Trader Joe's Organic Clusters Cereal

We love Trader Joe's. It's our favorite place to pick up staples for the pantry. While the quality of the produce and meat isn't as good as Whole Foods Paycheck or our neighborhood supermarket, the remaining items are just as good or better. And it's definitely the best value among our local grocery stores.

Besides saving us money, we go to TJ's for their unique and interesting products. We loved the Emperor's New Cloves garlic, but sadly they don't carry it anymore because the garlic was grown in China. Anyway, there's always something new to discover at Trader Joe's and I'm constantly on the lookout for them.

My one complaint with TJ's is the overabundance of cookies, chocolate and candies in the aisles. It's so hard not to grab a box of treats with each visit. Damn you TJ, for constantly pushing your sweet crack on me!

Most of the time, I'm strong enough to resist picking up a box of cookies. But there are a few items I never leave without. So, here are a few five of my favorite things...

  • Organic Clusters Cereal - a good combination of textures and flavors. Our three favorite cluster cereals are the raisin bran, vanilla almond and maple pecan. The raisin bran is the healthiest one.
  • Organic Peanut Butter - by far the best store bought natural peanut butter. You won't go wrong with creamy or crunchy.
  • Tempting Trail Mix - it has several types of nuts, dried cherries, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips! Salty, crunchy, chewy and sweet... yum!
  • Cinnamon Swirl Bread - a thick wheat bread full of cinnamon. You can make a great open face peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich with it.
  • Cheap, Interesting Wine - we can always find inexpensive, but good, wine at TJ's. From the slideshow, the question mark wine is a 2005 red table wine from Oreana Winery. The happy face wine is a 2005 syrah from Project Happiness. We have no idea if the wines are good, but we couldn't pass up the labels.

That's my top 5 list. If you shop at Trader Joe's, what are your favorite things? I would love to know.

[tags]trader joes, favorite, pantry, peanut butter, cereal, trail mix, cinnamon, bread, wine[/tags]

52 Comments on “Five Favorite Things from Trader Joe’s”

  1. Jen Yu said:

    I love TJs! I used to live in So Cal where there were 6 TJs within a 6 mile radius of my house. Now the closest TJs to me is in Santa Fe, NM – 7 hours away :( I remember when they used to only carry dry goods, frozens, booze, and some dairy. I even have TJs t-shirts from the good old days. Off the top of my head I really love their: juices, cereals, cheese, produce, coffee, chocolates, dried fruits and nuts… Pretty much everything (except the force primeval bars, I can’t eat those). Now I’m sad.

  2. I get my staples at TJ’s like 99 cents eggs, 89 cents milk, carrot juice, olive oil, walnuts, chicken stock, frozen deboned chicken thighs. Then sometimes I get garbanzo beans, Middle Eastern flatbread, chocolate lava cakes, chocolate. I get my fruits and veggies from the farmers’ market. Every once in a while, I stock up on Asian supplies at the Asian grocery store. And even longer in a while, I stock up on household staples at Target.

  3. I love love love Trader Joe’s. Hate that they recently got rid of one of my faves, The Emperor’s New Clove, a single clove garlic variety. To round out the top 5, their frozen mac and cheese rules, as does their mild salsa, sea salt brownie bites and their red wine sopressata.

    I always love trying the new stuff as soon as it comes in.

  4. Wasabi mayonnaise, affordable sulfur-free dried fruits, the mock-Oreo cookies (I can’t remember the name), triple-ginger cookies (the best!), and a habanero-lime salsa that is to die for. There’s no TJ’s in the entire state of Rhode Island, so I actually make pilgrimages to the Boston area stores to stock up.

  5. Jackie said:

    Oooh. Trader Joe-Joes are the mock-Oreos. I couldn’t resist the dark chocolate covered ones on my last trip.

    I love the Trail Mix granola bars, the very reasonably priced logs of goat cheese, the jarred tomato bruschetta, Island Blend coffee, and their frozen Bird’s Nest hors d’oeurves. I could go on and on but I’d like to pretend I don’t stock up chocolate, chips and frozen desserts when I shop there.

