Over The Top Mommy


Anaheim Welcomes a Brand New Northgate Market And It’s Beautiful!

This post was sponsored by Gigasavvy. All opinions are 100% my own

A brand-new Northgate Market opened in Anaheim on July 20th and it’s beautiful! I don’t often use that word to describe a grocery store but in this case, it’s completely appropriate!northgate-market-truckNorthgate decided to throw a giant community party in the parking lot, in honor of the Grand Opening and generously offered to provide the first 300 customers in line with a free bag of groceries.northgate-market-communityThere must have been about 1000 people in that line and it turns out that 100 more free bags of groceries were handed out additional guests, making 400 recipients total. That is so generous!northgate-market-folkloricoSeveral sponsors were also on hand at the event, greeting shoppers in the line outside, as well as pass out goodies to them. Inside the store, there was mariachi music and folklórico dancers continuing the celebration.

Have YOU Heard of Northgate Markets? 
If you aren’t familiar with Northgate Markets yet, they are successful group of grocery stores run by the Gonzalez Reynoso Family.through-their-history Their stores are known for offering a sizable section of domestic and imported Latin American grocery goods to customers, however, they also offer so much more than that. (Keep reading to learn more.) Personally, I love to give my business to establishments that are not only family run, but run based on family values.

Northgate Markets Have Evolved
If you saw any of the pictures I posted on my Instagram during the Grand Opening celebration, you got a peek inside how wonderful all of the store’s offerings are. I had more than one person bring up the topic of speaking Spanish or needing to speak Spanish to go into this market. I’m bilingual, and speak fluent Spanish,but  I can assure you that you don’t need to Speak Spanish to shop at Northgate. Also, you’ll notice that the labels, signs, and even store advertisements are also printed in both Spanish and English.northgate-market-bilingual-signsAfter touring and shopping at this store, I could see how considerate they were in planning what to offer customers. I was pleasantly surprised to see an extensive variety of organic fruits and vegetables, in addition to other sought-after organic foods.-northgate-market-organic-produceI was amazed when I passed several different sections of Grab-n-Go items, including family meals. There were salads, cut up fruit, sandwiches, tamales, sopas, so many choices! I wish I worked next door so I could come over at lunch and “Grab n’ Go” every day!

5 Things That Wow-ed Me About Northgate Market!
I don’t even know where to start with this. The entire store is amazing! In addition to regular and Latin American groceries, the store also has several specialty food areas. Here are just 5 of my favorite areas in the store:

  • The amazing produce section which features a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including organics, and offering some exotic and hard-to-find items. I should also mention how great the produce prices are. Just look at the prices on the signs in my pictures!


  •  The seafood selection and ceviche bar is the place for seafood lovers to come.There’s a huge selection of all kinds of fish, ceviche, and even sushi! northgate-market-seafood-and-cevichenorthgate-market-more-seafood
  • Guacamole made to order (that you can sample) and a salsa bar northgate-market-guacamole-and-salsa-bar


  • The in-store working tortilleria was where I spent a good amount of time. It’s so much fun to see exactly how the tortillas are made from masa to where they’re packaged. You can even sample fresh, hot tortillas out of the oven. It’s the place many shoppers come when they’re looking for the freshest ingredients for their authentic meals. northgate-market-tortillerianorthgate-market-fresh-tortillas
  • The coffee bar is located at the front of the store and offers a variety of coffees and drinks. It’s the perfect place to grab “cafe para llevar” or “coffee to go” at the beginning of your shopping trip! By the way, they also sell Pan Dulce here, in case you can’t make it to the other side of the store where the panderia is! northgate-market-cafe-para-llevar-signnorthgate-market-cafe-para-llevar
  • I think my most favorite part of the store was the panaderia/bakery area! I have a big sweet tooth and a weekness for pan dulce. Between the smells of freshly baked break, the case of freshly baked cookies, and all of the other goodies, this was the place I spent the most time in the store!

northgate-market-galletasnorthgate-market-pan-dulcenorthgate-market-cookieSo, if I haven’t made it clear yet, you need to stop by the newest Northgate Market in Anaheim. I know you’re going to love it as much as I did! The new Northgate Market is located at 2030 E. Lincoln Ave. Anaheim, CA 92086. northgate-markets-flowers

Here are just a few of the other Orange County Northgate Market locations:

  • W La Palma Ave / Anaheim: 720 W La Palma Ave, Anaheim, CA 92801
  • W 17th St. / Santa Ana: 1623 W 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
  • Lincoln Ave / Buena Park: 6991 Lincoln Ave, Buena Park, CA 90620

To locate a Northgate Market in LA, Orange County, or San Diego nearest you, go here.

