Trader Joe’s

First, I have to thank my beautiful niece for asking me to guest author a column on her blog! My name is Catherine and I started my gluten free journey about a year before Anna was diagnosed with celiac. I don’t have celiac disease, just an intolerance to gluten, but the difference without gluten is remarkable. My stomach used to hurt all the time, I felt bloated, tired, and unhealthy. I feel my best when I am doing a more primal diet without any grains but, as a working mom of two kids, pasta and pizza are often the quickest things to make for dinner.

Which brings me to my post today. I knew my first post would have to be about one of my favorite places for pretty much everything yummy. Trader Joe’s! This place has amazing gluten free finds and the prices are just as amazing!! Gluten free is often pricey so not only can you do almost your entire weekly shopping in one spot, but your wallet will thank you for it. I can’t tell you how many times I would get ‘sticker shock’ at the health food store when buying gluten free. Finding Trader Joe’s has been a huge relief to me and my bank account.

So, Anna and I share the same passion for Tinkyada brown rice pasta but at four bucks a pop, it adds up, especially if you have pasta several times a week. Which leads me to my first mention: Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta. It is the closest substitute for the Tinkyada and its $1.99…….yep, less than two bucks! Now, they don’t have all the shapes and sizes that Tinkyada does but unless you’re making lasagna, they’ve got you covered. And here’s a TIP:  you can cook pasta in bulk for leftovers—you just need to add the tiniest bit of liquid, cover, and microwave to steam the pasta (you can do for the same for leftover rice). It’s a great way to always have some grains on hand for a quick bite.

Pasta

For lunches, try any of these:

Lettuce

Top with these:

Deli

Some olives, nuts, any little leftovers you’ve got in the fridge and your favorite dressing—this is mine.

Blue Cheese Dressing

Also, the TJ’s Mac and Cheese is so good that you can have it as lunch, a side dish, or add a protein and veggies for dinner (think leftover rotisserie chicken, a can of tuna, or cooked shrimp). My daughter loves mac and cheese and gave this two thumbs up; she kept asking how I made it so creamy. Butter and milk, my friends…butter and milk.

Now onto dinner. Take your cooked brown rice pasta, toss with any of these, add a protein (or not, whatever you like), and you’ve got dinner ready!

For super easy and quick international fare:

As for treats, first up is the gluten free Joe-Joe’s. This is the Trader Joe’s version of Oreos and they are AH-MAZING. In my opinion, you can’t tell the difference.

Joe Joes

A great way to satisfy that sweet tooth is with something good for you—grab a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bar. My daughter loves them, and being naturally gluten free, they are a simple, good for you treat…well…if you can control yourself and not eat them all at once—they come 3 to a package for $1.79 AND they are Belgian chocolate too.  Yep…just shocking!

Dark Chocolate

A great choice for an on-the-go snack is the TJ’s Fruit Bars. My fav? The Apple Coconut bar. And the ingredients? Apple and…you guessed it…coconut. That’s it!

Bars

And definitely try these Gluten Free Pretzel Twists. I am obsessed!! Seriously, I can eat the whole bag in one sitting. I’m actually doing this as I type. Yes, I have a problem. A pretzel problem.

Pretzels

I could go on and on, but definitely head to your local Trader Joe’s and give these products a try for yourself; there’s so many other gluten free items with prices that can’t be beat.  And if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, check around for an Aldi’s.  Aldi’s owns Trader Joe’s and has lots of options as well, and they are even more reasonable!

Here you can see a list of some of the great gluten free products at Trader Joe’s.

Thanks again Anna and here’s to eating gluten free…deliciously!

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