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Trader Joes


3 Ingredient Trader Joes Vegan Bruschetta Lentil Pasta Salad for a Crowd

Trader Joes Lentil Bruschetta Pasta Salad


Whenever I need a pasta salad that will feed a crowd but don’t have much time, I make this 3 Ingredient Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Lentil Pasta Salad — whoa that is a mouthful!

The name may be complicated to say, but the recipe could not be easier! It is as easy as boiling noodles.

I simply boil 2 packages of pasta and make sure I have Trader Joe’s pre-made lentils and a container of their bruschetta on hand.

Then it is just a matter of draining the pasta, adding in lentils and bruschetta, a quick stir and voila! You have easy, delicious pasta salad that feeds at least 32 people.

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Decorating/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Seasonal

How To Divide A Flower Bouquet To Add Spring Color Throughout Your Home


My new favorite thing to do during my once a week grocery shopping trip is to buy an inexpensive flower bouquet.  I then take it home and have so much fun dividing it up into different size vases to distribute around my home.

I’ve never been a huge fan of most mixed flower bouquets. I guess I just like the simplicity of one color and texture, so I have always preferred bouquets that have a bunch of the same type of flower–that is–until now.


Now I look for flower bouquets that have many textures and stems that would look great separated into individual jars & vases.

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6 Super Simple Dinner Recipes Using Trader Joes Ingredients + A Shopping List

egg carton from Trader Joes

I have a dear friend whose husband was in a bad car accident last November. He suffered a traumatic brain injury & her world has been turned upside down. He has been healing all of these months and is not home yet. As you can imagine, keeping up with meals has been a challenge. Her daughter asked me to make a simple meal plan with some quick meal ideas for her Mom to make, in between trips to caring for her husband.

My friend likes simple, healthy food, so I hope this plan will serve her well & the grocery list make shopping convenient for her.

6 Super Simple Dinner Recipes

This plan has one chicken dish, one ground beef dish, one fish dish, 2 vegetarian soups and one “brinner” or breakfast for dinner.  This will give 6 meals total.

These dinner recipes are super simple, quick and easy, & are made using Trader Joes groceries.

Serve each meal with a big, green leafy salad and one another type of vegetable on the side, if desired.



Balsamic Slow Cooker Chicken  & Roasted Potatoes



4 organic chicken breasts

organic chicken broth (in a box)

balsamic vinegar

brown sugar, 3 cloves garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried rosemary

Red potatoes


Slow Cooker Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 boneless, skin-less chicken breasts

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, brown sugar and garlic; set aside. 

Season chicken breasts with basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper.

Place chicken breasts into a 6 qt slow cooker. Stir in balsamic vinegar mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.  


Roasted Red Potatoes

Wash potatoes. Cut into 1/4. Put in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil & seasons with salt, pepper & some dried rosemary. Toss (I use my hands) then place in a single layer once again. Bake 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and able to prick with a fork.



Soup #1

Easy Black Bean Soup with $.99 Pretzel Bread



15 ounce can black beans

frozen corn


vegetable broth


$.99 cent pretzel bread (small loaf, comes in a paper sleeve)



Using recipe below, which really just takes minutes, make the soup.  Serve in bowls with pretzel bread for dipping.


Easy Black Bean Soup
{happy herbivore}

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (or not:))
1 cup salsa
11/2 cups vegetable broth (more or less, depending on desired thickness)
1/2 tsp cumin
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

tortilla chips (optional)

Place 1 cup beans, salsa, broth and cumin in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add remaining ingredients except chips. Stir to combine and heat thoroughly over low. Once warmed, serve and garnish with broken chips.





Swai Fish Filets on a Bed of Wild Rice, Veggie & Salad


To Buy:

Swai frozen fillets (any white fish if Swai is not available)

frozen multi-grain rice packs

dried dill




Line baking sheet with foil. Lay out thawed fish filets. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and dill. Add a pat of butter on to of each filet. Bake 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until no longer opaque in the middle and flakes easily. Serve with rice, veggie & salad.



a pan full of ingredients for sloppy joes


Sloppy Joes with Mashed Potatoes



1 lb Organic, grass-fed beef

hamburger buns

mashed potatoes (in a bag in the freezer section)

ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, oregano



Use this recipe for Sloppy Joes, but substitute the lentils for the ground beef.  So easy! Serve on buns with a side of mashed potatoes.




Soup #2

Easy Tomato, Pesto, Tortellini Soup



Organic Tomato Soup (in a box)

Container of prepared pesto (in refrigerator section)

Container of fresh tortellini pasta (in refrigerator section)

Sourdough bread (optional)



Pour the tomato soup into a sauce pan. Let come to almost a boil, then reduce heat.  Add tortellini pasta and cook for 4-6 minutes or according to package directions. Taste one to make sure it is tender. Last step, add 2 large spoonfuls of prepared pesto & swirl into the soup. Serve with crusty bread.



piece of bread with an egg cooked inside of it

“Brinner” (Breakfast for Dinner)

Toad In a Hole + Nitrate-Free Bacon



Organic Eggs


Nitrate-Free Bacon (get the ‘already cooked’ kind, in the bacon area)

Frozen berries (your choice, I like blackberries)



Make Toad In a Hole using this recipe. Heat bacon for just seconds in the microwave according to directions. Serve with slightly thawed berries.



Trader Joes Shopping List


Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Dish Ingredients

4 organic chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)

organic chicken broth (in a box)

balsamic vinegar

brown sugar


dried basil

dried oregano

dried thyme

dried rosemary

red potatoes


Black Bean Soup Ingredients

15 ounce can black beans

frozen corn


vegetable broth


$.99 cent pretzel bread (small loaf, comes in a paper sleeve)

Tortilla chips (optional)


Fish Dish Ingredients

Swai frozen fillets (any white fish if Swai is not available)

multi-grain or organic brown rice packs (in freezer section)

dried dill



Beef Dish (Sloppy Joes) Ingredients

1 lb Organic, grass-fed beef

hamburger buns

mashed potatoes (in a bag in the freezer section)



Worcestershire Sauce


chili powder

brown sugar





Tomato, Basil, Tortellini Soup Ingredients

Organic Tomato Soup (in a box)

Container of prepared pesto (in refrigerator section)

Container of fresh tortellini pasta (in refrigerator section)

Sourdough bread (optional)


“Brinner” (Breakfast for Dinner) Ingredients

Organic Eggs


Nitrate-Free Bacon (get the ‘already cooked’ kind, in the bacon area)

Frozen berries (your choice, I like blackberries)



Bagged Salad Greens to eat with each meal

Frozen sides of veggies to eat with each meal

Something Sweet (I love Trader Joe’s bag of Nutty Bites)

Wine {smile}


Would you be willing to know more about our dear friends and consider giving toward a fund we set up to help lighten the load? We are getting close to the goal and I know every bit helps and so appreciated!

If you are unable to give, will you pray for them? The journey has been long and the road is hard. I know your prayers will bring continued peace & healing.


The Only Pasta Salad Recipe You Really Need


This is my go-to pasta salad.  It is easy, it is a crowd-pleaser, can be made ahead, and tastes even better after sitting a day.

I recently served this pasta salad at a pool party we had at my in-laws pool. I recently posted about our tiny backyard, and honestly, the small size is much easier to accept thanks to Grandpa and Grandma’s open door policy to their big beautiful yard, pool and pool house.  We are a spoiled bunch for sure!  There is even a family pool calendar kept on google calendar where we can reserve the pool for a party, which is just what we did a few days ago.


I kept the menu super simple for the party. We ordered pizza, I made pasta salad, a big pot of lemonade, & freezer peanut butter pie for dessert.  It was so nice to just throw the food together and concentrate on my sweet friends instead of food prep!

This Pasta Salad is a no recipe, recipe.  

I usually use a pound (16oz box) of pasta, but this time I doubled it.  Leftovers are wonderful and last quite a few days in the refrigerator.  You can use any veggies you like, I usually use broccoli, tomato, cucumber, peppers.  I used to put shredded parmesan cheese in it, but I don’t anymore.  You can if you want.

The key to this recipe is the dressing.  The secret ingredient is vinegar. I used a whole bottle of Italian dressing for 2 lbs of pasta & lots of veggies.  The last salad I made for the party really could have used more dressing, which makes sense since I doubled the recipe.  When I use just one pound of pasta, I use ALMOST the whole bottle of dressing.  I add the vinegar to taste, usually about 4 tablespoons for 1 pound of pasta.  Do it to your own taste.

I usually use red wine vinegar, but this time I used pomegranate vinegar.  It was great, but red wine vinegar is just as good.  Any type of Italian dressing works well.

BEST-PASTA-SALAD-DRESSING{An Image For Your Pinning Pleasure}

Try this!  You will love it.  Don’t stress about exact measurements…you really can’t go wrong.


Pasta Salad No Recipe, Recipe

1 lb pasta

cut up veggies of your choice

a bottle of Italian dressing

fruity or red wine vinegar

Boil pasta and drain.  Add most (3/4 of the bottle) of Italian dressing.  Add about 4 tbsp or to taste of vinegar.  Add veggies. Stir.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Trader Joes=Thumbs Up!

