Bombastic Beyond Meat Chili

All vegan, all flavour.

As a foodie, food taster, menu creator and also flavour-seeker, making a hearty vegan chili is NO small feat. Beans are delicious and all but can fall flat quick if just married into a tomato bath with a sprinkle of spices without much layering.

Let’s face it, meat does kinda build some OMMPH to a good, hearty chili as it fills in the gaps and adds texture and bite. Don’t worry though, this chili is cruelty-free, is full of ridiculous flavour, requires some patience but I promise, you will get one kick-butt, delicious, over-the-top chili that won’t leave you hanging.

Now listen, I KNOW there are other Beyond Meat chili recipes on the internet, that all claim to have the best flavour. I have googled them all and some actually look pretty amazing and others well, as Borat would say…”not so much”. I do challenge you that before the winter is over, give this recipe a try, send me pics or drop comments of your beautiful chili and my most favourite, proprietary recipe that I know will impress those carnivore friends of yours you have been hoping to convert 😉

Flavour layering 101

Before we get started, I have to talk to you about flavour layering. In chili, it is soooo important. So please do not dump your spices in the pot hoping to create a shortcut and get the same results. Be patient with my layering, and if your palatte needs a little more or less, get creative but with chili, less is more. (Wait-did i just say that when using a word like BOMBASTIC to describe chili??!!!) No really, it is in the case of chili. THAT’S my secret. Now you know.

Ingredients

1 can kidney, black and pinto beans each – all rinsed very well, drained, set aside

1 can regular beans in tomato sauce

1 can can marzano tomatoes in juice (do not cheap out on this!)

1 Cup corn kernels

1 large bell pepper of each: green, orange, red, large dice

2 ribs celery, small dice

1.5 medium onions, small dice

1 Cup water

1/4 Cup Whisky or 3 tsp apple cider vinegar

3 large dice plum tomatoes, seeded

1 block Beyond meat

1 tsp liquid smoke

2 tsp sugar

1/2 poblano pepper, seeded, sprayed with olive oil and roasted in oven until charred slightly

1 tsp chili power, cumin, salt and smoked paprika plus 1 sm thumb of whole cinnamon stick and 1/2 tsp oregano + 1/2 tsp garlic powder

VEGAN AVOCADO LIME CREMA (for garnish)

1 large avocado

1 tsp olive oil

1.5 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C vegan sour cream

Blend all ingredients until smooth. refrigerate until ready to use as a garnish on chili.

METHOD

  1. Take JUST your beans, corn, tomatoes, cinnamon stick and water and place into a crock pot. Turn on high and cook as you prep other ingredients.
  2. Roast your poblano pepper and small dice, placing into crock pot with beans and water.
  3. Turn pan onto medium heat in oil and saute onion until translucent. Add celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add remaining spices and cook for another minute.
  4. Incorporate your peppers into the crock pot and cook for two hours on high.
  5. Add beyond crumble in large chunks, breaking slightly but keeping meaty. Turn up pan if needed to get the product hot and sizzling. After 5 minutes, add liquid smoke and booze or vinegar along with the sugar, and cook down for a minute or so. Remove from heat.
  6. Turn heat to low and add beyond crumble. Remove cinnamon stick at this point. Cook on low for 3-4 hours total. Check spices and heat and adjust salt as you wish.

Serve immediately with crema, tortilla chips, cilantro, lime wedges, red onion, vegan cheese or whatever your heart desires.

Last but not least, enjoy and tell your friends!

Project “VIS”: (Vegan-izing my Irish Stew)

I know I should probably start off with an apology for my absence. I kinda had a crazy last few months. From starting a new job to suddenly losing that job and asked to consult for a vegan brand, to relocating my life and trying to just find a darn kitchen to cook in, I just have to say – WTF 2019???!!!! I definitely did NOT sign up for what I endured last year, and VERY happy that year is over.

Ok, that profanity out and off my chest, also I have definitely been cooking but been seeking inspiring dishes to post about. Which leads me to this post as I did a thing: veganized my irish stew recipe.

