Tag Archives: What is this Stuff

What is this Stuff: Trader Joe’s Crunchy Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds

I am not one to jump on the “superfood” bandwagon of the week. So, when the world moved from quinoa—still a staple grain in my household—to chia I missed the boat. Still, when I saw a jar of peanut butter with flax and chia seeds at Trader Joe’s I bit:

Trader Joes Flax Chia PB

For a while Trader Joe’s and Target’s Archer Farms brand carried an almond butter with toasted flaxseed that was pretty tasty. It was a nice protein packed treat with some additional omega 3 fatty acids to top things off. It’s been year since I have seen either product, so my hopes were high for this new find.

The result is a crunchy peanut butter that is not like any other crunchy peanut butter you may have had in the past:

Flax Chia PB on Bread

The combination of crunch from peanut pieces and the two seeds is amazingly distinct and awesome at the same time. I was prepared for this to taste like a gimmicky health food… er superfood, that you have to choke down bite by bite with Herculean effort. Nope, it’s super tasty.

I cannot confirm whether the included chia seeds meet all of the health claims being touted—reducing blood pressure, making you feel full, reducing food cravings, etc.—but the seeds were tasty.

It’s also not loaded with sugar, like a lot of other packaged nut butters, so you are not getting loaded down with extra fructose. Fructose is the mind killer, to adapt a line from Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi classic Dune. There is some added salt. I will take a little added sodium over added sugar any day.

The stuff is also loaded with omega 3s. There are 320mg per serving (approximately 2 tablespoons worth), which is a nice boost to the daily need of this essential nutrient. If you are not into clearing the oceans of fish for a supplement pill—trust me, the menhaden will thank you for going to veggie route on this one—sources like flaxseed or chia are hyper critical to getting a daily dose of omega 3s. Eating it on a piece of toast via peanut butter makes the day’s medicine that much easier to swallow.

Get a jar and let me know what you think.

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What is this Stuff: New Mexico Pinon Coffee

Trader Joe’s is a wonderful store to find oddities. Especially so if you only visit about every six months or so. It’s like a completely different store. Something you loved is gone and replaced by a bizarre product you might just have to try. That’s my Trader Joe’s experience anyway.

I ran across this and was intrigued:

Pinon Coffee

Pinon coffee? What is this stuff?

As a dedicated coffee junky I had to pick up a container and bring it home to try. The most well-known coffee adjunct in the United States has to be roasted chicory, which is popular in the southeast and most notably in Louisiana. If you have sat down for beignets and coffee at Café du Monde in New Orleans than you have had chicory coffee. It is said that chicory gives coffee a chocolate undertone and softens the bitterness.

Pinon coffee is similar to chicory coffee in that it uses a non-coffee adjunct. In this case it is the edible nut of the Pinus edulis tree that grows in the high desert of the American southwest. The nut of the tree is roasted and incorporated into a ground Arabica coffee.

The result? Pretty damn good. In terms of aroma you would think that you were about to drink a coffee flavored with chocolate or something nutty like hazelnut. None of that follows through in the taste, which is very coffee like.

It’s not something that I would seek out on a regular basis or pay a premium for, but if I find myself in a Trader Joe’s sometime soon I might pick a can. Or two because you never know when Trader Joe’s is going to just yank the rug out from underneath you.

What is this Stuff: Milton Creamery Quark

Sometimes I find myself wandering through the aisles of the new Cedar Rapids location of the New Pioneer Coop looking for something different to try. My hands were full with a half-pound of coffee and a loaf of jalapeno cheddar bread when I ran across this in the cheese case:

Quark Container

Milton Creamery is a cheese making operation located in Milton, Iowa—that’s far southern Iowa for those of you not too familiar with the Hawkeye State’s geography. Well known for the most excellent Prairie Breeze white cheddar Quark is a cream cheese very different from that brand that claims to be from a certain city in Pennsylvania:

Quark Open

This is cream cheese like you have never tasted. It’s simple and rich in a way that only a pure food can be. Stewardship of the land is an important part of the Milton Creamery story. Started in 2006, it’s a labor of love for the Musser family who adhere to Mennonite traditions. The result is a collaboration with small dairy farms in the immediate area, no farm has a herd of more than 65 cows, that are not given any growth hormones. Shouldn’t all food production be done this way?

Slathered on a piece of fresh jalapeno cheddar bread it’s a snack made in heaven:

Quark Bread

It is wonderful to see old world traditions surviving and thriving in our evolving food culture.

What is this Stuff: IKEA Brödmix Flerkorn

I am sucker for the IKEA market section that is present in every store I have visited immediately after the minor hell that is checking out of the housewares portion of the store. Seriously, could people act any stranger than they do during checkout at IKEA?

Usually, I pick up a handful of chocolate bars for the trip home, peruse the oddities, and maybe score a jar of lingonberry jam. This time I grabbed a package of this stuff:

Brodmix Box

What exactly is Brödmix Flerkorn.  You can take IKEA’s description—A full-bodied multi-grain bread kit – just add water! Serve with butter and optional toppings—but that seemed like a sales pitch at its best.

Brödmix Flerkorn is Swedish for multi-grain bread mix. The ingredients bear out that description containing wheat flour, wheat flakes, rye flakes, coarse rye flour, sunflower kernels, wheat starch, linseed, malt, sourdough powder, salt, and dried yeast. As the description says, you just add water:

Brodmix Dough

It’s not a very appealing loaf pan of dough. Apparently, this is a fair facsimile of a rye bread that is popular in northern Europe and Scandinavia. The finished product does not appear much different:

Brodmix Loaf

As there is not much gluten in the wet mix—not gluten free mind you—the bread does not rise very much and is very dense. Also, because it is multi-grain it is quite crumbly. If you could make a loaf of bread out of a pan of wet Grape Nuts you kind of get the idea of what this bread is like.

Slathered with sour cherry preserves it is edible, but that is about the most charitable adjective I can apply to this particular recipe. I am not about to trade in my bread from New Pi with a box from IKEA.