One Megacoolmama…

…with fun and healthy ideas for kids!

“Super Bowl” of Chili- Beef, Turkey and Vegetarian Recipes

Super Bowl time in Chicago is synonymous with cold weather and heartier meals.  If hosting a party at your place, here are a few versions of a hearty and healthy classic chili recipe that you can make ahead and keep warm until kickoff.  The use of an all-natural slow cooker sauce made entirely of vegetables and seasonings speeds up prep time considerably. Using lean ground beef, turkey or all vegetables ensures a low-fat delicious meal! Take an extra 25% off Jesben Slow Cooker Sauces at Abe’s Market with code SNOWDAY until 2/1!

Super Bowl of Chili, Three Ways!–Beef, Turkey and Veggie


SLOW COOKER SUPER BOWL OF BEEF CHILI
Ingredients
1-2 lbs lean (90%) ground beef
1 jar (24 oz) Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce
1 can (approx. 15 oz) red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can (approx. 15 oz) pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
3 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin

Instructions
1.  Place meat in slow cooker.

2.  Add beans.

3.  Sprinkle spices over beef and beans.

4.  Pour entire jar of Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce on top of meat, beans and spices.

5.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours or until meat is fully cooked.

6.  With large spoon thoroughly stir cooked chili, breaking up ground beef into chunks and then into smaller pieces with back of spoon.

Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings

SLOW COOKER TURKEY CHILI
Ingredients
1-2 lbs ground turkey
1 jar (24 oz) Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce
1 can (approx. 15 oz) black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can (approx. 15 oz) yellow corn kernels (rinsed and drained)
3 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin

Instructions
1.  Place turkey in slow cooker.

2.  Add beans.

3.  Sprinkle spices over turkey and beans.

4.  Pour entire jar of Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce on top of turkey, beans and spices.

5.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours or until meat is fully cooked.

6.  With large spoon thoroughly stir cooked chili, breaking up ground turkey into chunks, and then into smaller pieces with back of spoon.

Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings

SLOW COOKER VEGETARIAN CHILI (My favorite!)
Ingredients
1 lb chopped portobello mushrooms
1 lb diced extra firm tofu
1 jar (24 oz) Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce
1 can (approx. 15 oz) cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can (approx. 15 oz) dark red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
3 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin

Instructions
1.  Place mushrooms and tofu in slow cooker.

2.  Add beans.

3.  Sprinkle spices over veggies and beans.

4.  Pour entire jar of Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce on top of vegetables, beans and spices.

5.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

6.  Stir thoroughly and keep warm in slow cooker until ready to eat.

Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings

Note: If you prefer less heat or will be serving this to the little ones, chili powder can be reduced in any of these recipes by 1 tablespoon. On the other hand, if you like your chili hot, add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste. Also, feel free to get creative with your ingredients!  I like to add squash or pumpkin puree to the chili once it has been in the slow cooker for about an hour.  I have also added cocoa powder to give the chili a deeper taste.

**TAKE 25% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE AT ABE’S MARKET WITH THE COUPON CODE SNOWDAY UNTIL 2/1!**

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Best forward-facing car seats

If you have a little one between the ages of one and two, the inevitable discussion has ensued as to when you will put your child forward-facing in the car.  My husband and I have been talking about this a lot lately, as our littlest guy is about to turn one in February.

Our youngest has been fairly big since about two months of age, and he outgrew the infant car seat right around nine months old.  My husband and I failed to realize that the infant carseat weight limit was 20 lbs., and our little porker was 21 lbs. by the time we actually figured out that there was nothing wrong with the carseat, he was just chubby!