Connect with Northgate Markets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

A New School Year With Better Nutrition Including a2 Milk®

This post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review

It’s almost the start of another school year! After a nice, relaxing summer, it’ll be time to get organized and prepare for the change in schedule again, one which isn’t so relaxing.dont-go-summerSolving Back-to-School Challenges
During the school year, one of the biggest challenges for me as a mom is my daughter’s nutrition. Getting my daughter to actually eat something for breakfast, in the midst of a hectic morning, can be difficult. It seems like we’re so busy rushing around and getting ready for school on weekday mornings, that it leaves her little to no time for eating breakfast. breakfast-with-a2-milkIt’s important for kids to start their day off with good nutrition though. They need to eat in the morning, before school, so they can power through a morning filled with learning. My ideal vision of breakfast for my daughter includes a glass of a2 Milk® paired with something like cereal or oatmeal and some fruit.  back-to-school-with-a2-milk2In the afternoon, after school, my daughter is always famished. I like to give her a snack after school. Luckily she’s a milk drinker, so I give her another serving of a2 Milk® with her after school snack, which usually consists of fruit, cheese, nuts, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or something along those lines. I never really know if she actually ate her lunch or not. Sometimes socializing at lunchtime is more important than eating lunch! after-school-snack-with-a2-milkLet’s Talk About a2 Milk®
Have you tried a2 Milk® yet? Up until I discovered it about 6 months ago, I had self-diagnosed myself as “lactose intolerant”.  This milk is amazing and helps people like me, who experience tummy troubles (or post-dairy digestive discomfort). It’s real milk! It’s just produced from specially selected a2 cows, whose milk is naturally free of the A1 protein. The A1 protein is what causes many people’s discomfort after drinking regular milk or eating regular dairy products.

My daughter didn’t self-diagnose herself but I stopped giving her very much milk, unless it was used to cook with or already in a product. I just noticed that it affected her the way milk affected me. I was so happy to discover a2 mllk because it meant that my family didn’t have to go without drinking milk. An independent study showed 1 in 4 Americans have discomfort after drinking milk; yet only 5-7% of the population has been clinically diagnosed with a lactose intolerance medical condition.back-to-school-with-a2-milk-in-storeI found my a2 Milk® in the dairy section of the Ralph’s I shop at, but it’s available at other retailers as well. To find a store nearest you that carries it, click hereback-to-school-with-a2-milkSo are you ready for Back-to-School? Somehow it rolls around whether we want it to or not! What are some of your favorite ways to make sure your kid(s) get the necessary dairy servings in their daily diet? Do you have any favorite after school snack recipes? Share with me.

To learn more about the a2 Milk Company™, click here. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Fresh Brothers Pizza Opens 2 New Orange County Locations in Laguna Niguel & Newport Mesa

As fans of Fresh Brothers Pizza, our family couldn’t be happier about the opening of their two newest locations in Laguna Niguel and Newport-Mesa! With 14 locations already open in LA and Orange County, the 2 new stores make 16 total! Did I mention that one of the new stores is literally a hop, skip & a jump from our home? When it opened, it was like Christmas came early and we jumped for joy about it! My daughter actually did all he jumpiing as you can see at the end of this short video of our visit there:

