Trader Joe’s Fall Items: Must Buys, Misses & Maybes
Happy First Day of Fall, Y’all 🍁🍂 The change of seasons isn’t always quite so obvious here in California, but one sure-fire way to know that Autumn has arrived is the abundance of pumpkin everything on the shelves of our local Trader Joe’s. Our October traditions may look a little different this year, but it doesn’t look like there will be a shortage of fall products to entice our tastebuds and leave our homes smelling scrumptious. More than ever we can use a little comfort food. Staying close to home right now is a good excuse to trade a typical weekday breakfast for something a little more special, surprise remote learning students with a mid-morning snack straight from the oven or spend an afternoon baking or prepping dinner as a family.
Today, I’m sharing an updated version of the Trader Joe’s fall seasonal products that have been hits and misses with my family. These items start to arrive at regular intervals during the late summer and fall. Some will stick around for quite a while and others will disappear quickly. Many have been favorites for years and we eagerly await their arrival. Others have been more recent additions to our fall grocery list after receiving recommendations from friends or spotting them on the new item shelf. A few have received only a lukewarm reaction or missed the mark completely. It can be scary to take a chance on new products, so I thought I would share our hits and misses in case you have been debating whether you should add it to your cart on you next shopping trip.
TJ’s Fall Must-Buys
What’s For Breakfast?
Pumpkin pie spice bites are cooked into every mouthwatering bite of these Pumpkin Bagels. These sell out almost immediately after they hit the shelves at our local Trader Joe’s, so I have made a habit of buying an extra bag to freeze whenever they are available.
Add an extra layer of deliciousness to your pumpkin bagel with the addition of the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread.
The Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix is always my pick when we pull the waffle maker out on weekends. I enjoy them topped with Apple Cider Jam and a little whipped cream.
P.S. Trader Joe’s has a Gluten free version too!
Last year’s Apple Cider Jam has been replaced with Apple Cider Fruit Spread. It is a smoother, more jelly-like consistency with a sweeter taste. My household was divided when we did a side by side taste test (I prefer the chunkier version). You can find me spreading a thin layer over a pumpkin waffle, filling the inside of a crepe, or placing a dollop on top of my morning oatmeal with a sprinkle of nuts.
Fall hasn’t officially arrived until you bake your first batch of pumpkin muffins and your home is filled with their spicy aroma. This Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix makes it easy to have a batch of warm pumpkin muffins ready to eat in only a half hour (my daughter made these during an extended morning recess last week). Add chocolate chips for even more of a treat. These are a favorite for both breakfast and as an after school snack.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls have become our breakfast of choice while we watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. My kids prefer them to regular Cinnamon Rolls and celebrate their arrival each year.
This Organic Pumpkin Bread has quickly become a new fall favorite. The flavorful, hearty bread is moist and perfect toasted with just a touch of melted butter.
Snack on These
These Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps are just what your trendy fall charcuterie board has been lacking. I like them best served with a wedge of triple crème brie.
My daughter requested these Apple Cider Cookies after sampling a one (or two) on a recent grocery run. They make a sweet treat to pack in a lunch or serve as an after school snack.
Munching on a fresh batch of kettle corn while perusing the pumpkin patch has been a longstanding family tradition. This year may look a little different, but we won’t have to go without our favorite sweet and salty fall snack. We found the Trader Joe’s Maple and Sea Salt Kettle Corn to be just as crunchy and tasty as freshly popped pumpkin patch kettle corn. The only thing it lacked was that straight from the kettle warmth.
The Answer to Your Dinner Dilemma
Click here to see my favorite way to serve Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli for dinner. During the fall I always keep two packages on hand for nights when we are short on time.
Heat up the Creamy Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce and serve it on top of the fall Zucchette past a for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Keep it in your pantry for those times that you haven’t been able to make it to the grocery store.
Do your kiddos ever beg you to buy the Disney Princess Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup or Star Wars Kraft Mac & Cheese? Food is just more fun when it comes in a cool shape. This pumpkin shaped Fall Zucchette Pasta is no exception. Your kids will gobble it up.
Keep your fingers crossed that this Harvest Blend Salad will return to Trader Joe’s again this fall. Last year it appeared in early November. It is a great accompaniment to the zucchette with harvest pasta sauce or the honey roasted pumpkin ravioli .
Did Someone Say Dessert?
Pumpkin Ice Cream makes a decadent accompaniment to any number of fall and holiday desserts. Pair it with apple spice or gingerbread cake, place it on top of a brownie with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce or simply top it with hot fudge or a handful of apple cider cookie crumbles.
The Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins are the perfect size when you need just a bite of something sweet. The moist chocolate cake and creamy layer of mousse reminds me of both a fancy petit four and a Hostess Ding Dong all in one delicious pumpkin shaped package.
TJ’s isn’t just for groceries
The Vanilla Pumpkin Scented Candle smells scrumptious and is a great one to light while you are cleaning up the dinner dishes to clear away any unwanted cooking smells.
A wheat sheaf is a classic addition to your fall decor. I bought two bundles of wheat for $2.99 each to make my own. I simply trimmed it down to the size I wanted, wrapped a rubber band around the stalks to keep them in place and wrapped a piece a natural twine over the rubber band. I have seen similar results at home decor stores for triple the price.
What Didn’t Make The Cut?
I thought the Cinnamon Bun Spread would be a sure-fire hit in my home. I was hoping that at only 60 calories a serving it would cure my craving for a more caloric cinnamon bun. It lacked the cinnamon filling flavor I was hoping for and tasted more like the icing portion of the bun instead. My kids felt similarly. After a taste test they stated that they would rather have cinnamon toast instead. We have yet to go back for seconds.I would recommend trying this only if you are a big fan of the icing on a cinnamon bun.
I’m on the fence about the Fall Leaf Corn Tortilla Chips. These super crisp leaf shaped chips are colored with tomato, carrot and pumpkin powder and would visually make any fall dish instantly appealing… I can picture just a few garnishing a bowl of chicken tortilla soup. In my opinion they just lacked a little something in the taste department (salt maybe?). Buy these for the cute factor, but stick to your tried and true if you are just looking for an everyday snack.
My daughter baked up a batch of cookies using the Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix . They were yummy and easier to make than a batch of cookies from scratch, BUT if given the choice, I prefer my recipe for Great Pumpkin Cookies (this one is similar). I would use this mix if I was in a pinch for either time or ingredients.
I just picked up a box of the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. Whenever I have a serious craving for comfort food, I turn to the Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese. I am looking forward to finding our if this butternut version lives up to the creamy goodness of the year round version. Trader Joe’s Brioche is an integral part of my kiddos’ favorite french toast recipe. I picked up a loaf of the Pumpkin Brioche for this Sunday’s brunch to see if it’s more popular than the original.
I’ll update this post once the verdict on these two new products is in.
I would love to hear your opinions on the both the products above and the ones I’ve overlooked. Let me know if you think I’ve gotten it wrong or if there is something you just know both myself and the other Parker Posts readers will LOVE.