I’m in Love With… Aldi!

When I found out we were getting an Aldi store locally, I have to tell you that I was very excited about it. I kept checking for grand opening dates. I must have done this about two dozen times over the past six months. I knew where it was located and I had seen the construction going on, so I was ecstatic when they finally announced their grand opening. I didn’t bother going the first day, because I get really bitchy in crowded stores, but I went the next morning and was there when the store opened. I haven’t been anywhere else since.

The prices at Aldi are insanely good, and the food rivals anything you’d buy at Albertson’s or Vons. Why pay out the nose for the same food, when you can get it way cheaper at Aldi? Food prices in SoCal are high enough as it is, and sometimes I think the prices at the chain grocery stores is borderline price gouging. Why the hell does a jar of spaghetti sauce cost upwards of $5? And why does a bottle of coffee creamer cost almost $5 at Albertson’s when Target sells the exact same brand and flavors for $3 and change? It’s practically highway robbery.

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Not only are the prices very nice at Aldi, but they also sell items I either have a very difficult time finding elsewhere or that I have never seen in a store before. I picked up a beautiful crepe skillet yesterday for $7.99 at our local Aldi. I have my eye on their two-burner skillet for $12.99, as well. I’ve been wanting one of those for a long time, too. As far as food, the only other place I have found pizzelles is at Costco, and they only had the vanilla flavor there. Aldi had both the vanilla pizzelles and the anise ones, and they didn’t cost me a fortune. My husband is crazy about anise pizzelles and biscotti. I don’t think that’s a very popular flavor in the States, but it’s fairly common in Europe.

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I’ve fallen in love with the brioche that Aldi sells. I bought a loaf of their plain brioche to make French toast with for breakfast yesterday morning. I’ll be honest. I think I wasted perfectly good brioche. We couldn’t tell the difference between the brioche French toast and my normal French toast made with regular sandwich bread. Brioche has a beautiful fluffy consistency and a sweet, buttery flavor, and I think my egg batter overpowered all of it. However, my husband didn’t mind taking care of the rest of the loaf I hadn’t used.

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I’ve read reviews online regarding the new Aldi’s that are opening in the SoCal area. A lot of people don’t seem to understand the concept of the store. It kind of floors me that people would pitch a bitch fit over putting a quarter into the cart, when you get your quarter back when you put it away. I haven’t lost a quarter yet, and frankly, I really like the idea. I don’t have to worry about finding carts resting against my vehicle when I’m finished shopping or having to get out to move carts out of spaces just to park. If you put a quarter into your cart, you’re going to put it back so you can get your quarter back. I wish more grocery stores would take up this idea.

I also don’t understand the obsession my fellow Americans seem to have with name brand foods. Maybe this is because I was raised eating generic almost-everything. To be honest, I don’t think I can name a single food my mother refused to buy the generic of, in favor of the brand name. I do have a few, though. I won’t buy cheap box mac and cheese. I’ll spend more to either get Annie’s or the Kraft creamy version. I also won’t buy generic chips. I grew up eating Sam’s Choice knock-off Doritos and Cheetos, and I can’t stand the nasty flavors they have. But, that’s pretty much the extent of it. So, when people complain that Aldi has almost no name brand products, I can’t understand why they’d WANT to pay more just for the name, when the food is the same. This is especially true of Aldi’s breakfast cereal. They are literally General Mills cereals sold under the Aldi store label. There is absolutely zero difference between the cereal in a General Mills box and the cereal in an Aldi box. None.

So, if you find an Aldi near you, you should really take the time to at least go in and browse. You may be most shocked by their egg prices. In fact, they just may have to call paramedics because their price for eggs has given you such a shock!

The Queen B is BAAAAACK!

I think my personal life has finally calmed down enough that I can focus on posting here regularly, again. I’ve thought about my blog often, but life has been super-freakin-hectic for the past few months.

