Summer staples + New Trader Joe’s Favorites

petite white jeans summer outfit

After living in basics the past year, I’ve come to appreciate how small details in the cut of each piece can make a big difference in keeping it feeling fresh! Little updates I’ve been trying and loving include higher necklines, straighter and wider cut jeans, and toe shapes that just a tad more modern and squared. Similar to my Levi wedgie jeans, I ended up getting these “original cheeky jeans” from Everlane in two colors and have them on regular rotation after cutting the length shorter. Check my “how to style” blog post for the difference between these two denim brands and styles!

On a tastier note, since my TJ’s favorites posts are some of the most popular reads on here, I wanted to do an update with new arrivals we’ve tried along with regulars that make it into our shopping cart every month!

Trader Joe's dairy free desserts

Frozen Desserts / Treats

  • *New Ube Mochi
    • Having a part Filipino, ube-obsessed husband, we jump to try every product TJ makes with this purple root veggie. I was personally not a fan of the ube tea cookies (zero ube flavor, powdery), and the ube ice cream was just okay for me, but these mochi ice creams are delightful and have been repurchased multiple times already. Made with real ube puree instead of artificial powder you so often see. Some critique that there isn’t enough ube flavor, but we like the subtle notes of it. Btw these are larger and come in a pack of 6, not mini sized like the Thai Tea flavored mochi we also enjoy.
  • Hold the Dairy Chocolate Mini Cones (vegan)
    • I’ve tried all of their mini “hold the cone” flavors and these might be my favorite, even as someone who eats dairy. A crunchy and creamy 2-3 bites when I’m craving something cold and sweet. These have been an especially fun mini treat for Nori who is allergic to dairy!

Snacks

  • *New* Carolina Gold BBQ Chips
    • BBQ chips are typically just okay for me, but these have a unique, more tangy flavor from the mustard that makes each bag disappear FAST in our household! The ridged chip itself is nice and thick, and if you’re a big fan of the flavor they also sell the BBQ sauce alone. My favorite are still the good ole standby thinner TJ white truffle chips, but these are a nice change up!
  • Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims
    • While we’re in a lull between TJ’s famous seasonal coated pretzel slims (like pumpkin spice & holiday peppermint) I figured I’d give these a try as a dark chocolate lover. Nick literally had to put the bag up high out of our accessible reach since they were going a little too quickly. Sweet, a little salty, crisp and crunchy – yum! The chocolate can get melty and messy in the summer so we might try keeping the bag in the fridge.
  • Freeze Dried Fruit
    • I saw other daycare moms keeping these in their stroller as a quick and easy mess-free snack. Nori loves the crunch and flavor of the strawberry ones and I appreciate that there are no additives – the only ingredient is strawberries!

Trader Joe's Carolina Gold BBQ chips review

Frozen Meals & Savory Foods

  • Taiwanese Scallion Pancake (vegan)
    • A new-ish (from this summer) arrival, not to be confused with their Korean “Pa Jeon”-style scallion pancake (also pictured below). These are like the ones I ate growing up – very simple (mostly just flour, water, scallion, salt) and usually eaten as an appetizer or side dish, sometimes with a dipping sauce. You cook them by pan frying just a few minutes on each side. They’re definitely not bad, but I’m partial since my mom makes them better and flakier, so between these two at TJ I prefer the Pajeon style made with egg, leek and other veggies. Check this IG reel for how we heat those up!
  • Pork & Vegetable gyoza
    • Don’t love their other gyoza or wonton flavors, but this particular one is a regular in our house. Honestly better than the ones I’ve gotten at the Asian grocery store, plus has all straightforward ingredients that I can recognize! Cook them up like this for the crispy bottoms – just make sure to use a very nonstick pan.
  • Japanese Style Fried Rice (vegetarian)
    • We like to use this as a “starter pack” and stretch it with other leftover rice and veggies we have in the fridge. This has bits and pieces of hijiki seaweed which Nori enjoys, and she’s not usually a fan of fried rice!
  • Linguine with Clam Sauce
    • Love keeping this in the fridge as a quick microwavable meal under $3 that you can spruce up with fresh tomatoes and basil, plus a slice of their toasted sourdough bread.
  • Raw Argentinian Red Shrimp
    • Love how big and plump these are with a more meaty texture, almost like lobster. A quick dinner we love is sautéing these with some garlic and then tossing with store bought pesto sauce. Also delish on our garlic noodles recipe! A few of you mentioned that you can also find Argentinian red shrimp at Aldi and Costco.
  • Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches (vegetarian)
    • Not new, but first time seeing these at our local stores! We are huge fans of almost all TJ frozen Indian food and these have been a fun late night snack. They’re basically hot pockets but packed with potatoes, chickpeas, and lots of Indian spices and flavor.
  • See this post for other TJ frozen Asian food favorites that we get regularly.

