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!

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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.