Because I love to cook (and eat) I love to share with you some of my favorites that I have tried.  Some of them I use as ingredients in cooking, and some are tiny indulgences I just like to snack on.

1. Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake & All-Purpose Baking Mix

For those mornings when you don’t have a lot of time to make pancakes from scratch, this is a good alternative.  Experiment with different add-ins like chocolate chips, sliced bananas, or ricotta and fresh blueberries.

2. Trader Joe’s Unsalted Plum Tomatoes

I love using this canned whole tomatoes to make my own quick pasta sauce with olive oil, garlic and fresh oregano or basil.  Simmer it on low heat for 25 minutes up to 1 hour. Canned whole tomatoes (not cut) have the closest flavor to fresh ones.

3. Trader Joe’s Organic Pitted Kalamon Kalamata Olives with Extra Virgin Oil

If you love olives like me, keep this in your pantry for making salads, serve it with appetizers or add it to stews.

4. Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin

You don’t have to wait for fall to enjoy pumpkin. This canned organic pumpkin is great to use in soup, smoothies, and baking pumpkin pie, cake or bars.

5. Trader Joe’s Ristretto Espresso Capsules

If you own a Nespresso Pixie machine like me, this is compatible and costs only $3.99/box of 10. Available in 2 varieties – Lungo and Ristretto.

6. Baci Perugina Chocolate

The Italian version of Kisses (only bigger), it satisfies my sweet cravings for chocolate.  Dark chocolate on the outside with soft hazelnut praline filling on the inside. Life is just better with chocolate.

7. Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

I can’t say enough about this versatile cheese from Italy. Grate it over pasta or soup, shave it over fresh salad, or even snack on it. Sometimes I mix it in meatballs and it’s delicious. If I have to choose some cheeses to have in my fridge, this will definitely be one of them.