The California Presidential Primaries are coming up in a little over a month, and I’m SO excited to finally get to vote for someone I truly believe in, rather than just picking someone based on them being the lesser of two evils. I’m checking my mail everyday, waiting for my mail-in ballot to come. I cannot wait to fill in the bubble for Bernie Sanders! I am stoked to get to vote for such a revolutionary figure! His platform is everything I’ve been wanting in a presidential candidate for years.

We got an Aldi store near us FINALLY! I am loving it. We found this amazing pastry tucked away on the bottom shelf in the bread aisle, near the ciabattas and baguettes. It’s like eating a chunk of heaven! If you have an Aldi near you, I recommend picking up one of these. 13086686_10153458919271135_7230289607223294228_o

The weather has been beautiful and mild here. I’m enjoying our cool spring. I love this time of year because my windows are wide open day and night and my apartment stays comfortable and cool. We’ve had enough rain that I think our summer will be much easier on our firefighters, or at least that is my hope.

June Gloom and Brain Fog

June is officially here in Southern California. It’s cloudy and drizzling this morning. I feel like starting a pot of chili, which is weird to me, considering it’s almost summer and it’s supposed to be hot, not cool! I may do that, if I can make it to the store and remember everything I need!

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I didn’t want to, but it needed to be done. I’ve been such a hot mess these last few days. I don’t know what I did to myself, but my whole body had staged a revolt against me, and wasn’t really up for a shopping trip. But, we were almost out of food in this house and I had to get something for us to eat. It’s hard on days like that, because when my fibromyalgia flares, my brain usually goes on vacation, too. So, I was walking (or rather, stumbling) through the grocery store, trying to figure out what to get. I had settled on a few meals, two of which were chicken salad croissants and my version of carbonara. I got all my groceries, got checked out, got them home and out of the car, and then I realized I had forgotten the celery for the chicken salad. I forgot the freakin’ celery! There are like 5 ingredients in chicken salad. How could I forget one of the main ones?!

So, I get to go back to the store today. Luckily, I’m not feeling half as shitty as I did yesterday. I think the fact that my hubs made sure I kept on top of taking my NSAID helped a lot. I also have so much to do around the house, because the past few days I’ve spent curled into a ball on our couch. I don’t like it when I fall behind on housework, because housework is the type of thing that doesn’t just stop when you don’t do it. It just ends up stacking up on you, and before you know it, you’re buried in a sea of laundry, dishes, and vacuuming! This is even worse when you have fibro, because then, when you’ve started feeling better and can actually do the work, there is so much for you to do, that you end up overdoing it and sending yourself right back into another flare. It’s almost a vicious cycle if you’re not careful about pacing yourself, which I’m not!

Also, my kiddo broke out in a cold sore over the weekend and I think he gave it to my poor husband. We’ve been pretty fortunate, so far. Kiddo had his first cold sore at 5, and hasn’t had one since, but his lip erupted again this past Saturday. He has his cold sores inside his mouth, on his gums or inside of his lip. Well, my poor hubby woke up this morning with what looks like a blister on his lower lip, so even though we tried to be super-careful about washing our hands and using Purell whenever we touched our child, it seems he caught it anyway. Which means I’ll probably get it as well. I don’t want cold sores! Those hurt! I don’t like pain!

I need to get on my housework, though. If I sit here typing much longer, I’ll have myself convinced I need a nap instead, and I can’t do that! Not today! I have a ton of work to do!

Seriously?

I don’t normally shop at Walmart. I usually avoid it like the plague. Since moving to Southern California, I’ve had a heap of bad experiences at the local Walmarts, and couple those with the fact that Walmart is just about the shittiest corporation and employer on the planet, I choose to go elsewhere for my groceries.

Yesterday, since I was feeling so crappy, I took a long nap and got up to go grocery shopping around 12:30. I decided to go to Walmart, because I didn’t want to have to go to several different stores for all my groceries like I normally do. Plus, I needed things like Dawn dish soap and SOS pads, so I figured it would be easiest to just grab everything at Walmart, instead of running through three or so different stores.

