Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guessing Game

I'll give you three guesses as to what is the base of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough recipe.

Are you thinking?

Come on! Play my game!

Okay, fine, do you want me just to tell you? It's less fun that way, but I can.

It's chickpeas.

Hello? Are you still there? Have you clicked out of this post yet?

As someone with a sub par pancreas, I'm constantly looking for healthier, lower carb ways to satisfy my sweet tooth. A few months ago, there was a bit of a craze in the blogosphere (listen to me, blogosphere! I'm so cool!) over dessert hummus.

Now, I'm pretty much down for anything hummus, but I wasn't so convinced that dessert hummus was for me. As I saw more and more dessert hummus recipes crossing the blog posts of some of my most trusted bloggers, I decided to give it a try.

When I first made this recipe, I asked Jerry to taste test it without telling him what it was. Which is actually quite a challenge in a relationship where torturing each other is a bit of a sport. He immediately asked for a second spoonful and couldn't guess that chickpeas was the main ingredient. Success!

The rest is history, my friends. Literally. We polished off this dip in less then 24 hours. And you should too.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie


1 1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans
1/8 tsp salt
scant 1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 c nut butter of preference (I used almond butter)
up to 1/4 cup milk of choice, only if needed
2 tbsp honey
3 packets Truvia
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Optional: 2 to 3 tbsp oats - makes for a thicker, more textured dip

1. Add all ingredients, except for chocolate chips, to food processor and blend until very smooth. 
2. Mix in the chocolate chips.
3. Eat with a spoon straight from the food processor. 

***Update: I made this recipe again, using canned white beans and peanut butter. Results were ah-mazing! Even better then the first batch. I think the white beans are more mild in flavor and are more well masked by the other flavors. You should make this!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Favorite Number

My favorite number?

Oh...umm...let me think....I think my favorite number would be a 6.1, bitches!!!!

Sorry, I didn't mean to indicate that you were bitches. I meant more in that diabetes and my a1c tests are in my in I own them!!!!

In case you don't remember, the a1c test is a blood test that gives a three month picture of how well one has been controlling their blood sugar. It's one of the standards that doctors use to ensure that patients are doing well in their diabetes management. American Diabetes Association would like for a1c results to be >7%. The American Association of Endocrinologists would like it to be > 6.8%.

On Friday, I saw my favorite endocrinologist friend, who gave me a1c results of a 6.1, my best a1c result since becoming diabetic a year and half ago. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited.

So excited, I went home and had myself a mojito and a half pint of ice cream! :) Here I come, 6.0!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Love is in the Air

Ah, love is in the air here in Jersey.

Besides all the kitty love we got going on....

Yes, that is our cats, arm and arm.
...there's another kind of love in this apartment. A sweet love that only grows stronger with each passing day. A love that, I am certain, will last a lifetime.

That would be the love of my new kitchen! It. Is. Awesome.

I always knew that Jerry had a superior kitchen to my large but limited kitchen back in Astoria. For starters, his has a dishwasher! A dishwasher! I've never actually owned a dishwasher before! Plus, there is a lot of nice counter space and a set-up for an easy work flow. I can wash something in the sink, chop it on my cutting board, and drop it in the frying pan all without moving more then two steps to the left or right.

Since moving in, it feels like I have been non-stop in the kitchen. Having a dishwasher is certainly encouragement to cook more! A combined pantry of two fat kids doesn't hurt either!

Inspired by the love of my new kitchen, I thought I'd share a few more things with you that I'm currently obsessing over. Don't worry, there's a recipe at the end of this post. 
From L to R: Parchment paper, PB2 Peanut Flour, Smoked Paprika,
Golden Roasted Flax Seeds, Pressure Cooker
  1. Smoked paprika - Have you ever used this before? Because if you haven't, you need to go out and buy some this instant! Really. Go now. I can wait.
  2. PB2 Peanut Flour - For someone like me, who eats spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar, this product is awesome! It has 85% less fat then regular peanut butter but still adds great PB flavor to many dishes. I'm diggin' it.
  3. Trader Joe's Golden Roasted Flax Seed -  So good. Just opening the package, you can immediately smell what makes them so good. I've been using these bad boys in everything from granola to salads. 
  4. Parchment paper - I've been using parchment paper like crazy, mostly for all my baking.
  5. Pressure Cooker - It's taken me a while to start using my pressure cooker, but now, I'm addicted. In household where we literally have 25 pounds of grain dominating our cabinet space, it's definitely coming in handy. 
My last obsession is of the food blog variety. Oh She Glows is a healthy vegan blog with really awesome recipes. Even though I'm not vegan, I like to pretend I am. Despite my affinity for diary and the occasional plate of BBQ, I eat a mostly plant- and grain-based diet in my day-to-day life. Angela's blog actually makes me consider turning full vegan. She makes it look that good and easy. 

