Monthly Archives: December 2012

Spicy veggie chili!!


Today I opted to make chili because I had quite a bit of Roma tomatoes that were about to go bad if not used.
I am sooo picky when it comes to chili…or food in general, that I have to look over a bunch of recipes, and try to recreate something based on what’s in the kitchen.
I have had a can of chipotle peppers in my cupboard for a while now and can’t remember why I bought them…maybe hummus that I love so much?
So anyway…I rarely get canned beans because dried are so much cheaper! (Although I do get remarks at the checkout like “wow! You like beans!”) When you are poor you have to live the Dave Ramsey way – Beans & Rice & Rice & Beans. Although I really don’t like rice. (But I’m finding I love it with stir fry).
So enough chatter and on with the recipe!! I modified this from a version I found on All Recipes called “The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World”… Hard to pass up that title. 😉
I made mine crockpot style.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 med onion chopped
5 small stalks celery diced
2 carrots diced (you can use 2 bell peppers, but I didn’t have any)
2 chipotle peppers (I started with 3 and its super hot! If your sensitive to heat use 1, or jalapaños)
5 garlic cloves chopped
9 Roma tomatoes
8 oz dry garbanzo beans (or 15 oz can rinsed & drained – same for all beans)
8 oz dry large red kidney beans
8 oz dry black beans
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 tsp salt (use 1/2 if using canned beans)
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbs dried oregano
1/8 cup chili powder (I know you prob don’t have a measuring cup that small, eye ball it)
2 bay leaves
Water (depends how much your beans soak up or if you like thick or soupier chili).

Soak all beans over night, or do quick method to get them started. I had pre cooked garbanzo beans in pressure cooker for 10 min because they take the longest and this makes them aldenté to start. I tried pre cooking my kidney beans in pressure cooker separate and that is epic failure! (Don’t blow up your kitchen like I tried to mine…) :-/
Just pre soak over night red & black beans and they should be ok in crock pot…

disclaimer, I am not liable or held responsible for anyone who uses their pressure cooker wrong and obtains 3rd degree burns. Please read your instruction manual on how to operate pressure cooker.

In sauté pan heat olive oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots, & garlic until onion is translucent (whatever that means…)
In blender add 6 (quartered) tomatoes, chipotle peppers, and half amount of pre cooked garbanzo beans and blend until puréed.
In crock pot add the other half pre cooked garbanzo beans, tomato purée sauce, pre soaked & rinsed black & red kidney beans, sautéed veggies, spices, frozen corn, & bay leaves. Dice the remaining 3 tomatoes and add to crock pot. Add water to cover.
Cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours until beans are tender. Keep checking and stirring. Adding more water as needed.
Remove bay leaves at end and serve with (dairy free) sour cream & cheese on top. Or whatever suits your fancy.
I liked that this recipe was fairly easy to make and flavorful!
Makes a whole bunch! So be ready to serve 10-12 or freeze the remainder for lunches. 🙂
For the rest of chipotle peppers I put in freezer safe container and froze for another future use. Don’t waste those precious peppers!! 🙂
Great for after ice skating parties too! 😉




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GF / DF Meatballs and Gravy

I tried out a new recipe from Pinterest, it’s a modified version to make it gluten free. My picture isn’t the greatest…
I had to improvise a little since I only had a pound of ground pork. It came out kinda too squishy to make meatballs, so I made it in a loaf pan (like meatloaf) and when it was done cooking just drained the fat and spooned bits into the gravy.
It called originally for garlic salt, but it was a liiiiiiittle too salty for me. (So just use garlic powder or fresh garlic).
I was impatient for the spaghetti squash so I tried it on the left over quinoa…wasn’t a winner…BUT it was D-LISH over spaghetti squash!
So here it goes for you comfort food junkies!


Meatballs & Gravy

1-1/4 pound lean ground pork
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Serve over roasted Spaghetti Squash (with olive oil, salt & pepper)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a rack on a baking sheet and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix ground pork, egg, cooked/drained quinoa, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Form into 40 meatballs, about 1 level tablespoon each. Place on prepared rack over baking sheet.
3. Bake meatballs at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally or until lightly browned. Add cornstarch to beef broth until the cornstarch is completely incorporated into the liquid. Gradually stir in beef broth in skillet. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the nutmeg.
5. Add meatballs to the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over roasted Spaghetti Squash (with olive oil, salt & pepper).


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Super Easy cookies! (P.s. super yummy too!)

