Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Heads Up Veggie Buds!

So you're walking through the juice aisle and some tasty treats catch your eye. Will it be orange, fruit punch, or strawberry kiwi - so many healthy, fruit-filled choices. But...A-HA! Some things are not what they seem. When grocery shopping in a large store, it's all up to you to check what you're eating/drinking. Chris and I are very good about checking sodium levels, sugar amounts, etc., but when choosing juice, scrutinizing the ingredients wasn't the first thing on our mind. Tonight, we were shown the light. As an example of the need for awareness: Oasis health break Strawberry-Kiwi juice contains fish. Yup...fish. It has a high level of omega-3, so I guess we should've assumed. But how many of us expect juice to come with your recommended daily intake of salmon? To be fair, the carton has it printed in bold under the ingredients, so it really is up to us, as consumers, to actually read what we're buying.

Another example that REALLY ticks me off, is Campbell's soup and their "Vegetable" concoction. Unfortunately, the whole 'vegetable' part is a tad misleading. The readily available Vegetable soup contains beef broth - no lie. Another Plan-B meal gone down the tubes. Again, to be fair, there is a Vegetarian Vegetable soup also available, but I've honestly never seen it on a Canadian shelf. If anyone has, kudos to you (and pass some our way!) Although it's always nicer to have homemade soups, sometimes a can is a lifesaver.

** Just a little friendly heads-up from your fellow Veggie :) **

Sunday, 4 November 2012

짜장면 - Korean Comfort Food; Black Bean Style

When most people think "comfort food", they go for mashed potatoes, chicken noodle soup, pancakes....insert weird family food here. For those of us who've lived in South Korea, there's only one dish you go for when you need some warm lovin' in your belly: 짜장면 (Black Bean Noodles). The 14th day of every month has a special meaning in Korea ranging from Valentine's Day, White Day, Movie Day, Diary Day, and Black Day - when Jajjangmyeon (see Korean word above) is eaten by every un-coupled person in the country . . . or people who LOVE tasty, warm, gooey deliciousness!

So, if you're looking for something easy to make tonight that'll leave you feeling healthy, full, and warm and mushy inside, then Jajjang is for you! Be experimental tonight, you won't regret it ;)

Jajjangmyeon (짜장면)

rice noodles (as many as you would normally make)
Found in most Asian food stores
1 cup of black bean paste
2 tbsp corn starch
2 cups water
about 3 tbsp of oil for cooking
1 tsp sugar
zucchini, onion, green peppers, pre-boiled potato chunks (as many of each as you need)

1. Add all the veggies and tofu to a deep pan/wok and fry them up until they're translucent.

2. Clear a space in the center of the wok by pushing the veggies and tofu to the sides.  

3. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the center with the cup of black bean paste. Stir it around to fry it up for about 2 minutes. Mix everything together.

4. Add 2 cups of water to the wok and let it all cook with the lid closed for about 10 minutes.

Veggies, veggies, veggies
5. Combine the corn starch, water, and 1 tsp of sugar in a small mug. Open up the lid and add the corn starch mix to the wok. Keep stirring it together until it's thick and mixed up. 
Mix up the love!

Serve up your black bean creation over the noodles you've hopefully cooked at the same time - if you're cooking rice noodles, make sure to watch them because they can overcook and get chewy pretty quickly. 

So, whether you're single and feeling a little "black" on April 14th, or you just want to feel comfy and warm, 짜장면 is what you need. Enjoy and let me know what you think! No more mashed potatoes for you :)


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Fabulous Falafels

Give them a shmoosh and chomp down!
Eating at Mr. Shawarma has always been a tasty treat Chris and I can't never get enough of. $3.50 falafel pitas? YES PLEASE! Open till 3am almost everyday of the week? EVEN BETTER! Having to walk 25 minutes to get to you . . fun, but not always possible/awesome. To tackle the issue of loving spicy falafels but not needing the leave the house, we got a little wild with some chick peas.  

It doesn't take much hard work to get a finished product like this -------------------> 
Just grab a food processor and get mixin'!

