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!

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.

7 TOOLS I USE TO RUN MY BUSINESS

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I remember when I was afraid to spend more than $20 to build and grow my business.

For the first couple of years, my only business expense was Squarespace -- my website and hosting.

That was it. No fancy software. Nada.

Then I went from one extreme to another...from being afraid to spend any money to spending way too much.

There was a time (like a couple of months ago lol) where my business expenses were well over $600.

This was madness because most months I wasn't bringing in enough money to justify it. 

Even though I don't believe in spending thousands of dollars to start your business, I do feel you need certain pieces of software to save you money and time.

These days, I try to minimize my business expenses and have figured out a way to use one piece of software for multiple functions.

For example, I use Leadpages to collect emails, host webinars, make sales pages, collect payments, and deliver products. 

I'm all about making life easier, so here are the seven tools I use to run my business.


Seven tools...

1. Squarespace - I've been using Squarespace for years. I started off with a free site on Wordpress, but Squarespace is more of my speed. It's easy to use (I'm not tech savvy), affordable, and their tech support is top notch. They used to make mini tutorials back in the day. I told you I'm not tech savvy. lol 

2. Teachable - I use Teachable to host my course. I love how user-friendly the software is, and how it organizes content in a way that is easy for customers to consume. 

3. Acuity Scheduling & Calendly - I use free accounts (Acuity came free with my Squarespace account) for both of these businesses to schedule business consults and podcast interviews. There's no need to go back and forth with guests or potential clients when all you have to do is link them to your calendar to schedule appointment. The more hands off the better!

4. Leadpages - I use this software to set up opt-in pages (to get folks to join my email list -- like this page), host webinars, make sales pages (like this one), collect payments, and deliver products. 

5. Libsyn - I use this software to host my Brown Vegan and This Biz Life podcast episodes.

6. Convertkit - I started off with Mailchimp, but Convertkit is amazing for building my email list and automation. For example, when someone signs up for a course on Teachable, I set up automation to send them a welcome email. Like I said above, the less hands off I can be the better. Plus, you can't beat giving your customers a better experience.

7. Wavve - You already know how much I believe video is important for building and growing an online business.  I love using this software to share snippets of my podcast episodes on social media to get listeners to click over to Apple podcasts or my website to listen to the full episode. 

Let me know in the comments what tools you use to run your biz.

You can also schedule a biz consult with me here