Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three Bean Vegetable Chili

We love chili!  My husband orders it anytime we go out to dinner. I always make a big batch so we can enjoy leftovers throughout the week.  Adding those leftovers to a baked potato, some whole grain pasta, or quinoa really makes a filling and flavorful meal.

Lately, John and I have been trying to follow a more vegetarian diet in order to keep cholesterol low; we have been researching a few different eating plans designed by physicians to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. While this recipe has more ingredients than I usually like, it is very worth it.  I used my food processor to chop all of the vegetables, so I didn't have too much time in preparation.

My husband was shocked when I told him there wasn't any meat in the chili. Also, he isn't a huge fan of cauliflower or zucchini, but he had no clue. This healthier version of chili is now our go-to winter Sunday meal.  Next time, I plan to try it in a slow cooker.


  • 1 pound firm tofu, defrosted
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 10 oz. onions, frozen
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli, thawed and finely chopped
  • 3 cups frozen cauliflower, thawed and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can no-salt added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can no-salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can no-salt added red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can no-salt added diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can mild green chilies, drained
  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large zucchini, finely chopped
  • Vegetable broth, if you'd like a thinner chili
* I have made this without the tofu; we enjoyed it both ways and found it to be quite filling.

  1. Squeeze excess water from tofu; crumble into soup pot. Add spices. Brown.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 hours. 

TIME: 20 minute prep; 2 hours cooking time
DIFFICULTY: Medium (lots of ingredients)
SOURCE: adapted from Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Banana Walnut Green Tea Smoothie

In the last couple of months, I have noticed my skin has been awful - like teenage angst awful with a pre-midlife crisis twist.  My history with medications and creams for my dermatological issues is not all that great and my mode lately is to try to reduce chemicals as opposed to adding more, so I have been on the hunt for a more natural remedy.  I have done a decent amount of reading and am pretty confident at this point that too much sugar and not enough exercise are the biggest factors contributing to my current issue.  An injury is partly the cause of my lack of exercise (but only partly) and the sugar, well, let's just say that I wasn't at my best this holiday season but my sweet tooth certainly was.  My body alkalinity is all out of whack and my plan is to attack it with some high antioxidant leafy greens, low sugar fruits, and healthy nuts (Omega 3s) and seeds to name a few.  This shake fits the bill nicely...with others to follow.


  • banana (frozen if you prefer)
  • 6 oz green tea (I let mine cool a bit but am generally too impatient to cool it all of the way when I brew the tea myself)
  • 1/8 cup of walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • handful of baby kale
  • 1/4 tsp chia seeds
  • honey (optional)
  • ice (optional - if you used cool tea and a frozen banana, you may not need ice)
Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.  (I use a Vitamix and gradually increase speed from 1-10 and then to high for about 45 seconds.)

Difficulty: easy
Time: a couple of minutes
Source: a combination of several ideas I found when researching 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

For Christmas, my daughter's class created a class cookbook.  This is part of the opening:

When it's cold outside and there is nothing to do.
Open this cookbook and out of the blue
You will find many yummy treats, 
Delicious recipes you will love to eat.
Instead of turning the television on, 
We can make something good that will not last long.

We have had a great time picking her friends' recipes; she has a story to go with each recipe.  I hope she will share a story each time we use it (like I do when I hang my student's ornaments on my tree).

We plan to make these, package them in cellophane, and tie with red ribbon as a small gift on Valentine's Day.  I will be taking all of those leftover Reese's cups that were in stockings, on cookie trays, and on sale counters; they will all go in the freezer until February when I make them as small gifts.

Photobombing Emma!  
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. Add egg, milk, and vanilla.  Mix well; add peanut butter. Mix.  Add dry mixture. Mix.
  4. Form dough into 1 inch balls. (i used a cookie scoop...but kids can do just as well :) )
  5. Roll in sugar, place in mini-muffin pan.
  6. Using end of a wooden spoon, make a hole in the center about half way down.
  7. Bake 8-12 minutes.
  8. Place peanut butter cup in hole when you take them out of the oven.  Let cool 10 minutes before transferring to rack.

TIME: 25 minute prep, 12  minutes baking time
SOURCE: my daughter's first grade teacher