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.

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.

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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 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.

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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 – Peanut Butter Bars

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I honestly can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this recipe with you. My husband actually looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed “You haven’t posted this yet?!” So, my sincere apologies for holding out on you.

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I think I’ve made these bars about a million times – okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But I’ve definitely made them at least 10. And that’s a lot of times for such a successful food blogger like myself. I kid.

It’s hard to believe that the simple combination of peanut butter, eggs, honey, vanilla, and baking soda come together to produce what is best described as a cross between a brownie and fudge. I throw in a handful of chocolate chips for good measure, but you could totally leave them plain too. But really, when is a little chocolate ever a bad thing. It’s all about balance people.

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You will read this recipe and think, really? Yes, really. I think these taste best when they are cold from the fridge. You definitely want to let them cool or they will crumble. Which also is delicious over some yogurt or ice cream, but I prefer them in bar form. I’ve also made this recipe with almond butter in place of peanut butter and it is also delightful, although I prefer this peanut butter version.

I will warn you they are highly addictive, so don’t be surprised if you turn your back and the whole pan is practically gone – not that that has ever happened in my house. 😉

Dara

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Peanut Butter Bars

Serves 1 pan
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp vanilla
  • handful chocolate chips

Note

These bars will crumble warm from the oven so make sure to let cool and store in the fridge. I actually like them best cold from the fridge. They also freeze really well.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 pyrex with cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl and mix until combine. Add in chocolate chips and stir together.
3. Pour peanut butter mixture evenly into 8 x 8 pyrex and bake for 23 minutes. It will be semi firm and brown around the edges. Let cool on the counter for at least 20 minutes. The bars are best cold from the fridge.

 

How To: Quickie Meal – Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

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The classic Chinese chicken salad.

The one featured on every chain restaurant menu. It always sounds so good with the supposed crispy noodles and tangy dressing, but then you take a bite and you either have a way too sweet dressing, overcooked bland chicken, or a salt explosion in your mouth.

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This Asian chicken salad has none of the above. Instead you have delicious and flavourful tender chicken pieces, crunchy cashews, loads of fresh and sautéed veggies, and a perfectly balanced, delectable peanut dressing. And just in time for this incredible spring weather we’ve been having. FINALLY! You know I actually got burnt on a walk last Friday?

Not only is this salad about a million times healthier and tastier than the usual restaurant variety, it also comes together in no time at all. Quick enough for a mid week dinner and refined enough for a Saturday night meal.

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I’m normally drawn to that crispy rice noodle and canned mandarin orange salad too – but after one bite of this salad I’ll take my homemade version over the mundane chain variety any day!

Dara

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Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

Serves 4
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Website Salad adapted from How Sweet Eats and dressing adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (chopped)
  • 2 red peppers (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large or 2 small romaine hearts (chopped)
  • 1 mango (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup frozen edamame beans (defrosted)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated carrots

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/2-1 Tsp sriracha
  • 3 Tbsp hot water

Note

This salad is extremely customizable - add as much or as little of all the ingredients as you would like. I like a salad with lots of stuff in it so I load it up. You will have extra dressing so save it in the fridge for future salads or use as a dipping sauce for veggies.

Directions

1. Pre-heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add peppers, snap peas, and garlic an mix to coat. Add cashews and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they start to blacken and soften. Remove and set aside.
2. Spray the same skillet with cooking spray and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook until just cooked through. Add soy sauce and mix to coat. Remove and set aside.
3. In a large bowl add romaine, carrots, edamame, and mango. Add pepper mixture and chicken and toss. Pour dressing evenly over salad and toss again to coat evenly with dressing.
Dressing
4. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. If you like things a little spicier add some extra sriracha.

How To: Quickie Meal – Sesame Noodle Bowls

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I’m having a bit of a love affair with bowls.

Quinoa bowls, rice bowls, and most recently, noodle bowls. Now we all know I’ve had a thing for food in bowls for quite some time, but  noodles have recently become the latest and greatest thing in my house.

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They are also very helpful for getting a toddler to eat their dinner. I bet you didn’t know that long and slurpable noodles were just about the funniest thing on this planet? And eating them? Well the most fun ever!

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What also helps is the delicious sesame peanut sauce that gets poured over top of these extra fun noodles. And my daughter is the sauce queen – having recently discovered the wonders of hollandaise sauce, this rich and creamy sauce is now the new fave.

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Any long noodle would work in this dish. Having made this more than once recently, I’ve tried my share of noodle varieties. One of my favourites is the sweet potato noodle. They are so hard to find in the regular grocery store, but a friend of mine snagged a package for me in Kensington market. I just love how chewy they are. But rice noodles would be a close second and those are readily found in your local grocery store.

Ditch the plate, grab a bowl of noodles, and douse ’em with sauce!

Dara

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Sesame Noodle Bowls

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Pound rice noodles (udon noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, sweet potato noodles would all work)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 cucumbers (thinly sliced)
  • 1 block of tofu (cubed)
  • handful cilantro and mint (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (chopped)
  • chili garlic paste (to taste)

Note

These noodle bowls would also be great topped with leftover shrimp or chicken in place of the tofu. Any long noodle would work in place of the rice noodle.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread tofu out evenly on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 20-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and firm. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine tahini, sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and garlic. Mix well. Pour over noodles and toss to coat.
4. Divide noodles evenly among bowls. Top with tofu, cucumber slices, mint, cilantro and peanuts. Drizzle with chili garlic sauce, to taste.

 

How To: Healthy Breakfast – Apple and Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

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This weekend I fully embraced fall.

I bought my first can of pumpkin, baked up my first pumpkin loaf, and made my first baked oatmeal of the season. Fall, bring it on!

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Spring and summer I’m more of a cold breakfast eater – yogurt and granola or overnight oats are the usual suspects. But come fall, I crave warmer and heartier meals and baked oatmeal is the perfect fall tummy pleaser.

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My go-to fall baked oatmeal has to be our pumpkin variety. Yes, I jump on the pumpkin bandwagon come fall and am proud of it! But I wanted something a little different and this apple and peanut butter variety fit the bill. It has the same chewy texture, but in place of the pumpkin and cranberries we have apples and cinnamon. And the addition of a cup of peanut butter adds extra protein and healthy fats to help keep you full all morning long.

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My favourite part is that one batch makes about 12 servings! Enough for all your breakfasts during the week and even some snacks too. Just add a splash of milk to freshen it up and pop it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. I also happen to enjoy it cold or room temperature so give that a try too.

So embrace fall with me and bake up a batch of apple and peanut butter oatmeal.

Dara

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Apple and Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

Serves 10-12
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable
Website Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 Cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 2 large apples (diced)

Note

Make a pan of this easy baked oatmeal on the weekend and reheat leftovers for a quick breakfast throughout the week. Pears are a great substitute for apples. It also makes a delicious and filling afternoon snack.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl combine milk, eggs, vanilla, and apple sauce. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until combined.
3. Add peanut butter and mix again. Add diced apples and mix to combine one last time. Pour oat mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until lightly brown on top and set.
4. Remove from oven and serve with a splash of additional milk, a sprinkle of raisins, and some more peanut butter, if desired. Or top with a dollop of plain or vanilla yogurt.

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