Buffalo Quinoa Salad (new and improved!)

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August 31, 2014 By

If you care about something, you want to improve it and make yourself better, right? For me, this blog is a constant reminder of that. I get to see how far I’ve come with not only vegan cooking, but cooking in general. In fact, some of my earlier posts are a bit embarrassing for me to look at.

On that note, here is a specific recipe in particular that I’ve made slight improvements to over the past year, and that’s the Buffalo Quinoa Salad recipe. This is a staple recipe in our household, as it’s one of Matt’s favorites. This version is less processed, less work, and more delicious. You can’t argue with that!

 

Buffalo Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes (mostly completed during cook time)

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the Tempeh Tenders

  • 1 8oz package of tempeh, diced
  • 4 tbs Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/3 cup GF vegan breadcrumbs

Other Ingredients

  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • your favorite hummus
  • Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (for drizzling and such)

 

Step 1: Prepare and roast chickpeas.

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain the chickpeas and pat them dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 1 tbs of olive oil. The ONE TABLESPOON is crucial, people. If you add more, your chickpeas will turn out either too mushy or burnt. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas until every chickpea is coated with a bit of oil.

Now, you’re ready to place them in the oven for about 50 minutes. Your result should be crunchy, roasted chickpeas. It’s a great GF crouton, and way more nutritious!

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The roasted chickpeas in their roasty state. It's the perfect GF crouton!

The roasted chickpeas in their roasty state. It’s the perfect GF crouton!

Step 2: Prepare and cook tempeh tenders.

Here is a step that I’ve changed about the previous recipe that will save you lots of time, is less messy, and produces better-quality results. Plus, it’s more fun this way, as dancing with food is involved.

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The best GF vegan breadcrumbs I have ever tried!

The best GF vegan breadcrumbs I have ever tried!

Take your diced tempeh and place it in a tupperware container. Next, pour in the buffalo wing sauce and GF bread crumbs. Put the top on the tupperware container and shake it up! Dance and have fun with your tenders.

When you open up your container, perfectly-coated nuggets will be revealed, without getting a single finger messy!

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Perfection.

Grease a baking sheet, pour the tempeh tenders on top, and place in the oven for 30 minutes. It’s okay to share the oven with the chickpeas. I do it all the time.

Step 3: Cook the quinoa.

Two cups of water and one cup of quinoa will go into a pot. Bring the pot to a bowl, lower the heat to simmer, and cover the pot for 15 minutes.

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Step 4: Cut the vegetables.

With three things cooking at once, you’ll have one more task: cutting the vegetables. CHEF STATUS! Lol, just kidding. Real chefs start prepping their food at 8am.

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Step 5: Combine ingredients in a big bowl.

As things start finishing up, start placing them in a big bowl. Mix it all together.

I like to save the hummus for “garnish” in my own bowl. I like to use Publix’s Jalapeño Cilantro hummus in this dish, as it amps up the kick. However, I’m sure every hummus, store-bought or homemade, works just fine here. Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite hummus in your own bowl, mix, drizzle some hot sauce on top, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

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Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite hummus in your own bowl, mix, drizzle some hot sauce on top, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

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I hope you all give this improved version a try!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Hawaiian Stuffed Shells

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July 26, 2013 By

Well, I’m back in Florida. Ah, finally, I have been reunited with Pubilx, my Nutribullet, my crockpot, and my food processor!

Matt will come home in a few weeks, so I have a few weeks to have a little bit of glutenous freedom with my dishes! Desserts to come, but for now,  let’s talk about the stuffed shells.

First off, let me say that it’s insane that I haven’t found any gluten-free versions of jumbo shells! If any of you have found this gem, please let me know.

After creating my Ricotta Cheese recipe, there were several items I had in mind to use with the invention, and stuffed shells was one of them.

