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veggie chili

Friends.

I’ve hesitated.

I have a veggie chili recipe that I have pretty much been making for years. And I love it. but  I have a really good friend who is sort of a chili making champion.  She lives in Texas and they take their chili VERY seriously.  IN fact.. I have had the pleasure of tasting her chili… it truly is out of this world… You should  can visit her at River Cat Chili.

She is just back form a very big chili challenge that I’m sure she will be telling us all about soon.. and I have seen some of the pics.. and trust me… you wont want to miss this.

Sharing my measly chili recipe has had me intimidated.  But today… I feel strong.  I am going for it!

So the other day I defrosted chicken and had to decide what to make for dinner. Given the fact that I had more then just 2 to cook for, I needed to get creative.

This is my favorite way to cook. I have always said that if I were ever lucky enough to have a cooking show.. that this would be my ‘spin’

Open the fridge… take inventory… combine with pantry items and come up with 3 possible ideas.. and make one.

Which is exact-a-lacktaly what I did.

so what did I come up with? my veggie chili .. cooking the chicken on the side for those who wanted it. It was perfect.

I started by chopping the veggies and adding all but he garlic to a pan heated with oil

season with salt and pepper ( avoid salting the mushrooms)  and let everyone get a nice little crust.

after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, stir together, turn heat off, add wine to deglaze.

Turn the heat back on… once the wine has evaporated add some veggie stock and jarred tomatoes ( these were second to the last batch from last summer.. *snif*)

Let the chili come to a boil, then reduce and let simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in beans. ( I used beans that I had made in the crock pot and froze.. just because I go throught them so fast, but feel free to use canned)

For the chicken, I cubed it.. tossed it in spices and sauted in oil over med high heat.  Then added chicken broth to deglaze , covered and let simmer until  chicken had reached 165.

At the last minute, stir in some chopped cilantro or Parsley…  I served it with the chipotle cream sauce and it was perfect. ( I added the cooked chicken on top of those who wanted the chicken.

This is easy, healthy and yummy 😉  I finished the rest of it for lunch today with 1/4 of a chopped avocado and some fresh lime juice. It is a perfect meal for a fall day 🙂

* a note on the ghost pepper salt*

I have recently REALLY gotten into finishing salts. I can thank Ryan for this. I make a few of them myself (Lavender salt, Rosemary salt) but I’m a sucker when come across different flavors.  I am lucky That Ryan goes to school near a fabulous little tea and spice chop.. and every opportunity that I have I visit and he and I try out the different salts.

and sugars

and spices

and teas

We came across this one last weekend.. and although the ghost pepper is UBER hot.. ( bought some powdered ghost pepper this summer…  you only need a spec.. this stuff is strong.) I knew I had to buy it.

I have used this every day. yumm..

it’s awesome. like you!

what am I thankful for today? for you .. my readers…  you make my day.. seriously.. it’s nice having y’all as my bffs 🙂

oxoox[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:4]

banish boring salads

well… maybe not banish but know that there are options out there.

You know how when you got to a restaurant and some of the fancier salads look sooo good… but you have a hard  time shelling out 13 bucks for a salad..

yeah  me too.  Here’s the thing.. you can make these at home!!  Now I know some of you are like, “duh? is she going to seriously walk us through salad making 101?”

yes. Because I have a few friends whose diets have changed and they need to add more fruits and veggies into their diet & want to show the amazing amount options that are out there. If you already know all of this.. I apologize…. just scroll to the bottom to help answer a question about my next giveaway.

WHOA!!! wait.. YOU!… get back up here.. I’m not done yet.

We’ll start with making a dressing….  yes.. making it is super simple.. and there are 17,000 combinations that you can create… just use a basic formula and add the flavors that you like!

you will need

1~ an acid.. either vinegar, lemon or lime juice, wine….  1/8 cup

2~ an oil…. olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil.. coconut oil ( my new FAVORITE! ) 1/4 cup

3~mustard… again… SO many flavors out there… play with it! 1 tsp

4~ honey.. or maple syrup ( the real stuff) or agave…. 1 tsp

5~ (optional) herbs.. fresh or dried… or sesame seeds, or crushed garlic….. 1/2-1 tsp.. depending on how strong you would like ( always start with less then add more)

6~ sea salt and pepper…..  I have a slight salt obsession as well…..  we’ll chat about this later 🙂 remind me if I forget.

simply add everything to a small ball jars

   put the top on the jar and shake….

you just made dressing 🙂

trust me.. you can’t get that out of a bottle…. anywhere.

