Tag Archives: food blogs

Vegan Chili


I’ve never been a big chili person at all, but my recent love affair with the slow cooker made me more adventurous.

There was no big secret to this recipe. I bought a variety of beans (black, kidney, garbanzo, white, and lima), added some carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and spices and cooked it all over night. It was actually really good, especially when served with some fresh cilantro. My favorite were the lima beans.

Good to know that I can make meat-less chili with almost no effort and eat the leftovers for several days!



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For the Sweet Tooth

I am currently obsessed with this quick dessert:


Plain Greek yogurt, frozen organic berries, and honey.

For our Thanksgiving road trip to Wisconsin, I made this banana pumpkin bread:


It was vegan, using chia seeds and water as an egg substitute, and super moist and delicious. I think Dave and I each had three pieces during our 13-hour drive. Other snacks included organic raspberries, kombucha, cashews, kale chips, potato cakes, and more fruit.


This may be my favorite banana pumpkin bread recipe ever. I think the reason it was so good is that I used brown sugar and white flour. Usually, I use maple syrup instead of sugar and almond flour, but I was worried that the “chia egg” would be enough gamble. I may have to try combining all three next time.

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Filed under deserts, Uncategorized, vegan

Two Grainy Lunches

Quinoa and Couscous are currently tied for my favorite grains, and they recently made bases for two veggie-packed lunches.


Couscous with roasted pumpkin, zucchini, roasted pine nuts, and olive oil. Easy, filling, vegan and nutritious.


Quinoa Quiche. This had quinoa, eggs, green peppers, tomato, and a cheesy sauce based on nutritional yeast. If I re-make this, I’m going to go with spinach instead of green peppers – I was just out at the time.

I like eating grains for lunch if I’m going to exercise after work, which has been the case pretty much every day recently. Six days of exercising in a row gets pretty exhausting, so the least I can do is feed myself a filling lunch.

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Quick Weeknight Dinner

Stuffed vegan peppers were one of my prepped meals this week. Well, actually, they made for several prepped meals, both for lunch and dinner.


They keep well in a tupperware container im the fridge and are delicious hot or cold. The quinoa and black beans are a powerful protein combo that fills me up, and the cilantro and spices make for a satisfying to-go meal. Perfect for a busy lifestyle.

You can get creative with stuffed peppers and pretty much load them with whatever you want/have on hand.

My meal prep marathon on Sunday has seriously made my week so much easier. There is so much going on at work that I’m just beat when I get home. Tonight, I plan to refresh myself with an easy run around the neighborhood, eat a quick, prepped, nutritious dinner, and curl up on the couch with a book. Happy Hump Day!

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Filed under low carb, lunch-prep, vegan

Road Trip, Day 6: My Jeffersonian Birthday

My 28th birthday was a dreary, rainy Monday in central Virginia. But it was still a success because we spent it immersed in the life of Thomas Jefferson.

We got to Monticello at 9 a.m., and spent about 2 hours at the estate.


It really is a cool place to visit. First, we took a 40-minute guided tour of the first floor, where we learned about how the retired Jefferson spent his days, who all lived there, and what he all invented around the house.

Next, we toured the slave grounds, gardens, and visited the grave site. We finished with a 20-minute film back at the visitor’s center.


After our visit to Monticello, we stopped at the Michie’s Tavern for lunch. This was a place for lodging and eating in the 18th century. Today, they offer tours and serve a Southern-style buffet in a historic atmosphere.

For one last time, we loaded up on Southern cornbread, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes.


And Dave indulged in pulled pork and chicken legs.


They used authentic plates and mugs for drinks, and the ambiance was reminiscent of colonial America. The staff was even dressed in traditional garments.


The only bummer was that it was totally overpriced – $17.50 per person for the buffet, which has a pretty narrow selection, with drinks and deserts being separate.

After lunch, we made the five-hour drive back to State College, through Northern Virginia, a tiny part of West Virginia, and Southern Pennsylvania. Now that we’re back, I have been to 43 out of 50 states. Only seven to go! On the way, I read the entire Wikipedia article on Thomas Jefferson out loud to Dave, Because we’re ridiculous people.

Back in Happy Valley, we stopped at Wegman’s for our first healthy dinner in 5 days and some grocery shopping.


Portobello mushroom, carrots, and bulgur with some Kombucha. My stomach was so grateful for its usual healthy fare.

Back at home, as it was still raining and we didn’t feel like unpacking, we watched a four-hour documentary on Jefferson on Netflix. These things happen to me.

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Road Trip, Day 5: Virginia

We slept in on Sunday morning after a late night of dancing in Wilmington. We left the hotel around 11:30 a.m. to drive 5 hours to Richmond. We had no specific reason to visit Richmond other than wanting to see as much of Virginia as we could in our limited time and it being on the way to Charlottesville, where we made reservations to tour Monticello for Monday morning.

Richmond was pretty empty on this Sunday afternoon, probably due to intense humidity and heat. We parked in the historic downtown by the James River and started our visit by walking along the canal.



