Posts Tagged ‘Walmart Mom’

Berry Quinoa Parfait

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Quinoa is such a perfect, protein-rich way to start your mornings, I just knew I’d need to share this Berry Quinoa Parfait with you again as a part of our M Challenge Focus on Better Mornings. I know that when you start the day with one of these delicious parfaits, it really will be better!

Berry Quinoa Parfait from

I love berries and today I am showing off a delicious gluten-free Berry Quinoa Parfait that you can enjoy in any season with fresh or frozen berries. Walmart asked me to showcase a fun new idea that you can do with berries and I knew that this would be the ticket.

Since going gluten-free, I have learned that the key to beating hunger pains (without eating gluten-free junk food) is a protein packed meal or snack. Quinoa is one of my favorite foods whether it is just cooked as a basic, in a yummy Greek Quinoa Salad, in my favorite Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad, in my Quinoa Berry Bowl, or even using those quinoa flakes in my Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast.

Combining the protein power of quinoa with the protein power of Greek yogurt makes this healthy treat more filling. Did you know that a typical 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains 15 to 20 grams of protein? That is approximately the equivalent of two to three ounces of lean meat.  Just as a reference, one cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains 8.14 grams of protein, which means the quinoa paired with the Greek yogurt definitely will help you feel fuller longer. 

Not to be outdone, berries have many health benefits, but the biggest health benefit is the antioxidants that they have which help you fight off illnesses. Berries are filled with potent antioxidants that can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, and cataracts and other eyesight problems. They also are said to assist with weight-loss because they are filled with so much water. 

A sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds adds the perfect finishing touch since almonds are a great source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and (as if you needed more!) they are another great protein source.

Berry Quinoa Parfait from

If you haven’t tried quinoa in a sweet dish, it is just as delicious and satisfying as it is in a savory dish. It reminds me a little of one of my favorite dishes… rice pudding.  To add to its sweetness, I cooked it in a little vanilla and with a little dash of cinnamon. Make sure that you allow the quinoa to cool before adding it to the yogurt. Once you have made your assembly line of treats, wrap each one in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for a healthy snack after your workout or as a healthy dessert with your family.

Berry Quinoa Parfait from

Berry Quinoa Parfait
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A gluten-free protein-packed parfait that is both healthy and satisfying. Try this fun new idea to enjoy your fresh berries this summer.
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup (or more) of your favorite berries, fresh or frozen (I love blueberries & strawberries)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • Mint leaves (optional)
  1. Use my directions for cooking quinoa as a basic (linked to above) or follow package directions adding the vanilla and cinnamon to your water. Allow to cool.
  2. Mix the greek yogurt and honey together in a small bowl.
  3. Using a spoon add a ⅓ of the yogurt mixture into your glass.
  4. Top with ⅓ of sliced strawberries and blueberries then add ⅓ of the quinoa. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.
  5. Repeat with the remaining yogurt, berries, quinoa and almonds until you have three layers.
  6. Finish with your mint leaves.

Looking for more great berry ideas? Check out these Baked Strawberry Donuts, my Blueberry Sangria Lemonade, these 8 unique blueberry recipe ideas, & (of course!) a guide to freezing your berries this year! Happy berry-eating!



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How to Organize Board Games

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Now that Christmas is behind us, I find myself inspired to get my home organized again. One area in our home that always needs attention is our disorganized board game collection. Organizing your board games  and card games is easier than you think, it just requires a few organizing tools, a little patience, and the ability to let go of the things that are taking up valuable space to make space for the good stuff in your home.

My project challenge this month with Walmart was to pick one area in our house and freshen it up with some organizational solutions from the store. I have a feeling you are going to love this one and will be running out to your store to replicate this.

In full disclosure, here is my SCARY before picture. This was supposed to be a beautiful little closet for my kid’s toys, our games, and our art supplies. Each time the closet was open, I covered my head. I am a very petite woman so when I would reach for a game, I would find a leaning tower of games attacking me and often found myself in an avalanche of games and toys. 

I decided to do some research to see if I could find some ideas from other bloggers on how to rectify this situation. Although there were a lot of great magazine ideas, I didn’t find very many real family solutions until I happened upon this great post on board game organization from Raising Lemons. I used that as a template to get started and then headed to my store to create my own solutions for our problematic areas.

Here are some pictures of the items that I picked up at our Walmart store (feel free to click on them to expand).

Sterlite Large Three Drawer Units ($12.97 each)

Sterlite Medium Three Drawer Unites ($8.47)

Document Boxes ($7.92)- available in the office supplies section of the store

Avery Labels ($1.00)

Rubber Bands ($.67)

Snap-It Storage Container ($9.97)

Ziploc Freezer Bags ($4.38

All games were removed from their boxes and then each game went into a designated drawer. Larger games that had a lot of parts to it (like Blokus, Rummikub, or Monopoly) fit well into the large Sterlite drawers.

