Saturday, August 31, 2013

sweet potato black bean chili

Back in the early days of Katie (the omnivore) and I (the vegan) eating together, we discovered this recipe and decided to try it out. Upon tasting it, Katie not only loved the flavor of the chili, but said it was the “meatiest” vegan food she’d ever eaten.

While the point for me is that nothing is “meaty,” literally speaking, she is right that it is one of the most filling, satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs recipes in our collection. Great for a cold winter night, or just a a rainy summer day in Chicago (as the case is for us today!), this one is a keeper!




2 large or 3 small sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled, and diced
1 bunch of organic green onions
½ organic white onion
2 cloves of organic garlic, minced
½ organic red bell pepper, diced
1 large can of black beans
2 cups of cooked and diced tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
½ teaspoon of oregano
2 Tablespoons of pure grape seed oil
Sea salt to taste (1-2 teaspoons)
½ bunch of organic cilantro, finely chopped


Sauté all onions in oil with salt. Add red bell pepper and sauté until nearly tender. Next add tomatoes, diced sweet potatoes, black beans, and spices and cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally until tender. Top with chopped cilantro and olive oil if desired. Enjoy!

Note: A half recipe makes the perfect amount to feed 2 people! The bell pepper is optional, and you can tweak the spices to fit your desired spiciness!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

vegan sea salt caramel corn!

While I'm walking the busy streets of downtown Chicago, a favorite scent of mine comes from the famed Garrett Popcorn stores. The decadent caramel smell wafts through the air and finds me every time! Since Katie isn't vegan, the one time we did stop at Garrett's, she enjoyed the classic Chicago-style blend and I was stuck eating plain popped corn--not fun! So after finding non-GMO popcorn and fair trade coconut oil at our local Open Produce, I modified this recipe to make a much cheaper and healthier option we enjoy together: 

12 cups popped organic popcorn (1/2 cup kernels)
1 cup fair trade sugar
1 teaspoon molasses 
1/2 cup Coconut Nectar 
1/3 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla 

3/4  teaspoon additional sea salt

1. Pop corn in an air popper or in a large saucepan (with a lid!) on your stove top. Eliminate any unpopped seeds and pour into a large bowl. 

2. Mix together sugar, molasses, coconut nectar, and coconut oil in a medium sized saucepan on medium-high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to help the oil mix well with the sugar.

3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Immediately pour over popcorn, slowly stirring with a metal spoon until caramel is evenly distributed. 

4. Line two cookie sheets or 9x13 baking dishes with parchment paper and spread popcorn out evenly. Sprinkle extra sea salt over the top.

5. Bake for 15 minutes at 250 F, stir, and return the pans to the oven for 15 more minutes. 

6. After 30 minutes, remove the popcorn from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy!

Ready for the oven:

Ready to eat:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

market day!

Market day is, by far, our favorite day of the week.

We are lucky to live near the 61st Street Farmers Market. This means that every Saturday, we take a stroll through our lovely neighborhood and find ourselves in an oasis of fresh, local, organic produce, baked goods, cheeses, and more! It is one of our favorite parts of living in Chicago.

The market is one of our main grocery stops each week, and for the rest of the weekend, we cook and eat whatever is in season. The selection changes every week and there are always new surprises (such as PURPLE bell peppers last week!), but it is all delicious! What's more, it all resonates with our food ethic: our food hasn't traveled a thousand (or even a hundred) miles to our table, it looks good because it IS good, and we know the people who grow our food!

Here's what we brought home from the market this morning:

(top to bottom: sweet corn, pea sprouts, raw vegan sloppy joes, green peppers, baby red and white potatoes, yellow wax beans, the world's most adorable heirloom tomatoes, Portuguese sweet bread, and a German soft pretzel)

One of the best parts about living close to a fantastic farmers' market is that on market day and in the days following, the food practically cooks itself. Seriously. With a kitchen stocked with food this fresh and delicious, all that's left to do is eat it!

For lunch today, we had one of our absolute favorite Chicago foods (so far): raw vegan sloppy joes from B'Gabs Goodies, a raw vegan deli in our neighborhood that is right around the corner from the market. We paired the sloppy joe mix with pea sprouts and the adorable heirloom tomatoes from the market. Beth enjoyed hers on whole wheat flatbread, and I went all out: slider style on local Medici bread.

Jealous? Come visit and share a meal (or better yet, meals!) with us!

Friday, August 23, 2013

vegan dark chocolate sea salt granola

In a world of outrageously overpriced granola, one way we've found to cut costs is to make our own at home. It is easy, fun, and most of the ingredients are things we have in our kitchen already! For this recipe, we just had to buy semi-sweet chocolate chips, and really, that wasn't much of a hardship (we were snacking on them all day!).

Since we've been in Chicago, we've made granola a few times, but this was the first time we've ventured beyond the super basics. I must say, I doubt we'll be going back! We worked with this recipe and modified it quite a bit. Here is our take:

4 cups old fashioned oats
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more or less, to taste)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon molasses
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl: oats, cocoa powder, sea salt, sugar, chocolate chips.
3. Add molasses, honey, oil, and vanilla to the oat mixture.
4. Stir until wet and dry ingredients are combined and evenly distributed.
5. Spread wax paper on a cookie sheet and pour mixture, in an even layer, onto the wax paper.
6. Bake at 250 for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes (eating as little as possible each time you stir).
7. Let cool and enjoy!

Ready to go into the oven:

The finished product: