Make Ahead Vegan Chili

Life has been wonderfully insane as of late. I have been going none stop but have maintained balance through yoga and healthy eating  This past Sunday I prepared our meals for the week in the anticipation of the non stop activities of the week. I am not going to pretend that the meals are fancy and elaborate, they aren’t. However, they are delicious and packed with nutrients. They are also easy to make and take little time (wins all around!).

First up is the simplest vegan chili out there. It requires few ingredients (most you probably have at home) and little time.

Make Ahead  Gluten Free Vegan Chili

only 140 calories!

only 140 calories!

Ingredients:

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  • 1/2 bag of Trader Joes southwest veggie mix (any brand would work)
  • 2 cans of organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with peppers
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions:
Place frozen veggies in deep sauce pan (have lid handy) and stir for about 4 minutes. Add spices to mixture. Then add beans and tomatoes, stir and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat and let simmer for 25 minutes. Serve immediately or put in storage for later in the week!

Packaged and ready for the week!

Packaged and ready for the week!

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I have been insanely busy but am determined not to abandon ship. Today I cooked 3 delicious meals for the week and will post them later. In the mean time check out this post I wrote for my dear friend Jill. Her blog is great, check it out.

Here is a preview regarding its content.

des1img2Now you can’t resist.

If you want to make a difference…

Sometimes doing something for someone else, someone you don’t even know can be an amazing gift.

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I have the honor of teaching some pretty amazing students. One of my dearest scholars has recently landed an awesome opportunity to volunteer in Costa Rica over the summer. She is totally jazzed about the trip but can not finance it. We created a page for her in the hopes of raising enough funds (or a portion of it) ultimately allowing her to go.

If you believe in karma, good deeds, tzedakah, or anything in between, donating to this page will prove fruitful in your journey towards giving. Please help by clicking the link below. $5 would be an awesome amount, anything helps!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/311488?c=home

20 minute delicious chili

As stated in a previous post, we recently became subscribed to Vegetarian Times and it is awesome. This past week I made another one of their under 400 quick chili recipes and it was a hit. This recipe took maybe 2 minutes of prep and the rest of the time the ingredients were simmering.  Its simple, easy, and yummy… the perfect busy week combo.

Tempeh BBQ Chili with Slaw 

(vegan and gluten free)

simplicity is key.

simplicity is key.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of tempeh- crumbled (I just chopped them up)
  • 1.5 c of bbq sauce (gluten free)
  • slaw mix (we purchased the broccoli slaw mix from Wholefoods)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 cans of pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
  • .5 c of water

Directions:

Place the crumbled tempeh and bbq sauce in a large skillet (have a lid ready). Mix the ingredients on a medium heat and then add beans. Mix in water (as much or as little was you want), cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. YES IT IS THAT EASY.

In a separate bowl mix the slaw and vinegar together and let sit for 20 minutes.

Serve chili layered with slaw and viola!

Note: You could add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, mushrooms,  and/or onions to the chili!

Easy Dressing with Ingredients you already have!

I bring a salad for lunch everyday. Since being gluten free I have had to slowly switch over all of my dressings. I usually have Annie’s Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette on hand for when I feel like making a salad with fruit but this week I was not as lucky. Although I didn’t have it on hand I was able to create a delicious supplement that complimented my salad quite nicely.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp of Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp strawberry jam
  • 1 tsp balsamic

Combine ingredients in small container and stir! This makes about one serving.

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Make your Winter Brighter Salad

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  • 2 c spinach
  • 1 tbsp sunflowwer seeds
  • 1 small naval orange (cut in small pieces)
  • 1/2 c sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 c blackberries cut into halves

The perfect green smoothie

I have quite a few cook books sitting on my shelf that I rarely touch. One of the cook books I own I purchased years ago when I began to shift how I consume food. Hungry Girl takes ordinary brands and manipulates their purpose to create a “healthy” alternative. I admire their effort and creativity, however its not really my thing. Most of the recipes require too much fake sugar or processed items. With that being said, I was looking through the pages and noticed how they utilized diet hot cocoa mix in multiple recipes. This idea got me thinking and the result of those thoughts is what I would like to think of as perfection.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c cold water
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop of 365 vanilla whey
  • 2 tbsp pb2
  • 1 diet hot cocoa mix (25 calorie mix)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 c of spinach
heaven.

heaven.