Honestly, Richmond reminded us a lot of Milwaukee, at least the part of it that we saw. Maybe that’s because of the historic downtown + river combination, maybe due to it being deserted on a perfectly good weekend day, maybe because of the way the roads are laid out. In any regard, we didn’t feel like spending too much time exploring, and opted for a nice air-conditioned Japanese restaurant for dinner, discovering that most of the downtown restaurants were closed on Sundays or did not open until 5:30 p.m.




After all the Southern Cuisine, I’m sure my body was thrilled to receive some food that was not full of carbs. Well, white rice is still carbs, but surely better than cornbread, hushpuppies, and fries.

After dinner, we drove to the Oregon Heights neighborhood to check out Hollywood Cemetery, where about 1,800 Confederate soldiers are buried. We got there five minutes before it closed, which was a bummer, but the guard allowed us to drive through it briefly to take some pics.



It looked really interesting and I hope we can come back for a longer visit sometime. 

We got into Charlottesville around 8 p.m. and decided to go check out the outdoor pedestrian mall we had heard some good things about. 

First order of business once we got there: get ice cream.



Once that was accomplished (I got pistachio and heath bar), we walked around. It was drizzling a bit, but the temperature was pleasant. There were tons of little shops, businesses, and restaurants. We were surprised that such a small university town has such a cool downtown area – good for UVA students, State College cannot compare. 

After walking up and down the mall several times, we went back to the hotel to get some sleep before touring Monticello in the morning.

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Road Trip, Day 4: Bonus Day in Wilmington


Saturday was all about the beach.

Tropical storm Andrea was moving up the coast, so we didn’t want to follow her and delayed our trip to Virginia by a day.

Finally, we got to swim in the ocean. The waves were really high, and the water was pretty warm. We walked along the shore, swam, and relaxed in the sun.

Then we decided to go find some lunch before coming back for a second serving of beach time.


The Oceanic was exactly what we had in mind – ocean front, seafood lunch specials, and free parking for customers.

Here, we had our first serving of hushpuppies ever.


They seem to be deep-fried cornbread? You may have noticed that this is not a health-food trip, despite my good intentions. But we have been getting a good idea of Southern Cuisine!

Dave and I both ordered Oceanic Cranberry Seltzers, which we enjoyed in the shade on their outdoor patio, overlooking the ocean.



I ordered the lobster salad wrap from the specials menu. It was very good.


With full bellies, we returned to the beach, walked up and down the shore enjoying the salty breeze, sat at the edge of the water for a while, and then ended up going back into the water for more wave action.

The waves were really intense. First, we just kind of stood there and jumped up when a wave was particularly high. But, with time, we got more daring. We swam out and met the waves before they were actually breaking. Eventually, Dave showed me how to stand directly where the wave will break without getting swept away. I was not very good at it, so I was swept off my feet several times. Then, he actually jumped into a wave and let it carry him ashore. I thought that looked really fun and decided to give it a try. Not a good idea. All I remember is that the wave somehow grabbed me and spun me around under water before violently smacking me onto the ground. My lower back felt sand-burned immediately, and I emerged out of the water proclaiming that I was done.

As we walked back to our towel, Dave realized that my back was bleeding badly, and I got pretty worried. We took our stuff, went to wash it out at the showers, and returned to the hotel. It stopped bleeding after the shower, but still hurt pretty badly. At the hotel, I could see that it was fortunately not as bad as I had imagined – at least, the injured area was a lot smaller than I had feared. Dave went to the store to get some antibiotic ointment and some huge band-aids, which he then helped me apply. I was pretty shaken up, especially imagining how much worse it could have been, so I took a nap and watched some Netflix before we had to leave to meet our friends at the last conference event.

The event was at Dirty Martini, which was conveniently located right by our hotel. We walked over there and found yet another elaborate buffet and drink offering.


I had spinach salad, lobster pasta (soooo good), crab dip with crackers, and some cheese cubes with grapes. For my two free drinks, I got an Old Fashioned both times.


Oh! We also had shrimp & grits cocktails. How could I forget?


Another fantastic Wilmington location. There was a little pond along a mall of small restaurants and boutiques. It was a humid night and the mosquitoes were out, but at least their bites don’t itch as badly as Wisconsin mosquitoes’ somehow.


I enjoyed my last night with these two ladies. Living away from good friends is not fun…


… especially when they’re not all in the same place somewhere else, but scattered across the globe, so opportunities to get several of them together at once are extremely rare.


Good thing I have this guy to keep me from getting lonely.

Anyway, we had so much fun again, First, we danced outside to an amazing live band, who played classic rock. Then, we continued dancing inside to current club music.


Two nights of dancing in a row = happy Suzan. At midnight, it was my friend Ally’s birthday, so we stayed until a little past then.

These three days in North Carolina have been the best. We got the perfect mix of warmth, historic sightseeing, great food, friend time, intellectual stimulation via the conference events, dancing, beach time (minus the wave incident and sunburn), and cultural immersion (the Carolina accents are awesome, along with their people’s extreme friendliness).

I hope to be back here in the not too distant future!

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