Showing posts from April, 2014

ALDI Baking Soda - 10 Uses You Might Not Know About

Baker's Corner Baking Soda
I'm not sure if anyone is brand-loyal when it comes to baking soda, but I have noticed no difference between Aldi's baking soda and Arm and Hammer. The Aldi price for a 16oz. box is $.49 and the online price for the same size for Arm and Hammer is $1.54. I use baking soda not only for baking but I also keep a box in my cleaning supply tub for natural and odorless cleaning.

1. Scour your bathtub - Sprinkle baking soda all over the tub. Using a wet sponge, work the baking soda into a crumbly paste and scrub!

2. Clean up a red wine or bloody mary spill out of carpet. (Have had both in my house!) Blot up liquid with clean, dry cloth. Sprinkle baking soda over the spill and allow to absorb. Using a damp cloth, gently scrub the spill. Red wine with gradually turn blue, then gray, then fade entirely. Allow to dry and then vacuum excess baking soda. Be careful not to mix with other cleansers or vinegar as some cleaners react and could leave a light spot o…

Leftover Easter Eggs?

In my family we always dye the required dozen hard boiled eggs the day before Easter, but no one in my family gets that excited about Deviled Eggs....especially this year when our traditional Easter brunch was swapped out for a pizza lunch instead. Take out and pizza and deviled eggs don't really go together, do they? I turned my hard boiled eggs into a quick and simple Egg Salad Sandwich. You can also use leftover deviled eggs since most of the ingredients are shared. I may also make Cobb Salad Wraps out of the filling as well for a lunch this week.
Ingredients 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped 1/3 c. Burman's Mayonnaise 1 pickle spears, chopped - or 1/2 c. relish 1 T. spicy or brown mustard 2 T. chopped onion 2 T. chopped celery salt and pepper
Directions 1. Using a fork, mash all ingredients together until well incorporated. 
2.Serve on bread.

Trashcan Scramble

I know it looks and sounds gross but "Trashcan Scramble" has been a favorite of mine since a vacation to Florida in my teens. A marina restaurant we visited served something similar in metal trashcan lids. It looks like it came out of a trashcan and most of the things in it are leftovers that might have been headed into the garbage. It's a little bit of everything leftover thrown into a breakfast skillet. Think anything you've seen in an IHOP skillet breakfast all in one! When I worked an early shift at a local golf course, I would make this for breakfast for a few of the regulars after a steak dinner night because there were always leftover steaks, baked potatoes, and dinner rolls in the fridge. Serves 2-4 as shown, approx. $.46/serving
Ingredients 3 T. Happy Farms Butter 1-2 leftover baked potatoes, sliced or diced 2 c. vegetables - any of the below that you have on hand or sound good      onion, chopped      bell pepper, chopped      fresh spinach, chopped      t…

Black Bean and Avocado Tacos

A great meatless variation for taco night. The leftover black bean filling also doubles for a nacho topping or burrito filling. The original Vegan Bean Taco Filling can be found at - this is my adaptation for ALDI shoppers. Serves 4 with 3 tacos each, Cost per serving approx. $1.61  Ingredients Oil or Cooking Spray of your choice
1 onion, finely chopped 1 bell pepper, finely chopped (any color fine)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cans SimplyNature Organic Black Beans, drained and rinsed (or Dakota's Pride)
1 T. Stone Mills Essentials Cumin
1 tsp. Stone Mills Essentials Paprika
1 T. Stone Mills Essentials Chili Powder
1 c. SimplyNature Organic Mild Salsa  (or Casa Mamita)
1 package taco shells
2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced into 12 slices per avocado
Garnishes or Additional Topping Ideas: 1/2 c. shredded or crumbled cheese, I used Benita Queso Blanco
SimplyNature Organic Spring Mix
SimplyNature Mild Salsa
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Onions
Friendly Farms Sour Cream


Lullabies Wipes: Product Review

I'm kind of ashamed to say I had always skipped over the wipes at ALDI because the package was so small (56ct.) compared to the 72 ct. I usually buy. I assumed it wasn't as goopd of a deal due to the package size. I think it's time to do the math and see if buying huge boxes of wipes works out or not?

