When I was growing up, lent was always an interesting time at my house. Because honestly, meat was a huge part of our diet, and meals usually started with the meat and built from there. So lent presented a challenge. We usually wound up eating lots of starches and vegetables, with very little protein on the table.


Thankfully, my husband is a lot better at making meatless meals than I am, as he grew up eating them. So when Walmart asked me to share a vegetarian recipe for lent, I asked him to lend me his skills in the kitchen and share this rich, filling chili recipe.



  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 packages Morningstar Grillers Crumbles
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste


Add all the ingredients to crock pot, starting with beans on the bottom, and mix well. Turn the crock pot on low, cover and cook for 8 hours.


Alternatively, you can set the crock pot on high and cook for about 4 hours. But on the lower setting, this is the perfect meal to start in the morning before you leave for work, and it will be done to perfection when you get home. It is awesome even without the cayenne and hot sauce, but my hubby and daughter like it spicy. It’s also great when served with crackers or over rice.


Serves 8.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Baby Juliza likes to eat. No. Really. She has a knack for sniffing out whenever someone is eating, and she loves to sample a little something from everyone’s plate. This is her “I’m about to eat” face, so excited that I couldn’t get her to keep still long enough for a photo.

For the most part, I’m content to let her eat table food — fruit, veggies, chicken, fish — even macaroni and cheese and whole wheat spaghetti. But there are moments when we’re eating something she really just shouldn’t eat — pizza, for example — or we’re in a hurry and I want to provide healthy options for her. I know I can head to my nearest Walmart and find an abundance of organic baby food options, including Plum Organics, Gerber organic, Earth’s Best Organics, Happy Baby, Ella’s Kitchen, Beech Nut and more.

My little stinker loves the Plum Organics fruit and vegetable super puffs, in large part because she can feed herself with her fingers. I prefer to give her real fruit and veggies when I can, but these are a good stand-in that I won’t feel terrible about giving to her. She’s also a fan of their Little Yums teething wafers, especially now that she’s cutting the second of her molars and her gums are very swollen.

As a general rule, I’m not a fan of the squeezable packs of fruit and veggies because I can’t see what’s in the container, but I’ll give them to her as snacks at home when I can squeeze the contents into a small bowl. This is a packaging quibble for me though. The quality of the food is great, and I like the Gerber organic options because they tend to be a bit more affordable than some of the strictly organic brands. Plus, I’m happy to see a traditional baby food maker wade into the organic pool. 

The selection really is great, and everything is reasonably priced so I can get a lot for my money. This isn’t always true when buying organic for the rest of the family, so I appreciate that we can do what’s best for Juliza without breaking the bank.

What about you? Do you buy organic baby food? What are your favorite brands?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.


I confess: I love potatoes. Like, I’d give them a Valentine’s Day present and take them out to dinner if I could. But…I’ve never been a big fan of mashed potatoes. It’s definitely not about taste, but more about texture. I just can’t get down with potatoes that aren’t mashed just right. And it can be hard to do it right. This recipe though? It has made me come around, and my daughters can’t get enough of it. Even baby Juliza.



  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed
  • ¼ cup Country Crock® Spread
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil

The first, and one of the most important, steps is to cube the potatoes pretty small. This makes it a lot easier to mash them later without a lot of lumps and chunks.


Cover the potatoes with water in saucepan and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Drain the water.

Return potatoes to the pan and mash them. I personally like to use a large metal spoon with holes in it because I can press down on a lot of potatoes at once. Add milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder.


And this is the next important step. Add the Country Crock® to make the potatoes creamy, buttery and perfect.

Then mix in your fresh herbs, and save a bit to use for garnish. I used dill and basil, but realistically, you can use whatever you have on hand. Dill, though, is a great flavor to add to potatoes.


Honestly, these potatoes are hard to mess up and really delicious. They’re a great beginning to any meal, and they’re so good and flavorful that you’ll never need to cover them with gravy.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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Like most kids in America, I loved Disney movies when I was growing up. While it wasn’t lost on me that very few of the characters actually looked like me, I still enjoyed the fantastical stories of adventure and love. Peter Pan was always one of my favorites. The idea that there could be a place where children could be children — doing whatever they pleased — was fascinating to me. And Captain Hook was the villain I loved to hate. Plus, I always felt a little sorry for Smee, and loved Tinkerbell’s sass and Wendy’s levelheadedness.


Well, I’ll get a chance to relive my childhood joy tonight when Peter Pan Live! airs on NBC at 8/7c, and you can too! The stars include Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, Christian Borle and Minnie Driver, and Walmart is a presenting sponsor. It promises to be a good time, and Lord knows I need some of that right about now! NBC provided me with a party pack, and my daughter and I had a great time making some Peter Pan themed snacks with supplies from Walmart to get us in the mood to watch. If you’d like to get in the spirit too, check out these recipes.

Ticking Croc Brownies


You’ll Need:

  • Box brownies (or feel free to make them from scratch)
  • 4-5 colorful ice cream cones
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • White icing

When I was little, I remember being terrified of the idea of a ticking crocodile that bit off arms. But by the time I finally “met” him near the end of Peter Pan, my opinion had changed. I was sort of happy he’d given Captain Hook what was coming to him. I found this snack on Pinterest via Creative Stirrings and thought it was too cute! Ideally, I would’ve used green cones, but I had to work with what I could find.


