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Showing posts with the label juices and smoothies

Nature's Nectar Green Blend Organic Cold Pressed Juice (Aldi)

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Wow, the walls at work are gross. As I've mentioned before, it’s always a great thing when corporations latch onto current health trends and run the original ideas into the ground—here’s Aldi’s stab at making shelf stable cold pressed juices, which takes away the point of cold pressed juice to begin with. As near as I can tell, cold pressed juices are typically preservative-free, and often squeezed right in front of the customer to ensure that it’s as fresh as possible. (Actually, this one technically has no preservatives, either, which makes me wonder how it’s good for over a year past the purchase date if unopened…) The "juice" is comprised of just five ingredients: kale juice, apple puree, green apple puree, celery juice, and lemon juice...and it definitely tastes like an aimless combination of all of them, which is true to cold-pressed juice form. There is a semi-faint tartness that hits the back of the throat, which I’m sure is mostly the lemon juice (with an assist

Trader Joe's Very Green 100% Juice Smoothie (Trader Joe's)

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Very green, and very good. I’m a sucker for smoothies. And so, of course, when we went to Trader Joe’s for literally the first time in over three years, what else would be one of the few non-food things to catch my eye? Actually, I seemed to remember trying these at some point back when my wife (briefly) worked there, and wanted to see if my memory was even remotely accurate, which it never is. The only thing making me pause for thought: the $2.99 price tag for a 16 oz. bottle which, come to think of it, is curiously around the exact same price for a bottle of the name brand stuff… Anyway, I haven’t compared ingredients between the two (and at this point, I probably won’t), but I’m pretty sure that’s precisely what this is. It’s a very sweet, very tasty combination of five fruits and seven vegetables that goes down smooth, without any bizarre or off-putting aftertaste, vegetable or otherwise. In other words, it's inherently drinkable, and something that's along the lines

Simply Nature Kids Apple Sweet Potato and Blueberry Squeezable Pouch

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A delicious product for kids and parents alike! For some reason, I've been drawn more and more to kids products lately (it's either because we have one, or because I've always been predisposed to think like a child). Now, it's gotten to the point where I get excited seeing a new kind yogurt tube, or kids juice in the weekly Aldi ad. This “kid fever” has also spread to my wife, as we both tend to try all of the various juices and snacks that we give our son. It's a good way to know specifically what kind of flavors he likes, but mainly I just like stealing his stuff because most of it is sweet and delicious and tastes like innocence. Enough about our oddities: we have a review to focus on. And today it's Simply Nature Kids' Apple, Sweet Potato, and Blueberry Squeezie, a kind of pulp-like smoothie that is marketed toward kids, but would also be a great option for older babies. It has almost the exact same consistency as applesauce, and each 3.2 oz. pouc

Nature's Nectar 100% Frozen From Concentrate Orange Juice (Aldi)

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Not great, but still good to have on hand as a backup for when you run out of refrigerated juice. I won’t bore you with personal details, but let’s just say that my wife and I have been looking at ways to cut costs recently. Whereas we used to be able to spend whatever we wanted at Aldi, now we’ve been reduced to using gift certificates my parents bought for us, and keeping our food budget to the bare minimum. One of the ways that we decided to do this, was to purchase frozen orange juice, instead of the pre-bottled kind, which would save us at least a couple of quarters per shopping trip. The end result was a mixed bag: She ended up loving the frozen kind, which isn’t surprising considering I found it to be more tart than OJ in a bottle (or carton), and she’s all over anything that’s tart. On top of it being too sour for me, I also thought it tasted more watered down than normal, which could be a side effect of having to add water to the non-concentrated pillar that comes out

Nature's Nectar 100% Juice Mango Tangerine (Aldi)

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This is a nice, flavorful change of pace from more "standard" juice fare. Lately, I’ve been trying to be a little more health-conscious, especially when it comes to juices. Nothing too extreme, because I figure every little bit helps (so I don‘t require anything organic), but whereas I used to just purchase whatever was cheapest, now I don’t mind spending a couple extra quarters to get full juice content. This way, I at least tend to avoid the plethora of added sugars that come with the “juice cocktail” territory. I’ve been pretty impressed with all of Aldi’s juices (most, if not all, of which are released under the “Nature’s Nectar” brand name) and make sure to have a little something on hand at any given time, either for straight-up enjoyment (apple, grape juices), or as a mixer in cocktails. So when I see them offering new varieties and flavors, I don’t usually hesitate to pick them up. Enter Nature’s Nectar 100% Mango Tangerine Juice. I’ve only recently become a m

