Does anyone else feel like a kid in a candy store during the holidays at Trader Joe's? Between the holiday flowers and decorations, endless specialty items, and huge wine selection - I could be lost inside for hours. You don't even have to get worried about caffeine withdrawals or hunger pangs with the delectable little samples. Although embarrassment does set in around coffee refill number four. I don't think they really consider that sampling. Next time I may need to bring a disguise. And the Peppermint Jojo's, don't even get me started. It's a good thing for me they are only offered once a year. Here are some of my favorite things - what are yours? And on a side note if you have a friend or family member who lives off TJ's, consider gifting them a Trader Joe's cookbook with a little basket of your favorite TJ's items. It's a hit every time.
1. Candy Cane Jojo's, 2 P+ per cookie (70 calories)
If these were available year round or if I allowed myself to freeze these and eat them all year, which I am told definitely works, I think I would have to start buying jeans at least a few sizes bigger. At 2 points per cookie, they aren't the worst thing for you, the tricky part is stopping at a couple of cookies. I recommend only opening a package when there are lots of people around. Unless you have self control, then I applaud you.
2. Gingerbread Coffee, 0 P+ (5 calories)
I love the subtle spice blend in this coffee. It invokes just the right amount of holiday spice without being completely overwhelming. I also find I use less cream and sugar with this coffee with a great added bonus. The pumpkin blend is pretty special as well if you can still find it.
3. Candy Cane Green Tea, 0 P+ (0 calories)
Let's start by being honest. Flavored teas don't always deliver. For example, chocolate tea - doesn't really taste like chocolate and doesn't curb my chocolate cravings. However this candy cane green tea is a really great version of mint tea. Add a little vanilla almond milk or honey and you have a really great cup of tea for any cold winter night.
4. Pretzel Thins, 1 P+ per pretzel thin (35 calories)
These pretzel thins are another item where it is important to assess your willpower before opening a bag. It would be all too easy to consume the whole bag on the car ride home if you aren't paying attention. Pretzels covered in chocolate and candy cane pieces - really nothing can go wrong.
5. Red Pepper Jelly, 1 P+ per tablespoon (50 calories)
I am not quite sure why this is only offered around the holidays, but I would stock up. This jelly adds tons of sweet heat flavor to sandwiches, is delicious with goat cheese and crackers, works great in quick pan sauces and dips, and if you are into the sweet and spicy combo, put some over vanilla ice cream. It's dreamy. And I almost forgot, it is a great addition to margarita mix if you want an undertone of heat. Just add a couple tablespoons.
6. Lebkuchen Bar, 3 P+ per bar (120 calories)
At this very moment I am incredibly happy I do not have to try and say this word out loud. There may have been a time where I was completely mortified trying to ask an employee where this was. Let me just say it didn't end in purchasing. However don't let that discourage you from finding this gem. Lebkuchen is a German Christmas dessert, similar to gingerbread, sweetened with honey and flavored with lots of spices. If you like gingerbread, definitely give this a try.
7. Turkey Gravy, 1 P+ per 1/4 cup (25 calories)
I have really mixed feelings about gravy. Growing up I thought it was just about the worst thing ever and watched in horror as my family members drowned their food in gravy. However as I have gotten older I have grown a soft spot in my heart for gravy, but usually try to avoid it since it is so high in calories. Luckily with this TJ's version you can drown your food to your heart's desire since it's only 25 calories per fourth cup.
8. Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies, 4 P+ for 8 cookies (120 calories)
I almost missed these delicious little cookies but luckily they got my eye as I was checking out. They are crispy and have a great peppermint flavor. And best of all you can have 8 of them for just 120 calories.
9. Sweet Potato Bisque, 3 P+ for 1 cup (130 calories)
Trader Joe's boxed soups put most canned soups to shame in my book. They are creamy, delicious, and I have yet to try one that I didn't enjoy. This seasonal Sweet Potato Bisque is no different and makes a perfect appetizer or side dish. Top is with a dollop of sour cream, some crispy bacon, chives, and some toasted pumpkin seeds and no one will ever know it is store bought.
10. Peppermint Taffy, 3 P+ for 4 pieces (97 calories)
If you are looking for a candy fix, this peppermint taffy hits the spot. It's chewy, sweet, and minty. I like to carry some around in my purse for a quick sugar fix throughout the day. There is also something nostalgic about taffy that feels just right during the holidays.
Other awesome items that readers shared that you should check out - Powerberries, Cinnamon Pear Cider, Cranberry Chevre Log, Stilton with Cranberries, and their holiday toffee.