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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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

Holiday Left Overs Done Right

Do you have random amounts of left overs from the holidays? We do and the random odds and ends can be annoying. Last year we discovered the PERFECT way to remedy this situation… Stuffing Quesadillas.

First I have to say that I LOVE STUFFING. My entire life I thought it was gross and I think that’s because it was always a boxed brand that required chicken broth. I no longer have such ill feelings towards this holiday treat. During Thanksgiving I made stuffing from scratch and it was yummy, however the best stuffing ever comes from a bag. I am referencing the cranberry stuffing from Wholefoods. I don’t know what it is about this stuff but HOT DANG… its so good.

stuffing_mixFor Christmas I prepared a 4 course meal. We did not eat this meal though. Late Monday evening we were asked to join friends for Indian food and Jewish shenanigans. We took the offer and put all of the food in the fridge. I was okay with this choice because I did’t put a ton of effort into dinner.

One of the dishes I had prepared for us to eat was the 365 stuffing. I did not use all of the recommended butter and I added Seitan strips to the mixture. The directions on the bag call for the mixture to soak in butter and water. During this process I placed the seitan in the pot so that it would also soak up the flavors.

I took pictures of the finished product however they were accidentally deleted. You must trust that these are delicious!

Leftover Stuffing Quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 2 tortillas (if you are trying to watch your diet I recommend 1 “roll up” for 90 calories)
  • 1/3 c of part skim mozzarella OR brie if available *Ideally you just use whatever cheese you have leftover, however these two compliment the stuffing well
  • Leftover gravy (we made cremini mushroom gravy)

Directions:

1. Spray non stick pan with organic PAM or butter lightly.

2. Heat pan on medium heat and place assembled quesadilla into pan.

3. Brown both sides of tortilla until crispy.

4. Re-heat gravy while quesadilla cookies

5. Remove tortillas, cut into forths and serve with gravy.

Now that those leftovers have been eatten, clean out the fridge and cleanse yourself of all of the holiday treats (that’s what I am trying to do!).

Protein Frappacino

starbucks

I recently read on pinterest about adding coffee to shakes and I immediately thought “Why haven’t I thought of this!” I made a protein shake today and added a bit of coffee and the results were delicious. The consistency of the shake was very similar to a frappacino. The beverage was light and frothy… a wonderful mid day snack.

Protein Coffee Frappacino

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c of black coffee
  • 1 scoop of 365 vanilla whey protein powder
  • 7 ice cubes
  • 1/4 c of unsweetened almond milk
  • If you are feeling a bit festive add a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper extract

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in blender and set to “liquefy.”

Bar Exam Bars

bar cartoon

Stephen has started studying for the Illinois State Bar Exam. This has been a long time coming and I am super excited for him. He is currently enrolled in a prep course that spans from now until the exam in February. Its an intensive course that will require approximately 8 to 10 hours of studying a day. As you can imagine I am not super excited to see less of him but I am happy he is crossing the finish line of this long journey that has been law school.

Since the weather has been gloomy and friends are out of town I have been baking like mad. I wanted to make Stephen treats to brighten up his study experience. The boy loves peanut butter and chocolate so I figured I would make some Bar Exam Bars.

I created this recipe and am quite pleased with the outcome. As I was making these bars I realized that the texture and consistency reminded me of my favorite Little Debbie… Star Crunch. As a kid I had a star crunch in my lunch everyday. Star crunch makes any boring lunch better and hopefully these bars will make study sessions just a little bit better too!

Classic

Classic

Disclaimer: I am not going to declare these are healthy in the least but a little sweet treat every now and then is okay… right? 🙂

Ooey Gooey Bar Exam Bars

I had a bunch of pictures and deleted them ALL on accident, tragic.

I had a bunch of pictures and deleted them ALL on accident, tragic.

