There are many places where Fall comes to life – the pumpkin patch, the apple farm, Halloween and of course the Fall mecca, Trader Joe’s. Here you can make your autumnal wishes come true with festive yet frugal finds for your body and your taste buds. There’s a lot to explore and you owe it to yourself to take some time to wander thru the aisles and take it all in. Here are my top 10 tried and true finds to give you a jump start.
1. Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix
I could easily stop here. This is by far my favorite fall treat. I usually buy 2 or 3 cases (that is CASES and not BOXES) of this mix for my household. I bought a few boxes one year and after making a box a week, I went back only to learn that they were sold out and gone until the following year. After picking up my feelings off the floor, I vowed to never be caught empty handed again. I make these for our family, as mini loaves for Fall treats for our teachers, as part of housewarming baskets and really any opportunity I get. So, so good and super easy to make. You deserve this! (There’s a gluten-free version, too.)
2. Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle Mix
One of our favorite breakfast spots serves pumpkin pancakes every fall. They. Are. Delicious. When I discovered this mix, I crossed my fingers that it would be reminiscent of the restaurant version. It didn’t disappoint. For kicks, try adding pecans or granola to the batter or garnish with whipped cream.
3. Spreads and Butters
The great poet RuPaul once said, "if you can't love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" Think of this as you slather the Cinnamon Bun Spread, Pumpkin Butter and Maple Butter over biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and all breads. Calories don’t count right now. Eat it with a spoon if you wish. No one’s watching. Love yourself.
4. Pumpkin Rolls
There is something so satisfying about placing a spoon on the seam of a biscuit can and popping it open. You get that plus easy and fast breakfast in this boost to already-yummy cinnamon rolls. Grab a few tubes and impress your kids, your man and your friends. Be sure to moan loudly while devouring.
I tell you what I want what I really, really want – good, seasonal spices that don’t break the bank. Yep, TJ has you covered. I usually get a good number of spices here but for under $3, you can’t beat grabbing a bottle of ginger and nutmeg. I add ginger to lots of Asian dishes as well as smoothies for an unexpected kick. I also add nutmeg to my spaghetti sauce (just a pinch will transform your sauce) and to my morning coffee (iced or warm). Go for a jar of cinnamon sticks and add these to your hot chocolate, cider, bourbons, and even your fall décor.
6. Maple Syrup
It’s a healthier option for syrups but is also usually more expensive. TJ has us covered at less than $10 for more than 12 ounces. I use a lot of maple syrup, which I admit may seem a little odd. But it goes well in homemade whipped cream, icings and glazes, whiskey drinks, iced coffee, salmon, cookies, drizzled over brussels sprouts and more. There’s a million ways to get it.
7. Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake Mix
My daughter loves the classic coffee cake at Starbucks but it’s nice knowing we can make a quick version at home whenever we want. I was hesitant about buying this because she’s a finnicky breadaholic but this one is a winner. Serve it warm with a cold glass of milk or with a hot cup of coffee. Slice for $3+ or a whole box for $3. Whole box for $3, Alex!
8. Pumpkin Spiced Seeds
Candied small pumpkin seeds that are a little sweet and a little spicy. Add them to the top of your pumpkin bread for a crunchy surprise or to yogurt and salads for a nice kick. I freeze mine because otherwise I would eat the entire bag in under 5 minutes and it’s not intended for that level of foolishness.
9. Pumpkin Tortilla Chips & Fall Harvest Salsa
If you like chips and salsa, and really, who doesn’t, this is for you. The chips don’t necessarily taste like pumpkin, but they taste different enough from regular chips that you may find them interesting. They are dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg but aren’t necessarily sweet. I like it with hummus when I crave something savory. It also pairs well with the Fall Harvest Salsa, which is also not too pumpkiny but has some unusual flavors (like apple and butternut squash) that are just yummy.
10. Pumpkin Body Butter
I may not be a hand model, but I like soft hands. This body butter is perfect for the hands and the entire body. It adds moisture and a subtle scent that doesn’t cause bees to chase after you but is still pleasant. I’m allergic to a lot and I can use this. I like to keep it my bag or car, so I always have a good hand moisture option.
BONUS: Pumpkins and Gourds
We go to the pumpkin farm for country fun and great photos. But when it comes time to pick out pumpkins to carve or gourds to punch up our décor, we’re at Trader Joe’s. They have lots of different sizes and types (like the fairytale pumpkins) and we can fill up my SUV if we want because the price is excellent.
The Fall finds at Trader Joe’s are worth a special trip.