A slightly random post this Thursday but hey, what is Thursday without a touch of the random? Just your average weekday, sandwiched sadly between hump day and TGIF. Poor old Thursday, you gotta feel for it a little. Getting back to today’s post which will no doubt make Thursday that little more quirky, I’m talking Aldi. More specifically, what I buy when I shop at Aldi. Slightly different to my usual posts, but as a deeply committed lover of the supermarket chain, I’ve been pondering posting about it for weeks and was given the spark I needed by an online friend who has recently converted and was asking for suggestions on what to look for. Seems I’m not the only Aldi aficionado out there either as there were plenty of others keen to impart their wisdom.
I made the conversion from Coles/Woolies to Aldi a couple of years back but didn’t really become a complete die hard fan till after Ollie was born. Suddenly the word ‘budget’ was being bandied about far more regularly than ever before and I started looking into ways that our grocery shopping spend could be curtailed slightly.
My initial reservations all centred around the nutritional value of the food. As someone who tries to shop and eat as healthily as possible, I wasn’t sure Aldi would be the right place to stock up on the stuff I needed. I’m fussy about my meat and try to buy organic when possible and I just didn’t know if that kind of stuff filled the shelves of my local store. Turns out, my initial fears were unfounded as there’s a rather impressive selection of free range, grass fed and organic products in the fridge and on the shelves. The best bit? The majority is significantly cheaper than what I used to pay at Coles and Woolies, either for the lines they carried or their own brand organics. I still feel smug when I check out at Aldi and think of the cash I’m saving, especially when I’ve bought EXACTLY the same stuff I might have bought elsewhere in the past (and hence know the price of).
I try and shop fortnightly where possible as I am lazy and dragging a toddler out weekly is akin to rubbing my eyeballs with a mixture of salt and tequila. I also find that I save more when I shop in bulk. As we now live in a relatively ‘small town’, I also try and support local businesses where possible so the stuff I don’t buy from Aldi, tends to come from there meaning that stretching out my visits usually works pretty well as I can hit the butcher/green grocer etc one week and Aldi the next.
Here’s what I usually stock my trolley with…
– Damora Brown Rice Crackers – Free from the nasties you find in some brands of crackers, this brown rice version is a hit with the toddler and great with cheese.
– Damora Crispbread Wholemeal – The Aldi version of Cruskitts. I don’t eat em’ but the toddler does and he reckons they taste great with some smashed avocado and fetta or a smear of nut butter.
– Just Organic Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Organic and Aussie grown and processed. Can’t really beat that!
– Just Organic Fair Trade Black And Green Tea Bags – Organic, fair trade and they taste good. Enough said.
– Just Organic Fair Trade Dark And Milk Chocolate Blocks – I always have a block (or 2) of chocolate stashed in the fridge.. for other people and not myself of course. I’ve used both these varieties to cook with (and eat with) and more than happy to choose them over Cadbury.
– Mamia Nappies And Nappy Bags – We use cloth nappies 80% of the time around these parts but for overnight and when out and about, I can’t fault the Mamia brand of nappies.
– Just Organic Diced Tomatoes And Tomato Paste – I always stock up on tinned tomatoes and tomato paste when I’m at Aldi. These are both as good as other (non organic) brands I’ve used.
– Just Organic Basil And Garlic Pasta Sauce – A pantry staple.
– Casa Barelli Potato Gnocchi – Another pantry staple for when I don’t want to make gnocchi from scratch.
– Just Organic Spaghetti – My son loves ‘sghetti’ and is quite happy to hoover down a bowl of this stuff.
– Ocean Royale Hoki Fillets (Skinless) – A great freezer staple. These are sustainably caught and make fab fish fingers.
– Elmsbury Puff Pastry – Not exactly a ‘health’ food but just as good as the name brand with pretty much exactly the same ingredients.
– Vaalia Kids Yoghurt – I’m not really a fan of ‘kids’ yoghurt, nor am I that enamoured with flavoured yoghurt in general as its usually so high in sugar BUT I have bought these on occasions to pop into the kindy lunchbox as I tried sending a small pot of organic, natural yoghurt and a spoon and it was thoroughly rejected (son was too busy playing to sit down and eat afternoon tea). I now send these on alternate weeks and apparently they are hoovered down in less than 2 minutes.
– Just Organic Butter – Butter as butter should be.
– Broad Oak Farms Free Range Chicken Breast Fillets And Whole Chicken – I am verrrrry picky when it comes to meat. It’s one of those things that I am willing to pay that extra bit more for, just to ensure good quality and humane treatment of the animals. I do a lot of my meat shopping at our amazing local butcher but can’t go past the free range breast fillets and whole chook available at my local Aldi. I usually buy double of each so that I can freeze for later weeks.
– Just Organic Beef Mince or Highland Park Grassfed Premium Beef Mince – When my ‘cow-pool’ stash in the freezer runs out, I buy my mince in bulk and freeze it. We use mince for loads of stuff around here and having 1kg-2kg in the freezer always comes in handy.
– Highland Park Grassfed Premium Beef Eye Fillet – We usually get some steak in our ‘cow-pool’ but if I need or want more, or when we’ve exhausted our freezer stash, this is the stuff I go for. Incredibly tender the perfect portion size.
– Berg Provedore Chorizo Twin Pack – I’m very partial to good chorizo and like to have a couple in the freezer to jazz up pasta/frittatas etc. I really like the taste of these ones and they’re far cheaper than our local deli.
– Emporium Selection Fetta Cheese Or Halloumi – I can’t be without one (or both) of these in the fridge for salads and general snackage. The halloumi in particular is delicious.
– Westacre Shredded Mozzerella And Tasty Cheese Block – We seem to eat a hell of a lot of cheese in this house and a bag of mozzerella and big block of tasty seems to sustain us for the fortnight between shops.
Other stuff: Cat food, Dog Treats (the dental bone chew things are insanely cheap, compared the the name brand versions), toilet paper, hand towel, Green Action dishwashing liquid (similar to Earth Choice) and at the moment, the chocolate mini hot cross buns!