Only the Freshest Ingredients
Fresh Brothers Pizza is way more than ordinary pizza though. I mean, their pizza is fabulous and differs from other places? Why? Well, the word “Fresh” is part of the name because they only use the freshest ingredients in their sauces, their dough, and the toppings on the pizzas. This actually holds true for their delicious salads and other food items on the menu. We want to feed our families the freshest and best foods, especially on occasions when it’s necessary to eat away from home or even when we bring in. fresh-brothers-pizza-emi-and-iSpecial Menu Offerings for Dietary Restrictions 
Not only does Fresh Brothers Pizza offer the freshest foods but they’re also considerate of those with gluten sensitivities. Most people know usually think of pizza as an option on a gluten-free diet, but Fresh Brothers offers gluten-free options on their menu. That’s a win-win for a lot of families! They also offer vegan menu items. fresh-brothers-pizza-emi-pizzaSome of My Favorite Menu Items
You probably got a peek at some of my favorite Fresh Brothers menu items if you saw me my Instagram during the grand opening week of the Laguna Niguel store. fresh-knots I will fully admit that I’m a creature of habit and find it necessary to order a couple of the same items on every visit. Obviously pizza, but I also can’t resist the Greek Town Special salad, Fresh Knots, and Meatball Sliders. fresh-brothers-pizza-greek-town-special-saladWhen they recently added Sweet Knots to the menu I could (previously only get them in the terminal at LAX), my life was complete! fresh-brothers-pizza-sweet-knotsFresh Brothers Gives Back to the Community
It makes me happy when I see establishments, like Fresh Brother, that “give back” to the community. During the soft opening of the Laguna Niguel store, guests could choose one of three local schools to have 100% of their purchases go to. I don’t know an exact figure but Fresh Brothers donated over $10,000 to local schools after their Laguna Niguel soft opening. That’s amazing! They are big supporters of community events and schools all around. To read more about their community involvement, visit herefresh-brothers-pizza-gives-backThey Offer Birthday and Team Parties 
Fresh Brothers offer birthday parties, team parties, and any kind of parties, that are super fun for kids! (and adults). We actually celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday there and the girls loved getting to decorate their own pizza boxes, make their own pizzas, play with pizza dough, and hang out with their very own party host. Read about our pizza party herefresh-brothers-pizza-party

fresh-brothers-pizza-decorated-your-own-boxLet Them Cater Your Special Occasion
Fresh Brothers offers special packages and pricing on their menu for Family-Style Meals and catering. When we recently threw a party at our house, we ordered a bunch of pizzas, Fresh Knots, and salads from the menu to serve to guests. fresh-brothers-pizza-catering-foodOur friends were raving about how delicious the food was! They were also pleased to learn that we now have a location close by. I can tell you first-hand that your guest of honor will be beyond ecstatic if you serve Fresh Brothers Pizza at your party. I know mine was!

fresh-brothers-pizza-catersWhy I Love Fresh Brothers MOST
By this point, you already get how much I love Fresh Brothers’ food but there’s actually another reason that keeps us coming back again and again. It’s because there’s an amazing family behind the name. Nowadays, there aren’t a lot of companies run by families who actually still have a direct hand in the business. When you visit one of their locations, you’re likely to meet at least one of the “brothers” or other family members. Not only will you meet them but they will chat with you and they always make sure everything tastes just as it should because they care about what guests think. That’s somewhere I want to take my family. Don’t you agree?fresh-brothers-pizza-emi-and-i-day-1Have you visited a Fresh Brothers Pizza location yet? What was your favorite menu item? Share with me in the comments.

Connect with Fresh Brothers Pizza on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.

I was invited to a media menu tasting in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% my own. 


Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders Recipe + An Amazingly Easy Clean Up