Feisty Falafels

1 can no-salt added chickpeas (540 ml)
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 tbsp fresh cilantro and parsley
2 tbsp lemon juice (as fresh as possible of course)
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp garlic - minced as well as you can
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander, chili powder, and salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (play around with this to suit yourself - don't be a wimp)
some olive oil

1. Add all the ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor. Pulse it, scraping down the bowl now and again, until the mix is similar to really thick cookie dough. Move this mix to a bowl, cover it with a towel or something similar to plastic wrap (please skip the plastic wrap...I wish I had this time!). Put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour - this'll make it firm.  
Chunky, spicy loveliness.

2. When it's firmed up, roll the dough into balls about the same size as a big drop cookie - a couple of tbsps. Flatten the balls a little bit in your hands.

Gettin' a tan.
3. Heat some oil in a pan and add some patties to it. Fry them up for a few minutes on each side, or until they get nice and brown and heated through (press on them to see if they're hot enough through the middle).

** If you leave the patties out of the pan for a bit before putting them into your pita they'll get a little firmer. We love shmushing them into a pita with spicy, homemade hummus, raw onions, lettuce, and whatever else we might have lying around.  

Healthy, homemade fast food served right to your kitchen - what more could you want?! Mr. Shawarma now and again of course :)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Best Black-Bean-Burgs Ever!

When my friend Christine asked when I was going to blog about the mouth-watering meatless burgers I keep talking about, I realized one very unfortunate thing: their tasty-ness means they always get eaten too quickly to get pictures taken of them! After building my last beany burg, I thought to myself, "I should take a pic of this for the blog".... only to eat it before having a chance to grab my phone. Keeping that in mind, pictures of the creation that is the Best Black-Bean Burgs Ever will have to be added at a later date. 

So, if you're ready for some healthier eats on your BBQ that still have enough texture and juiciness to make you feel like your BBQ'ing something more than another veggie kebab, then read on . . . 
Beer not entirely necessary, but tasty.

Bulging BBQ'd Black Bean Burgs

1 whole wheat burger bun - torn up into little bits
1 tbsp olive oil (or any other oil you prefer - avocado is GREAT!)
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 regular sized can of black beans - drained and rinsed in a strainer
1 tsp grated lime rind (these keep fairly fresh in the fridge for a while - don't throw them out!)
1 shallot - chopped finely
3/4 tsp chili powder (or more . . . if you're like us)
1/2 tsp chopped oregano (or the bottled kind, if that's all you've got)
pinch of salt
1 large egg - beaten lightly
1 large egg white - beaten lightly

1. Put the burger bun in a food processor and process it until you've got about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Move this to a bowl.

2. Combine 1/2 tbsp oil, the garlic, and the can of beans in the processor and pulse it until the beans make a thick paste. Move this bean mix to the bowl of bread crumbs and stir in everything else. 

Squish it like a pro!
3. Now's the time to really get in there! Wet your hands a bit and divide the mix into about 4 equal portions (or 2 hefty ones, if you're more adventurous). It's going to seem like a big mush - don't fret! These burgers won't be easily molded into patties . . you need to poke and prod them to take any shape that isn't super runny.

4. To make sure the burgers hold well before BBQ'ing them, put them in a medium-hot pan with the rest of the oil and fry them for about 3 mins. on each side, or until they're turning a little brown. You NEED to do this or else they'll fall through the BBQ in seconds!
The BBQ makes them even better!

5. NOW they're ready to BBQ or stack in a reusable container in the freezer :)
NOT a burger I'd be willing to eat . . just sayin'.
** We tend to make these Burgs in large amounts and freeze the patties in stacks for weeks. It's the best treat to open the freezer on a busy Monday night and be able to BBQ up veggie burgers that don't taste like processed "meatless patties". I shudder at the thought of ever buying those again ------->

Let me know if you add anything different to your Bean Burgs - I'd love to get some ideas for extra fillings!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Cold Relief w/ Zero Waste :)

Icy and sweet!
Heat waves without a/c are a pretty interesting time - everything's sticky, you can't sleep, and eating hot food is impossible! So what do you do to cope? Eat frozen treats galore!! The negative piece to that, is that every frozen treat comes with some kind of outrageous packaging and involves walking to a store and buying them . . . boring! 