Simply make brownies per the instructions on the box. I actually had to use 2 boxes to fill my glass Pyrex baking dish. Next, cut off about 1/3 of each cone. Four to five cones should suffice.


To make eyes, push a mini chocolate chip into a mini marshmallow, using some white icing as “glue” to hold them together, if you need to. Then use some icing to attach two eyes to the top of each cone.

Finally, lay the “crocs” on top of the brownies in random positions.


How cute is that? Peter would be proud! So is Mr. Crocodile.


But we’re not done yet. To go with the brownies, we’re having…

Fairy Fizz Punch


You’ll Need:

  • Pink lemonade
  • 7Up or Sprite

Mix 1 part lemonade to 1 part soda. Done. Couldn’t be simpler.

Then drink this perfectly pink, fizzy concoction in Tinkerbell’s honor while you enjoy the show.

Watch & Tweet with Me!

My family and I will be getting dressed up in our Peter Pan gear, swords included, to watch live. Baby Pan is ready!


Plus, you can join me, Walmart and a few other Walmart Moms on Twitter as we live-tweet the show tonight starting at 8/7c using the hashtag #PeterPanLive. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received a party pack, gift card and compensation from NBC for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

I keep promising myself that I’m going to modify more of my recipes to make them crock-pot friendly, but somehow that never happens. Because that would require starting dinner hours in advance — and I’m not exactly good that planning meals ahead. Still, this is a habit I really need to establish, because it would make dinner time a lot less stressful for the whole family.

Since I needed a kick in the pants to get started, I was only too happy to learn about Crock-Pot’s “Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star Contest,” open now through October 31. If you’re further ahead of the curve than I am, and you love cooking in your Crock-Pot slow cooker, this is for you.

All you have to do is visit and submit a 1-minute “video selfie” preparing your favorite original slow cooker recipe using a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. Check out the contest rules and make sure you follow them so your video will be eligible. The winner will earn bragging rights as the “2014 Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star,” a nice payday with a $5,000 prize and a feature at



I received a 6-quart Cook & Carry Crock-Pot so I could try my hand at a slow cooker recipe. I’m not sure if my recipe is quite good enough to win a contest, but I gave it a try. I modified one of my favorite recipes, Caribbean Stew Chicken, for the crock pot. I love the fact that this cooker is large enough to contain enough chicken for a few meals. What can I say? I’m a lazy cook, so if I’m going to do it, it has to last :)

Crock Pot Caribbean Stew Chicken



  • 4-5 lbs. chicken (any parts)
  • Seasoning to taste (I use Adobo & Badia seasonings)
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced green peppers
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 24 oz. water
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 3 cups baby carrots
  • 5 red potatoes, chopped
  • Cooking oil

Note: We’ll first start this recipe on the stove, then finish it in the crock pot.

Clean and season chicken to taste. This is best done a few hours, or even a full day in advance so seasonings will marinate.

Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of a large saucepan and heat. Add onions, green peppers and garlic to hot oil and saute for about 5 minutes. Add seasoned chicken and cover. Saute chicken for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is lightly browned.

Add tomato sauce, water, ketchup and nutmeg. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

Turn off stove and transfer entire mixture to crock pot. Add baby carrots, potatoes and dash of ground cloves. Mix well and cover. Continue cooking for 3-4 hours, or until carrots and potatoes are tender.

Alternatively, you could continue cooking this on the stove for another 30-45 minutes, but this is good for when you are cooking in advance and want to really give the flavors of the veggies time to permeate the sauce. The chicken will likely be falling off or completely off the bone by the time it’s done.


It’s difficult to take a photo that properly conveys this, but trust when I say this recipe is delicious! It’s great served with a little rice or macaroni and cheese pie.

Serves 8-10.

Remember, if you’d like to enter the #CrockStars contest, submit your video by October 31.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

September is Hispanic Heritage Month, and while I don’t mention it often here, I actually do have Hispanic heritage. My mother is Puerto Rican and bilingual. Unfortunately, neither I nor any of my sisters speak fluent Spanish (or much of it at all, really), but mommy did pass her heritage down to us in other ways. My favorite way? The food. We grew up eating a variety of Puerto Rican recipes, but my favorite, to this day, is Arroz con Pollo, also known as Chicken and Rice.


When Walmart asked me to share a story for Hispanic Heritage Month, it took me two seconds flat to decide to share this. My mom taught my husband this recipe a few months back, and he’s become really great at it. Never mind the fact that he learned in one afternoon a recipe I never learned in 31 years. I’m just glad he’s a great cook and loves me enough to make it for me. Because he’s the best ever.

Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo



  • 4 cups medium-grain rice
  • 4 lbs. chicken (any parts you’d like)
  • Seasoning to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 oz. olives
  • 2 oz. capers
  • 1/2 cup recaito
  • 1/2 cup sofrito
  • 1 packet Sazon con culantro y achiote (red Sazon)
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • Bay leaves (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Water


  • Large roasting pan or cast iron pot with cover, oven suitable
  • Large pot

Note: This is a big recipe, and it usually feeds my family for 2-3 meals. You can half the recipe if you’d like to make a smaller quantity.

