Top Trader Joe’s Frozen Meals

I’ve loved to cook since I was in grade school though I would have considered myself more of a baker than a cook. Layer cakes and brownies? I was your girl! I didn’t really start cooking until the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. I moved off-campus and cancelled my campus meal plan. Chicken tenders (pronounced TEN-dahs) and insanely greasy quesadillas were no longer an option. I could’ve forked over the $6 or $7 to get these dishes but after feeling like I had eaten them for free for two years thanks to my student ID, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was a matter of principle. Though I wasn’t above begging underclassmen friends to swipe me in. But now I’m getting off topic.

It was around this time I discovered Trader Joe’s. I’d heard about it from West Coast friends but I assumed it was just another version of Whole Paycheck Foods. I’ve carefully documented my love/obsession of Trader Joe’s so for those of you DC Girl veterans, I won’t bore you with a repeat performance. New readers (Welcome!!!), you can read my love letters to Trader Joe’s here. Click here to read my scientific thoughts on Trader Joe’s microwave meals.

When I go to Trader Joe’s, I usually do about 3 laps in the frozen section. Not because I’m crazy, though if you see me at Trader Joe’s you might think that. I once spent at least 10 minutes staring at the olive oils. But because there are so many hidden gems in that section.

Like I said, I love to cook and get a genuine thrill over conquering a recipe and creating a delicious meal for myself. I will channel my inner Barefoot Contessa and imagine my paperclip sized kitchen is Ina’s impeccable Hamptons one. Maybe I am crazy.

But I’m human and there are nights where I get home later than usual. And I still have to write tomorrow’s post and oh yeah, I’m usually ravenous when I get home late. I need a meal in minutes so I don’t just inhale everything in my pantry like some kind of Hoover vacuum. I know I will pay the price for this binge dearly the next morning when I have to zipper up my outfit.

So, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Lauren. Get to the d*** point.” The point is I make sure I have a couple of frozen meals from Trader Joe’s locked and loaded in my freezer to get called into active duty when I need a meal and I need it now. Even if you’re not in a rush to eat, these meals are delicious to keep around for those nights you’d rather Netflix binge Parks and Recreation than cook + do dishes. Been there, done that.

Favorite Trader Joe's Frozen Meals - DC Girl in Pearls

Cioppino Seafood Stew: This bad boy was the inspiration to pull this post together. I tossed it into my basket on a whim and had it for dinner last week after a particularly exhausting day. I was pleasantly surprised with how generous the seafood serving was. The shrimp was a tad chewy but other than that, I was a happy camper. This dish is spicy and had my lips burning for several minutes after eating it. Note that one bag makes two cups. And I ate both cups. Sharing is overrated when a dish is this tasty. If you are cooking for two, I’d suggest getting each person a bag or making this an appetizer instead of the main course. Add crusty bread to soak up the spicy seafood stew if you’re feeling fancy.

Burritos: I think we can all agree that burritos are a gift from above to humanity. Soft carb pillows nestled with veggies, beans, cheese, chicken or beef. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Frozen burritos are a great freezer staple: perfect for dinner + next day lunch. Or if you wake up feeling (ahem) “under the weather” over the weekend. Dip into Trader Joe’s salsa or reduced guilt guacamole for extra taste points. The only winners of that game are your tastebuds. 

Arugula Pizza: I’m pretty certain my naan pizza is the easiest pizza recipe of all time. But sometimes, you don’t have the ingredients and sometimes, you just want the satisfaction of taking a pizza out of the box and immediately put it in the oven. No fuss, no mess. I love TJ’s Arugula Pizza for these times: the crust is crispy and the arugula and tomatoes taste like they’re fresh. Again, if you want to feel fancy, drizzle the pizza with balsamic vinegar or sprinkle some feta because let’s face it, sometimes four types of cheese just isn’t enough. Or add fresh arugula for double the peppery flavor.

