Prize Winning Chili

As you may know, CAA has their 2nd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off coming up in two weeks. At this very moment, I am dining on some pretty phenomenal chili. I am sad to be missing out on this cook-off, because I have the winning chili recipe. Rather than hoard this recipe to myself, I am going to share it with you all. What would really make life great is if one of you carried this recipe on to the cook-off, in my honor ūüôā This chili recipe is a classic; combining some heat, some beer and a whole lot of deliciousness.

If you have any questions about the recipe, just holler! (original recipe from Rachel Ray, I just de-meated it)


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • Meatless chorizo, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s brand of chorizo)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (might want to moderate this a bit, I used 2 tbls and it was pretty hot)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes


Heat a big, deep skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers; season with chili powder and cumin cook 5 to 6 minutes. Add chorizo and both cans of beans, cook for about 2 minutes. Stir the beer into the chili and reduce the liquid a minute then add the tomatoes and heat through. Season the chili with salt, to taste, and reduce heat to low.

Courtesy of Food Network


I Heart Potlucks

I am the jolly green grinch of Valentine’s, however, I must say this Valentine’s was by far the best one yet. Starting on Friday, Ali and I hit up the Dollar Store to gather a few Valentine decorations. For under $20 we picked up: balloons, streamers, tablecloths, candles, candy, bouquets of roses, doilys, and a few other odds and ends. We also nabbed some lovely raspberry vegan candies and dark chocolates from the Wedge.

Saturday kicked off with a lovely potluck held at our 2100 office. Dishes shared included: spicy mangoes, curry, rice/tofu combo, herbed tofu, stuffed dates, pinwheels, olive bread, two types of verde salsa, jalape√Īo chips, shepherd’s pie, chocolate truffles and lots of heart shaped candies.

The truffles (recipe below) seemed to be a hit amongst the sweets, Shea really loved them.

It was great seeing familiar faces, as well as newcomers who had seen a flier and just decided to stop on by. We dined out to conversations about love, while listening to some love stinks music (courtesy of me and my Pandora mix).

I was sad to see the crew head out, as I headed back to my suburban lair in White Bear to do dishes and watch the Coal Miner’s Daughter. As for the actual day, I dined at my favorite restaurant in St. Cloud/Waite Park: Cafe Renaissance. The evening was shared with two people who are very special to me, and we topped it off by attending a speaking engagement at St. John’s University which welcomed guest Vandana Shiva.

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s and encourage you to spend yours next year with CAA ūüôā

PS here is my super delicious (vegan/macrobiotic) truffle recipe:

  • 18oz grain sweetened chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s semi-sweet, which probably made it un-macrobitic, but I wasn’t about to pay $8/lb for grain sweetened – which can be found at most co-ops)
  • 2 tbls agar flakes
  • 1 c soy milk
  • cocoa powder, hazelnuts, coconut (whichever topping you wish to roll the truffles in)


  1. Heat 1c soy milk with 2 tbls agar flakes, bring to a simmer
  2. Add in chocolate chips
  3. Stir until chocolate chips are fully incorporated into the soy/agar mixture
  4. Remove from heat, pour into baking pan, refrigerate for at least one hour
  5. Remove from fridge and spoon mixture out, roll into balls, roll balls into desired topping (I chose dark cocoa powder)
  6. Keep cool until serving


Big Props to the Parentals

Growing up, I had a very meat-potato-dessert outlook on meals. I honestly have no issues with this. My parents did the best they could, providing food which they felt was most nutritious and tasty. As I¬†neared the end of my¬†undergrad program, I¬†went home with¬†some exciting news. In¬†March of 2008, I told my parents that¬†after much thought, I no longer wished to consume meat. I asserted my vegetarian independence. My dad gave me 2 months; my mom had a little more faith,¬†estimating I’d be back to eating meat in¬†6 months.

That summer I moved back home, at which time I had already surpassed my dad’s prediction. My parents were nothing less of supportive. They made my Boca burgers along with their beef burgers and¬†my dad even started transferring my food on a separate plate when grilling! When holidays came around, my parents tried bites of Quorn and Tofurky roasts. I even made my parents and their friends a vegan feast (just salad, garlic bread and pasta with Tofurky sausages) ÔĽŅduring a family trip.

However, this past weekend, my parents really blew me away. They opened their kitchen to my novice skills, and I prepared a fully macrobiotic-vegan meal. Now, I am not macrobiotic, but I have several recipes and I really love the beliefs of that diet. The meal was Winter Udon Noodles with Vegetables (see recipe below).

  • 16 oz cooked udon noodles
  • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 C onions, sliced in thin half-moons
  • 1/4 C burdock, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 1/2¬†C carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 1/2 C cabbage, shredded
  • 1-2 Tbls tamari
  • 1/4 C scallions

Place the dark sesame oil in a skillet and heat up. Add the onions and saute for 1-2 min. Add the burdock and saute for 1-2 min. Add the carrots and saute for 1-2 min. Add the cabbage and saute for another minute or so. Reduce the flame to low and place the cooked udon noodles on top of the vegetables. Cover and cook for 5-7 min until the udon noodles are hot. Add the tamari, mix the vegetables and noodles, cover and cook for another 3-4 min. Add the scallions, cover, and cook another minute or so.

I served this with teriyaki tofu and sesame garlic tempeh. My dad is a, “meat at each meal” kind of man. He detested the tofu, however, to my huge surprise, he enjoyed the tempeh! I couldn’t believe it. Tempeh and tofu are hardcore veg additions (I think). The texture is not like most meat; it is very different from the Boca burgers and Tofurky sausages. My mom enjoyed both, very much. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Their main criticism was that the dish did not have enough veggies! I completely agreed. I followed the recipe (sans the burdock and scallions) and I found that it was too much noodle.

I have come a long way since my declaration of vegetarianism in 2008. I have been strict vegetarian while slowly transitioning towards veganism over the past year and a half. It has been great receiving support from mentors, friends, and co-workers. However, at the end of the day, nothing beats support from your parents. Thanks mom and dad.

Delicious Scone Recipe

I know I have been behind with blog updates, this is partly due to lack of topic ideas and partly due to busyness with other happenings. For now, here is a quick recipe that would be fantastic for breakfast tomorrow or for a Sunday brunch. I just made it last night, I will try and put some pics up soon!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I only used 1/3c, just because there is a ton of sugar in the dried cranberries and OJ)
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • zest from 2 oranges


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.In a large bowl, combine the flour, wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cranberries and walnuts and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, orange juice and orange zest. Combine with the dry ingredients to form a thick dough. (My dough was really dry and crumbly, so I added a tbls of water to moisten it up a bit).

Spoon by large tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.