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubCloth #CollectiveBias baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-plus-an-amazingly-easy-clean-upFeeding my family a well-balanced meal is a priority for me, but it can also be a challenge. I often feel like I run out of creative meal ideas, especially ones that are quick and simple to prepare. As a mom, I think it’s just natural for me to  be on the lookout for meals that will wow my family. I want to be able to answer with something exciting when I get the infamous question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”. mom-whats-for-dinnerI make a lot of chicken dishes for dinners but wanted to prepare something a little different and new so I whipped up a batch of “Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders“, using panko crispy bread crumbs.(Please see full recipe below.) These help give chicken tenders a crispier texture than just regular baked chicken. I don’t like to fry a lot of foods, I prefer to oven-bake so using these bread crumb crumbs on chicken gives them a little extra “crunch” without having to fry them. crispy-baked-chicken-tenders-yumMy trick is to brown up the panko bread crumbs with a little butter in the skillet before using them on the chicken. Let me just share that doing this, instead of using them straight out of the box on the chicken, makes the chicken extra yummy and is a definite kid pleaser! baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-doneLet’s Talk About Cleanup
My least favorite part of making dinner is the clean up! No one wants to stand at the sink and scrub the dishes after they’ve just spent all that time preparing a meal. (We’ll talk about shared kitchen responsibility in a minute). I don’t care how well you prep a pan or baking dish before using it, cleanup for this kind of a meal requires elbow grease.baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-recipe-scotch-brite-dish-cloths-1Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths are a new product and they seriously take all of the headache out of cleanup!  I found them at Walmart, on the “Paper and Cleaning” aisle and can’t rant enough about them to you. scotch-brite-in-store-photoFirst of all, they’re cute and don’t look like standard dish cloths. (I like to keep my kitchen stylish.) They’re available in 3 colors: tan, coral, and navy and are priced just under $5.00 at Walmart for a 2-pack. (I bought mine for $4.98.) By still giving you the versatility of a dish cloth, Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths make cleaning things, like stuck on messes from my chicken tenders dinner, far easier! They basically combine the best of a high quality dish cloth with the power of Scotch-Brite® scrubbing dots for a quicker and easier clean. scotch-brite-scrubbing-dish-cloths-in-basketOne of the things I like best about them is the fact that they will not scratch any surface! With non-scratch scrubbing power I can clean other areas in my kitchen, in addition to using it on the dishes, without worrying about damaging anything. Another one of my favorite things about them is how sturdy they are and the fact that you can wash and re-use them, which helps you stay “green” in the kitchen. Also, right now at Walmart, there’s a $1 off instant redeemable coupon available on the product that you can redeem at the register when you check out! baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-recipe-scotch-brite-dish-cloth-2Shared Responsibility in the Kitchen
So let’s get back to talking about shared responsibility in the kitchen. As I previously mentioned, I have no desire to stand in the kitchen scrubbing away, any more than necessary, especially after cooking dinner. It’s always nice to get some help from other family members with the dishes. I think shared responsibility in the home is a good thing and it teaches your kids valuable life lessons. please-help-clean-upSo, I printed up this cute little printable, framed it, and stuck it in a frame. (To print out your own copy, click here.) After dinner, I usually get asked, “What’s for dessert?” I just point to the printable and wait for them to clue in with the clean up. So far, it’s worked out pretty well. I’m more than happy to break out the dessert when the clean up is all done! kitchen-printableBy stocking our kitchen with Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths, I just made everyone’s life easier! For more recipes and cleaning ideas, visit here.

Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders
(serves 2-3 people) crispy-chicken-tenders-recipeIngredients

  • 2-4  bonelsss, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I use the crispy, plain ones.)
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ketchup or other dipping sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray baking dish or pan with cooking spray.
  3. While oven is preheating, place butter in a skillet and turn the flame on low. Add panko breadcrumbs and brown them for about 5 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Prepare chicken by cutting up into “tenders”. (My daughter prefers smaller pieces to pick up and dip in ketchup.)
  5. Prepare breading station, using 3 bowls: one with flour, salt and pepper, one with eggs and a bit of milk beaten together, and one with the browned panko breadcrumbs.
  6. Place each piece of chicken into flour bowl, coating completely, then shaking off extra flour before moving on. Next, place floured piece into egg bowl and cover completely. Before removing, shake off excess egg. Fnally, place chicken piece into panko breadcrumbs bowl and completely coat the chicken, even pushing breadcrumbs into the chicken. Place in baking dish.
  7. When all chicken has been coated, place baking dish into oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Always be sure to check the inside of your chicken and/or its internal temperature.
  8. Serve tenders with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce



You’re Invited to Rubio’s® 5th Annual CoastFest on July 16

Rubio’s® Restaurants has counted the ocean as a source of inspiration since its founding more than 30 years ago. Today, Rubio’s still remains committed to helping protect the ocean. rubios-5th-annual-coastfestOn July 16, Rubio’s invites Southern California residents to its 5th annual Rubio’s CoastFest in Oceanside, Calif. One of the largest organized beach cleanups in San Diego, CoastFest includes a celebration of the ocean with live music, complimentary food and drinks, a beer garden, and dozens of activities for guests of all ages.

