How To: Stock Your Pantry with Walmart.ca Grocery Pick Up & Make Quinoa and Chickpea Bowls

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I pride myself in my meal planning abilities.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think preparing food for the upcoming week and planning each night’s dinner is one of my best skills; that, and juggling.

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But raise your hand if you feel life has just become busy with a capital ‘B’? I can imagine seeing a lot of raised hands. So there are definitely weeks where the weekend meal planning session falls to the wayside. How then, are you expected to get a healthy and Instagram-worthy meal on the table? Enter, “your pantry.”

Having a well-stocked pantry is key for creating easy and healthy everyday meals. Getting dinner on the table is way less daunting when you know you already have over half of the ingredients on hand. So, when we had the opportunity to partner with Walmart Canada on a new program that would give all our How To Eat friends a little help in this department, we jumped right in. I mean who doesn’t want to save money and time when it comes to meal prep?

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Walmart.ca Grocery Pick-Up enables you to stock your pantry anytime, anywhere, even from the comfort of your couch with just a smartphone in hand. Go to Walmart.ca using your computer or the Walmart Canada app, add your selections to the cart, click on your pick up zone and boom – your order is ready faster than ordering takeout. The minimum purchase is just $50. The four downtown Toronto pick-up locations are conveniently located at Yonge & Davisville, Yorkville, Leslieville, and Harbourfront. Simply choose your preferred location and pick-up time, with as little as one day’s notice or same day if ordered before 11 a.m., add in a $3 service fee and you are done.

 

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Way back when we were blogger newbies we shared our top 15 pantry items. We are now four years older and wiser and have created an updated list of our top 10 pantry must-haves. When I used the Walmart app to order my pantry essentials, I found the system not only easy to use, but extremely affordable. My pantry items accounted for just $34.90 of my total order. And don’t forget, price matching!

You can also save your pantry ‘favourites,’ so when you run low and need to restock, the items are easy to access and add to your cart. Also, when preparing your oder, everything in your cart will remain there, even as you log in and out throughout the week. It’s a living shopping list you can guild on!

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Top 10 Pantry Essentials

  1. Canola oil – I love the versatility of canola oil. It’s perfect for high heat cooking and is also a neutral flavour in salad dressings and baked goods.
  2. Apple cider vinegar – There are a lot of great vinegars out there, but this is my go-to. I love the subtle sweetness it adds to dressings and sauces.
  3. Chickpeas – These are a great way to bump up the protein in any salad or stir fry. They are also delicious as roasted for a snack or mashed into a sandwich filling.
  4. Quinoa – It cooks in 15 minutes, has more protein than any grain, and is just as delicious for breakfast as it is for dinner.
  5. Peanut butter – Go for the all natural kind that actually tastes like peanuts. Loaded with good-for-you fat, it’s the perfect snack or breakfast and when added with some soy sauce, makes for a delicious sauce.
  6. Maple syrup – Buy the REAL deal here. Perfect on pancakes and in salad dressings and can be used interchangeably with any other liquid sweetener.
  7. Whole wheat pasta – You get the added bonus of extra fibre and having a box in your pantry means you are always 10 minutes away from dinner on the table.
  8. Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds – Raisins, apricots, dried cranberries, or any dried fruit for that matter can jazz up a salad or an ordinary bowl of oatmeal. Toss some nuts into a salad in place of croutons for some crunch or just toss ’em in your mouth for a snack.
  9. Canned tuna – Choose light tuna for lower mercury levels.
  10. Spices and herbs – salt & pepper are a must, but having some other key spices can take an ordinary dinner to a new level. Essentials for me are cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, curry powder, oregano, cinnamon, and thyme.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list, you can easily add some fresh ingredients to these staples and create delicious and healthy meals. All of these products are available online at Walmart.ca and at such an affordable cost. Note, if for some reason they are out of one of your essentials, they will gladly choose an appropriate substitution for you.

I decided to take my now perfectly stocked pantry for a whirl with this delicious quinoa and chickpea bowl.

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This recipe comes together in no time at all using mostly pantry ingredients you already have on hand. Because you already have gone online and stocked your kitchen with this list, right!? Good.

Chickpeas, quinoa, and peanut butter – three of my kitchen pantry must-haves – form the base of this vegetarian bowl. Apple cider vinegar and maple syrup help form the sweet and creamy peanut dressing.

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All I’ve added is some fresh baby spinach and roasted sweet potatoes. While this bowl is a complete meal on its own, you could also throw in some canned tuna, any leftover grilled meat or fish, or some roasted tofu to up the protein. Any leftover veggies you want to use up in your fridge could be tossed in as well. Make a large batch on the weekend, and you have lunch or dinner set for the week ahead.