Lamb Vindaloo: If there’s one cuisine that Trader Joe’s does right frozen, it’s Indian. If you are a fan of spicy dishes, you will achieve nirvana with this dish. Large chunks of lamb in a deliciously heat-happy sauce paired with fragrant basmati rice. Just YES. I always keep this meal in my frozen rotation, serve with a slice of Trader Joe’s frozen naan for a fuller meal. 

I might have to do a Part Two of this post because there were so many other wonderful frozen meals that didn’t make the cut. I’m talking about you, Linguine with Clam Sauce. I’m comin’ for ya.

Do you have a favorite Trader Joe’s frozen meal? Have you also lapped a section in the grocery store three times? Please please please say yes!!

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Thirsty Thursday: Skinnygirl Vodka Lemonade Cocktail

Skinnygirl Vodka Lemonade Cocktail - DC Girl in Pearls

Yesterday was National Lemonade Day and I know, I know it’s Thursday but hey, I think National Lemonade Day can have a Part 2. Lemonade is so delicious it deserves more than just a measly 24 hours.

A couple of summers ago, my favorite cocktail to make involved citrus vodka + pink lemonade. I tossed in lime slices and felt oh-so-fancy sipping my drink in a pink flamingo tumbler. Ah the good ol’ days…of 2011.

The years have passed and while some things have changed like my feelings on mixing prints, some things haven’t. Like my love of mixing lemonade in cocktails. And flamingos. I love flamingos.

Skinnygirl Meyer Lemon Vodka + Trader Joe’s Sparkling Lemonade (or any lemonade your little heart desires, we’re equal opportunity lemonade here). The result? 100% summertime happiness.

Oh and my flamingo tumbler has transformed into a flamingo cocktail stirrer. Birds of a feather happy hour together.

Skinnygirl Vodka Lemonade Cocktail - DC Girl in Pearls

Skinnygirl Vodka Lemonade Cocktail - DC Girl in Pearls

Skinnygirl Vodka Lemonade Cocktail - DC Girl in Pearls

 

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This post was sponsored by Skinnygirl Cocktails®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own.

Skinnygirl Cocktails - DC Girl in Pearls

Stripe Pullover + Lace Pencil Skirt

How To Mix Prints For Work - DC Girl in PearlsTop: J.Crew // Skirt: J.Crew (similar) // Sandals: Guess (similar, also love this gold pair) // Bag: LL Bean // Necklace: Lilly Pulitzer (similar + ON MAJOR SALE!!) // Mani: Essie Mod Squad // Lip: Maybelline Baby Lips ‘Pink Punch’

While T Swift is shaking it off, we’re mixing it up today on DC Girl. I’ve always been a matchy matchy kinda gal but decided to step out of my comfort zone for this look. I went a little crazy and I…mixed prints!!! *Gasp + clutch your pearls*

Continuing my noble quest to feature more “wear to work” looks, I brought back my favorite lace pencil skirt and re-styled it for Casual Friday in the office. And that means learning how to mix prints for work.

Fridays typically involve a more laid-back dress code and the promise of cocktails after work with friends so we have a little more wiggle room in the style department. Swap the closed toed heels for nude wedge sandals and add a whimsical, colorful necklace. Tuck a stripe popover into a lace pencil skirt: the stripes on this popover are soft enough to complement the feminine vibe of the lace pencil skirt. Voila! A polished look. And if this matchy-matchy girl can step out of the box, you can too. I promise. Just think about how many unexplored combinations are waiting in your closet right this very minute to be discovered!

You are ready to go immediately from desk to drinks with just a lipstick touch up. Overall a forgiving look for later when you decide to indulge in those happy hour nachos. Because they’re nachos and because they’re 1/2 off from 5-7. Speaking from experience, guys.

Are you pro or against mixing prints? Do you have favorite combinations?

P.S. Tonight’s the Washingtonian Sample Sale! Great style deals, cocktails + hors d’oeuvres, it’s going to be the perfect way to get beyond Wednesday. 

