An American Girl in Washington

World’s Best Vegan Chili. Ever. Seriously.

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 6 October 2013

photo 4This vegan chili is one of the best things I have ever made. I eat it constantly, even in summer. Even in a hot-as-hell-proof-global-warming-is-a-thing DC summer. That’s how yummy. And the best part is that you can make a ton of it and then eat it every day. I sometimes have it for lunch every day for a week. And you can stuff it with as many veggies or whatever that you want. And USE THE CHIA SEEDS. They’re so good for you, as is this chili. Make it on the next rainy day. Or when you don’t want to cook for a week. Or when you’re broke (I can make 4 days’ worth for $13-15 dollars). Or if you just really like chili. (Of course this is from Oh She Glows. Everything good is.)


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 can each: black beans, white kidney beans, red kidney beans (rinsed) (I used 1 large mixed can)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 can organic mushrooms, drained
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • juice of 1 lime (optional, I didn’t include)
  • Secret Ingredient –> 2 tbsp CHIA SEEDS (it thickens up the sauce soooo much!)

Directions: In a large pot, add the EVOO and heat over medium. Add garlic, peppers, onion, carrot and sauté until everything is soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes on low to medium heat.

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Homemade Applesauce!

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 6 October 2013

I bought a big bag of apples for a hackathon and nobody ate them (hackers prefer red bull and burritos). By the time I brought them home they were a little bruised, plus I could never have eaten all of those apples. What to do? I channeled my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder and made some homemade applesauce! I can’t remember where I found the recipe but this one from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!, another awesome food blog, looks about right.

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  • several pounds of apples
  • lemon juice
  • ½ c water; more as needed
  • sugar, cinnamon, and cloves as desired


  1. Roughly chop apples.
  2. Lightly sprinkle apples with lemon juice (for color and tartness).
  3. Place chopped apples and water in a large, thick-bottomed pot.
  4. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Quickly, liquid should start to cook out of the apple chunks, which will help cook them down further.
  5. Simmer apples over low heat until they’re very soft and can be easily mashed with a large spoon or potato masher. Stir apples occasionally, and if necessary, add a small amount of water and/or reduce heat to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Place food mill over a large bowl and add as much of the apple mixture as will reasonably fit.
  7. To avoid making your applesauce too thin, let the mixture sit in your food mill for half an hour so any excess apple juice can drain out. (You can discard the syrupy liquid or keep it in your refrigerator for flavoring drinks — try stirring some in with your seltzer!).
  8. Turn the handle of your food mill clockwise, pressing the apples through the sieve.
  9. Every several turns, rotate the handle counter-clockwise half a turn; it’ll scrape up any skins and seeds blocking the mesh.
  10. Continue rotating handle clockwise until only dry, tough skins and seeds remain in your food mill.
  11. Transfer applesauce to containers and refrigerate or freeze until using. If you want flavored applesauce, you can stir in sugar and spices at this point. If you’ll be freezing your applesauce, be sure to leave room at the top of your chosen containers for expansion.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Red Quinoa Soup

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 6 October 2013

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Another Oh She Glows favorite. I have discovered a love for soups that I can add fresh ingredients to and this one is top of my list. The fact that it’s very Southwestern is an added bonus. I started eating a lot of quinoa when I became a vegan. It’s full of protein, iron and fiber and it’s super easy to cook. And of course sweet potatoes couldn’t be better for you, what with the Vitamin A and C, the potassium and fiber and many nutrients that consistently rank them one of the healthiest foods. Black beans are of course full of fiber, protein, iron and everything else that could be good for you. Together, along with the avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and anything else you thrown on top, this soup is a nutritional powerhouse.





  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 large)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded if preferred and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato (350 g), peeled and chopped to 1/2-1 inch dice (2.5-3 cups)*
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans (one (15-oz) can rinsed and drained)
  • fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • 2 handfuls Spinach or kale leaves, optional
  • toppings: avocado, corn chips, cilantro, cashew cream, lime juice, tomatoes or salsa, green onion

1. In a medium-sized pot, add quinoa along with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for about 17 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, and keep it covered until ready to use.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large wok or pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Now add in the jalapeno and sweet potato and sauté for 5-7 minutes more.

3. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, coriander, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 18-20 minutes uncovered, or until the potatoes are tender.

4. Just before serving, stir in the cooked quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cayenne, and optional spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more spice if desired.

