Trader Joes Staples

other title ideas for this post included:

  • I have issues

  • I complain how hard it is to save money yet spend all of mine at Trader Joes

  • came for one thing, stayed for everything

  • help, I been Trader Joe’d

I am in the camp of people who truly believes that we, as Canadians, deserve a Trader Joes. Pirate Joe is a personal hero of mine (see: google). I don’t particularly enjoy being asked at the US & Canada border if I bought anything. I find that they don’t share the excitement of the “haul”. Therefore, as Canadians, I feel that we should be able to go to a Trader Joes in our own country and geek out over everything we purchased but didn’t need with like-minded individuals.

That being said, I bought some things. I was in the States overnight which meant I was allowed to spend some money and bring things home. Here are some staple-ish items I love lately.

These dressings are so damn good. I’m a hyooge fan of the almond butter turmeric one.

These dressings are so damn good. I’m a hyooge fan of the almond butter turmeric one.

so I know this is seasonal. But if I put it out into the universe that I want this forever, then maybe it will happen. Listen closely universe, because this is really great as a pizza sauce and I’d like to continue using it.

so I know this is seasonal. But if I put it out into the universe that I want this forever, then maybe it will happen. Listen closely universe, because this is really great as a pizza sauce and I’d like to continue using it.

It is rare that I don’t like a cheese. I like almost all cheeses. From stinky blue cheese all the way to cheese strings that I’ve peeled into wacky hair dudes, I’m about it. But then you take two great cheeses and blend them into one cheese…and THEN you put it on pizza with the aforementioned harvest alfredo and some pancetta…well then we’re gonna have problems.

It is rare that I don’t like a cheese. I like almost all cheeses. From stinky blue cheese all the way to cheese strings that I’ve peeled into wacky hair dudes, I’m about it. But then you take two great cheeses and blend them into one cheese…and THEN you put it on pizza with the aforementioned harvest alfredo and some pancetta…well then we’re gonna have problems.

these are so great. I always buy multiple bags of these when I’m at TJs, or ask other people to buy them for me. Throw them in a trail mix, yogurt, or eat them as is. Baking with them is a dream because they perfectly capture the raspberry flavour without adding a bunch of water (think: pulse them into a powder and mix into a buttercream…yum).

these are so great. I always buy multiple bags of these when I’m at TJs, or ask other people to buy them for me. Throw them in a trail mix, yogurt, or eat them as is. Baking with them is a dream because they perfectly capture the raspberry flavour without adding a bunch of water (think: pulse them into a powder and mix into a buttercream…yum).

just…buy these in multiples of 3, and thank me later

just…buy these in multiples of 3, and thank me later

these are a delicious, low carb snack. The only thing that really pisses me off is that like 2/3 of the bag is air, and I haven’t figured out how to turn air into more crispy broccoli florets.

these are a delicious, low carb snack. The only thing that really pisses me off is that like 2/3 of the bag is air, and I haven’t figured out how to turn air into more crispy broccoli florets.

this can UP your hot sauce game

this can UP your hot sauce game

ou ya you bet I’m basic but this is a STAPLE

ou ya you bet I’m basic but this is a STAPLE

21 spices that I cannot identify when all mixed together, however taste great on tuna

21 spices that I cannot identify when all mixed together, however taste great on tuna

onion is great and so is this

onion is great and so is this

the sesame in this is so crunchy and lovely and just not a common chocolate flavour. I approve

the sesame in this is so crunchy and lovely and just not a common chocolate flavour. I approve

I dont like Reese’s but I like these. Buy these and keep them in the fridge and eat them cool..mmm

I dont like Reese’s but I like these. Buy these and keep them in the fridge and eat them cool..mmm

not TJs, but what is a visit to the U.S without a trip to target? Bonus points for buying all the sparkling water, and convincing your sister to carry it in the house for you.

not TJs, but what is a visit to the U.S without a trip to target? Bonus points for buying all the sparkling water, and convincing your sister to carry it in the house for you.

what are your staples? what are your favourite seasonal items?

Key Lime Greek Yogurt Mascarpone Tart

key lime greek yogurt mascarpone tart

I have a key lime obsession.

Regular lime is great, but key lime has just a lil extra somethin' somethin'. An extra almost ~creaminess~ to it. Key Lime Pie has always been one of my favourite desserts. 

So when there was a damn two-day long ice storm in April, and I saw key limes at the grocery store, I grabbed them instantly. It was time to add a little extra comfort and brightness into the kitchen.

The greek yogurt brings a nice smooth tartness, and the mascarpone is a super creamy and lightly sweet. Plus the limes and some honey to round out the flavours, this is an all around win. I like to keep a less-sweet cream that really compliments the sweet crust. 

