What's Great + NOT about Aldi

>> Monday, April 21, 2014

And here's an Aldi shopping update!


Some new + fun ingredients we're trying this week:
  • Organic Black Beans 
  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Dry Pinto Beans
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Hummus 
  • Prunes . . . Ada loves these!
  • GETBalance Crunch (like Kashi)
  • Almond butter (we tried last week -- good!)
And here's our receipt: $116.56

Not bad for a gigantic, bursting cart-load of groceries (including some weekend fund + extras for a brunch we hosted yesterday). We bought more than "normal" this week because our store was featuring some of those one-time buys, so we stocked up.

We are also trying to do the bulk of shopping for two weeks on one weekend followed by a lighter load. I'm now evaluating budget by the month for these reasons. I'll check in about that again soon.


1. Almond Milk contains carrageenan

I didn't realize this fact until a reader asked me to check the ingredients label. I was definitely dismayed because we try to avoid this ingredient, which is used for thickening or emulsifying foods (carcinogen).  I didn't think to check because I thought most refrigerated almond/soy milks didn't have this ingredient and that it was found more in the shelf-stable versions. Guess I was wrong . . .

2. Cottage Cheese contains carrageenan

I think a lot of cottage cheese brands contain this ingredient, so I can't go too hard on Aldi for the addition. I think I'm more frustrated that carrageenan continues to be used in foods if it's harmful.

3. Shredded Cheese burns easily, especially under broiler

Just my experience, but the shredded cheese just doesn't hold up as well for my cooking purposes. I think all shredded cheese has a coating so it doesn't clump together, so that must be it. Basically, it gets black and greasy very quickly -- so I use the block cheese and shred myself. No biggie, but still annoying. 

4. Produce is generally good, but really depends on shopping day

After weeks upon weeks of flawless produce, I got a bad batch. I had onions where half had gross soft spots. I had a green pepper with mold on it. A bunch of bananas that had black spots and were far too ripe (I divded them up and froze parts that were OK). We shopped on a different day that week (Monday versus Saturday), so I'm hoping that was the reason.

5. Frozen Stir-Fry sources from far and wide -- confusing

We love the taste and convenience of the Aldi frozen stir-fries, but when I was cooking up the last batch, I noticed the ingredients are from China, Holland, Guatemala, Mexico, and USA. I'm not sure how normal that is (to be from so many places -- but it IS processed, so understandable), since we aren't used to buying frozen mixes anyway.

6. Non-Food Items aren't as competitively priced

Some items are. Some aren't. But diapers are definitely not cheaper than at other retailers. I also got some paper plates (to lessen the dishes load on house-showing days) and they weren't impressively inexpensive. Garbage bags weren't any better than at our local discount shop, etc.


Still, I'm not scared away. The bottom line is the number that comes up at the register. We'll continue shopping there and just be choosey about the foods we buy, even if it means spending 30 cents more on almond milk each week.

That being said, if Aldi started carrying these items, I'd be able to shop there exclusively.
  • Tofu
  • Carrageenan-free almond + soy milk
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Flaxmeal
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Dairy-free ice cream
  • Earth Balance-like spread
  • Herbal tea
  • Veggie baby food packets
And today on WRITING CHAPTER THREE, I'm answering 29 "TMI" Questions via video! Now that this month has calmed down, I'm hoping to get more videos up (including cooking tutorials) on our YouTube channel.

More #unsponsored ALDI recipes/posts:
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