5. Garnish soup with cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, corn chips, avocado, and/or cashew cream.


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Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 6 October 2013

Chronicling some of my favorite vegan meals here, mostly for my own reference but if there’s anybody reading out there, try them. They’re good. They’re also mostly from Oh She Glows sooo… you could just go there too. =)

Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup

photo 1Ok, this tastes way better than it looks. It also looks way better on Oh She Glows. But this red lentil and kale soup is INSANELY delicious. If global warming ever goes away, I’ll be making this soup all of the time. Red lentils have tons of fiber and iron, which are incredibly important for vegans. They’re also full of folate and magnesium. I could Google what those do but I’ll just trust that they’re good for me.




  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, to taste
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth, more if desired
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • fine grain sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 handfuls torn kale leaves or spinach

1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in oil for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add in the celery and sauté for a few minutes more.

2. Stir in the bay leaf and the spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, cayenne). You can add half the spices and add more later if you prefer.

3. Stir in the can of tomatoes (including juice), broth, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender and fluffy.

4. Stir in kale or spinach and season to taste adding more spices if you wish.

Cold Turkey

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 13 January 2013

I have recently made the unfortunate discovery that just because you go vegan doesn’t mean you’re always going to eat healthy. Giving up meat hasn’t been difficult at all. Giving up dairy is a little painful (cheese and ice cream!!!) but isn’t impossible. But the two things I can’t give up, and that, in fact, I doubled down on when I had to give up everything else, are fried potatoes and chips and guac. They’re my favorites, I can make them at home with little effort and all natural ingredients, and yet they’re still terrible for me. Especially the fried potatoes. The problem is, it’s hard enough giving up all of the stuff that isn’t vegan, but now I have to give up all of the stuff that is too! But there’s simply no use in eating well and doing Bikram and making sacrifices if I’m not going to cut out everything else that’s bad for me.

So, after I came to this horrifying realization, I spent the weekend frying and eating every potato I had, I made a big bowl of guac and ate it with chips, and now I’m going cold turkey. I’ll have to find other things to replace the salty, oily goodness of my former friends. I’ll have to learn to like sweet potato fries and kale chips and… i don’t know, other snacks. Sigh. This is a whole re-education process. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Goodbye old friends! Some day I’ll see you again!


My AMAZING Veggie Ratatouille

Posted in AG Goes Veggie by AGinDC on 22 December 2012

I am having so much fun with this pseudo-Vegan thing (that’s what I’m calling it since I’m not giving up eggs or honey or wearing leather and cashmere). I keep making the yummiest foods and finding out that my favorite restaurants make amazing meals that I never thought about. They even had pizza, which I LOVE, at my contracting gig and I didn’t even want it. I had an apple instead.

One of the things that got me really excited about my winter experiment was this article about veggie Ratatouille. It looked so amazing that I could not wait to try it. I really wanted to do it with butternut squash and luckily this week’s box from Washington’s Green Grocer had some! So today was the day. I combined the recipes from Oh She Glows and the NY Times and added some food of my own and here it is!

The AGinDC Veggie Ratatouille of Yumminess

1 Butternut Squash
1 Zucchini
1/2 Eggplant
1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion
1 Tomato
2 Turnips
2 Minced Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Veggie Broth
Handful of Fresh Green Beans
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
Fresh Basil and Thyme
Salt + Pepper
(Ingredient amounts are not exact. Do what feels good.)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Use these excellent instructions to figure out how to cut a butternut squash. Roast them in the oven with a couple of tablespoons of oil for as long as it takes for them to get tender. The NY Times said 25 minutes. They lied. It takes more like 40. Then again, I have a really cheap oven… so just keep checking.

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2. While the squash is cooking , cut up all of the other veggies. Prepare a super big skillet.

3. When the squash is done, or almost done, throw the onions, garlic and enough EVOO to lightly cover the bottom of the pan on mediumish heat.

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4. Once the onions and stuff have cooked a bit (5-8 minutes), add the zucchini, eggplant, and turnips. Let cook for 5-8 minutes (until they look almost done).

5. Add the squash. Cook for a few minutes.

6. Add the peppers and green beans. Cook for a few more minutes. (See what I’m doing here? No matter what veggies you add, just be sure you add them in order of how long they take to cook).

7. Add the basil, thyme, salt, pepper. Cook some more.

8. Add the tomatoes and broth. Let simmer.

9. Eat!

You can eat this alone or with a baguette (garlic or not), quinoa, couscous, brown rice, potatoes, or whatever else. It’s crazy delicious.

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