Here's My Answer

Category Archives: Meatless Meal

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Ok ok ok… I’m sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. lately.  I’ve been a little preoccupied with the usual stuff… Basically with life in general.  I can’t really remember what has happened in the last 10 days, but I’m sure there have been things… I hope there have been things anyway.  How lame would that be if I didn’t accomplish anything in the last 10 days??

Meh… it’s January so therefore it’s ok to not really accomplish much.  I’ve been working a lot, we’ve been trying to maintain a consistent workout schedule, we’ve been busy with friends and family, I have found a new obsession with Pinterest (I am so behind on what’s cool these days) and I’ve been very consumed by this whole “try to continue to eat ‘cleanly’ and not go out to eat hardly ever” thing.  There have been days that it’s been a challenge, but we have majorly cut back our eating out and it definitely shows in our bank account.  It’s amazing how much money you can save just from something so simple!

Oh… I know what I’ve been doing for the last few days… (I just remembered this) I’ve been addictively (did I make that word up?) watching Sons of Anarchy and this just in… Breaking Bad.  Good god… the things I have been missing in my life!  Well, I’ve always been a Sons of Anarchy fan but I started watching it at like the end of the second season so I decided to start from the beginning.  Brad and I only just started watching Breaking Bad on like Friday night (it’s now Tuesday) and we’ve watched the whole first season.  Which, hold on!  The first season is only 7 episodes so don’t get your undies in a bunch!  However, I am literally so obsessed and uncontrollably addicted that it’s all I think about.  A television show.  It’s pathetic.  I know.  You don’t have to tell me.  And I can’t wait to watch more tonight.

Ok… now that you are all fully aware of my television addictions and strange desires to watch shows about cooking meth and cancer and motorcycles and guns and high school science teachers and violence and …

Oh god.  I’m doing it again.  AH!

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Ok.  Moving on.

Let’s see.  We made these little burrito bowls like the day after we decided to stop doing CLEAN.  It definitely fits in the CLEAN program and it’s also SUPER easy so I have a feeling we will be making this many more times.  Oh!  It’s also pretty cheap too!  All you need is rice, 2 cans of beans and two avocados, a lime and cilantro!  I mean, I didn’t keep track of how much it cost, but I’m sure it’s under $15 and fed us for two lunches!  You do also need some seasoning, but I would hope everyone has garlic powder and cumin on hand.  We always have a bag of brown rice in the pantry too, so for us, it was even cheaper!

This would also be a perfect meal to use leftover rice for.  I know that whenever we make rice, for maybe stir fry or something like that, we always have a buttload leftover (wait, did I just write “buttload”?  Why yes, yes I did) and we usually end up throwing at least some of it away.  This is the perfect answer to that never ending problem!  Even if you have a little bit leftover, say like a cup’s worth, you can still pop open a can of beans and pour it on top and dollop some guac on there too and you’ll have a great lunch!  If you wanted to get really crazy, you could even wrap all of it up in a tortilla, but then it wouldn’t be considered a CLEAN recipe.  Whatever you choose, I think you’ll really enjoy this dish!

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Burrito Bowls
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked brown rice (this should make 3 cups of cooked rice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinse
Garlic powder
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder (optional)
2 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of cilantro, roughly copped

Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.  While the rice is cooking, make your guacamole.  Mash the two avocados in a bowl.  Poor in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Mix together.  When the rice is done cooking, poor some in a bowl and top with beans.  Sprinkle the garlic powder, cumin and chili powder over top, along with salt if desired.  Then plop a couple spoons of guacamole on top and go to town!

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Merry (very) Late Christmas!  Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past week.  The holidays just get a little crazy for us.  They usually consist of a lot of food, a lot of driving, a lot of presents and a lot of family time.  None of which I am complaining about, of course (expect for the driving thing, if that went away, I wouldn’t cry about it)!  We had a busy, yet much less stressful holiday than Thanksgiving.  There’s less people and less of a rush for Christmas and that’s why I love it so much.  I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday!