I don’t like overly dressed salads, so I usually use about a tablespoon per salad.. if you like more, then add more… I mix it with whichever greens I am using so that they are coated, then place in serving bowl… top with toppings…

like the quiche ‘recipe’  ( are you starting to get my method of cooking… it’s always a formula, then playing with ingredients… because I am a firm believer in  play!  <—- please read this post, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

so.. you will want

1~ green of choice… baby spinach, arugula, mesclun, romaine, butter lettuce..

2~ dressing of choice

3~ ( optional.. ) protein of choice… ( chicken, beans, salmon, beef, tofu, edamame.)

4~ other veggies.. just pile them on!

5~ (optional ) cheese

6~ (optional) something for crunch.. croutons, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sliver almonds

7~ (optional) dried cranberries or apricots or mandarin orange wedges

and  you, my dear have just made a killer salad worthy of any restaurant.

here’s your 13 buckaroos back 🙂

This salad  has

baby spinach

basic vinaigrette

topped with edamame ( I used trader Joe’s ).. about 1/2 cup

black beans .. about 1/4 cup

1/4 avocado, chopped

1/4 cup cranberry goat cheese ( if you are vegan, by choice or m=by force, eliminate it…  the avocado give the same mouthfeel… and you probably wont miss it)

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

finish with sea salt and pepper..

I ate this for lunch yesterday and it kept me full all afternoon!  ( and peeps ask me all the time where I get my protein from 🙂  )

so be brave…. look beyond iceburg, cukes and tomatoes ( not that there is anything with it, it’s the only way I can get my kids to eat a salad, so I still make it… ) and have fun!!!!

NEEEEXXXXTTT…

I have fallen in LOVE with Greek Yogurt. Have you tried it yet? I buy the non fat plain and it tastes just like sour cream. I sub it out for sour cream all the time.  It is also a perfect base to make granola parfait but also… to make some ‘creamy’ sauces!  like this

Chipotle cream sauce

I used about 1/2 the can of peppers.. if you like it more mild, use less

about a cup of the Greek Yogurt

half a lime

I put them all in the magic bullet looking thing and blended

if you don’t have one of these babies, you could use a blender, just keep scraping down the sides.. or use a food processor.

that’s it folks… does it get simpler than that? I think not.

The girls had this on their tacos last night & I topped my tostada with it.

the girls’ taco filling is made with lean ground chicken, then when I add the taco seasoning ( only half the package… it’s so loaded with sodium.. a little goes a long way.. you also can make your own, considerably knocking the sodium down, but I had it so I used it) and when I add the water I add a can of refried beans. They blend in perfectly… it stretches the filling and boosts the protein 🙂 I’ve been doing this for years..

It also freezes and defrosts well, so you can make double the amount and have it in the freezer for a super quick dinner…. If you need to cook for one, make a batch and freeze it into individual portions…  again.. quick dinner for one

*if you have dinner for one, please do me a favor and do it by candle light.. you are special and should have a nice dining experience.. if you want you can face time me and we can eat dinner together 😉 *

My filling was chopped mushrooms, sautéed  in oil, then  I mashed some back beans and lime juice in, seasoned with sea salt, cumin & chile powder

I placed it on a small flour tortilla that I heated in my cast iron skillet ( I CANNOT say enough how much I love  cast Iron to cook with)

top with cheese ( if vegan, try the daiya cheese shreds.. it’s very good, melts and stretches like cheese and can be frozen.. It is on the pricey side ( $5 a bag) but it does freeze, and I just pull out what I need when I need it )

the I added avocado.. fresh salsa.. Chipotle cream sauce and some plain Greek yogurt..  YUM!  ( and sooooooo easy )

As far as the rest of the chipotle peppers ( I’ve never had a recipe that I’ve used the whole can ) I take a freezer bag & label it… place in a jar

then press out the air & seal

Whenever I need some for a recipe, or a burst of flavor, I just break a piece off! No waste here.. yo!

so now that I’ve made you hungry… I have a question for all of you.

I have a fun company that has offered for me to give away one of their products.  I have the choice…

1~ 1 big gift for one lucky recipient…

OR

2~ 10 small gifts ( of the same item) so that TEN of you can win….

so whatcha all think? 1 big winner or 10 smaller ones???

smooches friends!!  oxooxo

watermelon times three

Ya’ll may have given up on me posting tonight.. I mean it’s almost 9 pm .. where the heck has she been?

