Unless you show up right as the doors open (or close), going to Trader Joe’s can be a rather hellish experience — insanely crowded parking lots, tiny store aisles and general pandemonium trying to get around … and get that free mini cup of coffee in the corner.
But despite the sometimes nightmarish scene, Trader Joe’s is a dream for finding fun, useful items at prices that won’t leave you broke. And now that winter has arrived, it’s time to stock up on some of the best unexpectedly vegan-friendly finds that will warm you up all winter long.
1. Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Scented Soy Candle
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than cuddling up under a warm blanket and feeling cozy with a sweet-smelling candle wafting through the air. That’s where Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Scented Candle enters the picture. Made with a natural soy wax blend and lead-free cotton wick, this candle not only comes in a travel-friendly tin, but it will give your place the sweetest aroma of warm gingerbread, nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint of caramel that smells good enough to eat. FYI: If you prefer a much stronger not-so edible scent, try the Cedar Balsam — it’ll make your apartment smell like freshly cut pine.
2. Trader Joe’s Twinkling Trees Sugar Cookies
Winter just got a whole lot sweeter thanks to these sprinkle-covered sugar cookies that are a Christmas version of the Shimmering Pumpkin Sugar Cookies for Halloween we loved so much. With the same consistency of shortbread, these deliciously buttery sugar cookies are dense but dissolve perfectly in a cup of tea or hot cocoa. Plus, they’re not too sweet and have no eggs or butter, so they’re vegan friendly! The pumpkin shaped version sold out fast, so we advise to stock up on these and give them away as Christmas gifts. Your friends and family will thank you.
3. Trader Joe’s Mini Marshmallows
Who needs chestnuts roasting on an open fire when you can have mini marshmallows melting in cup of hot cocoa? After searching far and wide for gelatin-free mini marshmallows, we finally found these at Trader Joe’s, which also happen to be gluten-free — and they’re half the price of the sold-out ones at Whole Foods! Spongy but far from mushy, these tiny treats have a subtle vanilla flavor and taste great as a snack right out of the bag or floating atop a cup of hot chocolate.
4. Trader Joe’s Vegan Banana Bread
Kudos to Trader Joe’s for offering a vegan version of this banana bread that really takes the cake. While there are plenty of other baked goods we’d love for them to veganize, Trader Joe’s Vegan Banana Bread is an insanely delish step in the right direction. There is an aroma and flavor of banana and the texture is extremely moist and thick, while the bits of walnut add a nice crunchy contrast. Take off the plastic wrap, tie it up in parchment paper and give it to your non-vegan friends — they’ll think it’s homemade.
5. Trader Joe’s Ginger Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream
Winter’s cold air wreaks havoc on our skin, but Trader Joe’s Ginger Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream is a good one to add to your hydrating arsenal. Made with real ginger root extract and other skin-softening ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and vitamin E, this hand cream might feel a little greasy, but it’s also rather soothing. The ginger fragrance isn’t overpowering and there’s a hint of citrus as well. A way more affordable option to L’Occitane’s similar-looking lotion tubes, this three-ounce version is perfect to keep in your bag during holiday travel.
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