Saturday, January 21, 2006

A note about sugar

Okay so I have to take a little time to talk about the latest enemy sugar. I started this blog for my mom (and my dad but he hasn't been reading it so it's really just for my mom until my dad starts reading it and now that they got this amazing new computer and high speed internet access he really doesn't have any excuses). I thought she would like to read about products at Trader Joe's, since a new Trader Joe's just opened up in West Hartford.

Then I traveled back east for a bit and was informed that sugar is my parents newest enemy and they are on a low sugar diet. Now their reasons for being on a low sugar diet are totally valid (more medical and health than cosmetic). So for my mom, I will make an effort to make more low sugar posts. I don't want to be the cause of any health crisises because I recommended the delicious tasty high sugar treat of Mango Juice.

But for everyone else, a note about sugar and my eating philosophy. Everything in moderation. So sugar's not the enemy, as long as you don't go crazy and pour it down your throat. Of course if I could follow this wonderful philosophy of everything in moderation when I'm around pizza or french fries, my heart would be much happier.

One of the things that I like about eating foods from Trader Joe's is that they do seem a little more healthier than the processed junk that you get at your local chain grocery store. I don't know if that is a marketing/packaging myth or if the foods really are healthier. Although the fact that I'm actually heating up (tm) dinner instead of eating fast food every night, that is definitely healthier.

Mango Juice

This is one of my most delicious finds at Trader Joe's. I picked up this jug of Mango Juice one day because they were out of the fresh squeezed Orange Juice that Paul likes (just as an aside Paul has this whole thing about not-from-concentrate that I have to admit I still don't get but I'm also really careful to purchase ever since the Concentrate OJ diaster of 2003 where he accidentally drank some concentrate OJ... I think it must be a Florida thing, like how California people are really picky about good avocadoes or Maine people are really weird about good lobsters). I also have to admit that I don't really like Orange Juice. I know crazy right? But its so acidic and usually in the morning I'm just not in the mood for something so harsh. I've actually taken to drinking apple juice and boy is that stuff delicious. Even though I feel like a little kid whenever I drink it (and no I'm not drinking out of juiceboxes).

But back to the Mango Juice. So I picked it up, not expecting a whole lot. I mean is says something on the front about how it's magical and fortified and filled with Antioxidants and probably will keep me from the brain cancer I'm most certainly going to get from all the diet soda I drink now (but it can't possibly save me from the other types of cancer living in LA is probably going to give me, yeah that's right I'm a realist). Everything seems to be fortifyed and filled with antioxidants nowadays so that stuff didn't impress me.

But the taste did impress me. The Mango Juice really is a magical blend of mango and (apparently) taste enhancing antioxidants. It's very rich and creamy and smooth and basically tastes just like a mango smoothie. Cooincidentally, my favorite Jamba Juice smoothie happens to be Mango A Go Go, so I'm already prepped and ready to love the mango drink.

And the price! (okay now I have to watch myself I'm starting to sound like a cheesy infomercial). For 32 FL OZ its $2.99. Now if it basically tastes like a mango smoothie, and Jamba Juice mango smoothies are about $5.00 for 16oz (factoring in time/gas to drive to Jamba Juice) then all I have to say is you do the math (yes I'm lazy its too early in the morning for math). I'm not Jamba Juice hatin' there's always a need for a delicious Mango A Go Go, espeically when you are on the go go (hahaha god I hate puns but that was a little bit funny).

But back to the taste. I just got some Mango Juice because I'm one of those people who talking about a food makes them hungry for it (I also have a problem seeing food on TV, did you ever get hungry for carrots after watchin Bugs Bunny? man those carrots looked awesome). Also when I blog about foods I need to actually have them in front of me so I can type out the information on the back. Again back to the taste. Delicious. Plus I tried a little experiment, you know how when you brush your teeth, orange juice tastes awful? Well Mango Juice doesn't taste all that bad. It still tastes a little funny but that goes away after a while.

It's really thick and rich so I've found that the 8oz cup is totally sufficient at filling me up. That's another thing about orange juice, when I do drink it, its usually pretty thin tasting so I end up drinking a lot of it. I didn't really mean for this post to be anti-orange juice, I hope the growers in Florida don't sue me ala Oprah and the cow people, sometimes when I'm in the mood for it, I do really love Orange Juice.

Cost: $2.99 per 32oz

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 8oz
Calories: 120
Sugars: 18g

On Jug:
Mango & Antioxidants Flash Pasteurized: A juice blend of 5 fruits with vitamins C, E, A & Selenium.

Store location: by the juices, right above the orange juice usually

Sunday, January 15, 2006

TJs in West Hartford is Awesome!

Here she is, Trader Joe's West Hartford! I was back east for a couple of days this past week and I decided that even though a blog is a wonderful thing for introducing Trader Joe's to my mom and dad, a shopping tour would be the best thing ever. Luckily my mom was game (she's usually up for anything as long as it doesn't involve snow).

We walked slowly around the store to each of the different sections, while I talked about which products were my favorite and why. We got a couple of strange looks, but I did notice some people listening now and again. The Trader Joe's employees were all very smiley and helpful. I love how Trader Joe's hires the same people on the East Coast as on the West Coast (ethnically diverse, friendly, happy to be there, who knew those people existed outside of sunny California?)

I had a really fun time giving my mom a tour of her newly opened Trader Joe's. Part of the fun was finding new products that Trader Joe's doesn't offer in my California store, like Challah (it looked yummy!) and a fancy frozen pot roast dinner that looked like it might become one of my go-to meals (if only it was in California, hint hint). This Trader Joe's, probably because its new, has the most amazing sample section, which is so great, because that really is one of the best things about Trader Joe's, that you never have to go hungry whilst shopping.

Unfortunately, this Trader Joe's didn't have as large a selection of prepared fresh meals (I can only move back to West Hartford when the TJs gets in the Stuffed Bell Peppers) but that won't really bother my parents since they like to cook anyway. But they will be bothered by the fact that TJsWH doesn't sell any liquor. That's just so funny because Trader Joe's is known in California for its really cheap and delicious wine and beer. A funny (funny teehee but not LOL funny) story that probably everyone reading this blog has already heard a million times: My best friend Dale and I managed an eating club in college where we had to purchase large supplies of cheap food and liquor. We bought the majority of our booze from Trader Joe's. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I lived on Dale's couch in West Hollywood and he let me know that there was a Trader Joe's within walking distance of his apartment. I was confused because I thought that Trader Joe's only sold liquor. Oh look how far I've come, Trader Joe's!

I thought maybe the tour of Trader Joe's was a little much but my mom said that it was actually really helpful. She thought that it was nice to have someone point out specific foods to try because Trader Joe's is filled with a lot of crazy unfamiliar options. I liked doing the tour because it gave me some more ideas for blog posts and meals. I also realized that this blog is going to be great for me and Paul, because it's going to force me to try new things and branch out beyond my six or seven meals that I like to cook from Trader Joe's. Because otherwise the blog would be done and over with in six or seven posts.

And of course the best part of going to Trader Joe's West Hartford was that we did a little shopping. My mom really liked the packaged Indian foods that come in boxes and are sealed in cool silver space age pouches (but you don't find that out until you open the box). She also got some hummus and guacamole to try, along with some mini-pitas. I also convinced her to get the Greek Style Plain Yogurt (I swear they haven't paid me). I have to admit it was really satisfying when she tried it this morning and declared it "Amazing!"