I debated posting this recipe because it’s really nothing special, but I left my camera at my parents’ house and so therefore can’t post about anything else until I go get it.  And because of that, I decided this recipe was worth posting!  It’s so easy that it almost seems silly to write about it, so I don’t really have a whole lot to say.  I thought maybe people would appreciate an appetizer post since there are many parties coming up for New Years (dang, I should have posted this sooner so you guys could bring this to all those damn ugly sweater parties!).  Currently, we are still debating on what to do for our New Years.  For some reason we have terrible luck with New Years so I’m really not going to bother putting pressure on it.  Honestly, with how much we have had going on lately, I wouldn’t hate being at home with the pups and cuddling (and falling asleep) with my hubby on the couch.  We’ll see what happens…

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Ok, so this dip requires 6 ingredients… I know, I know, it says FIVE Layer Taco Dip, but forgive me, you need SIX ingredients.  You need a can of refried beans, sour cream, taco seasoning, cheese, tomatoes and scallions.  Yep!  That’s it!  And it’s as simple as spreading the beans on a platter, mixing the sour cream and taco seasoning and spreading that over the beans and then topping with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and chopped scallions.  So simple, yet SO.FREAKING.GOOD.  You can add as little or as much sour cream/taco seasoning as you want (I went light as Brad isn’t a sour cream man) and you can even add mashed avocados as well (never tried it but thought I’d share the idea).  You can add salsa too!  Oh the options are endless.  Well, maybe not endless, but sort of endless.

So bring this dip (don’t forget the chips!) to any party, whether it’s for New Years, for a birthday or really… for a party in your own house on a Sunday that involves sitting and watching football in your pajamas and falling asleep on a couch under a blanket with a dog.  Wait… you guys don’t call that a party??  Oh… nevermind then.  Whatever, you get the idea.  Just make this and eat it and you’ll be very happy!

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Oh and two things to end on:  1) The world didn’t end so that is super exciting and 2) We got a blizzard here in Indy and it was pretty much awesome… except for the roads, the roads were not awesome.  But it was pretty fun and really hilarious getting to watch Cash see and play in snow for the first time!  Gosh I love having dogs!  Ok… I just wanted to talk about that stuff.  I’m done now.

photoSomehow this is the only photo I have of the blizzard.  I have about 5 videos of Cash playing in the snow, but no photos of the hour long driveway clearing or Etta running around or our trip to Lowe’s to get supplies for a project or anything fun like that.  Oh well.  You get the idea that there’s a lot of snow!

 

Wait.  I forgot… Happy New Year!!!

5 Layer Taco Dip
My mom has made this for years, so it comes from her
I have no idea how much this serves, it lasted for 2 days for Brad and I though!

1 can of refried beans of your choice (I always use the vegetarian ones)
1-2 cups of sour cream (depending on how much you want to use)
1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning
2-4oz shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 finely diced tomatoes
2-3 scallions, finely chopped

Serve with tortilla chips

Ok… so this is really something that you have to use the amounts based on your preferences.  Spread the refried beans on the bottom of a pie plate, serving platter or any kind of dish you want.  Mix your sour cream and taco seasoning (I used about 1 cup of sour cream and half a packet of taco seasoning.  Taste test as you add the seasoning and be sure to do a little bit at a time!).  Spread that over the beans.  Sprinkle the cheese over that (again, as much or as little as you want) and top with the diced tomatoes and chopped scallions!  Adjust quantities as you wish, it won’t hurt my feelings, I promise!  Enjoy!


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Well, I figured that since the world is going to end on Friday, I might as well squeeze in some posts so that everyone has some quality options for what to make for their last meal.  I kid, I kid… the world isn’t ACTUALLY going to end… I hope not anyway, I have a lot of stuff that I still want to do!

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Now that we have established my stance on the Maya calendar apocalypse the world is ending on Friday stuff… Let’s talk CHILI!  Yay!!!  I have shared with you an excellent vegan chili recipe, but while this one still doesn’t have meat, it isn’t quite vegan.  Only because there is beef broth in it (you could sub vegetable broth or water to make it vegan though!).  Yea, I got really creative on this one.

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Anywho… this is a spicy chili.  That will happen when you add 2 jalapenos, a green pepper and a poblano pepper to it.  Oh and two packets of chili seasoning.  However, it has incredible flavor.  Roasting the vegetables brought out this wonderful smoky charred flavor and it really brought out the spiciness of the peppers, but also some of the sweetness.  Mmm it was just really good.

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I also added a fair share of beans to this chili.  Which shouldn’t be that surprising considering I absolutely LOVE beans.  You can use as many or as little as you want (but keep in mind, the beans are the main part of this chili, so use at the bare minimum 2 cans).  You can use black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, red beans, cannelini beans… the list goes on!  I had black, red and pintos in the pantry, so that’s what I used.  If you wanted to, you could add a pound of ground beef to this to sub out some of the beans… I actually just thought of that.  As always, this is definitely a recipe you can easily adapt to your liking!

