Plant-Based Plan: Week 3- 5-Bean Chili (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

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Baby, it’s COLD outside! It’s shaping up to be a winter for the record books, and everyone and their mother is thinking of how they would trade ANYTHING to be on a beach right now working on their suntan (with plenty of SPF of course!). While that sounds like a pretty tempting aspiration, it’s days like today that make me happy to live in the midwest. It may be -12 degrees out, and my car battery may have froze, leaving me stranded for the time being, but I’m in my bed under 4 or 5 blankets, cuddling with my kitten and savoring a big bowl of steel-cut oats and blueberries while I write to you all. Hello SNOW DAY! If I lived in Hawaii or Mexico or LA, the ever-elusive-but-joyfully-decadent-when-it-happens snow day would be non-existent. I don’t think I could give days like this up! How have you been spending your snow days? (assuming of course that you’re not essential emergency staff and assuming you live in the CLE like I do!)

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I planned my food out again this week. Three weeks in a row; I think this is becoming a habit and I’m not upset about it! Actually, I’m really proud of myself. I’ve been sticking to my budget (5$ over this week on groceries but that’s not bad!) and I’ve been prepping all my meals from scratch! It’s good to praise yourself and give yourself credit when it’s due, and I am really happy with how well I have been following through with this plan.
Last semester, I lived of Clif Bars and pita bread from the BRB cafe (@ CWRU). Three weeks into this semester, I haven’t had to buy a thing from the cafe! Unless coffee counts. You all know I’m very anti-caffeine, but between 40+ hours at work and 30+ hours spent on campus, Starbucks and I have been getting pretty chummy.

Okay, let’s get to the FOOD! I’ve been trying to come up with new and creative “pre-packaged” meals that aren’t REALLY pre-packaged. Sorry, no juice this week. It just wasn’t in my budget, and though the old Kate would have just gone over her budget and rationalized it, Present Kate is trying to be better than that! Next week there will be some yummy juice recipes though, I promise!

Sunday after work, I ran up to Giant Eagle (I wish Earth Fare had FuelPerks) and did my grocery shop for the week. When I got out of my car though, a bitter gust of wind ripped my list from my hands! I had to do the whole shop from memory, so that may have contributed to being a few dollars over budget. I did all my food prep Sunday night and thought of my friend @allisoninwellnessland since she always has her “Sunday Food Prep” posts! Two big recipes: I made a big bowl of salsa chickpea salad to make lettuce wraps with, and at the same time I had a huge pot of chili simmering (hot chili and a little nutritional yeast is sounding really delicious right now!). The chili fit perfectly into 5 small mason jars and perfectly encompassed my “pre-packaged” food goal! Still trying to figure out how to pack the lettuce wraps, but since today’s a snow day, I get to enjoy them from home and their logistics have become a non-issue today.

Okay. You want this chili recipe? You ready to warm your bones? I know I am! use whatever beans you have on hand. This is a loose recipe, so add in or omit as you see fit! Go where the flow takes you!

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Obviously Bran-approved! Cats love nutritional yeast!

5-Bean Chili (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 3 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • cayenne pepper to taste (if you like your chili to have a little kick!)

If you’ve got a slow cooker/crock pot, then 1) just throw everything in there on low for 4 hours and 2) when can I borrow it? For everyone else out there using their stove, start by sauteing the vegetables and spices. Add in everything else after about 7 or 8 minutes and cook on low-medium for about an hour. Stir occasionally.
I know some people like corn, but I am not one of those people. Feel free to add in anywhere from ½ to 1 cup of corn if that’s something you’re thinking needs to be a part of your chili-devouring experience. Also, if you are a non-dairy consumer like I am, feel free to throw some Daiya cheddar shreds on top, or be like me and dump a pound of nutritional yeast into the bowl! I love nutritional yeast. So much. I could talk about it all day every day! some chives would be good in there too. When pulling out my individual jar to reheat, I filled the empty mason jar about a third of the way full with water and added it to the chili since it was a little thick. This also helped me get all the stuff stuck to the sides of the jar into the bowl!

Until next time, be healthy, be happy, and happy juicing!

