Trader Joe’s Seasoned Kale Chips. We all know that Kale is now a pop star in the so called Superfood category. Kale is an ancient green vegetable that has been cultivated for thousands of years in Europe. It is a Brassica which is in the same family as cabbage. Genetically it is very similar to cabbage, but the leaves don’t form a head. I can’t remember the first time I ate Kale, but it didn’t really gain popularity until just a few years ago and now you see it in various forms in all the healthy grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. My wife is always looking for ways to get more into our diet and I have been growing it in our garden for years.
A couple of years ago I review the original Trader Joe’s Kale Chips and gave them 9 out of 10 bells. I really liked them as a snack. My wife liked them. I thought they were a great way to snack on Kale, albeit kind of expensive as a snack. You can make your own Kale chips pretty easily Kale: The Complete Guide to the World’s Most Powerful Superfood (Superfood Series) and cheaply compared to store bought ones.
Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle. I imagine the people at Trader Joe’s headquarters sitting around in conference rooms many months before Christmas and think up even more diabolical ways to get more chocolate into our diets. Let’s put dark chocolate on Almonds! Done! Let’s put dark chocolate on dried edamame! Done! Let’s make dark chocolate cookie butter cups! Done! Dark chocolate in cheese! Done! Done Done… they seem to have an unlimited amount of dark chocolate and things to put it on, in or on top of. You know, that’s fine for me and most of my friends. I am not a big fan of milk chocolate, it simply doesn’t have that much flavor. To me, dark chocolate is like coffee, endless variety of flavors. Complex flavors like a good red wine. Some are fruity, some are tannic and others are nutty… I think wine along with chocolate and coffee are the best at expressing the “terroir” of where they are grown best. There is also a lot of growing evidence that it’s very good for your heart. So, I say bring it on!!
Typical of Christmas time in Trader Joe’s there is a plethora of new products. Some will stay with us for many years, like the gingerbread house kit, and others die a quick death never to be seen again. I’m not sure that Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle will be with us in a year, but we are really enjoying it while it is with us. My wife and I were shopping there a couple of days ago and she say the large round tin and said, she wanted it just for the tin because she loved the graphics on it and she wanted to store Xmas stuff in it off season. She ended up buy six (6) of them! She loved the stuff inside them way more than she thought and the kids plowed through the first one in a couple of days.
This is truly a throwback to the time when you were growing up and your mother threw a bunch of stuff together in a bowl and put it out as a snack when guests came over for the holidays. Kind of like a christmas chex mix. In the tin are an assortment of things either covered in chocolate or have chocolate in them. Mostly it’s dark chocolate. There are mini pretzels covered in both milk and dark chocolate with a white chocolate drizzle. Dark chocolate covered caramel popcorn, dark chocolate covered joe-joe cookie bits, fake red M&Ms and then my kids favorites which were both the milk and dark chocolate covered peanut butter cups!
My family loved all of them except the fake red M&Ms. They picked through the peanut butter cups first, then the pretzels and then the popcorn leaving a layer of the red “gems” (as Trader Joe’s calls them) in the bottom of the tin. I really like the Jingle Jangle a lot. There is a lot for the dark chocolate lover amongst us. Lots of sweet salty with the pretzels.
I think if you are a chocolate lover and like to put out a bowl of snacks or even give this as a gift, I think you won’t go wrong either way. My only complaint was the little red M&M wannabees in there. They seemed to not get eaten as much as everything else. But maybe that is just my family. I am going to rate the Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle 9 Bells!
Trader Joe’s Southwestern Style Chicken Poppers – Trader Joe’s famous for their easy to make party food. The freezer section is full of mini dogs in a bun or stuffed mushrooms or party meatballs so it was no surprised that I regularly see a new party snacks. At first when I saw the Chicken Popper in there, I was like what in the world are these things. They looked like multi-colored meatballs. When you think something like chicken poppers, you are thinking about some deep fried ball of chicken you get at one of the TGIF type restaurants at happy hour. I love Mexican food as much as anyone, but although the ingredients and flavors are remotely southwestern, this is clearly an American concoction! I love the cowboy on the box, like cowboys go to Trader Joe’s and eat these poppers…
This is not that. I’m not sure how they came up with this but it is a concoction of chicken, beans, corn, cheese and tortillas. It’s somehow rolled into a ball that’s covered in a triage of three different colored tortilla chips. The look is a little unappetizing to be honest. They look like uncooked beef meatballs to me with all the purple and red tortilla chips in the mix.