Cosmic Fruit Smoothies Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie (Dollar Tree)

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Not only is this "not bad", it's actually genuinely good! I was at Dollar Tree with my wife the other day, and was bored. We had just bought a present for a one-year-old girl (the daughter of our good friends) and were looking at some inexpensive ways to wrap/present it. Actually, that line translates to, “My wife was looking for inexpensive ways to wrap/present it while I was wandering around the store.” Wrapping is certainly not my forte, as anyone who has ever seen one of my presents can attest.  I had actually just received the go-ahead that we were ready to go when my eyes locked up on this product, almost tucked away on the top shelf of a cooler. I had walked by this area three times and somehow missed it every single one of those times. I went in for a closer look—what was in that small plastic bottle with the unassuming label? Just a juice? As I got closer, I got noticeably excited...this wasn't “just a juice”, but rather a fruit smoothie! The label i

Cosmic Fruit Smoothies Galactic Berry Fruit Smoothie (Dollar Tree)

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One of the "healthiest", best values at "The Tree". Well what do we have here? Why, it's a Galactic Berry fruit smoothie! It consists of 1/5 banana, 2 strawberries, 4 blackberries, 4 raspberries, and 2 whole apples. Not a bad roster for just $1. For anyone that might be off-put by the lack of thickness in the strawberry banana smoothie, which I previously reviewed, well...it only gets worse here, because this is basically just straight-up juice. Kind of makes me wonder why there's a need for any thickening agents at all in this one, really. Again, though, these complaints also carry over to the national brand, so there are no points deducted on this one for that. The aroma is also very close to the national brand, at least from what I remember, though it has been quite a while since I've had it. I can't really recall how accurate the taste is with absolute certainty, because the national brand berry variant is not one of my favorites, but there&

Nature's Nectar Calcium & Vitamin D No Pulp 100% Pure Squeezed Orange Juice (Aldi)

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Tastes a little weak to me, but pretty darn good for the price. Orange juice is tasty and healthy, so I like having it on hand more often than not. I used to get the kind in the cheap plastic carton, which I believe was “from concentrate” (meaning water is added to it), because it was quite a bit cheaper. Well now the prices have gotten so close that it seems pointless to pay for what amounts to “diluted” orange juice—now I just buy the OJ in the carafes. It’s “never from concentrate”, meaning that it is just straight up orange juice, with zero added ingredients; I’m not so health-conscience that I’m above “from concentrate” juices, but if the uncut stuff is just ten cents more, it seems like a no-brainer to me. As you can infer just from reading the label, this does have the added ingredients of tricalcium phosphate, calcium lactate, and Vitamin D3. I’m not sure what any of them do specifically (besides add Vitamin D and Calcium, of course), but more vitamins seem like a go

Nature's Nectar 100% Juice Fruit Punch (Aldi)

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Tastes very similar to the national brand, but won't break the bank. I have one question to ask that's been on my mind for a while. The answer is probably pretty obvious, and it's to no one in particular, but I think about it every time I pick up a product that claims it is “100% juice”: How can it be 100% juice when there are other ingredients added? I understand cases where the juice is the only ingredient listed, but this, for example, has four juices from concentrate, plus natural flavors, plus citric acid and vitamin C. Is there so little of the other stuff that it adds up to less than 1%? While you're contemplating the answer to that question, I've already Googled it, and as everything else in the U.S., it's an answer that's more complicated than it should be. If I understand correctly, the FDA has a method for calculating juice percentages for juices from concentrate. In the concentration process, water is removed from the fruit, usually via hea

Nature's Nectar Wild Cherry Flavored Juice Pouches (Aldi)

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Even as an adult, I suck at getting the straw through the little circle...and the taste isn't worth the effort. Aaaah, the juice pouch. While other kids' drinks were in boxes, one company had to come along and put it in a pouch instead. One of my favorite childhood memories involves trying to poke that sharp straw through the small hole at just the right angle that it would puncture it and go into the drink, instead of impaling the pouch all the way through, forcing me to basically shotgun it so that all the juice didn't leak out. To be a kid again.  I'm actually finding I still have the same struggles...I managed to poke the hole open without getting the straw in, and when my wife went to show me how to do it (she's a pro), she got juice all over the place, thanks to my error. Oops. (At least I can say from my failures that the drink is clear, so chances are good there aren't any artificial colors inside). Thanks to the extra hole she pre-scored right under