So easy, in fact, I made an adapted version of her "Perfect Veggie Burger," non-vegan style.

Nutty Veggie Burger
Makes 7 to 8 burgers

½ c onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 eggs
1 c oats, processed into flour
1 ½ bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of TJ’s sprouted grain bread until fine crumb)
1 c grated carrots
1 c cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and roughly pureed
½ c sunflower seeds
½ c golden flax seeds
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.  
2. Process each ingredient separately in a food processor, adding each ingredient into a large mixing bowl as you go, stopping at the sunflower seeds. Those don’t go through the food processor.
3. Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. 5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 mins (15-17 minutes on each side) until golden and crisp.

For alternate cooking methods, you can pan-fry or place on the grill. For grilling, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side. These would be great to feed a vegetarian for a Memorial Day BBQ.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Enough to Make You Cry

My endocrinologist called me yesterday asking if we could move up my June appointment to this Friday! Even though it was mildly inconvenient, I have a little bit of a high school girl crush on my endo and, obviously, agreed to change the appointment. As well as offer to have his non-diabetic love child. This change in appointment meant getting my A1c completed earlier the expected...which means blood work. Ugh!

There are many things I have adjusted to since becoming a diabetic. Blood sugar testing, injecting myself, carrying an insulin beeper, stealing packets of honey from every Starbucks in the tri-state area. All of those fun things. Yet there are two things that I'm not sure I will ever get use to.

One is that awful, shaky, mind-numbing experience of hypoglycemia. Two is getting my blood drawn.

Before diabetes, getting my blood drawn was no thang! I'd roll up my sleeve, puncture a vein and be on my merry way. No problems! It was also probably something I did every other year. 

With diabetes, I have my blood drawn every 3 - 4 months. Every time I go, I can't help but get a little teary eyed. Whether because it's an uncommon reminder that I'm diabetic or because most phlebotomists suck and stab me several times before successfully getting blood or I'm traumatized from my experience in the hospital, getting my blood drawn is my least favorite part of being diabetic.

Except today. Today was different, my friends.

Maybe it was the last minute nature of the experience. Or because Rolondo is my new best friend and got my vein on the first try.  But this was the first time in my year and half of being diabetic that I didn't cry after getting my blood drawn.

What's up now, Diabetes? Take that!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Single Lady Serving

Recently, I started following Chocolate Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog where recipes use all-natural, vegan-friendly ingredients. It's totally addicting! Especially since many of Katie's recipes are single serving size. Perfect for a diabetic fat kid where the term "portion control" might as well be in Icelandic.

Jerry will often read blogs with me....over my shoulder...while commenting that  he doesn't understand how I can spend so much time reading blogs...but oh, can you make that for me? Whenever I get to a  recipe Katie calls "Single Lady Servings," Jerry will say, "You can't make that. You're not a single lady." Sorry, sweetie, I'm a fat kid and that wins out every time. 

In reality, I think he's less concerned about our relationship status and more concerned that he won't get any! Good thing he has such a generous girlfriend who will make him his own "Single Lady Serving."

Chocolate Peanut Butter Soft Serve*
This recipe can be eaten straight out of the blender and will have a consistency similar to that of melted ice cream. You can also re-blend after freezing for a more soft serve consistency. 