  6. Judy said:

    Too many to list! First, there are the staples that I buy there. Pasta, milk, bread, yogurt, cheese, tuna fish, etc. I also like their frozen pizza for those quick weeknight dinners when nobody wants to cook. Chuck, I like that organic peanut butter too. I also buy their citrus shampoo and lemon verbena soap. Oh, I also buy their vitamins and Omega-3 fish oil capsules. Trader Joe’s rocks. We even buy dog treats at TJ’s. My dog loves them.

  7. Chou said:

    I’ve never lived close to one, but every time I get the chance I grab a block or two of their pound plus bittersweet chocolate–great price, great chocolate. What more could one want? I agree that they’re a little heavy on the sweets and snacks, but love the price of their King Arthur Flour.

  8. Erin said:

    Having so many Trader Joe’s options is one of the many reasons that I like living in Boston. When I lived in Brookline it was really great because that TJ’s sold wine and beer. You can really find some excellent extremely affordable wines there. Unfortunately the TJ’s I live near now doesn’t sell booze (stupid Massachusetts and your stupid liquor laws)…but I still always stock up on their frozen chicken breasts, organic stocks, dried pastas, dried fruits, and their fake Pirates Booty. I can’t remember what it’s really called but I really love eating the whole bag.

  9. amanda said:

    That cinnamon bread is fantastic! It makes thick french toast and works really well just toasted by itself. I love everything about TJ’s from their 1lb bittersweet chocolate to their mushroom purses to their italian gelato. I swear, I could live in that store.

  10. patsyk said:

    I LOVE TJ’s! I don’t get there nearly often enough though. Some of my fav’s are:

    Panko Breaded Tilapia
    Anti-oxident Trail Mix
    Guacamole and the Salsamole (I think those are the names!)
    The hand rolled flour tortillas
    My kids love the fruit leather
    Organic Raspberry and Strawberry jams (so good, you’ll lick the spoon!)

    I’m going to have to try the cinnamin bread and the Organic Clusters cereal next time I go over… I love that type of cereal!

  11. schoolhouse cookies! any any flavor of scone, but especially orange-cranberry. their frozen hors d’oeuvres are usually really good.

    rounding out a top five, hmm…juice and coffee.

    and pirate booty. i love that crap.

  12. dp said:

    I never shopped at TJ’s until they opened one up by work. Now I go at least 2x a week. You are generally right about their produce and meat, but I do like their natural chicken (NW grown!) and they have Meyer lemons, which I can never find in my local market. The organic peanut butter is awesome as is the swirl bread.

    I also recommend the cilantro pecan dip, Mediterranean Hummus and flatbread, agave nectar, Greek style fat free yogurt (topped with agave nectar), reduced salt cashews, Gorilla Munch, dark chocolate and hazelnut Rittersport…the list is much longer!

  13. Chuck said:

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. I have many new items to try now. Keep them coming!

  14. Donald said:

    I just came from there tonight picking up their Tuscan Loaf bread and some free-range organic eggs for spaghetti alla carbonara.

    I really like the fact that during the week, I don’t get run over by impatient shoppers’ carts!

    And I agree with you 100% about the wine. Inexpensive and yet, tasty! I like that. I thought for sure you’d mention their 2 (or 3) buck Chuck wine. :-)

  15. Jason said:

    It is all about the wine for me! So much so that I started a blog just to talk about their wine. You can check out my Top 10 for Under 10 from February here

  16. Eva said:

    Mmm totally agreed about the wine…also the Milton’s whole wheat bread, yogurt (mocha, green tea, and Greek-style blueberry), Indian simmer sauces and the five seed grain and nut bars. I think that’s what they’re called…they taste like gingerbread, but with crunchy bits and actual nutritional value.

