My Favorite Things: August 2018
This month's list is a compilation of some of my favorite finds at Aldi. In case you're not familiar, Aldi is a discount supermarket chain that is growing in popularity and availability with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries. Aldi has been around for a while, but I didn't really begin shopping there until after I had a family with ever-growing expenses. Plus, trying to live primarily on one salary is pretty tricky. So, Aldi to the rescue!
I'll be the first to admit that I can't purchase my entire shopping list there. The store has a lot of wonderful items, but there are some things I just can't find, and/or I prefer other brands. That being said, you sure could do most of your shopping at Aldi, and you'll be amazed at the savings you'll receive. (Prices vary by store and are not included in this post.)
Below are some products I really love and am excited to share primarily because Aldi's selection of organic, gluten-free, and "healthier" products continues to increase.
Organic Coconut Clusters
To say these coconut clusters are delicious is an understatement. I can't control myself when eating them, and of course, I eat them right out of the bag! They are gluten-free and dairy-free. They're also nut-free which is different from most granola-type treats.
Organic Mini Sweet Peppers
I love these peppers for dipping right into guacamole or hummus. They're easy to cut up as well to throw onto a salad. Sweet bell peppers are on the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list, so buying organic is pretty important.
Organic Chopped Kale
Although kale isn't on the "Dirty Dozen," it is often known to be pesticide-laden. Eating it organically is a good idea when possible. I use kale in my smoothie almost every single day, and I go through at least one bag a week. Kale chips are also amazing ... Just toss this entire bag into a large bowl or Ziploc bag, pour some olive oil over it, sprinkle with sea salt, spread onto a pan, and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes. Easy peasy! Organic kale is much more affordable at Aldi than at other major grocers.
Organic Frozen berries
Berries are another food best eaten organically due to their delicate edible skins. Frozen berries are another addition to my morning smoothie, but they can be pricey, especially the organic variety. Aldi offers a very affordable array of organic frozen berries. My favorite are blueberries.
Grass-Fed Ground Beef
I'm an advocate for buying the best quality meats possible, even over and above organic produce. There's an adage, "You are what you eat ate." This means that whatever the animal ate, when we eat its meat, we are ingesting the same. Cows are ruminants, intended by nature to eat grass. When they eat grains and especially GMO, non-organic grains, they quite literally become sick. As a result, they are pumped with antibiotics. Conventionally-raised cows are also given hormones to increase and quicken their growth. Grass-fed beef is a must, and Aldi makes this possible. Thank the high heavens!
For all the same reasons as above, I love these burgers. Pre-made grass-fed burger patties are pretty hard to find sometimes. I was thrilled when I saw these in the freezer case.
Little Journey Diapers
This is a bit random, but for those to whom this product applies, it's a TREMENDOUS bargain. I only wish I'd discovered these earlier on in my boys' diapering days. I used Pampers solely for years, but I do have to say, these Little Journey diapers are just as good. I'm not a fan of many store-brand diapers because I find most to be either not absorbent enough or ill-fitting. However, these are of good quality and ... get this ... HALF the price of other diapers!
Simply Nature Fruit Squeezies
Last product pertaining to kids (although Aldi has many more I could feature) ... These squeezable fruit pouches are great. My kids love them. The ones pictured are targeted for kids, but we also bought some, which I actually like better, that are organic and contain chia seeds in addition to the fruit. Simply Nature is one of Aldi's store brands.
Organic Apple Juice
I often cannot get my oldest son to drink plain water. When I offer it to him, it will often sit untouched. But if I give him some watered-down apple juice, he'll drink it up. Apple juice is another product that is best bought in its organic form. Apples are on the "Dirty Dozen" list for one. Another concern surrounds the arsenic levels in apple juice. Although the FDA argues this isn't a concern, there is no federal upper limit to the amount of arsenic allowed in products. Organic apple juice typically contains less arsenic than non-organic.
Kiwi Fruit pack
This is likely a seasonal or limited supply product, but I've seen these packs of kiwi fruit this summer at Aldi. I seriously couldn't resist the adorable packaging which is what made me buy them originally. They are ready to eat ... no ripening needed. It's so easy to slice one in half and spoon out the the juicy pulp. These are my after-dinner treat.
Simply Nature has a very affordable unrefined, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil. I've written before about how I put coconut oil in my morning coffee and the benefits of doing so. I also like to cook with it, especially when heating food in a pan over medium to high heat since coconut oil is a stable saturated fat. Good coconut oil can be pricey but not at this store.
Chia seeds are really versatile. I add them to my smoothies to bulk them up with some extra fiber and nutrition. There are also some delicious and easy chia pudding recipes out there (like this one).
Brew Pub Chicken Seasoning
Recently, a friend of mine had a summer get-together, and she made the tastiest chicken. We all wanted to know the recipe. She said she simply tossed the chicken breasts in olive oil, poured this Brew Pub Chicken seasoning over them, and baked them in the oven. This is one you should try. It really livens up boring old chicken!
Organic Rainbow Carrots
I love, love, love these carrots. Such beautiful colors (purple, yellow, and orange) and so easy to prepare. Sure, you could eat them raw, but I prefer to roast mine. I toss them in olive oil and sprinkle them with Spike seasoning. Then I bake them at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. My husband and I will eat the entire bag for dinner.
These are not a perfect food, but as far as snack foods go, they're not bad. They are made of a blend of root vegetables (sweet potato, taro, batata, and parsnip). Also on the short list of ingredients is sea salt, beet juice concentrate (for natural coloring), and oil. The oil is the part I'm not totally crazy about. The labels says "expeller pressed canola oil and/or safflower oil and/or sunflower oil." Those "and/or's" drive me nuts. Which one is it? I do not at all like canola or sunflower oil because both are pretty damaged in the manufacturing process and are inflammatory. Safflower ranks a little better with me. Of course, I would prefer olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. But I don't eat these daily, and when I'm looking for a snack similar to chips, these aren't a terrible option.
Gluten-Free chocolate Cookies
First off, I really love that Aldi has a gluten-free line of products. The "Live G Free" line is such a help for those of us with gluten sensitivities. Keeping in mind that gluten-free packaged products are typically not much healthier than other packaged products, when you're looking for a treat, these are a nice option. My sons love these Double Chocolate Brownie soft-baked cookies. I like that they are non-GMO verified, too.
There are probably at least a dozen other items from Aldi I could mention. Their selection is forever growing and changing. Sometimes I just like to "browse" to see what new things I might find. If you haven't shopped at Aldi lately, give it a try. You might be surprised at the bargains and quality of food you'll discover.
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