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

img_2134

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.

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.

img_2118

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.

IMG_2997

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 build on!

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.

img_2130

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.

img_2102

img_2132

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.

img_2139

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

img_2138

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: Healthy Lunch – Three Bean Salad

Our blog traffic has really picked up since the New Year.

Thank you beeps!  (as in, blogger friends. blog peeps. get it!?)

Never mind.

Thank you blog friends! (better?)

IMG_5604

Anyway, I suppose it makes sense.  Being a healthy recipe blog and all, it’s not a big shock we’re getting some extra visitors on the heels of resolution time.

Looking for easy and healthy?

You’ve come to the right place.

IMG_5597

And what’s healthier than legumes!?

Not much. Truly.

IMG_5572

You can really use any combo here.  Chickpeas, red kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils – all good options.  The edamame are SO good though, so I wouldn’t leave those out.

IMG_5577

Fred. No photo bombing.

IMG_5593

This is a great salad to make ahead for lunches for the whole week.  The flavours will meld as everything marinates in the dressing and it will get tastier as time goes on.

IMG_5594

You’ll be getting a whack of vegetables, protein and fibre with each serving too; perfect for keeping you satisfied long after your lunch hour.

IMG_5600

This dressing is as simple as it gets.  It’s rather sweet, so feel free to cut the honey if you prefer a more savoury flavour profile.  In my humble opinion a sweet, sour and savoury dressing is mandatory for bean salads. Think deli counter bean salads….mmm.

Another great option would be our asian inspired vinaigrette.

However you decide to tweak this to your liking, you’re guaranteed a fast, simple and New Years resolution worthy lunch.

Erin

Three Bean Salad

Serves Makes about 8 cups
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Website Adapted from Elise Bauer's website Simply Recipes

Ingredients

salad

  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can white kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen soy beans (edamame) (cooked per package instructions)
  • 2 stalks celery (finely sliced or chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 Small red onion (minced)

dressing

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons liquid honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

dressing (Optional)

  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Note

This salad will work with any number of adaptions, so be sure to use your favourite ingredients.

Directions

1. Combine all salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour over salad mixture and mix to combine.
3. Best made at least 4 hours in advance of serving. Even better overnight.

IMG_5605

 

How To: Kitchen Tip – Healthy Afternoon Snacks

If there is one thing that has surprised me about motherhood it’s how absolutely ravenous I get oh, about every hour. I thought pregnancy was bad with the need for a night time snack of peanut butter popcorn or an afternoon yogurt bowl. But let me tell you, feeding another human being sure makes you HUNGRY!

DSC04094

DSC03211

A key thing for me has been to have easy access to healthy snacks to help keep the 3 or 4 or 5pm hunger at bay. So, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite snack combos that you could easily keep in your fridge or desk at work or store in your car to get you through that afternoon hump, without resorting to the Timmie’s line up…not that there’s anything wrong with an apple fritter now and then!

1. Apple and Peanut Butter (or almond butter)

So easy! Slice an apple, spread with nut butter, and eat. You can even top it with some raisins or granola or have it straight up. This combo is a classic and perfect for fall when the apples are so delicious.

DSC03399

2. Carrots and Hummus

Make our easy roasted garlic hummus or keep your favourite store-bought brand on hand for this snack. You can also keep a large tub at work and bring in different veggies every day – cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, and grape tomatoes make excellent dippers. The combo of protein and fat from the hummus will help keep you feeling full too.

DSC02597

3. Cheese and Crackers

IMG_0940

This was my go-to snack at work. I kept a bag of crackers in my desk drawer and simply brought in some cheese every day. I love the babybell cheeses that are already individually packed and just need to be tossed in my lunch bag.

4. Yogurt and Fruit or Yogurt and Cereal/Granola

Another one of our favourites! You can portion out your yogurt snacks for the week or go with the individual yogurt cups if that’s easier. Top it with fruit or granola for extra fiber and staying power and you’re golden.

DSC_3605

5. Dried Fruit and Nuts

Pick your favourite nut, toss in some dried apricots, raisins, and cranberries, and pack it up in a ziplock bag and you have an easy and satisfying snack at your fingertips. Jazz it up by mixing in a few chocolate chips or m&m’s….salty and sweet!

This is definitely not a complete list…I’m sure you’ve all stashed away some of our homemade muffins and granola bars in your freezer, which would also make a great afternoon snack. But these are some of my favourites and they also require no cooking or assembly and most can be stored at room temperature.

DSC_2495

DSC02805

We’d love to hear some of your favourite afternoon snacks! Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s feeding time again…

Dara

 

 

 

How To: Kitchen Tip – Weekend Meal Prep

I love the weekend, I look so forward to the weekend, I treasure my weekends! So when I tell you that taking an hour on your Saturday or Sunday can help make your week that much easier, I understand how precious those weekend hours are.

DSC_3972 There are a couple simple things that I like to prep in just an hour or two on a lazy Sunday afternoon that help me pack a weekday breakfast, assemble the mid-week lunch, and get a busy weeknight dinner on the table.