Hence why I propose a delicious solution: homemade popsicles! No recipe needed here, of course; just the motivation to get them started. My Mum always had these ready for my sister and I when we were younger, and we were constantly grateful for the easy access to frozen relief! My husband and I bought our container from a garage sale for 25 cents and haven't looked back since. If you're not willing to scout the streets for them, you can find these containers everywhere: grocery stores, dollar stores, you name it. Once you've introduced this new wonder into your home, grab your favorite juice and pour away! They take about an hour or so to freeze. 

You'll never have to walk to another convenience store again!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Salsa Sundays

So, we were looking through our kitchen the other day and were pretty shocked to see how many food items we're still buying that are totally unnecessary. Salad dressing (post to come), crackers (still not sure how to replace those), and salsa - we eat so much of it now that it's BBQ season! In order to combat this onslaught of overspending and sodium, I decided to check out our cookbooks and get a little creative.

The easiest thing to replace, I thought, must be salsa. It's really just veggies and spices anyway, right? Well, in your favorite store-bought can . . not so much. But FRET NOT - this recipe for tangy homemade salsa with just enough spice will be the relief you're looking for:

Looks fresher already!
Chunky Salsa with a Kick

** keep in mind, these measurements + ingredients sound fancy, but don't need to be followed TOO well. We put our own spin on it, so go for it yourself! **
some olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 tbsp minced garlic 
5 jalapeno peppers OR my fav: 6 or 7 thai green chilies (cheaper AND tangier) 
6 cups seeded and diced FRESH plum tomatoes OR my fav: about 3 or 4 big beefsteaks
1 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce (the label says exactly this, so don't confuse yourself)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper OR replace the paprika and cayenne with a hefty amount of chili p.
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 juicy lime

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers. Cook and stir them until the onions start to go soft - probably about 5 mins.

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, salt, paprika, and cayenne (or whichever spice combo you chose). Mix them in and cook, uncovered, for about 10 mins, stirring now and again.

3. Remove the pot from the burner and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. SERVE IT UP!

Credit: Looneyspoons

Don't be jealous - make your own!
Now that our fridge is filled with this fresh-tasting, flavorful salsa, I know that we could never go back to store-bought. Plus, by buying all our veggies from the farmer's market, we just feel better about stuffing ourselves with chips before dinner :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Making that Spicy Paste useful...get excited!

So it's clearly been too long since I last posted and I've started to feel like people were probably beginning to silently cheer for not being preached at anymore . . good luck with that! Although, since it's been a while and a lot of experimenting's been going on, I thought it best to refer back to a previous post that makes me feel summery just reading it. Tasty Post Alert! 
Once you've got this Green Curry Paste recipe mortared and refrigerated/frozen (in an air-tight reusable container), it's time to use it! Curry paste isn't made to just smell . . it's made to be enjoyed. This is exactly the time when I pull out my handy cookbook from the Baan Thai Cookery School and get experimenting:

Spicy tofu goodness!
 Gorgeous Green Curry

As much tofu as you want
1 tbsp green curry paste - be generous ;)
a few baby corns - from a can is ok
1 can coconut milk
10 leaves sweet basil
1 red chili (cut into tiny pieces)
2 tbsp soy sauce (skip the fish sauce <3 )
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp oil

This is where the experimenting comes in: we also enjoy a few more veggies in our curries. Favorites include broccoli, green peppers, onions, extra lemongrass . . . try your own!

1. Put the oil in the wok over low heat.

2. Fry up whichever veggies you're putting in - don't add anything too flavorful since Thai curries generally base the flavor on the paste and the added chilis.

3. Add the tofu and fry it up until you're satisfied. Add the can of coconut milk and bring to the boil.

4. Add the extra veggies you chose and mix them in.

5. Season with the soy sauce and sugar - it really is a matter of taste, so take the measurements with a grain of salt. Get it? . . . . 