Training for a race, that’s where 🙂 🙂 🙂

So let’s talk watermelon. It’s a melon. It’s made of water. Lots and lots of water.

It’s fun to eat in the summer. It’s fun to have it drip all over you bbq shirt. it’s a BLAST to spit the seeds. It is summer in a food

It’s PINK!

I have always loved watermelon. As an adult I started to appreciate it back in the early 90s when I read the book Fit for Life .

(anyone else read it? show of hands? oh.. only me.. that’s cool  :))

Anyhoooo… The preface is that your body is made of mostly water so you should eat mostly food made of water. Also, you should never eat a protein and a carb together, never eat fruit with anything other than fruit..  that you get out int the sun and soak up the free vitamin D.. and most importantly, only eat fruit until noon.

And the fruit should have high water content. Like watermelon. Because it’s made of water.

Are you gettin’ where I’m going here?

Are you smelling what I’m cooking?

watermelon is chock full of water.

*ducks* ok. ok. I get it…  you know what I am trying to say..

soooooo our first recipe will blow you away. Or at least it did me. I saw this earlier this summer on the Rachael Ray show and I was like, ” GENUIS!”

*side note.. I was on the Rachael Ray Show last year.. yeah.. I’m famous ~~  :inspects manicure like I’m important)*

So Rach (I can call her, that, we’re buds)was talking about how watermelon was made of….ok.. you get it, I know, I know!!!

do you know where I’m going with this?

Let’s play a game. Let’s look at some pictures.

look liked plain old cubed watermelon, right?

look again

getting cooler warmer?

ok.. I’ll give it to you… I’m nice like that 🙂

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  you have figured it out, haven’t you… you are a genius.. you are… YOU ARE!!   She made watermelon ice cubes!!!!  because #$%^&  melon is made of #%$%^ which freezes! GENUIS! 

so to make these watermelon cubes even better.. I added them to this…
tea that Amanda and I found while she was here..( on clearance!).. although I think that you could use any fruit tea.. truth be told, it was her idea to use this tea with the cubes… she also comes from great jeans genes.

brace yourself..

I’ll give you a minute… I understand…

So the next recipe…. Years ago I came up with a brilliant idea to make a watermelon salsa. I was SOO proud of myself and promptly made some for my mom proclaiming my obvious talent.

And while we were eating it, a chain restaurant advertised on tv their ‘new watermelon salsa’

Really? REALLY?  yeah, really.

But in my heart of hearts,. even if the rest of the world was already doing it, I came up with my own in my kitchen, so I’m ok with that 🙂

Watermelon Salsa

2 Cups cubed seedless watermelon

1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, chopped and soaked like we did for the leeks

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Sea salt & pepper

~ everyone in the pot~

and mix :).. seriously…  you CAN do this!

volia!  done 🙂 I like it if it sits overnight but it is reallllllly hard to do… cause it’s

so

darn

good

You can top grilled chicken with this, tofuTop a salad… or eat it alone. 

Maybe if you live on the wild side like me, you could put it on vanilla ice cream

*note to self.. buy ice cream tomorrow*

here’s a napkin for you 🙂

Okkkeeddookee…. last recipe…

we are going to get smoky.. and sultry.. and tangy

with watermelon?

um. yes.

Grilled Watermelon Salad

1 thick piece of watermelon, about 2×4.. sprinkle with salt & drain on a paper towel ( I tried to use my tofu press, but it didn’t do much) then rinsed after 10  min

1 tomato, sliced, sprinkled with salt, drained on paper towels ~ I did not rinse the salt of these babies ( I chopped the end up for topping)

1 thick slice of red onion

A few chunks of feta cheese

2 wedges of lime

Olive oil & a pastry brush

Grill pan

Sea salt and pepper

start by making sure that everything is as dry as it can be. Then using pastry brush, brush all veggies with olive oil. Preheat he grill pan until it is super hot then place watermelon, tomato and onion in the pan. then let the pan do it’s work.. don’t play with it!  After about 5 minutes, using tongs, carefully flip them. ( my tomatoes didn’t look so purty.. but they did taste good 🙂

Place the watermelon on a plate, pretty side up, then arrange remaining ingredients ( except lime) on the plate..  Squeeze on wedge of lime over the salad and garnish with another.

this recipe is sensory overload. The smokiness from the watermelon with the sweetness of the onions, the depth from the tomatoes and the zing from the lime juice & saltiness of the feta….. I loved this!

