This is a hearty chili that packs a fiber and protein punch from the three different beans that are added to it. If you don't have the beans listed in the recipe you can substitute any beans you do have in your pantry. TVP also adds protein to this vegan, dairy free, gluten free chili.
1 medium onion. diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 15- oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15- oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes , roughly chop the tomatoes
1 large sweet potato, chopped
4 medium-to-large sized carrots, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups TVP , cooked according to package directions
2-3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot sprayed with cooking spray, saute the onion, garlic,jalapeno pepper until everything is softened.
2. Add to the pot the green and red peppers, sweet potato, carrots and let everything cook for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften. If the pan gets dry add some water to it.
3. Cook the TVP according to package directions. I like to make extra to have later in the week for other meatless dishes.
4. Add to the pot all of the beans, the tomatoes, salt and pepper, all of the seasonings, plus the TVP. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer. Add the tomato paste and stir. Simmer for about 40 to 60 minutes or until everything is soft and the flavors have blended. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Serving suggestions. Serve over rice. Top with avocado wedges. Use leftovers to top baked potatoes with or to make nachos. I love serving chili with cornbread.
What's your favorite way to top your chili? Share your ideas in our Comments section
Help me celebrate my birthday by helping the cats of Big Cat Rescue! My birthday is this Sunday and all I want is a donation to support the big cats.
For over 10 years , I've supported Big Cat Rescue (BCR) and want to tell you about this wonderful sanctuary for abandoned and abused big cats that I visit several times a year and support financially. I've seen cats arrive in horrible conditions, some starved and bone thin, recover to their majestic selves due to the love and care of the BCR staff. Cats who only knew abuse and beatings come to trust and love again other cats and humans through enrichment and constant attention.
I can attest to the dedication of the staff, mostly volunteers, who work with an open and giving heart to care for the majestic big cats who have a permanent home at Big Cat Rescue. Volunteers who clean out enclosures, sing and talk to the cats, and go on rescue missions to save a cat from abuse. EVERY dollar donated to Big Cat Rescue goes directly to the cats. There are a handful of paid staff who get funding through the daily tours given at BCR. But ALL donations are used to care for and feed the big cats.
Because of adhering to that strict policy regarding donations, and all of the other ways Big Cat Rescue is transparent in operations, it has earned Charity Navigator‘s highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” EVERY YEAR since first evaluated in 2010.
Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries
in the world dedicated to abused and abandoned big cats. At anytime it is home to 60 -100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, lynx, servals, ocelots and caracals . The cats come from horrific abuse situations, are orphaned, saved from becoming fur coats, retired circus performers, or rescued as babies left motherless when killed by hunters.
Founded in 1992, its mission is to “provide the best home we can for the cats in our care, end abuse of big cats in captivity and prevent extinction of big cats in the wild. “
Over the years I have sponsored many cats including this year:
Tigers Zeus and Keisha – Rescued from horrible abuse in upstate NY where they were barely fed . They came to BCR emaciated and close to starvation but are now doing well and never hungry!
Zabu White Tiger and Cameron Lion- Zabu was born at a circus and roadside zoo in New England that has since closed. She was raised with Cameron and continues to live with him at Big Cat Rescue . White tigers are not normal in the wild and since bred to be white come with numerous birth defects. Zabu is no exception.
Hoover Tiger - Former circus tiger from Peru.
Bobcats Max and Mary Ann – Max was rescued from a backyard breeder in Rhode Island and now shares a home with Mary Ann. Mary Ann’s previous life included living in a filthy 5’ x 10’ cage filled with feces and meat scraps.
Nabisco and Mrs Claws, Bobcats – I met Nabisco during his first week at BCR when he weighed only 9 lbs! He is a ball of energy! He lives with Mrs. Claws.
These cats like to eat!
Feeding the cats is the biggest expense. The annual food bill at BCR is $200,000 - that 's $16,000 each month! There are not enough coupons to cut to feed these hungry cats! So for my birthday I need nothing but the cats do need your support. Any amount, big or small will help the cats . My birthday is February 18th - please consider wishing me a Happy Birthday through a donationto Big Cat Rescue. But hurry , my birthday fundraiserends on February 24th. Make your secure donation by clicking here
From the Bottom of my heart thank you for your consideration and for sayingYES to these cats. It is only because of generous financial support that Big Cat Rescue continues to exist.
With Valentine's Day in February, it seems appropriate that this month is also National Heart Month. Are you doing everything you can to stay heart healthy? Do you know the signs of a heart attack? Did you know the signs of a heart attack are different in women?