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Well, you could make this as your last meal for sure!  It’d be a good one to end on.  Better than what we will have.  I forgot the world was ending on Friday when I made my meal plans and grocery list for the week, so we’ll be eating black bean and rice burritos.  Obviously, not a bad choice… steak and lobster might have been a better way to out though!  Haha!

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Ok… I’m done talking about the world ending.  I promise.

Spicy Roasted Vegetable and Bean Chili
Adapted straight from my head. 
Makes 6-8 servings depending on how big your servings are

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos
1 large green pepper
1 large poblano pepper
1-1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1- 14oz can of petite diced tomatoes
2-3 cups of beef broth (depending on how thick or soupy you like your chili)
3 cans of beans, drained and rinsed (again, I used black, pinto and red beans)
2 packets of chili seasoning (I use the reduced sodium ones)

Ok… Move one of your racks in your oven to the top and turn your broiler on high.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place your peppers (I cut my green pepper in half so it would be easier to broil) on the cookie sheet and place under the broiler until the peppers get really charred, turning them a couple times to get all sides nice and black.  Once the are charred and they are soft, pull them out of the oven and place in a plastic ziploc bag and set aside.  Put your corn on the cookie sheet and place under the broiler for a few minutes, tossing the corn so it chars evenly.  Once that is done, pull it out and just set the pan aside.

While the peppers are in the ziploc bag (hopefully not melting the bag like mine almost did since I bought the store brand of bags rather than the actual quality ziploc brand), put a large pot on the stove on medium heat.  Pour the olive oil in there and once that is hot, add the onion and celery.  Cook, stirring frequently until they are tender. Add the corn.

At this point, remove the peppers from the bag and rub off the skins.  Chop the peppers (removing the stems and seeds) and add to the pot.  Toss in the chili seasoning, the tomato sauce, the diced tomatoes and some of the beef broth.  Don’t add all of it in case you want your chili on the thicker side.  Stir that all together and then add your beans.

Simmer, covered, for a good thirty minutes.  Add a pinch of salt, if needed, as well as more beef broth, also if needed.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Top with mounds of cheese, a lot of saltines and maybe even a dollop of sour cream.  And ENJOY it!!!


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Can I ask you guys something?  … Where did 2012 go??  It’s December 2nd and I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that another year has gone by.  Time seems to be going a little to fast for my liking and it’s starting to freak me out.

On the bright side, I am excited that it is the holiday season, which, let’s face it, is the best season of all.  Nothing makes me happier than the first snow, lots of sweaters, a ton of time with family, and packing on a couple pounds so that I can stay warmer in the cold weather (wait, did I just say that makes me happy?).  Either way, the cold weather definitely bring in new cravings for comfort food, especially hot, hearty soups that simmer on the stove for an hour and leave your kitchen smelling heavenly.  Oh yes… how I love those meals.

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This soup is by far one of the best soups I have made and I am pretty damn proud of it.  The original recipe I based this off of was a more brothy soup.  It’s not thick and it doesn’t have any barley in it.  But with a few of my (fantastic) tweaks, this soup will leave anyone feeling full and satisfied after just a bowl!  Which is perfect because it lasts longer and feeds more!

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The recipe this is based on is from a store/restaurant/cafe in Geneva, Illinois.  It’s called The Little Traveler.  It’s the ultimate girl place, filled with everything from kitchen stuff to candy and tea, from kiddie toys to fancy crystal bowls, from a year round Christmas room(s) to some pretty interesting clothes… it has everything.  But best of all it has a little restaurant inside that has, by far my favorite vegetable soup.  When I thought the other day about making it though, I was worried that it just wouldn’t be enough for us.  Sometimes I get really hungry and let’s face it, a bowl of soup just doesn’t do it for me.  I remembered I had a package of barley still in the pantry from when I made beef stew about a month ago and decided I’d make some alterations to the original recipe to make it more filling.

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It’s a rather simple soup to make, it does take a little time though to cut up all the veggies and simmer.  But in my opinion, it’s well worth the wait.  It is loaded with vegetables and has a lot of flavor that comes from beef broth.  You could try to make this soup vegan by using vegetable broth, but I worry it would be quick as flavorful.  You could pair this soup with fresh out of the oven cornbread or crusty bread or biscuits… or it my case, just a lot of saltine crackers.  Whichever you choose, they will pair well with the soup.

