I absolutely love the beautiful kitchen in my new apartment, and I’m so excited to call it my own! After four years of dining hall food, and the past couple months sharing someone’s kitchen (and trying to keep groceries to a minimum so as not to intrude too much), it’s incredible to have a place to spread out a bit. I’m really looking forward to baking again, preparing larger batches of delicious meals that I can freeze for late nights, and maybe even hosting a dinner party or two! Plus, it’s awesome to have just a few shelves in the fridge to myself. This weekend, I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on staples for the pantry. I thought it would be interesting to share my purchases with you, since these are some of my very favorite products from the amazing TJ’s! Now that I’ve got these basics in stock, shopping each week for some fresh produce will be easy.
- Oats, oats, oats!: You probably know by now that oatmeal is one of my staple breakfasts. The oats from TJ’s are cheap and yummy. And yes, I do currently have three different varieties in stock. The McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oats are my go-to. They’re ready in five minutes and have an awesome creamy texture. The Steel Cut take longer to cook (about 30 minutes), so I usually save them for when I’m prepping other foods on the weekend. They’re a great contrast to the McCann’s – chewier and with a bit of a nutty flavor. And the Rolled Oats are my favorite for baking: I love them for oatmeal cookies, banana bread, and fruit crisps.
- Oatmeal toppings: Of course, I stocked up on a wide variety of toppings for my oats, too. I like cooking them with half water and half unsweetened vanilla almond milk for a richer, creamier consistency. I always add vanilla extract, raisins, and chia seeds, and a spoonful of peanut butter usually goes on top. These coconut chips are a recent find that are absolutely addicting, and hemp seeds are a superfood I’ve been curious to try.
- Fresh produce: I typically prefer to buy my fruits and veggies at a local produce store or farmer’s market, but TJ’s is great for the staples that I always keep in the house. I often put bananas in my oatmeal or in smoothies. Plus, they are a great easy snack spread with peanut butter. I like having bags of greens on hand for a quick salad or to throw into eggs or sautéed veggies. And I squeeze fresh citrus over everything, particularly salads and vegetables. I’m planning to keep these lemons and limes in a pretty bowl on the counter.
- Frozen produce: TJ’s has an incredible frozen section, so I stocked up on a few bags of produce. I hate to buy too many fresh veggies at once and see them go bad, but can’t always make it to the store when I’m getting low. I’ll consider these bags of peas, corn and green beans my back up stock, so I’m never without a veggie option. I grabbed frozen blueberries and raspberries to throw into my oats or a smoothie.
- Grains: I also stocked up on a number of grains to keep in the pantry. In addition to the brown rice in the photo, I also have whole wheat pasta and couscous; quinoa is another great option. I can prepare a pot of one on Sunday, and use it as a base for meals throughout the week. I also keep a box or two of mac and cheese in the back of the cupboard at all times. This white shells and cheddar is my favorite – it’s great for busy days, a late night snack, or just when I’m craving some comfort food.
- Dinner staples: I picked up some more substantial items for dinners. Eggs and beans both serve as great sources of protein. I’ve heard fantastic things about these lime chicken burgers, so I’m excited to try them. I’ll be sure to tell y’all what I think!
- Condiments: I’m so excited to have plenty of space to keep lots of different sauces and seasonings. For now, I just picked up the necessities – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coconut oil, honey, and salsa. However, I’ll certainly be adding more interesting options later.
- Treats and snacks: I also grabbed a couple of items for after dinner treats and yummy snacks. These plantain chips are super crunchy and nicely salted. They’re a great sugar-free indulgence. The dark chocolate and TJ’s famous speculoos butter are two delicious sweet treats.
Whew, that was a lot of food! Luckily my new place is only about four blocks from the store, so it wasn’t too hard to get everything home. I’m always looking for new items to try, so please let me know about your favorite products from Trader Joe’s!