Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shopping "Clean" (& Cheap) at ALDI

*updated January 2016

You likely know you can shop cheap, but did you know you can shop pretty "clean" at ALDI too?
For example: Grass-fed beef ($6.99/lb), uncured, nitrate-free bacon, hormone-free chicken ($2.99/lb), hormone-free milk & eggs.

Let me back up:
For the couple years that I lived in Virginia, I was nearly only shopping at Trader Joes and I got hooked on the limited, wholesome selection and the small store appeal. As a teenager, my mom brought me to ALDI and I turned my nose up at the lowliness of it all-I mean, I was far to fancy to bag my own groceries! (I still don't love doing that, but my kids do!)
Mom recently informed me that ALDI and Trader Joes were connected-basically brothers formed each, then ALDI acquired TJs (read the back story here) So when a new ALDI popped up across from the beloved, local-favorite, Wegmans, I figured I'd give it a try.

About the same time our family began following a Real Food Diet, meaning reducing the processing & additives in the ingredients of the foods we eat. This can be a very pricey way to eat and we are on a budget. Now, I regularly go to ALDI for 2 main brands: Simply Nature (made without adding over 125 artificial ingredients) & Never Any! (no hormones, no antibiotics, no animal byproducts, no nitrates & minimally processed)
These are the staples I buy regularly:

  • Milk (hormone-free)
  • Eggs (hormone-free)
  • Organic Soymilk, non GMO, unsweetened, vanilla
  • Organic Diced tomatoes ($1.49)
  • Grass-fed beef *NEW* (6.99/lb)
  • Organic, free-range, low sodium Chicken broth, (32oz box $1.79)
  • Organic, uncured, nitrate-free bacon ($5.49)
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Spring Mix & Spinach (5oz box $2.49)
  • Simply Nature, Organic Quinoa
  • Hormone-free chicken
  • Turkey sausage (Giannelli, local source)
  • Simply Nature lunch meat (turkey & ham) 
  • Simply Nature frozen berries
  • Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A ($3.99)
  • Steel Cut Oats, Regular & Quick Cook (100% Whole Grain Oats)
  • Nuts! Lowest prices, all varieties 
  • La Croix, carbonated water (*seasonal & quick-to-go) 
  • Bolthouse Fruit & Vegetable smoothies
  • Simply Nature, unsweetened applesauce & applesauce pouches 
  • Fair Trade Coffee K Cups (12 ct $4.99)

  • Produce varies from week to week and store to store.
    We most often buy avocados, Organic bananas & baby carrots and multi-colored bell peppers.
    ALDI has a great selection of tasty goods at a great price. Some of our favorites are:

  • Dried spices
  • Goat cheese
  • Brie cheese
  • Parmesean cheese on the rind
  • Clancy's Pita Chips
  • Little Salad bar hummus (a few additives, but very tasty)
  • Clancy's tortilla chips
  • SavorRitz buttery round crackers (ritz equivalent, not "clean", just yum!)
  • Greek yogurt
  • half & half 
  • whole wheat pasta
  • dark chocolate bars
  • They have an aisle with non-Grocery/seasonal items that's fun to browse for good finds too.

    If you're a first-timer, you need to come prepared in 2 ways that you don't at other grocers.
    1. BYOQuarter if you want to use a cart. You'll get it back at the end, when you return the cart.
    2. BYOBags. & you'll be bagging yourself. Or use one of the boxes you may find around the store, free to use. Bags can be bought there, if you forget. I'm glad I gave it a try. I love that I can get in & out quickly. I appreciate that I can maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget shopping at ALDI. Give it a try! Are you already a fan? Did I miss a favorite of yours?? Pin It

    Saturday, January 11, 2014

    Packing for Disney | save time & money

    If prepping for a Disney trip is part of the fun for you & saving time & money is your thing, this post is for you! I prefer to do our saving money in the real world before our trip. We pay for the luxury of on-site resort & dining plan and hardly spend much extra while we are in the Disney World.
    This is a list of extras that we bring, but it's not necessary as most everything you need is available for purchase on site. (Except for gum; no gum for purchase at Disney World!)

    Save cash for park-exclusive experiences and items by buying essentials before you leave.
    Chances are you've read about how dollar stores can be a great resource for ponchos and pop-up laundry hampers. This week the $1 spot at Target was screaming: pack it for Disney!
    under $5 grabs for your Disney trip:
    Glow sticks: nightly parades
    Healthy snacks: The Dining Plan offers plenty, but I like to pack nutrient-rich bars like Larabar & Kind bars along with crackers & fruit pouches for the kids.
    Refillable water bottles: water is free in the parks (resorts give you a refillable mug for refills at resorts only & they aren't spill-proof enough for park days)
    Dish soap: washing refillable mugs at the resort
    Stain wipes (& laundry soap, if you're the type)
    Facial wipes
    Baby wipes: small pouches make the load light each day
    First aid: pain reliever, band aids, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment
    Moleskin (for blisters) pre-cut it or pack a small Swiss Army knife in your checked luggage.
    BodyGlide anti-chafing balm
    Ponchos: 1 per person, per park day is safest (at $1 each, toss after use).
    Handheld fan: nice option on hot days or for kid entertainment
    Pop-up hamper: nice option in the tight quarters that are resort rooms
    Retractable Sharpie markers for autographs (many characters have big paws or gloves so the thicker pens are easier to grip)
    Hand Sanitizer
    Sanitizing wipes. Wipe at least the phone & remote in your room. The last thing you want is sickness on vacation.
    *If you're bringing a toddler/baby