Lullabies Wipes are just as good as any other wipes that I have used and definitely better than some I have tried that are too thin. They are thick, fragrance-free, and alcohol free. Lullabies are packaged with the snap close opening so they work well to throw in the diaper bag or purse, unlike the refill kinds. One package costs $.85 at my store and contains 56 wipes, which works out to 1.5 cents per wipe.
Here's the breakdown of a few popular other brands of wipes based on online pricing: 
Parent's Choice (Walmart) 700 ct. box $11.97 or 1.7 cents per wipe  Target Up and Up 800 ct. box $14.49 or 1.8 cents per wipe Huggies Simply Clean 648 ct. box $11.97 or 1.8 cents…

USDA Organic at ALDI

Thanks to our recent "release" on Facebook, it was brought to my attention that some people didn't realize ALDI offers USDA organic items! Not too long ago they started offering more organic and "all-natural" items under a line called SimplyNature as well as organic produce.  It's worth mentioning that some of these items are limited time offers and not always in stock or offered at every store. I make sure I purchase my favorites when I see them because they may not be there next week. I also like to send the message "This is what I want more of, ALDI!"
USDA Organic Items at ALDI  Produce *Spring Mix 5 oz. $2.49 
*Baby Spinach 5 oz. $2.49

*Baby Arugula or Kale 5 oz. $2.49
*Red Delicious or Gala Apples 3 lb. $4.99
*Baby Carrots
*Grape Tomatoes
*Bananas $.68/lb (last I saw)

Meat *100% Grass Fed Ground Beef $4.49/lb Dairy *Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 8 oz. $3.49
*String Cheese 
*Original and Vanilla Soy Milk 64 oz. $2.49
*Reduced Fat 2% Milk 64 oz. $3.39…

Potato Soup (no milk recipe)

I love this recipe for those times when I don't want to use up the rest of the milk. Uses stock and cream cheese for a base which I usually have in my freezer. Listed as stove top, but this one also works for the slow cooker- see note below. I serve this with a side salad or fresh fruit.  Serves 4, Cost per serving $0.75

Ingredients 4 c. peeled potatoes, sliced 4 c. broth (or use our Chicken Stock Recipe) 1 onion, chopped 1 pinch paprika (or cayenne if you have it) 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper 8 oz. Cream Cheese Sea Salt - to taste (will vary depending on broth choice)
Directions 1. Boil potatoes and onions in broth until potatoes are fork tender.
2. Add spices and mash until potatoes are in bite-size chunks - don't over mash because they will still break down and you don't want to end up with potato puree!
3. Add cream cheese and stir over low heat until incorporated. Salt to taste.
*Slow Cooker Adaptation: Allow potatoes, onion, and broth to cook over high heat until potatoes …

Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Great side salad for any Mexican dish. If you've never made your own vinaigrette before, you are missing out! It's very affordable, you can go unprocessed, and you can swap out spices and flavors to pair nicely with any dinner.
I'll list the amount per side salad, but this is very flexible depending on how you like your salads. Ingredients  Salad: 1 c. SimplyNature Organic Spring Mix 1 T Season's Choice Frozen Corn or Happy Farms Canned Corn, drained 1 T SimplyNature Organic Black Beans, drained and rinsed (Dakota's Pride okay too) 1/4 Avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into bite-size pieces  1/4 c. Tomatoes, cored and cut into pieces, or halved if working with grape or cherry tomatoes 1 T Benita Queso Blanco, crumbled (optional)
Dressing: (enough for 4 salads) 6 T. Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 T. Priano White Wine Vinegar (could use white distilled if wine vinegar is not available) 1 tsp. garlic salt 1 tsp. sugar or SimplyNature Agave Nectar 1 T fresh lime j…

