Friday, March 14, 2014

Vegan Chili with Winter Squash and Wild Mushrooms

Who doesn't fancy a bowl of delicious, hot soup during the winter/fall months? I know I do. Spring is literally right around the corner, regardless if the weather wants to believe it or not, but I couldn't pass up sharing this recipe with you guys.

While I was reading the local newspaper I stumbled across this recipe and couldn't help myself. I had to make this soup. It just sounded way to good to pass up.

It takes a bit of time to make considering you have lots of chopping you have to do, but it's well worth the time and the strain on your fingers.

This is probably the best chili I've ever had. I mean, this chili could win competitions, people.

Yeah, it's that good.

  • 3/4 ounce(approx. 5-6) dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms.
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil.
  • 3/4 cup(approx. 1 medium) diced white onion.
  • 3/4 cup(approx. 1) diced green pepper.
  • 3/4 cup(approx. 1) diced red pepper.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 5 tablespoons of chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • 1 1/4 pound(approx. 1 medium-size) butternut squash, peeled and diced 3/4inch.
  • 1 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 each of 15-once can of black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
  • salt, as need/desired.
  • sugar, as needed/desired.
  1. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Once softened, remove from the water and dice finely. Set aside the soaking liquid.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a 6-quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers, and sauté until onions are translucent and just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and continue to cook over moderate heat until garlic is aromatic, about 6 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté on high heat until they begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Make a well in the center of the pan, add chili powder and cumin, and sauté briefly until aromatic and the spices mix with the oils-do not allow it to blacken or burn!
  6. Add the tomato paste and cook over moderate heat until it caramelizes slightly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add reserved mushroom liquid and additional water if needed. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, assorted beans and the reserved onion, garlic and pepper mixture.
  9. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender, occasionally skimming and discarding any foam that rises to the surface.
  10. Watch the consistency of the chili, and if it gets dry and threatens to scorch, you can add extra water by the 1/4 cup. If, on the other hand, the chili is too liquidly, cooking over a higher heat briefly will reduce some of the excess liquid.
  11. Season the chili to taste with however much salt you'd prefer. If the flavor is at all bitter, adjust with a pinch of sugar.
I personally did not garnish my chili but I know some people like to, so I figured I'd give some optional garnishing ideas.

Totally optional: Garnish with vegan shredded cheese(flavor of your choice), scallions and fresh cilantro.

 If your not vegan, you may choose to garnish the chili with shredded jack cheese, sour cream, sliced scallions and chopped cilantro.

If your preparing in advance, or have leftovers, allow the chili to cool in a shallow pan, then store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to one month. To serve, reheat the chili, adding additional water as needed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Noms of the Month: January/Febuary Edition.

Bye bye, 2013. Hello to you, 2014!

New Year's Revolutions. Well, I haven't quite made a list of resolutions yet, but I do have some things I'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.

So yeah, we're just call em' resolutions.

  1. Starting with the most important. Getting A-B range grades in all four of my college classes that I'm taking this semester.  
  2. Saving up as much money as possible, so I can buy a car and move out of Wabash to Fort Wayne, which would be closer to my chosen college: FPFW, and I would also be closer to: health food shops, restaurants(that are better than Wabash's fast food/sucky restaurants), and let's me honest.. there's more to see and do in a bigger city v.s. a smaller town like Wabash. Once Ryan gets his job this summer, saving up money will be much easier than it is now.. considering I'm the only one that is working.
  3. Making this a pretty, upbeat, informational, interesting, and motivating blog. I've had and have continued to have problems with finding the time to sit down and actually blog(on this blog!) about things, the readers, would be interested in reading. As pain-hearting it may be.. I accept the fact that I do not have many readers. Which is totally understandable considering I barely post anything other than my usual two-three things. I want to write about my week, like a lot of bloggers do, but some weeks I don't have a lot to say. "The Week According to Instagram", is a wonderful idea, but I don't take pictures all that much unless it's food, or something funny that the cats are doing. I do like this idea and may just incorporate it into my blog, soon, hopefully. By next year, I'm hoping to have came up with some ideas, so I can get this blog goin'!
I'm combining January and February together, so let's get to it.

