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Foodie Freebie Friday: Trader Joe's!

This Foodie Freebie Friday announcement is a bit late because it's been quite a weekend of packing and planning for our upcoming move! We are super excited about it all and I'm thrilled with the new kitchen I'll be working in. The view from my kitchen and the rest of our condo is absolutely breathtaking... and definitely allows me to love the city of Chicago more and more. Stay tuned on Friday when I'll have pics of our new place to share!

One thing both my husband and I had to be comfortable with is heights. We will be moving on the top (46th) floor of a downtown highrise building and being that it is a corner unit, we have a gorgeous and unobstructed view of Chicago - definitely in the heart of it all. Fortunately we don't have the fear of heights, otherwise this wouldn't be the place we'd call home!

A specific requirement of where we live is dependent on the proximity to a Trader Joe's grocery store. I have a great love of Trader Joes grocery stores... probably too big!

Just what is this thing we call Trader Joe’s? Well, we’re a grocery store, sure, but really so much more. Our shelves are stocked full of delicious foods and beverages from the basics like milk, bread and butter to more exotic fare like imported cheeses, organic produce and hand-tossed pizza from Italy. We taste every product before we decide to sell it, and we guarantee you’ll like it.*

You might expect indulgences like these to come with unbecoming prices. But at Trader Joe’s, we’re as much about value as we are about great food. In other words, we keep our costs low, cut out the middleman whenever possible and pass our savings on to you in the form of terrific everyday prices. So you can afford to be adventurous without breaking the bank. -- Trader Joes

Trader Joe's has quite a following of fans. There's even a website dedicated to the specific products they offer (www.traderjoesfan.com) as well as a cookbook, Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's.


And speaking of fears early on, I can't help but mention my love of "Fearless Flyers." If you're not familiar with what these are, these are the creation of Trader Joe's:

The Fearless Flyer has been likened to a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine. We're not sure who said that, but we think they pretty much got it right. The Fearless Flyer is kind of like a newsletter, a catalog and a bit of a comic book all at the same time. It’s our chance to give you loads of interesting (hopefully) information about our products. And along the way, we like to toss in some witty (we try) tidbits and even a few old-fashioned cartoons. -- Trader Joe's
So this week's Foodie Freebie Friday, a lucky reader will be receiving a box of Trader Joe's goodies! I'll be sending you some of my favorite Trader Joe's products to enjoy and have a culinary adventure with!

Some guidelines:
- Giveaway is only for those who live in the United States. My apologies to my international readers!
- You must have a valid email address so that you can be contacted if you win.


To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about:
- What culinary fears do you have in the kitchen? Is it a specific ingredient you're hesitant to work with? Is it a technique you're not comfortable attempting? Or maybe you overcame a culinary fear? I'd love to hear about it!

Deadline: Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 12 midnight CST.

One Winner will be randomly chosen by Random.Org's Interger Generator based on the number of your comment and will be announced on Friday, March 6, 2009. Good luck!

97 comments

  1. I love Trader Joes! My fear is yeast,but I am slowly overcoming that fear!

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  2. What a great giveaway! There is a TJ's close, but not close enough to really be convenient for us. :/ I wish they'd build another around here.

    I did, and kind of still do, have a fear of filo dough. I have made spanakopita once before, but it was tough. I'd love to really figure out how to conquer it. :)

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  3. How cool! I've never seen a Trader Joe's, much less had anything from there! I'm very hesitant to fry anything, and not just for diet purposes. I'm afraid I'll burn myself or cause a fire! :\

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  4. I've never been to a trader joe's before but I hear so many good things about it! My fear (that I'm slowly overcoming) is decorating cookies/cakes. I'm such a perfectionist so it takes me forever to decorate these things and I get frustrated if it is anything less then perfection! But practice makes perfect so I've been doing a lot of practicing!

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  5. I love TJs too!! I just went yesterday and got a bunch of goodies!! My recyclable bags are all from TJs.
    However, my culinary fear is still yeast and baking bread. I'm still experimenting on this.
    Everything else I can make and duplicate...go figure!