Fettuccine Alfredo

Super simple and delicious full calorie recipe. I used the SimplyNature linguine instead of fettuccine but any thicker noodle works just fine. I am working on a way to"skinny" this one up, but in the meantime, we'll just call it comfort food.
Serves 6, Cost per Serving $.89 Ingredients 1 package SimplyNature Organic Linguine  1 stick Country Creamery unsalted butter 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 block Happy Farms cream cheese 2 cups Friendly Farms whole milk 5 oz. shredded Priano Parmesan Cheese (not the granules) Salt and pepper to taste
Directions 1. Boil linguine according to package directions.  2. In a sauce pan melt butter and saute garlic over medium heat. 3. Add the cream cheese and stir with whisk until incorporated. 4. Slowly add milk until whisking constantly. 5. Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper and whisk until creamy. If it gets too thick you can add more milk. 6. Strain pasta and toss with Alfredo.

Carolyn's 7-Layer Dip

Carolyn was making 7-Layer Dip to serve as a snack for when my family was over to hang out last night and I had to write down the recipe as she went. I always assumed 7-Layer Dip was more time consuming than it is? Super easy and quick!
Ingredients 1 can Casa Mamita Refried Beans 2 pouches Guacamole 16 oz. tub Friendly Farms Sour Cream 1 package Casa Mamita Taco Seasoning 12 oz.  Happy Farms Colby Jack Cheese, shredded 1/4 c. Tuscan Garden Large Pitted Black Olives, drained and chopped 2 green onions, chopped 1/4 c. grape tomatoes, halved (could use roma or other) 1 c. shredded lettuce, omit if you want to be able to save any leftovers Benita or Clancy's Tortilla Chips
Directions 1. On a large platter or 9x13 pan, spread refried beans into an even layer.
2. Spread guacamole over the beans in an even layer. If using a platter, don't go quite to the edge the beans so that the bean layer still shows.
3. Mix taco seasoning into sour cream. Spread over guacamole leaving the very e…

Slow Cooker Black Bean and Quinoa "Chili"

I'm not sure whether to call this soup or chili, but it is packed with good veggies and delicious!

Serves 6, Approx. $1.06 per serving

Ingredients 1 c. quinoa - well rinsed 2 c. water 1 onion, chopped 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 can SimplyNature Organic Diced Tomatoes
1 can Benita chopped green chilies
1 T. Stonemills Essentials Chili Powder
1 T. Stonemills Essentials Cumin
1 T. Stonemills Essentials Oregano
2 cans SimplyNature Organic Black Beans. drained and rinsed
1 c. Season's Choice frozen corn
1/3 c. chopped fresh or frozen cilantro Directions 1. Place all ingredients except the beans, corn, and cilantro in slow cooker. give it a good stir, and set on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4. If you are leaving it all day, you may want to throw in an extra cup of water.
2. Once quinoa is done, add the beans, corn, and cilantro.
3. Ready to serve once the beans and corn are he…

Potluck Pasta Salad

Great for potlucks and barbecues!
Pasta Salad Serves 12-16 as a side Ingredients 2 boxes tricolor spiral pasta
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4 oz. Happy Farms Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cubed (1/2 block)
1 c. Tuscan Garden Italian Dressing
1/4 c. Carlini Olive Oil
1/4 package Pepperoni, quartered
Black Pepper Directions 1. Boil and strain pasta according to package directions. Rinse to cool.

2. Mix in cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese cubes, pepperoni and toss with dressing and oil.

3. Top with cracked black pepper.

Pesto Grilled Cheese

This jazzed-up version skips the processed "cheese" singles for real sliced cheese and a smear of pesto for a little something different. Serves 4 as listed. Cost per serving $0.73
Ingredients 8 slices L'oven Fresh Wheat Bread 4 T. Unsalted butter 4 slices Happy Farms Deli Sliced Provolone 4 T. Burman's Mayonnaise
4 T. Priano Pesto

Directions 1. In a large skillet melt butter over med-low heat.
2. Spread 1 T. mayo on one piece of bread and 1 T. of pesto on the other slice.
3. Place one piece of cheese in between and grill.
4. Real cheese takes a little longer to melt than singles, so be patient and keep the heat down as not to burn the bread.
*Serve with Tomato Basil Soup