I was minding my own business, navigating my cart down all of the aisles to grab the various items I needed, when who did I run into but my husband’s ex-wife. Ugh! Some days, it feels as if there’s no escaping the woman! She is everywhere! While it’s amusing to see her pathetic self walking 2-3 miles to work every morning, it isn’t so amusing to run into her in the supermarket, when you’re dressed in your frumpy sweat pants and a comfortable T-shirt because you feel like shit.

I know the look that says, “I’m trying really hard to act like I didn’t notice you!” when I see it. She had it written all over her face. Whereas I will look someone in the eye and waggle and eyebrow or possibly smile at them if I recognize them, she was trying her best to pretend she didn’t see me. I couldn’t help but laugh when she hauled ass down the main action alley of the grocery section toward checkout after running into me. I guess her past can’t seem to stop popping up and saying hi to her, but it’s also slightly annoying for me, as well. One of these times, when I run into her, I’m just going to walk up and give her a bear hug and act like she’s my long lost best friend. I know it would be truly horrifying on her part, but it would make me extremely satisfied to make her uncomfortable while being as sweet as rotten honey to her.

I texted my husband after the encounter. When I picked him up from work, the first words out of his mouth were, “So I hear you and my ex-wife got acquainted in Walmart today!” HAH!

I Loathe Grocery Shopping

Despite loving to cook and bake, I hate going grocery shopping. I hate it about as much as I hate doing laundry and dishes. Just like I don’t mind wearing clothes and sometimes even changing a time or two during the day, or eating off my dishes and making them dirty, I don’t like washing my dishes, washing or folding laundry, and I really don’t like grocery shopping.

I can’t say exactly why I don’t like grocery shopping. I’ve been the primary grocery shopper for my family since I was 14. As a teenager, I planned the meals, bought the food (with my parents’ money,) cooked the food, and made sure everyone was fed. As an adult, that’s still my job, but I don’t take pleasure in the shopping part. I’ll put it off ’til the last minute if I can. I’ll figure out how to make something out of literally scraps in my cupboards, until they’re bare, before I go grocery shopping.

My husband sometimes has to gently hound me several times, reminding me that “We need to get something for dinner tonight,” to get me out of the house and to the grocery store. I really don’t like going, and I’ll even go so far as to feign sickness now and then to avoid it, if that’s possible. We’re fortunate that there’s an Alta-Dena down the street that my husband can walk to and grab chips to eat with sandwiches, and sometimes I’ll just ask him to go grab some instead of going to the store.

Growing up, we never had a lot of money, and I had to make sure our family of 5 (3 teenagers and 2 adults) were fed for $100 per week. Granted, $100 went a lot further in the early 2000’s than it does now, but that’s still not a lot of money to spread around. Add to that the fact that we girls took lunches to school everyday (which means sandwich supplies and snacks, like chips and possibly fruit or veggies, if they were on sale,) and it really starts to look meager. I became the queen of Hamburger Helper!

Now isn’t that much different. Hamburger Helper is no longer a staple in our house, though I will admit it was in the early years of my marriage, but I still have to try to get the most bang for my buck grocery-wise. Which is why it’s kind of counter-productive to buy food from the Alta-Dena down the street, but I digress. Sometimes, my anxiety wins out over my grocery budget! I try to feed my family well-balanced meals, and we’ve tried to cut down on salt intake, which also makes the chips from Alta-Dena counter-productive.

I think this is why I love Trader Joe’s so much. Their prices are quite similar to most of the grocery stores around here, and a lot of their food is healthier for you. Take, for instance, their ground turkey. I get it for $2.99/lb. at Trader Joe’s. That’s the sale price for ground turkey at area grocery stores like Ralph’s. I don’t even know what their normal price is, because I never pay it. I just always get my ground turkey at Trader Joe’s because I always know it will be $2.99/lb. Other staples, such as milk, are the same price at Trader Joe’s as at Ralph’s. Milk is $3.49 at Ralph’s and $3.50 at Trader Joe’s. It doesn’t matter to me where I buy it, it’s the same price.

So, what is a task that you have to do but don’t like doing?

Also, please take a moment to take my poll on what you’d like to see as a regular feature on my blog.