I finally get to share my ALDI test kitchen experience with all of you! To say it was amazing would be an understatement. I've had so many thoughts flowing through my head since last week and I am so anxious to type everything out. There will be tons of pictures....multiple posts....and plenty of recipes thrown in. 

I left Chattanooga last Thursday morning at 8. My sweet little boy and husband watched as I ventured out for my very first solo trip ever. (Yes, I am almost thirty and have never traveled alone....I'm really social and overprotected!)

I arrived in Geneva, Illinois around lunch time. The view from my balcony at the Herrington Inn and Spa was so pretty! I had an amazing view of the river. 

The real showstopper was the bathroom! I am a sucker for gorgeous bathrooms. 

I gathered with the other bloggers that afternoon to finally see the ALDI test kitchen! 

ALDI showed off their amazing Simply Nature and Fit and Active lines. 

We got to check out their most popular food picks and try them out. 

ALDI shares several recipes on their website. Dumb me always overlooked these recipes for some reason. Oh my goodness, you seriously need to try everything I show you! It was absolutely delicious!!!! 

We were able to do a blind taste test on several ALDI brand and name brand items. The overall top winner in the taste tests? ALDI no doubt! I was honestly surprised. I secretly thought I would pick the name brand more often. The quality, taste, and freshness of ALDI products simply cannot be beat. I don't know why I continue to let this surprise me! 

We were shown more creative recipes designed by the ALDI kitchen. I tried everything and it was sooo good! 

Sylvia Klinger shared some very startling facts with us about nutrition. 

Research shows the average American family spends approximately $2200.00 each year on groceries they don't eat, equating to about 20 pounds of food each month. 

The three countries with the lowest obesity rates have the highest rate of homemade meals. Who are they??? France, Italy and Spain! 

There are four nutrients of concern that we need to focus on in our food choices to achieve a healthier lifestyle: Calcium, Vitamin D, Fiber, and Potassium 

We were challenged to create nutrient rich, great tasting smoothies. I dream of having all of these beautiful ingredients easily available and chopped up at home! It was amazing to be able to just walk up, pick and choose everything you wanted, and just go with it. Did I mention I didn't have to clean up either????

I decided to pack in some serious flavor...

Looking back, I personally would leave out the peanut butter. Then again, I'm just picky...

Our dinner looked like pictures right from a gourmet food magazine! 

These are all ALDI recipes I will be sharing later on. They were beyond delicious! 

I could literally eat this salad every day.... It was that good! 

We got to try a little bit of everything! Shannyn made sure to sample both wines. 

She's seriously the cutest! 

My plate was filled, y'all! I come from the South and we know exactly how to eat. I threw all of my reservations out of the window during this trip and made sure to fully enjoy all of the food! Even though I've lost 80 pounds, I do treat myself from time to time. It's all about balance! 

Janice Stahl was absolutely wonderful! She is a highly successful food stylist who showed us exactly how simple it is to entertain on a budget. 

Entertaining at home is a dying art. So many people believe they are too busy or maybe it's too expensive to have friends or family over for dinner. With ALDI, that's simply not the case. 

When entertaining at home, Janice suggests using white dishes to allow your foods to shine! 

After a busy day, I had a long bath and snuggled up with a cookie and some milk. 

I also had some chocolate from ALDI. Normally, I don't buy chocolate at the store so I had no idea what I was missing. It was excellent! 

The next day I got to sleep in a bit before heading out for a store tour. 

I sat by the fireplace and had a cup of coffee before heading out for the day. 

(Yes, this was my first cup of coffee in weeks!)

We toured a store just a couple of miles from our hotel. 

Image Courtesy of Brian Kersey

We learned the how's and why's of ALDI. It was amazing to see all of the ways they cut costs while still focusing on the quality of their products. Speaking with any ALDI employee really showed how passionate they are about what they're doing. Everyone I spoke with really wanted to focus of bringing nutritious and affordable foods to the public.

Image Courtesy of Brian Kersey

Image Courtesy of Brian Kersey

Image Courtesy of Brian Kersey

Your Questions! 

Many of you wanted to know when an ALDI store would be added to your area. We were told that ALDI is doubling the number of store openings this year. Keep checking their website or Facebook page for upcoming news. 

ALDI labels their products very well. Look on the front or back of the products for the "Organic" or other healthy labels. 

ALDI does already offer plenty of frozen veggies without meat and sauces. My store also has canned fruit choices without added sugars. 

Many of you want more organic or gluten-free foods. Here's how it works: The ALDI test kitchen is working on expanding their choices. When the foods are in high demand at your local stores, it signals to ALDI that this is something they need to add to the regular line up. Look for the Special Buys in stores. This is where they are testing what is in demand! 

*** Coming up March 26th - ALDI is having an awesome special buy: Grass Fed Beef!!!! 

I am so thankful that ALDI gave me the chance to join them in their test kitchen. They are clearly as passionate about eating well as I am. I enjoying shopping in a store that cares about the health of my family as much as I do. 

* This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own! 

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