How To Mix Prints For Work - DC Girl in Pearls

How To Mix Prints For Work - DC Girl in Pearls

How To Mix Prints For Work - DC Girl in Pearls

How To Mix Prints For Work - DC Girl in Pearls

How To Mix Prints For Work - DC Girl in Pearls

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Carnelian Boutique x DCanter

Just when I think I’ve got my neighborhood figured out, it goes and surprises me. On weekends, I’m usually out ‘n about Eastern Market and Barracks Row: farmer’s market + an abundance of delicious brunch options. It has everything I could hope to do on a Saturday or Sunday.

Corrine from Carnelian Boutique invited me to celebrate her boutique’s second birthday with her at DCanter, a wine boutique on Barracks Row (8th Street SE, just a couple of blocks from Eastern Market Metro) on Saturday. I’d never been to DCanter and cute clothes, sparkling wine, and desserts spell out a good time to me!

Corrine’s boutique has an adorable selection with wear-to-work dresses and comfy, flowing tops for nights out on the town. The best part? The prices won’t break this DC girl’s budget! I had a wonderful time chatting with Corrine and her friends, Dana of Something Good + Tiffany of Domicile Magazine. I seriously eyed up the beautiful metal disc collar necklace from Chloe + Isabel but resisted. Until next time…

But I did walk home with the purple floral pencil skirt pictured below, I can’t wait to show you how I style it for work + fun!

P.S. Eastern Market/Capitol Hill people, DCanter hosts classes like Wine 101. If you’re like me and haven’t the faintest idea about wines (aside from picking them based on their price and how pretty the label is, a proven scientific method), a wine tasting class would be an awesome idea for your next date night or girls’ night out. Or maybe we could all do a Thirsty Thursday Live at DCanter! Thoughts on this?? Please say yes!

P.P.S. Speaking of fun things to pencil into the calendar, I’ll be at the Washingtonian Sample Sale tomorrow to check out the awesome sales + enjoy a cocktail (or two). I hope to see you there!

Carnelian Boutique - DC Girl in Pearls

Spotted: My pencil skirt on the far right!!

DCanter- DC Girl in Pearls

Carnelian Boutique - DC Girl in Pearls

DCanter- DC Girl in Pearls

DCanter- DC Girl in Pearls

Chloe and Isabel - DC Girl in Pearls

Chloe and Isabel - DC Girl in Pearls

 

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Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale (The Sale Formerly Known as The Endless Summer Sale) is an Internet-stopping yearly event. Literally. There are so many Lilly lovin’ people who flock to the site for unbelievably good deals that usually the site crashes. I’m sure as I type this, Lilly has IT people working around the clock to make sure the website is working perfectly. All the better to scoop up your favorite shift, yes?

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale - DC Girl in PearlsIf you are new to the sale, Kelly of Kelly in the City has a wonderfully thorough guide: her advice is spot-on.

I tend to gravitate towards the same Lilly pieces because I know they will fit and flatter, while we don’t yet know which goodies will be on the virtual sales rack until tomorrow at 8 a.m. Eastern Time, here are my favorite Lilly pieces. And may the odds be ever in your favor :)

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale - DC Girl in Pearls

 

Callahan Shorts

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale - DC Girl in Pearls

Janice Shift

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale - DC Girl in Pearls

Murfee Scarf

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale - DC Girl in Pearls

Elsa Top

 

 

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Lovin’ Lately

Sun soaked roses - DC Girl in Pearls Life + Style Blog

 

Sun Soaked Roses on Capitol Hill

I am so excited for the weekend. The reason, you ask? Well, it’s a weekend packed with friends, desserts + sparkling wine, and I have a number of fun blog posts to write that I’ve been sitting on for awhile and cannot wait to show you! Oh my goodness, so much to do in 2 days. Thank goodness for planners, am I right? I’ll be going in a million different directions! But loving every crazy minute.

1. On Saturday, I’ll be at Carnelian Boutique’s 2nd Anniversary Bash sipping on wine. Rough life, right? RSVP here, I’d love to see you!

