Fantastic Finds at Trader Joe's

If you had to pick JUST ONE grocery store to shop in for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Whole Food? Wegman's? Costco? Walmart?

If I had to limit myself to just one store, it would definitely be Trader Joe's. Yes, it is much smaller than all those others. Yes, the selection is more limited. But Trader Joe's has SO many great products. The prices are excellent. And they are always coming up with something new.

Starting with the bread, Trader Joe's carries several varieties of flourless, sprouted wheat bread. If you are gluten-intolerant, these are not for you. But if you tolerate gluten and are in search of the healthiest bread, you might consider going with sprouted grains. When grains are sprouted, they become more digestible, as well as more nutritious. Sprouted grain bread tends to be lower in calories, higher in fiber, and has a wonderful, chewy texture, especially when toasted. A loaf of Sprouted Wheat Bread at Trader Joe's is only $3.99.

I recently posted a recipe for Greek Grilled Cheese. Almost everything in that sandwich came from Trader Joe's: the gyro slices (precooked, seasoned beef), the feta spread (a blend of feta, neufchatel, and veggies), the organic baby spinach, the provolone slices, and the bread. Trader Joe's also carries Kerrygold grassfed butter.

If you are in the mood for something crunchy, I suggest checking out the chip aisle. Yes, an entire aisle devoted to crunchiness. If you appreciate out of the ordinary snacks, this is the place to find them. I am OBSESSED with the Ghost Pepper Chips. Are they really hot? Um, yeah. I like to eat them with plain cottage cheese, as this cools down the burn while adding protein to my snack. But the Sriracha Chips are equally fantastic with a bit less heat and tons of flavor. And the Salt and Pepper Chips are completely addictive, too. Not to mention the Sweet Plantain Chips--so unusual! Both crunchy and sweet. You might decide to live on chips alone after visiting this aisle.

I could go on forever about the various types of cheeses (they carry raw milk, grassfed, organic, and a HUGE variety of imported) as well as the coffees (the plain old "Joe" is a great choice for the bargain hunter--good quality at a LOW price) and don't get me started on the bakery items. They carry fresh and frozen cakes, tarts, and all manner of treats. Looking for some chocolate? There is a selection from around the world--top quality, single estate, unique flavors. Enough said.

If you've never been to Trader Joe's, what are you waiting for?