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This is the most perfect meal for a cold night, especially a Sunday night where you can curl up on the couch and watch football, if that’s your thing.  If it’s not your thing, then just make it on any night you want, no big deal.  I really think you will enjoy this soup, I hope so anyway!  I’d love to hear about if you do!

 

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Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup
Adapted from a recipe that’s not online or anywhere to be found other that in my mom’s recipe box… oh wait, yes it is, I wrote about it on my old blog!
Makes a lot… I’d say at least 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
14-28oz petite diced tomatoes (I don’t like a lot of tomatoes so I only used half of a 28oz can)
6-8 cups of low sodium beef broth (I used about 7 cups, almost 2 full cartons)
1 really big thinly sliced potato
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
3/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 of a small head of cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons flour

Ok… heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery and onion and saute until they start to get tender.  Add the tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes and the basil and parsley and bring to a boil.  The stir in the barley.  Add salt.  Simmer this for a good 30 minutes.  Next, add the cabbage and stir.  Using a ladle or measuring cup, remove about 1/3 cup of the broth from the pot and stir in the flour.  Poor this back into the soup and stir to combine.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  Check seasonings and add any if necessary.  Serve and enjoy!


Believe it or not, these black bean burgers have been on my list to make for about 6 months.  I have bought the ingredients for them at least 3 times over those 6 months and still never got around to making them.  That is, until the other day!  I had no reason for not making them, I just for some reason never did.  I’m so glad that I finally got to it.  These things are awesome!

Now, technically these are “spicy” black bean burgers, but they are only spicy if you add the jalapeno.  However, if you are anything like me and you think you have a jalapeno in the fridge that you didn’t use the other day, when in fact you don’t…. well… they aren’t so spicy.  But they are still tasty!  They just don’t have the kick.

They are actually very simple to make.  However, I was determined, once again to not use all the required appliances in order to lessen my dish washing load.  I’m not sure what my deal is.  I get so excited to have all these awesome food processors, blenders, mixers, cheese graters…. and I love them, but when it comes down to it, somedays I don’t want to use them only based on the fact that they are more time consuming to wash.  I should really stop doing that.  Anyway… I found that they didn’t stay together super well, but I have a feeling that’s because I didn’t use the food processor to really blend some of the ingredients together so they didn’t act as much like glue as they should have… that’s my guess anyway.  So these may be more like “black bean sloppy burgers” but they still have the same awesome flavor as they would if they weren’t sloppy.

These are a great alternative to a real burger.  They are just as filling, if not more, and they are so much better for you!  They also have soooo much more flavor.  We paired them with some steamed veggies and chips and salsa.  We also topped our burgers with avocado and hot sauce.  Definitely the way to go!  Enjoy these!  They are a perfect meal for Meatless Monday!

Spicy Black Bean Burgers 
From Eat, Live, Run
Makes 5- 1/3 cup size burgers, which are pretty thick burgers

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons of water
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
Avocado for topping
Hot sauce for topping
Olive oil (or canola oil) for frying

In a small bowl or measuring cup or mug (whatever is easiest to clean!) stir together the ground flax and water.  Set aside.

Add the jalapeno and garlic to a food processor or blender and mince finely.  Add one can of beans and pulse until combined.  Add cumin and salt and pulse more until pretty smooth.

Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl.  Add the bread crumbs, tomato sauce, corn and flax.  Stir to combine.  Add the remaining beans.

Heat a little bit of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the bean mixture and form a patty with your hands.  Place on piece of parchment paper or foil.  Make remaining patties until you have used up all of the bean mixture.  Fry in the pan for about 4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.  Warning!  These were pretty tricky to flip, so just be prepared!

Serve the burgers with avocado and hot sauce, maybe even some tomato and lettuce too!


Holy balls.  I’ve been wanting to write about this dish for a little less than a week now and I am so happy to say that I finally have a minute to sit down and write about it!