{click on the picture for a larger view}

We finally got a local Trader Joe’s.  I went today and I’m pretty excited about what I found, and I loved their great prices, the amount of organic produce available, and the surprise of some not-so-typical items–like chocolate covered pomegranate seeds!   Mmmm.  Another huge plus for me?  No high fructose corn syrup in their foods!

Here is what I bought today.  I have a pretty full freezer, and meals are still coming for dinner, so I mostly needed produce and some snacks.

We eat them sliced on cereal, spread with peanut or almond butter, or just plain.  19 cents a pound!

2. Organic Cheese Sticks
Great for getting some protein into my kids.  Good for snacks or in a lunchbox.

3.  Organic Spring Salad Mix
I have a salad every day with my lunch and most evenings with our dinner.  I should have bought 2 bags!

4. Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
This was only 99 cents!  It was in their refrigerator section.  I had a friend bring a bunch of homemade tomato sauce that she froze in muffin tins and then threw the discs in a freezer Ziploc.  I will use a couple of those for the sauce.

5. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
I will slice this into rounds and use it on our pizza.

6. Asparagus
I love to use these in our breakfast omelets or just sauteed’ in some olive oil, or even as a pizza topping.  Leftovers are great chopped and thrown cold on top of a salad.  I keep reading about how important it is for breast cancer patients to eat asparagus, so I am!

7. Brussel Spouts
Another veggie that is great for cancer.  I am trying to become friends with Brussel Sprouts.  As of now, I only like them when paired with way too much butter!  At Trader Joes, they come in a bag that you can throw into the microwave to steam them.  Easy!

8. Organic Broccoli
I usually buy and cut up myself, but the price was great on the bag of pre-cut broccoli.  We eat it raw as a snack, chop it up over a salad, or I steam as a side dish.

9. Sweet Peppers
I  love these.  They are small, sweet and so colorful.  Love the red, yellow and orange.  Full of antioxidants.  Great chopped over salads or in an omelet, thrown in rice pilaf or a stir fry.

10. Clementines
As I wrote about here, these are the best little snack.  Great for the girls lunch box.  Easy to peel, full of vitamin C.

11. Sweet Potatoes
I have the best recipe for Spiced Sweet Potatoes that I will post soon.  I love to cut into wedges, drizzle in olive oil and roast them at 350 degrees along with a wedged onion and a few whole cloves of garlic.  It makes the house smell great.  The whole family loves them roasted this way.

12. Organic Apples
Gala for snacking.  Granny Smith for juicing.

13. Sunflower Seeds
I use these to give my salads some crunch.

14. Sea Salt

15. Romano and Parmesean Shavings
I love that these are fresh.  Great with crackers or sprinkled on pasta or salads.

16. French Cut Frozen Green Beans
Yum.  A vegetable that all 3 of my girls will eat without grumbling!

17.  Organic Carrots
We eat them cut into sticks, steamed as a side with dinner, grated onto salads.  I uses them for juicing every morning.

18. Organic Whole Milk
We are not big milk drinkers so I only buy 1/2 gallon per week.  We use it over cereal, in recipes or in creamed soups.

19. Multi grain Crackers
We eat them with cheese slices as a snack.  I use them in my girls lunches in place of chips.

20. Olive Oil
This huge bottle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil was only $7.00.  It comes with a spout, which I love.

21. Organic Whole Wheat Bread
I hope it is good, because the price sure is!

22. Avocado
I’m not a big fan of Avocados, but I know they are really healthy.  I found a recipe for Avocado Salad Dressing that I am going to try.

23. Butter Sticks
I wish they had organic, but they didn’t 🙁

24. Black Peppercorns
Comes in a pepper mill.  Cool.

25. Organic Beans-black, kidney and pinto
They were only 99 cents a can!  We just open the can, drain and rinse.  I put them out in a bowl cold and the girls will snack on them if they are just sitting there.  I use them in wraps and sprinkled on salad, and in chili, of course!

26. Baking Soda
Needed some, ran out.

I was pretty impressed with the selection of frozen berries, but I didn’t need any as my freezer is full of them right now.  I also really loved their nut selection and the variety of frozen vegetables.

Another thing I noticed– the workers were not in typical uniform black polyester pants-lol!  They were wearing cool Trader Joe’s t-shirts and jeans.  I found myself happy for them…:)

Do you have a Trader Joe’s in your area?  What are your favorite things to buy from there?

Wanna know more about Trader Joe’s?  Here is an interesting article about them from Fortune.