1/2 c cottage cheese with pineapple (trust me, it's better then regular)
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 - 2 tbsp peanut flour or peanut butter
1 packet Truvia or sweetener of your choice
splash of milk
3 - 8 ice cubes, depending on your preferred consistency

1. Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Either enjoy straight from the blender or place into individual ramekin and return to freezer. Freeze for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

*A few notes on ingredients:
  • You may have noticed the use of peanut flour. This is a new ingredient in my pantry and so far....I'm lovin' it! Peanut flour is made by taking roasted peanuts, grinding them into a paste (like peanut butter but without the added salt, sugar, or any added oils) and then pressing out the oil.  Since most of the oil's been pressed out, peanut flour is relatively low in fat. But it's still got all the protein, fiber, and other nutrients that make peanuts nutritional powerhouses.
  • You may have also noticed that cottage cheese is the primary ingredient in this recipe. Have no fear. It definitely does not taste like cottage cheese once you're done with it. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Move of the Century....

I'm writing this from home.
In Jersey.
Because that's where I live now. 

From the way I talked about this move, it definitely seemed like...

The Move of the Century!
The Move to Conquer All Moves!

While the whole process of moving is pretty dreadful, I allowed it to consume the last few weeks of my life! In fact, I feel like I stopped functioning as social member of society for a while, where the only thing I talked about was moving! And the cats...moving. Towards the end, I realized just how much stress I had been putting on myself and how it was really wearing me down. Now that it's over, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I'm feeling better, getting back to the gym, and eating a much better diet. Sleeping, on the other hand....well, we'll get to that.

For now, I know everyone's biggest concerns were our kitties!
Jackson, in his carrier, holding onto his Monkey for dear life.
For the first few days, we kept the kittes separated, only allowing them to see each other through a crack in the bedroom door.When Jackson and Bilo met again, there was some hissing, a little growling, and maybe some spitting here and there. Luckily, there's been no couch-shitting or anal gland leaking going on.
Now, by day 7, they seem to be best buddies. In fact, they've decided to party in our bedroom well into the night. There's nothing like a blood-curdling battle cry at 3 AM with little paws racing over your sleeping body to get the adrenaline going!

Just chillin'
It's nice to see them getting along so well and it's such a relief. Especially for Jerry, who was a total drama queen about the whole thing, totally projecting all his anxieties onto the cats. Such a psycho!  :)

As for everything else, boxes are unpacked, but things aren't exactly "in place." We still have 7 end tables sitting in our living case anyone needs one. It'll come with a free pound of barley if you're interested! We have about 7 of those too!

As for Jerry and I, so far, so good. It's only been a week, but it's nice coming home to him every night. I still expect some bumps in the road as we continue to make this transition in our lives, but so far, I'm liking how this feels. :) I can honestly say, without hesitation, I'm happy.

God, that feels nice.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Granola Muncher

I've had a SERIOUS hankering for granola lately! So much so, I even considered buying a bag of it at Whole Foods.

Granola in hand, on my way to the check-out counter, my "I can make that!" gene kicked into high gear. Why would I waste money on some over-priced granola when I can easily make my own? Lord knows we have enough grains to do!

Then, as if to punctuate the frivolousness of this purchase, I looked down at the nutritional information. Have you ever looked at the ingredients/nutritional information for store-bought granola? Because if you have, you've seen that there is enough sugar to put you into a diabetic shock! Okay, okay, maybe not that much. But there is a shit ton of sugar in most granola!

While it certainly taste delicious (and addicting) it's not exactly as good for you as you'd hope. With the "I can make that!" fever in full effect and my ridiculous craving for granola pushing forward, I decided to make a granola that would put all those other granolas to shame! Cry, Kashi! Cry! 

And I believe I have.

Cinnamon-Almond Granola

2 c rolled oats
1/2 c uncooked millet
1/4 c golden flax seed
1/2 c almonds
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
2 packets truvia
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c honey
4 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract**

**This granola would be even better if you put any dried fruit of your choice in. I did not because of that whole busted pancreas thing, but you should feel free.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix ingredients from rolled oats through salt in one bowl. In a second bowl, mix honey through apple sauce (not the extract).
3. Place the bowl of wet ingredients into the microwave for 60 seconds. Add vanilla extract and stir well.
4. Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients. Mix well to combine.
5. Spread granola out onto a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, flipping half way through to ensure even browning. Granola will crisp up as it cools.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mama's Day

Have I ever mentioned how awesome my mom is?

Have we ever discussed her Mary Poppins-esque existence?

It's hard to believe, but it has been a while since I talked about how amazing my mother is. She's so amazing in fact that some lunatic suggested making brunch for Mother's Day the day after moving into her new apartment. Crazy person!