    Oooh, and then there’s the dark chocolate-covered toffee with pistachios…

  17. RecipeGirl said:

    I always stock up on frozen pizzas (just in case)- they have a really good white pizza with prosciutto. I also love their Greek yogurt, tangerine juice and dried fruits & nuts. My son loves Granny’s granola, and I like the Multi Grain Hot Cereal. I just picked up some Organic Blue Agave Sweetener to try too.

  18. Angela said:

    seriously TJ is my favorite place to go grocery shopping ….
    anyway, my top 5:

    1. raw pizza dough in a bag (only 99 cents/ bag) — quick and easy dinner
    2. hummus (roasted garlic!)
    3. triple ginger cookies — actually all their cookies
    4. dried, unsulfured and unsweetened mango strips — i hope they’ll get their shipment from thailand again, soon.
    5. organic jams and jelly

    it also helps that everyone who works at TJ is incredibly friendly and helpful, they’ve all got spunk to them.

    totally <3 TJ

  19. Sarah said:

    I love TJ’s. My favorites:

    -Greek style yogurt in honey flavor.
    -Trail mix with the cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, golden raisins. LOVE IT.
    -Wisecrackers with brie smothered all over it.
    -Their five layered hummus with their mini toasts. Delicious snack!
    -Snap Pea Crisps (even though you can get these elsewhere.)
    -Their pumpkin pie spice, makes a great pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins!
    -Fruit leather.
    -Their dried bean mix that I make into vegetable and bean soup.
    -Olive oil tortillas.

    I could go on forever.

  20. Cathie said:

    I love TJ’s. Mine is about 15 mins away, so not too far.

    My kids love the fruit leathers and breakfast bars
    TJ’s pizza sauce
    Lemon Pepper Pappardelle
    Coffee
    Multi Grain corn chips
    and of course the Charles Shaw Wine. You can’t beat it for value and it tastes good too!!

  21. Laurel said:

    I live in Sacramento almost next door to the first TJ’s. My son is now twelve years old and his first grocery shopping memories is getting his smoothie drink from TJ’s. Also, his favorite item is the cinnamon bread. My husband is crazy about their carrot cake and I love their light chinese chicken salad. Hmmm…I think I need to make a TJ run! Great blog by the way. All the best, Laurel

  22. Chuck said:

    Thanks again to everyone for sharing their favorites. I have many many new things to try out now!

    Donald, I don’t know how I forgot to add Two Buck Chuck to my list. That should have been a no brainer!!!

  23. Kim said:

    I love Trader Joe’s too! Good think I live a 5 minute’s drive away from the one in Merrick, NY :D

    Coupla things from there I love and a must-try for y’all:

    -Tomatoe-less corn salsa (sweet & spicy!)

    -Trader Ming’s (har har) frozen general tso’s chicken

    -shade grown coffee

    -dried white apricots and mangos

    -frozen pesto pizza

  24. Jason said:

    I realized I forgot to mention my favorite 5! I would go for the Vanilla Almond Granola, the trail mix, pepper jack sliced cheese, ready-made pizza dough, pollo asada (easy ready-made fajitas) and (I know it’s six) of course the wine. Just posted my Top 10 for March here.

  25. sue said:

    Their chocolate truffles are to DIE for – I once saw a woman have a TOTAL MELTDOWN and bitch out a TJs employee because they were out of them. Not that *I* would do that, but you better believe I had to try them afer I saw that! And they are meltdown-worthy!

  26. Toni said:

    The garlic naan in the freezer section; also their mandarin orange chicken (also frozen), my husband loves the low fat chocolate cat cookies; the fresh sliced mango, the frozen asparagus is the best when you can’t find fresh…the frozen already cooked brown rice…I could go on and on!

    Thanks for all the great ideas to try.

  27. Landlocked Dallas has no Trader Joe’s so it’s a pilgrimage and an extra suitcase when I travel to L.A. or Phoenix.

    My 5 faves:
    1) Corn relish – sweet, spicy, crisp
    2) Oatmeal-Ginger soap – heavenly fragrance, great exfoliator
    3) Panko breadcrumbs – cheap and fresh
    4) Mango Chile trail mix
    5) Blackberries – fresh and always so sweet

  28. Amy said:

    Here is NJ, my TJ’s doesn’t have wine. I am so jealous. I was spoiled when I lived in California.

