By: Wei Qing Lim
It’s September. You know what that means-- it’s officially Fall! I don’t know about you, but I have already swapped out my summer quarantine wardrobe for fuzzy socks, sweaters, and my comfiest sweatpants. Whenever I think of Fall, I think of the leaves changing color and cooler weather. There is also a crispness to the air that I wish I could capture and turn into a candle - SharkTank?!
While I adore the actual season itself, what I love even more are all the fall-related snacks and drinks that are kicking into full gear! We celebrated the beginning of Fall the way we know best-- by heading to our local Trader Joe’s to purchase their highly anticipated fall products.
We tried out 10 products, ranging from sauces to cookies. Keep on reading to find out what we thought of them -- (Note: This isn’t every fall-related item from TJ’s!)
Spicy Pumpkin Curry Simmer Sauce
Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque
Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce
Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark
Cinnamon Bun Cookies
Fall Leaf Corn Tortilla Chips + Fall Harvest Salsa
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
La Colombe Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Protein Maple Muffin
Maple-flavored Oat Beverage
Let’s get to tasting!
1. Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark (9/10)
This incredibly sweet gluten-free snack is made with oats, almonds, quinoa, coconut, pumpkin seeds and purée, and dark chocolate. It has a nice crunch to it and is the perfect after-dinner treat-- having two large chunks will keep you satiated for the rest of your night.
2. Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque (8.5/10)
If you want to know what Autumn tastes like as a soup, this delicious bisque is for you! It was creamy, not too sweet, and the pumpkin and butternut squash flavors balanced perfectly. One cup is the perfect amount for a meal, be it lunch or dinner. Pair it with some bread, and you are good to go!
3. Spicy Pumpkin Curry Simmer Sauce (8/10)
The simmer sauce was a pleasant surprise-- we paired it with veggies like eggplant, carrots, and squash. The second the sauce hit the pan, we were hit with a fragrant, curry-like smell. Don’t expect anything too spicy, instead, it was more sweet and tangy, which we also enjoyed. We think pairing it with some warm rice or noodles would be *chef’s kiss*.
4. Cinnamon Bun Cookies (7.5/10)
These small, gooey, unfortunately not gluten-free, wheat-flour sandwiches are mini snickerdoodles with a new exciting twist. While they pay tribute to the snickerdoodle by having the perfect amount of cinnamon on each cookie, the cream filling provides an extra sweet kick. Expect to experience a sugar rush after eating two of these! This is a fun treat and reminds us of the fall!
5. Fall Leaf Corn Tortilla Chips + Fall Harvest Salsa (8/10)
This is the first snack we tried, and we love it! The tortilla chips win major points because the chips are in the shape of different leaves, featuring the one and only, the iconic red maple leaf. We also appreciate that each chip is sturdy and can hold a decent amount of salsa - in the words of Ilona, it had great “scoopage”. The salsa was a savory dip consisting of pumpkin, tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, butternut squash, honey, and apple chunks, all roasted and blended to perfection (so fun!). This is a snack that you have to hide away because it’s so hard to stop eating once you start!
6. Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce (9/10)
This pasta sauce is one of my absolute favorites-- I always look forward to purchasing it when the season rolls around! It’s creamy, pumpkin-y, and so delicious! Add some broccoli, protein, and your pasta-of-choice to this sauce and you’ll have yourself a 10/10 meal! I’m thinking of starting a petition for Trader Joe’s to have this sauce year-round, who’s with me?
7. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (10/10)
A resounding 10/10 from Briana, because sadly it is not GF. It’s a miracle that something this delicious can come from just 5-6 minutes in the microwave, 100 points for efficiency! Who knew that butternut squash and cheese are a match made in heaven? And that combination on perfectly al-dente pasta? Out of this world.
8. La Colombe Pumpkin Spice Coffee (We were split: 4/10, 7/10, 8/10)
The pumpkin spice coffee was not our favorite, only because we’re so used to the classic La Colombe Triple Shot Draft Latte! It’s creamy, despite being lactose-free, and has a very subtle pumpkin taste. For us caffeine fanatics, the coffee was just not strong enough. This is for you if you’re into a more milky and sweet drink!
9. Protein Maple Muffin (11/10)
I LOVE this gluten-free snack. Depending on your mood, you can use water or your milk of choice for a fuller taste (we recommend using the Maple-flavored Oat Beverage!). Keep it in the microwave for a few more seconds if you like your muffins crunchy; for that classic, soft muffin texture, keep it at 60 seconds. Pair it with Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter, and you have a heavenly snack that you will think about for weeks to come!
10. Maple-flavored Oat Beverage (8/10)
This tOATally amazing beverage tastes like Christmas in a cup! I wouldn’t drink a glass of this straight-up, but it is perfect in a cup of coffee or a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. If Philz Coffee’s Iced Oatmeal Cookie had a sibling, this coffee+maple flavored oat beverage combo would be IT!
Let us know if you’ve had any of these products, and comment below if you have recommendations that we should try!