6. Add the sweet basil leaves and decorate with the red chili pieces.

7. Make some rice and serve it up!


If he can do it, you can too!
This green curry is truly the easiest meal to make and one of the tastiest you'll have. When your go-to Monday night rush dinner is a homemade Thai curry, you'll have a whole new reason to feel healthy and be able to show off your lunch the next day :)

Stay tuned for a tasty Red Curry soon enough!


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Another "Homemade" Sunday: Growing Kitchen Greens

Bok Choy + Celery goodness!
Getting tired of running out of celery for your lunches? Love the taste and health benefits of bok choy, but constantly buying big bunches only to see them go to waste? Well look no further . . your solution is here!

Maybe I should've gone into advertising instead . . or maybe not. ANYWAY, the idea I'm suggesting in this post still accomplishes all of the above, plus it's a great conversation piece on your kitchen counters.

This is basically an experiment of which I know very little at this point, but one that I trust will work - since it already is after a couple of short days! My partner and I go through celery pretty damn quickly and are starting to fill up freezer 'broth-bags' quicker than we expected to. So, he came up with a pretty neat idea (after doing some research on which veggies this actually works with): growing your own bok choy and celery indoors. What you need for this is rather simple:

- shallow reusable container
- water
- ends of bok choy and/or celery (or maybe even other veggies - let me know what works for you :)

Essentially, all you need to do is place the ends of the veggie stalks into the water, move them around your kitchen to find the sun, and watch them grow! We've been doing this for about 3 days and the sprouts are really popping. The bok choy especially . . very cool to watch! This experiment costs nothing to do and the results will be rather tasty. 

Let me know how it goes. Good luck :)  

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Rant Against the Machine

So, my post today will be a short one - albeit one with lots of opinions as opposed to food sharing. An occurrence in my life in the past week has resonated with me and I'm hoping something similar hasn't happened to anyone else making the effort to alter their own lifestyle...if it has, then this one's for you!

Whichever city you're in, give 'em a whirl!
My general qualm is with people who don't appreciate others' efforts to reduce waste and to live differently than what they may deem to be "normal" (a word that I truly DESPISE!) The long and the short of it is, on one of my weekly visits to the London Farmer's Market I was treated rather rudely by my usual apple farmer. Now, let me first be VERY clear that I still believe this market to be a fabulous one and all the farmers and vendors that partake in it to be friendly, good-minded people. 

It just so happened that on this one particular Saturday morning, when I asked to please dump my purchased apples into my own basket rather than take them in the bag within which they were lying in the farmer's basket, I felt rather annoyed. The woman at the stall obviously remembered my similar request from previous weeks, rolled her eyes, said, "oh ya..right" and then walked away leaving me to struggle with the large baskets on my own. Usually friendly, yes. Accepting of my desire to not accept fresh apples in a useless plastic bag, no.

Now, this will certainly not deter me from purchasing produce at this farmer's stall, but I ask: why the unnecessary judgement for something that causes no inconvenience to the stall and actually saves them money by leaving an extra bag? Search me. I found it even more odd to have this interaction at a market where customers are encouraged to return used egg cartons for refilling and where cheese counters applaud cheese-cloth vs. paper. 

Available in most home stores.
So, instead of saying "Ah well" and moving on with my life, I've decided to put out a big "Piffle on them!" (as my Brit Mum + Dad would say) to encourage all of you eco-lifestyle-striving people to keep up with what you're doing. By not accepting bags or presenting my own travel mug to coffee counters, I've encountered varied reactions - all of which I take with a grain of salt. I mean, who are you doing this for anyway, right? But when those negative, unwilling individuals step into your path, it can be offsetting. 

With this "short rant" already being significantly longer than expected, I'll end simply. Continue bringing your laundry bags to the store or farmer's market, refuse others' refuse, and smile while doing it. Other interested people may be watching ;)

P.S. Please check out Wild Craft Permaculture: a website for a company we discovered at a convention today - incredible garden ideas, workshops, and solutions. Permaculture is the new green! 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Homemade Sundays - Spicy Style

Pound out your stresses in the best way ever!
After our 2-yr stint in South Korea, we traveled through SE Asia exploring incredible cities and villages, renting some sketchy scooters, and tasting the best food in the world (don't take my word for it!)