    You may want to grab a few things for entertainment during travel.
    Glow wands & disposable cameras are big hits in the parks & cost a pretty penny if you buy them there. Check Target's $1 spot & end cap with under $5 grabs, Dollar Tree & $1 spot at Toys R Us for coloring & activity books, & other small toys with Disney theme (Star Wars & Marvel count for the big boys!). Now don't go nutty on trinkets, just a couple to occupy en route or waiting for shows & rides is enough.

    Disney Apparel:
    It won't take long before your family is wrapped up in Disney spirit & there is no short supply of apparel to buy anywhere you go in the World. It is common for little princesses to wear a costume-to character meals, especially. Collect apparel ahead of time & let your kids show their spirit while not adding to your suitcase or your bill by buying it in the park.
    (Tip: Pack glittery garments in ziptop bags to contain the sparkle.)
    The Disney Store sells quality pjs & swimwear from my experience. JCPenney has a mini-Disney store inside with similar apparel, including costumes (better quality than Target & WalMart).

    costume, nightdress, tee: JCPenney | swimsuit & sunglasses: Disney Store
    all: Disney Store
    Trading Pins are a fun way to interact with castmembers (required to trade) & even other guests. We've purchased a sampling ahead of time online: try Amazon & eBay, but be sure to read reviews & verify they are official pins.
    *Don't forget:
    • Bring each person 2 pair of shoes to avoid hotspots. (moleskin or liquid bandage help too)
    • Use Prime Now to have items delivered to bell services at your resort or a local grocery delivery service like Garden Grocer. WDW resorts will accept shipped packages (Prime, UPS, USPS, etc.) but they now charge $5/package. 
    • CASH for TIPS your Magic Express driver ($1 per bag he handles) & Mousekeeping ($1 per person in your room) & ROUND UP, people. Also tips aren't included in the Dining Plan, but can be charged to your room or another card, if preferred. 
    • Autograph books can be purchased at Disney Store ahead of time
    • SUNSCREEN! Sunglasses & sun hat  
    • Space enough for souvenirs either in your luggage or a packable duffle like this one.
    • Bring a cross-body bag (or small backpack) for keeping valuables with you on rides/etc. 

      Check out my complete guide for Disney World with a Baby/Toddler
      (including a packing list, and many tips & tricks)


      Pin It

      Saturday, January 4, 2014

      Playlist to keep you moving

      So, did you get new sneaks? Renew a commitment to your gym membership? Making green smoothies all week?
      This week, I'm pretty sure the bigger accomplishment was getting 3 kids in winter gear, each with a change of shoes loaded into the van and making the snowy trek to the gym but you can be sure after such effort, I made it worth it on the treadmill.
      You may want to read my post "How NOT TO QUIT Running" which I feel qualified to write because nearly every 1st mile I come up with a reason to quit so I've learned to SET MYSELF UP to KEEP MOVING!
      A new playlist goes a long way.
      I re-created mine in Spotify so that you can give it a try.
      This playlist is organized from warm up to cool down. Between the first couple & last few they've all got a beat for running.
      I included a song for weights, a song for abs, and for stretching too (end of playlist).

      Songs for Warm up:
      Best Day Of My Life (American Authors)
      Hey Brother (Avicii)
      Song to Bump up your speed:  
      Counting Stars (One Republic)
      Song for when you feel like you're going to quit:  
      Roar (Katy Perry)
      Songs for slowing down/walk:  
      Story of My Life (One Direction)
      Unconditionally (Katy Perry)
      Cool down: Just Give Me A Reason (Pink)
      Electric Feel (Preston Pohl, The Voice performance-*not on Spotify)
      Mirrors (Justin Timberlake)
      A Case of You (James Wolpert, The Voice performance-*not on Spotify)

      While you're moving: (in case you can't listen via Spotify)
      Wake Me Up (Avicii)
      Gone, Gone, Gone (Phillip Phillips)
      Can't Hold Us (Macklemore)
      LITO (Press Play)
      NY2LA (Press Play)
      One Top of the World (Imagine Dragons)
      Best Song Ever (One Direction)
      Cups (Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick)
      Happy (Pharrell Williams, from Despicable Me)
      Am I missing one that keeps you moving? 
      Please share
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