2. Here at DC Girl, we are all about elevating. But, 20-somethings have budgets. Which is why I’m poring over Leanne Brown’s Good + Cheap cookbook. Download the PDF (fo’ free) here.

3. J.Crew Factory’s new arrivals have me starting to mentally prepare for a chilly fall day. And looking forward to it. Crazy.

4. Brunching in DC is a very serious matter. I’m taking this article as a personal checklist. Who’s in?! (Side note: Lavagna on Barracks Row should be in the running, always a wonderful meal + experience)

5. Washingtonian Sample Sale is next Wednesday, lots of great discounts + cocktails. A solid way to get through Hump Day (didn’t mean for that to rhyme)

Have a great weekend + I hope to see you at Carnelian Boutique on Saturday!

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Thirsty Thursday: Skinnygirl Splash

I know I say this fairly often but I’ve been trying to cut back on Diet Coke. A 3 o’clock Diet Coke has become a daily ritual for me Monday through Friday and without sounding too dramatic, I cannot imagine a world in which my 3 o’clock Diet Coke does not exist.

But my health kick is about ready to set back in and I needed options to substitute my beloved Diet Coke. Enter iced tea to save the day! Iced tea has become my new 3 o’clock tradition and I have to say, I forgot how refreshing a glass of iced tea really is. And then I had another thought. About an iced tea from a part of New York State. You know what I’m talking about. Long Island Iced Tea.

But remember the health kick? Can’t load up a cocktail with too much sugar (or enough liquor to guarantee a late night very unhealthy chicken fingers + fries takeout order coupled with a hangover) so what’s the plan? Thanks to Skinnygirl, we’ve got the answer to your iced tea cocktail prayers.

Skinnygirl Splash Cocktail - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients 

·         2 parts Skinnygirl™ Bare Naked Vodka

·         1 part black tea (or powdered iced tea mix)

·         1 part lemonade

·         Lemon wedge (optional)

Directions 

Mix ingredients in tall Collins glass.

Garnish with lemon wedge. 

Cheers! 

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This post was sponsored by Skinnygirl Cocktails®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. 

Skinnygirl Cocktails - DC Girl in Pearls

How To Style A White T Shirt

DC Girl in Pearls ft. Marley Lilly clutch, Lilly Pulitzer buttercup shorts and Loren Hope bow cuff

Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer // Top: Gap // Jewelry: BaubleBar + Loren Hope // Shoes: Jacks // Clutch: Marley Lilly c/o // Sunglasses: Ray Ban

If there was a multiple item in my closet, white tshirts would have to be #1. My scallop dress is a close #2. Typically on weekends, I like to sleep in. Okay, I love to sleep in. I set an alarm so I don’t sleep til all hours of the afternoon but I am guilty of hitting the snooze button more than once. Which means when I realize I have to get up, I’m hustling to get out the door. My white tshirt is my crutch in this case.

Thanks to my trusty tee, I slip into my Jacks, add a colorful pair of shorts and a colorful statement necklace and I am good to go in 20 minutes! 5 minutes for makeup, 10 minutes to brush my hair + teeth, 3 minutes to run around my spacious 500 sq ft apartment trying to locate my keys. And then 2 minutes to have a panic attack over where my aforementioned keys are. I locked myself out once and it was a traumatic experience.

I’ve waxed poetic about my love of totes (UPDATE: I saw a girl walking to work the other day carrying three bags #solidarity) but on weekends I try to keep it simple with my Marley Lilly luxe body clutch. Phone, KEYS, wallet, hair tie + lip balm.

DC Girl in Pearls ft. Marley Lilly clutch, Lilly Pulitzer buttercup shorts and Loren Hope bow cuff

DC Girl in Pearls ft. Marley Lilly clutch, Lilly Pulitzer buttercup shorts and Loren Hope bow cuff

DC Readers!! Join me on Saturday to celebrate Carnelian Boutique’s 2nd anniversary! There will be drinks + desserts, need I say more?? Let me know if you’re coming + RSVP here.