I was sick most of the month of January. I'm talking flu-status. I had no appetite, no energy, no motivation to get out of bed. So for about a week, that's what I did. I just laid there, on death's door, while Ryan tried his hardest to help me fight it off. I also had a non-stop pounding headache, could barely talk, experienced cold chills/heat sweats. It was awful. The snow storms did not help, and since I was staying at my grandparent's house- I got sick from being too cold, because they don't believe in heaters. Yes, you can get sick from getting too cold. I did.
  1. I managed to get myself to drink a few Vitamin C with Probiotic water enhancers to get my immune system workin'.
  2. I guzzled down Orange Juice. Drinking one carton, every two days, for that week. So I drank about 3 galloons in a week's span.
  3. Chicken-less Noodle Soup was my best friend.
  4. Repeat of the obsessive orange juice drinking.

  1. Repeat of my soup.
  2. Eventually I did get my appetite back. Spinach Salad with Yellow Bell Pepper, Olives, Beets, and Guacamole; Low Sodium Sprouted Bread with Spicy Chik'n Patty and Guac.
  3. At home and work snack: Veggie Straws.
  4. Vegan Chili with Kidney/Garbanzo Beans, Squash, Peppers, and Mushrooms! I found this recipe in the newspaper and it's a keeper! Recipe coming soon.

  1. Vegan Lasyuna with cooked Red Baby Potatoes/Green Beans and Breadstick.
  2. Cranberry Stuffing, Green bean Casserole, and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy. Went a bit overboard on the gravy..
  3. Amy's* Light & Lean: Sweet & Sour Rice Noodles.
  4. Vegan Cinnamon Rolls!

  1. Steel-cut Oats with TJ* Legendary Trek Mix, Granola, and Crunchy Cookie Butter.
  2. When there was nothing left to eat- I simply just ate a bowl of peas.
  3. Pure fruit juice suckers from Ilona.
  4. V8* Blueberry Pomegranate Energy Juice.

  1. Mashed Potatoes with Fettuccine Noodles and Peas.. all mixed together.
  2. Baked Potato with Peas and Spicy Boca* Chik'n Patty. Obviously, I was in the mixed of eating and taking a picture at the same time. Op.
  3. Mexican Rice with Black Beans, Spring Greens, Guacamole, and Tortilla.
  4. Macaroni Noodles with Diced Tomatoes.

Lastly, Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage. Odd mixture but when your options are limited you do what you have too.


  1. More Vegan Chili, that I ate last month.
  2. It's tradition for my family to watch the Superbowl and make either homemade pizza or get a sub. I wasn't feeling pizza, at the moment, so I got my favorite Subway Sandwich: Honey Oat with all Vegetables, including avocado.
  3. The start of my bar obsession this month.. your soon see what I mean.
  4. Iced Raspberry Tea that I drank while eating #2

  1. Baked Ravioli with Daiya Mozzarella Shreds, Mushrooms, and Spinach; Cooked Cabbage on the side.
  2. Leftover Cabbage.
  3. Repeat of both 1 and 2.
  4. Brought home some Chiptole: Vegan Burrito: Brown Rice, Black Beans, Fiesta Vegetables, Pico De Gallo, Guacamole, and Lettuce.

  1. My uncle made some hummus, that I devoured sampled. So good!
  2. Newest bar love: True Bar. I found it while looking around the new health food shop that Wabash finally has called Cathy's Natural Market. The place is small, and there really isn't many items yet. I'm sure in time they will get bigger and better and I'll find myself shopping there more often; in due time.
  3. Iced Oatmeal Raisin Luna Bar.
  4. Chocolate Chunk Luna Bar- that I finally got to try out!

