Chili Sundays

Good morning blog!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I did a whole lot of sleeping! I’m not sure if it’s the colder weather or the time change, but I go into hibernation mode in the winter. I actually love my ability to succumb to a mini-coma this time of year. It drives my fiancé crazy, since he has to complete a ritual to fall asleep at night. It includes reading the news out loud from his Flipboard app, which drives me crazy sometimes and therefore even outs our craziness. Then he checks the scores on his ESPN app and then he goes through a list of things he has to do the next day. Somewhere around the Flipboard app, I’m out like a little bear. I also have crazy dreams in the winter time, but I suspect this has to do with whatever doom news Alex is reading aloud while my subconscious is listening.

Winter Time Leo!

Our dog Leo is also a mini-coma participant in the winter time. He snores so loudly sometimes I have to wake him up. I love when he has dreams and he’s trying to run in his sleep. If Alex and I are talking too loudly, he will growl a tiny cute growl like “HEY, I’m trying to knock myself out here!” Who is the boss of this house anyway? So basically, Leo and I are in hibernation right now. This leaves Alex and Buddha to fend for our house during the night. I like to think that the two of them are bonding over their mutual inability to sleep well at night, but I’m pretty sure that’s not happening…

So back to my weekend! I have discovered I love chili. I thought when I went vegetarian for good back in 2008, I would never be able to try chili again, though I wasn’t a huge fan of it back when I did eat meat sometimes. There are no places to go in Arkansas to grab a piping hot cup of vegetarian chili, let alone vegan chili. I have tried other versions with just beans and it wasn’t hitting the spot either. However, with a little searching, I have found the solution. It comes from a combination of my Forks Over Knives cookbook and a Whole Foods recipe,  and it lasts about three days in my house (which is a long time considering the appetite of my athlete fiancé)! I have taken a photo which you will see below, but beware, they are not Good Housekeeping worthy. I’m still new at this blog thing so I promise to get better with age.

Side note: This is not the actual recipe, but rather my version that is based on my findings from sources cited above.

Mushroom and Bean Chili

1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 large portobello mushrooms (or shiitake!), cubed/chopped

3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 teaspoons chili powder

1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it!)

2 (15 oz) cans of no-salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or pinto beans!)

1 (15 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes

Black pepper to taste

To garnish: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 2 sliced fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)

1. Heat a large sauce pot over medium-high heat until hot.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook about 3-4 minutes until beginning to brown. Add 1-2 teaspoons of water at a time to keep them from sticking to the pan (Awesome healthy secret- you don’t need oil!)

3. Stir in mushrooms and cook another minute or two, until they start to soften and brown. Add in chili powder and cayenne pepper and mix together. Smell that awesome aroma?

4. Add in broth and turn that heat UP! Stir frequently for about 1 minute.

5. Add in beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered (I forgot to cover mine and it still worked out) for 25-30 minutes.

6. Stir in black pepper. Serve with cilantro and jalapeños.

Mushroom Bean ChiliIt should look similar to the above photo, taken by myself (again, I promise to get better). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! It can be served as a main course (it is really filling) or you can also serve it as a side. I was actually starving last night after a long run, so I made a vegan cheese quesadilla with whole wheat tortillas to eat alongside my soup. I imagine you could do any number of sandwich or salad combinations with the soup. For desert, I had a bartlett pear from Whole Foods! It was a perfect meal for a chilly night.

Until next time,

❤ Carissa




Happy Tuesday!

Good morning blog!

Christmas 2011

We have officially had our first frost in Arkansas, and I have done zilch to prepare my old house for winter. My house is 102years old, but who’s counting? Also, I’m ready for Christmas. I’ve never been a huge fan of Thanksgiving, especially after taking control of my health. But even before then, as a small child in Catholic school, my love of too much turkey was spoiled by a mean Nun that told me Thanksgiving was really when the “white people came and murdered the Indians of the land.” Woah! I was five, and clearly not ready for such hostile adult revelations. Knowing that a large portion of my family descended from the Apache Indians in Northern Mexico (southwest America today), and another part of my family could be classified as “white” didn’t help me either. I went home that day and cried to my grandmother, trying to understand why turkey has anything to do with this? And also, are we white or Indian?! I just didn’t know what to do. I can’t remember what she told me, but I guess it worked. I continued to gorge on turkey day for the next decade or so, still confused about my heritage. But really, now that I am an adult (and know my ancestry), why do we need a month to dedicate our thanks to? I love being off work and having family time, but I propose we do this monthly at least. Not the whole over-eating bit, but a day reserved monthly to say  thanks for what we have (and get off work!). But anyway, the Holidays have officially arrived guys. And this chick is excited! In the photo above, that’s my sweet Leo in his Christmas outfit. My cat really enjoyed attacking those antlers once he fell asleep (jealousy).

Running on the Treadmill- Not Getting Anywhere!

