Tag Archives: trader joe’s

Thinking Out Loud: Shin Happens

My blogging inspiration and drive has really been in high gear the last couple of weeks! Probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve been trying to give myself the nights in I need to balance the nights out. So that means I have more time to think out loud.

Be sure to link up with Amanda if you’re thinking out loud today!

1. My left shin is freaking killing me and I am SO OVER IT. I had originally planned to run a 10K distance on Tuesday after doing spin on Monday, but once I woke up Tuesday and my shin hurt even when walking, I knew that wasn’t smart. So I ran 3.4 miles instead, but that was also not smart. My shin was literally throbbing afterward. I went home and utilized the closest thing to an ice pack that I had – frozen broccoli.

And wine, because always wine.

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Fashion Black Friday 2012

Thank you to those who entered my Sprigs giveaway for a Banjees (running wallet)! Remember that my review post contains the promo code “CaitBanjees” which can save you 10% off a purchase up to $29.99 or 20% off a purchase $30 and up until 12/31/12. So if you didn’t win a Banjees, you can purchase one (or more!) for yourself and/or family and friends for the holidays…at a discount!


The winner is Laurel! I will contact you for your shipping information – congrats!


A week ago today, America experienced its biggest shopping day of the year – the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday. Last week there was no Fashion Friday on this blog because I was too busy taking advantage of a day that not only means deals to me, but also tradition. Since I was in at least middle school if not earlier, I have been going Black Friday shopping each year with my younger sister, and sometimes also my Nana Connie (she’s the one who introduced us to the “holiday!) and/or my dad. I love fashion, I love deals, but most of all I love my family and how much fun we have together on Black Friday! Family time doesn’t stop at Thanksgiving!

Of course, I DID get some great deals…I’d say this year’s Black Friday was even more successful than last year’s, though more so because I didn’t waste the day feeling distracted by as much guilt (there was still some) over the Thanksgiving meal I’d enjoyed the night before (of course it also helps that this year I wasn’t completely and utterly hungover).

Yeah just what I need..another Fossil watch. But CHECK OUT that price difference! Thank you Nordstrom Rack in Farmington, CT!

Hallmark was having Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off on all Yankee Candles. More things I don’t need. I love how the little guys are just $1.99 each!

I’m obsessed with this Elle dress from Kohls! On sale for just $30. I can’t wait to wear it to work!

This Kohl’s sweater was on sale for about $12! The Lauren Conrad collection skirt was $17. I always seem to find great deals on her clothes on Black Friday!

Kohl's sweater.

Wore the sweater yesterday in fact!

Sweater and Fossil watch.

Went all matchy-matchy with my “birthday cake” Fossil watch.

LOFT necklace

Topped it all off with a LOFT outlet necklace. I love dainty accessories with floral prints!

I adore adding touches of velvet to an ensemble and am in the market for a pair of plain black flats (believe it or not). These were on sale at Urban Outfitters for $19.99!

Jeggings (slowly accumulating a pair in every wash…), pleated skirt (last Black Friday I was pleats-obsessed too), and the best sports bra I’ve ever seen…all from American Eagle. Everything in the store was 40% off! I plan to wear the sports bra not during workouts but with loose tops, kinda like a bandeau.

I didn’t shop for only myself! I picked up some cute holiday cards for co-workers, some presents for my parents, and FIFA ’13 for Xbox for just $35 from Best Buy for the little bro. Last year I got him FIFA ’12 and gave it to him when I got home from shopping. This year was no different.

Best Buy is right next to Trader Joe’s. The place was deserted…understandably, no one wants to be in a grocery store after having been in one so much right up until Thanksgiving. So I didn’t have to wait in line at all to purchase these babies

Come on! Black Friday has gotta be Black Foodie Friday when I’m involved! Another family Black Friday tradition is meeting my dad (or going with us if he joined us to shop) for lunch somewhere when we are done/wiped out/in need of refueling. I suggested Max Burger and my sister was all over it. The menu has something for everyone – in my family’s case, it was burgers and fries for my dad, sister, and brother, and a fan-freaking-tastic scallops salad for me!