While in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we decided to take a break from Muay Thai fighting matches and night markets and actually learn to make some of the delicious food we were eating. So, sign up for a day-long cooking class at Baan Thai Cookery School we did; complete with market trip to buy our ingredients and a full day of tasting everything (no movement that night). Best culinary experience ever. 

Beyond the eating, the people, and the location, the cookbook we were given at the end of our day made the stove-filled hours VERY worthwhile. One of the 'dishes', so to speak, that is a must-make for curry lovers and natural spice enthusiasts is the Green Curry Paste. Packed with enough punch to make any eyes water and enough flavor to leave you in a delighted haze, this recipe will make enough paste to fit the above tupperware, and will last for ages (only 1 tbsp for a 4-serving curry!)   

Thai ppl know their Mortars.
You'll never buy a jar of curry sauce again!

Thai Green Curry Paste

15 green fresh chilies
3 tbsp shallot
1 tbsp garlic
50 g chopped galangal (Thai ginger - easy to find in most Asian grocery stores)
1/2 tbsp chopped lemongrass
1 tsp ginger (the 'regular' stuff)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chopped lime peel
1 tsp chopped coriander root (using the stems from fresh coriander works very well)
1 tsp turmeric powder

1. Put garlic, green chilies, and turmeric into the mortar and pound well.

2. Add lemongrass, galangal, coriander root, lime peel, and pound well.

3. Add shallot, ginger, and pound well. (See a pattern yet??)

4. Add salt and pound until smooth and fine.

** A full 9 hrs of market-ing, mortar pounding, frying, and tasting brings out the biggest smiles in the dirtiest of backpackers <3
Baan Thai Cookery School, Chiang Mai 

Friday, 13 April 2012

Skip the Sodium . . Stew your Scraps!

A little bit of this . . a little bit of that!

When my husband first suggested we start collecting our veggie and fruit scraps in bags in the freezer, I thought he was nuts. Isn't that what a compost is for?! Living in Ontario, Canada, however, doesn't make composting through the winter months so easy. Thus spawned the idea for the tastiest Veggie Broth we've ever had.

The process is probably the easiest you'll ever read: 

- Place plastic shopping bags/large freeze-able tupperwares in your freezer.
- Throw in ANY scraps from veggies and fruit. That includes seeds and onion skin. Just be careful with how many fruit cores you add. Too many apples and pears = a bitter broth. Egg shells work too, just not every time you have one.
- When your bags/tupperwares are pleasantly full, dump them in a large pot, cover them with water, add your preferred spices (we tried oregano, basil, and thyme) and a few garlic cloves (skin on), and boil it up!
- Boil it down for a good hour or more and then sieve out the veggie scraps.

I'm very proud to say that the only credit necessary in this post is my very own partner. His desire to make use of every part of the food we eat is inspiring. Not only that, but I can officially say that he's the best Veggie Broth maker I know.  

So save those bits (no garbages required here!) and boil them down. The sodium detectors in your body will love you and the taste of your rice/soup/whatever you cook will ramp up your tastebuds.


** Storage Tip **
A great way to store your broth is in an ice cube tray. That way you have easy-to-pop-out morsels awaiting your next culinary creation :)
Ready and Willing ;)


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Enjoying Vegan & Gluten Free. Yes . . . enjoying.

Happy Egg-Chick-Chocolate Day everyone :)
This long weekend has been a time for relaxation, cold beers with family, and delicious homemade treats. 

However, the challenge with that has become pleasing the palette of my Mum -  who has recently been diagnosed as Celiac. Therefore, "catch ya later cheaper 10kg bags of flour", and "howdy gluten free flour blends and experimentation!"

On my normal Saturday morning journey to London, Ontario's Western Fair Farmer's Market, I was on a special mission to find yummy, locally made Easter treats for the entire family. That's when I fell upon Sweet Lemon, a vegan, gluten, dairy, and additive free bakery booth run by the friendliest pair around. Making my choice was a tricky one, but once I found out that even the yellow coconut flakes were dyed naturally with sweet spices, I couldn't resist.