Parents decide to put their little ones forward-facing for a variety of reasons, including the following:

-child has reached two years of age (age recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for beginning forward-facing)

-child is at least one year old and big for his/her age

-child is at least one year old, average size, and absolutely HATES facing backward in the car

In our case, we had an extra convertible car seat from the older two kids that was bigger, so we put the baby in there, rear-facing.  However, some parents may want to go right to the option of buying a forward-facing seat, and there are plenty of affordable and durable options.  Here are five car seats that are highly rated from a variety of brands:

 

1. Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat, Matrix

Features:

  • #1 Best Seller on Amazon
  • weight limit from 20-100 pounds
  • 5-point harness system with LATCH
  • offers three positions
  • cup holder and storage pockets
  • machine-washable cover

What do the reviews say?  Ideal in every way, except for the crotch strap (too short).

 

2. Evenflo Chase LX Harnessed Booster Car Seat, Reese

Features:

  • 4. stars on Amazon
  • weight limit from 22-110 pounds
  • 5-point harness system
  • integrated cup holders
  • machine-washable cover

What do the reviews say?  Great price for the 5-point harness, but not for the above average in size toddler.

 

3. Britax Pioneer 70 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Kiwi

Features:

  • Base with SafeCell technology, keeping your child significantly safer in a crash
  • weight limit 25-70 pounds
  • converts to a booster that holds up to 100 pounds
  • 5-point harness
  • integrated cup holders, storage and armrests

What do the reviews say?  Super easy to install, but a little difficult to find the lever to adjust the harness at first.

 

4. RECARO Performance SPORT Combination Harness to Booster, Knight

Features:

  • CoolMesh air ventilation to keep child cool
  • reinforced side wings to keep child safe during impact
  • weight limit 20-65 pounds in harness mode; 30-120 pounds in booster mode
  • twist resistant HERO harness technology
  • side pocket cup holders/storage
  • comes in a TON of different colors!

What do the reviews say?  No-tangle straps and safety/durability are unmatched (made by a company that makes seats for race cars and fighter planes); car seat is a little heavier than others.

 

5. Graco SmartSeat All-in-One Car Seat, Rosin

Features:

  • Convertible from infant to toddler to forward-facing booster
  • Weight limit 5-40 pounds in harness, 20-100 pounds in forward-facing booster
  • Smart-LATCH equipped (one-time install in rear and forward-facing modes)
  • 5-position recline and cup holder
  • Machine-washable cover

What do the reviews say?  Extremely easy to install, nice materials; a little bulky.

 

All of the above car seats are available for purchase on Amazon (clickable links through the name of seat and the image).  And, don’t forget that if you form a baby registry with Amazon, you receive 15% off all items not purchased 60 days from your baby’s due date (or 10% if you are not part of the Amazon Mom program).

Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry

Shop Amazon Mom – 20% Off Diapers
 

 

 

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Organic Valley giveaway and coupons!

Image taken from organicvalley.coop

Image taken from organicvalley.coop

I love Organic Valley, since it is one of the only brands that provides great quality organic products that we can find around here.  They are giving away 100 samples a day of their new Organic Balance shakes– click here to enter.  Even if you don’t win, you will still get a couple of nice coupons to use!

Do you buy organic dairy?  If so, have you tried Organic Valley?  Please comment below with your favorite organic dairy products– I am always on the lookout for new products to try!  Thanks!

Refer A Friend

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Annie’s Homegrown Coupons!

I had to share…one of my favorite companies for healthy kids’ food, Annie’s Homegrown, is offering up some coupons for a little money off some of their snacks!  Our favorites are as follows:

 

Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies

These are great to put in lunches or to throw in a snack bag on-the-go.  Much healthier ingredients than Goldfish, and the kids love the little bunny shape!

Annie’s Homegrown Chocolate Bunny Grahams

 

These are another fun and portable snack.  My daughter LOVES chocolate, so this is right up her alley.  I actually like having them with some almond milk as a treat, too!