New Year, New Attitudes

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had an awesome holiday season and stayed relatively healthy!  The beginning of every year is full of resolutions and promises, most of which are geared towards weight loss or some other health topic.  Since I’m fairly satisfied with my health and fitness level (I follow the workout plan by Back on Pointe— short, sweet, and effective!), I decided to focus my new year’s efforts on being smoke free and managing money- budgeting in particular.  I quit smoking almost two years ago, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t bum the occasional cigarette at the bar, or smoke a cigar on a nice summer night.  At 11:50 pm on New Year’s Eve, Ethan and I went outside to have one last cigarette.  It was really disgusting to say the least, but now I’m fueled and ready for a Smoke-Free 2013!  That’s not a goal I forsee having issues with, so I’ll just tell you a little about the money management.  With grad school starting in a week, I know that I’m about to be “broke college student” all over again.  Noooooooooo!  I figure if I can set up a decent finance plan, I may be able to keep my head above water long enough to enjoy myself these next few years.

Basically, I’m sticking to one of the popular “envelope” plans.  This means that I allot a certain amount of money per month for each category, then withdraw the money and put it into separate envelopes– one for each category.  I have 4 categories: Fuel, Grocery, Dining Out, and Personal (clothes, hair stuff, nails, etc.).  Every pay period, I go to the bank and withdraw money for each of the envelopes, then only use that money for my weekly spending (no more card swipes).  The idea is that the rest of the money in the bank goes towards bills and after that, savings.  It’s only day 2 for me (the first week of the year was spent planning), but so far it seems to be working!

Looking at my grocery budget, I quickly realized that I needed to plan out exactly what I was going to eat throughout the week so that I could make the most efficient grocery trip possible.  I made areas to list breakfast, lunch, dinner, and juice (of course!) for each day.  I also added a list at the bottom for organized grocery shopping.  I went shopping Monday night after work, and bought an entire week’s worth of food…. and I was $4.18 under budget!  I put the template into a sheet protector, so that I could write on it with dry-erase marker each week.  Here’s what it looked like in the middle of my planning:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Juice, Water, and Grocery List

So, what was on the agenda for today?

Juice of the day: Orange Cranberry Juice (super yummy!)

5 Valencia oranges and 12 ounces of Cranberries.  Juice it all!  My plan was to throw some frozen mango chunks into a blender with the orange-cranberry juice and get a little more texture, but I ate all the mangoes while cooking dinner.  Oops!

Dinner Recipe: Kale and Chickpea Stew.  I was nervous, like I usually am with new recipes, but it turned out AMAZING!  I am definitely making more next week!  I adapted this recipe from one I got off the website for The Washington Post.  They suggested serving it over hot polenta, but I thought it was super filling all by itself!

1 bunch Kale2 cans Chickpeas (with liquid)2 tbsp Cilantro (chopped)3 Roma Tomatoes (roughly chopped)1 Yellow Onion (chopped)6 Cloves Garlic (minced)1 Cup Water1 tbsp Olive Oil (or any oil)1 tsp Paprika1/4 tsp Corriander1/4 tsp Cumin1/2 tsp Salt2 tbsp Lemon Juice

1 bunch Kale
2 cans Chickpeas (with liquid)
2 tbsp Cilantro (chopped)
3 Roma Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
1 Yellow Onion (chopped)
6 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Cup Water
1 tbsp Olive Oil (or any oil)
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Corriander
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Lemon Juice

1. Pour about a cup of water into the bottom of a deep pan and once it starts boiling, add the kale and wilt it.  Drain the water and put the kale on a cutting board.  Roughly chop.  Place it into a bowl on the side.

2. Using the same pan, add the oil and on medium heat, add your garlic, onions, and tomatoes.  Let them sizzle for about 4-5 minutes, and then add your cumin, corriander, and paprika.  Let sit for another couple minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas and stir the mixture until it starts barely boiling.  If you want more liquid add another cup of water to the pan.  Put the kale back into the stew.  Simmer everything for about 12 minutes and then add the lemon juice and cilantro.  Enjoy!

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did, so let me know what you think!

Happy Juicing!