Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spicy Vegan Quinoa Chili

     Don't you just love fall?  Next to spring, it is my favorite time of year.  I think fall aroma's might just might be my favorite thing about the season.  I mean the smell of apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, and spice are just so comforting.  What are some of your favorite things about fall?

     Soups and stews come in a close second on the favorite list for fall things.  My GranMa Ernestine makes some of the best soups and stews I have ever had.  But now that I have crossed over to the dark side, I am exploring some cruelty free recipes that bring me as much happiness as her cooking once did.  That is exactly what the chili recipe does, it is delicious!!!  Just in time for cooling temperatures and shorter days.

     Being that I work full time and attend school part time cooking healthy vegan meals daily can be more than challenging.  Due to being too busy throughout the week to cook, I generally end up eating out for days or weeks at a time.  Eating out like this makes my body and my wallet really unhappy.  Making a big batch of chili that fills my freezer and body with home cooked veggie packed deliciousness is a perfect solution to my time constraints.  By the way, this chili freezes really well.

     I like to pair this chili with cornbread or atop a pile of macaroni noodles to make chili mac.  Tonight, I used avocado and green onion as a garnish, and they really kicked up the flavor. A few weeks back I took this chili(mac) with me on a camping trip with a group of omnivores and everyone was really surprised with how tasty it was.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

     I modified this chili recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.  I changed up some of the tomato varieties, bean proportions, upped the heat level and increased the veggies.  I also omitted the zucchini and added in some corn kernels.  The link to the original recipe is here: Vegetarian Quinoa Chili.

     I also forgot to soak my beans the night before, so I ended up quick soaking them the night of making this recipe.  The method I use to quick soak my dried beans is to add 3 parts water: 1 parts bean, in a big pot uncovered and bring it up to a boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover pot with a lid, then soak for one hour.  After an hour, rinse the beans in a colander, add them back to the pot with fresh water and boil for 30 minutes.  Then simply drain and add to your recipe!

Spicy Vegan Quinoa Chili

2 medium carrots (chopped)
3 stalk celery        (chopped)
3 tbsp.  extra virgin olive oil
1 jalapeno             (finely chopped)
1 green bell pepper(chopped)
1 red bell pepper   (chopped)
1 medium onion    (chopped)
3 garlic cloves        (minced)
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
1 10oz can diced tomatoes w/ chili's
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup of water or veggie broth
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. cooked quinoa
2 c. cooked black beans
3 c. cooked kidney beans
1/2 c. frozen corn kernels
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
avocado and green onion for garnish

1.) Heat oil until it ripples.  Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Add spices and S&P
2.) Add celery, carrots and cook for 3 more minutes.  Add all peppers and corn then cook for an additional 3 minutes.
3.)  Add tomato paste, mix thouroughly and cook for 3 minutes.  Add water and all tomatoes, bring to boil.  After a few minutes, break up stewed tomatoes into bite sized pieces if desired.  Next add beans and quinoa, lower heat to simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes and season to taste.
4.) Cool.  Serve with cornbread, macaroni or vegan saltine crackers.  Eat your heart out.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Keeping on track....

 Staying on track to being healthy in October is HARD! There are goodies (and goblins, Mwuah haha) everywhere, and comfort food is all I can think about. Especially at work, where just today we had cupcakes(that I made), cake and pizza. All of that heavy food can have you feeling kind of bleh.

  Now even though there is vegan pizza available from where we ordered at Trolley Stop Market here in Memphis, I opted for a garden wrap. The garden wrap from TSM is nothing short of fantastic, it is filled with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, organic rice, beans, & avocado all wrapped up in your choice of tortilla. This wrap is packed full of veggie goodness but can still sit heavily if you load a cupcake and loads of other junk on top of it.  

 And later this week will only get worse, we have a party on Wednesday and Friday this week. The buck stops here, or the bunny....I'm not exactly sure what the proper modification of that saying is for a vegan. I am committing myself cooking at home for the remainder of the week, no cheating. And I am expecting you to hold me accountable.  Any who, lets see these cakes I made for work today! 

 Last week, when I was down with bronchitis and sinusitis, was my coworker's birthday. She ALWAYS makes yummy treats for everyone's birthday and I wanted to make something for her. So I made a recipe from Angela's blog over at , these cupcakes are always a big hit with everyone who tries them. I made a double batch and only 4 cupcakes remained when I left work. Here is a link to the recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond 'Buttercream' and Rasberry Glaze. Be warned, these cupcakes are addictive. They will please omnivores and herbivores alike. Need proof? I am the only vegan in my department and there were just around 15 people there today. That means more than one person went back for seconds, that makes me happy. I love for others to enjoy my cooking(baking). I had one....and possibly a half.  :D  I tried really hard to only eat a half, but these darn things are so tasty.

So why is this post called "Keeping on track...."?   I titled this post keeping on track because we all have days at work/school/home where temptation is all around us, especially during the holiday season.  It is reasonable to indulge in some areas without going overboard.  Even if I had eaten pizza, if I knew that I was planning on having a cupcake I would have kept it to one slice, and one extra little half. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

About Me

Hey Y'all! I am new to veganism and blogging! I live in Memphis TN, but am originally from Kansas City MO. I love being vegan and living in the south, but as you can imagine sometimes the two do not go hand in hand. I became vegan earlier this year in March, and haven't exactly shed as many pounds as one might think a vegan would. I maybe have been visiting our local bakery with vegan options too much? I decided to start this blog to be accountable to someone besides myself for my fitness goals, and hoping to gain some support along the way. I also would like to inspire others, vegan and non-vegans alike, to move towards healthier lifestyles. So.....let's do it!

Free to Veg!

Welcome to Free to Veg! Check back for vegan recipes, fitness and affordable vegan living posts!