  29. Billy D said:

    I frequent 2 different TJ’s, one near home the other near work at San Diego Airport.

    Here is my top 5 “work” picks:

    1: Organic Peanut Butter (Skip the standard variety even though it’s $1 cheaper)
    2. Solid White Tuna in Olive Oil (I was a lifelong Tuna in water eater until I tried this madman, I would skip on the rest of TJ canned tuna’s)
    3. Frozen Chicken Enchiladas w/roasted Garlic. (Forgetaboutit!)
    4. Now one of my favorite quick lunch healty combo’s:
    Cold Smoked Salmon Loin, Baby Beets “ready to eat” with a package of Frozen Brown Rice that heats in a microwave in 3 minutes. (Awesome combo, enough for 2 people).
    5. For desert I recommend the Oatmeal Cranberry Dunkers. A shop favorite.

  30. Stacey Caron said:

    My 5 faves from Traders (if anyone cares at this point!) are:

    The corn relish, it’s spicy and you can mix it in with fresh cherry tomatoes and serve it on grilled chicken or fish……delish

    The frzn birds nests, which are vegetable pancakes with a dipping sauce, a great, easy h’or d’oevres.

    The frozen Alsatian onion tarte, ok, this is as good as my homemade with caramelized onions, ham and cream on paper thin dough.

    The Mediterranean hummus, I add pine nuts and olive oil to make it look fresh and homemade, stupid good.

    When I am in Arizona, I buy the SPEGA Italian fig or apricot yogurt, it is by far, the best yogurt I have ever had, I would move to Italy to eat it everyday. Unfortunately, the east coast stores where I live can’t get it for me. boo hoo.

    Stacey

  31. I too really like their cereal and wine. Their olive oil is pretty decent too, for regular stuff. Their organic orange juice is awesome too. Most of their fresh produce aint great though.

    Oh, and who could forget the great cheese section.. here in Seattle anyhow.

  32. konnie said:

    We NEVER shop at Trader Joe’s. We shop local only. Local Larry’s is what we need, not more imported food!

  33. I don’t shop there regularly, but just love when I do get to. I love their selections!

    1. Their vegetable sushi (in the deli packaged section)
    2. Orange Chicken (freezer)
    3. Potstickers (freezer)
    4. Almond meal (big bag for a few $)
    5. Their reusable shopping bag, SO cute! I hope I win a $25 shopping spree!

  34. Erin said:

    5 faves:

    chinese chicken salad
    strawberry lemonade
    pirate’s booty (the trader’s brand)
    hummus trio with whole wheat pita
    the salsa kit. amazing.

    i am so lucky i live 5 minutes from traders!
    oh also, they have this really delicious stuff called lambec…its a yummy drink (alcoholic) that comes in peach and raspberry. mmm!

  35. Jen said:

    Too many to name…

    1) Korean BBQ Ribs(freezer)
    2) Potstickers(freezer)
    3) Mac N Cheese(freezer) – my kids loooove this. Just as good as homemade.
    4) Organic PB
    5) Their simmer sauces- Piccante, Thai Curry
    6) Love all of their different pasta styles for the kids
    7) 2 buck Chuck – of course!
    8) Dark Chocolate

  36. Stef said:

    I totally love TJs mild green chile salsa. That stuff is so addicting. We use it to marinade thick cut pork chops. Yum!

    To round out our family’ top 5:
    2. frozen mochi ice cream
    3. frozen chicken & green chile burritos
    4. frozen mushroom risotto
    5. Hawaiian potato chips in BBQ flavor

  37. Ivy said:

    Have you tried the TJ’s Lobster Ravioli with a light garlic butter sauce. Or sometimes I get the Tj’s alfredo sauce and add that to the garlic butter sauce for a more creamy sauce. So delicious!