Carnelian Boutique Birthday Party

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Healthy Meal in Minutes with Trader Joe’s

Since college, Sunday evenings are my kitchen time. I prep meals for the week to the point I’m playing Tetris in my fridge with Tupperware. It’s a wonderful ritual: I ease into the work week and unwind after the weekend. Typically with my Frank Sinatra Pandora station in the background and a glass of wine in hand. It’s downright therapeutic.

This Sunday, my ritual was ripped away from me and I was plunged into the depths of despair. I might be a bit dramatic but it’s Monday and I am completely exhausted already. So please bear with me.

My apartment building turned off the gas and I couldn’t spend my evening chopping, sautéing and roasting. How rude.

I had images of me living on cereal and wine for a couple of days. Which, you know, wouldn’t be so bad except for the part where I resolved this week to eat clean. Meals out = tummy sticking out. I took this as a sign from the universe that my fluff was going to stick around for another couple of days.

But then I realized: I could still use the microwave. Grabbing what I had stored in my freezer, I created a meal in minutes with these Trader Joe’s favorites:

DC Girl in Pearls - Healthy Meal in the Microwave with Trader Joe's

 

Now, you’re probably thinking: “Lauren, seriously. It took you that long to think about the microwave?!?!”

I know, I know. I’m a little embarrassed but I can explain. In my old apartment, I didn’t have a microwave so in the year and a half I lived there, I was used to not having one. I actually didn’t miss my microwave that much, only when I wanted something to heat up quickly. I adapted. In January, I moved to an apartment that does have a microwave. But I was so used to not having one, I haven’t even plugged it in!

That and I worry my old building will lose power the moment I plug it in.

Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice has been a freezer staple of mine since sophomore year of college. 1 frozen bag of brown rice gives you enough for 3 single servings and it only takes 3 minutes! In No-Microwave-Days, these rice would also heat up nicely in a skillet.

Trader Joe’s Indian Masala Vegetable Burger is almost always on my list. They are pre-cooked so all you have to do is heat it up! I love the spices and the vegetables in the burger, it fills me up without weighing me down (energy-wise, not bathroom-scale wise).

Trader Joe’s Broccoli Florets can be steamed in the microwave in about 3 minutes. Just place the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl with about 1/4 cup of water.

I prepared each item in the microwave and brought out my trusty Tupperware. I lined the bottom of the container with the brown rice, followed by the burger on one side and the broccoli on the other.

I added Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning because that stuff is downright addicting. It goes great on steak, popcorn, in soups and now in microwave-made lunches. Just give a healthy number of turns on the built-in grinder and voila! A healthy, clean meal in minutes.

But in the spirit of full disclosure, I will probably give a barbaric yawp when I get the email that my apartment’s gas has been turned back on.

Do you use your microwave often to cook? What do you make?

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Monogram Monday: Jack Rogers Sandals

Rosé. Hydrangeas. Lobster rolls. My trusty Wayfarers. Bonfires. These words to me sum up a perfect summer experience.

We’re almost to mid-August (!!!!) and I don’t know about you but I am desperately clinging to the the final lazy hazy crazy days of summer.

There’s another item to add to my favorite summer memories: Jacks.

DC Girl in Pearls - Monogram Jack Rogers

I practically live in my Jacks 24/7 from the moment the weather warms up until the fall weather demands thick socks and riding boots. But even then I’m not happy about it. There’s something about slipping into a pair of Jacks that just feels like summer.

Jack Rogers sandals look just as great with a tee and shorts [foreshadowing an outfit post, perhaps? ;) ] or with a beautiful dress to dance the night away without worrying about painful blisters from heels. From the beach to the city sidewalks, Jacks can go everywhere. Maybe I should just tell people my boyfriend’s name is Jack and that we’re inseparable. It wouldn’t be that far from the truth, would it?

I have gold and light pink pairs but I think next summer a navy monogram pair is in order. Navy + monogram = a win-win, right?

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of overusing #lovemyjacks on Instagram. I will!

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