But you would do it too if you had a mom like mine.

I recently mentioned my realization that I am, in fact, my mother's daughter. I realize it more and more every day. While I still have traces of my father, I recognize that my compassion, strength, and humor all come from my mother. So does my neuroticism about cooking and cleaning, but hey, I'll take the good with the bad.

Love you, Mama. I'm thankful for you every day.

Mary Poppins-Inspired Brunch Menu

Mango Bellini -- courtesy of Lisa

Blueberry Pecan Baked French Toast -- courtesy of Lisa
Goat Cheese and Herb Frittata
Diner-style Home Fries
Roasted Chickpea and Beet Salad
Breakfast Sausage

Apple-Brie Pastry Tarts -- courtesy of Lisa
Peanut Butter Chocolate Muff Cakes (name courtesy of Jerry)

Best dish on the table

Needed more goat cheese, but it looks pretty


Roasted Chickpea and Beet Salad

Acts like a cupcake....taste like a muffin
Recipes to come! They all needed some improving upon before posting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Movin' on Up...

Final day in Astoria. Packing is underway.

Tomorrow is the official moving day. 

I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely overwhelmed.

Any move is hard. It's even when harder when you're hormonal. I apologize in advance for what is sure to be some ridiculous mood swings, Moving Partners. 

When I first moved to this apartment, it wasn't under the best of circumstances. It's ironic that I am leaving under the exact opposite of circumstances. :) The first few months of living here were hard. Over time, I've come to love this apartment, this neighborhood, the familiarity of the locals and bars, this routine. My leaving is a little bittersweet. It's a strange mix of sadness and excitement. I am glad to have had this chapter of my life and I am definitely looking forward to the next.

See you around, Astoria.

Hope you're ready for me, Jerry....I mean, Jersey.  :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grain House

I mentioned in my Spoonfuls of Spring post that I have a habit of hoarding certain food items.

Does anyone else have this addiction? A certain food that you ALWAYS buy whenever you go to the supermarket? Not because you need it but because you feel like you're suppose to have it! Despite the fact that you probably already have three boxes of it sitting in your pantry at home?

When I was in college, it was canned tomatoes and boxes of pasta. They were purchased EVERY TIME I went to the supermarket. As I have aged, my hoarding has become a bit more seasonal! For the fall, it's cans of pumpkin. For winter, it's vegetable broth. Impluse purchases of excessive produce occur year round.

And then...there are grains. Yes, grains.

I have enough grains to keep a small cattle farm running for a year. Different kinds of grains, like millet, farro, barley, kasha, buckwheat, quinoa, bulgur....I can keep going. I have so any grains that I actually have a separate storage place for my excess grain! My sister refers to it as "The Brown Section," where she thinks everything is brown and taste like dirt.

I know, I know. You think this is strange. Who really wants to have that much grain?!

Apparently, Jerry does! He also has a separate storage place for his excess grain! Ah, soulmates. In fact, his amount of grain is probably double what I have. Anyone have any need for barley? Because we have three pounds of it!

With the move approaching, I realized that I needed to start using up some of this grain, simply so we can have space for everything else in our cupboards!

Lemon-Beet Millet Bowl

1/2 c millet, cooked
1 1/2 large beets, steamed and cubed
beet greens from 3 beets, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 -3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp oregano
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
5 basil leaves, ciffonade
salt and pepper, to taste

1.Steam beets until fork tender, putting the beet greens to the side for later use.
2. Cook millet according to package.
3. Once beets and millet are done cooking, begin to saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
4. Add in oregano and cook until fragrant (1 - 2 minutes). Then, saute beet greens until wilted.
5. Add in millet, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Have the beets be the last thing you add as it will turn your into meal pink.
6. Add beets and toss quickly, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Indian-Inspired Kitchen Sink Soup
This recipe was created on a whim in order to use up whatever veggies I had in my fridge and some of the red lentils I had in my cupboard. Yes, because Jerry has a crapton of red lentils too!

1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery sticks, cleaned and sliced
1/2 red pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
4 smallish Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 c red lentils
4 tbsp golden flax seed (this is Jerry's influence)
2 1/2 tsp madras curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp tikka masala
2 to 2 1/2 cups of veggie broth
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Begin by sauteing onions through red pepper in olive oil. As the veggies begin to cook down, add garlic and potatoes.
2. Add red lentils, flax seeds, and spices. Saute for a few minutes then add broth (or water).
3. Allow soup to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until lentils are cooked through.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Too Fat for My Fat Pants

It seems like only yesterday I was blogging about my 21-day detox challenge and BodyRock workouts!