  1. Peanut Honey Pretzel Luna Bar at work. My favorite flavor!
  2. New flavor: Carrot Cake. Ahmazing!
  3. Break time at work: Orange Juice and another Carrot Cake Luna Bar,
  4. Cran-Raspberry La Croix Sparkling Water. I rarely get La Croix, due to being on a budget, but I couldn't help myself considering this is a long-lost flavor I've been trying to find!

Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bar.
I warned you. 
Luna Bar obsessed this month!

Speaking of obsessions. I also drank my fair share of Peace Tea. Pink Lemonade+Tea, Peach, Cranberry, and a new flavor, that I had never tired before, Sno-Berry!

  1. Yet another Vegan Burrito from Chipotle that I brought home.
  2. And... another. This time Vegan Burrito Bowl with Chiptole's amazing tortilla chips.
  3. Brown Rice Vegetable Sushi.
  4. Potato Dumpling Soup.

  1. Fiber One Honey Cluster Cereal with New Silk* Protein+Fiber Almond Milk.
  2. Macaroni Noodles with Tomato Juice. Simple.
  3. Muffins with Brown Sugar.
  4. Rice-stuffed Grape Leafs.

Remember this? Oh yeah. I ate that whole bag in 2-3 days. Thanks again to Charli, for introducing me to this bag of pure intoxicating yumminess.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Febuary Foodie Reveal!

Wow-zer! It seems like forever since I've taken part in food-swapping.

Well, not forever, but since last October, which is pretty damn close.. considering I love this program.
fpp September Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

I got paired up with Charli, who doesn't blog, but she does give great foodie packages!

Let me prove it to you.

First looks: Trader Joe's "packing" paper. Truthfully, I have kept this "packing paper" because I love Trader Joe's and I love reading about their new products that they come up with. I'm feeling a drive to Indy, once the roads get better, to go get my Trader Joe's fix. This actually made me think that there may be some TJ goodies hidden below.

Sadly, there was no Trader Joe's items to be found. Though, there was this funny card that made it almost okay. Almost.

It's no secret that I love nut butter.. especially Justin's! I've put these two packets in my nut butter stash, until I decide on what I want to smoother some nut butter on.

The Seed & Fruit Mix was 3/4 gone when I first opened up my package. I couldn't stop eating it! The Mountain Mambo combination is perfect: sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips, and cranberries. Nom! Thankfully I had to go to class, or that whole bag would have been gone that day/night. No shame. By some miracle I made it last an additional two days before I had to throw away the empty package. I definitely will have to buy some more soon!

Local Minnesota Wild Rice. Which will be accommodating future meals. It's also no secret that I enjoy receiving/giving local items to my pen-pals. I gave Charli some local chocolates from The Charli Creek Inn Candy Shoppe and I got this bag of local rice.

Next up: Perfect Work Snacks!

Who doesn't love feeing like a kid again? I sure do. Matter of fact, Ryan and I both got a lunchable the other day just to bring back some childhood memories. It was awesome. I'm unsure if Go Go Squeez was available back when I was a kid, but at least I can still get me a taste as an adult. Plus, it's a nice switch up from just eating applesauce in a bowl with a spoon to just squeezing it in your mouth!

Fruit Leather and That's it* Bar. I've had fruit leather(yum!) but I've never tried a That's it bar. I'm a nutrition bar lover, so I love that Charli found me one that I haven't tried yet. It's made with only one apple and three apricots. That's it! (Hence the name.)

Another item I haven't gotten to try yet, even though I've been vegan for over a year is Primal* Vegan Jerky! This is Mesquite Lime flavored-which sounds interesting.

Those items are definitely coming to work with me.

She also included this delicious recipe:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins.

I haven't gotten to make them yet, but just from reading the recipe card I can tell that these are going to be amazing. I was going to get the ingridents for these today(since I got paid) but since I had to miss a couple days of work, due to not feeling good, I didn't make enough to be able to get the ingredients this week. So I'm having to postpone making these muffins until a later date. They sound damn good though. I can't wait to make em'!

Thank you so much, Charli, for giving me a local fix, some snacks for work, and a delicious-sounding recipe! Your recipe card is my recipe box to be used for years of muffin makin' to come.

Interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal yourself? Here’s the details:
  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating for March, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Noms of Week #12 (November/December Edition)

I should really start calling these posts.. "Noms of the Month." Since I can't find the time do them every single week anymore.

This is a very late post because of many reasons. I'm only going to name two.

So which do you want to hear? The bad news or good news first?

Let's start with the good shall we?

The good news is.. I'm finally employed! I finally have my own money coming in each week. I have never felt so much accomplishment, self-worth, and empowerment before in my whole life. I feel on top of the world! I've been struggling for months to find work. I would get the interview but never actually get the job. After countless rejections, I finally got given an opportunity to work in the Deli Department of Wabash's only locally owned grocery store. Basically, my job is to clean(and clean and clean), slice meat/cheese for people, and scoop up salads. Easy stuff. The best part is that all of my coworkers are wonderful people. I can honestly say I love my job. I've only been working there a couple months(I started November 22nd) but I can honestly say, so far, I have no complaints. Some days, I'm so anxious just to get to work so I can get away from the stresses I have at home.

Speaking of stresses.. let's talk about the bad news now.

Ryan and I were on the rocks from the end of November until the middle(ish) part of December. As in.. we weren't together anymore until he realized what he had lost and so we started back fresh towards the end of December. I'm not going to go into very much details about that whole situation because it just hurts and I'd prefer not to even mention what all happened. So I'm just going to come out and say eating for me in December was almost non-existent. I ate. Just not near as much as I should have. And it pains me to say my eating disorder behavior came back for a brief time until I stopped giving in once more to that little voice that taunts an eating-disordered person. I lost weight. I was miserable. Working was hard on me during that time frame because I was constantly surrounded by food, but here's the thing..  I did not act on binging/purging or binge eating. I simply just did not eat enough, so I was just constantly weak at work. I went back into my caffeine binges and relied on that while I was working. Not good. But I'm okay now. Eating back in order. I'm also living back over at my grandparent's house. So Ryan and I can take a chill from each other now and then.

So that's what's up with my life for the time being. I'll have even more to talk about at the end of January. For now though, let's recap on what I ate these past two months.


  1. Lunch @ Moe's with Ryan and Anton. Burrito Bowl(Rice, Black Beans, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Guacamole.)
  2. Dinner @ Moe's(again) with a friend, for a "feel better" type of thing, since Ryan and I had broken up for that brief amount of time. Burrito Bowl(Rice, Black Beans, Tomatoes, Black Olives, Pico De Gallo, Lettuce, Guacamole.
  3. Chiptole! Vegan Burrito(Brown Rice, Black Beans, Fiesta Vegetables, Guacamole and Romaine.)
  4. Thanksgiving Brunch: Spinach Salad with Broccoli, Roll, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green bean Casserole, Corn Casserole, Stuffing.

  1. Spinach Salad with Salad Fixings(Sunflower Seeds, Dried Cranberries, Pepitas), Raw Carrot, Avocado, Mediterrian Hummus, Fat free Balsamic Vinaigrette with a side of Brown Rice & Quinoa with Garlic.
  2. Leftovers from Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole and Rolls.
  3. Stuffing with Dried Cranberries, Green Beans, and Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy.
  4. The Luna Company gave me a free Blueberry Vanilla Luna Fiber Bar for my birthday!

  1. Decided on continuing to drink more juice, so I got some Bolthouse Farms* Blue Goodness Juice that was on sale over at Kroger.
  2. Vegan Vanilla Yogurt with Blueberries, Raspberries and Granola.
  3. Smore's Oatmeal! Steel Cut Oats, Cacao Nibs, Vegan Marshmallows and Lotus* Cookie Spread.
  4. White Rice with cooked Mushrooms and Yellow Bell Pepper.

  1. My grandmother made this amazing dish! I don't even know what you would call it? Basically it was just cooked vegetables(potato, carrot, onion, peas) with bread dumpling on top of it. So delicious and vegan! Definitely need to get the recipe and post it on this blog!
  2. Leftovers from my grandmother's dish.
  3. .... and more!
  4. Green Bean Casserole. Vegan style.