  38. kristen said:

    My top five are:
    Croissants (freezer)
    Carribean Fruit Floes (like a frozen strawberry/pineapple smoothie)
    Pizza Dough
    Oatmeal Cranberry cookie dough (freezer)
    Tomato Basil Sauce

  39. Marinara in the Green Can – My fav sauce now.
    Canned Pinto Beans – Best you can buy, I think!
    Soy Creamer – TJ’s brand.
    The water in the dark blue bottles
    Horseradish Hummus

  40. Shayna said:

    My faaavorite wine from TJ’s is Dr Beckermann’s Auslese Rheinhessen. It’s super sweet (which probably means that my opinion when it comes to wine means nothing).

    I also love their chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, which the mini chocolate chips on the edge. Give me those two things and I’m good to go. =)

    As a college student, I’m also a huge fan of their microwaveable rice packets – the thai lime is my favorite!

  41. Irene said:

    <3 trader joes

    1. lb plus of belgian chocolate (dark, semisweet, and bittersweet)
    2. white stilton cheese studded with dried apricots
    3. fresh figs and berries
    4. chocolate coated sunflower seeds
    5. tiramisu gelatto

    they use to carry large blocks of ghiradelli white chocolate, but they stopped their contract with them a few months ago :(

  42. Karl said:

    I have the pleasure of working at a TJ’s in Grosse Pointe, MI. All that goodness, plus a 10% discount!

    Here’s a couple things I do with TJ food to make it better.

    For the best sweet and sour chicken you’ve ever had, take the Mandarin Orange Chicken in the freezer section. Follow the instructions for oven cooking. When it has ten minutes left, add to the chicken two or three large-diced bell peppers (any color). In a skillet on teh stove, toss a half fresh pineapple, chunked, with teh sauce packets. When chicken and peppers are done, add to pineapple adn sauce. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of rice vinegar (mirin) and serve. It’s AWESOME!

    Okay, for breakfast. Bake the Alsace frozen “pizza” (cheese, ham and caramelized onions) as directed. When done, cut in half and top each half with plain scrambled eggs. Fold over and enjoy the best breakfast sandwich evah.

    A snack? They have a new chevre goat cheese with honey. Spread this on the Tuscan, Italian loaf or similar favorite thin hearty slice, top with some of the jarred julienned sundried tomatoes in olive oil, and broil or bake until toasty.

  43. Heather said:

    I used to shop at Trader Joes when I lived in California, and loved it so much I got a few of their sturdy red plastic bags as a souvenir of happy shopping. I’ve used them all over Europe, France, Holland and the UK, and quite often hear a delighted comment in an American accent about my bags!

  44. Beth said:

    My favorites…

    Frozen mango slices (let them thaw for just a couple minutes and they make the perfect summer snack)

    Dark chocolate covered caramels

    Chicken salad with currents (awesome on crackers)

    Orange chicken (frozen section)

    Lowfat Vanilla Granola

    Almond, Cashew, Craisin snack bags (sold in a bag of about ten)

    Cheese Puffs (like Pirate’s Booty, but TJ brand and cheaper)

    Frozen cookie dough in pieces (I eat it raw)

  45. YAY TJ’s! They’re opening one right next door to me next month, and I am so excited! My must-haves are definitely the foccacia bread, chile spiced dried mangos (is that what they’re called?!), sesame roasted cashews and roasted gorgonzola crackers. But everything there is yummy!

  46. Dawn said:

    Love the Edammame (frozen with sea salt) and the white pizza with carmelized onions. I also purchase multiple boxes of lettuce wraps which are sometimes hard to find…

  47. Stella Cadente said:

    TJs is still my source for Stevia, which I use to sweeten the iced tea I drink year round, despite living in Michigan. I was dismayed, though, that they significantly changed the packaging: You used to get over 1000 servings from the $9.99 bottle. Now it’s around 600 servings for the same price. Very much sticker shock!

    I was ecstatic to recently discover their Organic Blue Agave sweetener, which is the only other thing besides regular sugar I can stand in coffee. Love that you don’t need to use very much. It’s also great in hot teas, including green tea.

