Survival Meal With Walmart

There never seems to be enough hours in a day to achieve everything we set out to do. I say job well done if everyone is fed, clothed and bathed by the end of the day. And as of lately I can't even promise those are going to get done the way they should at my place. It's in these overwhelming places of "I don't know if I can get it all done" that we have to cut ourselves some much needed slack. First thing I think of when I'm looking to cut corners is food! Take-out is not always in the budget. Don't get me wrong I do get that frozen pizza in my grocery cart week after week. But today I am going to share with you my one step up from that go to frozen dish that makes me feel like an absolute culinary queen of the year in my kitchen. 

Thanks to Walmart Canada and the Buzzagent Team I was gifted Great Value pasta sauce and a package of Great Value rotini noodles to give you my opinion on the products. Truthfully I am no stranger to Great Value products in my home. Their price points keep me on budget and most times I prefer their product over some of the other competing brands for the price bracket. So with these two in my hands I thought it would be a fun opportunity to share with you my go to versatile chili. How is chili versatile? First and foremost I can make this dish in bulk and freeze whatever we don't eat, so that's a plus. We use it as a sauce on noodles, sometimes as sloppy joes on buns or even just eat it as regular chili and add some corn nibblets and cheese to give it a little something extra. The other thing that makes chili so versatile is the ingredients you put in it. I will be giving my recipe go to's but feel free to have fun with your own. Swap out for ingredients you enjoy or have on hand, spice to your taste. 

VERSITALE CHILLI

INGREDIANTS LIST

  • Lean Ground Beef (Could substitute for chicken or turkey or go meatless)
  • 1 jar of Great Value pasta sauce
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of black beans (Strained)
  • 1 can of chick peas (Strained)
  • 1 can of lentils (Strained)
  • 1/2 a bag of chopped spinach nuggets
  • 1 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1 cup of shredded zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 package of Great Value rotini noodles (optional)

METHOD

  1. Heat up your stock pot. Throw in meat and onions. Salt and Pepper to season. Brown meat and soften onions. (This is optional could throw in raw. Just a preference of mine to brown the meat.)
  2. Add pasta sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, spinach, carrot, zucchini, and any extra seasonings or beans of your choice. (Could hold off straining a can if you prefer a more running consistency)
  3. Set heat to a simmer.
  4. The longer you leave it the better it tastes. I normally will throw it together at noon ready to eat by 5 or 6. (Also crockpot friendly throw everything in set on low for 8 hrs.)
  5. (Optional) Boil water and cook noodles as per package instructions. Strain and serve with Chilli on top.

So there you have it! My super easy chilli that looks like I put a lot more work into it then I did. My family stays fed and full and I look like I care ALOT! My kids love noodles so this works perfectly as a sauce especially for my picky eaters that won't eat straight up chilli. It's a trick that is working for us. So let me know what your survival meal is in your kitchen. Thank you Walmart Canada and the Buzzagent team for letting me try a couple of the Great Value products. They were loved and long gone. Definitely going to be back for more to #MakeItGreat.

Ripley's Aquarium

What has it been a month since I got on here!? Truly, you haven't missed much around here! Same jeans, t-shirt and messy bun for days running. I have finally retired my air cast and am slowly getting my mobility back in my ankle thanks to the instructions at physio. So that has been a plus! My in-laws were down for a week around Easter. They left almost two weeks ago now. Hard to say good-bye but we can't wait to see them again this summer.

If you don't know my in-laws Dan & Monika, they are probably the biggest go getters you will ever meet. To say I don't think we could have squeezed one more thing into our week with them if we tried is an understatement. On our way to visit extended family for Easter we decided to break up the drive by making a pit stop in Toronto. My sister had been raving to me about the Ripley's Aquarium. So I took up this opportunity to go check it out.

It really was everything she cracked it up to be. The aquarium is so well laid out. Even the areas that you would normally think must get pretty congested due to enthusiastic picture takers had moving belts on the floor to keep traffic going at a decent pace. The belts weren't moving fast enough to get nervous going on and off them. They also had so many interactive stations for the girls. Which as every parent knows is absolute survival in places like these. So much amazing water life. The jelly fish were probably my personal favourite with the black light. Pictures just can not do it justice.

Nothing beats bringing along grandparents to run after the kids while you get to actually enjoy the exhibits. Monika got the girls these bedazzled turtle necklaces from the gift shop, which they are still crazy for. Grandma sure knows the way to my girls hearts aka anything that sparkles!

Our only mistake was when we went to leave, we were joined by a mob of people leaving the Blue Jay's baseball game. Like we could have predicted first game of the season. Traffic was nuts, poor planning on our part! But definitely worth it! We will be back again I'm sure. Just maybe not on game day...

Sparks Of Generosity

Just to give you a little update, my ankle has finally been diagnosed as a ruptured ligament. So I will be wearing a very stylish air cast for four weeks and also need to book physio appointments as well. Within 24 hours of wearing the boot I have already felt a vast improvement in pain and swelling. Which is awesome!

Lately I've noticed just how blessed we are with the community of people we've met since moving here to Ontario. People offering helping hands, offering to watch our kids, give advice, and even offering to make meals since my injury. It sometimes can catch you off guard when you're not expecting it. An older couple who waits for the bus with their granddaughter at Olive's bus stop, really touched my heart last week. They made Maeve (and are in the process of making Olive) a crocheted hat. Which is now Maeve's absolute favorite! She puts it on at every opportunity she has outside or inside. She cried this past weekend when I made her wear her old one just so I could wash it. I was just so blessed by the thoughtfulness and undeserved generosity of that little hat.

Receiving that hat has made me want to show more generosity in my own life. Being generous towards someone doesn't mean giving beyond your means. Maybe it's making a double batch of supper or baking to give to a family that could really use it. Maybe make a thoughtful card, braclet, scarf, you name it! I don't think it has to be anything that big to have an impact. What are some other good acts of generosity?

Has anyone touched your life with a small gift or act? This has been my goal for the week to send out some sparks of my own. Never doubt the ability you have to influence or impact others. I don't think that couple even realizes how much they have impacted me.

Attached are pictures from collecting sap over the weekend with friends and Maeve in her beloved hat :)