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  6. Oh I wish we had a Trader Joes here! Someday, maybe :)

    My biggest fear is wasting food. So sometimes this causes me to stray from more involved recipes because I hate to imagine the flop :( I'm slowly learning that mistakes are part of the process though so I'm just taking it by baby steps...

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  7. I have been scared to make anything requiring yeast. I baked with it for the first time this weekend, making some pretzels. They turned out well and gave me a little boost of confidence to try some other things, I've got my eye on some kaiser rolls I saw online.

    And I'm hoping that, someday, we'll have a TJ's that I can shop at instead of just hearing about how wonderful they are.

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  8. I was terrified of working with yeast, but once I started to, I can't stop! I love baking breads now and MOST of the time, they turn out beautifully and I'm so happy NOT to spend upwards of $4 on one loaf of bread!!!!

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  9. I love Trader Joe's. My latest love is the Maple Leaf Cookies. To die for.
    As for my culinary fear are using the hot spices in my recipes. I am afraid that I will use too much and it will be too spicy to eat. I am slowly overcoming that fear by using less than what is given. For example, if a 1/4 tsp is asked for, I will put in 1/8. So far it is working. I also want to expand my spice rack. I just have the basics but I want to open up the "doors" to more spices without blowing my grocery budget.

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  10. What culinary fears do you have in the kitchen? Is it a specific ingredient you're hesitant to work with? Is it a technique you're not comfortable attempting? Or maybe you overcame a culinary fear? I'd love to hear about it!

    My husband doesn't eat much seafood at all, so whenever I try to cook it (its not too often) I always tend to overcook or undercook it. It is a shame because I love seafood.

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  11. Yeast was my biggest fear, but my first DB challenge forced me to get over that. Now I'm better at it. I'm still scared of gelatin though...

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  12. I am definitely afraid of a whole chicken. I do cook a turkey on Thanksgiving (well, with my mom) and it's not hard... I don't know why I can't make the jump to chicken!

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  13. For some reason I have become afraid of raw eggs. I grew up on raw cookie dough and meringue. But now I cannot taste it and certianly will not let my kids. DH eats it in front of us, one day it will get him and I will have not sympathy. ;)

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  14. Congrats on your new place and good luck with your move!
    Like a lot of other posters, my biggest fear is yeast. I hate that it is so sensitive to temperature/moisture. I am slowly conquering that fear though with basic breads...I would love to one day work my way up to pastries but baby steps for now. Finally breaking down and getting a baking thermometer has also helped tremendously in making sure the temperature of the water is right, etc.

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  15. I fear baking in general. Cooking I love but baking is always a chance. If only the payoff wasn't so good I could give it up but alas I like my sweet treats!

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  16. I just can't seem to make a cake. always falls on me! guess I am not a baker :)

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  17. I have a big fear of cooking fish. It took me a long time to realize I even liked eating fish, so cooking it is the next big step. Maybe one of these days!

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  18. I would have to say that the thing that I am absolutely terrfied to attempt is seafood, lobster & crab especially. I wouldn't even know where to begin. The great thing is that for Lent, rather than giving something up, I have decided to try new things. Perhaps this will be the season that I'll give the sea creatures a whirl...

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  19. I love TJ's, we didn't have them in Denver, but here in Chicago we live a mere 6 blocks away. I love them!

    My kitchen fear is baking. I don't do it. Well, I didn't do it. WE got a new mixer as a wedding gift, which has inspired me to give it a shot.

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  20. I am so jealous of your swanky apartment! I do have a HUGE fear of heights, I get nervous on 2 story malls, so I don't know how well that would sit with me. I think if it was over looking Chi-town, I'd be ok. My cooking fear would have to be pastry dough, I worked with wontons (similar concept) this weekend for the first time and was shaking the whole time. Btw, great FF, I love their edamame and frozen berries!

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  21. I love TJ!!! My Fear is NOT in the Kitchen.. I am afraid of the BBQ! I'm not afraid of BBQ'ing, I am afraid of lighting the BBQ!

