Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegetarian Chili

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is throw some ingredients in my slower cooker and enjoy the smell of it cooking all day. I wanted to share this recipe since it is my favorite chili recipe. In order to make it healthier, I replaced the beans with low sodium versions and the canned tomatoes were no salt added. In addition, I added two jalapeno for some kick, but that is because I like spicy.

Another great thing about this recipe... it all cost under $10! The recipe could feed an entire family. All you need to worry about is adding any toppings you want, and maybe whipping up a side of cornbread.

Vegetarian Chili

adapted from Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Cookbook


  • 1 can (15 or 16 ounces) spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained
  • 1 can (15 or 16 ounces) pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 or 16 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained (I used low-sodium)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chili-style chunky tomatoes, undrained (I used no salt added diced tomatoes)
  • 1 large onion- chopped (I just cut in half so I can easily remove after cooking. I don't like onions)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Optional: 1 or 2 jalapeno (left whole to easily remove after cooking)


  • Mix Ingredients in a 3 1/2 to 6-ounce slow cooker.

  • Cover and cook on low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.
  • Stir well before serving. 
  • Add any toppings that you'd like (sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips) 

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. 


Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I've been craving a poppy seed muffin for the longest time. I even ordered poppy seeds from weeks ago so I could try out a recipe (in case I couldn't find poppy seeds at a grocery store). I wanted to find a recipe that was healthy. I ended up finding one that was healthy, vegan, and delicious! These muffins are moist and taste incredible.

Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

adapted from a recipe found on


  • 2 cups all-purposes flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (I used light soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I used freshly squeezed juice)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit and lightly grease a muffin tin
  • Mix the dry ingredients (the first five) together and create a well in the middle.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the "well" and mix until just moistened.

  • Fill tins 3/4 full and bake for 23-27 minutes.

  • Enjoy!!!

This recipe makes about 12 regular size muffins, or 24 mini muffins. These are so delicious!

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Benefits of Having a Running "Buddy"

Last Sunday I ran the San Diego Half Marathon. It was a beautiful Southern California morning, cool and clear... perfect running weather for 13.1 miles. (This was a relief because it had POURED down rain the two days leading up to the race). Last Sunday was also Daylight Savings, so it was a very early morning... but the run was worth the pre-5am (4am) wake up.

San Diego Half Marathon - Mach 10, 2013

Anyway, the reason I felt the need to blog about this race is two-fold...

First of all, a good friend of mine (who I've known for 20 years) made the trip out to San Diego from New Orleans to run the race with me. We both have run a few half marathons in the last couple years... along with 5ks, 10ks, etc. Basically, we both like to run. About 6 months ago, we decided we should run a race together and made a plan to run the San Diego Half Marathon. We took it upon ourselves to train separately... but every week we'd touch base to catch up and discuss our week of training. Having someone else to train with, go through the ups and downs of running with, and support and understand your goal is truly a GREAT thing!! Having as running "buddy" also makes the long training process more fun too.

Well the week of the race came, my friend came into town, and we both crossed our fingers we'd be trained up to the same level as the other. As it turns out, we were able to chat our way through 13.1 miles (seeing as how we had PLENTY to catch up on not living in the same city) in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Our run pace matched perfectly! We crushed it.

This brings me to my second reason for writing about the half marathon...

I don't know if it was because I had a running "buddy" or I was just more prepared for this race, but this was my personal best half marathon time so far!!!!!! I was able to shave about 20 minutes off of my previous half marathon time from back in November (Temecula Half Marathon). Not only did I run the race in a faster time, it was also much easier physically then all the other long runs I've done. Needless to say, we were very proud of our accomplishment and had a great, memorable experience at the same time!

Grab a buddy, train and run a race together! It's not only fun... it's rewarding too!

Benefits of Having a Running "Buddy":
  • You have someone to go through the ups and downs of training with, you never feel alone
  • You have someone who understands the physical pains and issues your body experiences from running
  • You have someone to keep you in check, so you don't slip in your training
  • A running "buddy" can be a good motivator; they can push you to go for a run when you don't want to
  • You have someone who also understands the mental challenges of running; you have a running suppport-system
  • Running with a "buddy" makes the miles easier; talking to someone makes the time go much faster! You don't focus on the mileage so much
  • If your "buddy" is faster than you, running with them for part (or all) of the way improves your own speed
  • In the end, you have someone to celebrate your running accomplishments with!

Post-race beers always taste the best!

Thanks for a great time Friend... let's do it again soon!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Whole Orange Cake

Recently, I've had a lot going on which has prohibited me from spending any quality time in my kitchen... so it's a good thing my mom is ALWAYS cooking and baking up a storm in her kitchen! Today I went by the house and she had this beautiful, orange Bundt cake cooling on the counter. Of course I asked to try a piece (duh)... and of course it was absolutely delicious. My mom is a Master in the kitchen, seriously, everything she makes is amazing.

I was a little shocked when she told me the recipe calls for WHOLE oranges... yup, rinds and all! But the result is a dense, moist, citrus-y, buttery, and "just sweet enough" cake flecked with orange peel. This Bundt cake is so good (note: this is not a 'skinny' recipe)... and a great way to use the WHOLE orange. Would be great for a breakfast treat or brunch, as well as dessert. Thanks for the recipe Mom!

Whole Orange Cake
recipe from Sunset Magazine
"Every good cook needs a nice moist, dense cake in his or her repertoire. This one - loaded with orange flavor and tender flecks of peel, and not too sweet - is perfect from brunch as well as dessert."

Cooking-oil spray
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 oranges (about 1 lb. total), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeded
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. orange juice

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking-oil spray.  In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs.

2.  Whirl orange chunks in a food processor until mostly smooth but not pureed.  Add 1 1/2 cups orange mixture to batter and beat until blended.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to bowl and beat until smooth.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

3.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes.  Cool pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.

4.  Whisk together powered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl.  Drizzle over cooled cake.  Let glaze set, then slice cake.