Simply Nature Kids Fruit-ariffic Punch Organic Juice Drink (Aldi)

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Not for children: Tastes like it's all water, with barely any juice. In case it's not obvious how much of a child I am, I have wanted to try a good number of the items in the Simply Nature Kids line, but have yet to do so. All of their products seem really “fun”, at least in the way advertisements make children's food products seem “hip” and “cool”, even though all you do is eat them, which isn't fun at all. The packaging is also adorable, sticking to a simple color scheme, while not going overboard on the cutesy designs (for example, the bottle to the Fruit-ariffic Punch features a real picture of strawberries, grapes, and watermelon, complete with drawn-on faces and appendages on a couple of them). I'm honestly unsure of why I have never tried anything, despite always taking an interest in the kids items that are available. A few things have been a little too expensive for me, and of course there have been a couple that just didn't appeal to my tastes,

Simply Nature Kids Berry-Licious Lemonade Organic Juice Drink (Aldi)

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Juice? Tastes like this is at least 90% water. Well, we're back with a SimplyNature Kids organic juice product, and if you read my review of the Fruitastic Fruit Punch, you pretty much know what to expect this time around. Once again, this is basically a severely watered-down juice product that I can't see any kid enjoying. The taste is very, very light, and there's virtually no detectable sweetness. Despite all this, though, I will say that I found this one to be better than the fruit punch, because the lightness benefits this one a little more. Whereas fruit punch is one of my favorite flavors, and should also be—as the name suggests—a collection of powerful-tasting fruit juices, lemonade can sometimes be a little too sour or tangy when full strength. Since the flavor is weaker, this prevents that from ever being an issue. The berries unfortunately also suffer the same fate, and although I would have liked for those to taste much stronger, there's really noth

Nature's Nectar Tropical Boost Smoothie (Aldi)

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It's an accurate replica of the national brand...which in this case is rather unfortunate. All thanks to Aldi, I've gotten into Bolthouse Farms smoothies: they started carrying their Green Goodness flavor over a year ago, for a ridiculously good price, and so I made a point to buy them frequently. Even now, with the price having gone up a full 40 cents (from $2.95 to $3.35), it's still a pretty good deal for the 32 oz. drinks; while looking for them at a supermarket, I was appalled to find that the typical retail price of the large bottles is around $4.50.   Well the main plus to when Aldi parades around a name-brand product, is that we can generally plan on seeing an Aldi-brand version of it arrive sooner or later: true-to-form, they began rolling out their own private-label recreations of these smoothies late last year. Perhaps a little surprisingly, the flavors have been largely hit-or-miss, with some tasting very similarly to their name-brand counterpart (and keep i

Nature's Nectar Multi-Vitamin Orange Smoothie (Aldi)

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"Multi-vitamin" isn't just a catchphrase...this bottle is loaded with good stuff! I just reviewed the Tropical Boost smoothie from Nature's Nectar, so now it's time to turn our attention to the other one available during the same Special Buy cycle: Multi-Vitamin Orange. I have yet to try this in the national brand, and so I really didn't know what to expect of it before trying it. I mean, even amateur sleuths can see that it's going to have something to do with orange, but given all the different fruits that go into these drinks, along with the assertion that there are “multiple vitamins” in the title, that can sometimes skewer the taste into something that's only vaguely like the title suggests (just look at the tropical mess that the Tropical Boost turned out to be). This one took me a few servings to really sink in and allow me to wrap my head around all that it has to offer. The first serving was all about taste, though that was kind of unfa

Nature's Nectar Blendz Peach & Mango 100% Juice (Aldi)

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Fantastic. I’m a pretty big fan of Nature’s Nectar Blendz line, which consist of 100% fruit AND vegetable juices, a statement that’s based entirely on their strawberry banana version.  The first time I tried it, I was taken aback at how sweet it was, and how accurate the strawberry banana flavor managed to be, even though there were ten different juices in it.  Even though it's one of my favorite juices from the discount grocer, it's not one that I tend to get all the time, instead relegating it to every couple of months when I want something a little bit different from the typical orange and apple juices. Well on my latest trip to Aldi, I saw that they were offering a new flavor: Peach and Mango!  Now, I love peach, and although I like mango a lot more than I used to (which wasn’t at all), I’m still not sold on being a huge fan.  I went ahead and grabbed it on a whim, as we were getting ready to head to the checkout line and I just remembered that I hadn’t grabbed a

Nature's Nectar Blendz Strawberry Banana 100% Juice (Aldi)

