One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese Recipe Family-Friendly (VIDEO)

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The older my kids get, the more I have to work to keep them interested in eating vegan meals at home.

You know how teenagers can be!

I was happy to get Elijah’s input on this recipe and made several adjustments based on his suggestions.

This recipe is simple, delicious, filling and takes less than 40 minutes to put together.

I usually serve it with salad and garlic bread, so there’s enough for leftovers the next day.

Check out the full video tutorial here…

Vegan crumble brand options:

Beyond Meat crumbles

Gardein crumbles

Wegmans store brand (used in the video)

Vegan shredded cheese brand options:

Field Roast chao slices (featured in the video)

Follow Your Heart Gourmet Shreds

So Delicious Dairy-Free Shreds

Daiya

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive or grapeseed)

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 15 oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 4 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 lb elbows pasta

  • 10 oz vegan beef crumbles (Beyond Meat & Gardein are options)

  • 1 1/2 cups vegan cheese, divided

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil and saute onion and garlic for about 6 minutes on medium heat.

  • Mix in diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, basil, cayenne, black pepper, and salt and simmer for about 8 minutes.

  • Then add kidney beans, vegetable broth, and pasta.

  • Bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook until pasta is done (about 13 mins), stirring occasionally.

  • Then mix in vegan beef crumbles and 1 cup of cheese and continue to warm for about 3 minutes.

  • Add the remaining cheese to the top of the dish and melt in the oven (if using a dutch oven) or replace lid until cheese melts.

  • Garnish with parsley (optional) and season to taste with salt.

Inspired by Damn Delicious’s recipe

4 Vegan Meal Planning Tips for Busy Folks

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One of the major keys to vegan success is to have a meal plan.

I literally just sat here and planned a few days of meals in my notebook to go to the grocery store tomorrow (I order groceries from Instacart often too).

When I started my own vegan journey in 2010, I wasn't used to meal planning at all. I would go into the grocery store and shop based what was on sale for the week.

If you're new to this, it may take time to get used to vegan meal planning and grocery shopping, but I promise it will get easier once you get into a routine.


HOW TO START MEAL PLANNING RIGHT NOW


*Think about meals you're already eating and how you can make those meals vegan.

Here's a quick example using this chicken enchiladas recipe from Food Network
These are ingredients you would need to switch out to make the meal vegan:
-Replace the chicken breast with a vegan chicken alternative from a brand like Beyond Meat or use black beans.
-Replace the dairy cheese with a vegan cheese or use more sauce instead of vegan cheese.
-Replace the sour cream with a vegan version (you can make one out of coconut cream, salt & lemon juice).
Everything else in the recipe is naturally vegan (no other meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.)


*Keep a food journal - As you move forward, get a spiral notebook and jot down:

-vegan recipes you have tried with your family
-their reaction
-where you got the recipe from
Using this method will help you establish some go-to recipes and save time when you're too busy to meal plan.


*Keep breakfast and snacks super simple - Dinner is enough to worry about, so try to keep your breakfast and snacks on autopilot. Start off by planning two vegan breakfasts each week, then buy enough to last several days to save both money and time. 
For snacks, you can enjoy pretzels, trail mix, fresh fruit, kale chips & smoothies.


*Establish go-to recipes and consider vegan options/convenient meals near you. When I meal plan, I always build in meals that are convenient for those days I don't feel like cooking (it happens so always include convenient meals). Simple meals like spaghetti, a local takeout place that has vegan options on the menu, or even a pre-packaged option like the Gardein Skillet Meals (I reviewed this product on my YouTube channel).


What you should do right now...
I want to encourage you to start meal planning today.
Even if you're only adding one vegan meal to your meal plan this week, I promise this first step counts!
You don't have to be a gourmet chef every night.
Keep your meals simple, so that you can gain confidence to move forward.


You can (and should) do this!

My 30-Day Plan to Get Back On YouTube Consistently

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I started my main YouTube channel in 2012, and it has led to so many incredible opportunities -- brand sponsorships (even one with Whole Foods), speaking & cooking demos, and product sales.

In my opinion, video is one of the easiest ways to stand out in a crowded online space. 

Even though I believe video is the most effective way to build a brand & business these days, I haven't always been the most consistent with my YouTube channel.

I really miss posting videos, so I’m working on finally coming back to YouTube!

Why I’ve been gone so long…

The truth is, it started as a little break back in 2016 and I haven’t been able to regain my footing ever since.

I tried to come back a couple of months ago (with this video), but self-sabotaging thoughts got in the way…

  • “No one cares enough to watch you on YouTube anymore."

  • “You’ve been around forever and you’re still not good at this.”

  • “You’ve gained too much weight over the last couple of years to be on camera.”

  • “You’re not health conscious enough for the YouTube community.”

It has taken me a while to push those thoughts aside, but I’m ready to make it happen!

What are my goals?

  • Even though I went a while not feeling like I could contribute much to the vegan community, I now feel my voice is different and that’s a great thing!

  • Sharing my experiences keeps me accountable with my own vegan journey (it gets tough sometimes) and allows me to help vegan-curious folks get started.

  • To connect with vegan-curious, vegetarian and vegan peeps online.

  • Sell more digital products and secure more offline opportunities.

  • Add brand sponsorships as a consistent stream of income to my business.

The Plan…

One of the major reasons I couldn't stay on track? I didn't have a plan to produce video content consistently.

  • Brainstorm video ideas using questions from my social media and ideas I have floating around in my head. Record all ideas in Evernote.

  • Plan, experiment in the kitchen, and always film (even when I don’t plan to release the video) to practice my craft.

  • Decide on the next 6 videos I want to record.

  • Visualize how each video will look and jot down notes on my legal pad and Moleskine notebook.

  • Batch record (multiple videos at a time) and editing, so I don’t burn out.

  • Figure out which parts of video creation can be outsourced (filing, editing, grocery shopping, etc.) and budget to delegate these tasks ASAP.

  • Finally, give myself grace! Perfection is overrated!

    My goal is to be on a consistent YouTube schedule by November 20, 2018.

Wish me luck!

If you’re new to vegan life, click below to subscribe to my YouTube channel for recipes & reviews.

Have you started adding video to your brand and business? How is it going for you?

Gardein Skillet Meals Review(Video)

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When I started my vegan journey back in 2010, I didn’t cook from scratch much, so I wasn’t sure how to put a vegan meal together for the fam.

I appreciate brands like Gardein, because they make super convenient options for folks who don’t cook or those who don’t feel like cooking.

I’m all for making this journey simple, delicious, long-term, and fun!

When I heard released Gardein’s four flavors of skillet meals, I had to review it on my YouTube channel.

Check out the full video below...

**The actual review starts at 1:32**

I tested out all four flavors after picking them up at Target & Harris Teeter.

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The current options: Chick’n & Fried Rice, Chick’n Florentino, Italian Style Rigatoni n’ Saus’ageChick’n & Fiesta

Cost: $7.50 at Target & $7.99 at Harris Teeter

Overall thoughts: The package says it serves two but the serving size seems much smaller than that. I love that each skillet only takes about 10 minutes to make.

Is there a favorite one? I enjoyed the Chick’n & Fried Rice the most.

Will I buy it again? Probably not. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the skillet meals, I’m excited this option is available. Plus, since it’s a new concept for Gardein, I know they will improve it like so many of their other products.

Visit gardein.com to see where you can pick up these vegan skillet meals near you. 

Have you tried the Gardein skillet meals yet? What did you think?

FTC: Not sponsored -- I spent my own coins and this is my honest review.