Have you ever been stuck without a present for the tutor/coach/babysitter? On your way to a holiday party, only to realize you have nothing for the hostess? Make sure that never happens again by picking up the above items the next time you’re at Trader Joe’s. Each holiday season TJ’s offers a delicious array of treats in super cute packaging that are just right for gifting. This year’s options are particularly alluring: the Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle tin is a mix of dark and milk chocolate covered pretzels, chews, peanut butter cups, and popcorn – something for everyone and so good. The English Toffee with Nuts is crunchy, buttery, sweet perfection, and the Almond Snowman cookies are just right for little ones and big ones alike. Each one comes in a festive container that only needs the addition of a pretty ribbon to be presentation ready. Grab a few the next time you do the marketing and you’ll never be stuck empty handed again.

Claudia, WCM



Have you ever been stuck on the starch part of dinner? Bored of rice? Tired of pasta? Sick of the same potatoes, quinoa, and couscous? Feel like having fun? Well, then go to the Trader Joe’s frozen food section and pick up some Trader Potato Tots. Yes, these will remind you of the school lunches and TV dinners from your childhood, but because they’re from TJ’s the bad stuff is gone and only delicious, crunchiness remains. Be the dinnertime hero and go for tots – your kids will be impressed!

Claudia, WCM



My nephew Dino and I were in the car one weekend listening to KCRW’s Good Food. It’s not the thing you listen to when you want your 16 year old nephew to think you’re cool. But because he likes cooking and because I couldn’t find a station that was playing something we both could agree on, I settled on KCRW and hoped that he would enjoy the soothing talk of Thanksgiving Day recipes. (He was a good sport.) We listened for a while and then the ladies who own Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Shop in Brooklyn, came on to discuss the pies that are going to be the stars of their bakery that holiday season. The usual suspects were there: apples, pecans, pumpkins, but then they started talking about their Maple Buttermilk custard pie. They raved about it and so did Evan Kleiman, the host of Good Food. It sounded so delicious and interesting, that Dino and I were salivating by the end of the show. How terrible, we lamented, that this pie was only in Brooklyn! How, could we get to Brooklyn to eat this pie? We couldn’t. Our tastebuds were devastated. And then, at the end of the show, they told us that the recipe was on the Good Food blog. We didn’t have to go to Brooklyn – we could make it ourselves! Right then and there we decided to try to make this pie for Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how it goes. But in the interim, you might want to try it yourself. Here’s the recipe…enjoy!

Claudia, WCM



I know I’ve talked a lot about pumpkins recently, but every year, from October until the end of November, I can’t get enough. I’m the person who gets super excited about Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, the person who eats pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving, the person who actually orders the pumpkin pancakes. And now, I’m the person who makes pumpkin muffins. Trader Joe’s seasonal Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix is super easy to make and quick to bake. The muffins only take about 20 minutes to put together and come out deliciously light with a hint of spice. They are ideal to grab in the morning or for an afternoon snack, not to mention the Thanksgiving potluck at school. And if I can make them, well, pretty much anyone can.

Claudia, WCM



I will be making this for our dinner on Thanksgiving as I do every year. I can’t believe it’s two weeks away already!!! I can almost guarantee that if you make this Bibb Lettuce Salad with Pecans, Blue Cheese and Pears from Back to the Table by Art Smith it will be a huge hit for a holiday dinner, a summer barbeque or just a family dinner at home. The mix of juicy pears, tender greens, pungent cheese and sweet pecans makes this salad scrumptious. The real secret to the salad is the Late Harvest Riesling Dressing. If I have time I try to make it a day ahead because it tastes even better the next day. I usually make a large batch and use it for the salad and then keep some for sandwiches or dip. This is also the salad I like to bring for a potluck because… it’s always a crowd pleaser.

Below are links for the recipes for the salad and the dressing from Oprah.com (Art Smith is her Personal Chef)



Dilyn, WCM