There’s Vegetables in Chili?

chili

“There’s Vegetables in Chili?!” This is the question I was asked while making my family dinner the other night…seriously…Ok I guess I should preface this by letting y’all know I’ve been a vegetarian for about 3 years, and that’s around the time I started really learning how to cook, so most of what I know is veggie friendly. My parents & soldier quickly informed me, however, that vegetables are not a regular occurrence in “normal people chili”. Although, I would like to point out that it doesn’t stop any of them from wanting to eat it…  I guess it just never occured to me that I made chili differently than anyone else? I mean I know I don’t put meat in mine..but doesn’t everyone put peppers, onions, and corn? Sometimes I even like to put zucchini! *gasp!*

I’ve noticed that a lot of vegetarian chili recipes lack the “chili-ness” (That’s totally a word, right?) that makes chili so comforting, but I stumbled on this recipe a while ago and it’s been my go-to recipe ever since! It’s so good I didn’t even get to take a picture of it before my family attacked it! Here’s the recipe from The Picky Eater Blog.

The Ingredients

  • 1 can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (I actually ended up using 2 green peppers & it was still yummy!)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced (I used a regular onion that I had at home)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder (unsweetened) (I think this is the real kicker to what makes this recipe awesome)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (or a bit less) cayenne pepper
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper and paprika to taste

Directions:

  • Chop up your peppers & onions and saute them with some olive oil until translucent.
  • While those are cooking, gather the rest of your ingredients together in a separate pot. (Make sure to rinse the canning liquid from the cans of beans before adding)
  • Once the peppers & onions are ready, toss them in to the pot with the other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer & cook for 3o minutes. (It’s really important to let it cook down during this part, it’s when all the flavors really come together).

Then enjoy!! It really is delicious, full of veggie goodness, and so comforting!

Snowman Soup & Reindeer Munchy Madness!

Oh..my..gosh…y’all! I survived finals week! I didn’t think I would do it but I did! But I have totally neglected to keep you guys in the loop for what has been going on! So here ya go..I studied…wrote an 11 page paper…studied…and made a care package! TA-DA!! I know, I know, I live a “crazy” life! I’m going to show you guys the finished product of the Christmas care package, but my soldier hasn’t gotten it quite yet, so in the mean time I’ll let you guys know the little crafty bits!

I made Snowman Soup & Reindeer Munchies! What do snowmen and reindeer eat, you ask? Well I’m about to show you!

Snowman SoupWe’ll start with the snowman soup. It’s actually kind of like a hot chocolate kit? It has:

  • A hot chocolate pack
  • A little baggy of marshmallows
  • 2 hershey’s kisses (a little holiday lovin & extra chocolaty goodness)
  • 2 mini candy canes (to stir with or snack on)

Then I just put them all in a little plastic gift bag & attached a gift tag with the snowman soup poem! I got the printable from Organized Christmas. The poem says:

“Was told you’ve been real good this year.
Always glad to hear it!
With freezing weather drawing near,
You’ll need to warm the spirit.

So here’s a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow.
It’s sure to do the trick!”

How cute is that?!!  Next was the Reindeer Munchies!! Which is also known as puppy chow to some! I got the recipe from Chex.

reindeer munchiesIngredients:

  • 9 cups rice Chex cereal (or any version of chex cereal)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar

How:

  • Measure out your Chex & put it in a BIG bowl!
  • Put your chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a microwave safe bowl
  • Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for an additional 3o seconds (or until smooth)
  • Pour the melted chocolate peanut butter goodness onto your chex cereal (which is in your BIG bowl)
  • Stir gently until everything is nice and coated (it doesn’t seem like enough at first but it is I promise!)
  • Divide the chocolate covered chex into 2-1 gallon bags
  • Put half the powdered sugar in each bag & shake it! (Like a Polaroid picture!)

Then I filled little ziploc snack bags with as much as I could fit, and then I attached labels to the tops with my stapler. I got the idea for the labels from Catie <–Click this link.    But I just made them in word by downloading the “Christmas Eve” font off of fontspace.com, then I inserted some snowflake clip art as the background and typed what I wanted it to say! I actually figured out how to make a printable (I think) so you guys can download the labels!! (Insert applause!) But anywho…click this link to download the labels–> Reindeer Munchies Bag Labels

The rest of the care package is on it’s way!! So stay tuned!

Wedding Cake Finale!