Directions:

Place liquids, banana, and powders in blender. Top off mixture with spinach and place in liquefy setting. Blend until completely smooth and mixture becomes frothy. Serve and enjoy!

great treat on the way to work

great treat on the way to work

Nutrition facts (calculated on MyFitnessPal)

Calories: 277
Carbs: 38
Fats: 5
Proteins: 27

Activism is fun.

Big news… this month is Human Trafficking Awareness month. Months…months… months… months for everything right? Although I am not the biggest fan of designated months I do appreciate the opportunities these labeled time periods bring to unaware citizens. *Note: not the biggest fan because I think we should be activists all of the time. Anyways, this past Friday CAASE hosted a film screening (sex&money) and we had a GREAT turn out. It was incredible to be in a room with inspired activists who all shared (even if for that moment) a desire to bring social justice to the sex trafficking industry. To continue raising awareness I hosted a Lia Sophia party this past Sunday. If you haven’t heard about Lia Sophia quite yet, don’t you worry… I’ve got the scoop. Lia Sophia is a jewelry company with independent consultants. One of my dear friends from CAASE generously donated her time to help host the party and donate proceeds to CAASE. At the bottom of this post I put the information if you care to breeze the great jewelry and purchase a few items.

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amazing women buying jewelry for a great cause! win win!

I love hosting parties for several reasons. I love bringing friends together, cooking (of course), and the wonderful conversation that ensues. For this activism brunch I wanted to honor my friends goal of being healthy. I included lots of fruit and various baked good.

Menu

(Links included in titles)

Apple & Pear Salad with Honey and Seeds Orange and Cranberry Muffins Gluten Free (Vegan) Chocolate Banana Scones with nuts and cranberries Berry Oatmeal Bake **see below Mixed Berries

Berry Oatmeal Bake and mixed berries.

Berry Oatmeal Bake and mixed berries.

Pear & Apple salad with honey and seeds, melon, and apple, orange, and pear salad

Pear & Apple salad with honey and seeds, melon, and apple, orange, and pear salad

Gluten Free Scones

Gluten Free Scones

Orange Cranberry Scones

Orange Cranberry Scones

** For the oatmeal bake I changed the recipe quite a bit. I used a bag of frozen berries from trader instead of bananas. I also used about a tablespoon of honey on the bottom layer. I did not use cinnamon. I also sprinkled brown sugar on the top and allowed it to caramelized.

These amazing beautiful people!

Goddesses of Special Education

Goddesses of Special Education

Changing the world!

Changing the world!

Two of the most bad ass feminists out there.

Two of the most bad ass feminists out there.

Lia Sophia Order Information:

Beautiful jewelry that benefits CAASE!

Beautiful jewelry that benefits CAASE!

1. Go to www.liasophia.com/darcijenkins 2. Click on Browse Our Jewelry 3. Under hostess information you can search for Annie Warshaw. A pop up will appear and you can click on my name to access the show. 4. It will prompt you for a password at some point. The password is:XGNK8W. Also, don’t forget the awesome special that is going on! When you buy 1 item, you get 2 at 50% off. The best part is you pay full price for the lowest priced item. There is no limit on this so if you buy 2 full price items you can get 4 at 50% off.

Keep Calm and Cook on

Things are back to nutty and I NEED to maintain balance. This week I knew that I would have meetings each night after work so I planned ahead and made enough dinners for the week.

Stephen’s mom surprised us for Christmas and bought us two wonderful magazine subscriptions  She purchased us Vegetarian Times for the year which I am super excited about. Vegetarian Times has a lot of great recipes for under 400 calories. They also index all of the recipes by vegan and gluten free, making life a lot easier.

