Off brand bust

I love saving money. Several years ago I stopped being a brand snob and tried store brands. Generally speaking, store brands continue to surprise me with better than expected taste and quality. For example, I have found most store brand condensed soups are as good as or better than the leading brand. Walmart, Aldi, Save-a-lot, and IGA are a few of my favorites.

Inevitably, I have ┬ácome across a few products that even the dog won’t eat. Recently, I tried Aldi’s Millville Crispy Oats cereal. The picture on the box looks just like a bowl full of Cheerios. After several days of my 13 month old granddaughter spitting them out and/or throwing them on the floor, I decided to try them myself. Yuck! The moment I poured milk over them, they were a soggy mess.I personally couldn’t get more than one bite down.

Image result for images Millville crispy oats

Never one to give up, because of my aversion to waste, I decided to salvage the situation by making the recipe on the back of the box for Millville Caramel Crunch Bars.


  • 6 cups Millville Crispy Oats cereal
  • 1 14-ounce bag caramels, unwrapped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate candy
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons shortening


  1. Coat a 9×13 pan with butter. (I used wax paper.) In a large bowl, combine cereal, marshmallows, candy-coated chocolate (I used M&M’s), and peanuts.
  2. In a microwavable bowl, combine caramels and water.Microwave on HIGH for 2-4 minutes, stirring each minute until smooth. Pour caramel over cereal mixture, gently stirring until coated. Press mixture into pan using a buttered spatula.
  3. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate and shortening for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Spoon over bars. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour or until bars are set.

Makes 36 bars. Store loosely covered.


I’m sad to say, my expectations for making use of a bad box of cereal were not met. Though the bars smelled great, they never got solid enough to form bars and the grandbabies still wouldn’t eat them.


Next time I’ll buy the real deal (Cheerio’s). I might try making a few adjustments to the recipe and giving the cereal bars another shot. Do you have any off brand hits or misses? I’d love to hear from you!


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