Max Burger Blackened Scallop Salad

Blackened scallops, greens, pico de gallo, onions, asparagus, black beans, and orange vinaigrette.

I also polished off my brother’s fries and dipped them in Max sauce (WHAT’S IN IT?!). I left perfectly satisfied and my seafood/veggie craving was quenched. And by a burger place no less! Max Restaurant Group does it again (in fact, I’m dining at another location, Max Amore, tonight for dinner…and to say I’m excited is an understatement). Truly the best way for me to conclude my Black Friday.

Did you go Black Friday shopping? Any deals?

Have you ever had to work retail on a Black Friday? What was it like? *raises hand* I have!

Which of my finds is your favorite? I know Meg will say the salad! 😛

Tuesday Treasures: Foodie Edition

I’m so happy that you all enjoyed my recap of the CT NOW Love Your Body 5K! Not only am I proud to have run it in less than 30 minutes, but I am still feeling inspired by the message behind the event. Being surrounded by so many others who share my passion for self love is pretty powerful.

I went to visit Heather a couple of weeks ago (you can read about some of our shenanigans on her blog) and came home with some amazing new memories created with her, her boyfriend Matty, and her best friend Raquel. But I also came home with far less money (lose) and a crapload of foodie treasures (win). Obviously I decided to share said treasures with you today just so I could use alliteration in this post title.

Of course whenever visiting Heather, we make it a point to visit Wildflour, a vegan bakery, cafe, and juice bar, while blogging in bliss. The vegan eats at this place are incredible and if you are ever in the Providence, RI area, I highly recommend passing on any of the restaurants by the mall and making the short drive to Pawtucket, RI to visit Wildflour (and the vegan restaurant next door, Garden Grille). Whenever I go there I leave with $30-$50 worth of goodies to take home and devour (as slowly as I can because I want it to last). This trip was no different. Here’s my haul:

  • a slice of whole wheat cheese-less butternut squash & broccoli flatbread
  • pineapple coconut jerky (YES)
  • raw garlic tomato kale chips (so far I’ve tried this flavor, garlic, and pizza…must try salt & vinegar and nacho still)
  • soba noodles with slaw (bottom left)
  • tofu tuna-style salad topped with carrots, served over greens (bottom right)

I threw MANY of these goodies into my lunch salad beasts and am in fact still working through the soba noodles (my first time having them and they are very interesting but it’s taking me awhile to use them since I’m not a huge noodle person). Pictured above is the entire container of the tofu “tuna” salad, thrown into a bowl and amped up with more greens and veggies. It was incredible!

I dreamed of dipping the pineapple coconut jerky into plain Chobani from the moment I purchased it, and that’s just what I did for a nighttime snack. However I was foolish to think the four pieces of jerky above would be enough with all that Chobani. I ended up polishing off the whole bag on that fine evening 🙂

The flatbread was a great carby option for me this past Saturday when my stomach wasn’t feeling well, and I enjoyed half the kale chips on the way home from Heather’s (great road trip snack) and half at work one day while at my desk typing away.

I’ve tried the Dino Smoothie (almond butter, banana, almond milk, spinach, kale, blueberry) at Wildflour before and though I ADORE it, I wanted to go for something new and had a mean green craving! So this time while blogging there I snacked on the Sillyantro (spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber, OJ, ginger). The ginger was just what my sensitive stomach  needed and the OJ was the perfect hint of fruit to balance out those greens. I wish a juice bar like this existed near me!

I always get a large black slow-pour coffee and vegan scone to keep me company as I blog with Heather, but they didn’t have my usual (spinach and mushroom) that day. No worries, another savory beauty awaited me…the above broccoli cheddar (vegan of course) scone. Holy moly! I always dip my scone in that heavenly coffee and was happy to try a new flavor.

Wildflour was also bustin’ out the free samples that day. I’m not a huge raspberry fan but the above gluten-free razberry cheesecake brownie sample rocked my world. The real star though was a sample of this beauty…

That seems like a steep price but I’d say it’s worth every penny. The above pumpkin cheesecake is made with tofu and Heather promised it’d make me swoon. My BB never breaks a promise!