In anticipation of the craziness I prepared Moroccan Stew and Chipotle Chili. The calories listed in the magazine don’t seem to match MyFitnessPal. I am going to presume MyFitnessPal is correct because it considers the actual brands I used. Both recipes are really great and are perfect for when you are in a pinch.

Moroccan Potato, Carrot, and Chickpea Stew

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Not plated because I haven’t served it in a portion yet 🙂

Ingredients:

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so fresh and whole.. nom!

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large russet potato- cubed
  • 8 oz. baby carrots
  • 2 large shallots- chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 can of 15.5 oz low sodium chickpeas (drained, reserve liquid, divide portion of beans)
  • 1/3 c dark raisins
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbs lemon juice, lemon wedges for serving
  • 2 c of fresh spinach

Directions:

1. Heat oil in large non stick skillet (have lid handy) on medium heat. Add potato, carrots, shallots, salt, and pepper, saute for 3 minutes.

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2. Add chickpea liquid, raisins, cumin, and pumpkin pie spice. Toss, and then cover to let simmer for 8 minutes on low heat.

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3. Mix in 1 half of chickpeas, cover and let simmer for an additional 3 minutes- make sure carrots and potatoes are tender, if they are not continue to let simmer.

4. Mash remaining chickpeas in a shallow bowl and mix with lemon juice.

5. Mix mashed chickpeas into skillet and pile spinach on top. Toss mixture until spinach begins to reduce in volume.

spunach

6. Add water to the mixture if you would like it to be soupier and serve. * Since I was not serving right away I added water and let the mixture simmer off of the lit pilot for about 4 more minutes and then placed it in a air tight container.

Nutritional Information:

stew

Gluten Free is the way to be?

I am now gluten free.  I know what you are thinking and no… no…  I am not that trendy (apparently Oprah went gluten free a few years back and it became huge). I am now gluten free because my acupuncturist told me I needed to be. I am trying out the diet for a while to see if it helps me with particular health issues. I did not initially take to the idea but after some research and thoughtful analysis, I am committed to this new lifestyle. I am going to give it a try for about 2 months and assess my health from there.

It’s crazy how much gluten we consume! I am now in the process of switching over all of my major cooking staples to accommodate my shift in consumption. Yesterday I bought gluten free flour, pasta, oats, and granola bars to have on hand. It is an expensive diet which kind of sucks.

After reading about the benefits I am highly intrigued to monitor the effects and notice what body feels. I just read an article released by GreenMedInfo about the effects of gluten on your metabolism. New research indicates that switching to a gluten free diet will result in healthy weight loss. If you think about this logically it makes perfect sense. Due to subsidies, the food industry relies on corn and wheat to produce mass quantities of food. When you have to examine what has gluten in it you realize just how much wheat is used for filler… its in everything! Even if you consume the same amount of calories as you did prior to eating gluten you will loose weight because once you take out the gluten your diet becomes focused on protein and greens.

Last week I found a recipe that looked delicious. We bought all of the ingredients for  it and thankfully it was quite easy to transition it to be gluten free. I had to run out and buy gluten free soy sauce (see what I mean by its everywhere!) but other than that we were good. Tonight I cooked Stephen and I “Honey Sesame Tempeh with Quinoa” and it was awesome! You can make this recipe not gluten free… either way … try it out because its gooo- ooo- ood.

Honey Sesame Tempeh Quinoa with Carrot Slaw

(adapted from EatingWell)

food

Ingredients:

QUINOA & CARROT SLAW

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup organic quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce

SESAME-HONEY TEMPEH

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1  8-ounce packages tempeh, cut bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon of gluten free flour
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Directions:

  1. To prepare quinoa: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 to 14 minutes. Uncover and let stand.
  2. To prepare carrot slaw: Meanwhile, combine carrots, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Really good on its own.

Really good on its own.