Our hearts beat about 100,000 times a day and pump 2,000 gallons of blood through arteries, veins, and capillaries.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. , yet many still think it's a man's disease. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. with 1 out of 4 four deaths each year caused by heart disease.
And women experience classic symptoms of heart attacks,like chest pain or radiating arm pain,differently than men and are often not as quick to pick up on the symptoms. The more common symptoms for women include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms or neck, stomach pain, jaw pain, upper back pressure, cold sweats and nausea.
If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
But there is good news! Heart disease can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices like losing weight, reducing blood pressure, not smoking or quitting smoking, and reducing your salt intake. Take a look at the recipeson my website for healthy meal options.
Here are some other heart facts:
The heart has the ability to beat more than 3 billion times in a person's life!Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. That's someone in the US with a heart attack every 43 seconds!
Dog owners have a lower risk of heart disease because of the extra walking they do.
Laughing can send 20% more blood flowing through your body so laugh, it's good for you!
Heart attacks are more common on Monday morning than any other day of the week.
Some of the most heart-healthy foods, according to the American Heart Association include fish, nuts, red wine, tomatoes, and dark chocolate.
What steps are you taking to keep your heart healthy? Share in the comments section.
Take a look at most chocolate or candy bars sold at stores and you will see the ingredients include milk. So what kind of Valentine chocolate do you get for a chocoholic who also happens to have a milk allergy or who eats vegan? Here are some excellent options:
AMORE DI MONA - DairyFreeGina Approved Brand and my personal favorite - Your valentine will melt away with a gift from Amore Di Mona - these artisan chocolates are what dreams are made of. Dairy Free, Allergy and Diabetic Friendly
– The entire line is free of the top 8 food allergies, including milk. The baking chips are terrific for making chocolate dipped strawberries - see recipe here. And the mini bars are perfect for school Valentine parties.
Better for you chocolate that's Fair Trade, vegan, non-GMO, Organic and Gluten Free!
NO WHEY CHOCOLATES - 100% Milk Free, Tree Nut Free, Gluten Free, Egg free, Soy Free, and contain no artificial sugars or flavoring!
PASCHA CHOCOLATES- Pascha is another company making chocolate free of the top 8 allergens and made in a dedicated allergen free facility that’s free from peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy eggs, wheat and gluten.
RESCUE CHOCOLATES - Vegan Chocolates with profits going towards helping animals in need - great tasting chocolate and helping animals -- nothing better than that!
SJAAK'S - Offers a large vegan line made in a gluten free and egg free facility.
ZIMT- Completely Vegan and delicious chocolates, plus chocolate covered popcorn!
Are you a chocoholic? What dairy free chocolates do you like? Share in our comment section.
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. All menu items were purchased by DairyFreeGina. Opinions are my own.
Trattoria al Fornois a must eat at restaurant when at Walt Disney World. Sometimes I will even go there multiple times during a WDW visit! Located on the picturesque Boardwalk, the restaurant is elegantly decorated yet has a comforting, come as you like atmosphere. The open kitchen allows guests to watch chefs as they create magic with food and gives guests an inside view of how a Disney kitchen operates.
Chef Danny is my favorite chef at Trattoria al Forno - super sweet and terrific at preparing allergy safe meals.
So what do I recommend when eating at Trattoria al Forno?
Definitely get the risotto which can be made dairy-free and vegan! The risotto changes seasonally and I've had several renditions including Risotto with Carrots 7 Ways—definitely my favorite!
I've also enjoyed Risotto with Asparagus and the Risotto with Beets.
The salads are always fresh and creative and also change seasonally. Check out this Watermelon Salad and this Strawberry Salad!
Or how about a simple and delicious fresh green salad?
The calamari is an excellent appetizer and can be made dairy-free and gluten-free but it does need 24 hours notice if you are going to order it.
How about a dairy free pizza? I can never pass up pizza when at Trattoria al Forno and so I will always order it when eating at this restaurant. The pizza is made in a wood fired oven and always comes out perfectly.
As far as pasta dishes go, don’t pass these up. All of the pasta is made by in house by hand and is extraordinary. I've had the Gnocchi made gluten-free which is excellent.
My husband has eaten the Ravioli, Pasta Con Vongole, and Lasagna which is his favorite dish at Trattoria al Forno.
The lasagna is hearty and filling but does not overfill you and does leave room for dessert.
Speaking of desserts, you can always get a dairy-free sorbet at the restaurant and at times there are other dairy free desserts on the menu, or ask a chef to see what they can make for you that day.
