Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Good Stuff - Special Fall Edition

While there's a lot of Good Stuff out there, only a few choice items earn their own special edition. Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix is the only one I can think of so far. My sister Maren told me about it a couple years ago, and good heavens, I've never been the same since.

That first year we were sorely disappointed to find it's a seasonal item. It shows up in September and disappears after Thanksgiving sometime. That's a lesson I only had to learn once, and now every fall we stock up for the year - about 30 boxes.

I've actually never made a loaf from the mix - we always do muffins. And with mini eaters around here we make mini muffins. The mix itself is perfect, but embellishments only improve it. Our favorite is adding a handful of oats, a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Sometimes chopped pecans. A friend told me she made them with white chocolate chips, which I'm sure is good if you believe in white chocolate. I think they'd be good with anything - any nuts or dried fruits, coconut, lemon or orange zest, etc. Maybe not capers. It makes about 4 dozen minis. After they cool we freeze them and eat them straight from the freezer for breakfast or snacks - they crumble less when frozen, which means less mess.

I've never met a kid (or adult) that doesn't like these. Once I took some on a visiting teaching visit in New York, and my friend's kids gobbled them up while I was there; she had to rescue one for herself and put it out of reach. They truly disappeared at Hazel's last birthday party. Today I babysat a little 1-year-old girl for a few hours who cried almost the whole time except when she was snarfing muffins.

Making these has of course become a favorite family activity for us. We even made them for FHE last week. Talk about a perfect evening - fillling the house with spicy autumnal aromas while having a little lesson, then eating them warm with milk before bed.

I mean, I'm truly sorry if you don't have a Trader Joe's. I know that pain. But get a friend to hook you up - it's only here once a year, and it's quickly becoming my favorite thing about fall. It's hard to compete with something that elicits, "Mommy, you make the best muffins in the whole world!"

6 comments:

Jenifuz said...

They sound so good! Why does Trader Joe's have to be a coastal thing. I've only ever seen or heard of it on either coast! Why can't they come inland???

Shells said...

Maren introduced me to them as well, and I love them too. Dave isn't as enthralled though, so I end up the only one eating them, which means I can only make them a couple times a year. Of course, the kids would probably eat them - I haven't tried that yet. DUH!

Maren said...

Jenifuz- they have them in Ohio... but it's true that they don't have nearly enough of them anywhere. Here in VT, our closest one is in Massachusetts. I once asked why they aren't expanding to logical markets faster (like Burlington), and apparently it's a matter of getting a warehouse in your vicinity first. Then the stores can start to spring up around it. It's so annoying to those of us who were once addicted but now have no way to shop there. Online store, anyone? Hello?

Locations can be found here.

Dan Cummings said...

I wandered into one on the way home from clinicals today and looked for the pumpkin bread/muffin mix, and I must have gone to the one you frequent, either that or they are a hot item for a lot of people because the shelf was empty! I did walk away with some great trail mixes though... And a pie.

Sharlie Kaltenbach said...

Thanks for the great recommendation! I LOVE Trader Joe's and especially love discovering new finds there...have you tried their Ginger trail mix? Yummy! I picked up a few boxes of the Pumpkin mix yesterday and we can't wait to try it! I love your blog...you got Ryan and I hooked on Project Runway : ) Hope all is well with you guys!

Shanda said...

Looking through your blog makes me so hungry!!! I LOVE this mix! Marsha still has hers box sitting on top of the fridge and I keep contemplating if she will notice if I steal it. :)

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