    Is this CRAZY or WHAT? I know it is an irrational fear, but I just cannot get over it.

    I am a vegetarian, I cook meat for my Hubby. I can cook anything. But lighting that BBQ can stop me dead in my TRACKS!

    Leslie
    [email protected]
    http://leslielovesveggies.blogspot.com/

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  22. I finally overcame my fear of yeast! Now I am trying to move on to homemade pastas, rather than the dried kind. We'll see....!

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  23. I hate sharpening my knives!
    Knives are so much easier to cut and work so much better if they are sharpened but I have a fear of sharpening my knives. It's a little crazy but yea.. I don't like it! I always make my husband do it. haha.

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  24. I am terrified of using yeast. In fact, I have yet to attempt a recipe that calls for yeast. I hope that one day I will get over that fear, but until then, it's just quickbreads for me!

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  25. I have a fear of cooking meat in general... After being a vegetarian for 6 years I'm back to eating turkey and chicken- but I have no idea how to make it!!! Luckily the bf has stepped in to help.

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  26. I am a bit afraid of making sauces that are sweet, like caramels and such. I have burned them in the past, thus the hesitation.

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  27. My fear is making candy. If it requires me to boil the water and sugar, it always takes me at least twice to finally get it because I always burn the sugar.

    I also like to avoid cooking white or brown rice. As silly as it may sound I cannot master it. The texture is always off and never right. I can make risotto good but just not the easy stuff. I'm hoping a rice cooker will help me out. Now if I can only convice my husband to buy one :-)

    I'm excited about this giveaway! I hear so much about Trader Joes but I don't have oen in my area. I would love to go there some day!

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  28. I am not very good at making yeast breads or doughs. I've tried pizza a dough a few times but it never came out right. Maybe one of these days...

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  29. I LOVE Trader Joes..Probably my favorite place besides Wegmans. Right now I travel almost 40 min to go. They have some of the best products. I think my biggest fear in the kitchen is trying a new recipe whether it be baking or cooking. I'm always afraid it won't turn out and I usually turn to a oldie that I'm use to. I'm worried I'm just going to waste money if its horrible.

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  30. My biggest feat is bread! I've used yeast a few times but only in a cake and pizza dough. I'm afraid to try actual bread!

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  31. I love Trader Joe's. I have a fear of making rissoto! It sounds like you have to have a lot of patience to stir the liquid in over a course of time. I can't even make regular rice very good, so I haven't thought about trying rissoto (even though it sounds good).

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  32. Oh my gosh, I L-O-V-E Trader Joe's!! Best Store EVER! I got a few goodies when I was in NC, and I love their coffee - French Roast!

    - My culinary fear is fish. I am hesitant to cook fish because I've heard/read how easy it can be to mess up!!! I gave up meat for all of Lent (not just Fridays), so I'm going to be experimenting with fish quite a bit! Eek!! :)

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  33. I had a general fear of the kitchen! It all started with my fiasco with Jell-O. I messed that up, and I haven't heard the last of it from my family. It's getting better now since I've been baking and cooking on my own.

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  34. I have had a few fears. First- I hated handling raw chicken. It really grossed me out...and I did everything possible not to have to touch it with my hand (I used LOTS of utensils). I got over that one. Also- I think that O was really afraid of baking...but a lot of the blogs I have been reading have had great tips and step by step instructions. :) I Thanks girls!!

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  35. My fear is a fear of making souffle; I am rarely successful at it because I'm so tentative.


    Pick me! Pick me! I LOVE Trader Joe's. It's a mile from my house!

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  36. CONGRATS on your new place!
    OMG - I am loving this giveaway!! I don't have a TJ's anywhere near me...in fact, if I wanted to go to one, I'd have to take a road trip out of state!! Waaaaah!

    Anyway, my big kitchen fear (like a lot of folks, I think) is yeast. I tried to make brioche last year and failed miserably...since then, I've avoided yeasted treats at all costs. I know. I'm a weenie-baby.