I don’t know if it was the Florida vibe or the fact that summer will be wrapping up soon, but I’ve been craving something tropical. You know, like a Hawaiian pizza, wrapped up in a fancy presentation. Thus, the Hawaiian Stuffed Shell was born!

Your customary stuffed shell might be traditionally Italian, but I liked how unique this tasted! If you like coconut and pineapple, then you’ll love these shells. They were sweet, tangy, and fun. If you’re feeling up for a bit of an tropical adventure, give ’em a shot!

 

Hawaiian Stuffed Shells

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of jumbo shell pasta
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 ball of ricotta cheese (see recipe here)
  • 4oz tempeh, diced (half the package, but if you want a “meatier” stuffed shell, add more)
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup spinach, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pineapples, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

STEP 1: Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you haven’t made your ricotta cheese yet, I suggest making that first. See the recipe here on how it’s done.

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Start a pot of boiling water for your jumbo shells. You won’t need all of them, but it’s up to you whether you boil the whole box or not. Make sure you take a few minutes off of the cook time on the shells, since they will continue to cook in the oven. The box on my shells said to boil for 14-15 minutes, so I cooked mine for 12 minutes.

 

When the shells are done and strained, you might want to run them under cold water for a few seconds to cool them down. You’re going to stuff them a few minutes later, and I’m sure you don’t feel like burning your hands off today.

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STEP 2: Start a small skillet on medium for your tempeh. Use the 2 tablespoons of oil to start. Once you have placed the tempeh on the hot skillet, drizzle the tamari sauce and lemon juice onto the tempeh. Keep the tempeh on until about golden brown on both sides, which should take 5-7 minutes total.

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STEP 3: Prepare your oven pan by spraying cooking spray onto a 13 x 9 pan. Place the sliced mushrooms on the bottom of the pan.

I don’t like placing the mushrooms into the shells, as they tend to get a bit juicy when they cook, which might make the ricotta cheese do some funny, undesirable things. However, when it’s placed on the bottom of the pan, it gets the perfect amount of cook time to where it’s plump, juicy, and perfect!

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STEP 4: Place the cooked tempeh, pineapple, ricotta cheese, shredded coconut, and salt/pepper into a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of chia seed with the 3 tablespoons of water, let it sit and magically form into its sticky goo, and combine it into the mixture. Stir it up!

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STEP 4: Let’s stuff some shells, baby. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of mixture and stuff it in a shell. Stuff at your own discretion, but remember, it might change your serving size. This is the amount I stuffed mine with:

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STEP 5: Pour the whole jar of your favorite pasta sauce on top of your shells. Then, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

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STEP 6: After baking, uncover and enjoy! Unless you would like to burn the ish out of your tongue, I suggest that you patiently wait just 5 minutes longer to let them cool down. Or, do what I do and impatiently dive right in, blowing the crap out of every bite prior to putting it in my mouth.

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Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

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July 17, 2013 By

There is a new and improved version of this recipe. To view it, click here!

 

The idea for this recipe developed from two inspirations: my favorite local vegan restaurant & Pinterest.

At Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando, FL, they have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options. I try to avoid getting in the rut of ordering the same thing every time, so recently, I ordered the Buffalo 66, a quinoa salad with tempeh tenders, veggies, and “blue cheese” dressing. When I tried this dish, my mouth was exploding in a flavor-war between the heat of the buffalo and the chill from the blue cheese. You know the devil & angel on your shoulders, pulling you in either direction? It was like that… but in my mouth, and delicious. The freshness of the veggies and the absorbency of the quinoa really pulled this dish together to make a truly exquisite dish.

Afterward, I told myself, “I have to make this!”

Flash forward to last night. It was time.

 

As for Pinterest, who isn’t inspired by the ideas people bring into this world on a daily basis? It took a bit of research to find a good “blue cheese” dressing. It wasn’t until this popular pin by PETA that I felt like I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

So, with a combination of ideas, as well as specific options that were found in my local grocery store, I created this mouth-watering, scarf-worthy, and heavenly dish! Seriously guys, it might be the best thing I’ve ever made. Oh yeah, and Matt helped, and his help made this dish even more awesome! It’s true that it takes one to have a good idea, but 2+ to make a good idea great!

