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Kroger Multi-Grain Honey Crisp Medley Cereal (Kroger)

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Oh no...I'm back to stealing stock images from grocery store websites. Just for the record: I feel like walking through Kroger is the equivalent of walking through the brain of a depressed person. It's just angry people walking through thousands upon thousands of square feet of unnecessary space, watched by hordes of zombie-like employees who would rather be anywhere but where they are now. And you can tell that because of the permanent look etched on their face while they are on the clock. I never feel better when I leave than when I walked in; on the contrary, I honestly feel a lot worse. Anyway, I somehow agreed to go with my wife to this craphole to pick up a couple things for the house. For some reason, she enjoys this shopping experience more than anywhere else, a completely baffling notion given the fact she gets as annoyed as I do in large crowds. To make this go quicker, I decided to break off from her, to navigate the cereal aisle on my own. After all, we were almost

Specially Selected Slow Cooked Broccoli & Cheddar Soup (Aldi)

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Does not live up to expectations. I avoid supermarket soups for the most part, mainly because of the high sodium content. I know, I know, lots of things have high sodium content these days, but with many of the canned kinds, the salt seems to carry most of the flavor. Therein lies the problem for me. I skimmed past these a few times over the years, until my wife fell in love with the national brand of “tubbed” soup, made by a company with “bread” in their name, and where you can expect to pay upwards of $20 just for a solo lunch. Considering she held that product in such high esteem, I decided to give this a shot, since it seems to be a private label version of that. Each soup retails for $2.49, which is a decent price considering all the soup you get. To me, soup is just kind of something you eat with a meal; to others that is the meal. Either way, I think there’s enough here to satisfy people on both sides of the fence. In fact, I was pretty much sick of it by the time I reached the

Clancy's Cinnamon Apple Straws (Aldi)

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In my opinion, better than the national brand. My wife and I (what an adorable little gal) have this little running “joke” (if that’s even the right term) that Aldi listens to our conversations when deciding what to offer for Special Buys. This came about because it seems every single thing we say we need (or just want) - whether it be some shoes for our child, socks for me, shirts for my wife, or stuff for the home - ends up in the following week’s Aldi ad. I’m not a believer in “fate”, or any idea like that, but it really has happened enough times that it’s almost bizarre (even though I’m sure it’s just marketing and psychology doing their parts). The latest example of this: Clancy’s Cinnamon Apple Straws. My wife had just purchased the national brand apple straws just the other day (after not buying any for over a year) and, voila! That next week, Aldi’s version appears in the ad. Even though she had a couple bags of the “original” at home, I decided to splurge on Clancy’s version,

Elevation Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt Nut Bar (Aldi)

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Not really worth the excessive price tag. Here we have a single bar, which retails at the checkout counter for $1.19. That’s a little steep for an Aldi product, but whatever...it’s like the opposite of impulse buys in the past, because at least it’s semi-healthy for you. Anyway, this one seems a little more straightforward than the previous one’s curious mix of chocolate and cinnamon (which was refreshingly unique): this one just blends caramel, almonds, and sea salt. Meh, whatever. But still, I felt it was my sworn duty to give it a shot, and so I grabbed it anyway. The appearance is that of any other “nut bar” these days: a bunch of loosely-connected nuts of various shapes and sizes, all glued together by some unseen force, and then topped off with a layer of caramel-flavored coating on both the top and the bottom. The coating is reminiscent of the kind on the “sweet and salty” bars, although I already know going in there’s no way this is going to be sweet...these bars seem to alway

Margarita's Rice Pudding (Dollar Tree)

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Don't let the cheap, off-putting font steer you away from this one. I had never had rice pudding, until I stumbled on a Mexican-themed brand - that roughly translates to “Mr. Ricardo” - at Aldi a few years back. Why, you may be wondering? It probably has a lot to do with the name: while I like pudding, I don’t particularly like rice (except with Chinese food), and so the combination of those two rather disparate things just didn’t sound like a winning blend in my book. Then my wife bought a container of it from Aldi...and I fell in love. Well, “love” might be a rather strong term here, as it’s not something I can eat all the time (I learned that the hard way), but it’s certainly leapfrogged a few other dessert items to hold a place somewhere in my esteemed list of “Top 100 Desserts I've Had”. (To be clear, it would be closer to 100, but it would probably be in there.) Then I noticed a container of rice pudding at Dollar Tree, under the Margarita’s banner, and even though my bra