  1. Spaghetti with Prego* Traditional Sauce and Avocado.
  2. Tea Pigs(tea brand from Europe) Green tea. I got this tea in on of my International Vegan Swaps(really need to do a post about that..)
  3. You just can't get though the holiday season without Pumpkin Spice Tea!
  4. Spaghetti with Prego* Traditional Sauce and Garlic Bread.

  1. Vegan Macaroni & Cheese(accidently added way too much cracked pepper in it, if you can't I really only ate about 1/2 of that) and cooked Mushrooms/Yellow Bell Pepper.
  2. Spinach Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Jalapeno Hummus. Sides of: Brown Rice/Quinoa with Garlic, Mashed Butternut Squash, and Green Beans.
  3. Fiber One* Honey Cluster Cereal with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.
  4. Garlic Green beans with Mediterrian Hummus.

  1. Gravy Bread(White Bread with Mushroom Gravy), Baked Potato and Green Beans.
  2. Break food of choice: Fiber One* Honey Cluster Cereal with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.
  3. Golden Delicious Apples. Nom!
  4. Homemade Dried Cherry Muffins with Earth Balance. Amazing discovery in the kitchen. I only ate about 2-3 of them, in a three day span, before my family gobbled the rest up!

And let's not forget the best thing this month! Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Bread! I received this from the vegan swap and just replaced the eggs with a banana. Amazing! I had this last year and will probably continue to get a box, every year, throughout the next few years. I love this bread-especially during the "pumpkin" time of the year.


  1. Pot Roasted Vegetables. (Potato, Carrot, Onion, Peas.)
  2. Boca* Spicy Chik'n Patty, Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, Steamed Broccoli, Vegan Mac.
  3. Mashed Potatoes with Corn and a Boca* Spicy Chik'n Patty all mixed together.
  4. Day After Christmas Dinner @ my Grandparent's: Green Bean Casserole, Corn Casserole, Homemade White Bread(which has more nutritional value then regular white bread) and Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy.

  1. Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Prego* Traditional Sauce, Avocado. Garlic Bread.
  2. Kettle Brand Chips, that Ryan is addicting too, that I helped eat during the month.
  3. Since I was going through lots of continuous stress, and anxiety during this month.. I decided on drinking this Rebout which combates oxidative stress. I took it at night before going to bed and I definitely noticed that my stress-level had decreased. I got this in a Conscious Box and I had gotten another this month, so I have another one to use whenever I feel like I need another de-stress.
  4. RIP Collegan+C. I will be getting another one of you, hopefully next month.

  1. I made up some fun Christmas inspired Vegan Sugar Cookies!
  2. Nature Valley* Crunchy Oats 'n Dark Chocolate Bars for snackage purposes at work.
  3. Christmas Dinner @ Ryan's parents: Vegan Mac, Creamed Corn, Baked Beans, and Roll with Earth Balance.
  4. More snackage @ work: Sample size of The Good Bean* Sea Salted Chickpeas. Love that brand! Two Degree* Chocolate Peanut Bar- best flavor I've tired yet. (Though I've only tried two flavors all together..)

  1. Chinese Takeout(I was craving it really bad for some odd reason): Fried Vegetable Rice, Vegetable Lo Mein, Cooked Onion/Broccoli/Green Beans/Mushrooms, Fried Corn.
  2. Sweet & Sour Soup with Tofu.
  3. Vegetable Soup that Ryan's Grandpa made. Ryan and I tore that up! I lived on that soup for a couple days.
  4. My grandmother's Homemade White Bread.

Lastly, Beanito's Restaurant-Style White Bean with Sea Salt Chips. Easily the best tortilla chips I have ever eaten. You can eat these with nothing on them, nothing to drip them in, and they are still just perfect! Perfect flavor, crunch, texture. Definitely an awesome find on my part. Plus, my work sells them so easy access for me!