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Whatever you do don’t forget the sauce – it just turns this bowl of grains, beans, and veg into one of those oh so trendy buddha bowls found at every vegetarian restaurant these days. Except way more affordable, healthful, and delicious.

You are only one click away from having this meal on your table. So what are you waiting for?!

Dara

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Quinoa Bowl with Chickpeas, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spinach and Peanut Sauce

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 5oz baby spinach
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Note

While I've assembled these bowls individually, you could also toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat. It will keep in the fridge up to 5 days. The quinoa, sweet potatoes, and peanut sauce can all be made a day or two ahead of time.

Directions

1. Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub sweet potato with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. Divide quinoa among four bowls. Top with spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Drizzle peanut sauce over top and dig in!

 

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Walmart.ca Grocery Pick-Up program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

 

How To: Snack Healthy – Oatmeal Molasses Muffins

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“Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes!”

This David Bowie song has been playing in my head on repeat this past weekend.

My babe – the youngest of my two girls is starting daycare today. DAYCARE. When did this happen? I swear I closed my eyes for like a minute and my 3 month old tiny babe turned into an almost 1 year old big girl. She’s starting daycare, turning one next month, and my oldest starts Junior Kindergarten in September. “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes!”

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I don’t deal well with change. Does anyone really? If you have any strategies – please comment below! One of mine – baking. Now, I would normally refer to myself as more of a home cook than a home baker. But when it comes to taking my mind off something, the need to concentrate on exact measurements of flour and sugar definitely helps. And when the result is something as delicious as these muffins, that extra concentration and attention to detail is so worth it.

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These muffins, brought to you by the food blog queen turned Food Network superstar The Pioneer Woman, are my new favourite. They are so tender without the need for any additional fat. Mashed banana, applesauce, and some buttermilk provide all the moisture you need. I usually avoid recipes that call for buttermilk since I’m always left with half a carton that ends up in the garbage. So for this recipe I simply made my own by adding some lemon juice to milk which sours it, creating your own buttermilk.

These muffins are quick, easy, and the perfect blank canvas for all of your wildest muffin dreams. I happen to like them just the way they are but they are also a great vehicle for some raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips. My girls devoured these as is – the perfect first day of daycare breakfast.

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The molasses in this recipe adds a unique sweetness and flavour, but I imagine maple syrup or honey would also work just fine.

I know change can be a good thing and help us grow or whatever it is people usually say. But please excuse me if you happen to see a lot more muffins or baked goods over the next few weeks here – some baking therapy sessions may be in order.

Dara

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Whole Wheat Oatmeal Molasses Muffins

Serves 12
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Website Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% but I imagine any milk will do)
  • 1 Tsp vinegar
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2-1 cup mix ins of your choice (raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, pecans)

Note

I think these muffins are fantastic as is, but I've also made them with raisins, chocolate chips, and walnuts and all are delicious. They freeze really well and are a great grab-and-go breakfast or snack option.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12-count muffin pan with cooking spray or line with cupcake liners. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine both flours, oatmeal, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a small bowl combine the mashed banana, egg, applesauce, molasses, and milk mixture. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. If you are adding any mix-ins, add them here and stir again until evenly distributed.
4. Divide mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups and bake for about 17-18 minutes. Remove and let cool or devour warm if you just can't wait!

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How to: Make a Chicken Soup for Cold Season

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Anyone else feeling like this cold and flu season has been particularly brutal?

Granted, my daughter is spending her first year daycare, too. Also known as the world’s biggest germ factory.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised it’s been cold central around here.

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When my nose is raw and my throat lumpy, all I want is a magical cure for my dulled taste buds.

This soup is some seriously heartwarming shit.

Like it will satisfy your soul, people.

Ginger and lemon give it a bright, zingy flavour and turmeric, a spice that can be found on many a 2017 food trends lists, is your anti-inflammatory and antioxidant friend.  It also gives it a pretty colour.

Of note, I tried to find credible, scientific evidence supporting turmeric’s ‘super food’ status with little success. There are only a small number of human studies that exist, with an even smaller number of double-blind placebo controlled studies (the gold standard in scientific research) to support the many many MANY claims being made about its power to cure everything from acne to cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Big picture, guys: Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods & focus on vibrant colours (ahem…turmeric) and you’ll get plenty of anti-imflammatory goodness.  Dieititian hand to heart.

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Now, back to this fan-bloody-tastic soup that takes 30 minutes start to finish.

30 minutes for soul satisfaction? Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

And it might even cure your cold.

Erin

Chicken Soup for Cold Season

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Website Adapted from Soup Addict

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Small onion (diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (sliced)
  • 2 Medium carrots (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked cubed or shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken is an easy option)
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

I found Israeli couscous at my local bulk store, but feel free to use your favourite pasta shape in this soup.

