Free Samples

A couple days ago Skylar and I were out running errands and lucky us, Trader Joe’s was handing out pizza samples.

There she is, complete with pizza sauce on her chin.

And yes, I took pictures in the store, even after being scoldedYou can scold me, but you can’t stop me.  Just call me stealthy speedy sneaky iPhone camera woman.

It was worth “braving” taking out my iPhone camera to capture Skylar savoring her pizza.


And dancing in the aisles.

I don’t get that worked up over pizza.

But she loves pizza.  <– Pretty sure that’s a universal kiddie-phenomenon though.

I got worked up over this

The scent of coffee being ground, ahhh.  That’s nice.

And these are nice too, even though I swore them off

I walked past them and didn’t buy a bag.  Sniff.

However, I did buy some greenery.

For salad making

Dressings tend to look awful on camera for me one nanosecond after applied.

This one had Vegan Slaw Dressing on it.

And I was going through my dessert recipes wondering what to make and I forgot about these.

I may have sworn off certain nuts

and certain crackers

But I haven’t sworn off chocolate and sugar!  And never will.  I promise.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting (No Bake)

That’s a marshmallowey, peanut buttery, butterscotch chippey, gooey wonderful mess on the underside of those nobake bars.

Don’t swear these off.

The winner of the $150 Anderson Seafoods Giveaway is:

dragonmamma/naomi August 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I love grilled albacore steaks! I’d be a happy winner with that and scallops.

Congrats, Naomi!


1. What was the last in-store free sample you had?  Did you enjoy it?

The last one I almost ate were these brownies

But the last one I did try was this vanilla coconut milk

Most times I feel like free samples taste better in the store than when you get them home.  Why is that?

I know with the rum cake samples that Scott and I had in the store in the Caribbean (which inspired these No Bake Vegan Rum Cake Balls) the cake was definitely better in the store than when we got it home, 5000 miles later.  Full drunk-from-cake story here.

Which is why I decided to create my own recipe

That way I can put as much rum in them as I want.  Ahem.

2. Best thing you ate or did over the weekend?

I went to the fun festival, spent time outside in the fresh air, and time with Skylar.  Even though I had to work all weekend, I still tried to make the most of it.

As I said in this post, life is short.  Cherish it.  Hug your loved ones.

P.S. If you’re just catching up on posts from the weekend, here are mine since Friday:


  1. The last sample I tried was at a local health food store called Rollin’ Oats. It was an out of this world Gluten-free Angel Food Cupcake w/ Vegan Strawberry frosting. Don’t even get me started about how good it was!!!!!!

  2. You better NOT swear off chocolate & sugar! I’ll be alone then, hahaha :D

  3. yes, there is something universally appealing about pizza, for a four year old (my niece would eat pizza every day if her parents let her). that and ice cream!
    my grocery store doesn’t do samples – i think it’s too small, plus i go too early in the day – so it’s been a while since i tried anything!

  4. haha, this is so true. Samples are so much better in stores. My husband goes crazy at costco. Me? I like th whole food samples. Always tasty!!

  5. I dance when I eat pizza too! I love it SO much and that slice looks incredible. Glad Skylar enjoyed it so much.

    And YES – the smell of fresh ground coffee, I swoon. I don’t even drink coffee, but I can’t get enough of the smell. It is so perfect.

  6. Haha you rebel! Takin pictures at TJ’s!

  7. Samples always do taste better in the store!! I love having “free sample mini meals” ;)

  8. I think the last one I had was a juicy peach-so magnificent! I love free samples, I mean, hey! It’s FREEE!

  9. Wow, your Trader Joe’s has such a great selection! Skylar is such a cutie! I honestly have never been a big pizza fan, but there are some pretty good frozen ones and homemade pizza is SO good.

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend! :)

  10. My boyfriend ALWAYS makes me smell his coffee…he just started roasting and grinding it himself! I think samples always taste better because they’re FREE. It’s like how moms are way better at making sandwiches than anyone else.

    I hope you never lose your sweet tooth, I need your recipes to feed mine!

  11. Yee-haw, I won the seafood! Thanks a bunch, Averie. I love seafood but I’m usually hunting for the cheapest cuts I can get because…well, because I’m cheap. Scallops will be a real treat.

    I had to follow your link to see why you swore off the delicious nuts; yes, now I understand! I also pay the price if I go nut crazy, but now I’ve pretty much got myself trained to only use nuts as condiments. Several of them on a salad or stir-fry are absolutely wonderful, and the rest of the bag stores well and looks cool in a pretty glass jar.

  12. Hahaha! I love that you keep taking pictures in the store!

  13. LOVE me some TJs! I might actually head out there today (if the peanut is feeling up to it). Your daughter is SO cute! Glad she enjoyed the pizza. I want to try the TJs coconut milk- I’ve heard good things.

  14. The last time I was in TJs they had the mini ice cream cones out to sample…

    I mean – what a girl to do?

    They were good…but I’d probably need at least 3 to feel satisfied.


  15. Haha…I love free samples :-) Our Earth Fare was giving away gouda samples yesterday…yum!

  16. You know what, samples actually ARE different from the regular product! It´s a marketing thing, I am afraid… They do it with a lot of things, e.g. chewing gum with a taste that lasts ages, but not in real life!!
    Best thing I ate over the weekend… vegan Sushi :) And I was accompanied by my best friend and her daughter –> best thing I did over the weekend: weekend trip with these girls :)

  17. I can’t remember the last thing I taste tested. Although I will say I would have been all over a taste test of pizza as well. LOL

    And I would have had a hard time turning down those mixed nuts too. That sounds delicious! Lime and chile? mmm!