I’m actually off of work today because Brad and I went to Cincinnati yesterday to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Cincinnati Reds!!  Pittsburgh is one of our favorite teams because players from our minor league team here in Indy go straight to the Pirates!  So a lot of the players were saw yesterday, we have seen throughout the past few years.  We had a great time in Cinci.  We’ve gone before but never into the city like we did yesterday.  We left about an hour after I got home from work and drove the two hours (well, I slept part of the way) down there.  We made our first stop at Arnold’s which is Cinci’s oldest restaurant, it opened in 1861.   We had a couple beers there then made our way to Moerlein Lager House which is literally across the street from the Reds’ stadium.  Here we drank some beer and were blown away by some amazing food.  Calamari tossed in a red chili aioli and then we split half a bbq chicken with green beans and some of the best smoked cheddar mashed potatoes I have ever tasted.  We couldn’t even believe how good the food was.  Eventually, after stuffing ourselves with food and beer, we made it to the game.  We got an autograph from one of the Pirates’ players, had amazing seats and played with 8 week old basset hounds more than I should have been allowed.  It was Bark In The Park last night, which means if you bought the special tickets, you got to bring your dog.  Unfortunately, the tickets were sold out by the time we got ours, so we couldn’t bring our pups (and it freaking killed me) but I suppose I got enough dog love from those damn puppies.  The game ended up going into extra innings (they played a total of 14 I believe) however, we left after the top of the 10th inning.  Having to drive 2 hours home put a damper on the end of our night because, well, sometimes you just don’t want to go!  But all in all it was an amazing day that I am suuuuper glad we got to do!

And so now it’s Tuesday!  Luckily, I was smart and took today off of work because we didn’t get home until about 1:15 this morning and I’m pretty sure I would be a useless baker if I got less than 2 hours of sleep.  Wise decision on my part!  So here I am, enjoying some extra free time and writing about this delicious dish… I promise, I will actually write about it!

I happened to find this recipe while browsing through Eat, Live, Run’s website.  I happened to see it and thought it looked worth checking out.  While it’s something right up our alley and is something we have definitely had before, it’s also something like we have never had before.  I have never made a dish, especially a Mexican style dish, using cauliflower and sweet potatoes.  I was genuinely concerned that this was not going to turn out.  I was thinking in the back of my mind, while cooking, some places we would be able to eat at if it didn’t turn out.  I wanted to be prepared with a backup plan.

Luckily, and shockingly, I didn’t need a backup plan!  Because this dish is in-cred-i-ble.  When you make this, because you will make this, it will completely blow your mind.  Along with the sweet potato and cauliflower, there are green peppers, red peppers, poblano peppers, corn and onion that really fool you.  You honestly don’t even realize you’re eating such healthy food because it is that good.  You also layer the veggies with spinach!  I mean, let’s face it, this is a power meal!  I think a lot of the greatness comes from the salsa and cheese layered in there as well.  A little salsa and cheese can go a looooong way!

Anyway, I supposed this is long enough.  Trust me when I tell you, you really need to make this dish.  It’s the perfect way to trick yourself, or others, into eat a lot of healthy veggies.  I think even if you went heavy on the cheese it’d still be healthy.  But don’t add too much or you’ll lose the flavors of everything!

Ok… I’m going to go now.  I just accidentally started the MasterChef season finale and so now I have to watch the whole thing without stopping and I just can’t be distracted!!

Layered Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas
Adapted from Eat, Live, Run
Makes 6-8 servings

1 poblano pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4-1/2 head of cauliflower, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups of your favorite salsa
2 huge handfuls of fresh spinach, rinsed and stems removed
4-6 flour tortillas (or whole wheat) torn into large pieces
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Toss the chopped poblano, green pepper, red pepper, onion, sweet potato and cauliflower with olive oil and cumin, garlic powder and salt and pepper.  Roast for 40 minutes until veggies are tender and being to brown.  Toss your veggies every 10 minutes.  Remove pan and reduce heat 350.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, combine the salsa and cilantro.  Spread 1/4 of that mixture on the bottom of the pan.  Cover with one layer of the torn tortillas.  Top with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables and then a handful of the fresh spinach.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on top of that.  Cover with another layer of tortillas, then spoon over some salsa, then top with roasted veggies and lastly, the cheese.  Repeat this one more time until all the ingredients are used up and ending with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and then bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

You can serve this with sour cream and chopped scallions, but I don’t think it’s necessary.  It’s amazing without it!


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love it because the (supposed) cooler weather, the fact that I get to wear jeans and long sleeves and sweaters instead of shorts and tank tops, the apple orchards, the pumpkin picking, the fact that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not too far and of course… the food.