Lemon- Almond Snowballs

Yield: 15 snowballs
Prep Time: 20 min + chill timeCook Time: 10 min
If you’re looking for a typical crunchy cookie recipe, this isn’t it. These bake up crisp on the outside, but the inside is filled with a tender, moist texture sweetly flavored of almond and orange.
1 cup almond flour/meal (ground almonds)
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. In a small bowl, mix almond flour, sugar, egg white, orange zest and extract. Stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
3. Spoon out even tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet- you should be able to make 15 little balls of dough. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the balls of dough are firm and are golden underneath. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then give them a roll in powdered sugar.
*Almond flour/meal is most easily found by the Bob’s Red Mill brand. Ask your grocery store manager if you are unable to locate it.
*Orange extract can be found at Whole Foods and other specialty markets.
*Try subbing lemon zest and lemon extract to create Lemon- Almond Snowballs instead.
Source: recipe girl



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Clackamas Town Center Shooting



Another day in the life of Jeni that I wish never happened….
So the last five months I’ve been looking for a job. My unemployment runs out Dec 29th. So my last ditch effort for employment was to go to the mall which is near my house. I was going to any store that I could see myself liking to work at. I almost passed up a jewelry store and then went back before I closed my day of getting applications. I walk in asking if they were hiring still for the holidays, they said they wanted to see my resume. I said mine is for drafting and engineering, and that’s when they said they use AutoCAD to design their jewelry. WOW! So I sent in my résumé and called back. At first he said that they won’t have time to train until after the holidays because they are so busy.
Then the next week I get an email asking if I wanted an interview. So I did the interview and a few days later hired! Yea!
My first day was very busy and me just trying to figure out what to do cuz they really didn’t have time to train me. I was excited and was looking forward to my 2nd day…
So my 2nd day I came in early to help open up and it was a little slower day. I went to lunch at noon and then about 3 I was thinking of going across the hall for free Nordstroms coffee. But I didn’t know how to ask, wanted someone to come with me (I’m pretty shy). But I got distracted and forgot the idea of coffee.
Then at 3:20 I heard 2 loud shots, sounded like a sign fell on the tile in the hall and was echoing. I looked out the hall from where I was sitting in the store. I saw a lady with a stroller jump scared, look behind her and then struggle to turn her stroller around to back into the store she was near by, and then 8 more shots were fired! My boss yelled for everyone to duck down and he went to the front to lock the gate and we all ran to the back room to hide behind the vault.
We didn’t know really what was going on, but knew not to leave until its safe. Within minutes there was SWAT team combing the 1.4 million square feet of the 185 stores of the mall to hunt down the gunman.
Cell phones barely worked because about 10,000 people calling 911 or loved ones all at once. All we had was Internet lines and text messaging. We sat in the back for a long time not knowing what was going on. At first we thought the jewelry stores next to Macy’s was getting robbed and here we are in a jewelry store. So we were really scared. About an hour goes by and the SWAT team eventually let people out a little at a time having to raise our hands in plain sight as we walked outside. Thankfully I didn’t see anything or I would of had to stay. I booked it home! Curled up in my electric blanket and listened to the news for more updates.
Thankfully the guy is not on the loose or I would be terrified since he lives not far from me! I feel so bad for those that was injured and those who saw the two people die right in front of them!
I can’t stop thinking about it and have been shaking ever since. One thing I thought of was after the second round of shots were fired and we were running for cover we were all huddled behind the counter and I was praying at that point realizing those were gunshots. And right then the shots stopped! The gun got jammed and he went running downstairs where later he shot himself. :-/
When we were being escorted out by armed guards I wasn’t sure if he was still alive or not and was really scared to come out of the store.
Thankfully my sister-in-law is a crisis counselor and so she called me up to tell me what is normal to expect and how to deal with it. Unfortunately my brother is at sea and the texts I sent to him will be a little delayed and he’s gonna freak! :-/ oops! But I did say I was alive and home!
So here are the pointers she gave to help, if you are ever in a crisis situation I recommend finding someone to talk to and get lots of rest…even though nightmares are expected to follow. 😦
Here’s what she told me:
She was saying that if u are having symptoms like dry mouth, lack of sleep, no appetite and other things where the body shuts down its cuz the stress cortisol is stuck in the body and you have to force it out by electrolytes, lots of water, sleep (if you can’t sleep she said Tylenol PM is good), eating foods that are closest to the earth (fruits, veggies, and grains) cuz your body doesn’t know how to process things right now. And exercise for 30 min a day to force it all out. She said that if people don’t take care of themselves that they literally can get a mental illness…we don’t need anymore of that in this world! And that workmens comp usually takes care of any medical stuff you need emotionally and physically if it happened at your workplace. It doesn’t count against the company.
After the incident took place and I was able to get home I rested for a little bit and then went to my bible class that is normally on that night. When I got there my friends said they could feel my heart pounding still (3 hours after). My head felt like so much blood rushed into it and was gonna pop! Then about midway through class all the adrenaline just dropped me like a rock and I was getting nauseous and almost fell asleep in my chair! I was so stressed!
The mall is closed today and tomorrow so I have time to relax and take it easy. I’ll talk to my boss tomorrow to see what’s going on later.
Such a crazy world we live in!! Stay safe everyone!

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in A day in the life of Jeni


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