Smaller kid’s games fit easily into the medium Sterlite drawers as well as games where the board would not fit into either container (more on that soon). For really small games like Memory or Rush Hour, we found one drawer could fit two or three games, which helped to maximize this storage solution.

For larger board games, I labeled boards that we wouldn’t easily be able to figure out what they were, and set those to the side along with a couple of those irregularly shaped games (like Operation, our deluxe Scrabble, and our Hungry, Hungry Hippos). By removing the useless boxes, this tiny little pile of boards really doesn’t take up very much of our space.

We had oodles of card games, many that were dusty and had been forgotten on that top shelf, so I used two Document Boxes that I found over in the office supplies to create storage for these games. This was a great place to not only store these games neatly, but I also dedicated a little section to the odds & ends pieces that we might need for future games. The odds & ends spot houses marbles, a few extra game pieces, decks of cards, and several dice.

Large games like Apples to Apples had to use two spots, but it still beats having the boxes. I like that all of these odds and ends are concealed neatly, and it will make taking a box of games a lot more fun since there are several in just one box!

Our puzzle collection had also gotten out of control. I found a Snap-It organizer (over by the drawers/plastic bins) that has a handy handle and it all snaps together for easy toting. We divided our puzzles into two categories (holiday & other). It will make finding our Christmas collection a little easier. I cut the front of the boxes and labeled heavy-duty freezer bags with the puzzle name or description so we could locate them easily.

Since I was on a roll in that closet, I decided to get the rest of the kid’s stuff organized. I whittled their toy collection down to half and organized their art supplies into the same drawer organizers (these were all things we already owned). I had old-fashioned labels in my craft supplies so I hung fresh labels with a little bakers twine and labeled our canvas bins so the kids knew exactly what they were pulling down.

Each child now has their own coloring book drawer and all of the random boxes of markers, crayons, and pencils were all condensed into one drawer organizer.

After losing countless library books because they are mixed in with their own books, we now have one basket designated. The other books were moved down to our downstairs game cabinet because (you won’t believe this!) all of the games from our downstairs cabinet all fit in our upstairs cabinet so I could turn the other cabinet into a spot for all of their books. That is a huge storage bonus for us!

It feels like Christmas all over here again. We have loads of fun things to do, we can find them, and (in my son’s words) “We don’t have to move so many things around to get to the good stuff.” You know it, kid!

The big question is, “Do you miss the boxes?” I can’t say I do! For the games we travel with to our friend’s house (Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, etc..) we have a couple of boxes stored in the basement. The rest of the games stay at home and this solution is so ideal for our space and offers oodles of visual appeal. 

Have any tips for organizing your game collection or toy closet for the New Year? I would love to hear them!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts  My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.



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Spaghetti Cupcakes

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Tired of the same old weeknight food routines?  I have the perfect kid-friendly and fun recipe that your kids will absolutely love and so will you. Today I am sharing a recipe for Spaghetti Cupcakes that will put those taco and potato bars to shame. This dinner idea is one the whole family will love and can be ready in about fifteen minutes.

Gather up all of your favorite spaghetti toppings to top each of your noodle cupcakes. For my cupcake toppers I have shredded carrots, baby peas, ricotta cheese, turkey meatballs, and Ragu Old World Style tomato sauce.

Cook your pasta as directed on the package and drain the pasta in a colander. Do not rinse your pasta because it will help the pasta hold its shape better in the cupcake liner.

Twist your pasta noodles around a fork until you have a good forkful of noodles. Gently place the noodles in a foil-lined cupcake liner. I would say that three to four of these spaghetti cupcakes would feed one person once it has been topped with its toppings.

Top each spaghetti cupcake with Ragu sauce. Once it has been topped on these cupcakes, it will ooze into the crevices of the noodles with ease. Repeat this step on each of your cupcakes.

Top each cupcake with your favorite toppings and finish each cupcake with a turkey meatball. This is a fun food activity to let your kids do and is also a creative way to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

I can’t take the credit for the fun food that was featured today. These Spaghetti Cupcakes are featured on a great site that offers inspirational ideas for meals to share with your family.

You can visit the Meal Inspirations site to find loads of great ideas for meals, demos on how to create the recipes, and even print out coupons for your favorite products. For example, this week you can grab a coupon for $1 off of Hellman’s mayonnaise!

I hope you love these fun Spaghetti Cupcakes and I hope you can take a moment to head over to the Meal Inspirations site to get even more great ideas to enjoy around the dinner table with your family!

If you love this idea, I am betting you will love my Mac & Cheese Bites too! Happy cooking, friends!