Lullabies Diapers: Product Review

Aldi has changed their Lullabies since this post - please see the new post here Lullabies Diapers
We have been using the ALDI house brand diapers on our youngest son for the past few months and I would say they are comparable in function to brand name diapers. I don't have issues with leaks or blow outs. The pattern is probably not as cute as some of the big brands, but I figure that my baby is just going to make a mess in it, so function and price are more important than little Bert and Ernie adorning his tush. The biggest drawback of the Lullabies is that they are only available in sizes 3-5. I would guess that this is in keeping with Aldi's business model of only carrying the highest volume items in their store.
Lullabies are priced at $4.99 per pack. For price comparison I will use the Size 3 which has 36 diapers per pack, making the cost 13.8 cents per diaper. Here are the current costs per diaper and equivalent price per pack of some other popular diapers based on onlin…

Super Simple Mac n' Cheese

Only three main ingredients makes this the easiest Macaroni and Cheese out there. Just as quick and painless as the box kind but double the quantity and less processed. Serves 4 - approx. $1.13 per serving Ingredients 16 oz. Reggano Elbow Macaroni 8 oz. SimplyNature Organic Sharp Cheddar, shredded 3/4 cup Friendly Farms Whole Milk salt and pepper to taste
Directions 1. Cook macaroni in a sauce pan according to package directions. 2. Return macaroni to sauce pan and add cheese and evaporated milk. 3. Cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted. 4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*We like to add Season's Choice frozen peas for "Mac n' Cheese n' Peas Please."

Homemade Tomato Basil Soup

Fantastic recipe to have a quick tomato soup with less sodium than the usual condensed varieties. Pictured with Pesto Grilled Cheese and garnished with fresh sweet basil. (You can buy basil seed seasonally at Aldi.)
Serves 4 as "cups" Cost per serving $.64 Ingredients 28 oz. can of SimplyNature diced tomatoes (USDA Organic) 1 stalk celery, chopped 2 T diced onion 1 T Stonemill Essentials Dried Basil 1 c. Friendly Farms Whole Milk  salt and pepper to taste
Directions 1. In sauce pan over medium heat, cook tomatoes, celery, onion, and basil until steaming. 2. With an immersion blender, blend until smooth. (You can also transfer to a traditional blender.) 3. Add milk, salt, and pepper and heat over low heat.
*Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. Freezes nicely in mason jars.

Cream Cheese Enchiladas

Cream Cheese Enchiladas This recipe is very flexible. In the past, I have added shredded zucchini, spinach, or mushrooms. Totally a matter of taste, but the cheese make a great base. Compliments to Emily and Carrie for the beginnings of this one!
Serves 4, Estimated cost per serving $1.08 Ingredients: 1 package Benita Flour Tortillas 1 8 oz. block Happy Farms Cream Cheese, softened 1 1/2 c. Happy Farms Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded 1 1/2 c. Happy Farms Sharp Cheddar or SimplyNature Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded 1/2 med. onion, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 c. Casa Mamita Mild Salsa or SimplyNature Mild Organic Salsa 1 T. Stonemill Essentials Cumin Optional Toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350* and set aside a 9x13 pan. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 c. Monterrey Jack, 1 c. cheddar, onion, bell pepper, avocado, 1/2 c. salsa, and cumin together with a fork. 3. Spoon filling into tortillas and roll up. Place …

Weekly Deals: April 2-8, 2014

ProduceCantaloupe $1.29 ea. Strawberries $1.29 ea. Pineapple $1.29 ea. Bananas $.29/lb. Anjou Pears $.99 4pk. Mangoes $.49 ea.
MeatBoneless Skinless Chicken Breast $1.69/lb (approx. 5 lb. family packs) Cattlemen's Ranch USDA Choice Filet $5.99/lb SimplyNature All Natural Spiral Sliced Ham $2.99/lb (8 lb. avg.)
Dairy/FridgeHappy Farms Cream Cheese or Fit and Active Neufchatel 8 oz. $.99  - stock up and freeze price Bake House Creations Crescent Rolls 8 oz. $.99 - going up next week 
SpecialtyEaster and Gardening Items this week