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ALDI Smoothie Challenge + Dinner (Tons of Recipes!)

Happy Wednesday! It’s a gloomy day here in Charlotte but good for productivity. I just finished teaching yoga and having coffee with a friend and now I’m hunkered down getting work done.

I’m so excited to share more of my ALDI test kitchen visit with you today. You can catch up on part one in this post. Overall, the whole experience was very hands-on and interactive. One of my favorite activities that we did during our time in the test kitchen was a smoothie challenge.

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We were brought into a test kitchen stocked with every ingredient you could possibly want for smoothie making. All of the ingredients were from ALDI. I wish that my kitchen at home had this many smoothie options!

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There were four work stations set up with blenders, juices, spices, yogurt and various milks.

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We had big trays for selecting and transporting our ingredients. It was a challenge to take a direction with your smoothie when there were so many ingredient options. I was careful to select a theme and keep it simple. It was tempting to just throw a ton of stuff in the blender!

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Each station had a test kitchen staff member who helped us with getting everything blended and ready to go. (Side note: the Kitchen Aid 5-Speed Blenders they used in the test kitchen did a GREAT job with all of the smoothies. I get asked for blender recs all the time!)

ALDI Hosts Bloggers at Corporate Headquarters in Batavia, Illinois

And then we submitted our smoothies for judging. You can see how super serious I was about this competition in this photo. I was in it to win it…I don’t take my smoothie making lightly! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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You can never go wrong with keeping it simple. I picked a theme and stuck with it. My smoothie was “nutty fruity” themed with spinach added in for an extra punch. The color was perfect and it tasted great! I will write a post about making smoothies that taste good and look pretty soon!

ALDI Hosts Bloggers at Corporate Headquarters in Batavia, Illinois

It was really interesting to travel around the table and see everyone’s combinations. There were some creative and great looking smoothies!

ALDI Hosts Bloggers at Corporate Headquarters in Batavia, Illinois

It got quiet in the room when the judging started. My smoothie was the first one they tried out of 10 so I was worried they’d forget it after tasting all the others but they came back at the end and gave it another taste…and my smoothie won second place in the challenge! The judges commented on how light and refreshing it was and how they’d love to have it on a summer day. Score for the nutty fruity!

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After the smoothie challenge we were served dinner. The spread was beautiful. I loved this Sunsational Saladย and I’m definitely adding it to my list of summer entertaining recipes.

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Zesty Italian Seasoned Roasted Broccoli.

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This pan of deliciousness is Lighter Baked Gnocchi Bologneseย and OH MY GOD…it was amazing. I loved that the recipe used gnocchi instead of pasta. It was such a great way to switch up an Italian bake.

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Tilapia with Tomato Chutney.

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Top Sirloin with Balsamic Avocado Salsa.

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All together on my plate with a glass of ALDI red wine. All of the food was made from ALDI products and test kitchen recipes. I couldn’t believe how flavorful and tasty it all was. I cleaned my plate!

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While we ate we listened to a presentation from Janice Stahl on food styling. She is a professional food stylist who frequently works with celebrity chefs and the Food Network. She styled all of the food you see in the photos above and also showed us how to style for smaller individual servings. She had some great takeaways…

– Always use white dishes, they are best for showcasing the food.
– Don’t buy holiday themed dishes, instead use decorative items like flower arrangements to set the theme for your meal
– Play around with things like cocktail glasses and votives for serving individual portions
– Use things like dried beans and chocolate chips to layer under food
– Garnishes can go a long way for adding color and depth

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After her presentation we enjoyed dessert. Would you believe that these chocolate cups are filled with Avocado Mousse? It didn’t taste like avocado at all. So good.

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There was also a healthy frozen Greek yogurt that was a cold and refreshing way to end the meal.

I really enjoyed my time in the ALDI test kitchen…it was a day full of learning and good food!

This post is sponsored by ALDI.ย 

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Shannon March 12, 2014, 10:07 am

    This is such a great post! First off, I love all the great lighting in all your photos. Clean, bright, and the white walls are so aesthetically nice to look at! ๐Ÿ™‚
    These recipes are so great! Definitely making my way to ALDI this week. I never knew they had so many healthy options!

    • 2
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:51 pm

      yes! i was totally shocked too. i’m a total convert now.

  • 3
    Dana March 12, 2014, 10:14 am

    I would LOVE a post on making good smoothies. I’ve switched to those for breakfast (from cereal), but I feel like I only have 2 different “recipes” that I go back and forth on and I’m getting really sick of them. Looking forward to that post!

    • 4
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:52 pm

      i will get it written! i hear you on the smoothie rut. i have some good tips!

  • 5
    Rebekah March 12, 2014, 10:44 am

    The frozen greek yogurt dessert looks amazing!
    http://acricketsang.blogspot.com/

  • 6
    mary @ minutes per mile March 12, 2014, 10:51 am

    wow, those are some serious eats! looks awesome. and thanks for the smoothie recipe — i’m finally making some green juice/smoothies now that it’s a tad warmer outside ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 7
    Amanda Bee March 12, 2014, 10:58 am

    I love all the creative food options!

  • 8
    Chelsea Bishop March 12, 2014, 10:58 am

    I love adding raw almonds to my smoothies! Try it with orange juice instead of almond milk. It will change your life. What was the winning smoothie recipe?

    • 9
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:52 pm

      oh, thanks for the tip. i will for sure try that!

  • 10
    Amanda March 12, 2014, 11:01 am

    Everything looks so yummy!!

  • 11
    Parita @ myinnershakti March 12, 2014, 11:29 am

    I made a green smoothie the other day and added everything in my fridge – 4 veggies and 4 different fruits! It was tasty, but I’m thinking simplicity is actually key because we couldn’t discern any one flavor! Love the sound of your creation and the addition of nuts.

    • 12
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:52 pm

      haha! love this!

  • 13
    Brittany @ Proteinandpumps March 12, 2014, 11:56 am

    Man, you’re really selling me on Aldi. I think it’s great they are making an effort to target more health-conscious individuals.

    • 14
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:53 pm

      i love that they are also bringing healthier items and education to their regular shoppers!

  • 15
    Leigh Anne @ livefitandrun March 12, 2014, 2:56 pm

    That food looks amazing! We don’t have an Aldi in New Orleans but we have one in my hometown. Next time I am home, I will have to go check it out.

    • 16
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:53 pm

      where do you shop in new orleans? what’s the big store there?

  • 17
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 12, 2014, 3:17 pm

    All the food looks so delicious – I have to admit we have an Aldi where I live and I am really tempted to go and try it out!

    • 18
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:53 pm

      GO! especially since y’all are on a budget with your man in school!!!!!

  • 19
    Kim @ FITsique March 12, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Great tips! I am still getting used to photographing food and eating up any tips I can get! All of that food looks so good. Especially the Lighter Baked Gnocchi Bolognese !!!

    • 20
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

      natural light and white dishes are huge. it’s a tricky thing. i do a ton of editing in post.

  • 21
    heidi March 12, 2014, 11:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing and for the blender recommendation. ๐Ÿ™‚ your smoothie sounds amazing!

  • 22
    Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} March 13, 2014, 10:04 am

    The smoothie sounds awesome! Loving all these Aldi recaps and I am a huge Aldi fan so this makes me super happy!

    • 23
      Jen March 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

      yay! thanks for reading and supporting!

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