This year, yes. Until last week, it had still been cool most days, and one night I had a hankering for chili.
Off-topic: Speaking of hankering, does anyone remember THIS ridiculous jingle on kids' tv programming years ago?... "I hanker for a hunk-a, hanker for a hunk of cheese!" I can't believe I even found this clip. Man, when I see this again, it is startling how much we are indeed 'programmed' to eat meat, cheese and milk from wee ages. I'm just a kiddo, watchin' some Saturday cartoons and out comes this odd little character in cowboy boots and a hat singing this cheesy jingle. And we wonder why it's so hard for people to understand that we shouldn't be eating animal products?! Yeah.
Back to the chili. I threw together a small batch with what was on hand in my fridge and pantry. Pulled out crushed tomatoes, a can each of black beans and kidney beans. I sauteed chopped onion, celery, fennel (yeah, fennel! it worked nicely, softening and mellowing through cooking, adding some natural sweetness to the chili), and garlic in a touch of oil, along with some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and dried oregano. Let the lot cook on medium-low heat (covered), then when the onions were softened up some, I added in the crushed tomatoes, beans (rinsed and drained). I really wanted the cumin flavor to be pronounced, so I added more throughout the cooking to taste. During the last 5 or so minutes of cooking, I also added some frozen peas and cooked through until just nicely tender. Served, as you can see with avocado and cilantro, and also some lime wedges to squeeze over the chili and 'brighten' the flavors. Paired with a small salad and bread, the meal was complete.
Chili is one of those foods that is easy to make, easy to customize, and most easy to veganize. Even in warmer days, you can reheat leftovers just enough to tuck in a taco shell and top with lots of fresh, cooling toppings like guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and grated jicama.
Chili is probably one of the first foods most of us make as 'new vegans'. For any new(er) vegans out there, you should check out Erik Marcus' amazon links. He recommends several essential vegan books (Vive is one of them - thanks, Erik!), and also gives tips and advice on making that vegan transition. When you click through these links, please click the "helpful" rating link (on the right hand side of screen). Rating these lists as "helpful" will increase the exposure of these lists to other people. This is important, so please exercise that clicking finger!
We could have used some chocolate cake that day. Michelle would have shared some. Check out it out!! Awesome! After coaxing you guys to make that cake, Michelle finally caved! I'll have to post this recipe soon for everyone to try it out.
Wiped! post-note... reading further I'm amused to learn that the author has almost broken her nose from walking into a wall in the middle of the night - even with daily assistance of a nanny, and not breastfeeding. All I can think at this point is "I'm flipping lucky I didn't break a leg"! Many of us moms and dads don't have the extra help of a nanny (or extended family) and breastfeeding means you cannot pass the baby off for feedings. I wouldn't have wanted to anyhow. Breastfeeding is well worth the time involved... for many reasons. I talk a little about breastfeeding in Vive, as well as give a food introduction guide for babes and newborns, for those of you that are interested. Wiped! is still a funny read, and I'm not minimizing the author's exhausted state. At all. I't just odd reading those nanny-feeding-her baby (um, what?) references.
Last note on the book cover for Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. We are making some changes, and as soon as we have a cover that will be publicized, I'll post it!