I cannot finish this review without telling you about my favorite server at the restaurant, Andrea! She is a dear and a delight to be around. She embodies the Disney spirit and is one of the best and nicest servers I have ever met. In fact, if I lived in the Orlando area I know Andrea and I would hang out and do fun things together.
Trattoria al Forno is open for breakfast and dinner and reservations are needed. There is seating outside if you prefer to eat and watch as people stroll by on the Boardwalk.
What's your favorite Walt Disney World restaurant? Share in our Comments section.
Disclaimer: I was invited by The Blaze Corporate Offices to attend the special grand opening of the Amherst, New York Blaze Pizza. I was given gratis pizza and drink; however, opinions are my own.
One of the food items I really miss since being diagnosed with food allergies is pizza. So I was delighted when Blaze Pizzainvited me as a special guest to its Grand Opening of the Amherst, NY restaurant, and more delighted when I was told it could accommodate my allergy needs!
Amherst is the first location in the Buffalo area for Blaze Pizza which is known for being a leader for fast, artisanal pizza. Operating since 2012 and now in 35 states and Canada, Blaze Pizza boasts of its open kitchen where customers can watch as their pizza is made in just 3 minutes!
Upon entering the Amherst location at the Boulevard Consumer Square Plaza, your taste buds are automatically intrigued by the assembly line style of pizza toppings. Blaze is committed to using fresh, natural ingredients with no chemicals and no additives.
I was thrilled that Blaze Pizza has a commitment to making sure all can eat at the restaurant. I was immediately assured and given confidence that my food would be made safe and that all of the ingredients I chose for my pizza would be selected from a back area of the kitchen where there is a safe spot to make the special dietary pizzas. All of the dough is made fresh by hand every day and the dough is all vegan and gluten-free! Both of the red sauces, classic and spicy, are also vegan.
I chose a veggie pizza with classic red sauce, artichokes, banana peppers, fresh basil and fresh cherry tomatoes. Vegan cheese is available but I opted to leave it off my pizza. The pizza was made in the back area using dough and ingredients stored separately from the general public’s array of toppings and dough. My pizza was put on a freshly cleaned pizza board and put into the wood fired oven by itself so as not to come in contact with any other pizza containing dairy. It was then removed and put on a clean, previously unused board and cut with a freshly cleaned pizza cutter. The staff changed into clean gloves when making, cooking and cutting my pizza. The pizza was delicious with a thin, perfectly cooked crisp crust. The sauce was not salty and the ingredients super fresh.
I found it all so delightful and did not leave a crumb to spare!
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful and very welcoming of those with food allergies and special dietary needs. Pizza costs under $10 and a variety of creative salads, sized as a meal or side, are also available. The Amherst location seats 79 people and is bright with ample light from the windows that surround all seating areas.
Blaze Pizza was recently named the #1 Brand of the Year in the 2017 Fast Casual Top 100 for fast-growing chains. It operates 239 restaurants in 35 States and Canada. “Our mission at Blaze is simple – we’re taking pizza back to its roots," said Jim Mizes, president and CEO of Blaze Pizza. “By making dough in-house, using carefully sourced ingredients, and cooking by fire, we’re giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait.”
The Blaze mission also extends to its treatment of the environment. The Amherst restaurant is constructed with recycled and sustainable materials, uses eco-friendly packaging and features energy-efficient LED lighting.
Buffalo is a city known for its pizzeria on practically every street corner, although for those with food allergies or other special dietary needs that street corner has not always been friendly for us. I love that there is now a spot I and others can go to enjoy a delicious and safe pizza. Because who really does not love pizza??!!!
Welcome Blaze Pizza to Amherst. You'll be seeing me soon and often!
What's your favorite way to top your pizza? Share in our Comments sections
Popcorn is one of the healthiest and most popular snacks so it's great to have a day to celebrate it! As you pop your popcorn here are some facts to ponder:
Popcorn is an oldie but goodie! This irresistible and simple snack dates back to Pre-Columbus indigenous times. According to Popcorn.Org, Natives in the West Indies used popcorn for food and decorations. The Aztecs wore popcorn necklaces in 1519 and writings from Peruvian Indians dating back to 1650 detail how they used popcorn. PBS Food says popcorn showed up in the American Southwest over 2500 years ago. It started growing east of the Mississippi in the early 1800’s and today the Midwest is known as the Corn Belt.