Annie’s Homegrown Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

My kids would eat mac and cheese every night for dinner if I let them!  I do allow them to indulge about once a week or every two weeks with some of this mac and cheese.  I try to mix my hidden vegetable pureés in there too, so I don’t feel as guilty about giving them mac and cheese.  This doesn’t have any of the junk that traditional mac and cheeses have, so I’m totally fine with letting the kids partake every once in a while.

Do you have a favorite Annie’s Homegrown snack or recipe?  Please share in the comments below!

 


 

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Door to Door Organics Chicago review

 

If you have been thinking about going organic or just love the idea of eating healthy and getting the best bang for your buck, you will want to check out the current deal that Living Social has going on right now!  I just purchased a deal for $18 from Door to Door Organics, which includes a Bitty Box delivered to my door and $10 worth of organic groceries!  (A Bitty Box is a select box of the freshest, organically grown produce from my area that changes on a weekly basis…delivered to my home…yay)!  I hope this can help you on your way to healthy eating!  Enjoy!

UPDATE:  The above deal has expired, but I have been a customer of Door to Door Organics and have loved the variety of fresh produce that has been delivered to my home!  It was such a treat, and I tried some veggies that I may not have normally tried if not for being in the box.  Also, much of the produce that has been delivered has not been readily available at local supermarkets, so I have really gotten my money’s worth.  Actually, if you are new to Door to Door Organics, you can try them out by going here–they usually have some sort of discount for first time customers. 🙂

Let me know if you try it and what you think in the comments!

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Office MaxPerks rewards and CVS ExtraCare

If you are a teacher or work at a school, you are in luck!  Today and tomorrow, Office Max is giving away a free reusable tote bag, stuffed with free samples and coupons!  I went today and asked about my bag, and the gentleman working there kindly directed to me to my bag.  He didn’t even ask for an i.d., but I told him where I taught!  Anyway, my bag (which is a nice size; big enough for a quick grocery trip) came with a sample of 100 paper clips, labels for printing nametags, etc., a 2011-2012 planner (stuffed with coupons for every month of the year to use at Office Max-woohoo!), and a sample of notebook Post-its!  I also picked up two boxes of the 1 cent crayons (24 ct. Schoolio brand) and two of the 1 cent wooden rulers!  To top it off, I received a 20% off coupon for my entire purchase today, so I snagged a nice binder to organize all of my coupons in!  What a deal!

 

 

I also made a trip to my local CVS today in order to get my coffee fix!  They had a good deal there with the 11 or 12 oz. ground coffee variety being on sale for 6.49 a piece.  To make the deal a little sweeter, I used the $3/2 11 or 12 oz. bagged Starbucks coffee coupon that I found in the July 17 SmartSource coupon insert in the Sunday paper.  And, to top it off, I used $4 worth of Extra Care Bucks that I earned from my first purchase (a Revlon lip gloss on sale for $5.79 that I also had a coupon for {$1 off Revlon color cosmetic product from the July 17 SmartSource insert} and the Oral B Cross Action Battery toothbrush {also had a coupon for $3 off 1 Oral B battery toothbrush from the July 31 P&G coupon insert, so I ended up paying 1.99 for a normally $7 toothbrush}).  Soooo….the final price for TWO bags of Starbucks ground coffee (12 oz. a piece) was $7.22 with tax!!! This is such a deal because these bags usually go for around $8.49!  And, don’t forget that when you finish your bags of Starbucks coffee, take the empty bag to any participating Starbucks for a FREE tall brewed coffee!  What a treat!

 

Hopefully, you can have some of the same luck I did…don’t forget, Office Max deal is over tomorrow and CVS should go until August 5!

 

UPDATE:  The above deal is expired, but you should always keep an eye out for great deals at Office Max (especially if you are a teacher) and CVS!  The type of deal listed above generally happens toward the end of each July at Office Max, and CVS is constantly having sales and deals when you can get steep discounts on everyday products.  If you haven’t had a chance, go here to sign up for an Office Max Perks account and here to become a CVS ExtraCare member.  Keep your eye out for deals!

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