End of the Year Showdown, with Vegan Chili

Helloooooo Winter.

What an entrance. Had my peacoats, oversised scarves, knee-high boots, and wool socks all out of the closet before December.  If it weren’t for the bizarre 65 degree (F) weekend you just threw at me I’d think you were serious this year. With a bit of time to spare this weekend, I was all set to make some great hot meals and curl up with a book. Then I check the weather report and realized that I should be embracing my last pleasant-weather opportunity outside for what it is probably the last chance of the season. So I decided to go 50/50. Today is for pretending it’s cold and making chili, tomorrow I explore the outdoors. Deal.

So I roughly went off Angela’s vegan chili recipe, but mostly just to make sure my own ratios weren’t terribly off. And let me tell you, they were so ON. This was everything I’d hoped for and more. You know, if you’re looking for a dish to prove that a vegan diet does not sacrifice any food groups or flavor, a bowl of this concoction may take the cake. And the cornbread.


Warm Vegan Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil. Three bell peppers, diced. One large onion, diced.  Two cloves of garlic, minced. 10-15 baby carrots, sliced. Two handfuls of sliced portabella mushrooms.  Four medium tomatoes, dicedOne cup tomato sauce.* 1/4 cup vegetable broth. One can corn. One large cup of vegan beef crumbles. One can kidney beans. One can black beans. 4-5 tbsp taco seasoning**. 1-3 additional tbsp chili powder.

(if you just read ^those to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas,” you dear, are oozing Christmas spirit, keep it up)

*Whole Foods’ “roasted vegetable” was the one I used and it was wonderful. If you have canned tomatoes you can sub an entire can for the tomatoes and add sauce if need be.

**I can’t remember the recipe I originally used to make mine, look around and find one that matches your cupboard ingredients102_1700

-saute the carrots, onions, garlic, and peppers with olive oil in a large pot. Approx 5-10 minutes on low/med heat. Add in some of the tomato  sauce if it cooks too quickly or looks like it’s starting to burn

-Add in the mushrooms, tomatoes, sauce, broth and corn.  Rinse the beans and add them in with the crumbles.  Cover, and cook for approx 30 minutes. MMMMMmmmmmm

As it did have a bit of a kick too it, I topped mine with some shredded cheddar Daiya and a couple tbsp creamed avocado. Highly recommend that. All of that. Such a winner102_1709

Now, I am a college student, and it happens to be that great time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which is essentially four weeks for professors to drag out finals, throw in additional last-minute assignments, and raise expectations because students become superhuman in their productivity levels during these weeks. And by superhuman I mean we realize how much is actually possible when procrastination is no longer an option. Personally, there’s a chance I made out with a manageable exam schedule this year. Kind of a rarity to be dished a load that you can handle when it comes to these weeks, but with any luck and help from the academia gods I may be able to make it to the other side in one piece. A week of papers. A week of one final and tons of studying. Then exams Monday and Tuesday. Then hommmmee freeeeeee (:

This year I am in the Christmas spirit early. Already have my Christmas CDs ready for the car, my gift-giving list is nearly complete, and our little apartment tree is decorated.  And it was all preceded by a great Thanksgiving! As I’m the one with the strangest eating habits, I thought it’d only be right to cook the meals myself and invite the family to our house.  I think it was a success! The menu included turkey and tofurky (credits to Mom), a green bean casserole with mushroom gravy (ohsheglows inspired, as per usual), roasted squash and sweet potatoes with a cinnamon-maple syrup glaze, pumpkin cake balls, mashed potatoes (one batch was ohsheglows inspired), salad from the cousins, vegan stuffing from the grandparents, and sweet potato biscuits! The cake balls were originally supposed to be pumpkin bread, but my weird vegan self decided to get inventive where the directions said, “two eggs.” Needless to say, the consistency turned the desert into mush. With a brief stroke of a genius, they were rolled into balls, covered in dark chocolate and fall sprinkles and totally recovered. What a save.photo (16)

I think I was more full after this Thanksgiving than I’ve ever been in my life. Ever. So good though. The break itself was loaded. Spent a lot of time in northern VA and attended a wonderful Friends-giving across the state as well. So much good food, lots of good people, and a break that arranged itself in a full, yet manageable, fashion. Very grateful for all of life.

Aunt Linda (foxwoodphotography.com) made a quick photo-stop by on Thursday as well. This blog would be so much more exciting if she was my personal photographer, but Emily and I received another cousin shot out of the deal so it wasn’t half bad. Happy Holidays everyone,  remember everything you’re thankful for, watch Elf at least three times, and make sure your cat cuddles with you an adequate amount. Or maybe ignore my personal goals and set your own :)
[ so now it’s been 4 hours since the original post time, and ABC fam had a surprise double feature of Elf. Knocking goals out of the park since ’91. nbd]

French Family


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