Ic ame up with the idea after seing one of the contestants on Hell’s Kitchen the other night ( don’t tell me the winner, I had to DVR it until Scott comes home this weekend )

I saw a similar combo on the show and have obsessed over it since then.

’cause sometimes I do that..

like with watermelon 🙂

night friends…..

I have a kitchen to clean!

oxox

this one’s a keeper

friends, I have a recipe to share with you. I cannot take credit for this recipe ( I rarely do.. with the exception of my roasted vegetable lasagne , which I am convinced will someday make me famous)  I mostly share recipes and tips that I have found along the way.

Tonight’s is no exception.

EXCEPT… I’m being a bit selfish here. Ok I know.. you are shocked. Let me explain.

For Christmas this last year one of my gifts from my mom & step dad was a subscription to Clean Eating magazine. I had heard about it & really wanted to learn more.  I bullied one of my friends into getting it as well, so that we could compare recipes & the front cover & stuff.

whaaat.. I was a nice bully 😉

One of the first recipes that I made was a pork stew/chilish kinda dish. I loved it! Really loved it. When I went to make it the next time , I couldn’t find it anywhere. I searched the magazines( by then I had a few issues) I searched the website. and continued to come up blank. I finally did find it, and made a mental note to bookmark it.

Epic.

Fail.

So The other night when I wanted to make it again.. same process, expect now I had 9 months or CE magazines to go through.

*on a side note… this made me look at my entire stash of cooking mags that I had saved. The one on the TOP of the pile read ’20 best things to try in 2007’*

yes. 2007. I am behind the times.

I recycled all 7 shopping bags of magazines and was rewarded with.. the recipe that I had been looking for. Picadillo Chowder.

Now I am quite naive… I never looked up picadillo and I never looked up chowder. I searched pork in every fashion.

I searched chili.

I searched stew.

It doesn’t matter, because the magazine Gods shined upon and rewarded me for being such a good recycler and then and there I promised to write it on my forehead

share this with you….

I give you Picadillo Chowder .

( picture is missing the black beans. I forgot them)

*1 lb lean ground pork

*1 medium yellow onion

*4 gloves garlic, chopped

*32 ounce low sodium chicken broth

*1 cup Organic black beans , rinsed ( I used the whole can, rinsed)

* 1/4 cup brown rice

* 1 tsp ground cumin ( I like it spicy, so I used a bit more)

* 1 tsp chile powder ( I used chipolte chili powder and more because I like it spicy 😉

* juice of 1 lime

* chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

Place a large stockpot on medium heat. Add pork & onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until pork is opaque and onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, cook for 2 more minutes.

Remove pot from heat; pour mixture into heat proof container and drain fat from meat. Return mixture to pan and add broth. Stir in beans, rice, cumin & chili powder.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in lime juice then continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

I always put a hot pepper in the middle, then when it’s done, I mash it up for extra heat. What can I say? I like it hot.

The original recipe called for rice browns, which are like little rice pancakes, but the first time I made them I was not impressed, so I haven’t included the recipe. If you are interested, give me a shout out & I will post it for you.

I like to serve it with an extra squeeze of lime juice , fresh cilantro ( parsley for you cilantro haters.. it’s not your fault..it’s hereditary) I forgive you and will always have parsley for you 🙂   I serve it with cornbread & a dollop of greek Yogurt.

and I’m such a poor blogger,that I missed taking a photo of the final dish. I know. my bad.

HOWEVER, I did manage to take a picture the next day when I morphed the leftovers into a wonderful organic corn tortilla soft taco for lunch

is your mouth watering? mine is…..

this recipe has it all in my opinion.

it’s quick

it’s inexpensive

it’s easy

it’s delicious

it’s versitile

it’s what you should make 🙂

and for my vegetarian friends ( you know who you are) you could probably make it vegetarian by using veggie stock & grated Tempeh in place of the pork. I haven’t tried it but may be inclined to do so. Soon.

a special shout out to those of you who ‘like’ me on facebook. Let’s face, it, everyone who like to be ‘liked’ and I am no exception 🙂 If you see a recipe that you like, feel free to share it with friends 🙂

ciao bellas!

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