This stew recipe is not just ANY recipe. It involves hours of slow cooking, searing, and flavour-infusing, combined with precisely cut veg and the perfect mix of seasonings. But, it had meat, and I wanted to give it a shot.

Could I possibly replace my secret, tried and true recipe with a new and improved plant version?

I think I did just that, and am pretty darn pleased.

Ingredients:

2 pkgs gardein “Beefless Tips” (found at most large grocers)

5-6 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced into uniform, 1/2 inch chunks

7-8 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, halved and then cut into uniform chunks

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 pkg dried assorted exotic mushrooms – rehydrated in 1 cup warm water

1 box vegetable stock

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

1 can Guinness beer

small handful fresh parsley

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

cornstarch, to thicken

  • I highly recommend a slow cooker for this.

Method:

  1. Coat bottom of non-stick pan with olive oil. “saute” Vegan nuggets from frozen for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and coat in cornstarch. Return to pan and add more oil if needed, along with 2 whole cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and sprigs of herbs. Saute the nuggets until crisp and browned, another 5-6 minutes. Pat dry and set aside-leaving herbs and “pan drippings” in your pan.
  2. turn on crock pot to high setting. Add in chopped vegetables, bay leaf and box of broth along with water. cover and heat for two hours on high.
  3. Add hydrated mushrooms with the water to the pan you used previously, adding 1-2 tsp of cornstarch. Cook on medium heat until thickened for about 7-10 minutes – or, it is boiling. Slowly add the Guinness, keeping the boil (so do this very slow). turn pan down, and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, whisking as needed. Remove herb stems. Puree very well the entire mixture with an immersion blender under very smooth. Add vegan margarine if you wish at this stage.
  4. After 2 hours, add in peas, gardein nuggets, and “Guinness roux”. Stir and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove stalks from parsley and roughly chop, adding to stew. Cook for additional 1.5-2 hours, depending on your crock pot. Check for doneness but vegetables should be tender and gravy thick. Add any water as required but it should be a hearty dish.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Fall for Soup All Over Again

There is seriously something about fall soup-making that makes my heart skip a beat. I think because when we usually think of comfort foods, they tend to be on the luxurious side and laden with calories. But this fall soup is completely vegan, low in calories, and feels like your coziest fall sweater.

Fall Harvest Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin plain pumpkin
  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves, ground
  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 whole white onion, diced
  • 1 thumb of ginger – grated
  • 3 Cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large stock pot, set to medium heat and add a few tsp of oil to pan.
  2. Saute onion for 3 minutes.
  3. Add celery and carrot, salt and begin cooking for 2 minutes then adding rest of seasoning, stock and squash.
  4. Raise heat and bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Check for tenderness.
  5. Once fork tender and ready to puree, using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  6. Add pumpkin puree, salt and dash of pepper, along with maple syrup slowly, to taste. Reserve the remaining maple syrup for garnish.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes, allowing flavours to develop. Add coconut milk slowly, reserving the remaining portion of the can for your garnish.
  8. Serve with toasted squash seeds, a swirl of coconut milk and maple and a garnish of crispy sage, if you wish (optional)

Let’s Get Saucy!

I was pretty excited to cook for a pretty big group this weekend, and also scared as heck. I mean, prepping food for my family and me-sure. For total strangers, this type-A chick went into performance overdrive.

But good news is, I churned out an Asian-appetizer party that seemed to go well and had guests wanting more! Out of that, I had a few compliments for my sauces, which, usually was my dad’s arena. My dad was the KING of sauce making. He loved prepping everything from scratch and he was a total soup and sauce guy.

I was actually a little – ok, a lot proud to have compliments for my sauces that accompanied my dishes.