  1. To prepare tempeh: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 7 to 9 minutes.

tempeh

  1. Combine honey, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water and flour in a small bowl. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened and coats the tempeh, about 1 minute.
the original recipe calls for cornstarch which is gluten free

the original recipe calls for cornstarch which is gluten free

  1. Divide the quinoa among 4 bowls and top each with 1/2 cup carrot slaw and 3/4 cup tempeh mixture. Sprinkle with scallions.

NOTE: Next time I prepare this I am going to zest some orange to put into the sauce for the tempeh. I think the orange would compliment the honey very well and make it almost like orange chicken.

5 ways to get happy.

It’s the new year and everyone is scrambling to find ways to adjust their life to be “better.” This morning after my spin class, I walked into the next studio placed my mat down and had a snack. While munching on my nuts people began filling the yoga studio in droves. Do not get my wrong, I think yoga is amazing and we should all find something to do to help us take a moment to breath, but those who were running for the studio door were entering for the first time… they were new years resolution folks.

From what I have witnessed resolutions seem lofty and hard to sustain, which ultimately leads to disappointment. Further, these big shifts in lifestyles often suggest that who you are NOW isn’t who you should be. Resolutions don’t push you to progress and grow over time, they ask you to dump who you currently are and become someone else.

Yesterday I sat with an old friend and sipped coffee. We talked about life, love, and all that jazz. My friend spoke of her relationships, work, and adventures and then frankly stated “I’m just happy.” She then followed up this statement with “I know that’s weird to say.” I think she is right, we don’t normally just take in moments to recognize when we are happy. We are always looking to plan what’s next, what could be better, what else could I have…. And while I think planning and growth are beautiful… we need to just take a moment and stop to see how great things are.

I did not set a new years resolution. I am trying to get back to being balanced after the holiday season and continue doing things I love. I have found a lot of happiness in  simple little choices I make in my everyday life. I am going to share these little things because… well… I am happy. My little choices will also lead to a healthier me. I want to continue recognizing what makes me happy because it is a part of who I already am and will continue to foster growth within me.

so maybe there is a new years resolution in there after all 🙂

5 ways to bring balance back into your day

1. Incorporate nuts and greens into my day.. at least two times a day. I try to have a green shake for breakfast with a handful of nuts and a salad with seeds for lunch. I just feel so light and clean when I consistently consume these two items.

Wholefoods fruit and nuts mix is 110 calories for 1/4 cup

Wholefoods fruit and nuts mix is 110 calories for 1/4 cup

2. Take sometime to breath and not think of anyone else. THIS IS NOT SELFISH. I do this each day at yoga. I know not everyone does yoga, but YOU time can be done through music, meditation, running… whatever.

vintage lady

Isn’t this woman such a babe?

3. Read. With work I often forget to read things I actually enjoy. Its so wonderful to just forget about things and scan a blog, book, or magazine. Reading helps me feel connected to the outside world, it brings a sense of community to my sometimes isolating work schedule.

one of my favorite blogs.

one of my favorite blogs.

4. Fresh food. My body yearns for fresh food right now. After the sugar of the holidays and so much bread… I can hear my stomach say “feed me fresh greens.”

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I endorse the spinach, not the popeye plot lines… hello glorified domestic violence

5. Doing something you’re passionate about. Let me first say, I want to close the achievement gap. However, my greatest passion is not education equality.. rather its making an equitable society for men and women. I think education is a HUGE part of our great inequality but its not what REALLY makes me tick. Going into this school year I knew that I could no longer just rely on work to help fuel my passion for change. I needed to reconnect to my roots and find an organization that spoke to my values and tried to change our patriarchal system in a HUGE way. I am currently a member of the Young Activist Council for CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Expolitation) and could not be prouder of the work CAASE does for the Chicago community, women, and our society. Chicago aims to end sexual exploitation through policy, advocacy, law, and education. They have broken huge ground over the years and will continue to make major changes in the way we understand and view sex work, sex trafficking, sexual assault, and gender equality.

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