 

Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Prep Time: 30 minutes (can be done during cook time)

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (to boil quinoa in)
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (use as needed)
  • 1 cup GF Seasoned Coating Mix
  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted, drizzle with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce)
  • 1 package of tempeh, sliced (8oz)
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • ½ small onion

For Blue Cheese Dressing:

  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp agave nectar
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • 1/8 block of firm tofu, drained and pressed

 

 

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain chickpeas and pat dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 3-4 tbs of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas and place them in the oven for about 60 minutes.

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A hand model BY NO MEANS.

 

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STEP 2: Tempeh time! After slicing your tempeh, gather 2 bowls and an oiled oven tray to create an assembly line. In the first bowl, pour some buffalo wing sauce. In the second bowl, pour some GF Seasoned Coating Mix. When everything is ready, dip your tempeh into the buffalo wing sauce, followed by the seasoning, and place it on the tray. Place in the oven with the chickpeas. They should cook for about 30-35 minutes.

Atten-TION!

Atten-TION!

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STEP 3: Time to create the dressing! Gather your ingredients and mix them all into a small bowl, except for the tofu. You will drain and press your tofu, then crumble it up (I did this by taking a spoon and flattening out the tofu). Mix in with the dressing, cover, and place into the fridge until ready.

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STEP 4: With 20 minutes left on the chickpeas/tempeh, get your quinoa ready. I used 1 cup of quinoa. Use the 2 cups of water to boil your quinoa, then let it simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.

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STEP 5: You’re cooking 3 things at once, yet you have one more task! Get a big bowl ready, cut up the carrots, celery, and onion, and place them in the bowl.

The perfect medley of freshness!

The perfect medley of freshness!

 

STEP 6: When everything is done cooking, mix the steaming-hot quinoa and chickpeas in the bowl with the veggies. Gather your rather large helping (your stomach won’t let you get a small one, I promise you), place your tempeh tenders on top, and garnish with a little more buffalo sauce and your dressing.

Chickpeas are done!

Chickpeas are done!

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Tempeh tenders are done!

The tempeh tenders were fantastic. In fact, they’re amazing by themselves! I might make them as a finger food one day… hmm, perhaps the Superbowl…

 

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There was no way to make the dish look cute with this clumpy dressing.

There was no way to make the dish look cute with this clumpy dressing.

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Anyway, this dish is tantalizing and all-out amazing. Stop what you’re doing and make this today. Your tastebuds, and your audience, will thank you.

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

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Gluten-Free Meatballs

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July 16, 2013 By

I don’t feel comfortable calling these meatballs. I tried a few different spelling variations, like meitballs, “meat”balls, or my personal fave, meetballs, but the latter seemed a little too risqué.

So, it will just be meatballs, and people will get the picture when they see that the name of the website is “This Vegan Girl.”

 

So, what makes the perfect meatball? To me, the perfect meatball must encompass the following attributes:

  1. Firm enough to hold it’s own (doesn’t crumble)
  2. Moist, not dry
  3. Has absorbed the outside tomato juices (comes from slow cooking)

Now, I can say that these meatballs you are about to see fit in the first and second criteria. I’m not sure about the third, as I did not cook these meatballs in a crockpot.

The meatball’s main ingredients are tempeh, chia seeds, and a little bit of GF all-purpose flour. The tempeh made it firm, while the chia seeds and GF flour work together to really hold this thing together and gives it its moistness.

For those of you who prefer to use flax seed as an egg substitute, I’m not sure if that would work in this recipe. You need a really firm and sticky binding agent for this recipe, and I think flax seed might be a bit too goopy.