The two of us also made a fun little trip to Whole Foods, where I happened upon a gem I’ve been anxiously awaiting to try since I first heard about it a month ago…the limited edition Cedar’s PUMPKIN SPICE HUMMUS! I also purchased two squeeze packs of Justin’s Honey and Vanilla Almond Butters – perfect for sampling these new-to-me flavors. Heather also gifted me with a jar of garlic-stuffed olives she had at her house, because she knows olive garlic (haaaaa).

I have been dipping many-a-vegetable into the hummus. So incredible. I love dipping savory food into a slightly-sweet dip. Last night I was even dipping chicken into it.

I was pretty proud of the below epic snack combo that I came up with at work one day last week. I peeled the banana, put vanilla almond butter on each bite, and topped it off a pretzel stick. Legendary! I just finished the vanilla yesterday and next up will be the honey AB.

Finally, Heather, Matty, and I ventured to Trader Joe’s right before I went home so that she could do some grocery shopping and I could shop for things I didn’t need.

  • BBQ Popped Potato Chips – SO MANY CHIPS IN A SERVING #win
  • Nacho Kale Chips – Only $4…the Wildflour bag I got was about $8. Just to give you an idea of how crazy this deal is.
  • Savory Thin Mini Edamame Crackers – These kinda remind me of rice crackers. We’ll see how they are!
  • Balela Middle Eastern Salad – All things Caitlin. Chickpeas, cilantro, tomatoes, black beans, and fabulous flavor. This stuff has made it into all my salads and I’ll be sad when it goes bye-bye.
  • Olive Tapenade – WOW I love olives and this has been great in my salads, on bread, on meat, you name it. Another sad face when this guy goes.
  • Hot & Sweet Mustard – I’ve heard so much about this gem from many favorite bloggers like Katie! I am a mustard fiend and am gonna bust this open when I finish my current jar.

And okay, I was in Massachusetts in the company of TJ’s wine. So much CHEAP wine. In CT, our grocery stores can’t sell wine (we only just got Sunday sales, talk about behind on the times). So I picked up the above three bottles of Charles Shaw (Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz) for $2.99 each and the Blue Fin 2011 Pinot Noir for $3.99. You may recall that I sampled the Cab recently and was super impressed. Can’t wait to give the Merlot and Shiraz a spin. Also had the Pinot Noir and wow, I sure can see why it was a whole dollar more expensive 😛 GREAT stuff and I don’t even usually like Pinot Noir (too light).

Mother-daughter wine glass sizes 🙂

FINALLY my last Tuesday treasure in foodie land is the below gem from my town’s farmers’ market. I spontaneously stopped by on Saturday after the 5K (notice my Team #AmazingMe tee!) since it’s right by my usual weekend study spot, Daybreak Coffee Roasters. Can you believe this guy was just $3?! He was in a bucket with a bunch of other smaller butternut squash that were the same price. NO brainer, I picked out the biggest squash in the pile! Just to make my girl Lisa proud of me. And apparently it was the last day of the market so good thing I stopped by! Hello fate.

Oh how I love a vegetable that’s bigger than my head.

My mom is away for the week but once she returns, we have big plans for this big squash. I hear that the skin tastes tres gross so does anyone have any tips on easy squash peeling-and-roasting? Who has some recipes I can try? I already know I want to do quesadillas but need more ideas because this is one big squash!

Which of my Wildflour goodies would you like to munch (or sip) on most?

What was your last gem of a find from Whole Foods and/or TJ’s?

Tell me about your most recent farmers’ market purchase!

Whole Foods 1-Day Shrimp Sale Means…Recipe!

I’m glad you guys enjoyed my posts from earlier this week on Manchester’s Market Grille and my town’s Apple Fest. I also can’t thank you enough for your support and feedback as I update you all on my stomach stuff. Latest news – I went yesterday for blood tests for parasites, bacterial intestinal infections, and a whole slew of other stuff. I’m currently awaiting the results. And if the results are “nothing is wrong”, I’ll be pretty upset. But I’m trying not to think that way because stress only exacerbates the discomfort. I WILL find an answer!

Now, let’s get to the meat of today’s post. Or shall I say the seafood, if we are bring protein-type-specific.