Here’s a clip from last year’s CoastFest: 
Rubio’s CoastFest has continued to grow year after year, with a record turnout of nearly 3,000 attendees and over 1,000 pounds of trash removed from the coastline in 2015. rubios-2016-coastfest-beach-cleanupThe festivities at the Oceanside Pier will kick off at 10 a.m. with community members going the extra nautical mile at a beach cleanup hosted by I Love a Clean San Diego. To get in on the cleanup action, you can register at http://www.cleansd.org/v_cleanups.php. Participants should plan to bring a bucket, gloves, sun protection and a reusable water bottle. All volunteers must sign a waiver to participate regardless of age, and minors require an additional parent or guardian signature on their waiver form.
Following the beach cleanup, the CoastFest celebration continues with:
Complimentary food and drinksAttendees will get to sample a Pan-Seared Shrimp Taco topped with fire-roasted corn, creamy chipotle sauce, cilantro, onion and cabbage, in addition to enjoying handmade guacamole and chips, freshly prepared salsa, beverages and more. rubious-coast-fest-food-and-drinksMusic festival Guests are invited to visit the main stage throughout the celebration for free live music from a collection of local Southern California bands, as well as giveaways from 94.9 FM and KSON 97.3. Standout musical acts include The Mowgli’s, a Los Angeles-based group incorporating rock n’ roll, indie-folk and heartfelt ballads to create a quintessential California sound; and Broken Stems, a rock band that seamlessly blends classic rock with blues, soul and reggae. rubios-coast-fest-musicBeer GardenGuests 21+ can enjoy a cold brew at the beer garden featuring local craft selections or sip from a selection of Rubio’s featured wines and Sangria. All proceeds from the beer garden will benefit I Love A Clean San Diego.
Kids’ ZoneTo help ensure a love of the ocean is passed down to future generations, there will be several educational and experiential activities for children that teach kids about different aspects of the ocean. These include the San Diego County Office of Education’s Splash Van, a mobile science lab featuring several stations to learn about water quality, as well as performances by popular local children’s bands Hullabaloo and Clint Perry & the BooHoo Crew, and much more.
Activities and Games Guests of all ages can enjoy free onsite surf lessons and stand up paddle boarding lessons from Surfin’ Fire as well as a sea of other activities.
This year’s major event partners include the Main Stage sponsor Dr Pepper, Kids’ Zone sponsor Mi Rancho, and I Love a Clean San Diego, as well as several generous on-site partners including Clif Bar & Company, Motts®, Regal Springs® Tilapia, Trident Seafoods, San Diego County Office of Education, Surfin’ Fire and more. 

rubios-coast-fest-beach-cleanup-2Rubio’s works to be a friend to the ocean year-round with a majority of its seafood being sourced from sustainable fisheries, recycling plastic and glass bottles in restaurants whenever possible, using eco-friendly plates and to-go containers, supporting ocean focused causes, and being a member of the Blue Business Council. For more information about the 2016 CoastFest, please visit http://www.RubiosCoastFest.com.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. Images and photos are property of Rubio’s. 

Ruby’s Diner Candy Shakes Extravaganza and Sliders: Just in Time for Summer

With summer just around the corner, Ruby’s Diner, the iconic Southern California destination for America’s favorite burgers, fries and milkshakes, is introducing new summer menu items. Ruby’s new rich, Candy Shake Extravaganza, three versions of tasty new sliders and a delicious new poke appetizer are available for a limited time.

Our summer menu items remind us of the best part of being a kid – a burger that fits in your hand and the special treat of candy. We updated that taste of nostalgia with popular flavors and together these are a perfect fit for the family-oriented atmosphere at Ruby’s. – Doug Cavanaugh, CEO and founder of Ruby’s Diner.

rubys-summertime-offeringsRuby’s Sliders, small in size but big in flavor, are available in three mini-sized variations. American Sliders: Super-juicy, all-natural USDA choice beef, served sizzling hot on grilled Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, topped off with tasty Ruby Sauce and caramelized onions.

Southwest Sliders: These are perfect for spicy food lover! Made with Cajun spiced all-natural beef patties, pepper jack cheese, salsa, and chipotle mayo, topped off with the deliciously addictive Ruby’s hot sauce.

Hickory Sliders:  All-beef patties, cheddar cheese, onion rings, bbq sauce, topped off with tasty Ruby Sauce and crispy bacon. BBQ smokehouse fans won’t be able to resist these!

