Durham + January 2023 Trader Joe’s Haul

Hey, hey. So I have just discovered that there is a town in Colorado named Golden and that they host an annual “Goldens in Golden” event every February. This is now on my travel bucket list.

duke hospital

I am writing this post from my hotel room in Durham. My mom and I are here for her one year follow up visits at Duke. Today she had labs, a pulmonary function test, x-ray and a four-hour gastric emptying study. Tomorrow she has a bronchoscopy procedure and we meet with her transplant pulmonologist. Always so grateful for the incredible care that she receives here.

Through sharing my mom’s transplant story here on my blog, I have been able to connect with and support other families in various stages of dealing with incurable lung disease. This journey has touched me deeply and it’s such an honor to be of service to others in any way that I can.

I want to write a one year later post but I’m not sure when that will happen. It feels like there is a lot to unpack. For now, we’ll just leave it at my leading emotion is gratitude and I am inspired every day by my mom’s courage and tenacity.

dulce durham

We’ve been desserting our way through Durham. Last night we had cheesecake and today I took my mom to Dulce Cafe. I got carrot cake and she got the cutest chocolate cake with coffee mousse and dulce de leche. I first found Dulce when searching for the best carrot cake in Durham last January for my dad’s birthday while my mom was in the hospital. It was GOOD carrot cake and I’ve been wanting to make a trip back ever since!

We’ll be heading home after her last appointment tomorrow and reunited with Finn. She’ll stay with us for a few more days after we get home. Yay!

Changing directions here…a few photos of what I bought at Trader Joe’s last weekend because I got a few requests over on Instagram and y’all always like a good grocery haul. I also wanted to report back on a few items from my last TJ’s run that I would/wouldn’t buy again.


Trader Joe's shopping haul

  • Pasture raised eggs – I know the whole egg situation right now is a lot. Just FYI – these were $4.99 at my local TJs. I’ve bought these pasture raised eggs twice now and I’d say they are comparable to Vital Farms.
  • Grilled chicken breast strips – I bought these for an easy salad protein after spending a week using Finn’s dino nuggets on my salads because I was out of other proteins.
  • Oven roasted turkey breast
  • Crumbled feta
  • Whole chicken (was making homemade chicken noodle soup)
  • Roasted baby beets
  • Italian chicken sausage
  • Firm tofu
  • Sharp cheddar slices
  • Honey goat cheese
  • Kerrygold salted butter
  • Warm harvest bowl – first time trying this and it was just okay. On the plus side – I loved eating the kale salad warm and will replicate that on my own. On the not so great side – the sweet potatoes were inedible. They were hard and crunchy. I tried microwaving them extra on their own but then they just got hard and dry. I added beets, honey goat cheese and chicken to it. I will make my own version of this salad soon!
  • Plain organic hummus


Trader Joe's produce

  • Parsley
  • Acorn squash – I roasted one recently in halves with butter and brown sugar and forgot how much I love it like that as a side.
  • Bananas
  • Celery
  • Sumo citrus – YAY for sumo mandarin season!
  • Avocados
  • Lemons
  • Lime
  • Rainbow carrots
  • Ginger
  • Butternut squash


Trader Joe's frozen foods

  • Butter chicken
  • Stir fry vegetables
  • Bulgur pilaf with butternut squash and feta cheese – this is one of the frozen items I bought for the first time on my last big trip and really liked! It’s great with shredded chicken and avocado.
  • Mandarin orange chicken – I’ve never tried this but I keep seeing everywhere that it’s one of the top items in the Trader Joe’s haul of fame. I’ll report back.
  • Channa masala – I think TJs does a great job on their Indian items. I have purchased this one before but it’s been a while. I like to eat their Indian dishes with toasted, buttered naan from the bakery aisle.
  • Shrimp burgers – I bought these because Joy the Baker bought them on her last TJ’s trip. I deeply trust her judgment on all things food.
  • Shelled edamame
  • Butter chicken – I’ve decided that I like their butter chicken a smidge more than the chicken tikka masala.


Trader Joe's pantry items

  • Yogi ginger tea – not a Trader Joe’s specialty but the price on it is always good here and it’s one of my all-time favorite hot teas.
  • Well rested tea – loving this one at night lately
  • Whole bean organic breakfast blend coffee – I recently read an article about best and worst Trader Joe’s coffees and this one ranked near the top.
  • White miso paste – first time trying this
  • Thai style curry sauce – another thing Joy bought that I decided I needed too
  • Lightly smoked salmon – first time trying
  • Greek chickpeas with parsley and cumin – repeat purchase and really good and flavorful
  • Canned wild Alaskan pink salmon – great salad topper
  • Canned albacore tuna
  • Olive oil
  • Cornichons – just because they’re fun and tasty
  • Pepita salsa – it’s back! This salsa has been out of stock the last few times I went to Trader Joe’s and I feared they discontinued it. If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend. It’s nothing like normal salsa. I like it as a dip but also in grain bowls.


shopping at Trader Joe's

  • Dog treats – always
  • Fresh flowers for my mom
  • Pita chips
  • Spaghetti noodles (just made a giant pot of homemade spaghetti sauce to freeze and realized we were out of noodles)
  • 10-minute farro – for salads
  • Coconut water
  • Dark chocolate peanut butter cups – the BEST!
  • Kitchari and yellow dal – I am so into these ready to heat and eat Indian packets right now. A nice warm lunch option for cold days.
  • Cards
  • Dried lavender – for a vase in my entryway. It smells so pleasant.


Trader Joe's fails

  • Kimchi & tofu soup – hands-down the worst miss. I couldn’t even finish it. I love kimchi and tofu but this was so, so bad.
  • Japche Korean sweet potato glass noodles & vegetable stir fry – so unsatisfying and 95% of the vegetables were of the pepper variety. Mostly tasted like peppers and flavorless noodles.
  • Riced cauliflower bowl – this was the least offensive of the four but I wouldn’t buy it again. There was too much going on here – says the girl who always has too much going on in her bowls.
  • Tomato feta soup – I don’t know what it was about this one but I really didn’t like it. I would make a cup of it and couldn’t eat more than a few spoonfuls.

And that’s the end. If you want more recent Trader Joe’s goodness, check out my Fall 2022 Trader Joe’s Haul.


Have you had any Trader Joe’s misses lately? 

Any Durham restaurant/bakery recommendations? 

How is your week going? 

The post Durham + January 2023 Trader Joe’s Haul appeared first on Peanut Butter Runner.

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