Trader Joe's best frozen meals

Misc.

  • Potted herbs
    • Our $3.99 TJ basil purchased a few months ago has been flourishing and blessing us with delicious homemade pesto and garnishes for Caprese salad, pastas, sandwiches. A friendly sales associate let me in on a key tip. He mentioned that the plants are packed into the grocery store pots too tightly for the roots to spread out and survive, so it’s important to try and separate the plant and repot once you get home. We very gently separated our basil plant into 3 pots, gave it plenty of sunlight and water and it’s been thriving even with regular harvests!
  • San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread
    • Straight out of the bag, this is a seemingly dry and forgettable bread. The key is to lightly toast it in the toaster oven or a pan in order to get a crisp outside with a softer, chewy inside. We love this with sandwiches, fancy toasts, or just straight up with butter or seasoned olive oil.
  • Bag of Teeny Tiny Avocados
    • This is something I’ve only been able to find locally at TJ, but we love how these are like individual portion sizes so you don’t have to worry about storing leftover avocado! They also tend to ripen nicely without going bad too quick.
  • Pretzel Bagels
    • Nice and chewy with pretzel flavor, and make a tasty breakfast or snack with hummus, cheese or mustard. These are a moist bagel so they do go bad or get moldy spots quickly if you leave it out in the summer, so we store these in the fridge right away.

summer 2021 Trader Joe's haul

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Leave a Comment

7 Comments

  1. Katy wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thanks for the info! I read the styling post for these jeans and noted your tip to size up for looser fit. Can I ask: if you have additional tips re: what to do when size up results in the waist becoming too loose to wear as high rise? Sorry if this is silly! Trying to learn how to get these jeans to work for me. Thanks!

    Posted 8.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Katy! I actually wouldn’t recommend sizing up for a looser fit, I bought them while postpartum so I did size up myself but now that my weight has change again I regret not getting my usual size. I usually don’t size up except for Topshop jeans which consistently runs about a size small. Sometimes if the type of denim has a lot of stretch, you might even consider sizing down so they don’t stretch out at the waist

      Posted 8.17.21 Reply
      • Anonymous wrote:

        Thank you, Jean, for the clarification! That is helpful!

        Posted 8.17.21 Reply
  2. GG wrote:

    I love how you mentioned the Taiwanese scallion pancakes! A friend’s mom (who is Taiwanese) recently advertised them to me as being as delicious and authentic, and she’s a tough foodie! She also mentioned that they were cheaper at TJ’s than at nearby East Asian supermarkets, so definitely a deal too!

    Posted 8.14.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh that’s too funny, good to hear they receive her stamp of approval 🙂 my mom has also recently started buying some of TJ’s Asian foods and she’s a tough critic as well!

      Posted 8.17.21 Reply
  3. Shirley wrote:

    What kind of soil you used for repotting the basil. Thanks.

    Posted 8.12.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      We used regular potting mix soil in a pot that drains well – we have the ones with the hole and dish on the bottom and it’s worked well. Water it well right after transplanting, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight (we keep ours indoors on the windowsill) but be sure not to overwater it! When we harvest we also pinch from the top to help promote new growth.

      Posted 8.17.21 Reply

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