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Who knew vegetable and fruit juices could work so well together? I’m always into trying new juices, especially now that I’m trying to minimize the amount of soda that I drink.  Of course the down side to this, is juices often have a ton of sugar, sometimes close to the amount found in a serving of soda, but it’s at least counterbalanced with an abundance of vitamins.  That’s a trade-off I’m willing to take (and if I’m not, I’ll just drink water). Enter Nature’s Nectar Blendz, which somehow purport to blend both fruit and vegetable juices into a drinkable juice blend.  Even on paper this idea sounds pretty preposterous, and not at all delicious, but I nevertheless first decided to try their strawberry banana version a couple of years ago.  Since then, it has become one of my staple juice choices to grab every time we visit Aldi stores. Why?  At the risk of sounding like a commercial, it’s a great way to combine a servings of fruits and a serving of vegetables (per 8 ounces),

Nature's Nectar Berry Blue Smoothie (Aldi)

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It's more of a "juice" than a "smoothie" and tastes pretty uninspiring. I’ve already mentioned a few times that I go nuts for these Aldi-brand smoothies--I’m always sure to try them ASAP--so let’s take a look at their Berry Blue, which my wife was more excited to try than I was, berries being her favorite fruits, and all. Unlike the strawberry-banana smoothie, this one is way more watery; its texture is much closer to a juice than an actual smoothie.  This put off my wife from the outset, as she prefers Naked’s version, which is super-thick.  The matter of texture doesn’t really bother me all that much, so when my wife was inevitably disappointed, citing it was “too sweet”, I eagerly agreed to finish off the rest. All I have to say is, she’s right.  We tend to have totally varying taste buds, but we both were in agreement that Berry Blue falls well short of the mark.  On top of it being really sweet, it has a rather bizarre aftertaste; just like Nature‘s

Nature's Nectar Strawberry Banana Smoothie (Aldi)

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Thick, and delicious! A few weeks back we took a look at Aldi’s first smoothie offerings, which seem to be a takeoff of Bolthouse Farms products.  Imagine my delight when the Aldi ad revealed that they would be offering two more: strawberry banana (my favorite!) and berry blue; since my wife and I already had grocery shopping to do, I went ahead and scooped up the strawberry banana the first day it was made available. I don’t think I’ve ever had the national brand strawberry banana smoothie, but I can’t see it being any better than this.  As with most of their smoothies, this features 100% juice; also as can be expected, strawberries and bananas factor in the most, though the juice from apples and pears also factor in to round out the taste.  The texture is perfect; it’s not too thin, not too thick, so it goes down easy.  Of course, just about anything with strawberry and banana is going to be pretty sweet, and this is no exception; there’s a relatively strong 29g of sugar p

Nature's Nectar Mango Medley Smoothie (Aldi)

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Can't say that either of us are impressed with this...at all. To summarize the long backstory told in a previous review: One of my favorite-ever drinks is Bolthouse Farms’ Green Goodness; my wife’s is Naked’s Mango smoothie beverage.  Lo and behold, Aldi is offering Nature’s Nectar (their brand of juice beverages) Super Green and Mango Medley smoothies as a Special Buy in their stores.  As far as I can tell, both of them are knocking off Bolthouse Farms’ versions of these beverages, so how well do they stack up? The reason my wife enjoys Naked’s mango smoothie so much is because of the texture; whereas just about all of these drinks call themselves “smoothies”, many of them are lighter than a smoothie.  In other words, while thicker than the average juice, they’re still closer to the consistency of a liquid than they are an actual smoothie.  The mango version, however, is a lot thicker than most, which really does give it a thickness that could safely be considered “smoothie

Nature's Nectar Super Green Smoothie (Aldi)

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I promise you it does not taste like sewer water, as its look would suggest. Aldi has always been a great place to buy private label brands, often made in the same factories as the major ones, all for a fraction of the price.  However, as more and more national brands make their way into Aldi stores, I can’t help but feel a slight sense of, for lack of better term, betrayal.  For example, Aldi used to have a huge pallet filled with their off-brand sports drinks (Infuse), which were just as good as the more expensive stuff.  But now, it’s the national brands with the huge pallet, while Infuse gets sequestered into a tiny shelf space.  Ditto that for their sodas, which have now been replaced with large displays of Coke.  While I don’t think for a second that Aldi will eventually abandon their lower price goods, in favor of becoming just another supermarket (after all, it is their private-label business that has gotten them as far as they have come to begin with), it’s still som