Three Bean Pumpkin Quinoa Chili

Three Bean Pumpkin Quinoa Chili
Three Bean Pumpkin Quinoa Chili

It’s winter, which means it’s cold, everyone is sick and it’s time for some hearty chili. It’s really hard to screw up chili, you just need to throw a bunch of ingredients in a big pot, put some spice on it and let it cook for a bit and ta da! Chili. I’ve been making chili for so many eons that I rarely experiment with variations but today I felt inspired! I wanted something super robust and chock-full of nutrition so I incorporated pumpkin and quinoa into my basic recipe. The results are mouth-watering. Enjoy!

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Roasted Potato Onion Soup

It’s fall, it’s time to eat potatoes and root vegetables with every meal. I was craving potato soup this morning but didn’t feel like following my potato jalapeño soup recipe plus I’m out of jalapeños (sinful, I know!) I was also feeling lazy so I wanted the soup to make itself. That’s not too much to ask for, right?! I decided to roast Yukon potatoes with onions and a head of garlic and then puree the whole thing and add milk. Easy, right? So easy.

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Chickpea “Tuna” Salad

Like most children, I grew up eating tuna salad sandwiches. It was always such an easy meal for my mom to whip together with little effort and once I became old enough, it was one of the first things I started making for myself. Though I never cared for seafood as a child, canned tuna was just one of those staples I didn’t even think of as seafood, I just liked it in a sandwich. Now that I’m all grown up and have eliminated all animal products from my diet, I miss some of the staples from my childhood, not for the content but for the ease of preparation and the satisfaction they brought me. I’m a firm believer that anything can be veganized and when I started seeing chickpea “tuna” recipes showing up around the web, I decided to make my own based on the ingredients I used as a child. Easy. Robin Robertson has a similar chickpea “tuna” recipe posted online on Vegan Planet that I used for inspiration, it was the closest to what I remember from my youth. This recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare and keeps well in the fridge for days though I doubt it will last that long, it’s so tasty I take a bite every time I walk by the fridge.

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Homemade Kahlua

I’ve never liked coffee. I’ve actually never had a cup of coffee my entire life. I’ve tasted it many, many times and never cared for it enough to enjoy a whole cup. I’ve never understood the obsession and I’m annoyed when it sneaks into my food, like in my ice cream. Last year my friend, Millie, made a big batch of homemade Kahlua to give to friends and I was one of the lucky recipients. I protested it would be wasted on me since I don’t like coffee but she insisted I keep it. I added it to hot chocolate first and surprisingly loved the flavor. I then made a White Russian with vodka and So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer. It was absolutely amazing. I was hooked. It became my favorite default night cap and the bottle Millie shared with me quickly disappeared. I was actually sad as I consumed the last drop of my beloved stash. Lucky for me, Millie, bless her soul, was willing to part with the recipe. I now make Kahlua on the regular to keep me happily inebriated while I hibernate in the winter. Is regular Kahlua vegan? According to Barnivore, it is. Why make your own? It’s more fun, tastier, more natural and way less expensive. This recipe produces five times the amount of Kahlua as a single bottle for the same price. Now that’s worth toasting to. Cheers!

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Mexican Corn Chowder

I used to live in cold, blistery Wisconsin back in 2000 (in Madison, one of the greatest cities in America). I was only vegetarian at the time and the stereotype is true: Wisconsinites love dairy. I had never in my life consumed so much dairy and it never occurred to me that it was hurting me or the animals. My friend Kim used to make this mouth-watering Mexican Corn Chowder that I would salivate over simply by thinking of it. I went vegan in 2004 and lost the ability to recreate her magical soup. I tried with soy milk, I tried with using thickeners, I tried a ton of different ways but nothing was able to capture the creaminess of the original. Enter So Delicious Coconut Creamer.

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Vega Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

I’ve heard about Vega for years but never really felt the need to include a supplement in my life. I’m old school, I believe in getting your nutrition from plants, legumes and grains. For the past year I have felt tired, listless, I’ve had unexplained skin issues, digestive issues and an assortment of other things that make me question if I’m at my optimum health right now. I would never, EVER think of eating meat as a solution and frankly consider those that give up veganism at the first sign of a decrease in health to be weak and foolish. Veganism is hands down the healthiest diet out there for you, the planet and the animals. Like everybody else, omni and vegan alike, you must ensure proper nutrition, which is a challenge sometimes in this world of convenient foods. The more we get away from a pure diet, the worse we will feel. I’ve been researching a way to get all my vitamins and minerals without popping a pill everyday and remembered all the great things I have heard about Vega. If you’re not familiar with Vega you can go to iherb.com, the best site I found describing the product and summarizing the health benefits: Chocolate Vega on iherb.com. You can buy Vega online or locally from Food Fight, Portland’s all-vegan grocery store. They sell the sample size, the 17.5oz container or the 37.8oz container (best value, of course). They even have it for a competitive price!

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Product Review: Aardvark Habañero Hot Sauce

I’m The Spicy Vegan. I love spice in everything I eat and drink, including hot chocolate and cocktails. I live for fresh hot peppers but hot sauces have a place in my life as well. Being The Spicy Vegan you would think I would love any and all hot sauces. Au contraire, mon frère! I am actually quite particular about the hot sauces worthy of touching my food. If I ask for hot sauce and somebody hands me Tabasco, I break it over their head. How insulting! Unfortunately, there are more mediocre commercial hot sauces than excellent ones on the market. The search for the perfect hot sauce has been going on for years and I finally, FINALLY, found it in Portland, Oregon. Secret Aardvark Trading Company, you rock my Sock Dreams socks off.

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I’ve never been struck by pumpkin fever like everybody else during the fall. I suppose having crappy pumpkin pie as a kid (read: not vegan, all processed) turned me off to all things pumpkin. This year I rediscovered the magic of pumpkin through many different preparations and was intrigued by the concept of making a pumpkin smoothie for breakfast. I drink smoothies 3-4 times a week as my first meal of the day and the nutritional value of pumpkins made this an easy choice to mix up my repertoire. It might seem weird to add salt to a smoothie but it’s key in bringing out the rest of the flavors, trust me.

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