 

These meatballs are packed with nutrition! Between the tempeh and the chia seeds alone, you are getting a good source of protein, omega-3’s, phosphorous, fiber, and calcium! Not only that, but chia seeds contain Tryptophen, the same amino acid found in turkey that makes you so sleepy after eating it. Eat my meatballs and prepare for the ultimate post-meal coze*!

 

Gluten-Free Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35+ minutes

Yield: 12 small/medium-sized meatballs

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of tempeh (8oz)
  • 2 tbs GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • GF seasoned coating mix (to coat meatballs)
  • 1 jar of marinara/pasta sauce

 

STEP 1: Prepare your chia seed by combining the chia seed with warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Almost like magic, the seeds grow and become sticky and gelatin-like!

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STEP 2: While your chia seeds are doing magical things, prepare the rest of your meatball mixture. Start by cutting the tempeh into tiny pieces. I did not use a blender or food processor to ground up my tempeh, but I’m not knocking the idea.

Cut the onion into tiny pieces as well (do NOT use a food processor for that step… we don’t want a watery mess!) Add those ingredients, including the GF flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, in a bowl.

 

STEP 3: Using your (clean) fingers, mix it up! Create a giant ball so you know that it will bind well. If your meatball is not sticking, I’d add a tiny bit of water.

Next, start creating your meatballs. My mixture made 12 small-to-medium-sized  meatballs.

One giant meatball!

One giant meatball!

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STEP 4: Place your meatballs on a plate with your GF Seasoned Coating Mix. My GF seasoned coating mix was from Hodgson Mill, and the ingredients seemed simple: “Brown Rice Flour, Salt, Natural Spices, Extracts; and Herbs.” When I placed my finger in it, it was salty and had a good taste. Sounds good to me!

Your meatballs should be slightly sticky to the touch. If not, coat your fingers with water and move your fingers along your meatballs. Then, move the meatballs in circles through the seasoning and around the plate until they are fully coated.

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Nervous meatballs on the sidelines, anxiously waiting for their turn.

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STEP 5: Place meatballs on an oiled-up pan and put them in the oven at 375°F for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, move them around a bit so they cook at a different angle.

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STEP 6: Take out your meatballs and place them in a pot with your favorite pasta sauce. On low-medium heat, cover your meatballs for 5+ minutes. I say + because I think the longer they cook, the better they will taste. This is completely up to you, though.

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STEP 7: Remove with a ladle and prepare to enjoy! These would be great on top of spaghetti, but we just ate ours by themselves. They were great!

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*coze

[kohz] cozed, coz·ing, related to the adjective cozy

verb (used without object)

  • to be in a comfortable, snuggly position. Let’s coze together.

noun

  • a comfortable, snuggly position. This is such a coze.

 

 

Happy cooking!

This Vegan Girl Logo

 

 

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Gluten-Free Tempeh Chili

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July 11, 2013 By

Growing up, my mom made two things that really rocked: meatballs and chili. Surprisingly, she wasn’t even a beef person, really, but she cooked it damn well. Her ingredients were simple and her recipes weren’t complicated. I think the secret to her success was her crockpot.

Oh, the crockpot. It was such a glorious day when I inherited that crockpot from her (when I moved out). Along with it, she gave me her recipes for those two marvelous things she made. And soon, I too became good at cooking meatballs and chili.

chili

The old Shoemaker chili, back in the beef & cheese days.

But the day came when I became vegan, and I gave up my meatball and chili dreams…

… until now.

I had lost all hope until I visited one of my favorite local vegan restaurants, Dandelion Communitea Café. They feature a “famous chili,” vegan of course, yet it had a curious ingredient I had never had before: ~TEMPEH~

At the time, I was baffled. Especially when I went to the store and checked the packaging. What the heck (keeping it nice) is this stuff? It looks like a brain, I thought.

Of course, now, I know tempeh pretty well, as most vegans do. It’s a great beef substitute. It’s firm, has a nutty flavor, and can be sliced into strips, diced into chunks, or ground up. It’s perfect for chili.

