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Expert approved (and consumed)

By Stacey Ballis
Updated July 31, 2020
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I don’t know about you, but my snacking game has gotten super strong since the pandemic started. Being home all day every day, and all night every night, means that mealtimes are more of a random suggestion, and often we find ourselves more in the grazing mode than pulling together true meals.

And when it comes to snacks, we all know that Trader Joe’s is a veritable treasure chest. I don’t need to tell you about their legendary peanut butter-filled pretzels or chile lime cashews. You already know about those all-stars. But I thought I’d share my latest obsessions, whether for mid-morning pick-me-ups or cocktail hour wind-downs. See if you don’t find them at the top of your shopping list as well.

(Remember: Not every region has the same products, and sometimes things disappear, so if you spot any of these in the wild at your local Joe’s, grab ‘em up!)

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Corn Cookie Baking Mix

I rarely indulge in a baking mix, but these not-too-sweet corn cookies are delicious, with great corn flavor. And being a mix, you can go from zero to cookies in no time at all.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Popcorn

Speaking of corn, I’m a popcorn girl every day of the week, and cheese popcorn is always a weakness. This version is amped up with some Hatch chile that makes it the perfect level of spicy with a good cocktail or cold beer.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Steamed Pork and Ginger Soup Dumplings

I used to keep these in the freezer in case of last-minute entertaining. But now that hosting is on pause, we are working our way through our freezer stashes, and sometimes have appetizers for dinner. On the nights we don’t have much bandwidth for dinner, a pile of these juicy dumplings and some stir-fried veggies are just the ticket.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Coconut Crispy Rolls

These thin pirouette-style wafer cookie rolls are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea or coffee, and a good friend to a bowl or fruit, ice cream, or sorbet for dessert.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Garlic and Onion Pistachios

These are a fairly new addition, and I hope they stick around! The slight sweetness of the pistachio is terrific with the salty savory garlic and onion flavor. Totally addictive.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Assorted Chocolate Half-dipped Almond Biscotti

I love that these elegant chocolate-covered cookies are individually wrapped, so that they stay fresh forever. It is also a terrific thing to be able to offer to pals who come for socially distanced visits, as anything individually wrapped is a godsend these days.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Organic Italian Nocellara Olives

A good olive is a thing of beauty, and these are packed in light sunflower oil with a smattering of herbs. They're great on their own or in recipes and the oil makes really terrific salad dressing once the olives are gone.

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Credit: Courtesy Trader Joe's

Courtesy Trader Joe's

Just the Lobsters

I’m a sucker for a gummy candy and Swedish fish are my kryptonite. So, naturally I couldn’t resist these adorable little red gummy lobsters, the latest Scandinavian chewy treat. They are as delicious as they are adorable, and feel just right for summertime!