Ingredients:

Bars

  • 5 c of Rice Krispies (I used 365 Brown Puffed Rice)
  • 1/4 c of butter
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1/2 c trail mix (I used Trader Joes PB Cup mix) OR assorted peanut mix

Topping

  • 1/2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Line a baking dish (the smaller the pan the thicker bars) with wax paper and set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe dish melt butter. Pour butter in mixing bowl (something deep enough to use an electric mixer if you do not have a stand mixer).
  3. Microwave marshmallows for 30 seconds. Pour marshmallows into mixing bowl. Mix butter and marshmallows on a medium speed until the mixture becomes very gooey.
  4. In a separate small bowl combine Pb2 mixture with water. Normally Pb2 calls for 1 tbsp of water… add more. You want this to equal about a 1/4 c o liquid.
  5. Slowly pour rice cereal into mixture. Make sure the cereal is evenly coated. Pour pb2 mixture into cereal mix.
  6. Pour chocolate chips and trail mix into mixture.
  7. Spoon mixture onto wax paper. Use a spoon to evenly distribute mixture in pan. Try to get the bars even and the sides in a straight line.
  8. Place the baking dish in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes (you need the mixture to harden).
  9. Take the wax paper out of the dish and flip the mixture onto cutting board. Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to evenly cut bars into squares.
  10. Once the bars are cut prepare the topping mixture. Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and melt chocolate and peanut butter together. Use a fork to drizzle tops of bar.

Wrap bars in wax paper and secure with tape. Place in freezer until serving.

Pack your bar for studying and enjoy!

Italian Crusted Tofu

I have been a vegetarian for 14 years. When I was 12 I decided to stop eating meat for a number of reasons. I have never really cared for the taste and I have been traumatized by animal veins in my food one too many times.  When I decided to stop eating meat I received a lot of slack for it from my family. During middle school and high school my diet preference was never really considered when our family chose restaurants or made meals. A result of this lack of consideration was me consuming a ton of broccoli, popcorn, and dinner rolls. You can only imagine the results…over weight and not balanced. During college I started to explore vegetarian options, but even then I was scared of foods because I was never taught to try food or explore different cultures. I decided to take control of my health and make healthier choices while in grad school. My tastes have progressed, my culinary skills have improved, and I have lost a ton of weight (a by product of living well).

Did I mention I wore "Meat is murder" shirts in middles school? ha!

10th grade: Did I mention I wore “Meat is murder” shirts in middle school? ha!

I bring up my journey towards healthy delicious vegetarian food because I realize that I was raised within a house that did not understand that vegetarian food could be well-rounded and yummy. I do not think this belief is restricted to my childhood household, I encounter this mindset all of the time. If people dare to think about vegetarian food they often jump to tofu. I will be the first to admit that tofu can be bland. However, if prepared properly tofu can be wonderful. It assumes the flavor of whatever spices it is prepared in.

vegetarian partners in crime

vegetarian partners in crime

I found this recipe on Pinterest and hot dang… it was divine! Husband approves! I can not recommend this dish enough. It would be a great date night meal or dinner party dish. The recipe takes approximately 35 minutes from start to finish.

Italian Crusted Tofu with Spaghetti

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 14-ounce package firm or extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed (You can drain but leave some residual water, this will help keep the breadcrumbs on the tofu)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce, preferably low-sodium
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions: 

  1. Combine breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Cut tofu lengthwise into 4 steaks and pat dry. Sprinkle both sides of the tofu with garlic powder and salt and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and begin to brown, 4 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the tofu steaks (2 at a time) and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes.

photo2

  1. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the tofu, pour marinara over the mushrooms and scatter mozzarella on top. Cover and cook until the sauce is hot and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.
So filling and delicious!

So filling and delicious!