Oh my, how quickly things do change!

Between my goodbye party, TAP Festival, and the upcoming (now happening) move, even my fat pants, which are designated wear for when one feels fat, are too tight! You know you's gots some problems when you're too fat for your fat pants!!!

Lately, my diet and exercise regime have been in the toilet while the numbers on the scale are slowly creeping up and my clothes are getting tighter. As I've admitted mentioned before, my self-image is definitely affect by my weight. Having a few extra pounds fucks with my self-esteem in a way that nothing else can.

Between juggling personal and professional responsibilities and preparing for some significant life changes, I have definitely been burning the candles at both ends. And feeling pretty low about it. I feel guilty for overeating, not exercising, being more lax about my diabetes care then I want to be, blah, blah, blah. You have heard it all before.

With an upcoming endocrinologist appointment in June, I need to get my ass back on track. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to muster up the motivation, but I know I have to. What better what to start then to make a list. A goals list to be precise! Here it goes.....

Goal #1 - Lose 5 pounds by June 2 (my birfday!)
Goal #2 - Begin daily food journaling
Goal #3 - Go to the gym at least 4 to 5 times a week
Goal #4 - Begin using trend features for my insulin pump and blood glucose tester for improved control - a post to come on this goal soon!

The move is happening this weekend....dundunda....which will, hopefully, bring my life back into some kind of order. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Party Foul

Here I am, yammering away about steel cut oats and knee injuries, completely forgetting about promised party recipes from my Goodbye Astoria Farewell Party. Silly me. 

One of the recipes that received the biggest compliment at our recent party were my two hummus(es?). People were surprised that they were actually homemade, because let's be honest....most homemade hummus suck balls. It's true. They do. Usually, homemade hummus doesn't have the right flavor or consistency compared to the ones you buy in the store.

Truth be told, I am addicted to hummus! Addicted! I can finish off an entire one sitting. No lie. If it was possible to do lines of this stuff, I would. That's how much I need it!

Jerry had recently uncovered the "secret" to good homemade hummus, which is a shit ton of tahini sauce. I put "secret" in quotes, mostly because I already knew this to be true. I've just been too chicken to add the amount of tahini necessary to obtain true hummus flavor. One reason for my fear is because tahini can be a little pricey. The second reason is because I'm always trying to watch the fat and calories that goes into my food. Tahini tends to be higher on the fat and calorie side of things.

Luckily, I had Jerry there to push me past my hesitation. And by "push me past," I really mean completely take over all hummus making! However, with our combined efforts, we made some pretty kick-ass hummus.

On the left is original hummus.
On the right is chipotle pepper hummus. 

Original Hummus

1 - 2 garlic cloves
1 can chickpeas, reserve 3 tbsp of liquid from the can
1/2 c to 3/4 c tahini, to taste (this is sort of a taste judgement call)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
The zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp paprika and chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
water, if needed to reach desired consistency

For Chipotle Pepper Hummus, add 1 - 2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, to taste.

1. Add garlic cloves to a food processor. Process until garlic is cut up into small pieces.
2. Add all of your ingredients, except olive oil, to food processor. Begin to process, slowly streaming in the olive oil as you go.
3. Stop processor to scrape down sides occasionally to ensure all bits and pieces get incorporated.
4. Once desired consistency is obtain, top hummus with extra olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pain in My....

When one goes away for a weekend of beer drinking and overeating, it can only be assumed that a 3 mile run is part of the weekend plan. Oh wait! That's only if you're fucking crazy, like me.

For the last two years, a part of my TAP Fest ritual (in addition to wearing a beer box on my head) is to do a quick run the morning of the festival. It helps me feel better about the gluttony that will occur later on in the day. Except, the only thing is, I hate running!

Okay, okay, maybe hate is a strong word.

