One of the things I love about blogging is the community. Getting connected with other bloggers has made this blog better. I’m constantly learning and trying new things.
One of the things I’ve been diving into much more often this year, thanks to being friends with The Baking Fairy, is vegan cooking.
I can’t say I think that our family will ever go fully vegan, but even small steps help lessen the environmental impact of our food system. A few meals a week without animal products? That’s something we can totally do.
Today is World Vegan Day and I’m excited to share these super easy, super flavorful tacos – that just happen to be vegan too.
Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.
One of my favorite parts of #Choctoberfest is getting a chance to show how versatile chocolate can be. Everyone always jumps to cakes and brownies, but there’s so much more than that – how about some chocolate for dinner?
This delicious chili uses a full bar of Forte chocolate but if you’re thinking “chocolate with meat? gross!”, you’ve got it all wrong. The chocolate isn’t going to be obvious when you dig in, but it add a great depth of flavor and an amazing smoothness to the chili.
Forte’s motto is “Celebrate Life through Chocolate”, which I’m totally on board with. This chili is simple enough that you can celebrate any day.
8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 lbs. ground beef
1 red onion, diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/4 cup whiskey
2 oz. dark chocolate (I used Forte 64% dark)
Green onions, chopped
In a large pot, crisp the chopped bacon over medium high heat. When cooked, remove the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon but leave the drippings. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up the chunks as you go. When it’s about halfway cooked, add in the onion and peppers. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft.
Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cayenne, paprika and cumin. Bring to a boil. Stir in the whisky and half of the bacon. Reduce to low and simmer for an hour.
Stir in the dark chocolate until melted and evenly combined. Serve topped with chopped green onions and remaining bacon.
In the food blogger world, we’re often working ahead. Like, I’m currently working on Christmas cookies, as absurd as that sounds on this 80 degree summer day. Sometimes I feel like I’m living three steps ahead, not in the moment, so I was super excited that more than 80% of you were still up for summer recipes when I asked on Facebook this week.
I feel like I’ve missed most of it, honestly. The move chewed up so much of my time that I feel like I’m frantically playing catch up now before school starts. Grilling is something I’m catching up on – we finally got our grill ready to go this week. This was the first thing I made.
This “recipe” is really flexible – it’s more of a method. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. Want it to cook faster? Cut the pieces smaller. Want the veggies to caramelize a little more? Don’t stir as often. Sub the balsamic for fresh Parmesan. Add a nice, crusty loaf of bread and serve it as a meal. So many options!
It can also be served warm, cold, or at room temp which makes it so flexible for potlucks or entertaining.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables (adapted from Stop & Shop) Serves 6-8 as a side
Seven months into motherhood and I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I can’t do everything. It been a lesson in “OR” lately.
You can spend time making dinner OR go visit the adorable new twins across the street OR get another load of laundry done.
You can make that nice stew that simmers all day OR go to the baby play date OR run errands at the mall.
It seems that more and more, I’m pushing dinner to the back burner so I’ve been trying to plan easier, more hands-off meals. This slow cooker meal was a huge win – healthy, flavorful and quickly prepped before my busy day got out of hand. It was so nice to plop on the couch for baby cuddles instead of starting dinner after running around!
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup pineapple juice
2 lbs. pork sirloin roast
6 cups of cooked rice
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
Pineapple, sliced into rings
In the slow cooker, whisk together the first 11 ingredients (tomato sauce to pineapple juice). Add the pork and turn to coat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove pork, shred and return to slow cooker, stirring to combine with the juices.
When the pork is just about done, heat a grill pan. Grill peppers and pineapple until peppers have char marks and the pineapple is starting to caramelize.
Serve pork in bowls with rice, peppers, pineapple and avocado.