Artisola sweet potato & herb ravioli with Artisola creamy butternut sauce

In the refrigerated section in the cheese area of Whole Foods, I found Artisola’s artisanal pastas and sauces. They’re a little pricey, but they were recently on sale at Whole Foods ๐Ÿ˜€ I got the Sweet Potato & Herb Ravioli ($7.99) and the Creamy Butternut Sauce ($7.99).

The pasta is super easy to make – just boil gently for 3.5 minutes. I heated up the sauce in a saucepan briefly before covering the cooked ravioli with it. There were 11 pieces in this package – so each person gets 5.5 if you share ๐Ÿ˜‰

15933919_10105128594447473_1710847064_o
topped with basil leaves
15878414_10105128594612143_1211092474_o
inside view

I love the texture of this pasta – it was perfectly al dente. Also, it is gluten-free asย itย is made of corn and rice flour. I thought the flavor of the ravioli was on the bland side…I could taste the subtle sweetness of the sweet potato, but I couldn’t really detect the cheese or herb flavors (ingredients include ricotta cheese, cream, cheese, parmesan cheese, and spices). However, the delicious sauce made the flavor pop! This organic sauce was creamy, cheesy, and super flavorful.

I love that the pasta and sauce had no artificial ingredients, flavors, colors, or preservatives. The sauce was pretty amazing, but I actually preferred the Trader Joe’s ravioli to the Artisola ravioli – especially for the price. Perhaps I will combine the Artisola sauce with the Trader Joe’s ravioli next time ๐Ÿ˜›

 

15877826_10105128594936493_1106575205_o

 

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Pecan Pudding Pie

I had been eyeing Trader Joe’s Chocolate Pudding Pie since I first spotted it this fall, and I finally decided to get it for a New Year’s treat. The person at the check-out counter gave it a raving review, so I was super excited to try it. Recently, I tried the Fruitcake BARย and it had become a favorite holiday treat and I wasn’t sure if anything could beat it ๐Ÿ˜›

15817546_10105113763349113_731200504_o

The pie is “fully baked,” so all you have to do is remove it from the box and leave it in the fridge for 1.5 to 2 hours. I let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours because it has been unseasonably cold in Florida and it feels like a refrigerator in my house ๐Ÿ˜›

The box has a picture of a beautiful, luscious, decadent chocolate pie covered with a bounty of pecans on top. When I first took the pie out of the package, I was a little disappointed…”where are the pecans??” After I cut into the pie, I noticed that the pecans were inside the pie.

15820939_10105113762650513_272942519_o
view from the side

The pie tastes like a ย rich chocolatey, super gooey fudgey brownie. The consistency is creamy and velvety – kind of like an extra thick chocolate pudding. It almost reminds me of the chocolate caramel from Lake Champlain Chocolate Caramel Five Star Bar. The saltiness of the flaky crust compliments the sweet chocolate filling. Since it is very sweet, I like this pie with a cup of hot tea. The Fruitcake BAR is still my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice

For the non-alcoholic drinkers out there, Trader Joe’s Sparkling White Chardonnay Grape Juice is a great alternative for a celebratory beverage. It is made with 100% juice from Spanish Chardonnay grapes and it comes in a fancy bottle. It is a little sweeter than actual Chardonnay wine, but it is still tasty and delightfully bubbly. The flavor is somewhat like white grape and apple, and it is perfect when served chilled.ย They recommend consuming within 4 days of opening, but it didn’t last that long for me ๐Ÿ˜› And it’s only $2.99!

I forgot to take a picture of the juice until there was only a little bit left ๐Ÿ˜›

 

 

Dorayaki with Mochi ~ ้ค…ๅ…ฅใ‚Šใฉใ‚‰็„ผใ

I love Dorayaki. Dorayaki is a delicious Japanese dessert consisting of two castella (Japanese sponge cake) pancakes filled with sweet azuki red bean paste. There are various variations of Dorayaki – green tea flavor, with chestnuts, filled with whipping cream, etc…

My best friend in Japan sent me a care package filled with delectable goodies…one such treat was the Dorayaki with Gyuhi from Warakunosato (ๅ’Œๆฅฝใฎ้‡Œ).ย Gyuhi is a softer version of mochi (Japanese rice cake)…it is a translucent white, delicate, chewy confection. You may have noticed Gyuhi before in the topping section at frozen yogurt shops. The pancakes were moist, light, and fluffy…the Tsubuan (chunky red bean paste) was perfectly sweet andย had good-sized whole beans intact. I loved all the textures of the Dorayaki, but my favorite part was the Gyuhi ๐Ÿ™‚ Green tea/matcha accompanies this wagashi (traditional Japanese confection) nicely.

If you prefer video reviews, check out this linkย and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

15731319_10105084023403203_1682763193_n
close-up

 

 

Trader Joe’s Sponge Candy

When I saw Trader Joe’s Sponge Candy ($3.49), I had to get them. I’ve never had sponge candy before, but I’ve always wanted to try them. According to the box, it is “sugar candy covered in milk chocolate”. The box is adorable – it has a honeycomb design on the sides.

The candies come in different shapes and sizes, and underneath the chocolate coating, the candies looks like sponges.ย They certainly doesn’t taste like sponge though ๐Ÿ˜‰ They are sweet, crisp, and chewy…the pieces are thick but also airy. There is a slight caramely, honey flavor. These sponge candies may not be the healthiest food, but they are tasty ๐Ÿ˜›

Trader Joe’s Indian Fare – Jaipur Vegetables

Recently, I noticed several flavors on Indian Fare at Trader Joe’s, and I decided to try the Jaipur Vegetables (garden vegetables and cubes of Paneer cheese with spices and cashews). It is super affordable at $1.99 and easy to prepare. I heated up the sealed pouch in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes and served it over warm rice (you can also heat it up in ย the microwave).

Although somewhat spicy, the curry was pretty good. The flavor was a little on the light side, but it was creamy and full of tender veggies (tomatoes, green beans, carrots, peas, potatoes). I like that it had Paneer, but I prefer larger pieces of firmer, squeakier Paneer.

15713316_10105078597247263_1635250132_n
curry over rice

 

All in all, it’s a good portion for 2 people and not a bad deal at $1.99.

 

Trader Joe’s Fruitcake BAR

Happy Holidays!! I am loving all of the holiday foods available at Trader Joe’s during the winter season. I’ve never had fruitcake before, but it wasn’t something I necessarily wanted to try because it didn’t sound very appetizing. But on a recent Trader Joe’s visit, I tried a sample of their Fruitcake BAR ($3.99), and I was hooked! It was absolutely divine!

15730793_10105078293645683_837606592_n

Don’t let the bland appearance fool you – it is super flavorful, and chock full of almond slices and tenderย fruit morsels…raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and dried apricots. There’s also a slight note of crystallized ginger which adds a nice zest. I don’t know if this is what a fruitcake is supposed to taste like, but itย was AMAZING!

There’s a nice balance between the almonds, dried fruit, and the bar itself. I love the moist, chewy texture and the almondy flavor of the actual bar – it kind of reminds me of pignoli cookies. It would be hard not to finish the entire bar in one sitting ๐Ÿ˜›