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Pair with a red

Serves 4
calculation based on MyFitnessPal
calculation based on MyFitnessPal
*This does not include the spaghetti

Later than Brunch… Breakfast

Winter Break has been very kind to me. We have slept in, been to two wine tastings, and visited the Nutcracker. I also began my 200 Yoga Alliance Training program and have started logging my hours. I am super excited about all of this!

nut

The Auditorium Theater, Roosevelt (one of my favorite places)

One of the most amazing things about break is staying up late and sleeping in. I love waking up to a clean house, having a fresh pot of coffee and pastry at mid day. It is a spectacular feeling to be free.

stephen b

Stephen enjoying his scone at 11 am (this is the life!)

As of late I have been inspired by our wedding and France… maybe it’s the wine.. maybe it’s the crepes. Anyways I have wanted to eat breakfast pastries and thus I whipped up some scones yesterday (I am aware this is not French). I adapted this recipe, added protein and made it vegan. I love using fresh and in season fruit. Recently, organic oranges have been super affordable and delicious!

orange

Cranberry Orange Protein Vegan Scones

photo (99)

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/4 cups  whole wheat flour
  •     1/2 cup brown sugar
  •     1 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 365 Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (1 scoop = 1 serving)
  •     1 teaspoon cinnamon
  •     1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  •     1/2 cup applesauce
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla
  •     1 cup oats
  •     1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • orange zest

Orange Cream Cheese Glaze (not so vegan):

  • 4 tbsp of powdered sugar
  • orange zest
  • 2 tbsp of reduced fat cream cheese (if you want to make the frosting vegan sub out with Tofutti cream cheese)

photo (98)

Directions:
Preheat oven 375 degrees F and spray a round cake pan with Pam for Baking.
Stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, protein powder and cinnamon.
Make a well in the center and stir in  almond milk, applesauce, and vanilla.
Mix well and fold in oats. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.
Spread batter into prepared pan, and flatten so it looks like a cookie cake. Bake for 18 minutes, then cut into 8 pieces when done.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
glazed scone for the husband

glazed scone for the husband

perfect morning

perfect morning

Serving Size: makes 8 scones

Nutrition info according to MyFitnessPal (not including glaze)

Nutrition info according to MyFitnessPal (not including glaze)

how you do anything is how you do everything

photo (95)

Yay Yoga

My favorite yoga teacher said the title of this blog  to our class last week while we were in shavasana. I couldn’t agree more.  Because I try to go to yoga after work I often skip delicious meals. If I go to yoga I end up making eggs really quickly when I get home. I really want to integrate yummy meals back into my evenings… even if I am at yoga. I have been using the crock pot more and more to help ease the burden of time consuming cooking. I love cooking vegetarian pot pie however its labor intensive which means I haven’t made it in forever. I recently found a vegetarian pot pie crock pot recipe and I am so very happy to be reunited with this tasty meal. I have altered the recipe quite a bit and the results are perfect! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Pot Pie Crock Pot Recipe

photo (96)

Servings:6
Calories: 364
Carbs: 57
Fat: 12
Protein: 8

Ingredients:

photo (92)

1 cup vegetable broth
3 small potatoes chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
3/4 cup butternut squash, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup peas
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of sage
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of basil
1/3 teaspoon pepper
2  cups baking mix (I use Bisquick Heart Smart)
just a bit over 1/2 c  cup of unsweetened almond milk

photo (94)

always great ingredients to have on hand

Directions:

1. In a crock pot, put broth and vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, peas, and onion).
2. In medium bowl, whisk together the water, flour, oil, and spices (salt, garlic powder, and pepper) until smooth.
3. Pour mixture into crock pot and stir. Cook on high for 1.5 hours until thick and bubbly.

photo (93)

Let cook without crust for 1.5 hours

4. Mix baking mix and nondairy milk (you could use any biscuit or dumpling recipe) and spread over top of vegetable mixture in crock pot. ( *I take the mixture and take small balls and flatten them out. This makes it a lot easier to cover the top evenly.) Reduce heat to low and cook another 2.5 hours.

photo (91)

cover evenly so broth does not boil onto crust

Preparation Time:
1/2 hour, Cooking time: 4 hours