1. Cook a big batch of your favourite grain. Quinoa, brown rice, barley, or couscous make great additions to salads or perfect sides for stir-fry.

DSC_4240 DSC_4248

2. Roast a large pan of vegetables. Choose your favourites and you can easily throw them into your salad lunch or pasta or enjoy them as a simple side dish at any dinner.

roastedvegetables

3. Cook up the protein of your choice. Whether it be salmon, tofu, eggs, shrimp, chicken, or beef, throw a couple extra pieces on the bbq, in the oven or pot and you’ve got an easy dinner or lunch option for any day of the week.

DSC_5434

DSC02475

5. Make a big batch of salad dressing. I know, we’ve said it so many times, but homemade salad dressing is so easy and just so much tastier than the store-bought variety. Make a large jar full and store it in your fridge for the upcoming week.

DSC02556

6. Prep and portion out your snacks. Do you like munching on carrots? Snacking on yogurt? Or picking on some nuts and dried fruit? Portion them out into baggies or tupperware and it will save you time (and money) during the busy week ahead.DSC_3607In addition to these simple and easy tips, you could assemble a triple batch of overnight oats or homemade yogurt snacks to store in the fridge. You could also cook up large batches of your favourite soups and chills or assemble a batch of lunch burritos to keep in the freezer.

DSC_2599

DSC02742

So I  know, your weekend time is oh so precious, but just setting a side an hour will make a Monday evening seem as relaxing as a weekend afternoon. So now tell us, what are some of your weekend prep tips? We’d love to hear!

Dara

 

 

How to: Kitchen Tip – Pantry Basics

Meal planning is a beautiful thing.

Putting together a menu for the upcoming work week is a task both Dara and I make a priority on weekends.

Life’s not always as organized as a meal plan though, and mine rarely pan out exactly as I had imagined.  Last minute social plans, late days at work and general fatigue can easily throw a wrench in my plan for a Thursday night 60-minute mushroom barley risotto.

And yes, there are weekends that come and go without a meal plan altogether. But this  does not mean a total collapse of my healthy eating plan!

Enter, a well stocked pantry.

Along with bits and bobs of any leftover vegetables, cheese or proteins in the fridge or freezer, a quick healthy meal can always be 15 or 20 minutes away (which kills the time it would take to order-in btw).

Dara and I collaborated on these top 15 staples we consider our ‘pantry basics’:

Pantry Basics

Ingredients

  • 1. Oil (Extra virgin for dressings and sautéing, canola or coconut for higher heat cooking)
  • 2. Vinegar (at least one but an assortment of wine, balsamic, apple cider keeps it interesting)
  • 3. Pasta (whole grain if possible, one 'short' such as orzo or penne and one 'long' such as spaghetti)
  • 4. Rice (whole grain as a first choice, and a quick cooking option such as basmati)
  • 5. Quinoa (an excellent quick and unrefined starch option)
  • 6. Canned Beans (chick peas, black beans & lentils are our top 3)
  • 7. Canned Whole Tomatoes (no added salt if you can find them)
  • 8. Tuna (for everyday use, choose 'light' tuna to ensure a lower mercury level)
  • 9. Chicken/ Beef/ Vegetable Stock (low sodium or no-added salt if possible)
  • 10. Coconut Milk
  • 11. Nuts & Seeds & Nut Butters (our faves are almond, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds & sesame seeds, peanut butter, almond butter and tahini (which may need to be refrigerated))
  • 12. Honey
  • 13. Dried Fruit (cranberries, apricots, cherries, raisins)
  • 14. Spices and Herbs (essentials are sea/kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, chili powder, curry powder, thyme, oregano)
  • 15. Baking Supplies (whole wheat/ white flour, oats, baking power and soda, instant yeast, white/brown sugar)
  • 16. Kraft Dinner and/or Mr. Noodles (ok, this is #16 but come on, we're human.)

Some pantry related tips:

  • Bulk food stores are a gold mine. If need be, I could get every single item on our list from my local Bulk Barn (even honey from a fun slushie-type dispenser!) If you’re trying quinoa, pumpkin seeds or dried apricots for the first time, you have the option to get a trial size portion. If you’re feeding morning glory muffins to an army, here’s where you can get a good deal without all the packaging.
  • Keep a running inventory list of your favourite pantry basics (you can print ours!).  Each time you run out of something on the list, add it to your grocery list for next week – right away, before you forget.
  • Stay organized! Keep like items, such as rice/pasta/quinoa and oil/vinegar/spices grouped together. For a great example, check out fellow Cookin’ Canuck blogger Dara’s incredible pantry makeover (even her ‘before’ shots are pretty awesome).
  • Think outside the box.  There are many shelf stable items out there that may become one of your pantry basics.  Some of my current favourites are: barley, corn meal, brown rice noodles, wheat berries, rice papers, panko bread crumbs, unsweetended shredded coconut, and a wide variety of spices including specialty salts and jamaican jerk seasoning.
Here are some of our recent recipes that rely heavily on our pantry basics:
At the very least, a well stocked pantry will mean you’re prepared for an Armageddon-type emergency!
Erin