    -Amy
    www.singforyoursupperblog.com

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  37. I love TJs, they have the best convenience items (love their frozen chopped basil)! My foodie fear has been tofu. I just recently made it for the first time and look forward to trying it some more. It's a texture thing for me, so to overcome my fear, I need to find tofu recipes that don't have weird textures.

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  38. i have a huge problem making caramel--getting it the right consistency/temperature. also i end up burning myself everytime i try to make it!

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  39. I have a fear of canning, but I plan on tackling that fear this summer. I'd like to make and can fresh tomato sauce from my garden.

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  40. i L-O-V-E TJs!!! The frozen fire roasted veggies with balsamic butter sauce are SO YUMMY!
    My fear is making bread. In my head it is way more complicated than it probably is. Also, I am not sure I have the patience for it...

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  41. My big fear is yeast, although I am slowly overcoming it. It just never seems to work out for me.

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  42. My biggest fear would have to be seafood. I'm always afraid of overcooking it and wasting an entire dish of food, especially when it is generally quite expensive.

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  43. I LOVE TG's, but unfortunately we don't have one around here. I would love to win these goodies! My fear used to be yeast, but I think I have overcome it - however, I still have not made pizza dough so maybe that is my new fear!

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  44. Trader Joe's is the best. I'd like to be doing more with rice, using more than white and brown rice. Maybe making sticky rice or some good veggie kind of rice meal.

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  45. Mmm.. Trader Joes, how I love thee.. DH had to go to Milwaukee for work tomorrow and I sent him with a cooler and a list :)

    In the kitchen, I would probably have to say that pie crust is my fear. I've tried it homemade twice, and even had trouble with the ready-made stuff.. I'm a nightmare of pie crusts!

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  46. Happy moving, Joelen!! My fear in the kitchen is wondering if the recipients of my food are going to like it! :)

    Can't wait to see photos of your new kitchen!

    -Nikki

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  47. I love TJ's! We do not have one very close, but I like to make a trip every few months to the nearest one!
    My fear is making candy, and I have never made pie dough! I am so afraid I will mess up either of them, so I hope to conquer the fear this year!

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  48. Like many others, my fear is yeast. I'm never sure how hot is too hot for the water, where is too drafty for rising, etc. I need to be more adventurous!

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  49. I wish I was more comfortable working with yeast. Due to the humidity here, things don't ever turn out quite right.

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  50. Oh man, we don't have TJ's so this would be all kinds of amazing!

    I won't deep fry anything. Last time I attempted it, I ended up with second degree burns and I still have scars!

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  51. My biggest fear is grilling meat, mainly because my husband does it so well! I'm also nervous about using a candy thermometer, not because I'm afraid of it but because it never comes out right and it makes me mad!

    I heart Trader Joe's!

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  52. For me, it is certain cuisines...more the asian ones I don't feel comfortable making. Never tackled sushi, nothing like kung pao chicken, etc.

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  53. This sounds like a silly fear---especially because I am a decent cook....but I am always hesitant to cook things on the stove (like chicken or steak)---it never seems to turn out very well for me. I always burn the chicken and don't cook it through all the way so it's very frustrating for me!

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  54. I finally overcame the fear of deep-frying (which may or may not be a good thing)! Actually, it was a fear of hot oil in a pan, even if it was just a tiny bit needed for sauteing. It always seems to splatter and hiss at me as if it were a snake! But I finally learned simple, common-sense tips (water and hot oil definitely do not mix) and have been happily, lightly frying for some time now.

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  55. Congrats on your new apartment!

    I'm very hesitant to cook anything Asian, because I get easily confused with the names and overwhelmed with the amount of ingredients in the recipe.

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  56. My fear is dough, breads to be exact. Coming from boxes, great, but dough from scratch scares me and I LOVE bread, more so than the average person. I have so much respect for it and I just don't know if I can tackle such an art!

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  57. I would love to make homemade pasta but I am afraid I will like it so much more than the dry that I will need to make it every time.

    I just moved three months ago. I had a Trader Joe's right down the street from me and I now I live an hour away from the closest one. I miss it so much.

