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Earth Grown Vegan Flame & Grilled Soy Protein Burgers (Aldi)

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Gross. It had been a while since I'd last had a veggie burger, so when I saw Aldi would be carrying a soy patty, I figured I was overdue to have another one. I didn’t know what to expect—the only soy thing I think I’ve ever had was soy milk—but I was intrigued enough to pick some up to take to work for lunch. After all, no matter how it tasted, it would be better than a freakin’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich, of which I have had far too many over my 37 years of existence. The patties can be cooked in the oven or microwave; I just use the microwave. The package says to cook them for two minutes, but I always find that lesser is better—after 90 seconds in the microwave, these were very hot, to the point that I couldn't imagine leaving them in any longer. They have a delicious smoky scent with a hint of spice, a very welcome aroma, and the inclusion of grill marks were pretty cute. So far, so good! The flavor, on the other hand, is where it all starts going downhill. The taste

Gourmet Select Party Mix (Big Lots)

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Ladies and gentlemen, how not to design your packaging: Exhibit A. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you how not to design your packaging, and exhibit A is the set-up for Gourmet Select's Party Mix, which just looks so cheap and uninviting that my first instinct was to run far away from it. The only thing that calmed me down and assured me things might be okay was the price tag ($1 for a 6 oz. bag, which isn't bad at all), and the knowledge that I'd tried a couple Gourmet Select products in the past, and they were actually pretty good. Besides, how can you really screw up a party mix? This proves that you really can't, although it tries its damndest: there is just WAY too much salt. Like, an ungodly amount. I understand that a lot of party mixes are loaded with sodium, but when it becomes the only thing you can taste, then there's a big problem. This is a big shame, because all of the individual pieces themselves, from the corn and wheat cereal bits, to the rye ch

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

Fit & Active Vitality Cereal with "Red Berries" (Strawberries) (Aldi)

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Um...why are the strawberries referred to as "red berries" on the packaging? One thing you should probably know about me by now: I love cereal. All kinds of them. Whether they're mainly marketed toward children, adults, or even women, I couldn't care less: I will give them a try. In fact, I'd tried the name brand version of this already, and really liked the combination of sweet flakes and strawberries, so when I saw that Aldi carried a knockoff, I was excited to give it a shot. My interest was piqued when my wife, who is not at all a cereal lover, tried and it shot instantly up her list of favorite cereals. I had to have a bowl after that, and was impressed with what I tasted, even though trying the name brand beforehand pretty much prepared me directly for the experience, which is as follows: The flakes are what I would consider “lightly sweetened” and are nice and crunchy right out of the box. There's kind of an odd taste to them—it's real

Malt o' Meal Originals Blueberry Muffin Tops Cereal (Various)

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A hugely underrated cereal that admittedly requires one to have a pretty high tolerance for cloying sweetness. Earlier I reviewed Millville’s Blueberry Crunch Squares, a cereal that is available occasionally as a special buy through Aldi stores. I mentioned in that review that there doesn’t seem to be a “national brand”, making it one of the few cereals that seem to have been created by private labels. Well now, I will be reviewing the same offering through another popular private label, Malt o’ Meal, which was one of the first companies (if not THEE first), to put cereal inside large bags, thus omitting the box altogether. I don’t think I’ve hidden the fact that, as good as Aldi’s Millville cereal line is, I prefer Malt o’ Meal overall, as they seem to get even closer to national brand taste, while being just as inexpensive, or in some cases, even cheaper than, Millville cereals. In fact, I think Malt o’ Meal is the best private label cereal brand, period, so I always get excite

Elevation by Millville Chocolate Mint High Protein Bars (Aldi)

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Wow...these are some of the best chocolate-mint anythings I've ever had. You have thirty seconds to name for me a better combination than mint and chocolate. Exactly, you couldn’t do it, because it can’t be done. Chocolate and peanut butter probably comes the closest, but for my money, I love the delicious taste of chocolate blended with the cooling flavor (and the matching sensation) of a light mint. And that is how Elevation by Millville’s Chocolate Mint Protein Bar captured my attention: I have no urgent need for higher protein, but if I can get a few vitamins and minerals with some mint and chocolate, why not go for it? It’s almost a win-win! As I was expecting—or rather, hoping—this bar is phenomenal. A lot of “energy bars” or whatever these things tend to be called, are either bland, or have an off-putting grainy texture that I don’t like. This does have a slight graininess to it, but since it’s more or less a granola bar (at least in the bottom half), that’s comp