All Aldi // Almond Butter Oat Bars

>> Friday, February 8, 2019

So, you guys all know my issues with Aldi lately. It's not them, really, it's me. I figured rather than whine about it, I'd start trying to cook more from scratch again -- using all Aldi ingredients. This particular snack is highly adaptable. You can use most any nut butter you like and add in whatever sounds good. It's also kid and toddler approved, hence the llama in my photo.


What you'll need . . .

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Salt, for sprinkling

Method . . .

  1. Spritz a 9x13 inch pan lightly with oil. Set aside.
  2. Melt the almond butter, honey, and coconut oil together on medium heat. Whisk it until smooth and take off heat once incorporated, being careful not to burn the almond butter.
  3. Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the oats, cereal, and cranberries. You can also add chocolate chips (they'll melt), pepitas, or anything else that sounds good to you!
  4. Spread into your prepared pan, sprinkle with a little salt, and refrigerate until firm. Cut into 16 bars.
  5. Alternatively, you can roll loose "dough" into balls for energy chunks.

More Aldi:

Aldi Foods for Picky Toddlers and Kids
$93 Aldi Weekly Grocery Haul
$400 Monthly Food Budget
18 Vegetarian Grocery Staples at Aldi
All Aldi content this way . . . 


Sharing 20 of YOUR Tips for Healthy Eating

>> Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I'm getting a slow start to 2019 with regard to health and fitness goals. And if you've read here for a while, you know that I often struggle with healthy eating (despite loving healthy food!). I get caught up in my hobby of baking and end up in a cycle of homemade sweets, bread, and -- now -- sourdough bread. I don't want to give up on baking entirely, but I do need to find a way to get back to healthier eating. Not so much for the number on the scale . . . but because I just feel so full and sluggish.

Here are the tips you guys sent me yesterday. My criteria was that I don't want to go all or nothing when it comes to food. I don't want to label foods "good" or "bad" . . . and I want to continue doing some of my baking. You guys delivered some great tips, and here are the 20 that were most shared.

Start the day with a huge glass of water

Resist eating sugar -- even fruit sugar -- at breakfast

Read the book Intuitive Eating

Eat way more protein

Skip alcohol for a while

Choose one meal to focus on and go from there

Only bake bread + desserts on weekends

Drink more water throughout the day, especially before meals

Prep meals on weekends for the whole week

Pack lunch the night before to resist daytime snacking

Stop buying all processed foods

Eat meals on smaller plates

Split lunch up to avoid crashing mid-afternoon

Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables

Roast a large pan of veggies and refrigerate for easy grabbing

Stop eating at 7PM and don't eat again till 7AM

Try sweet potatoes + other whole carbs vs. bread

Eat more healthy fats

Choose fruits that are lower glycemic (cherries, apples, etc.)

Even if it's hard, stick with it for 21 days to make a habit

THANK YOU for all your advice. 

If you, too, are struggling, I hope these tips are helpful to you. I'm sure many of you are in the same place I am . . . we KNOW what to do, it's just a matter of actually getting back into the rhythm. I'm going to check back with you all in 21 days to see how things are going. My main goal is to get in more protein, drink WAY more water, and fill most meals with vegetables. 

(But I also hope to expand my sourdough baking skills this month. I'll just try saving that activity for weekends only. Also: Image source.)


What I HATE About Aldi

>> Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I've gone on and on and on about how much I love Aldi. The store has helped to cut our grocery budget overall pretty dramatically. I can still tell a big difference when I decide to shop at Wegmans due to convenience or laziness. But I'm having some new thoughts on the topic I thought were worth sharing. I still love Aldi, but there's one aspect of shopping there that I have grown to hate. It has to do with my own self control BUT Aldi is enabling my behavior!

When I first started shopping at the store, I mostly skipped over the freezer section. I even ignored many packaged foods because they only looked OK. None of it was hugely attractive to me. Slowly a few more prepared items and packaged foods trickled in that were organic and really good looking. And in the last year (or a little longer), the freezer and refrigerated section (CHEESE!) has expanded. The snacked have seen a boost, too. There are now a multitude of interesting vegetarian and vegan options, as well as some more general foods that -- to me -- are just too tasty to pass up.

This, on the whole, is an excellent thing.

BUT: I was never much of a packaged foods shopper. In fact, I used to make much of our food from scratch. Slowly (and because of better affordability compared to other stores), I've put things in my cart. A bag of veggie chips here, a box of root vegetable hash browns there, some interesting sauces, mac-and-cheese thin crust pizzas . . . and then I'd notice "limited time" buys that I just HAD TO HAVE BEFORE THEY WENT AWAY FOR GOOD.

So, I'd stock up.

I also joined some Aldi Facebook groups. There's a cult-like following on there, right? Every time there's a new or exciting product, someone would post about it. Others would quickly chime in about how AMAZING it was. And I'd find myself with tons of new things on my shopping list.

After a while, my stand-up freezer was full. My pantry is teeming with packaged items. I'd stopped making my own hummus. I started buying things I never used to buy in packages (granola bars) because I got so out of the habit of cooking and baking from scratch. And my grocery bill wasn't hugely increased. I mean, it went up -- but because I wasn't making anything on my own, I wasn't buying raw ingredients much.

What was happening? Well, our trash and recycling output has gone up quite a bit. (I'm not zero waste, but I don't like this much waste.) We're not eating as many fruits and veggies as I'd like. My kids are preferring packaged foods to whole foods. I've gained some weight. I increased our weekly grocery budget $25 a week (adds up).

The list goes on . . .

YES. Some convenience foods are a necessary evil for that stage of life I'm in. (I know some people would argue not.) I don't have glorious hours upon hours to spend in the kitchen toiling over homemade crackers. At the same time, my family should really be eating more whole foods. I'll admit that it's a heck of a lot easier to just tell my kids to grab something themselves than to cut veggies and serve it to them.

So, what I hate about Aldi is that I once saved money due to the store being so almost painfully streamlined. I'm now falling into the traps I fell into at other grocery stores because of all the temptations. I am absolutely thrilled that Aldi has so many wonderful and affordable options, especially for vegetarians and vegans, but I now find myself with some work ahead of me to get in better balance.

This all said, I will share some of my favorite foods that I have found with you soon on Instagram. I'm not going to stop buying all the things entirely. But instead of having everything every week, I may treat these items more as treats or weekend special foods. We'll see. 

More Aldi:

Aldi Foods for Picky Toddlers and Kids
$93 Aldi Weekly Grocery Haul
$400 Monthly Food Budget (I want to get back to this!)
18 Vegetarian Grocery Staples at Aldi

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