I love me some Whole Foods – I have loved these grocery stores even before they put me in their North Atlantic region’s holiday magazine 😉 #brag #sorrynotsorry And my local Whole Foods are especially kind to me. Case in point: Whole Foods West Hartford (in Blueback Square) gave me the gift of four pounds of shrimp to sample in a dinner recipe in honor of tomorrow’s one-day sale!

Guess what’s inside?!

The above bag contained four pounds of farm-cooked white shrimp, raised in Thailand under responsible farming techniques and strict environmental condition standards. They contained no preservatives and were noticeably fresh. And they came already peeled and de-veined, so the only prep needed was to de-tail.

An inside-bag view.

Usually these little guys are $14.99/pound, but for tomorrow’s one-day sale (Friday 10/19 only!) you can get them for $6.99/pound! If I were you I’d make it a point to get over to Whole Foods West Hartford (Blueback or Bishop’s Corner) or Glastonbury tomorrow so you can start your weekend on a seafood frenzy.

Probably what Meg‘s fridge looks like.

My mom and I decided to use the shrimp in a Shrimp Creole recipe my mom got from one of her oldest friends. It was even written on a slip of paper from a Palm City Elementary notepad. As in, my elementary school. Holy 12-year-old notepad!

This recipe is satisfying, healthy, and packs quite the protein-punch!

Shrimp Creole


  • 1 cup of turkey bacon (chopped)
  • 1 cup of celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup of onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup of garlic (I used a jar of minced garlic)
  • 1 cup of bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 jar of tomatoes
  • 1 can of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 4 pounds of shrimp


  1. Saute bacon, celery, onion, and bell pepper until tender.
  2. Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add chili powder and garlic.
  4. Add shrimp and cream of mushroom soup. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve alone or over rice!

Before addition of shrimp and mushroom soup.

Beautiful shrimpies ready to go.

Final combo simmering away.

Ridiculously easy, right? Just get past that that ingredient prep (chopping) and it’s a matter of mixing ingredients together and hands-free simmering. Something that did require work, however, was our choice of side. My mom attempted to fix us some spaghetti squash. The problem is, she did so while drinking wine. When you mix this with cooking…

Waltzing with wine.

…sometimes you get burnt spaghetti squash.


Hey, you guys know I love carcinogen-filled food. It tasted pretty good…well, what was salvageable (aka the bowl above).

Wasting time showering between workouts and meals? Child’s play.

I can’t lie, my mom did most of the cooking. But I stirred! And I provided the wine. I got it from the Trader Joe’s at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA when I went to visit Heather this past weekend. This Cabernet Sauvignon was $2.99. And you know what? It was quite good!

This does NOT taste like it cost $2.99!

My mom totally agreed. I was thankful to be having a good stomach day and enjoyed my wine, Shrimp Creole, and burnt spaghetti squash alongside half a baked potato with more Creole sauce. Oh, and the fireplace and REVENGE!

Cozy fireplace meal 🙂 And I spy my Big Bird plate

The recipe was a total success and my lucky father got to enjoy the leftovers last night. They tasted just as good as night one!

So remember, if this recipe tempted you and you are a Hartford, CT area local, I highly recommend hightailing it to Whole Foods West Hartford (Blueback or Bishop’s Corner) or Glastonbury to take advantage of the one-day sale (Friday 10/19 only) and pay only $6.99/pound for this delish shrimp, instead of $14.99/pound!

And if you aren’t a local, you can pick up some shrimp and make this yourself. Be sure to share with me on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook if you do!

Thanks to Whole Foods West Hartford for providing me with the shrimp for this recipe! I received this shrimp free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you ever gotten to take advantage of a crazy-good Whole Foods (or any other grocery store) sale? What’d you buy?

Do you enjoy cooking with and/or eating shrimp? What’s your favorite recipe? (Meg, no need to answer the first question).

New Year’s Eve: The Homebody Edition

I’m continuing my series of better-late-than-never recaps – I never got a chance to tell you guys how I ended 2011!