  18. Ooooooh pizza. That’s going to have to happen in my life soon.

    Saturday night I was feeling snackish and toasted up pecans, cashews, & shredded coconut then tossed it with craisins and chocolate chips. pretty much amazing!

  19. Mm I always grab any food sample I can (vegetarian of course!). My kroger always has food samples of my favorite spring rolls but they have shrimp in them :( I’m tempted to ask them if they’re capable of making them without shrimp for the vegetarian shoppers ha.

    • i think if you asked them to custom make a FREE sample for you they’d laugh at you in the face or tell you they made it without shrimp but really didnt. Sad but true! But then again, you may be able to charm them :)

    • hahah I’ll make sure I stand there and watch her not put shrimp in mine! It’s the same asian lady every time. Like I’ve seen her at the deli stand making them before. I really miss my kroger spring rolls… I’m going to charm this lady just watch ;D

  20. I love the TJ’s samples! Last time I went, they had rootbeer floats. I haven’t had this since I was a kid, and it instantly brought me back. So good! :D

  21. Those lime and chili nuts look amazing. Trader Joe’s makes the best snacks. If you’re looking for another sweet and savory nut option (where you can make as little as you want) try this rosemary mixed nuts recipe. Enjoy!

  22. Jensine Crandall Reply

    My favorite part about your blog is your pictures of Skylar. My daughter is 9 now and my oldest is 17, it just goes at lightening speed and you’re lucky to have so many great pictures of her!

    • Thank you and yes, I am thrilled I have them too. I only wish I had started blogging when I was pregnant or she was teeny tiny and I’d have even more but am grateful for what i do have an tell all the pregnant/new mama bloggers they have no idea how lucky they are!

  23. Yep, pizza was my favorite food growing up. And spaghetti. The nice Americanized version of both, of course.

  24. Love the pics of Skylar! She is such a happy little girl, always smiling :)
    Mentioning those chili lime peanuts again reminded me: I found a recipe for them on another blog! So you could make as many (or as few) as you like! Even though you swore them off I’m sure it won’t be forever (not since they’re so good!) so I’ll link you the recipe. :)

  25. A friend once said to me… “if free tastes so good, why does cheap taste so bad?” I think that might apply to the free samples because your right they do always taste better! I think its that unexpected excitement of trying something for free out of nowhere.

  26. The best thing I ate this weekend would have to be pizza dip! I made it on Saturday with some homemade baked tortilla chips…yum!

  27. I pretty much never take free samples at stores. I am always skeeved out by the amount of people I’ve seen not use the tongs of whatever scoop is there. Plus finding things that fit all of my food intolerances isn’t easy. In fact, I think the last time it was when New Seasons was sampling protein bars and I had made the mistake of arriving hungry. So I devoured a few gluten-free options.

  28. Adorable Skylar pics – ah the simple things that can make kids happy. :-)

    1. Hmmm, fruit just at Costco I think. I was amazed they were actually serving vegan-friendly samples, usually it’s all meat and processed frozen foods.
    2. Met my sisters and mom at Sugar Plum Vegan and visited my grandma in the hospital.

  29. AHHH! She is soooo cute!! I just want to squeeze her!! :)

    I dance in the aisles too when I get a yummy treat. I went to city fest on Sunday for a short time but my feet were aching from my 20 miler the day before and my run that morning so I called it quits. It was fun though and a ton of people were there!

  30. I had a sample of GF Devil’s cake today–it was fabulous. Meghan loved it, too, and didn’t understand why she couldn’t eat the whole tray. :-)

  31. I love it when Costco has chocolate samples! Their chocolate is so amazing, but I could never keep a big container of chocolate in the house! I am definitely making your marshmallow pb butterscotch bars this weekend. Those are right up my alley!!!

  32. Im actually not big on pizza either, but that one looks good!! Is it sweet potato and spinach I see? If so, i think I would love it :)
    Skylar is so pretty as always! She looks like a princess!
    Best thing I did over the weekend, was going out with my friends on Saturday! I had so much fun, and just had a lot of fun. Loved it :)
    Best thing I ate was oat pancakes and chocolate :D

  33. Free samples always test better in store-maybe because they are free??

  34. Skylar is too cute…she always brings a smile to my face when I read your blog…as I’m certain she does for you, too!

  35. haha i was JUST thinkign that samples def taste better in the store then when I bring them home! I sometimes can get suckered into samples…the other day at my whole foods the entire place was just one big sample! but what I loved was that local growers were in the produce dept giving out samples of their heirloom tomatoes in salads and then there was this local pickle maker giving out sampes of pickles!! i almost bought a jar but it was 7 bucks!!! i am not one to splurge on a jar of pickles haha!!

    oh gosh skylar is so cute!! she is so happy go lucky! i love her smile!! xoxo

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  37. I’m all about the free samples! And, I could go for a few of those cake balls right about now!

  38. Yesterday I was walking in the mall and was offered free tea samples outside Teavana… the tea was good but they sweetened it wayyyy too much… I prefer my hot tea unsweetened!

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  40. I love samples … they are my favourite part about going to Costco ;-)

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