This week’s post is by Christine Luken.
This past Friday, I made a trip to my local Aldi store for the first time in a LONG time – as in over 15 years. Why have I avoided Aldi for so long? Back then, I had to shop at Aldi because I was flat broke. So when I finally got to a place in my finances when I didn’t have to shop at Aldi, I left it behind. When I’d drive by the store, I would remember how it felt to be broke, shudder, and keep on going. (This is the same reason I rarely eat at Taco Bell. It reminds me of the days of rolling change in college to go buy bean burritos for dinner.)
But it really wasn’t Aldi’s fault that I had that negative association. So why did I decide to give it another shot? Several ladies in my Facebook recipe group were raving about the great deals on spices, snacks, organic food, and gourmet cheeses. Wait… organic food and gourmet cheeses? That’s not the Aldi that I remember! Because I’m trying to eat more organic food, I was definitely intrigued. Especially when my friend Heather Tenney of In God’s Economy told me that Aldi and Trader Joe’s were owned by the same parent company!
So, here is what I discovered on my Aldi’s field trip on Friday. First, you need a quarter for the cart – not 25 cents, but a quarter. The quarter releases the cart from the corral and you get it back when you return the cart. Aldi does NOT take credit cards! (Another reason for me to like them.) You can pay with cash, debit card, or EBT. You need to bring your own reusable bags and you’ll be doing the bagging yourself after paying for your groceries. Aldi does not accept manufacturer’s coupons.
I didn’t purchase any produce or meat on my shopping trip, since I was already stocked up from the co-op and Sam’s. However, the meat and produce at the Erlanger, Kentucky store looked good and prices were reasonable. The only fresh food I bought was hummus for $1.99, which is definitely less than what I would pay at my local Kroger. Most of my purchases were in the snack and baking aisles. Here are some of the deals I found:
- Huge 4 oz. containers of various spices for $0.99 (Onion powder and steak seasoning made it into my cart on this trip.)
- Canned beans (garbanzo, kidney, cannellini, etc.) for $0.65
- 12-pack of granola bars for $1.79
- Organic Animal Crackers 8 oz. for $0.99 – Very tasty!
- Natural creamy peanut butter for $1.69
- Organic Salsa $1.89
- Capers $1.49
- 16 oz. of Virgin Olive Oil for $2.99
- 10 oz. whole roasted cashews $4.29
- 12 oz. whole raw almonds $5.49
I was super excited about the great deals on the nuts because I love to have those on hand for a healthy snack. I’m going to use the almonds to make Roasted Rosemary Almonds today, since I’m snowed in. (Recipe below.) The Aldi store in Erlanger is small, so you may not find everything you’re looking for on your grocery list. The store is clean, well lit, and the staff was friendly. There aren’t many name brand products on the shelf, but so far everything that hubby and I have tried has been tasty. Nick gives Aldi’s yogurt covered raisins two big thumbs up, so I’ll be stocking up next time I’m there.
Hello again, Aldi! Looks like you’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the future.
Roasted Rosemary Almonds
- 2 cups whole raw almonds
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. rosemary
- 1 tsp. sea salt
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and stir to coat almonds thoroughly. Roast on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy. Store leftovers in an airtight container.