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I live halfway around the world from Trader Joe's and only visit twice a year. Here's what I fill my suitcase with.

unexpected cheddar cheese on the shelves at trader joes
I make plenty of room in my luggage for my favorite Trader Joe's products. Elizabeth Sinclair
  • I live in Indonesia and only get to shop at Trader Joe's when I visit the States twice a year.

  • I usually fill a whole suitcase with products for myself and to give out as gifts.

  • I  stock up on pantry staples like olive oil as well as treats like peanut-butter cups.

Since moving from the US to Indonesia, one of the things I miss most is shopping at Trader Joe's. My daughter and I still crave our favorite products, but the chain only exists in the States.

When I visit family in the US twice a year, I always buy enough to fill an entire suitcase.

Here are my favorite things to buy at Trader Joe's.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a reliable pantry staple for cooking and salads.

hand holding a bottle of olive oil at trader joes
Trader Joe's has great olive oil. Elizabeth Sinclair

I find Trader Joe's slightly peppery, delicately flavored oil consistent from bottle to bottle and well-priced.

I use it at home to sauté veggies, dress salads, flavor soups and dips, and drizzle on bread.

I've found it hard to find good-quality olive oil in Indonesia, so I always bring back a few bottles.

Balsamic vinegar of Modena has an earthy flavor that's sweet and sharp.

hand holding up a bottle of organic balsamic vinegar at trader joes
Balsamic vinegar is a staple in my pantry. Elizabeth Sinclair

Balsamic vinegar is another pantry staple I use in salads, cooking, and dips.

It's even great drizzled over fresh fruit, ice cream, or pie.

Ghost-pepper potato chips are a crunchy, spicy combination.

hand holding up a bag of ghost pepper potato chips at trader joes
The spicy potato chips at Trader Joe's are very unique. Elizabeth Sinclair

My daughter loves Trader Joe's spicy, salty chips made with potatoes and fiery ghost peppers — even if they arrive home slightly crushed in my luggage.

I add a handful to her school lunches while they last.

Nutritional yeast is an underutilized topping for many dishes.

hand holding up a bag of nutritional yeast from trader joes
I stock up on Trader Joe's inexpensive nutritional yeast.Elizabeth Sinclair

Trader Joe's nutritional yeast is versatile, inexpensive, and high in B vitamins. It adds a nice, cheesy flavor to popcorn, soups, and salads.

It's hard to find and expensive in Indonesia, so I make sure to bring extra bags as gifts.

The daily facial sunscreen is my teen’s favorite face product.

hand holding up a box of trader joe's daily facial sunscreen at a trader joes
Trader Joe's invisible gel sunscreen is a dupe for Supergoop. Elizabeth Sinclair

I picked up Trader Joe's sunscreen for my daughter a few years ago, and it's now her favorite skin-care product.

The oil-free sunscreen contains SPF 40, and it's light, nongreasy, and well-priced.

Sturdy cotton shopping bags come in a range of fun, food-related designs.

hand holding up a reusable cotton shopping bag at trader joes
I always pick up the latest design. Elizabeth Sinclair

Every Trader Joe's store has artists on staff, and the colorful, fun signage, store murals, and shopping bags are created in-house.

On each trip, I look forward to seeing the new designs.

I usually buy a whole stack of bags since they're inexpensive, and I'll wrap Christmas and birthday presents in them as an extra gift.

The turmeric shot is a fruity vitamin boost after a long plane ride.

hand holding up a turmeric juice shot at trader joes
I like to take a juice shot after travel days. Elizabeth Sinclair

Trader Joe's cold-pressed juice shots in the refrigerated section give me a good vitamin boost after a long, dehydrating plane ride.

The refreshing coconut water and lemon juice balance out the flavors of the spicy black pepper and turmeric.

Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend is great and easy to pack.

hand holding up a bottle of everything bagel seasoning at trader joes
I can stock up on a few jars of seasoning.Elizabeth Sinclair

The small jar of seasoning is bursting with umami flavor that's perfect for any savory dish.

I always bring back multiple jars for friends and family.

Chai-tea mints are another one of my teen’s favorite products.

hand holding up a tin of chai tea mints at trader joes
The flavored mints are usually located near the checkout.Elizabeth Sinclair

My daughter loves Trader Joe's tea-flavored mints. They have a lightly spicy chai flavor and leave her breath minty fresh.

She keeps a tin in her school bag to use after lunch.

Dark-chocolate peanut-butter cups are a rich treat.

dark chocolate peanut butter cups on the shelf at trader joes
I always pick up some chocolaty treats. Elizabeth Sinclair

I always make space in my luggage for the creamy, peanut-butter cups coated in dark chocolate. Everyone in my family loves them.

Sadly they don't last long when I get back home.

Peanut-butter-filled pretzel nuggets are a great snack.

hand holding up a bag of peanut butter pretzels at trader joes
I think the peanut-butter-filled pretzels are filling and flavorful. Elizabeth Sinclair

Trader Joe's peanut-butter-filled pretzel nuggets are a high-protein after-school snack (a serving has 5 grams).

My daughter and her friends love the interesting combination of salty, crunchy pretzels with smooth, creamy peanut butter. They're also a great party nibble for adults — if the kids haven't devoured them all.

Unexpected Cheddar is a unique and delicious cheese.

unexpected cheddar cheese on the shelves at trader joes
I make plenty of room in my luggage for my favorite Trader Joe's products. Elizabeth Sinclair

Trader Joe's beloved Unexpected Cheddar is creamy with a hint of a sharp bite. It really is an unexpected flavor combination, and it's so good.

Cheese is usually expensive in Indonesia, so I like to bring back a few blocks as gifts.

Click to keep reading Trader Joe's diaries like this one.

Read the original article on Business Insider