So, although this post comes sans recipe, it comes with a message that eating naturally and with restrictions in mind can still be fun and freeing. Plus it tastes DELISH <3


Friday, 6 April 2012

Whole Wheat Holiday Waffles

MUCH better than sugar-coated cereal!
Waking up on a Friday holiday off work is awesome for a number of reasons:

- there's no alarm involved.
- a cold 6:30am shower can be seriously  delayed.
- breakfast can be more than the usual rushed piece of toast...

...and so brings me to today's post: a healthy, whole-wheat take on a classic breakfast treat. Yes, there's butter and oil in them, and sure, adding even more butter and maple syrup is the fun part . . but the smell of them cooking and their homemade benefits far outweigh any anti-fat arguments out there. And besides - who cares!? Waffles are meant to be enjoyed. And on a stat holiday, that's likely to happen at no time earlier than at least 11:30am.

Whole Wheat Holiday Waffles

1 1/3 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup milk (soy worked GREAT this morning - much lighter)
2 large eggs - separated
4 tbsp shortening melted (or 2 tbsp softened butter, 2 tbsp oil - preferred for me)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

1. Beat the egg yolks well. Add the milk and shortening/butter + oil mix.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add to the first bowl and beat them together until smooth.

3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter. Sift the baking powder lightly over the mixture and fold in quickly. 

4. Bake it all up into a hot waffle iron. Get syrupy and enjoy :)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Homemade Sundays: Granola Bar Revival!

Delicious and Healthy - you can't go wrong!
Sundays are typically a day for sleeping in, relaxing, and (if you're that way inclined), working out in prep for the week ahead.

Another fabulous way to start the week is to spend a bit of Sunday turning your kitchen into a "Haven of Homemade-ness". That's right - instead of dashing to the store to buy a box of bars for the work week, you can spend 20 mins making your own! 
              *pause for reaction*

These bars aren't specifically Veggie, although they're most definitely meat-free and extremely tasty. Keep them in an air-tight container on your counter and they'll last as long as your willpower will allow. Enjoy!

Chunky, Chewy Granola Bars

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla (extract is fine, but pure is the best!)
2/3 cup butter (softened so that it's easy to play with)
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    + whatever your heart desires! 
         --> I add coconut, raisins, and sunflower seeds. I'd love to get your take on it!

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9x13" pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey, and brown sugar. Stir in everything else you want :)
3. Press the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 18-22 mins. (I stopped at 20 so they'd be extra chewy). Let them cool for 10 mins or so before cutting and moving the bars.

Credit: Recipe base taken from allrecipes.com Canada

Saturday, 31 March 2012

"Knock Your Socks Off" Chili

When I let coworkers sample my super-spicy chili, the looks of utter confusion and disbelief set in almost immediately. "This isn't chili!", they cry. "Where's the beef?" "How could it taste so good without the 'chili' part!?"

Those shocked looks get even better when I tell them the secret to this chili is 20 mins of cooking time and a health factor beyond any beef chili they've ever had. Not having to simmer a pot for 4 hours is enough for them, but eating the tastiest, spiciest chili they've ever enjoyed definitely  
                                                                                                            seals the deal!

If you're a chili junkie and don't think you can cut the meat, then I dare you to take this Veggie challenge. If you're not satisfied, you'll be the first person I've met that isn't :)

Insanely Easy Veggie Chili

1 tbsp veggie oil
1 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 chopped celery
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
1 (19oz) can kidney/mixed beans with liquid
1 (11oz) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/ tsps dried oregano (or thyme)
1 1/2 tsps dried basil  

** Although canned isn't a preference, the liquid is necessary. If you have an alternative, please let me know :) ** 

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions, carrot, and garlic until tender. Stir in green and red peppers, celery, and chili powder. Cook until the veggies are tender - about 6 mins.

2. Stir in mushrooms and cook 4 mins. Stir in tomatoes (I chop them first on a cutting board), kidney/mixed beans, and corn. Season with cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 20 mins.

3. Serve with crackers or naan . . yum!!