Make A Run For The Border

This morning I was up bright and early, despite it being a day off from school.

I served myself a hearty oatmeal breakfast.


Oats, milk, apple, goji berries, chia seeds, vanilla, almond butter.


I gathered up essential items for the day…


…as I was taking a little shopping road trip to Bellingham, WA!

I know that doesn’t sound overly exciting, but I’m not one of those cross border shoppers. The last time I was in the US was in June 2008 when I flew to Ecuador. Before that, it was a cruise to Alaska in 2004, and before that, a school trip to Seattle in 1997. Considering my proximity to the border, it seems a bit ridiculous.

Anyways, a friend of mine and I arranged to go on a foodie shopping trip that would include not only Target and Bellis Fair Mall, but Trader Joe’s. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped.

We knew the border would be busy, so we left early. We still got stuck in a 2 hour wait at the border, which was good considering some of the other crossing had 3 – 4 hour waits. That’s what happens when you have a holiday and a Canadian dollar at par I guess.

Once we made it to the land of cheap gas and even cheaper dairy, we hit up Bellis Fair mall, made the rounds, bought a few things, then checked out Target. It was a bit crazy in there, but we managed to tour the entire store, stocking up on some goodies. Then it was onto the I-5 to go to the Community Food Co-Op, Cash N’ Carry, and Trader Joe’s. Had we been more hard core, we might have made the trek down to the outlet malls, or even Seattle, but instead we stuck to good ol’ Bellingham.


After spending our budgets on a ton of great items, we were on our way back to the border. Fortunately when we got there, it was only a 15 min wait back into Canada, and we didn’t end up having to pay any duty. Score!

Pictures were not taken while out and about (other than the above, and a covert picture of a goat cheese dip that sounded good, but seemed simple enough to make – I snapped it to get the ingredients). But never fear, I made sure to document all my treasures that made it back into the Great White North.

My only non-food purchase – some lip glosses from Bath & Body Works. I couldn’t pass up the Christmas flavours (Holiday Shortbread? Winter Candy Apple? Yes please!)


The Target loot


Two different kinds of Hershey’s Kisses (Chocolate Meltaways and Cherry Cordial Creme) plus a lonely Peanut Butter Pretzel Mojo Bar (so I could try it out).


A Kashi frozen meal – Lemongrass Coconut Chicken. Cilantro free, I’m happy to report.


Plus some tasty looking crackers, and a box full of Mountain Mix Clif Mojo bars. 


Next up – The Co-Op, which was my favourite store. We also enjoyed lunch there.


Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea! The only seasonal tea from Celestial Seasonings that doesn’t come to Canada.


A couple of Oikos Greek yogurt. I had hoped I would also find Chobani. These were horribly expensive.


A brand of kombucha tea I’ve never seen – Vibranz. In pomegranate and blood orange flavours. Fun!


Hazelnut milk and coconut milk. My friend was the one who talked up the hazelnut milk, so I had to give it a try.


Oh yeah, and a loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread, as I’ve heard someone rave about it on many occasions.


I never got anything at the Cash N’ Carry, but my friend stocked up on different flavoured syrups for her coffee. Made me wish I liked coffee, because they had stuff like toasted marshmallow, cheesecake, peanut butter, and more. I guess I could always use them to doctor up hot chocolate or oats…hmmm, next time.

Then, it was time.

Time for Trader Joe’s.


That store was crazy busy as well, so it was a bit frantic trying to take it all in and decide what to bring home with me. I grabbed quite a few dried fruits – white peaches, chili mango and pineapple – plus some Thai lime & chili cashews.


Dark chocolate covered cherries and edamame.


Another seasonal tea – this one vanilla and cinnamon black tea. The cute packaging sucked me in.


And the cereal Heather got me hooked on – Oat n Wheat Bran Swirls.


Plus some peach salsa, Fage 2% Greek yogurt, and smoked gouda. Can we talk about the price of dairy for a moment? That piece of cheese that I bought cost only $3.46. I have no idea how that is even possible. It would be probably $8 – 10 here. And organic milk – a gallon was $5.69. We sell organic milk in 4L jugs (basically the same size) for $8.29. Insane I tell you.

What also amazed me was the vast array of gluten free products available. My friend has Celiac disease, so she stocked up on everything from ravioli and gnocchi to tiramisu. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited she was to find those items – she hasn’t had them in 8 years. We just don’t have the population for companies to bring out so many products like that here, and it’s a shame.

Now that I kind of know where everything is, I’m sure I’ll be back sooner than say, 2 years. But even with all that tempting variety, I’m still fiercely proud to support all my local Canadian shops and business whenever I can. Cross border shopping will always be a treat, not the norm.

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Categories: Breakfast, Grocery


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9 Comments on “Make A Run For The Border”

  1. November 12, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    those lime-chili cashews are INTENSE! i quite enjoyed the tj peach salsa. and their dried fruits are generally delicious.

    yes. canadian dairy is expensive. i think that is because the milk board regulates and the farmers get more money for their milk (and prevents super giant dairy farms from opening up and taking over). it kind of sucks, but i’m ok with that.

  2. Weighting For 50
    November 12, 2010 at 7:08 am #

    How fun!!! I love whipping over the border to Trader Joe’s and Tar-jay, it’s a treat, but overall, I’m still a strong supporter of our local merchants. I just wish we had more greek yogurt up here. (however, it’s coming….slowly….)

  3. November 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    You made it across!! I love shopping in the USA. Guess I go about 3-4 times a year. You did well…I can easily drop $300 in Target in an hour. *blush* Anywho, you got some really great items to try! Noah had an out of town game today which just happened to be a border town. Once my hubby saw that there was a 2 hour wait at the bridge (they have signs along the hwy) he nixed any plans I had for a quick trip across. 😦

  4. November 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Awesome grocery haul–I now have a sudden urge to go to TJ’s…

  5. November 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    I was lucky enough to try DKB and I love it so! It’s just super expensive to ship from coast to coast.

  6. November 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    And I’m glad you were able to find the chilli rubbed dried fruits you wanted!

  7. November 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    I have alotted at least two hours to browse and load up my cart at TJs this weekend. My traveling companion is quite thrilled he has a business meeting to attend while I get my fill. 🙂

    I’m looking for the flattened bananas, and need to restock on plantain chips and powerberries!

  8. November 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Great loot. Why doesn’t the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride come to Canada? I bought a box in the U.S. last year and was hooked. I ordered a whole bunch from Celestial. I’m actually drinking a cup now.


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