**Side Note: Last week, Brad and I packed up the pups and headed to the Upper Peninsula/northernest tip of Wisconsin with my family for our annual vacation.  This was our 24th year up there and it was amazing.  It was jam packed with sleeping in a small bed, waking up just as the sun was coming out to go fishing, eating big breakfasts, going fishing again, eating a bunch of food at lunchtime, then fishing again, being hot, then eating a big dinner and then more fishing after that.  And then there were trips to town for a twist cone… or two and burgers and curly fries.  There was a walk or two with the dogs in there, a decent amount of beer, some margaritas, and an attempt to check out a for real haunted house, that failed.  We took the dogs on the boat with us where we found out that a boat apparently puts Cash straight to sleep while Etta helped us fish.  We caught big fish, we caught small fish, but from the looks of the beginning of the week, we were just happy to catch any fish.  Brad got to filet some fish for the first time, which was very exciting and we were able to have a fish fry (eh hem, appetizer) on Friday night!

 The view from our cabin

It was an amazing week away from television, computers and phones that was long overdue.  It was a refreshing to escape from the daily grind (although let’s face it, life isn’t that hard here) and it was the perfect change of scenery we were in need for.  If only it wasn’t 10 hours away… So if you were wondering why I haven’t posted anything in, let’s see, almost 2 weeks, that would explain why.  We arrived back on Saturday night and pretty much laid low and did laundry and ran errands on Sunday and then I started back at work on Monday.  So I really haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and write a post in awhile.

Like I said, Cash slept most of the time… in his little life jacket!

 Yea, I caught this beast.  Thank goodness Brad was there to take it off the hook and hold it for me so I could get a photo!!

 I just love this photo too much not to share!

 And of course, the family photo!!

When we arrived back from vacation, we were welcomed by some rain here in Indy, which felt like a miracle since we’ve barely had any over the past 3 months!  It sputtered on Saturday but the real rain came on Sunday and most of Monday where is pretty much rained most of those days.  But, as I said, we were totally happy about it because we now have green grass!  But a rainy Sunday is no day for grilling or any type of summery food…and so when I woke up that morning, I knew what was in store for us that day… CHILI.  

Oh chili… how I love thee.

While the temperature was not exactly in the chili making lows (it was still like 75 out) I just couldn’t keep myself from eating a perfect bowl of chili.  And luckily, Brad was in the same mood I was.

Now, I’ve made several types of chili.  Ok… maybe not several, I think I’ve made 3 or 4, but who’s counting?  I have a go-to easy chili recipe that my mom makes that’s pretty simple.  It’s browned meat and onion, packet of chili seasoning and some diced tomatoes.  Maybe a can of tomato paste too, I can’t remember.  Oh and kidney beans.  But it’s a great last minute chili to make that tastes very good.  I’ve also made a more time consuming pot of chili that comes from Paula Deen’s son that is more involved but has more veggies in it.  It takes awhile to simmer, so it’s more of a chili that you plan on making and set aside a few hours to make.


This pot of chili is a bit of a combination of the two… and it’s vegan (and I didn’t even realize it until Sunday)!  It’s got the veggies of the more complex chili, but the seasoning and tomatoes of the easy chili and beans from both, and some extras that I add on my own.  It’s relatively simple, just a little time consuming because you have to cut up a decent amount of veggies, but I like it because you can either eat it right away or you can simmer it on the stove for an hour or two while your husband takes a nap on the couch and you watch Masterchef on Hulu in the library. Just sayin.

This chili has a great amount of spice and can easily be great with meat but it’s just as good without.  You can add extra veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes or maybe corn, but I was too scared to change it on Sunday so I went with what I knew was good.  You can also add or take away spice, make it soupy or thick and you can take away or add beans.  All around, it’s a very versatile chili that I think can please most anyone!

Oh and you can make it not vegan by adding cheese on top and crackers!  Which, let’s face it, is the way to eat it.

Homemade Chili
Makes about 6 servings I think

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 packets of chili seasonings (I only had one but definitely had to add more seasonings)
1- 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes (I like my tomatoes very small in my chili, you can also use regular diced or whole)
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1/2- 1 1/2 cups of water depending on how thick/thin you like your chili
Cheese and crackers for serving, optional

Heat the oil in a large soup pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the celery, green pepper, jalapenos and onion.  Saute until veggies start to get soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute.  Pour in all three beans and stir.  Sprinkle in the chili seasoning (I’d suggest one packet first and then sprinkle in the other packet once all the ingredients have been added and you have tasted the chili).  Stir to combine.  Next, pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir and add as much water as you would like to get the right thickness.  Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Check your seasonings and add the rest of the chili seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer for at least another 5 minutes.  You can serve the chili at this point, or you can simmer on a low heat for another hour or so.  Serve with cheese and crackers if you want!

Oh… this is Cash not wanting to go out in the rain.



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