Clean and season chicken to taste. Cover the bottom of your large pot with olive oil and heat.

Add seasoned chicken to hot oil, along with peppers, onions, garlic and bouillon cube. Mix so chicken is covered with seasonings. Cover and sauté until chicken is cooked through and browned slightly, stirring occasionally.


Once chicken is browned, add recaito, sofrito and enough water to barely cover the chicken. Add bay leaves, capers, olives and packet of Sazon. In case you don’t know what I mean when I say red Sazon, I’m talking about this:


You can find this and all the other ingredients at Walmart.

Mix and cover. Let ingredients simmer for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350.

While chicken is simmering, rinse rice with water until it runs fairly clear. It may take 2-3 rinses. Pour off water and cover the bottom of the roasting pan with rice.

The chicken mixture should be done simmering. Pour over rice in the roasting pan slowly, and mix everything together.


Cover roasting pan and place in oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until rice completely absorbs water. Check and stir occasionally.


Serves 8-10.

Recipe Video

If you’d prefer to see the process in action, and my hubby’s enviable cooking skills, check out this video:

Try this recipe, and you’ll figure out immediately why it’s one of my all-time favorites. Cooking the chicken twice — first on the stove, then in the oven — will leave it flavorful and falling off the bone. It really doesn’t get any better.

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, kids didn’t go back to school until after Labor Day.

OK. I’m being a smart aleck. But my husband and I remember this time fondly. Of course, our kids will remember that they get out of school in early May, when kids who started after Labor Day were still sitting in a classroom until June, but still. Around here, though the kids already back in school, we still like to think of Labor Day as the official end of summer.

So when Walmart challenged me share a Labor Day story with you, I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate summer’s close. If you’re planning to celebrate the holiday with a picnic or party, or if you just need to cool off (because we all know it’s still going to be hot for a few months), here’s a recipe that will hit the spot.

Frozen Berry Lemonade



  • 6 oz frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh, diced watermelon
  • 6 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 12 oz. water


1. Place frozen lemonade, strawberries, raspberries and watermelon in a blender. Blend until smooth.


2. Add ice, water and agave nectar and pulse until blended. Serve immediately.

Makes about eight 8 oz. servings.


My daughter says this tastes like a frozen drink from Taco Bell. I like to think it tastes better, and it’s definitely healthier. :) It’s also likely a lot cheaper per serving, and you can get all the ingredients at Walmart.

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate Labor Day, check out what the other Walmart Moms have shared:

DISCLOSURE: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Baby Juliza is growing up fast. Too fast, it seems some days. And with growing up comes experimentation with food. She’s at the age now when she wants to try everything that we’re eating. Sometimes, that works. We can mash a little of whatever fruit or veggies we’re having and share with her. But there are times when we can’t share much of what’s on our plates. For those moments, we like to keep baby food on hand. And the child loves to eat.

So when Walmart asked me to share our experience with Plum Organics baby food, we jumped at the chance. Baby food in great blends that are also USDA certified organic? Yes, please!

Juliza still likes single ingredient baby food, but now that she’s a little older, we thought it would be fun to try some blends.

Plum Organics has a ton of great stage 2 options for babies older than 6 months, including sweet potato, corn & apple; pumpkin & banana; spinach, peas and pear; pear & mango and more. I started Juliza on pear & mango. I understand that these pouches are meant for ease on the go, since older babies and toddlers can just eat directly from the pouch. But at this age, I’m still serving Juliza with a spoon, so I squeezed a little into a bowl first.


And then? She went in.


All the way in.

Did I mention the child likes to eat? Oh. I did?

The very first bite was met with a little hesitation, but once she got the taste in her mouth, I couldn’t feed her fast enough. Really. She was whining between bites if I took too long.

And this is her face when we were done.


Honestly, the pear and mangoes were delicious. Not a combination I ever would have thought to try, but after this taste, I know what I’ll be adding to my next smoothie.

She also tried spinach, peas and pear, and loved that too. I love that she got some of the sweetness of the pear, with all the nutritional value of the veggies added as well. That is true of most of the stage 2 blends.

The best part? These pouches of organic goodness are available at Walmart for just $1.38 apiece. Not bad. Not bad at all for organic, non-GMO baby food with no artificial ingredients.

If there’s one caveat, it is the packaging. In general, I’d prefer packaging I can recycle or reuse. For baby food, that generally means glass jars, and that would honestly be my preference since my local recycling service won’t take the pouches. Also, I’ve seen one too many horror stories about what lies at the bottom of some food and drink pouches. Not a huge concern, but it’s in the back of my mind whenever I crack open one of these.

Still, we really love Plum Organics, for the flavors, the price point and the fact that they’re easily available at Walmart. When she gets a little older, we’ll try the Little Yums teething wafers, Super Puffs, Little Cremes (fruit and rice milk snacks) and Teensy Fruits. There are options for her all the way through toddlerhood.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.