What happens when you graduate college and enter the working world? Nights out as a fabulous 21+ working woman, with money to burn on martinis and ritzy dresses? Intimate dinners with dashing men I meet at happy hours? Ha! What if I told you that I chose to spend my New Year’s Eve in glasses, sweatpants, and a sports bra? Would you believe me? Well, I have the proof right here:

Yes I'm posting this photo. And no you can't see the sports bra, but just believe me.

My friend Kelly (I’ve known her since high school!) and I were thrilled when we found out that we both desired the exact same kind of New Year’s Eve – one that would take place at home, on the couch, in front of TV specials.

Don’t worry, we were still somewhat young-professional-like…we drank wine! We ate cheese – and olives! Classy and sophisticated, right? Kelly even tried her first olive (she liked it, as a fellow sodium lover). The cheeses we ate were a sharp cheddar and a spicy pepperjack, and went so well on the little pumpernickel toasts Kelly provided.

How cute is this little cutting board? Underneath all the food, it says “may your glass always be half full”!

Kelly has a major sweet tooth, so she was kind enough to pick up dessert

We all know who the real star of the evening was…

The wine, which I purchased upon recommendation from Elliott of the always-dependable Sonoma Wine & Spirits, was an Italian red import called Icardi Barbera d’Asti Tabaren 2008. I say was because we finished the whole bottle. Check out the size of those wine glasses! This wine is actually organic, but the vineyard owner, who seems very sassy from what I hear, does not buy into the whole “certified” organic procedure and the fees associated with it. I can understand that! It was honestly the best red wine I’ve ever bought. I’m not exaggerating! Love Italian wines.

Here’s our full spread…

I also provided the above pictured dips (TJ’s horseradish hummus and Cedar’s tabouleh), and dipping mechanisms in the form of baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and TJ’s veggie chips. Kelly and I joked that it looked like we were throwing a party for a bunch of hungry people – but nope, just two hungry girls!

I had such a great time catching up with Kel, hating on obvious marketing ploys on NYE specials (we’re both media enthusiasts), singing kid’s movie songs (“Swan Princess” anyone?), and of course feeding our faces. It was honestly the perfect New Year’s Eve.

Predictable (and late) question for today – What did you do for New Year’s Eve?

Black Friday 2011

First thing’s first: I recommend that you head over to a fellow FitFluential Ambassador Christine’s blog, Oatmeal in my Bowl, to check out her Oatmeal Toppings feature! It’s a great link round-up of topics like fitness, food/cooking, outdoors, and challenges. A great way to find new blogs, recipes, and routines. And I may be a bit biased, because she featured my Hotel Room Workout!

Image courtesy of oatmealinmybowl.com

Also, please head over to the lovely Katie’s blog to check out her recap of the Sunday Cafes do Brasil Week Press Brunch at Bistro Cassis! My brunch was on a Saturday at Casa Restaurant, so Katie’s recap will show you a new Brazilian coffee experience in NYC. Cafes do Brasil Week may be over, but that’s no reason you can’t learn more about the coffee and try it for yourself!

Now, let’s get to it. Happy Cyber Monday! Anyone out there doing some heavy-duty online shopping today? I would, but I had enough fun and spent enough money on Black Friday to account for several shopping trips, so I’m going to try to hold back on checking websites for deals. Try.

Does anyone else LOVE Black Friday? For me, it signals the official beginning of the holiday season. As I browsed racks of clothes and displays of accessories this past Friday, the Christmas music in every store really got me into the spirit. So did picking out gifts for friends and family! Well, a friend and a family member. I can’t lie, my Black Friday shopping is usually more about getting great deals on stuff for me than gifts for others. It’s not that I’m selfish – it’s just that most of the gifts I plan to get people don’t end up being part of the Black Friday deals!

Thanksgiving morning tradition

After finishing up a spin class on Thanksgiving morning, I grabbed a nonfat cafe au lait at Whole Foods and headed home to spend time doing an activity that I probably enjoy more than the Thanksgiving meal itself: browsing circulars and making a plan of attack while watching the Macy’s parade. I had my eyes set on a new camera, and luckily the very one I wanted was on sale at about 8 different places, and all for the exact same price! The pressure was off for my big purchase, leaving Hannah and I plenty of time to devote to shopping for fun stuff like clothes, accessories, and shoes. We decided to hit Kohl’s first, then the mall.