So back to Thanksgiving. I have been researching lots of healthy recipes to take to my family celebration. Since Alex’s family lives in Mexico where this day is not a celebrated holiday, we never have qualms about which family will be visited. Christmas, on the other hand, is a much bigger celebration in Mexico than in the USA. However, since our wedding is the 22nd, we will be staying in the states for that one too. In conclusion, I owe him two big trips to Mexico! Nevertheless, eating healthy is tough around the holidays. It just simply is. No matter how focused I am on being healthy, I have yet to pass up my grandma’s mashed potatoes and biscuits (death by carbs!). I always work out twice that day, but did you know that somewhere around 80% of your body is from what you eat? I had no idea, but once I applied this to my life- WOW. What a difference! I used to attempt murder on myself in the gym- running until I was sure I would need a defibrillator. I am so serious about this. I even showed Alex where it was located and how to use it, then off I would go to punish myself for too much pizza the night before. No surprise, my weight never changed. I did get firmer in my legs, but my stomach remained. I just didn’t understand why all my hard work was simply not working, and I was mentally and physically exhausted. Ever felt that way? Well one day I stumbled across an awesome article on Mind Body Green (you MUST check out this website) about our body makeup. It was around the same time I was working on my diet. So I gave myself a couple of weeks where I would only work out for 30 minutes a few days a week and stick to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. BOOM! Belly pudge gone, skin clearing up, mood swings gone, etc. And just like that, I was hooked. My plan this year is to wow my family with some super healthy whole-foods, plant-based dishes. So much so, that they will join me in this cause.

Speaking of my little grandma, please send good vibes her way. She needs lots of love and veggies. She is suffering from a blood clot in her lung and many other body ailments. I am convinced a healthy diet can combat anything, so the timing of this is critical around the holidays. I’m going to try my hardest to convince her that this is a much easier, and pain free lifestyle full of yummy food! When she comes to my house now, she is generally horrified by my freezer (which is empty since I do not eat anything frozen) and my refrigerator, or rather, its lack of identifiable items.  If anyone has any advice on how they helped a family member adopt this lifestyle, I’m all ears!  And I’m also curious about healthy food items you all will be trying for Thanksgiving? As soon as I practice a recipe and take my own photos, I will be posting my ideas here. For now, until next time!

Much Love,


P.S. that awesome website I refer to above is




Thanks for stopping by my blog!

If you are just finding me, I would like to say a warm HELLO! And if you are following me from my previous blog, RissNori, thank you for continuing on to this one. But for now, here are some reasons you will love my blog and a little information about me:

From 18 to 21 to 25: The Transformation

<—– As you can see, I have changed a bit over the years. I will talk a lot about this, since directly one- half of this blog will be dedicated to my “Mostly Vegan and Slightly Vegetarian Quest.” I battle a real cheese addiction, people! It’s just so good, and it goes so well with my other love of life: Wine! I love wine and cheese. If you don’t, please offer me some advice on good substitutes. Anyway! I am a health nut, a sophisticated foodie if you will, a GMO-hater, a nutrition educator, avid runner, etc. You get the idea: I love healthy food and simply being healthy. Ask me anything because health and food are my favorite topics of discussion. Oh, and exercising.

Oh, just my one true love here!

<—–I am engaged to this guy. He is from Mexico and came to the United States to play basketball. We met in college, where he was the star of the team. I tried really hard not to stalk him, but eventually it worked out for the best! We are getting married December 22nd, after nearly three years of dating. I should mention he is fully aware of my cyber stalking days. We have an amazing rescued dog, Leo, who is the apple of our eyes. We are seriously obsessed with him. We also have a rescued cat, Buddha, who was living under my house when I moved in. I would say that we are obsessed with her too, but she’s far to independent for that! Rescues make the best kids. The four of us live in the downtown area of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Black Bean Lettuce Wraps, from Forks Over Knives

<—– As previously mentioned, I LOVE FOOD. I also love to cook. Being Vegan in Arkansas is sometimes challenging but I have never felt better. My favorite vegan cookbook so far is Forks Over Knives- The Cookbook. If you haven’t watched the amazing documentary the cookbook is based on, DO IT NOW! Seriously. Stop what you are doing. Go home, go wherever, but watch this documentary. There’s a huge list of other awesome documentaries, compliments of Netflix, but this one is my very favorite. I will keep you all in the know about what I’m eating. I love to share recipes and find new ones, and more than that, I love pictures of food. Is that crazy? It just makes the recipe seem more possible .

But back to why I’m writing this new blog.  The title “For Love and Veggies” came to me when I was trying to write my wedding vows. My husband-to-be actually suggested we write our own vows, which yes I realize is rare and amazing! Maybe not everywhere in the world, but down here, it’s rare. So here I am trying to one-up his sweetness of suggesting this and I’m thinking I have to put health somewhere in those vows. Our health is probably the largest component of our relationship, but for Alex, adapting to my food lifestyle was huge. He is from a culture where every.single.meal.has beef in it! Honestly everything. And if it’s not a sweet little cow, it’s a sweet little pig! When he came to America, where everything is processed and pretty much fake, he had a really hard time handling his hangryness (hungy+angry). As a traveling athlete who worked out around 8-10 hours a day, he ate whatever he wanted and it came mostly from a drive-thru. Then he met me. The first time he took me to dinner, it took him a few minutes to grasp the fact that I never eat meat. His reaction was shock, then confusion, then he sighed with a heavy “….. Americans.” HA! When we moved in together, he decided to try it. After we watched Forks Over Knives together, he officially converted. So now we are both lovers of healthy food, and enjoy cooking meals (mostly) together.

So, needless to say, For Love and Veggies is a healthy food blog, soon to be a healthy marriage and food blog. I’m very excited to share these adventures with you all and please feel free to message and comment away!

Until next time,

Carissa ❤