In fact, I really, really want to be a runner. I want to be one of those people who run marathons well into their 70's. It's one of those things that I feel like all the cool kids are doing and I'm just sitting on the sidelines. My interest in being a marathon runner only increased when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I wasn't going let some stupid chronic illness hold me back from doing something I had never, ever actually planned on doing before! Yeah, that's right, Diabetes! I'm going to spitefully complete a marathon because of YOU!

Except for the tiny, insignificant detail that I'm just not meant to be a runner. As much as I try. As much as I want it to happen, every time I start a running program, my hips, ankles, knees, and toes (knees and toes....sorry, couldn't help it) start to feel sore. And not in a good "Wow, I'm really working out!" way. They feel sore in a way that makes me feel like long-distance running is not what's best for my body.

This weekend, I started off my run, expecting it to feel awful since it had been a while since my last outdoor run. The first mile actually went pretty well. A 10-minute mile, which for some is a warm-up, but feel me and my short, little legs is pretty good. As I finished the second mile, my knee started to feel a little sore. I figured I'd just run through it. Because that's what makes the most sense when you're in pain, right?  Not to stop and take it easy? No, no, no, but to push through the pain so you can limp back the last half mile and have knee pain for the next week and a half.

Yes, brilliant idea.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cooking for a Crowd

Maybe it's the Italian in me, but whenever a large group of people get together, I feel a need...nay, a duty to bring food with me! I have to feed people! It's a compulsion, really! Whether its cupcakes or another diabetic-friendly dish (because, you know, cupcakes are so diabetic-friendly), you can be sure I'll have a plate covered in saran wrap in my hands.

This duty intensifies if I've had a hand in organizing said large grouping. This past weekend was no exception.

Friends and I are headed upstate to attend the annual New York TAP Festival. TAP Fest is a two-day beer festival on Hunter Mountain, where you get plenty of samples from local breweries and usually some deep-fried grossness. And corn dogs. I can't forget the corn dogs! People have almost lost limbs trying to get those corn dogs! Or at least wasted 30 minutes stalking the wait staff as they left the kitchen with them. Ahem, Jerry.

This was our second year renting a house for 20 people! Yes, 20 people! Since the planning for TAP Fest started in February, I have been devising what recipes I wanted to make this year! When cooking for a group of 20, your recipes need to be two things: good and cheap!

I wanted something that would feed a crowd, excite me more then just regular hamburgers and hot dogs (two things that are not part of my usual food repertoire), and help me clean out my pantry in preparation for my upcoming move. I decided to make a Vegetarian Three Bean Chipotle Chili. Recipe to follow.

And you can't have chili without cornbread! Look for this recipe in an upcoming post.

I decided I needed to contribute to breakfast as well. I made steel cut oats in the slower cooker. Yes, I am a dork and brought my slow cooker with me.

This isn't the actual oatmeal that was served, but you get the idea!

Lastly, it wouldn't be full weekend of fun without cupcakes! There's nothing particularly special about these Red Velvet cupcakes. Except for the obvious! That they're cupcakes!!! Which is pretty damn special. Oh, and I replaced the water called for in the recipe with buttermilk. It gives them a slightly more authentic feel.

Here's a shout out to my friend, Lilia, who made some kickass 'shrooms and onions to top our burgers with. Maybe she'll be so kind as to do a guest post and tell you how they were made.

Three Bean Chipotle Chili - vegetarian
Obviously, this recipe makes a crapload of chili; feel free to adjust to your needs. It also went really well as a hotdog topping. Which we would defeat the whole vegetarian thing, but just sayin'.

1 large red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large green peppers, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup TVP
3 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tbsp oregano
4 - 5+ chipotle peppers in adobe, chopped
2 tbsp adobe sauce from peppers
2 tbsp liquid smoke
2 cans dark red kidney beans
2 cans black beans
1 can black-eyed peas
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 - 3 cups vegetable broth, depending on how thick your mix is
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
2. Add the peppers, carrots, and onions. Saute for about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper.
3. Add TVP, cumin, and oregano. Saute a few minutes longer.
4. Add beans, tomatoes, chipotles, adobe sauce, and liquid smoke.
5. Add can of tomato paste and pour veggie broth over it to help break it up. Mix into the chili well.
6. Let chili simmer on stove top for about an hour to an hour half, stirring often to prevent the bottom of the chili from scorching.

Alternately, you could also complete through step 3 and then add everything to a slow cooker. Set on the low setting for about 3 - 4 hours.