If I was a poetry writer I would compose an Ode to Trader Joe’s in the Fall. Alas, I am not a poetry writer.
If I was, the ode would be filled with praises about the fact that, every October, the aisles of Trader Joe’s fill with all things pumpkin. And my love of pumpkin is second only to my love of eggnog. Or is it the other way around? Wow. That’s a tough one. Conclusion? Don’t make me choose between my pumpkin and my eggnog.
Ohhhh…it’s October. By the end of this month my favorite coffee shop (and I use the words “coffee shop” only as an identifier because I don’t actually drink coffee…does nothin’ for me) will have eggnog available. Which means eggnog chai. Whimper.
But, we’re talking pumpkin.
Every page of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer (their little newsletter that pimps the best goodies currently available) contains at multiple pumpkin products for me to drool over.
Organic Pumpkin Toaster Pastries, Pumpkin Tortilla Chips, Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps, Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Cranberry Scone Mix, Pumpkin Spice Granola (I can no longer buy this because I will inhale the entire box in a day, which means that, in one sitting, I consume enough fat for a week or so), Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal, Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pumpkin Panettone, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels.
You get the idea.
Plus, they have a lot of…fall-oriented goods, in general.
I thought I would share with you a few of my recent purchases. Some new, some old favorites. Complete with pictures. How about that?
First, Pumpkin Body Butter. You heard me: PUMPKIN BODY BUTTER! Because true pumpkin fanatics not only want to eat it, they want to slather it on their bodies. Pumpkin Body Butter doesn’t actually smell a lot like pumpkin, in my opinion. It’s got a lightly sweet-spicy scent. And can you really go wrong with body butter? At $4.99? Nope. They have a…I think it’s pomegranite..around Christmas time that is rather nice, too.
Seeing the next box appear on the tea aisle every fall gives me a happy, dreamy, warm feeling. Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. First, it smells amazing. Make a mug of this and carry it into a meeting at the office and every person’s nose in that room will twitch and someone will ask, “Oh, my, what is that wonderful scent?” The box describes it as “A blend of cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, chamomile, roasted chicory, orange peel and apple flavor.” I describe it as yummy. I buy three boxes every year because once it’s gone it’s unavailable until the next fall.
These next two products are new ones to me. The first is Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli. I figure it’s either going to be an instant favorite or once will be one time to many. TJ’s describes the filling as, “a harmonious medley of pumpkin perfection – sweet pumpkin is slathered with honey and a bit of brown sugar and molasses, then roasted, pureed and blended with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.” I’m such a sucker for well-written food descriptions. But, wait, there’s more: “This sweet-savory mixture is stuffed into colorful, square pasta – one side is orange-red like a pumpkin shell, the other side a muted orange, like the inside of the pumpkin.” Sold!
They recommended pairing it with their Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce. It’s a tomato-based sauce with the addition of pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots and a “touch of cream.” And, they say things like this (to incite panic): “Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce is only on our shelves during Pumpkin Season, so this is one of those rare occasions where hasty action is encouraged.” I like how they capitalize Pumpkin Season. Like it’s a national holiday. As it should be.
This next product is also a new find this year, though I’ve already tried it and can emphatically recommend it. I bought a jar a couple of weeks ago and polished off half of it in one setting. And, lucky for me, the husband avoids most savory products that include pumpkin and squash, so I do not have to share my Fall Harvest Salsa. It is filled with fire-roasted tomatillos, red bell peppers, jalapenos (I find it very mild) and lime juice, according to the Flyer. Those familiar flavors are paired with pumpkin, butternut squash and apples. I know! I picked up one jar initially because I was a skeptic. I am a skeptic no longer. There are two additional jars in the pantry.
Maple Leaf Cookies and I go way back. A household favorite (and by household I mean the husband and I have been known to bicker over who had more cookies out of any given box), these have gone from only being available in the fall to being on the shelves of TJ’s year-round. That, my friends, is a dangerous thing. I try (and have been relatively successful) to convince myself that they are only available in the fall. I love all things maple (as does the husband). So, how can one possibly go wrong with a cookie shaped like a maple leaf, filled with a maple cream filling? One cannot. Go wrong. Ever.
I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about Pumpkin O’s. I purchased them for the first time last year and picked up a box this year as well. I had expected something like a Cheerio with a pumpkin flavor. Instead, they’re kind of reminiscent of Apple Jacks, with a mild pumpkin flavor. I wish they were less like a Jack and more like a Cheerio.
Pita Crisps with Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds are very snack-worthy. Meaning, if you sit down in front of the TV with a bag of these crisps you will find it very easy to mow through the entire thing in one setting. This is not based upon personal experience, this is merely speculation that the probability of this happening would be quite high…ahem….
I’m looking forward to trying Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds because how could I pass up a pumpkin seed covered in a butter-sugar toffee glaze and seasoned with pumpkin pie spice?
And, finally, last but certainly not least, Pumpkin Cornbread Mix. I served this last year with a batch of taco soup and last weekend with homemade beef stew. I have to warn you, it’s a sweet cornbread. Sweet enough that I’m not sure that I love it with either the soup or the stew, but I do love it the next morning smeared with a little butter and heated in the microwave. I bet it would be amazing with their Pumpkin Cream Cheese, which I did not purchase. A decision that I’m now regretting.
And, that, my friends is pumpkin-paloooooooozzzzzzzzaaaaaaaa! Get thee to Trader Joe’s! I may see you there!*
*I was not paid to pimp TJ’s products. Though they could pay me…in pumpkin stuff.