Posts tagged Trader Joe's

If you were to look inside my fridge, more often then not, you would find a little jar of sauce.

Not just any sauce.

Magic sauce.

A few days after Scarlet was born, my mom came over to make us some dinner and the meal she made has become a staple in our house. The sauce for the roasted veggies comes from one of my favorite food blogs and the dinner concept from my mom's sheer genious.

Thank you Mom.

As I've mentioned before, eating all real foods takes some planning, preperation and time and I'm always looking for easy items I can keep on hand to throw together a quick meal... especially when you can get good leftovers out of it!

A few things about this meal:

  • If you are a meat eater and worry that a meal of veggies won't fill you up... I promise this will.
  • You can use any veggies you like with the sauce. Although it does taste amazing with the cauliflower!
  • I sometimes add garbonzo beans or lentils to the meal for added protein.
  • I always double or triple the sauce and keep it on hand for another meal. Thus, the little magic jar.
  • If your 3 year old says "I will like vegetables when I get older mama." then you might be out of luck with this one. Yes, I'm speaking from experience.





  • 1 head of cauliflower - cut into bit sized pieces
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 package of the 5 Grain Blend from Trader Joe's (it is a mix of couscous, orzo, beans and red quinoa) or any grain
  • Vegetable broth


I follow these intructions and mix together:

  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 T braggs amino acids
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 3 T water
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t minced ginger
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 2 T chopped cashews or almonds


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Follow the instructions for cooking the 5 Grain Mix and get it going on the stove. I use vegetable broth and coconut oil.

Side note: I usually make the whole package because it works great for leftovers and Duke LOVES it. Seriously great, kid-friendly, mix! I usually mix in some avocado and sometimes I can even hide some broccoli in it. Sometimes.

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.

In a medium sized bowl, toss the cauliflower with about half the sauce and place on a baking sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes.

While the cauliflower starts cooking, toss the asparagus with the remaining sauce.

After about 15 minutes, stir the cauliflower and add the asparagus to the baking sheet and roast for another 10 minutes.


Layer everything in a bowl!

If you like spicy, it tastes great with a bit of Sreracha on top.


LENTIL HUMMUS: by michele fordice

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Michele posted a photo on Facebook of some homemade hummus she was planning to make. Her pile of ingredients sounded so good that I asked her to share her creation with you all. She is delightful and fun and truly finding cooking to be a beautiful form of art... a women after my own heart!



PS: I will be back next week with a new recipe. All the ingredients are waiting in my fridge... I just need to figure out how to find time to take a shower with two little ones... then I will be back in the kitchen!

LENTIL HUMMUS: by michele fordice

For some families, cheese, bread, or meat may be a staple at the dinner table.

The staple in our home is hummus.

Some would even say it’s become an obsession around here.  With minimal complaints from my 4-year-old son, he eats just about anything you put in front of him. But my 2-year-old on the other hand, he lives and breathes because of his hummus consumption.  For the past two years we have consumed more hummus containers from Costco than one might think humanly possible and we’ve experimented with many hummus recipes.

We have discovered that Trader Joe’s has the best flavor, but because of the amount we consume, we had to switch over to Costco’s more economical version.  In an effort to switch things up now and then, I tried making it myself.

In the end…this recipe has proven to be one of our favorites.

Traditional Hummus is usually blended with a chick pea bean (aka garbanzo bean). For this recipe, I’ve chosen to use a sprouted bean trio of lentils, adzuki, and mung beans. Ok, I’ll be honest. The reason why I chose this group of beans was because of the color. They looked pretty in the store and I wanted to take them home!

Using this sprouted bean trio was a first for me, and despite the initial vanity in my purchase, we really liked the way the hummus turned out. It had a more earthy/hearty flavor.

Unbeknownst to me, sprouted beans are said to be easier to digest and loaded with micronutrients.  Who knew?  Allowing the beans to sprout (aka: germinate) has been used in food preparation for centuries, and for those who are sensitive to certain grains and beans, this might be a viable option.  Ezekiel bread (hyper link to this website:, is a commercial example of sprouted grain bread.  Most Trader Joe’s carry Ezekiel breads and tortillas.

If you are feeling adventuresome and have never made your own hummus recipe, try it!  It’s actually really easy, nutritious, and a fun recipe to do with kids!  And, if you are not up for cooking your own beans, grab a can of garbanzo beans.  Be sure to rinse the beans in a colander in order to remove the excess sodium that has been put in the can as a preservative.

Put away that Hidden Valley Ranch dressing and bust out a healthy alternative to eating raw veggies!



  • 1 cup of dried lentils or any kind of bean of your choice
  • 3 cups of water (used to boil the beans)
  • 3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 gloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Amino
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Cook dried lentils or beans according to package directions.  If you have cooked canned beans, pour contents into a colander to drain juices and rinse beans of any excess sodium.
  • Pour the rest of the ingredients into your choice food processor and blend.  Depending on your food processor you may need to add a bit of water or olive oil to create a more creamy texture.
  • Serve with fresh vegetables, pita, and or as a sandwich spread.
  • Now enjoy!