Here are a few sauce recipes I concocted over the weekend that I know you will enjoy.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

1C Skippy peanut butter

1 tblsp raw coconut brown sugar

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 C fresh, dry-roasted and unsalted peanuts

1/2 lime juice and zest

1-2 tsp habernero sauce

1 tsp honey

1/2 C warm water

METHOD:

Whisk all ingredients well except peanuts. stir in afterwards half amount of nuts indicated and sprinkle remaining on top with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Peach, Ginger Mint Sauce

2 whole peaches, diced small

1 tsp finely grated ginger

1/2 C water plus 1/4 C sugar and more if needed

1 tsp vanilla orange white balsamic vinegar (from your favourite Olive Oil specialty bar)

Chiffonade 6 mint leaves for incorporation after

pinch of nutmeg and pinch of cayenne

METHOD:

Incorporate all ingredients in heavy-bottom pot. Over medium heat, bring to slow boil and remove from heat after 3-5 minutes. Macerate peaches by smashing lightly and cool. Incorporate fresh mint into cooled sauce. Add more water if needed to thin. use this for practically anything-from lamb, to chicken, a dip, you name it!

Sweet Sunflower

Sweet sunflower, to those who pass

 If they only knew your circumstance. 

You, fooling all, but me, your

thriving leaves bending to breathe.

Just weeks ago

not knowing of what you were yet 

set you free.

 

I yanked at your stalk, 

carelessly tossed you down onto

the faded flats of the deck

(you didn’t stop me). 

Thump.

Into a pile of thick weeds you laid.

Then someone came along and saw you there, 

peeking out of the pile of

discarded garden scraps

all on display

“Wait! That’s not a weed!” she proclaimed, and I realized the

mistake

 I had made. 

There was no room left where

you were once from. 

So there I was, finding you a home.

  again. 

In spite of no soil or water, or place to spread spidery roots, 

you survived.

(You survived!)

And as I sit here on my deck, sharing the same

sun rays you are smiling into, 

admiring how much

bigger and brighter you are, I now see:

Dear sweet sunflower, I am you.

And you

are

Me. 

#truestory #relatable #sunflower #wordporn #poetry #poems #poemsofinstagram #prettyplantbasedlife

Juicing Week!

Today is day one of makeover ME!

And this journey begins with a massive juice cleanse and heart to heart with myself.

Now it is time to move forward into new abundance and opportunity, and seek out the true path I was meant to walk down.  

With the decision to make this change, I also gave the blog a little refresh as well-hey, why not!

I am excited to remove the toxins from my life and body, so this will be a good week for lots of yoga, hikes, juicing and meditation.

When preparing yourself for a big change, I speak from experience – you need to gear up the body because it will be under stress. If you let things spiral out of control, you will just end up hugging the couch crying or paralyzed with fear (also speaking from experience).

My goals are simple:

  1. Lose 15 pounds
  2. Build healthier habits outdoors
  3. Get my mind ready for a big new change

I started my Day One out with a morning meditation and giving gratitude for the day. This only takes five minutes, and I like to do this on the deck with my morning coffee. I will just zone in on a bird, or a flower, or stare at the sky, and just zone out and close my eyes. Ahhhh…so zen!

Next, I began my water. I drank 16 oz of cold water with a lemon squeezed into it and began my day with emails, and any catch up. Now, onto the juicing…this is where it gets fun!

Last night was a few hours of fruit and vegetable prep, and LOTS of juicing. We prepped enough juice to last two days, and made five AMAZING juice recipes, which I am going to share over the course of the week.

I hope you enjoy!

Day One Breakfast Detox

Ingredients

  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 beet
  • 2 lemons with skin
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1 thumb of ginger

Method

  1. Soak fruits and vegetables in a vinegar and water bath for at least 20 minutes to remove pesticides and toxins. You can do this by adding one part vinegar to four parts water. Rinse and it is ready to use.
  2. Juice your fruits, then vegetables and last add ginger and parsley. Stir and place immediately in stand up baggies or clean jars, and refrigerate immediately.
Morning Breakfast

Here is a sample of a typical day of the  juicing diet I am following:

5 am – 7 am: 16 oz of lemon water

8 am-Breakfast Detox Juice

10 am:  16 oz lemon water

12 pm: Carrot Ginger juice

2 PM: Watermelon rosewater juice

4 PM: 16 oz lemon water

6 PM: Green Tea

7 PM: Hike and Beet Juice

9 PM: 8 oz lemon water Lemon water