Ahi Poke: This appetizer is the perfect option for seafood lovers! It’s made with fresh-diced Ahi Tuna and onions in a ginger, sesame-soy marinade and served on crispy wontons with green onionsrubys-candy-shake Candy Shake Extravaganza: Candy lovers, get your taste buds ready to experience the new decadent, thick and creamy shakes! The decadent Peanut Butter Snickers shake is made with real chunks of Peanut Butter Snickers, the M&Ms shake is loaded with nuggets of M&M morsels, or try crunchy, peanut buttery flavor of a Butterfinger shake.rubys-shakeface-contestIn honor of the new Candy Shake Extravaganza, Ruby’s is launching a Show Us Your Shake Face photo contest, where fans are encouraged to share photos of their shake face – that deliriously happy face you make when you drink a delicious Ruby’s shake, using the tag #RubysShakeFace for a chance to win a pair of Go City cards, the ultimate multi-attraction passes. (Visit http://www.rubys.com for more details.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. Images are property of Ruby’s. 

Finding Dory Snack Mix With M&M’s®

I love to make fun snacks. It’s even more “fun” if they’re something I can quickly throw together that tastes good and doesn’t make too much of a mess. Also, snacks with M&M’s® earn bonus points in my book! With Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” in the front of my mind (since it’s about to be released) I made a batch of this “Finding Dory Snack Mix” the other day. Before we go any further though, have you watched the trailer yet?

When I was at the store the other day, a box of M&M’s®  landed in my shopping basket, which isn’t a rare occurrence, considering they’re like one of my favorite candies. finding-dory-snack-mix-dory-sprinklesThen, I came across these adorable “Finding Dory” sprinkles. How could I not do something with these? So, I bought them both! finding-dory-snack-mix-dorys-and-nemosOnce I was home, I almost immediately opened the box of M&M’s®  and starting to separate out the “Dorys” and the “Nemos”. You know all the blue and orange ones? (Do you ever do that?) I actually ended up sorting all of the candies and finally made a big heart! finding-dory-snack-mix-sorted

finding-dory-snack-mix-heartSince my mind is pretty much always snack-focused, I popped a couple bags of popcorn in the microwave and separated out any un-popped kernels.finding-dory-snack-mix-ingredientsIn my cupboard I found some pretzels and some cute yellow, green, and blue sprinkles. In my opinion, sprinkles are magical! finding-dory-snack-mix-assembledFinally, I grabbed a large bowl and started to combine the ingredients. First the popcorn and the pretzels, followed by the M&M’s®. Then the sprinkles. I saved the little “Finding Dory” candies for last so they’d land right on top! I love how cute the snack mix turned out! finding-dory-snack-mix-in-a-boxI love how the popcorn, pretzels and M&M’s® taste together. It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet. For some reason, I always have cute little snack boxes in my stash, so I had to serve them in a coordinating box! I’m hoping they’ll help me to speak “Whale”! Yep, it’s all about “Finding Dory”!

Do you have a “go-to” snack that you make with M&M’s®? If so, share it with me!

This is not a sponsored post. I just love M&M’s®! All opinions are 100% my own! 

ALDI: A Fresh & Affordable Option For Grocery Shopping

This post was sponsored by ALDI as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions are 100% my own.

Let’s talk about grocery shopping. As a mom, I am always seeking out places to shop where I can get the best prices on high-quality foods, like natural, top choice meats and dairy, fresh produce (bonus points if it’s organic), and even non-GMO products! ALDI-Food-Market-Simply-NatureI try to be creative with ways to save money on our weekly grocery bill. I watch the weekly ads, cut coupons whenever possible, and even get a rewards card at certain stores. ALDI-Southern-California-storesLast week, I experienced a whole new way to save on groceries. I was invited to try out grocery shopping at new ALDI. I found one in my area and I LOVED it and am super excited to share about it with you! ALDI-Food-Market-liveGfreeIf you haven’t heard of ALDI yet, it’s an amazing store offering quality groceries at great prices. You’ll soon be seeing even more ALDI locations pop up in Southern California, too! ALDI-food-markets-fresh-flowers I’m at the point in my life where I don’t place as much importance on fancy marketing as I do affordability. As I mentioned before, ALDI offers groceries at amazingly low prices to customers. Ninety percent of the groceries ALDI sells are under its own ALDI-exclusive brands, which are regularly tested to make sure they taste just as good, if not better, than the national brand. ALDI-exclusive brands include:

