This Is… Thursday

This is what I’m currently obsessed with from Aldi. So much so that I 1: Immediately took a picture of the wrapper because it was so damn good I needed to share it and 2: Won’t let myself eat any more until I’ve finished the box of subpar bars of the peanut butter variety. Which are *fine*, but they aren’t the double chocolate. And I’m a delayed gratification kind of girl.

It should be noted that up until about two weeks ago, I’d never had a protein bar that didn’t suck ass. I couldn’t even really explain why I decided to purchase the peanut butter kind. I’m happy to say that neither the peanut butter nor the double chocolate suck ass, but the double chocolate is far superior.

These are a few of my favorite things…

From Aldi, that is.  I am posting this, again, not because Aldi is paying me (call me!), but because a lot of people are like I was a couple years ago: totally interested in slashing my grocery bill, but a little worried about what I’d find at Aldi.

Without further ado, some of my favorite items I get at Aldi.  I will probably have another edition, since I don’t currently have all my favorites available to photograph. These are in no particular order, other than how I happened to remember them.

This is currently not only my favorite Aldi food, but quite possibly my favorite food of the moment, period.  I love this pizza.  I want to marry this pizza.  I don’t even like cherry tomatoes, and I love this pizza.  I don’t really remember the cost of any of these purchases, but I’m pretty sure this one hovers around $3.  I don’t think I could make this pizza for $3, unless maybe I grew the spinach and tomatoes myself.  I have had this pizza three times in as many weeks.  And will probably continue doing so until I inevitably get sick of it, as I often do because I go a little crazy when I like certain foods.  This pizza was the inspiration for this post.

Yes, my shadow is in most of the pictures. I'm no professional.

I discovered these as a result of The Hippy never being home for dinner anymore.  In order to keep myself from eating out every day, I had to look for premade lunches, so I grabbed this.  And loved it.  The bottom gets nice and crispy, even in the microwave, and the cheese is super gooey.  The mushrooms and the steak have a great flavor to them as well.  I do not eat it folded, however, because that would get really messy (see aforementioned comment about gooey).  I just eat it with a fork.

I am a teensy bit in love with Leeann Chin‘s Orange Chicken.  But, at $7 a plate, I can’t have it all that often.  Especially since it’s too much for one meal, but I don’t really have enough will power to only eat half and save the rest for another meal.  If I had the will power, $7 wouldn’t be too bad.  But this lovely little kit is only, I think, $5, and it usually feeds the two of us with leftovers for me to bring to lunch the next day.  Or it used to.  Either we’ve been eating more, or they started putting less in the package.  But still, $5 for two meals is still better than $7 for 1-1/4 meals.

I have always purchased generic cereal.  Since becoming an adult I have denied myself the delightful novelty cereals that companies come up with to make their product more exciting in favor of store brands and Malt-o-Meal.  For some reason this used to really bug my mom.  She once brought a national brand of cereal and made me taste test that with my store brand.  I could tell the difference and I actually preferred the store brand.  I think that’s probably the first taste test in history that was actually intended to sway someone away from buying generic.  Years later, and I still don’t understand the logic.

This is kind of a no-brainer for me.  And the only item that I know the exact price of: $0.79.  Which on its own is pretty damn awesome, since I think the lowest I’ve ever seen at a grocery store is $1.  BUT, every once in awhile, Aldi runs them for $0.49.  And then I buy six.  Because I’m crazy.  Next time they run that price, I will buy up a ton to freeze for smoothies.

I have a confession to make with this one:  I haven’t actually tried this.  But, The Hippy loves this Texas Toast.  It’s his favorite thing from Aldi, and possibly his favorite thing in the world.  From the smell of it, these have to be pretty good–if you like garlic.  There have been times that my eyes have burned from the house smelling so garlicky after he cooked these.  One of these days I’ll try them, but usually the box is emptied too quickly for me to get a taste.

This is the holy grail of ice cream.  I want to eat this ice cream all day every day.  I’m sure I felt that way about the versions of this made by more national brands, but I haven’t had them in a long while, so as far as I’m concerned this is the best ice cream you will ever eat.  Ever.  Unless you’re allergic to peanuts.  And if that’s the case, you probably have far bigger things to worry about than eating the best ice cream in the entire world.

So, there you have it.  A little list of things at Aldi that you can eat without any fear that they will suck.  Unless your tastes are the complete opposite of mine.  But they shouldn’t be, because I’m pretty awesome, and I only like awesome things.

The house where items go to die

Or, rather, disappear.  I have this closet that seriously seems to have some sort of black hole.  Things go in, but they never come out again.  Or they come out a year later.  They sit mockingly on the shelf like “I was here the whole time, how did you miss me?”  You know what?  F-you, closet.  F. You.

The point of this is that you may (or, more likely, may not) have noticed that my posts have been devoid of pictures lately.  My camera battery is dead and the dock, which is supposed to live in our “entertainment center” is nowhere to be found.  It’s probably in the blasted closet.

I was just getting back into the swing of blogging, too.  I was taking pictures of something wildly delicious, I just know it, when POOF.  No more battery.  *sigh*  I have things I’m working on that I desperately want to take pictures of.  The transformation of the world’s ugliest little black dress, for one.  My first resin project since freshman year of high school for another.  It’s a crying shame, it is.