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  58. Yeast breads are kind of a fear of mine, but I have made some successful no-knead loaves. I just haven't been able to make any edible bread all in one day.

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  59. My fear is big meats.....roasts, turkeys, chickens. I don't know why, it makes me so nervous to deal with cooking large meat, I worry I'll ruin it and there will go lots of $. I leave that cooking to my husband, who doesn't share my stupid fear. Trader Joe's.....all right!

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  60. Oh I LOVE Trader Joe's! My big culinary fear isn't yeast, but it is kneading dough. Somehow, whenever I try to do it, it gets all over the kitchen and stuck to everything.

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  61. I have a fear of undercooked meat.

    Congratulations on the move. I'd be sick living up that high!

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  62. I love TJs too! I'm still a bit afraid of cooking fresh fish but hopefully will overcome that some day. I have memories of my mom scaling the fish and having those scales fly everywhere. Yuck!

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  63. I fear chicken. I am paranoid about undercooking chicken because I once got sick from undercooked chicken. So I do everything possible to make sure it's cooked right. The problem is that sometimes I overcook it.

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  64. I am afraid of frying things in oil. I just know I will spill the oil on myself and suffer sever burns that will scar me for life (paranoid much?).
    I guess as fears go this one is ok as frying isn't very good for me anyway.

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  65. I too, fear yeast. Maybe fear isn't the right word, but I have not done so well using yeast in the past and that kinda prevents me from trying any more. But I really want to

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  66. I always get nervous when trying to remove cakes from cake pans. Who knows if they're going to stick and cause a huge mess?

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  67. First off, I love Trader Joe's! It's definitely one cool place to shop!

    My fear would probably be not following a recipe. I'm not an experienced cook. I'm about to get married, so I haven't done a ton of cooking thus far. I would love to be able to just get a feel for food and get to the point where I feel comfortable adding this and that and not have to follow a recipe exactly.

    soon2bmrsh at gmail dot com

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  68. My biggest fear had always been yeast. Until 2 days ago when I made my first loaf of bread. It was so good and so easy. Now I just want to go crazy making things with yeast.

    This is such a great giveaway. Thanks

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  69. Oh my gosh I love Trader Joes, and Texas does not have one boo. I miss it so. My biggest fear is making and serving a whole fish. Not sure how to prepare, or cut into it once it is cooked!

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  70. I hate to admit I'm scared of making souffles. My husband has never had one and I don't want his first one to be my messed up attempt at one. :)

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  71. My fear is yeast and making pastry crust. I am just afraid it will not turn out right. But I am going to at least attempt something yeast related this year.

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  72. I'm happy to report that I've overcome many kitchen fears in recent years including baking, indian spices, yeast, and deep frying. There are still many more to tackle though!

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  73. What a great giveaway! I love Trader Joe's and wish I had one convenient to my home.

    The first culinary fear that came to mind is yeast. I've never made anything with it, but I know I should - I LOVE homemade bread!

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  74. Like many others, my fear is yeast,along with RAW eggs. I try to avoid any recipes that call for either of these items.


    Alondra
    [email protected]

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  75. My biggest fear is cooking with different cuts of meat...actually buying cuts of meat. I tend to stick to chicken and ground beef because I don't know what to look for in a good cut. Once I buy it, I don't know if I would know what to do with it!

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  76. I love Trader Joe's, I used to live right by one in MI, I have yet to visit the one here. Although my wine tower is disappointed they don't have 2 Buck Chuck :(

    I have overcome my fear of baking. I was the person who couldn't even get it right from a box, much less make anything from scratch. So with a lot of patience, experimenting,failures and finally successes, I can now say I am a cooker & a baker!

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  77. Bread, definitely bread/yeast. I am so afraid of this because it seems like something I could screw up, especially without a KA Stand Mixer. What is "biga" anyway???

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  78. My biggest fear in the kitchen is making pie crust. I love baking, but I haven't had much luck with making pie crusts, so I use the premade crusts.
    I LOVE Trader Joe's!