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It’s done!!
This weekend was the wedding and everything (including the cake) turned out amazing! On a bad note however…my laptop is out of order. Im having to post from my phone, so please excuse any format or grammar errors, I’m not the best with my phone. The repair guy is coming to check it out in the next one or two days but we’ll see what happens. I thought I would just let you guys know how the cake turned out and show you a picture!!
I ended up finishing icing the tiers at about 12:30 the night before the wedding? And then we had to drive them and take them on the ferry over to the church! AHHH!! The road was so bumpy I thought I was gonna die! But there was minimal icing damage that I was able to mostly fix once I got there with some back up buttercream!
I convinced my friend (the bride) not to save & freeze the top tier (cause I think it’s kinda gross?) I feel a little guilty, but I told her I would bake them the same red velvet as an anniversary cake to replace it…I think that’s a pretty good deal but part of me still feels guilty…how do y’all feel about saving the top tier of a wedding cake for the first year anniversary? Sweet memory or frozen yuck?
Now for some more wedding pictures:

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Cake Chaos

Hey hooligans!!
So, I’m in the car, on my way to Morehead City, NC for my friend’s wedding!! This hectic week is finally to the fun part for me! (Well..fun in a omg is this cake gonna get finished or fall over kinda way)! But I’m seriously excited to see my friend! I haven’t seen her in over a year!!

The cakes are all baked, filled an dirty iced. The fondant decorations are also made and pretty dry! (Phew!) Now all that’s left is to make a bunch of icing, ice the tiers, and stack those babies!! We decided on a cool pattern for the icing that kinda looks like waves, in a mature way. I got the idea off Pinterest on a hombre cake:

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Wonderful Wedding Wackyness

Hey everybody!
I have some crazy news! So, my roommate from my previous year in college is getting married this weekend!! But that’s not my news! One, y’all should know I’m a bridesmaid (YAY!!) I was so flattered of course! She gave me instructions for a darker gray dress, nude heels, and a red shawl. It sounds odd but works well together actually! So after stressing over what kind of dress to get, I decided on an infinity dress. Have you guys heard of these things? It’s one dress, but you can tie it a whole bunch of ways! I got mine off ebay for a steal! (This is still not my news by the way) But here is the picture of the dress:

Infinity Dress (I got the one on the mannequin)

Go check out her ebay store here <–Click me!

Ok…so now on to the news…

So..y’all know I went to school to study baking & pastry…well that is where I met my roommate that’s getting married. She was the best roommate a girl could ask for, she was a fashion retail major, and I was a baker, so I would bring her food, and she would help me look stylish (or attempt to make me stylish…trust me I had the easier job). So we always joked that she would help me pick out my wedding dress and I would make her cake (joking). But the poor gentleman she hired to do her cake got sick, so guess who’s making a three tiered wedding cake for this weekend!!! This chick!

So this is what I know about the wedding..

  1. The wedding is Saturday
  2. I’m driving the multiple hour drive Friday after I take my statistics test that afternoon
  3. I still need bridesmaid shoes
  4. I’m making a 3 tiered cake for 100 people to eat

This is what I know about the cake:

  1. It’s got 3 tiers
  2. The bottom is yellow cake, and the top two are red velvet
  3. I’m thinking Swiss buttercream (a wedding classic)
  4. She has a beach theme, and wants light blue icing.
  5. I need to learn how to make pieces of edible coral?
  6. I need to make the cakes & fill and ice them before I leave….
  7. I NEED DOWELS…or my cake will be The Leaning Tower of Pisa

What I’ve also got to get done this week:

  1. Write a 10 page literature review for my social work class
  2. Study for my statistics test
  3. Attend 2 concerts for my dance appreciation course
  4. Write paper on said dance concert
  5. Refill my inhaler
  6. Not jump off a building…

Has anyone else had experience making wedding cakes? I’ve made a tiered cake before (see below), but something about the “wedding” in front of the “cake” makes is that much scarier…

Flower Cake

Mason Jar Madness!

I gave in! My boyfriend has been begging me to send him some baked goods in his next care package. I was a little hesitant because it takes anywhere from a week to two and a half weeks for his packages to get to him. Now imagine baked goods after that period of time…can we say gross? I’m kind of a germaphobe, but I know that is not just me! Anywho, I did some research and kept seeing these mason jar cakes! Not only do I love anything in a mason jar (how freaking adorable!) but they stay fresh & sealed!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Whip up your favorite cake mix (boxed or homemade <-my go to yellow cake mix)
  2. Fill the jars HALF WAY. If you fill them more than that you’ll have a mess on your hands (and your oven)
  3. Place filled jars on a cookie sheet or in a cake pan so they won’t slide around .
  4. Bake the ovens at the temperature your recipe calls for. (I baked mine at 350 degrees)
  5. Special note: I have a really old oven, and these 4 jars took about 35 minutes, but it may be different for you)
  6. While your cakes are baking, boil the mason jar lids in a pot of water.
  7. Once the cakes come out of the oven, take out your lids, dry them, and use oven mitts to twist them onto the hot jars.
  8. Sit them on the counter to cool and listen for the lids to “pop” meaning that they’ve sealed.

Ok so the jars are just adorable as is! But I found some labels that are just too darn cute!! I had thought about just tying ribbon around the lids but hold onto your socks girls and check out these labels!! <–Click me!

Just an additional side note, I’m sending these in a care package, so I wrapped them in bubble wrap so they wouldn’t crack. So be careful about how you transport them because they are glass. Better safe than sorry, right?