2. Americans love popcorn! Americans eat 13 billion quarts of popcorn every year - more than any other country!!
The Popcorn Institute reports we love to eat popcorn most at home! 70% is eaten at home and 30% at theaters, stadiums, schools, etc
3. Nebraska grows the most popcorn. In fact, a majority of the popcorn produced in the world is in grown in the U.S.
4. Microwave popcorn becomes a big deal in the 80's! Today more than 80% of U.S. households have microwaves and it's not uncommon to have a specific popcorn setting on the appliance.
5. Popcorn is a low-calorie food!Popcorn can be a healthy snack, especially if air popped which has just 31 calories per cup. Popcorn is full of beneficial fiber and eaten as is, popcorn is naturally dairy free too!
Here are some of my favorite ways to top popcorn and still keep it dairy free:
>>> Melt coconut oil and spread on top of the popcorn, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
>>> Make it spicy! Top popcorn with hot sauce!
>>> Popcorn is easy to air pop and throw into baggies with nuts, coconut pieces and dried fruit for an easy, healthy and portable snack.
>>> Check out the Everything Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe's -- it's a great popcorn topper!
Here’s to a big bowl of Popcorn tonight – enjoy!
What's your favorite way to enjoy popcorn? Share your thoughts and ideas below in our comment section.
Yes get your Bean On for National Bean Day January 6th!
But don't just eat beans on this bean holiday. Eat beans every day of the year because beans are a superfood rich in fiber, protein, calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium . And if you eat dairy free and/or vegan, beans should be a staple in your pantry as they are an easy meat substitute and naturally dairy-free! So on this National Bean Day let's pay homage to the Bean with some fun facts!
1. Eating Beans are good for your health! Major health organizations all report beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, can be useful in managing diabetes, and may even help you lose weight!
2. Beans have virtually no fat and have more fiber than most whole grains.
3. The top five beans grown in the US are Pinto, Navy, Black, Red Kidney and Great Northern.
4. Beans save you money! Beans are the least expensive source of protein when compared to meat. Canned beans generally cost less than a buck.
Beans are super convenient! Buy them canned, frozen, or dry and they even come in flour form for baking.
6. North Dakota , Michigan, and Nebraska are the top three bean producers in the US.
7. In Ancient Greece, minor public officials were elected by drawing beans! The person picking the white bean got the job!
8. Baked beans are believed to be based on a Native American dish in which beans were cooked with fat and maple syrup. European settlers adapted the recipe to use pork and molasses.
Beans are good for the environment! Beans need one-tenth the amount of water to grow compared to other proteins and they are drought and fire-resistant. And with their low carbon footprint, beans are one of the most sustainable proteins in the world .
Beans are super versatile! Beans are a super terrific meat substitute and can be incorporated into virtually any recipe . Check out some of my favorites from the DairyFreeGina website:
Hearty and comforting, especially on a cold day. This soup will make enough for a meal with leftovers to refrigerate or freeze. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and fiber.
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Cups of Dairy Free Gina Basic Vegetable Stock or half stock and half water
1 cup red or white wine
2-3 carrots, diced small
2-4 celery stalks, diced small
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sized red potato, diced small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 handfuls spinach or kale, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped (canned or fresh)
1 -1 ½ cups lentils, cooked according to package directions
Black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes to taste
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Other herbs/spices as you like
1. Cook lentils in a pot with enough water to cover. Any color of lentils is fine. I cook the lentils until they just under cooked. The lentils should not be mushy. When done drain and set aside.
2. While lentils are cooking, in a large soup pot, saute the carrots, onion, celery, garlic in 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil. When softened, add water /stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. Add lentils and potato, bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low simmer. About 30 minutes prior to serving, add spinach/kale and tomatoes. Keep on a low simmer until ready to eat. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
What's your favorite soup recipe? Share in our Comments section.
This pie is dairy free and gluten free and is totally yummy! It's easy to make and can be frozen and kept in your freezer and used later for a dinner, party or when company is coming over -- or when you have a craving for Pecan Pie!
1 9-inch prepared pie crust - be sure it is dairy free and gluten free. Thaw the crust before using. Of course you could also make your own using your favorite recipe.
2 cups shelled pecan halves
1/2 - 1 cup light brown sugar ( depending on how sweet you want your pie)
3 eggs or egg substitute (I use the flax seed method)
1/2 cup real Maple Syrup
2 T Agave or molasses
1 TBSP freshly grated orange zest
1 TBSP orange-flavored liqueur or whiskey
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk the sugar, eggs, maple syrup ,Agave ,orange zest,
liqueur ,vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the pecans and using a spatula fold in to combine all ingredients.
3. Pour mixture into the pie shell . Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the filling is set in the center . Cool completely before cutting
What's your favorite pie? Share your recipe in our Comments section
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