    I didn’t see them last time I was there, but I love their flax-seed tortilla chips. A good, heavy corn chip absolutely loaded with flax seeds. Best tasting salty snack, ever.

    The one I shop at has some good produce deals, esp. gourmet greens like mache and things you don’t find at the grocery store. And I pick up coffee beans from there every now and then, too.

    @Karl: I’ve never been to the TJs in Grosse Pointe, but I’ll have to try it! I live much closer to the one in Royal Oak, but we have friends on the east side so I should combine visits some day!

  48. Barbara said:

    When the Santa Fe, NM store opened 65 miles from me a few years ago (my, how time flies!) I wasn’t that impressed. My close-by sisters would make pilgrimages to TJ’s while I passed by it without stopping when in Fanta Se. HOWEVER, I have come to have my own TJ’s faves, mainly by tasting the treats my sisters have tempted me with:

    Thin Savory Mini Crackers (I used to OD on Lays Potato Chips; now I indulge in these tasty tempters)

    Chicken Tikka Masala (I could eat this twice a week, but I don’t get to SF that much anymore)

    Potstickers and Gyoza dipping sauce (I didn’t know you could get potstickers this good outside a chinese restaurant)

    Mini Crab Cakes and the bigger crab cakes, especially with the TJ’s tartar sauce that has jalapeños in it

    Chuck Chardonnay

    I look forward to trying some of the goodies mentioned here. Thanks to all!

  49. Marcy said:

    My top 5 favs (if I have to pick just 5!!)

    1. The Gorgonzola Crackers (makes me want to go to the gym just thinking about them)
    2. The Tarte Alsace– ham, caramelized onions and a cream sauce on super thin crust…delicious!
    3. Cranberry, Walnut and Gorgonzola salad dressing, YUM
    4. Whole Wheat tortillas
    5. The Pecan Praline Granola (mix it with the Vanana yogurt and I’m in heaven!)

    and then there’s the Organic Creamy Tomato Soup, the goat cheese, the raspberry and brie puff pastries, the baked Eggplant Parmesan, the breaded cod, the Thai Shrimp Gyoza…I could go on and on!!

  50. dg said:

    Everytime I discover something I LOVE, it get’s discontinued…Like “Simply Salmon” It was so delish!, I would nibble on it throughout the day at work, Great snack…now they have a new one which is horrible, I took one bite and spit it out, threw the rest away!

    Then the the chewy granolla bars that had a wonderful flavor, great with my morning coffee and now those are gone….

    And my all time favorite…the Green Tea Ice cream…Loved that, even my dog ate it (only a little for her) that’s gone bye bye….

    There are many more , but I’ll stop at three…

    Trader Joes, please bring those items back!!!!

  51. JUDI said:

    I LOVED THE BEEF HASH FROM SOUTH AMERICA
    IT WAS OUTSTANDING
    PLEASE BRING IT BACK
    I WILL PAY ANYTHING FOR IT
    THANKS
    I ALSO LOVE THE FROZEN RICE WITH VEGATABLES

  52. su said:

    Ok, tough to narrow it down, but if I must…
    Lowfat Orange Cranberry Loaf or Mango, cran, blue bran muffins if loaf is sold out
    TJ’s regular(red container)cottage cheese-only cott chz I will eat now, Caribbean Fruit floes,
    Pecan Prailine granola,
    Spinach lasagna…
    RIP: Orange Wheat Bread. Their staples-organic crunchy p.b,precut veggies/fruit-onions, shrooms,pineapple,etc, english muffins, HB eggs&egg beaters, is always good, fresh & better priced than a safeway, etc. Disappointed in the Indian frozen dishes though. They are good used to be great-quality in chicken, lamb has declined :(
    Almost everything is at least good, most is better than that. WIne/Champagne selection is great, prices make it outstanding. Love how TJ’s has all u need, but maintains small specialty store feel. From PAS been to several in diff states, all pretty even in what you may expect.

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