So I will leave you with this little tidbit.  I am lately finding myself obsessed with Aldi’s frozen asparagus.  If they decide to stop carrying it, I’m pretty sure my life will be over.  I would eat it all the time if I could.  I find that leaving it frozen and breaking it into bite-sized pieces works really well for fried rice and stir fries.  I’m pretty sure that’s actually what I was taking a picture of, come to think of it.  I toss it in the microwave for a few minutes and call it a side dish.  I throw some butter and parmesan cheese on it and call it a fancy side dish.  I love the stuff.

I’m sure I’m the only one who will feel this way.  I grew up on, and love, canned veggies.  All that stuff we have been told to hate because it’s not prepared properly I enjoy.  So real “foodies” will probably be throwing up in their mouths at the idea of frozen asparagus.  But I heart it.  I truly do.

My trip to Aldi in 1000 words or fewer

Photo from Aldi.us

So, I went to Aldi today very nearly terrified (also perhaps because of other relatively terrifying things I need to do today all compounding).  I found it okay, which was a plus, and since I’d often watched people outside the Aldi next to my bowling alley, I had a pretty good idea how to handle the shopping cart thing.  I was not prepared for entering the store, however.

My first thought was, “Holy crap, this place is tiny, I’ll never find what I need here.”  It wasn’t until I drove home that it occurred to me why Aldi is so small compared to your average grocery store.  Think, for just a moment, how many brands of potato chips there are out in the world.  Your average grocery story probably stocks at least 4 different brands of ONE kind of chip.  Multiply that by every single type of item in the store, and you’ve got yourself some major real estate.  Aldi keeps it simple by having one brand… Maybe two if they happen to be carrying a national brand at the moment (when I walked in there were Pringles right inside the door, and I also saw Aldi’s house brand a few feet away).

There are, essentially, only four aisles in the Aldi I went to.  I imagine it’s similar at every other Aldi store, since they utilize pre-fab architecture most retailers have today.  The aisles are stacked with cases of items–think Sam’s Club, but on a much smaller scale.  There is sort of a logic to the layout, but it isn’t the same as most groceries.  For me this made it hard to find stuff.  However, now that I have an idea for it, I’m confident that I will now be wandering back and forth, not because I don’t know where things are, but because I forgot to look for something when I went past it, which is exactly what I do at every other store I shop at.

I’m happy to say that I had 16 items on my list and I was able to purchase all but two of them.  The reason I couldn’t purchase those two is because they were brand-specific: Act Total Care mouthwash and Gillette Fusion blades for the Hippy.  This was easily solved by a quick stop to CVS.

I’m not exactly sure how much I saved–I haven’t, and likely won’t, sat down to do the math.  My 14 items came to just under $28.  Maybe those same items would have been pushing $40 at Cub, but I’m not sure.  If I find a receipt lying around, I’ll try to compare.  One thing I know for sure is that The Hippy’s razor blades cost more than my shopping trip.  Good thing I only have to buy those every few months (and good thing I get to take stuff like that out of what I owe for rent and utilities…)

Ultimately, I do think I will keep going back.  Especially if I notice a big difference in my grocery bills.  The real test will be when it comes time to buy meat, so perhaps I will report back.

Money, Money, Money, MONEY… MON-NAY

Believe it or not, this is not me.

I made a few mistakes over the last few months, and my bank account is suffering. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in dire straits, but I prefer to have a FAR bigger cushion than I currently have.  That’s why I’ve decided (after a wonderful party last night that was totally worth it) to not spend money until the end of February.

I’m allowed to spend money under four circumstances and five circumstances only:

  1. Bills
  2. Grocery
  3. Gas for truck (so I can get to work and earn money, duh)
  4. Fast food ONCE in Jan and ONCE in Feb.
  5. Snow pants

The first three are fairly self-explanatory.  #4 is for a couple reasons…  I’ll be eating (supposedly) healthier.  It will also challenge me to make sure I’m not being lazy.  It means bringing food to work, even when I don’t have dinner leftovers. In the meantime, I think I need to be coming up with as many brown rice recipes as possible, because if The Hippy isn’t around, I ought to be eating the uber healthy and filling things that I can’t get away with sharing with The Hippy.

#5 is probably most baffling.  You see, I have no snow pants.  But I NEEEEEED snow pants.  I need them before winter is up so that I might do awesomely free activities such as ice skating and sledding.  I would preferably like to get them ridiculously cheap, because, well, duh.  But I need them.  I’ve actually even toyed with the idea of making them, but I’d have to make sure I can get an amazing deal on the fabrics.  Actually, if I wanted to go that route, this weekend would be a really good time to do it…. 50% off coupons!

In regards to #2, I have been thinking about doing at least some of my shopping at Aldi’s.  For some reason I’m scared, even though I’ve heard really great things.  I almost feel like I need someone to hold my hand!  Help!  Any tips?

The dinner bell tolls, and it tolls for me to use my oven squirrel to retrieve my Shepherd’s Tot Pie (recipe sometime this week).