Hannah with her 2nd cup of Dunkin after we left Kohl's.

Usually my Nana Connie joins us for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. In fact, for as long as I can remember she has been up at the crack of dawn, before Hannah and I, ready to get going on finding those deals. When my Granddad was alive, he used to come with us too. There has been only one Black Friday other than this one that Nana C didn’t join us, and Hannah and I really missed her this year. She had to work, but I know she was with us in spirit as we hunted down those bargains. We owe our Black Friday addiction to her!

Nonfat cafe au lait with cinnamon.

I selected the Nordstrom’s cafe for my cup of coffee, but held off awhile before having it. I was still feeling pretty nauseous from the evening before. We hunted down some fabulous deals! Hannah didn’t really think they were that great, but I was very satisfied with my day’s purchases.

This year's loot.

Last year’s pile looked way more impressive, but it was also a combination of not just my stuff, but Hannah’s and Nana Connie’s.

You probably saw the Trader Joe’s bag creepin in this year’s photo. Of course – I was right nearby, how could I NOT make a stop? I went in to stock up on my favorite veggie chips, but ended up leaving with a bunch of goodies!

Lentil chips, veggie chips, and everything pretzel slims.

All of the above three carbalicious snacks have crazy large serving sizes, something which I am all about.

Roasted peppers for salads, horseradish hummus, dill pickles, and egg white salad.

I’ve seen the egg white salad on Monica’s blog before, but couldn’t remember whether or not she liked it. I guess I’ll find out if I do! I’ve already been devouring the pickles and peppers in my salads.

I’ve been dying to show you my favorite purchase of the entire day:

Wait…I didn't buy this. That's a joke.

KIDDING. No, that prize has to go to my new camera from Best Buy. I was correct to not be worried about finding it later on in the day. I didn’t arrive until about 1, and there were still plenty left. For $20 more, I also got a bundle with a case, memory card, and cute mini tripod!

Forever 21 wasn’t having any sales, but their prices are usually fine by me anyway, especially their cheap accessories.

Ann Taylor Loft had 50% off of every single item in the store, so I got two shirts, and the Icing‘s buy one, get one 50% off earring promo and my tendency to think of multi-packs as a good value led to me being fairly stocked on earrings for about the next ten years.

Kohl’s completely surprised and impressed me with the Lauren Conrad collection. So much cute stuff! And I’m clearly obsessed with pleats. I love how everything this season is so delicate-looking.

My old high-school standby Hollister was selling everything at 40% off, even sale stuff! So I naturally headed straight for the clearance rack, but I did spring for a full-price (before the 40%) pair of corduroy jeggings as well.

Because I really need more yoga pants, or a skirt in the winter.

Another part of my family’s Black Friday tradition is the lunch we have each year with my dad. He doesn’t shop, just meets us for the food! This year we went somewhere I haven’t been in too long, Ruby Tuesday’s. I love it there, and I was also really craving their salad bar and veggie sides after my indulgent evening.

Garlic cheddar cheese biscuits!

I devoured a biscuit when they were placed in front of us, because at that point my nauseousness had subsided and I was starved.

Good thing I didn’t have to wait long to put in my order for the salad bar and help myself! I always ask for a side of pickles and a side of salsa to dump on my salads at Ruby’s as well. Does  anyone else think their croutons are the best thing in the world? I’ve never been able to find better ones!

Grilled asparagus, grilled zucchini, and roasted spaghetti squash.

I got the Veggie Trio combo deal and chose the above items as my three sides to go with the salad bar. Ruby’s has so many sides options. I absolutely love it! How many restaurants offer spaghetti squash?! I’ve only seen it at Ruby’s and Bonefish.

My gym session later that day was less than stellar (easy elliptical), but it still made me feel better because I sweated out some of that wine, went home, showered, and got cozy.

Oh, and before heading home, I treated myself to one last Black Friday tradition: a manicure! More specifically, a polish change. As you can see, I was in desperate need.

OPI "I Brake for Manicures"

What was your best Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday purchase ever?