Sweet Crust:

This recipe is enough for 2-3, 8” tarts. If making a single tart, you’ll have some left over but this freezes incredibly well for up to 6 months. I usually make a double batch and freeze it for whenever the occasion arises! Pull it out a day or two before you want to use it, and keep it in the fridge. Or let it warm up on the counter (but not too much, you still want it to be cool when you work with it).

150g sugar
250g shortening at room
4g salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
60ml milk
435g pastry flour, sifted

  • Cream together the sugar, flavours and shortening until light and fluffy. 
  • Add the milk to the shortening, mixing on high speed until fully incorporated.
  • Add the egg to the shortening and scrape down the bowl
  • Add the sifted flour into the mixture gradually and blend until smooth
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead into a short log shape, then chill in the fridge until use
  • When chilled, roll the dough out without making it too thin, and place it in the tart pan. Make sure to gently press the dough into the edges, and then trim the top
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375F until lightly golden

 

Key Lime Cream:

60ml whipping cream, whipped
3 TBS honey
10 key limes
225g full-fat greek yogurt
225g mascarpone

  • Zest 5 limes and juice all 10 limes
  • Mix everything together until smooth
  • Yup, that’s it
  • Taste it and adjust to your preference.
     

Assembly

Dark Chocolate

  • Once your crust has cooled completely, melt down dark chocolate and brush it onto the tart shell and let it harden. This is important to prevent the crust from getting soggy, and the dark chocolate is amazing in this recipe anyway. So don’t skip it.
  • When the chocolate is fully hardened (important!!!!), smooth the key lime cream into the shell
key lime greek yogurt mascarpone tart

Now, go make this!

Boozy Black Forest Cake

black forest cake-3.jpg

This cake is a real treat.

The rich but light chocolate cake lends itself well to the sweet cherries and airy whip cream. The dark chocolate adds a layer of bitterness to all the sweetness. And the chocolate sprinkles add extra texture and crunch. (They aren't rainbow sprinkles, but we'll make an exception this time). With a little Kirsch between the layers, we're doing okay!

 

black forest cake-2.jpg

Ingredients (Cake Batter):

  • 235g sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 5g salt
  • 160g pastry flour
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 2.5g baking soda
  • 5g baking powder
  • 160ml water
  • 5g vanilla
  • 3 eggs

Ingredients (Filling):

  • 300g cherries (reserve the juices)
  • 1L whipping cream
  • 80g sugar
  • 5g Vanilla

Decorating:

  • 150g dark chocolate shavings
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Kirsch

Steps (Cake):

  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down the bowl
  • Sift the remaining dry ingredients together, and add to the butter/sugar mixture. Pour the water over top
  • Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl, and mix again for another minute
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, then mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down, then mix on high speed for one minute. The batter should resemble a light chocolate mousse.
  • Add batter to a well greased 9" cake pan. Smooth with an offset Spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out moist but not wet.

Steps (Filling and Masking):

  • Whip cream, vanilla and sugar into stiff peaks. Set aside
  • Once fully cool, but the cake into three layers. Brush each layer with cherry juice and Kirsch (adjust juice to booze ratio as you see fit)
  • Cover the first layer with a thin layer of cream. Pipe a rim of cream around the edges, and fill inside with cherries. Repeat for the next layer.
  • Once all three layers are in place, mask the entire cake with the whip cream
  • Cover the sides of the cake with the chocolate sprinkles
  • Pipe rosettes on the top of the cake, and top with amarena cherries
  • Pile the chocolate shavings into the centre of the cake
black forest cake-4.jpg

Lavender Shortbread

I remember as a kid my mom's obsession with lavender. She would always lather on lavender hand cream, or stuff pockets of lavender into our underwear drawers. Every year at the CNE, she would visit the same booth to pick up more dried lavender. She would grab a few lavender flowers from the tester and carry it around in her hands. She'd shove our noses into it, "I just love the smell of lavender!". We used to make fun of her lavender obsession.

Well, now I'm an adult and have a lavender obsession of my own. We become our mothers, do we not??

My first taste of it was in a lavender flavoured ice cream from a little organic shop. I didn't know what to make of it. It was kind of nice, kind of like eating potpourri?? But my sister Diana loved it, and would get it often. Like a true "big sister", I had to try it every time for quality control. Lo ad behold, it grew on me.

My sister made these cookies, adapted from the Five Roses cookbook (published before the bible probably). They were the perfect balance of sweet, crumbly, and floral. 

lavender shortbread

Lavender can be a lot. The flavour is strong, so start with a small amount.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon lavender flowers

Steps:

Preheat oven to 350F. Gently whip butter, and stir in sugar, salt and egg yolk until just incorporated. Add the flour a little bit at a time until the mixture is stiff, throwing in the lavender flowers at the very end.

Turn the dough onto a floured counter and knead with extra flour just until the mix begins to crack. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and bake for 10 minutes until slightly golden.

lavender shortbread