This is just ONE of many renditions you can try.  Cook up some spinach and add it into the food processor for some extra micronutrients.  You can also add or delete the amount of lemon juice, garlic and tamari sauce to make it more or less flavorful.

Cooking has become an art form for me and food is the canvas.  I love throwing in a pinch of this or a dash of that and see how it changes the consistency or flavor of a dish.  As you get to know the flavors of the world you really get to see HIS creativity, not just the science behind the food.  He sure is creative!

Hope this inspires you too to get creative!

Love, Michele

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: by becca hardesty

I am taking a break from the blog this week because our Scarlet Ruth Mosser made her way into the world this past Tuesday! She is a dainty little girl already and bringing us so much peace and joy! 

Today's post is from my friend Becca Hardesty and I'm sure we will ALL learn from her practical advice on meal planning, grocery shopping and staying in a budget.



(Chris, Becca, Bennet and baby #2)

Meal planning and grocery shopping can be daunting tasks, especially if you have kids to mind and a budget to stick to.

I am by no means an expert at these things, but I feel like I have a pretty good method (shopping can get quite interesting when you are 8.5 months pregnant and have a spirited toddler!) to getting it all done. I'm so glad that I get the opportunity to share the method to my meal-planning madness and how I keep sane on long grocery shopping days all the while staying in budget.

Some of this may be common sense, but sometimes common sense is what I need to hear the most!

My husband Chris gets paid every other Friday, which are my grocery shopping days. This means that I only need to do big grocery trips two times a month.

I usually head to the store to grab some fresh produce and milk on Sunday for the second week, but at the end of the two weeks our refrigerator is looking pretty darn empty. Luckily, having a menu planned out means that I'm not scrounging around for things to make at the end of the two weeks (always a plus)!

IT'S ALL IN THE PLANNING: It's important to have a binder of recipes you've torn out of magazines, a folder of saved recipes on your computer, a Pinterest board dedicated to meals you'd love to make/your all-time favorites OR all of the above!

While meal planning, I refer to each of these things often but Pinterest is definitely a favorite for gathering and sharing new meal inspiration and also keeping it all organized.


- Take stock of what needs to be used up in your refrigerator and pantry. Plan meals using these things...wasting is never good.

Example: I know I need to use up some sweet potatoes, sour cream and cilantro so maybe I will make sweet potato tacos next week.

-Think about what you'd like to make. Have you been craving warm soup in this rainy weather?

-Keep your menu interesting by choosing a few favorites, a few oldies and a few new recipes...once again, Pinterest has been a lifesaver in the meal-planning department!

-To mind our budget (and our health) I only plan 1-2 meals containing meat per week. This allows us to get more veggies into our diet and actually all of our favorite meals are meatless ones now!

ASSESS YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO (depending on when payday occurs):

- Will you be out of town or having dinner guests over? Do you need to make something quick on house church night?

-Plan accordingly (don't forget to take advantage of that crock can make your evenings/life so much easier)!

-Choose meals, but not necessarily for specific days (this allows you to be flexible) unless you have something special planned, like a big batch of fish tacos for when your friends come over Friday night.

THE LIST: When I'm doing my meal planning, I first like to find a meal and write it down on the back of my grocery list (or put into my "meals" note on my phone). It's handy to have the list of meals I'll be making while I'm out shopping. After I write down the meal, I take a look at the ingredients and add the ones that I'll need to buy to my grocery list. I then move onto the next meal until I'm all the way through my planned menu.

Speaking of my grocery list, I used to be so attached to my paper lists and would cross out each item as it went into my cart. Recently I decided to try out the Grocery IQ app for my phone. It took a while to get used to, but now I Iove it and don't miss my paper lists at all. The best part is that it's free!

When I'm writing out my list, I have a different list for each store I need to go to. I squeeze three different stores into one morning before naptime so it's important to be organized. (Does anyone go to just one store?!)

SHOPPING DAY: Before you head out, plan your route according to what stores you will be going to and what you need to buy there. Do you need to get a lot of frozen items at Costco? Go there last (or if you are the over-achieving type, keep a cooler in your trunk).

Drive a little farther to get to where you need to go if the stores happen to be closer together somewhere farther from your house. I usually head to Costco first, then park in between Fred Meyer and Trader Joe's since they are pretty close to one another. I do my grocery shopping at Fred Meyer and load it into my car when I'm done and then I walk over to Trader Joe's. This not only saves time and gas but also keeps my toddler happy since he doesn't have to get in and out of the car seat another time.

Speaking of keeping kids (and mama) happy on grocery day, make sure to pack plenty of snacks, water and a sandwich for lunch so you can put them down for nap right when you get home...this will make unloading groceries much more efficient.