Spaghetti Cupcakes
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Spaghetti cupcakes are a fun way to get your kids to eat their veggies and to be master of their own creations. I guarantee your kids will love this one!
  • Ragu® Old World Style® Spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • Ragu® Pasta Sauce, heated
  • Whole kernel corn, drained
  • Green peas
  • Shredded carrots
  • Part-skim ricotta cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Frozen fully-cooked low fat cocktail-size meatballs, heated
  • Foil cupcake liners
  1. Arrange sturdy foiled cupcake liners on serving plates.
  2. Fill each with fork-twirled hot spaghetti and top with heated Ragú® Pasta Sauce. For best results, do not rinse the pasta after draining.
  3. Decorate with your kid’s favorites like corn, peas, shredded carrots, part-skim ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, or hot cooked mini meatballs.

 This is a sponsored post as a part of my role in the Walmart Moms program. I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.



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12 Great Tailgating Recipes

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

12 Great Tailgating RecipesHip-Hip-Hooray! Tailgating season is finally here and today I wanted to showcase to you twelve great dishes you can take with you to your next tailgating event. After all, what tailgating event would be complete without a great dish to share with friends?

It may surprise you that I don’t care a thing about football…Oh, who are we kidding? I am sure you already knew this about me. I will admit that I may not love the game, but I am all about the yummy food, drinks, and festivities with friends that surround the games.

Here are my top twelve choices for taking to your next tailgate:

1. Roasted Corn Salsa-  Fresh chopped tomatoes, roasted corn, and parsley are tossed with just a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to create this unique and easy appetizer. What makes this appetizer unique is the process of broiling your corn under the broiler to add a smokey flavor that will have your friends begging for the recipe!

2.  Cheddar Apple Pie Dip-  One of my favorite combinations for fall eating is cheddar and apples. If you haven’t tried this before, it is the perfect balance of sweet and savory and they all come together in this easy dip to tailgate with.  Diced on top  is a mixture of red and green apples that have been tossed with brown sugar, cinnamon, and coarsely chopped walnuts. The layer underneath offers a surprise of cheddar cheese mixed with cream cheese and sour cream, cooked until hot and bubbly. Serve with your favorite cinnamon chip or cracker.

3. Lentil Soup- Looking for a wallet-friendly soup to feed a big crowd? Lentil soup is the perfect answer to feasting on a budget.  If you haven’t cooked with lentils before, you should really give them a try! Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require any pre-soaking overnight prior to being cooked. Instead, most cooks recommend that you first pick over these legumes, and remove any that look broken or damaged. A quick rinse after you have picked out the damaged lentils, and you are ready to go. The ease and minimal prep time for cooking these is why lentils are a wonderful and easy addition to any soup and the perfect soup to tailgate with!

4. Pesto Chicken Tortellini Soup-  This tortellini soup brings together all of the flavors that my family loves, but is a versatile recipe that could be created with what is at your supermarket that day. For our vegetarian readers, the chicken tortellini and chicken broth can easily be switched to a cheese-filled tortellini with vegetable broth instead. I used basil pesto in this, but you could also try a sun-dried tomato pesto or omit the pesto altogether if it is not a favorite of your family. Versatility is the beauty of a good soup recipe  and this recipe is quite versatile! Not only is this sup a crowd pleaser, but it also is an easy soup to double or triple for your tailgating needs.

5. Homemade Tomato Soup- This tomato soup is all of our favorite flavors in the perfect merriment for our family.  Chicken stock, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and a little heavy cream are all mixed together. To cut the acidity, a pinch of sugar and a healthy dose of pesto round out the flavors. Be warned, a single batch makes enough to serve a small army. I love to serve this soup with a variety of fun crackers, croutons, or shredded cheeses for topping.

6. Cookie Dough Dip- This dip was nicknamed “Crack Dip” after the bowl was scraped clean when I brought it for Thanksgiving one year. I love to bring a sweet dessert dip that can be an unexpected surprise among the savory dips that are usually offered for tailgating spreads.

7. Bacon & Ranch Cheese Ball- This cheese ball is so embarrassingly easy, but is always a showstopper when I bring it to any get together. I try to always keep these ingredients on hand in my fridge or pantry for the unexpected get together for the games!

8. Double Tomato Bruschetta- This bruschetta is a double tomato bruschetta which combines the super sweet and chewy flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes with the delicious juiciness of the Roma tomatoes. The flavors together are phenomenal and are mixed with just a little balsamic vinegar,olive oil, garlic, and a little fresh garlic.  You can prepare this one a few hours in advance, allowing the flavors to marinate together and break down the tomatoes a bit, or you can prepare it and eat it within ten minutes of preparation. I promise it won’t last long wherever you take this one!

9. Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Soup- Looking for a soup that will stick to your ribs through the whole day? I happen to have just the soup for you! The spices in this soup are perfect , the roasted red pepper adds a beautiful color and flavor to the soup, the sour cream adds that perfect balance of creaminess, and the beans add that filling soup combination to help keep you full throughout the day, while the chicken broth makes this soup light enough that even black bean soup haters could learn to love it… well, most black bean soup haters. This is a great soup to double or triple depending on the crowd that is gathering!

10. Baked Apple Pie Donuts- I love baking donuts and these Baked Apple Pie Donuts are the perfect treat to take to your next tailgate! The dominate flavor in this one is definitely the apple followed by the earthy and nutty flavor of ground nutmeg that helps round out the flavor profile of these donuts.  Once these delicate donuts are done baking, they are brushed lightly with butter and then dipped into a cinnamon and sugar coating that helps bring all of those delicious fall flavors together and that little bit of gritty, yummy crunch that just so happens to be my favorite thing about donuts. I guarantee that not a single one will be left within minutes of their arrival!

11. Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins are my family’s favorite side dish if it is fall or the dead of summer. I try to make sure to stockpile pumpkin for just this reason and you might be doing the same after making a batch of these for tailgating season. These are best served at room temperature which is just the right temperature for your next tailgate!

12. Sub Sandwiches- Walmart gave us a chance to throw a game party with their subs to showcase what an affordable tailgating party option these are. For $28, you can get a six foot sub with your favorite meats and cheeses and all of the toppings.

As you can see from the way that these subs got plated, I took the opportunity to throw a GAME party quite literally and hosted a board game night with my best girlfriends.

Here is a little sneak peek at my table and the spread that I did with my tailgating recipes for a fun board game night with friends. Be sure to check back next week for ideas on how to decorate, board game ideas, and other fun crafty projects you can incorporate within your own game party. This might be a fun one to throw for the wives while the husbands are enjoying the game!

Be sure to check out my tutorial this week for those cute DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames! Those would make a fun addition to any game day party table that you might be creating!

Happy tailgating, friends!


I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.



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Best Steak Marinade in Existence: Labor Day Steak Feast For Under $100

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Labor Day grilling will soon be underway and there is nothing our family loves more than a great cookout. In honor of the holiday, our family was challenged to pull together a Labor Day feast with Walmart supplies and show what you could do with a $100 budget for your feasting needs.

For this feast, I was able to purchase six large New York Strip steaks, six ears of corn, potatoes and all of the fixings, a loaf of sourdough bread, steak marinade ingredients, two bottles of delicious wine, a seedless watermelon, and a chocolate cream pie to round out our dinner. This feast could easily serve six to eight people with plenty of food leftover.

Walmart is offering steaks with a 100% money back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with your meat in any way. Only 1 in 5 steaks passes the test to be stocked in their stores and the pricing on it is extremely affordable. I will admit, that I have always bypassed the steaks at the store, but after sampling how delicious these are, I look forward to being able to pick up my meat along with other household essentials when doing my grocery shopping. You can find out more information here about the standards and quality of the meat offered.

Of course, we chose a broiling hot day to grill and I was out there roasting in the sunshine and with the grill heat beating on my face. I highly recommend my husband as your grilling assistant when things like this arise. He graciously shielded me with an umbrella and gave me a glass of ice water while I grilled. I love this man.

For our feast, we enjoyed my favorite corn grilled in the husk (the easiest way to grill a large batch of corn without the mess), three cheese grilled potatoes, fresh watermelon, a loaf of sour dough bread, chocolate cream pie, and wine.  We were all groaning after all of this delicious food and our tummies were full and happy. What a way to celebrate Labor Day!

Today I wanted to share with you a recipe I tried for a steak marinade. I am no stranger to marinated steak and the beauty of creating a great steak meal at home. I have never in my life tried a better steak marinade recipe than this one and it is made from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

These steaks were so divine that you could keep things simple and just add salt and pepper to these to season them. I wanted to really enhance the flavors in this tender cut of meat so I put together a marinade and let them marinate in the fridge overnight the night before.

Now that I have tried this recipe, it is highly likely I will never make my steak any other way again. You won’t believe the flavors in this and none of them overpower the delicious taste of the meat itself.

Best Steak Marinade in Existence
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A flavorful steak marinade that will enhance the flavor of any cut of meat you might find on sale at your local supermarket.
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1½ tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  1. Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk well.
  2. Pour marinade over desired type of meat.
  3. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Grill meat as desired.

For more tips on grilling steaks including temperature and timetables be sure to visit my post on The Best Steakhouse Dining Experience on a Poorhouse Budget!

Happy Labor Day, friends!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

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