As I have mentioned in the past, I make dinner for my family about once a week, not only to help out my mother with all the work she does around the house, but to incorporate more vegan meals into my family's lifestyle. It's gotten to the point where my dad suggests certain meals that he would like for me to try to veganize so he can enjoy it without it weighing him down to much while he works out (he's very much into running and biking so he's cutting back on some meat). I have made this chili casserole before and my family really liked it (my changes: I used 2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans and 2 15 oz. cans of black beans. I also left out the "burger" crumbles). However, the cornbread layer took soooo damn long to cook, so we ended up growing impatient and hungry and scraping off the raw part on the bottom. The chili itself was very good though, so I decided to make it again today. I only changed the recipe a tiny bit this time, I promise! I just added a small dash of cinnamon and about a teaspoon of vegan chocolate chips to add a depth of flavor. I know, it sounds weird, but you know those packets of chili spices they sell in the grocery store (why people buy them if they probably have all of the spices already, I do not know)? If you look you'll see they usually contain cocoa powder! I even managed to get my little brother to eat some of this. He's very odd....he only ate the kidney beans, not the black beans...hm..... Anyways, I also baked the cornbread layer on the side in a 9x9'' pan for about 35 minutes. It didn't taste awful, but it had a very strong metallic after taste. I think this was because I used organic corn meal, which I suspect reacted weirdly with the baking powder. Oh well- it still tasted good with some EB slathered all over it or crumbled in the chili (I did both....yum!). My dad ate TWO bowls of chili and said it tasted very hearty and "almost meaty." It always makes me so happy to see my family slowly accepting and liking more and more vegan food because it makes me more open to cook for them, as well as make me feel better about their health.
Okay, so this is what has made me especially happy today. After coming home from school today, I noticed a package on my kitchen counter addressed to me. Opening it up, I quickly realized what it was! Well, you see, I won a random drawing a few weeks ago and I had received my prize today from Vegan Noodle from Walking the Vegan Line. just look at how amazingly generous she was:
Wow! She was so sweet with these prizes. I got some adorable magnets (I though these were very clever when I finally realized that they spell out "vegan"!), two homemade vegan truffles, and one of the recipe booklets from the Society of PEACE potluck that she hosted, which includes recipes from ED&BV, several vegan blogs, VCTOTW, and other sources. WOW! The recipes in this booklet really excited me since I didn't have most of them. I plan on making the Nicer Krispies from ED&BV soo because I have been eying them since I saw them on her blog. Thank you sooo very much, Vegan Noodle! I really didn't expect all this and it was so very generous of you. It really perked me up after a long day.
And of course I can't forget about the truffles! Mmmmm....so rich and creamy. I am eating these as we speak- hehe. I love the flavor combination of chocolate and hazelnuts, but hazelnuts are so difficult to find around here, so my craving has finally been satisfied!