – especially for those of you who may not have yet had the experience – I want to share with you what I love about the store and the products that are always in my cart on the days I visit – like today when I picked up a little something extra specifically for this giveaway!

We’ve been shopping at Trader Joe’s for a few years, from around the time our diet became more “specialized”.  It’s one of a few places we make a nearly weekly visit to for groceries.  We don’t buy many prepared foods, but of the few that we do, most come from TJ’s.  I love that they are great about listing ingredients specifically.  I rarely see those vague words like “natural flavors” or “enzymes”.  When I do have a question about a product, the staff is incredibly helpful about finding the answers I need.  But usually, their labeling makes it very easy to figure out what isn’t in the food, without even having to read the ingredient list. 

They’ve got this cool symbol system:

  • No GlutenNo Gluten
  • VeganVegan
  • VegetarianVegetarian
  • Fat FreeFat Free
  • Quick MealQuick Meal
  • KosherKosher
  • Low SodiumSodium
  • There are some foods that might fall into the No Gluten, Vegan or Vegetarian category that aren’t labeled, sometimes just because of the contamination concerns there may be.  Those are the products on which you’ll typically see the statement “Processed in a facility that also processes…”.  But they also have specific product lists to help you shop if you have dietary concerns.

    Are You Avoiding Gluten?

    Are You Not Eating Animals and/or Animal Products?

    They even have a Vegetarian (Non-Animal Rennet) Cheese List:

    There are also product lists for Fat Free, Low Sodium and Kosher foods.  Joe makes it easy for everyone. 

    Okay, now that you have been through orientation, let’s check out some of what’s in my bag from Joe’s.

    First, we have Gluten Free Rice Mac and Cheese.  No artifical colors or flavors and easy enough for my kids to make for themselves, which is a great thing!

    In my humble opinion, TJ’s is the best place to buy all your Gluten-Free Pasta.  There’s Spaghetti, Fusilli, Penne and Asian-Style Rice Noodles available.  All in one-pound bags for under $2/bag!  Gluten-Free Pasta doesn’t get any cheaper than that!

    My favorite healthy and great-tasting rice comes from Trader Joes as well.  This is what usually sits beneath my Spicy Lentil Dal

    Got a sweet tooth?  Their Cocoa Powder, at $1.99, is a great deal.  Midnight Moo Chocolate Syrup is one of my kiddos’ favorite ice-cream toppings, and check out these instant puddings!  Not only are they great-tasting, easy and gluten-free, the boxes are super cool and retro-looking!  Try this pudding spread atop chunks of Gluten Free Brownies, and topped fresh whipped cream for a great fancy trifle dessert for your next party!

    These Rice Noodle Soup Bowls are great for lunches at work, or take-alongs just in case there are no gluten-free foods available at your destination.  My son frequently carries these along when we are dining at others’ homes.  He can add water and microwave a meal all by himself in minutes.  And they are only 99 cents each!

    I like Joe’s cheeses and we recently started buying the Applegate Farms Lunchmeats at Trader Joes.  It had been a very long time since we’d eaten any kind of lunchmeat, but these are all nitrate-free, gluten-free turkey meats, all from vegetarian-fed birds.  These make great sandwiches, especially on the Multi-Seed Flatbread Wraps that I make.

    I love Trader Joe’s Caesar Dressing drizzled over Romaine Lettuce with a little Parmesan Cheese, freshly-ground Black Pepper and Gluten-Free Croutons (made from my Gluten Free Sandwich Bread) on top.  Joe’s has a nice selection of Olive’s too.  These Kalamata Olives are great atop my Mediterranean Restaurant Style Greek Salad, and the Coconut Milk is an important ingredient in my Spicy Lentil Dal.

    Trader Joe’s isn’t a large store, but a large portion of the store is devoted to Beer and Wine.  The selection is HUGE.  My choice is always the Two-Buck Chuck (really it’s $2.99 a bottle where I live, but I think it still runs $1.99 in California where TJ’s originated and the wine is bottled).

    Even though they’re inexpensive, Charles Shaw wines have actually won taste-test awards when pitted against much more costly wines.

    They have a great selection of cheeses and crackers that would be  perfect served alongside that bottle of wine, too.

    Not a wine drinker?  There’s a big selection of nuts that would work really well beside one of their Craft Beers.  Barring any allergies, you MUST try the Blister Peanuts!  The Honey Roasted ones though, I recommend you not try, because they are highly addictive!

    It’s  not just about the food and the drink either.  TJ’s carries fresh cut flowers and potted plants at really good prices.  They have green cleaning products and even pet food.  

    They also have vitamins and natural health and beauty products for the cost-conscious consumer.

    So, there you have it.  Of course, this is by no means an all-encompassing list of the great finds at Joes.   There are also quite a few non-gluten-free items I love from there (Everything Bagels!!!  Frozen Garlic Naan!!!  Seeded Flatbread Crackers!!!) but I don’t want to torture the gluten-intolerant among you.  I’m considerate like that.

    I could go on and on about TJ’s.  I know…I already have. :-)  But go see for yourself if you aren’t already a Joe’s shopper.  I think you’ll thank me.

    For your chance to try a few of these and other great T.J.’s products on my dime, you must:

    1) Leave a comment to this post letting me know which items I’ve shared about sound good to you.  If you have been to Trader Joes before and have your own favorites already, you can tell me about that instead. 


    2) Subscribe to this Blog by entering your e-mail address at the top right of my home page.  This way you’ll know when the winner is annouced.  Don’t worry, I won’t share or sell your e-mail address with anyone.  Please be sure to complete the activation of your subscription when you receive the confirmation e-mail!  (If you are already an activated subscriber, you don’t need to complete this step.)

    The winner will receive a $10 gift card to Trader Joe’s, and I’ll even throw in a copy of the latest Fearless Flyer (Described by Trader Joe himself as a “Cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine”) for your reading pleasure.  One entry per e-mail address, please.  All entries must be completed by Midnight ET on Friday, September 3rd.  I’ll randomly pick the winner, lottery style, and will announce the results on Saturday September 4th. 

    Good Luck and Happy Shopping!!