Thursday, May 28, 2015

Best Vegetarian Chili Ever!

As I have mentioned on the blog before I have been slowly gravitating to a more vegetarian lifestyle. It's something I have been interested in for a long time and while I don't know that I will ever go 100% veg I am making an effort to eat less meat for ethical reasons. I recently discovered a wonderful meat substitute from Trader Joe's in the form of Soy Chorizo. Now I am not normally a fan of non meat items pretending to be meat but I love chorizo and when I heard about this soy version I knew I had to try it. Most of what I love about chorizo is the seasoning anyway so how bad could a soy version be?

Since I had a tiny bit of trepidation about using the soy chorizo for the first time I decided to use it in chili, you can't go wrong with chili. Well I have to say that the soy chorizo wildly surpassed my expectations and even though I totally invented this chili recipes Eric and I both agreed that it surpassed the meat chili we used to make. I quickly jotted down the ingredients as we ate so i wouldn't forget how to replicate this recipe. The soy crumbles in the chorizo replicate a finely ground beef which is how I like my chili meat and the spices were delicious. Plus the package of veggie chorizo from Trader Joe's is only $2! If you are looking for the perfect vegetarian chili recipe look no further!

1 package soy Chorizo
I onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
2 ears of corn cut off the cob or equivalent amount of frozen corn
3 cups of cooked beans, I did a mixture of black, kidney and pinto beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 cups water, you can fiddle with this depending on how thick you like your chili
2 vegetable bullion cubes
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbs cayenne pepper

Remove the soy chorizo from it's casing and in a large Dutch Oven sauté with onions and garlic until the onions are tender. Add the corn and bell pepper and cook another few minutes to soften them up.
 Add the water and tomato paste and stir over medium heat. Add the bullion and other seasonings and stir in the cooked beans. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Served with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Zipper Pouch

What with everything we've had going on I haven't sewn a thing all year. Seriously, I made it to May before sewing a single thing! So sad, I really want to get back in the sewing game. Anyway, I took advantage of Mother's day as a chance to sew something simple and pretty so I made this little zipper pouch as a the wrapping for the necklace I bought my mom. I figured it's nice to get a little something you can use again with your main present inside.

I followed a lovely little tutorial on This Heart of Mine and it made it really easy, especially since I had never put in a zipper before! I got a chance to use one of the zippers my sister in law gave me for Christmas and also got to use some fabric scraps I had on hand ( zipper pouches are a great way to use scraps!). It was so easy to make I want to make a whole bunch more to help me organize my life :-) It's hard finding time to sew with my two very active little ones but hopefully I will get to make more of these soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Preserved Lemons

I have a little break from doctor visits this month since I've finished my chemo and still have about a month until my surgery. This means I am feeling better and have a little bit of time to work on experimental kitchen projects. Preserved lemons are a big deal in Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine. I've always wanted to try making them but the last time I started a batch they totally failed because I used a container that wasn't totally air tight, oops...

This time around I have my act together a bit more and I'm hoping these will turn out to be delicious! They are still fermenting right now so I haven't actually gotten to try them yet but they sure look pretty and they couldn't be easier to make. First you have to sanitize the lemons and jars with boiling water. Next cut each lemon as if you are cutting them in to quarters but stop at the last second so they still stay attached. After that you pack each lemon with kosher salt and stuff them in the jar. Use a wooden spoon to much them around a bit and get the juices of the lemons flowing. If you have any extra lemons you can squeeze some extra juice on top too, the idea is to have the lemons completely covered in brine. Then all you have to do is wait 3 to 4 weeks and after that pop them in the fridge. When you are ready to use them just rinse them off and chop them up to add to salads, chicken or fish dishes. I'm really eager to try them out, I love Middle Eastern food so I have high hopes. I will try to post a recipe using them when the finish, yum!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The End of Chemo

In honor of my last chemo session ( I sincerely hope I NEVER have to do this again!) I am posting my bald photos. I realized the other day that I didn't have any photos of myself with no hair so yesterday morning while the kids were still asleep I took some shots in the early morning light from my upstairs window.

Honestly it's a little painful for me to look at them right now but I know that I want to remember this time and I feel like in the future, when all this is a distant memory, I will be really glad I have documentation of this time in my life. I also think my girls will want to see what I looked like with no hair when they are older :-)

Goodbye chemo! I'm not sorry to see you go! I have definitely leaned a lot and been humbled and I feel like I now know how strong i can be. Looking forward to the next phase and getting some hair back!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Photos

It's months like this that make me love living in the South! The weather here has been perfectly wonderful (even though it rained a big chunk of the time) and we have been taking advantage of it by getting out as much as possible. Unfortunately I don't get photos as much as I used to because I'm busy chasing two mobile kids but I did manage to get some good ones this month! Here is a snapshot of what we've been up to.

We went to a brunch party to see some friends who were in from England and I ended up just taking photos of the kids being cute! Even if I didn't get pictures of the friends we were there to see it was wonderful to catch up with them. They are such awesome people and we only get to see them maybe once a year. 

We visited the Botanical Gardens for Earth Day and got to participate in a ladybug release. Echo loved it because she is super in to bugs right now (she is so my daughter!). She got to try on lady bug wings and spray water from a spray bottle for the lady bugs to drink.

Clover is a speedy crawler these days and is getting hard to keep up with. She is just barely starting to cruise too so I know she will be walking before we know it.

We also made it out to the Inman Park Festival which is something I've always wanted to go to but I had never made it in 20 years I've lived in Atlanta. It was a lot of fun taking the girls to the parade.

We have an even busier month coming up in May so I'm not sure how often I'll be posting but I'm sure I'll get lots of photos in the weeks ahead so hopefully I can share some good ones with you next month.

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Little Artist

I'm so excited to say that Clover is starting to make her first scribbles! This is actually a  lot younger than Echo started making art, Clover is almost 9 months and Echo was just over 11 months when she started "coloring". I always assume that Clover will just put any art material I give her directly in her mouth but while at my parents house she drew with sidewalk chalk for a good long time before she tried tasting it. The above drawing is her first, the arching lines not the dinosaur ;-)

Maybe it's watching Echo constantly create things or maybe it's just that different kids start things at different ages but I'm really excited that we will all be doing art projects together soon! I know somebody that will be getting some art supplies for her 1st Birthday :-)