Unfortunately for me, since I’m in Mississippi on vacation, I don’t have my crockpot. ☹

So I did it the old-fashioned way and put a big pot on the stove, which is OKAY, I GUESS. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a crockpot, lug that thing out of the shadows and put it to work!

 

Gluten-Free Tempeh Chili
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time – 4 hours
Yield – 4-6 servings

ESSENTIALS

  • 1 package of tempeh (8oz)
  • 1 15oz can stewed tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can of white beans
  • 1 can of kidney beans (dark or light)
  • 1 cup of onions, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 packet/mix of chili
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • salt/pepper to taste

OPTIONALS

  • ¼ cup celery
  • ¼ cup carrots
  • ½ cup green/yellow/red pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced (garnish)
  • a dollop of vegan sour cream (garnish)
  • tortilla chips (as a pairing)

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STEP 1: Start cutting up your tempeh into diced pieces. I love cutting tempeh because I feel like I can make the perfect little squares out of it! Throw it in a bowl with 2 tbs olive oil and the oregano, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Mix it up with your hands.

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STEP 2: Heat a skillet to medium-low heat with 2 tbs olive oil. Once heated, throw the tempeh in the skillet for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Watch it carefully, as it can burn easily. When finished, place chili in your crockpot or a big pot on your stove.

WARNING: Tempeh tends to get a bit crumbly when you’re cooking. Those little crumbles will become burnt while the rest of your tempeh is still cooking. Do NOT add those burnt pieces to your chili, as it will give your chili a bitter taste.

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Before…

 

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After

STEP 3: Rinse and drain your beans.

As for your stewed tomatoes, we want those tomato juices in our chili, so don’t drain the stewed tomatoes! A personal preference of mine is to cut them in half, but my mother would tell you otherwise. Do as you want with them.

Dump everything in the pot when finished. Use your stewed tomato can to add water to your chili. Fill up your can twice and pour it in the pot.

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STEP 4: Cut up your garlic, onion, & optionals!

Chili is awesome because you can really throw in any kind of vegetable you’ve got laying around. I like seeing a few colors in my chili, so I try to include a pepper and something green. Corn is a nice addition, too, if you have it. Get creative!

Place everything in the pot when finished.

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STEP 5: Mix in chili mix and get this party started.

I had always used your basic 99¢ chili mix in my pre-Matt days, but all of those have gluten in them. Hmm… who knew?

So now, I use Carroll Shelby Chili Kit. I’ve seen it at most grocery stores for a little over $2, but it’s so worth the extra money. The ingredients aren’t scary and don’t leave anything to the imagination. Also, you have the power to make your chili as salty, spicy, and thick as you want!

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Included in the kit are packages of Chili Spice, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, and Corn Masa Flour (for thickness).

Since I like things hot and Matt likes things salty, I threw in all of the chili spice, salt, and cayenne pepper. I even threw in a little additional salt for safe measure. Save the corn masa flour for the end, when the chili is done cooking.

The box has a nice set of instructions on the back to help you with your packets.
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STEP 5: Stir up your pot, cover it, and let your chili cook on low heat for at least 4 hours. Some crockpots get extremely hot even on low heat; if this is the case with yours, you might want to add a little extra water for some added measure, as you don’t want all of your liquid to evaporate and your contents to burn. DSC_0117

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Bye! See you in a few hours!

STEP 6: There should be an amazing aroma wafting through your house right about now. Unveil your chili, marvel at it, and add your corn masa flour to desired thickness. I added half of my packet, but you decide. Cover your chili and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

STEP 7: Have some sliced avocado and vegan sour cream ready. Unveil your chili again, marvel at it again, and spoon it in a bowl. Top with your garnishes and enjoy!

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NO FLEEGLE, you may not have any.

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… don’t give me that face.

Happy cooking!
thisvegangirllogo

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