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until softened.
2. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring for another minute.
3. Add broth, chicken and couscous and simmer for 10-12 minutes until couscous is cooked through. Add lemon juice along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

How To: Slow Cooker – Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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Last week I was lounging by a pool, running in shorts, and enjoying daily 2 for 1 happy hours.

Now, I’m bundled up in a parka, glued to the treadmill, and have 2 slightly under the weather kiddos. Reality bites!

One benefit to being home in our lovely Toronto winter – this spicy chicken. Are you also freezing your little tush off? This spicy chicken will warm you up. Okay, I’m lying, nothing can warm you up from this past weekend’s -22 degree weather. But, I do promise it will make ya sweat a little.

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Really, it is so simple. A little hot sauce, a little oil, a sprinkle of spices. Done. It is quite a bit salty, so just keep that in mind – nothing a large glass of beer water can’t fix.

The homemade ranch dressing is totally optional. I find it does a good job at cutting the heat. But you could leave it out or simply top with a dollop of yogurt or drizzle of plain old mayo.

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I’m normally all for a slow and low cook in the slow cooker – a set it and forget it type of meal. But cooking the chicken breasts on high keeps them from drying out, which they have a tendency to do. And it also means it’s the type of dinner you can throw together in the afternoon with two sick kids hanging off your legs.

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While I’m missing that Florida sun, this chicken makes being home totally worth it – right?

Dara

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Well Plated

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cups Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (mixed with 1 tbsp water)
  • 4 sweet potatoes

Dressing

  • 5 Tbsp low-fat mayo
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 Tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper

Note

This recipe comes together so quickly, making it the perfect weeknight dinner. You could also serve the chicken over your favourite grain, on top of a salad, or as a sandwich on a nice crusty bun.

Directions

1. Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray and place the chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.
2. Whisk together the hot sauce, canola oil, garlic powder, and salt. Pour over chicken. Cook on high for 1.5 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove to a plate, shred using two forks, and set aside.
3. Add cornstarch mixture to slow cooker and whisk to combine. Cover and continue to cook on high another 20-30 minutes, until thickened. Add chicken back in and stir to evenly coat with sauce. Reduce temp to warm.
4. About an hour or so before chicken is done, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake in a 400 degree oven on a foil lined baking sheet for about an hour, or until soft and cooked through.
5. Cut sweet potatoes down the middle with a knife and push down with a spoon to create a little well in the middle. Top with chicken and drizzle with ranch dressing.
Dressing
6. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

How to: Make your Own Mushroom Bourguignon

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This post was inspired by the leftover wine I had sitting around from Christmas.

Just kidding.

No such thing.

But if there is such a thing in your home, this recipe will make excellent use of it.

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It’s also an adaptation from my blog hero Deb Perlman via Smitten Kitchen. I’ve been making and swooning over it for years, but haven’t shared it before because, well, it’s a lot of work.

I’ve adapted the method and have done my best to streamline this crazy delicious meal for you without sacrificing on flava flave. Start to finish you’re looking at about 45 minutes. Perhaps not a quickie weeknighter, but definitely do-able if you have a little extra time to spend.

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Those up there are pearl onions and they are flippin delish. Though I’ve seen food TV chefs cook with pre-peeled frozen packages of them, I have never found them frozen myself, so I take the extra step to peel them, which I admit is a pain in the A.

You can absolutely leave them out if need be though.  I have in the past and it really is still excellent.

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I’ve also adapted this dish to make it truly vegetarian (vegan, actually). Use a good quality vegetable broth instead of beef and use a little cornstarch and water for thickening rather than the butter and flour.

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It’s a really great and satisfying vegetarian main. Perfect for a dinner party and dynamite served over my creamy baked polenta. I promise, it tastes as luxurious as it looks.

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Freeze whatever you don’t eat, too.

Imagine coming home on a blistery winter’s night after a long day of work and having to simply pop a bowl of this in the microwave for dinner?

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Heaven I tells you.

Erin

Mushroom Bourguignon

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Website Lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2lb cremini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 Medium carrot (diced)
  • 1 Small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups pearl onions (peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • 1.5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • more salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • parsley and sour cream/greek yogurt for garnish

Note

The pearl onions are a delicious addition to this stew, but you can leave them out if you have a hard time finding them.  To easily peel them, drop them in boiling water for 1 minute and drain. Slice off the very end of each side and slip the peel off.

Directions

1. Heat canola oil in a large pot over high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté (they will squeak around in the pan) until they begin to release their juices. About 3-4 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, red wine, salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are soft and liquid is reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Add beef broth, tomato paste and pearl onions and continue to simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, mix together softened butter and flour until it forms a paste. Stir it into the mushrooms, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
4. Remove from heat. Serve with smashed potatoes, egg noodles or your carb of choice to soak up all the wonderful gravy. Garnish with sour cream or greek yogurt and parsley, if desired.