SimplyNature® – line which includes USDA Certified organic and Non-GMO verified item 
liveGfree® – exclusive gluten-free products 
NeverAny! – products that are free from added antibiotics, hormones and animal by-products. ALDI-food-markets-my-haulTake a look at my own personal grocery haul in the picture above! I was amazed at how far my money went at ALDI. There were so many great deals and I was wow-ed by the selection they offered. I found so many of my weekly necessities and the pricing of the produce. There were so many organic offerings, too. I was beyond impressed with the selection of cheeses. There was even a whole aisle of wine to choose from! ALDI-food-market-produce


ALDI-food-markets-wine-selectionPremium, natural, and organic food should come at prices affordable for all, putting quality staple grocery items within everyone’s reach, don’t you agree? ALDI-food-markets-say-hello-to-freshOne thing you should know about shopping at ALDI is that they don’t provide bags to shoppers to put their groceries in. This helps keep their overhead cost down, translating into lower prices for you, the consumer. Honestly, we should all be bringing reusable shopping bags with us wherever we go anyway. When you pay for your groceries, the cashier places your items back into the shopping cart, and you have the option of either bagging them yourself or putting them in your car without a bag. I suggest coming prepared. (For a nominal fee, ALDI does have both paper and plastic bags for purchase.) ALDI-food-markets-quarterAnother way they keep costs low for shoppers is by putting shoppers in charge of their own grocery carts. Before you walk into the store, you can obtain a grocery shopping cart by leaving a quarter deposit, which unlocks the cart for you. At the end of your shopping trip, when you return your cart, you get your quarter back. This is such a clever system. Honestly, it’s not hard to return your cart to the entrance of the store. (I always do this anyway!) ALDI-food-markets-quarter-deposit

As a mom who’s trying to stretch our budget as far as possible, I am so happy that ALDI has made its way to Southern California. Being able to purchase the high-quality of products there at their amazingly low prices is really what matters most to me. For more information or to find a location closest to you, visit their site at http://www.aldi.usALDI-Food-Markets-happy

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The Melt at the Shops at Mission Viejo

The Melt, newly opened inside of The Shops at Mission Viejo is a fun, casual eatery that boasts bright white and orange decor and a menu that caters to cheese lovers of all ages!

the-melt-i-love-cheeseThe Melt’s menu is built around a simple key principal: better comfort food for today’s kids (and adults). They feature a variety of our favorite All-American classics on the menu, but prepare them in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling with discomfort or heaviness you sometimes take away from a typical “comfort food” meal. the-melt-mac-and-cheeseThe Melt uses only the freshest ingredients, including locally sourced produce for their menu items. They’re nostalgic about their no-artificial-flavors-necessary offerings like ooey, gooey grilled cheeses melted to order. They offer juicy burgers made with a custom blend of Angus and Wagyu beef, chicken sandwiches, comforting homemade soups, and mac n’ cheese with real aged cheese. the-melt-mac-daddy-grilled-cheeseOh and did I mention their all-natural sodas and shakes? You won’t find any artificial color or sweeteners used in them. Their handmade shakes are delicious!  the-melt-soda-machinethe-melt-shakesThe Melt offers a great kids menu. The portions are hearty and are served with sliced apples. We added a salad onto ours. the-melt-kids-menuthe-melt-kids-burgerI believe our most favorite item on their menu, hands down, was the Mac Daddy! It’s a grilled cheese sandwich made with an Aged Sharp & Mild Cheddar Cheese Blend, Macaroni, and Bacon, served on grilled Artisan White Bread! This sandwich is everything!

the-melt-now-openThe Melt prides itself on the ability to create some real happy moments for its customers, using quality ingredients including everything from high fructose corn syrup free-ketchup to artisan-baked buns to the season’s peak produce. As a parent who’s trying to feed her family the best food choices, this makes me a “real happy mom“!

To find the closest location to you, visit their site here.

I was invited to a media menu tasting in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.