Don't forget to have a few distractions up your sleeve (or in your purse) like stickers; and don't be afraid to drop your child off at the play area of the store. I finally tried it out and wish I had done it sooner! My son loves the hour he gets to play as opposed to being stuck sitting in the shopping cart. I'm also able to focus more so we get home earlier and don't miss that precious naptime window!


-A simple solution to getting the most for your budget would be to choose meals that overlap in ingredients. You could even pick a theme for the week, like "Mexican" which would ensure you'd use up all of those corn tortillas and sour cream.

- I  would love to buy all organic groceries if I could, but that's not really realistic on our budget. I always buy organic dairy products, or at the very least I stick to a brand that I trust. I also stick to the same rule when it comes to meat, which doesn't add up too much when you are only making a couple of meals containing meat each week. As far as produce, I try to buy organic if they are in the "dirty dozen". Pretty much this means that if you eat the peel or skin, then you should choose organic since most of the pesticides sit in the skin or peel.

-It's unfortunate that good and healthy food has a high price tag, but keeping our families healthy is probably a top priority for every parent. If you can't afford to buy organic meat all of the time, cut back on meat in general and spend that money on organic produce instead.

Above all, be prepared and focus on the task at hand. It's easy to get overwhelmed (especially if you have kids) but remember that grocery shopping only lasts a short time and it's such a privilege to be able to go out and fill our cupboards with new items every few weeks!


Martha + Mary

Thursday was a whirlwind. I woke up looking forward to the day and with a To Do list packed full.

Duke and I were going to have a morning around the house of playing, working out, getting ready and tidying up.

Then we were headed to make a quick stop by Brook’s new office to say hello.

Then off to my mom’s house so Duke could take a nap there while I went grocery shopping for us and for my brother (his wife had been in Uganda for 5 weeks while they adopted my new niece!)

I was just slightly looking forward to grocery shopping by myself. Not that going with Duke isn’t wonderful… just a bit different of an experience.

I had a two-hour window to go to Costco, Winco and Trader Joe’s and be back to pick up Duke and take John Mark his groceries.

I pulled up to the Costco parking lot with a massive downpour enveloping my car and realized I had forgotten my phone. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but I am 9.5 months pregnant and could go into labor at any moment.

I thought for a minute about going back to get it but then decided to just shop as quick as I could and hope my water didn’t break.

I buzzed through Costco and Winco… getting SOAKED in each parking lot and then headed to Trader Joe’s.

At this point my “relaxing” time of grocery shopping all alone was not feeling the way I had envisioned.

I pulled into Trader Joe’s, got out my list and realized something…

Everything on John Mark’s list was from Trader Joe’s.

John Mark’s list was on my phone.

My phone was at my parent’s house.

Stress level rising.

To make my long day shorter…

I ended up getting home at 8:30 that night , putting Duke to bed, eating dinner after 9  and falling exhausted into bed as soon as Brook got home at 10.

Needless to say, my day didn’t work out the way I’d planned.

Instead of feeling accomplished and satisfied at the end of the day, I was exhausted, frazzled, and wishing I had been able to finish my laundry, sweep my floor and cross everything off my list of things to do.

Yet this morning I awoke earlier then usual and God had something waiting for me.

I opened by Bible to Luke 10 and the story of Martha and Mary jumped off the page to me in a whole new way.

I have always resonated with Martha and am certainly a woman who gets wrapped up in tasks. In fact, I often enjoy the tasks. Yet, I can get consumed by them and lose sight of what else God might have for me in the day.

Jesus says:

Luke 10: 41

Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

This verse sums up my Thursday. I was worried and bothered instead of choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet.

My floors will stay clean only until my husband and son come running down the halls, filling our home with laughter and joy.

My To Do list will always have something new to be added as soon as something old is crossed off.

My laundry will be finished for a few fleeting moments before Duke spills lunch on his t-shirt.

My grocery shopping will be complete until I get home and realize I forgot bananas.

Yet these are the very things that give my life meaning and purpose. They show that my life is filled with people… and people are so much more important then tasks.

I am speaking from a place of weakness and asking God to give me strength. Will you ask Him to the same for you?

In the passage immediately following, Jesus speaks to his disciples about prayer:

Luke 11:9-10

"So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock; and it will be opened to you. For anyone who asks receives; and he who seeks, finds; and him who knocks it will be opened.”

Often His answers are different then what we would picture.

They may not come in more time to accomplish tasks.

They may come in the form of more interruptions that seemingly create more tasks.

But may we remember to sit at His feet, first. Asking what His will is for today.

From a mom who is learning,


PS: In light of what God is teaching me this week… I’m taking the time to enjoy my family this week and rest a bit before we add a new baby girl.

But I don’t want to leave you empty handed in the recipe department so I wanted to link you to one of our favorite treats on these stormy days. ENJOY!