Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's a Food Blogga Give-Away for a Trader Joe's Cookbook!

If you have a Trader Joe's near you, then chances are it's your favorite grocery store. That's because Trader Joe's makes shopping fun. Their stores have user friendly signs describing many of their products, offer sundry organic and ethnic foods, and have an impossibly amiable staff.

So it's no wonder that someone -- actually two hip working moms -- came up with the brilliant idea to write a cookbook focused exclusively on Trader Joe's products. Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati has all the qualities that fans of the grocery chain like: it's easy to follow, uncomplicated, and doesn't take itself too seriously.

As busy working moms, Gunn and Miniati know how hard it is to cook and eat healthfully: "If you're like us, you love to eat natural, delicious, home-cooked foods, but due to career, family, or simply a busy modern lifestyle, you can't meals from scratch every night. There's a time and place for take-out and frozen entrees, but there's never a substitute for home-cooked meals."

That's where the cookbook comes in. Gunn and Miniati offer dozens of appetizing recipes featuring Trader Joe's products such as pasta, stir fry vegetables, quinoa, organic tofu, and free range roasting chicken. Most of the recipes average 3-5 steps and come with prep and cooking times, so you can plan ahead. One potential drawback to the book is that Trader Joe's rotates its products, so you may not find every item in your local store.

With simple and straightforward recipes, this cookbook will be a saving grace for busy cooks and kitchen novices. It contains categories for "Appealing Appetizers," "Soups, Salads, and Light Meals," "Main Meals," "On the Side," "Delicious Desserts and Daring Drinks," "Begin with Breakfast," and "Bachelor Quickies," which features frozen and ready-to-eat foods.

For a bonus feature, many of the dishes come with a suggested wine pairing, which is helpful. Also each recipe is accompanied by a picture, which the authors claim are "REAL." That is, they were taken in their home kitchens, with no professional styling or lighting. Though some are better than others, overall, they're functional and work just fine.

Now here are some of my favorite recipes. For fast and fun fare, you can't beat chipotle turkey chili, south of the border pizza, and tiramimousse (nope, that's not a misspelling; it's a combination of tiramisu and mousse).

If you're looking for something more adventurous, then try one of their many ethnic recipes such as Asian dumpling soup, curried chicken pitas, and spicy Szechuan tofu.

For those times when you want an elegant meal in minutes, try the polenta with truffle mushrooms, calamari brodetto, or lobster ravioli with vodka sauce.

Now for the best part: One lucky Food Blogga reader will receive a complimentary copy of Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's. Here's what you have to do to win:

Just tell me why you'd like to win the cookbook. Please respond by the end of the day, Tuesday, April 7, 2009. That's it.

With the help of, 1 winner will be randomly selected and announced in a future post, so please check back. The give-away is open to all Food Blogga readers wherever you live. The winner will need to provide her or his real name and mailing address. Don't have a blog? Just leave an active email address where you can be reached. Good luck, everybody!