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  79. I love Trader Joe's so much - I have missed it since we moved, and still stock up anytime we go and visit our parents!

    My biggest fear is/was . . . baking in general. I'm starting to get over this. I used to make everything from a box, but since I got my KA stand mixer, I've been learning. Pie crust though - still a mystery.

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  80. Great give-away Joelen!
    I have yet to braise anything, so I would say that is one of my culinary fears.

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  81. i am still fearful of cooking or baking without a recipe. i try to add my own flair, but trying it all on my own still scares me..i want to be able to just throw something together myself...

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  82. I have a fear of baking bread. I'd love to make it myself, but the yeast, kneading, resting, etc. is all a bit nervewracking!

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  83. I am hesitant to work with duck. I'm afraid to try to cook with something that is expensive and having it turn out poorly.

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  84. i have a fear of pink meat. i cook all meat to death. i can't help it... anything slightly pink stresses me out :-)

    great give away! we don't have a TJ's anywhere near here. i've never been in one but always hear about it!

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  85. My biggest feat that I have to overcome is meringue. I love lemon meringue but just can't seem to get the meringue right.
    I soooo wish we had a TJ's by us...

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  86. I'd have to say my fear is my Mom's Red Velvet Cake. It's a family recipe and my Mom is the only one to ever do it justice.

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  87. I definitely have a fear of baking bread or making my own pizza dough...something about the yeast and all the kneading I think makes me wary. Also whole artichokes...I have no confidence that I would be able to cut and trim them without completely lacerating them. Ironically, as a quick fix I tend to buy both Trader Joe's pizza dough and frozen artichoke hearts. Love that store!

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  88. My biggest culinary fear ever, is of catching something on fire. Somebody was telling me a month ago that you are not a true chef until you have caught something on fire. A week later I caught our nice wooden cutting board on fire. I was chopping potatoes right next to the burner, throwing them in the pan as I went along. I kept smelling this wonderful smell and thought our neighbors had a wood fire going. :)

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  89. Trader Joes is one store I REALLY miss since moving to Floriday! As far as fears, I was previously afraid of using anchovies and I finally overcame that fear recently. They really are just salty like everyone says! :)

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  90. I'm always reading posts about the fabled Trader Joe's, but there isn't one where I live. ;-( I have to agree with many of the other posts that my biggest fear is baking yeast bread. My grandmother made the most incredible hot rolls and no one in the family can duplicate them. She passed away before I developed my interest in baking, so I never learned her recipe. Now I'm on a mission to make some that come close to her's.

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  91. I thought I entered but I can't find my comment.

    I am scared of cinnamon rolls for some odd reason. I can't explain it but they scare me! =) We don't have a TJ's around here...bummer!

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  92. I think my biggest fear in the kitchen would be the fear of failure and not being able to figure out what I did wrong. I've gotten much better at testing recipes and figuring out why it didn't raise or bake properly but...still, I'm much more apt to experiment with cooking than baking, I never really understood science very well!

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  93. My weakness is tempering chocolate. It's just too easy to go over or under the correct temperatures. I made a bunch of dairy-free caramel filled chocolates two Christmases ago and it was a nightmare. Some day I'm going to spring for one of those expensive chocolate tempering machines that you just dump chocolate in and let it go.

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  94. Trader Joe's is great! I've even joined a Trader Joe flickr group, lol. I love their recyclable bags too.

    My feat to overcome is crusts. They always darken! I keep a pie shield on them, but I also cover those in foil to get a bigger shield.

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  95. I also love TJ's. though we tend to go when we are in the area of one.

    One thing I've never brought myself to do in the kitchen is to cook live lobsters.

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  96. I love TJ's! We just recently got our first one in my state. It's not close enough to go often but I do make a special trip occasionally.

    I don't have a particular fear anymore in the kitchen. I used to fear yeast too but I love working with it now. I guess I just have a general fear of baking recipes not turning out. I hate when I waste time and ingredients on a recipe that is a flop.

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  97. Oh, my baking fear is really high water content doughs. I just can't seem to knead them properly without adding more flour and so they don't come out right.

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